I have two awesome recipes to share with you today along with two great books I’m reading this week. First, let’s get started on the breakfast!
It’s strawberry season and one of the reasons I love June so much! This will be a two part process because I’m showing you how I make my fresh homemade strawberry jam. Here’s my recipe:
9 cups of whole strawberries – Remove tops and rinse – Here’s my video of my favorite tool for topping strawberries! Watch how fast it works…
7 cups of sugar
2 packages fruit pectin ( I use two packages, but you can try one for a thinner jam)
4-5 pint size jars with lids and caps
Equipment: Canner with lid, jar lifter, cooling rack, canning funnel
Get your canner filled with water and heat it up with the jars inside. This way, your jars will be hot and ready to go. I usually sanitize my jars in the dishwasher ahead of time. You can sterilize your lids in boiling water for a few minutes too to be safe. You don’t need to sterilize the bands.
The next step is to take all of your wonderful strawberries and put them in a large saucepan over medium to high heat.
Start crushing them with a masher. I used the bottom of a glass cup. I also added in about 1/2 cup of water. This is optional
Crush them up real good and continue to heat them up until they’re boiling.
Stir in your pectin. Continue to stir every minute or so until it starts to boil.
When it boils, add in your sugar all at one time.
Now stir it well to dissolve the sugar and stay on high heat. We want to bring it to a full rolling boil.
Once you reach a full rolling boil, continue boiling for EXACTLY one minute. Then turn off the heat. We are ready to load it into our hot jars.
Position them onto a rack and fill with jam by using a ladel.
You can skim the foam off the top once they’re filled. Some people add in a little margarine when boiling to prevent the foam, I don’t.
Leave a 1/4 inch headspace at the top. This means that the jam should come up to almost the top of the jar. Once they’re filled, wipe the rims with a damp cloth. Sticky jam on the rim can cause a poor seal, or no seal at all.
Center your lids and screw on your bands while holding the lid down by firmly pressing it down with your finger in the center. This will ensure that it stays centered and will result in a perfect seal.
Process jars in a covered boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Then remove the jars with a jar lifter onto a rack to cool. The jam should be set by morning. You can store your fresh jam for about a year.
Label accordingly with month and year of processing
Okay, now for the biscuits. I used to love making Paula Deen’s Southern Biscuits. The recipe has to be one of the best I’ve found. Then, I came across Alton Brown’s recipe online and I’ve been making them ever since. They are SO simple and I’ve even changed up the ingredients multiple times and they still come out great. Here’s the original recipe:
- 2 cups flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 cup buttermilk, chilled
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don’t want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky. Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that’s life.) Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.
I’m a person who doesn’t do well with butter. You can simply just use all shortening if you’d like. They are delicious both ways. I’m using butter because it’s what I have on hand. Here’s what I did…
I doubled the recipe and used these ingredients:
- 4 cups flour
- 8 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons butter ( Use just shortening if you can’t have dairy)
- 2 Cups cold almond milk
Here’s how I make them: Sometimes I do it by hand, in a bowl, which is just as easy…
I add all the dry ingredients to the bowl and mixed it up a bit.
I chop up the cold butter and toss it in. Then I mix on medium until the mix has pea sized crumbs of butter throughout.
Now it’s time for the milk. In the center, pour in the cold milk.
Mix it on low until it’s JUST pulled together. You don’t want to mix it heavily.
Now, flour your surface and scoop the dough out of the bowl and onto the surface.
Start patting it out into a flat rectangle. It doesn’t need to be perfect. then fold it over and pat it out again. I do this about 4 times.
Pat it out one last time and it will be much smoother. Now you can use your biscuit cutter to make as many as you can. Make sure you go straight down with the biscuit cutter and don’t twist. This helps the biscuits rise nicely.
Continue the process by collecting your scrap dough and patting it out again for more biscuits. Try to handle the dough as least as possible. Lay them all out onto a parchment lined pan (or foil.)
Bake at 450 degrees for about 18 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
They’re read to serve.
The jam from yesterday is perfect and ready to be used…
Paired with organic decaf, it’s such a wonderful treat! This is such an easy biscuit recipe and a no fail recipe. It’s a perfect recipe for company as well and can be enjoyed with tea for an afternoon snack. I just love it. 🙂
This week I’m reading two amazing books. I’m enjoying both so far. Here they are below:
My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach
Blurb: A heart-wrenching, yet hopeful, memoir of a young marriage that is redefined by mental illness and affirms the power of love.
Mark and Giulia’s life together began as a storybook romance. They fell in love at eighteen, married at twenty-four, and were living their dream life in San Francisco. When Giulia was twenty-seven, she suffered a terrifying and unexpected psychotic break that landed her in the psych ward for nearly a month. One day she was vibrant and well-adjusted; the next she was delusional and suicidal, convinced that her loved ones were not safe.
Eventually, Giulia fully recovered, and the couple had a son. But, soon after Jonas was born, Giulia had another breakdown, and then a third a few years after that. Pushed to the edge of the abyss, everything the couple had once taken for granted was upended.
A story of the fragility of the mind, and the tenacity of the human spirit, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward is, above all, a love story that raises profound questions: How do we care for the people we love? What and who do we live for? Breathtaking in its candor, radiant with compassion, and written with dazzling lyricism, Lukach’s is an intensely personal odyssey through the harrowing years of his wife’s mental illness, anchored by an abiding devotion to family that will affirm readers’ faith in the power of love.
So far, I don’t want to put this book down. The story is told by the author and is about his life as a caregiver for his wife after she developed a sudden mental illness. It’s been a little hard to read at times, but the writing is wonderful. I think I’ll be finishing this by tomorrow.
Fall to Pieces: A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Mental Illness by Mary Forsberg Weiland
Blurb: Fall to Pieces is a beautifully written, visceral, roller coaster ride inside bipolar disorder, rock ’n’ roll, celebrity culture, and the world of modeling. Mary Forsberg Weiland, wife of Scott Weiland, front man for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, tells a harrowing true story of depression, drug addiction, and mental illness with candor and, often, humor. Co-written with veteran journalist Larkin Warren, Fall to Pieces is a blistering, eye-opening memoir of Hollywood meltdown in the bestselling vein of Tatum O’Neal’s A Paper Life and Valerie Bertinelli’s Losing It.
I read Scott Weiland’s book a while back and couldn’t wait to read Mary’s as well. Scott has been one of my favorite singers since I was a teen and passed away a few years ago due to a drug overdose. Even though by this time he wasn’t married to Mary anymore, I was curious as to how their live’s unfolded behind closed doors. The book is fairly detailed and she covers a lot of her own family’s history as well. It’s pretty good so far and I hope to finish by Friday.
Thanks for reading today’s Breakfast and a Book! I hope you enjoyed it. 🙂
Please feel free to comment if you’d like to…