Strawberry Citrus Preserves

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What on earth do you do when you find delicious looking strawberries on a crazy good sale and citrus is in season and delicious? You buy an insane amount of both and make some super cinchy Strawberry Citrus Preserves. Duh. Here’s my recipe, it’s a breeze and you don’t have to fuss with any pectin or any such thing. For the win!

STRAWBERRY CITRUS PRESERVES
*makes 10 cups

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 8 cups granulated sugar
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Directions:

1. In a very large mixing bowl add diced strawberries, lemon juice, orange juice and sugar.
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2. Transfer strawberry mixture to large heavy bottomed pot. Set to low heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved and strawberries are very soft. With a potato masher, mash strawberries until the texture is largely smooth with some strawberry chunks in tact.  When sugar is dissolved and mixture is mashed, increase heat to high and bring to a rolling boil. Boil, stirring often until mixture reaches 220 degrees. As it boils the mixture will become thicker and thicker.
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3. Immediately transfer preserves to sterile jars, leaving about 1/3 to 1/2 inch of space at the top. Process in water bath if you are canning to store, if you are going to eat preserves right away, skip the processing and move jars right to the refrigerator. Refrigerate for 12 hours before opening.
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Serve on toast, mixed into oatmeal or even over ice cream. Enjoy!

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Peanut Butter Granola

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This granola is as quick and easy as it gets: 5 ingredients and the whole shebang takes under 15 minutes from gathering the ingredients to pulling the granola out of the oven. This recipe makes 4 servings and is delicious to munch on for a snack or to top some Greek yogurt for breakfast (I topped my strawberry yogurt with it this morning for some PB&J action and it was awesome.) Each serving comes in at 150 calories so if you’re trying to maintain your girlish figure this one won’t kill you (like most of the other things I like.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup quick cook oats

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Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2.  Add peanut butter and honey to a medium microwaveable bowl. Microwave for about 20-30 seconds until peanut butter and honey are melted. Mix well until completely combined and smooth.

3.  Add cinnamon and vanilla and mix well.

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4.  Add oats and mix until completely combined and all oats are coated with peanut butter mixture.
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5.  Spread granola mixture onto a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray. Press into a thin layer.
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6.  Bake for 7-8 minutes until granola is golden brown.Image

7.  Place cookie sheet on cooking rack and cool granola until it is hard and crispy then break up into small pieces. Store in an airtight container.
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Babe’s Banana Wheat Germ Muffins

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Happy Friday, all!

One of the things I’m looking forward to doing here on this blog is sharing some kitchen adventures with you all. Today, I thought I’d start with a recipe for the wee babes, since that’s a lot of the cooking I do now. When looking for a recipe to kick it off I have decided to look no farther than the recipe for the tasty little nugget that my babe is currently sitting in his high chair devouring as I write this post.

Recently my son and I were at our weekly Friday playgroup with a bunch of moms and babes from the ‘hood and River got introduced to his new favorite thing: Banana Wheat Germ Muffins. One of his little friends’ mom had brought one from the batch she had freshly made for him to snack on at playgroup. True to form, River sniffed out said friend’s snack muffin and made a beeline for it. If he could have, the kid would have eaten all of his little friend’s treat. Instead of allowing him to do it, I got the recipe from his mom (thanks, Meredith!) and made him a batch the next day. It’s a recipe from Weelicious (and moms if you are not familiar, get thee to Weelicious. For real, it’s a great site with tons of healthy kid friendly foods, that by and large they actually eat!) It’s full of great stuff like banana, whole wheat and wheat germ and NOT full of not so great stuff like sugar. To pump up the nutrients a little I adapted the recipe to also include some extra fruits and veggies. The batter takes no time to come together so from measuring ingredients to pulling the piping hot bundles of joy from the oven took almost exactly 30 minutes. I’ll also say, that for those of you with no kids both my wife and mother said the muffins were delicious, so make and enjoy even if you have no children, I won’t tell. Enjoy!

BANANA WHEAT GERM MUFFINS 
*recipe adapted from Weelicious

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 medium bananas, very ripe and mashed
  • 1 banana, sliced in 3/4 inch thick slices
  • 1/4 cup natural or homemade applesauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium bowl mix whole wheat flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl combine the mashed bananas, applesauce, zucchini, agave or honey, oil, vanilla and egg. Mix well until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix until just combined, do not over mix. Add the second third of the flour mixture and mix in the same way. Add the last third of the flour mixture and mix until all the flour is just combined.
  5. Either grease muffin tin or line tin with muffin cups and fill each 3/4 full.
  6. Place the 1 slice of banana on top of each filled muffin cup.
  7. Bake muffins 15 minutes for mini muffins or 20 minutes for regular muffins, making sure an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely.