Spiced Grape Jam

 

I haven’t done much canning this year. I don’t seem to be able to do two things at once. Working on the house and cooking just don’t seem to go together. I did take time to make a batch of Spiced Grape Jam, and we have been enjoying it daily. This is an easy recipe for the beginner canner, and would make a great gift for the holidays.

Ingredients:

4 lbs. fresh Concord grapes (about 8 cups)

1 cup water

2 large apples, cored and chopped

2/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. Ground cloves

2 teaspoon cinnamon

8 jelly mason jars, 1/4 pint size with lids and bands

Place washed fruit in a large kettle, add water. Crush fruit slightly with a potato masher. Add vinegar, spices, and the chopped apples. Boil fruit until soft and it begins to loose color, about 15 minutes. Process in a. Food mill to remove skins and seeds. Measure the juice, it should yield about 8 cups. Add 3/4 cup sugar for each cup of juice. Cook over low heat until juice begins to thicken and clings to a test spoon. This can take anywhere from 8-30 minutes. Fill sterilized 1/4 pint jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Boil in a water bath for 5 minutes.

 

Blue Moon Ice Cream

Blue Moon Ice Cream

Did you see the Blue Moon this week? It’s the second time this month we have had a full moon, the second cycle is referred to as the “Blue Moon”.

The phrase “once in a blue moon” has brought on new meaning to me as I have gotten older. There are things that I just never have time to do that I enjoy, one of them is making fresh ice cream. Life is too short not to take time for simple little pleasures.

Blue Moon ice cream is a Wisconsin favorite, a best seller at our family’s restaurant. It has the suburb combination of watermelon, blueberry and raspberry that can’t be beat. You can make your own ice cream simply with a few plastic baggies and ice, it’s a fun project for kids and great entertainment for a hot day.

Ingredients:

1/2 pint fresh blueberries

1/4 of a large watermelon, Rhine removed, seeded and chopped into 1″ cubes

1/2 pint fresh raspberries (you can substitute 2 Tablespoons low sugar Raspberry jam if needed)

2 cups almond milk or whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

4 cups ice

1/2 cup table salt

2 large gallon sized zip lock baggies

2 sandwich size zip lock baggies

 

Directions:

Blend the fresh fruit and milk together in a blender until smooth. Add the sugar, blend again.

Pour the mix into two sandwich baggies, only filling them about 1/2 way. Close the bags, releasing as much air as possible. Divide the ice and salt into the two gallon sized bags. Close the top, shake the bag briefly to combine the ingredients. Open the bag, add the ice cream mix Baggie, close the top.

Here’s the fun part. Shake the bag all you can until the ice cream gets firm. It only takes about 10 minutes. This may require you to wear gloves or pot holders on your hands, as the salt lowers the freezing temperature of the ice and it becomes very cold. You can play catch with the bags out side until it hardens, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it inside the house.

We have had exploding bags in the past, trust me on this one, do it outside. Exploding bags of ice cream are not a pretty sight.

When the ice cream has to hardened, you can eat immediately ( it will be a soft set ice cream, similar to ice milk), or freeze until completely hard and serve later. Dispose of the bags, ice and salt afterwards.

 

Today is a beautiful hot sunny day, I will be spending my time on the porch nibbling on our Blue Moon Ice Cream and fanning myself with Granny’s vintage fan from Japan. Sounds like a great way to spend the day, doesn’t it?

Who knows, I may even take a nap on the porch! It is once in a blue moon after all.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Grasshopper Dirt Cake

Grasshopper Dirt Cake @designerssweetspot.com

Mother’s Day is upon us, and my Mother will be visiting for the weekend. She is hard to buy gifts for, but she does love a good dessert. We are partial to a good Dirt Cake now and then, you can see our other favorite version here.  Since Creme de mint is my mom’s favorite liquor (mine too!), I decided to splurge and buy a bottle. When we were kids, Mom would keep a small decanter of Creme de Mint to serve to guests when we had company. It makes an elegant and refreshing choice.

Grasshopper Dirt Cake and cookies @designerssweetspot.com

The color of the liquor is gorgeous! I love the beautiful green color, perfect for spring!

