Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Little House Living Recipe Exchange

My sister-in-law at Little House Living has started to host an online recipe exchange every Tuesday. This week I added my recipe for pear preserves, and there should be plenty of other great recipe links there too!  Check it out!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pear Preserves

The other day while I was at the grocery store, I saw pears were on sale for 77¢ a pound!  Around here they are usually around $.149/lb.  So I grabbed a few bags and stuffed them full of pears!  It just happens that we had recently run out of our favorite 'jam'...pear preserves.

I was introduced to this wonderful stuff when I married my husband.  My father-in-law likes to make pear preserves.  It's a perfect blend of sweet fruit flavor and spicy cinnamon.  It's absolutely amazing on my buttermilk biscuits.

So this past Friday, my husband and I worked on peeling, coring and slicing over 20 pounds of pears.  We ended up with about 45 cups of pears, and about 15 cups of peelings, etc. (I'll tell you what I did with those later)  When we were done cooking them down, we had a total of 7 quarts of pear preserves.  We started with jelly jars, but ended up scrambling for all the jars we had available. :)

Here is the recipe for pear preserves...in a smaller batch. :)

Pear Preserves

15 cups pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
5 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/8 teaspoon vanilla

Put the pears and sugar together in a large bowl.  Stir until all the pears are coated in sugar.  Now let them set for a couple hours.  The sugar will draw some of the juice out of the pears and they will get syrupy.  After a couple of hours, put the pears and syrup into a large stockpot.  Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally.  You want to cook them until the pears are translucent and alot of the liquid has boiled off, leaving a thick syrup.  Spoon into sterilized canning jars and seal with sterilized lids.  Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove from the water and place in a non-drafty area for them to seal.  Enjoy!

As for the peelings, I put them in a sauce pan with 2 cups water, and two cups sugar.  I boiled this down for an hour or so, then strained out the peelings, and boiled the juice down some more to make syrup!   Yummy!

Note:  It is best to remove the cores/seeds before boiling the peels, as consuming too many of the seeds can be poisonous.

Find more canning and preserving recipes at Little Natural Cottage at http://www.littlenaturalcottage.com/?p=2155

Friday, January 21, 2011

Baked Blueberry French Toast

Here's a yummy warm breakfast without too much effort in the morning!  This is a great dish to make when you have company for breakfast, but don't like to get up too early...like me. :)  You put this french toast together the night before, let it sit in the fridge overnight, and pop it in the oven 45 minutes before breakfast. :)

Baked Blueberry French Toast

1 large loaf of french or italian bread
Cinnamon sugar, to taste
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (optional)
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup cream
1 1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Start by cutting the loaf of bread into 1 inch cubes, and the cream cheese into half inch cubes.  Spread half of the cubed bread in a greased 9 x 13 baking pan.  Top with all the cream cheese, and one cup of blueberries.  Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar.  Layer the rest of the bread, and then the rest of the blueberries.  In a large mixing bowl, mix the eggs, cream, milk, maple syrup and vanilla.  Whisk together.  Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread. You might want to gently press the bread down into the egg mixture, to make sure all the bread is wet.  Sprinkle again with cinnamon sugar, and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning, bake at 375º for 45 minutes.  Enjoy with more maple syrup!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pot Holder Loom

When I was younger, my siblings and I used to weave 'pot holders' on a little plastic loom.  I had nearly forgotten about them until recently while visiting my parents.  My mom brought out a couple looms for Chance to play with.  He had alot of fun picking out colors and stretching the fabric loops over the pins.

You start off by stretching loops from pin to pin in one direction, and then weave loops in and out in the other direction.  You finish by pulling the ends of the loops through the loop next to it, all around the perimeter.

I love to find things for Chance to do that allows him to be creative, and to make something useful.  He likes to give little gifts to people he loves, so this worked out great!  We made a 'John Deere' one for Chance, a blue, white and yellow one to match grandma's kitchen, and a small purple and pink one for great-grandma's coffee cup. 

I'm not sure if you can find these is local stores, but I did find quite a few on Amazon.com.  It would also be fairly easy to make one on your own.  Let me know in a comment if you would like me to do a how to post aout making your own pot holder loom!  I hope you all have fun with this!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Roasted Root Vegetables

Here's a great recipe I just created for wintertime.  All of these vegetables are 'in season' so they are cheaper and easy to get in the winter.  Roasting brings out the natural sweet flavor, and it makes a yummy side to a ham or roast.

Roasted Root Vegetables

2 turnips
3 parsnips
7-8 small red potatoes
4-5 large carrots
1 large onion
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chicken base
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425º.  Mix butter, oil, thyme, chicken base, garlic and salt.  Cut up all the vegetables into small chunks.  Put the vegetables into a large roasting pan.  Pour oil mixture over veggies and toss to coat.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and put in the oven for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil, stir, and turn the temperature down to 350º.  Roast for an additional 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven and serve hot!