My first year entering the Dixie Classic fair didn't go so well. My Northern tastes didn't seem to fit in here in the South I realized after I entered several of my favorite recipes in many categories. The one and only winner I had was for a category that spoke to me...
oh how I love trail mix and definitely love my jars! I have so many favorite trail mixes so it was tough to pick one! In the end I went with a new creation, using some of my favorite roasted nut recipes along with a new favorite candy I discovered at LGA airport of all places...
chocolate covered freeze dried strawberries! I tried making them on my own but that didn't go well. Luckily I found some in the holiday section at Lidl.
We go in food phases in our house, one day we love oatmeal but the next day I'm finding expired packets that need to be tossed. One of those throwing out days I wondered if there's a better way to get great tasting instant oatmeal... after much experimentation there is!
There's tons of recipes out there, this is a good basic that works for us. I mix a batch up and portion out into half pint jelly jars, labeling the lid with a dry erase marker. At first my husband laughed skeptically at these rows of jars but after a few days he was asking what exactly is in these and bringing friends in to see his wife's crazy good oatmeal collection! Now it's a staple in our house.
Home Made Instant Oatmeal
2 1/2 cups Quick Oats or Regular Oats
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
Blend 3/4 cup of the oatmeal in a blender or food processor (I use Vitamix with grain mill blender container but not needed; just a few pulses to it up to a heavy powder). Mix ground oatmeal with other ingredients, adding to a container with sealed lid (or ziplock bag). Shake up really good to combine. This is the instant oatmeal base that will make 9 servings. Sometimes I mix a few and leave the base which my husband likes because some days he adds a little more plain to his bowl or he feels like going outside my jars and mixing his own!
To package for individual servings add the following to a half pint jelly jar:
1/3 cup of the oatmeal base along with flavoring mix-ins such as: 1 tsp seeds (chia, flax) + 2 tsp grain, nuts or dried fruit (oat bran, wheat germ, any ground nut, choppied dried fruit) +1-3 tsp sweetner (stevia, coconut sugar, vanilla sugar, or more brown sugar) + 1/8 tsp spice (cinnamon, apple pie spice, grains of paradise) + pinch salt
Or use your imagination and follow the above proportions (aprox 3 tsp flavorings + 1-3 tsp sweetner +1/8 tsp spice) along with the 1/3 oatmeal base. Some of our favorites include: coconut, hot cocoa mix, chocolate chips, and PB2 dried peanut butter.
To cook the oatmeal:
For regular oats: add about 3/4 cup liquid to a bowl along with contents of the jar. Cover and microwave about 2-3 minutes depending on the microwave. Our favorite liquids to use are soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk, hazelnut milk. Chocolate versions of any of those are obviously really good!
For instant oats: add boiling water directly to jar, about 1/2" from the top. Cover and let sit about 5 minutes. You can also add 2 tsp powdered milk for creamy consistency with the water. I love this option for the office since it's so easy.
I've also done overnight oats with this method: add desired liquid (any milk works great or water for lower calories) to jar, about 3/4" from top. Regular oats will still be runny in the morning and I'm not a fan of cold oats so I do heat up in the jar, covered, watching very closely heating in 30 second increments because it will overflow very quickly!
We have become more creative with our mix-ins and came up with snappy concoctions such as: Almond Joy (almonds, coconut, chocolate chunks, coconut sugar), Cherry Pie (dried cherries, graham cracker crumbs, vanilla sugar), Peanut Butter Cup (chocolate chunks, PB2 dried peanut butter), Pina Colada (dried pineapples, coconut sugar, coconut)... the possibilities are endless! Let me know if you come up with any options we must try!
I love making cute things in jars! This one I came across in Mary Janes Farm magazine looked like fun.
Cherries are one of my favorite fruits and I have no complaints about brandy! These are very strong, and are great additions to drinks or an unexpected garnish.
They make a great gift, if you can handle giving them up!
Fancy Brandied Cherries, Mary Janes Farm
2 pounds sweet, blemish free, cherries, washed
4 cups high quality brandy
3/4 cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon almond extract (or half vanilla and half almond for a twist)
1. Combine sugar and brandy in medium saucepan over low heat. Cook just until sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly. (Mixture will be only slightly lukewarm, don't overheat; you want to retain alcohol content of
brandy.) Cool and stir in almond extract.
2. Wash two quart canning jars (a dishwasher on the heated dry cycle works nicely.) Carefully place washed cherries, one by one, into the jars and cover completely with brandy (if not completely covered, they'll spoil.)
Carefully agitate the jar to settle the fruit. Put a lid on each jar and refrigerate.
Bruschetta in a jar
I recently became addicted to canning after a generous friend keeps bringing me more produce than we can eat! It started with making jam; now I keep searching for other things to preserve.
Then I realized I needed something interesting to do with all the tomatoes that keep showing up and I came across this recipe from my Outpost Co-op magazine.
I look forward to getting into this bruschetta when summer is long gone! It will be great on pizza, in pasta or as the name says to make brushetta!
5 cloves Garlic, finely minced
1 cup Dry White Wine
1 cup White Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Water
2 tbsp Sugar
1/4 cup Fresh Basil, chopped
1/4 cup Fresh Oregano, chopped
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
9 cups chopped, cored Plum Tomatoes (see note below)
Prepare canner, jars and lids.
In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan combine garlic, wine, wine vinegar, water, sugar, basil, oregano and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring occassionally. Reduce heat, cover and bil gently for 5 minutes, until garlic is heated through. Remove from heat.
Pack tomatoes into hot jars to within a generous 1/2" headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust heaspace, if necessary, by adding hot liquid. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to finger-tight.
Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 25 minutes. REmove jars, let them cool at room emperature. Check the seals, label and store.
NOTE: Plum tomatoes work best because they are firmer and hold their shape in processing. It's not necessary to seed or drain them. If using globe tomatoes, chop and drin in a colander over a bowl for 30 minutes. Use the liquid for juices, cocktails, soups or home made dressings.
Makes about 7 8 ounce jars.
is the smallest kitchen ever. We used to watch those decorating shows that said they were doing small kitchens and then could see that 4 of my kitchens would fit in their "small kitchens".