Grasshopper Dirt Cake @designerssweetpot.com

The boys and I whipped up this yummy Grasshopper Dirt Cake for this Mother’s Day occasion. It’s very easy to make and only has a few ingredients. If you would like an alcohol free version of this dessert, try my regular Dirt Cake Reciepe here.

Grasshopper Dirt Cake

Grasshopper Dirt Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 large package instant vanilla pudding
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 1 large tub of Non dairy whipped topping
  • 1 package mint filled chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 1 1/2 shots Creme de Mint Liquor
  • Fresh Mint leaves for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place the milk in a blender. Add the Creme de mint and the pudding mix. Blend until smooth. Pour into a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir in whipped topping, then chill until firm about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put 10-12 sandwich cookies in a plastic Baggie, remove air, close and crush with a rolling pin. When pudding is firm, spoon into serving glasses layering crushed cookies and pudding. Garnish with more whipped topping, extra cookies and fresh mint. Chill until ready to serve. Makes 6 servings.

 

Gluten Free Bacon Quiche

finished

 

I have been bustling around this week, getting ready for our weekend tour with a group of 62 high school students and their chaperones.

We are going as the cooks. We have cooked for a number of large groups before, but this is our first weekend adventure of this sort.

I have been shopping, menu planning and cooking for days and days.

The planning is the hardest part for me.

Cooking comes easily, especially when there is a delicious reward at the end of your efforts.

Bacon has long been a favorite in our house, this Gluten Free Bacon Quiche is no exception.

9 x 13 pan

This Quiche is a breeze to make, here’s what you will need to make a 9 x 13″ pan that serves 12.

12 eggs, scrambled

12 oz. ricotta cheese

1/4 cup melted butter

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 lb. cooked bacon, crumbled

1 1/2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

2 dashes of nutmeg

2 dashes of paprika

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan. Spread hash browns in bottom of pan. Combine eggs, ricotta, melted butter and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese. Add salt and pepper.

Pour liquid ingredients over hash browns. Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top, along with the remainder of the cheddar cheese. Sprinkle with a couple of dashes of nutmeg and paprika.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and solid. Quiche will pull away from the edge of the pan.

Cool slightly before cutting.

Enjoy!

Numi Flowering Tea

Numi Tea

 

 

I love having a cup of tea in the afternoon.

I deliberately set aside anything else that I am doing to brew some tea and find a quite place to rest and enjoy it.

Many times, I will enjoy my tea with a dear friend and some priceless conversation.

It’s one of the highlights of my day.

I have been coveting beautiful glass tea pots for the single reason of making this Numi Flowering Tea.

This is not a sponsored post, just sharing one of my favorite products.

I happened to find a glass tea pot at the thrift store recently for $1.69. You can also get them on Amazon, which was my next option.

Numi Tea top view

The main reason I wanted a glass tea pot, was so that I could make this beautiful tea. I am sure I will find other ways to use it, but this will be my favorite, I am certain.

Numi makes a lot of different teas, but the flowering tea is definitely my favorite.

The tea blossoms are first hand sewn into a closed position, the bud is then dried. Some of the designs are so elaborate it takes ten minutes to sew them together.

It’s a work of art.

What gardener wouldn’t covet a cup of this beautiful tea?

When you drop the Flowering tea blossom into a boiling pot of water, the blossom opens.

Nothing could be more lovely.

Numi box

Hard to believe that beautiful tea comes from this tiny flower bud.

Each blossom is a different flavor of tea, and can be re-used several times. I have found that the flavor actually comes out more with each additional steeping of the tea.

This particular blossom is called Oolong Sunset. Isn’t that a great name?

The Numi Flowering Tea is a bit of a challenge to find in the stores, I happened to find mine at World Market, but if you are ordering a tea pot from Amazon, you may as well save your self a trip and order some tea at the same time.

Amazon also carries tea pot sets that come with the Numi Flowering Tea, which would be a great gift idea.

Numi blossom

Because this tea is so beautiful and unique, I would save it for a special occasion rather than have it every day.

Then again, if you’re having a bad time, this may be just the treat you need.

Be sure to find a quite corner to enjoy it!