Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fruit Mochi

Here is another yummy treat from the Asian market: Fruit Mochi. These mango mochis are made in Taiwan and are super good! They are a dessert made from gelatinous rice and filled with fruit gel. I have to confess I haven’t liked every dessert we’ve bought at the Asian market, but this one is a winner!

 mango mochi 01

Now if I could only find them in red bean… :o)

Coconut Gel

My sister Theresa introduced us to one of the most tasty little treats I’ve ever had: coconut gel! It is just wonderful! In fact, it is almost addictive. We love it in fruit salads and the liquid is a great addition to fruit smoothies! The amazing part is that I really don’t like coconut! But I have to admit, it’s growing on me. And as soon as the boys move out, I’ll have a whole jar all to myself… :o)

I have always wondered what coconut gel is??? But the ingredient list on the jar says, “coconut gel”. Not helpful… So I did what I always do when I want to learn something new. I Googled it. Here’s what I learned from Wikipedia:

Nata de coco is a chewy, translucent, jelly-like food product produced by the fermentation of coconut water, which gels through the production of microbial cellulose by Acetobacter xylinus. Nata de coco is most commonly sweetened as a candy or dessert, and can accompany many things including pickles, drinks, ice cream, puddings and fruit mixes. The product originates from the Philippines.

The primarily coconut water dessert is produced through a series of steps from:

  1. Extraction of coconut water
  2. Fermentation of the coconut water with bacterial cultures
  3. Separating and cutting the produced mat of nata de coco
  4. Cleaning and washing the acetic acid out of the nata de coco
  5. Cutting to packaging

Commercial nata de coco is made by small farms in the Philippines.”

coconut gel 01coconut gel 02coconut gel 03


Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

These tasty little gems were made by a woman at our church for a fund-raiser on Sunday. They were so fabulous that I had to ask Barb for the recipe, and she was nice enough to give it to me.

I was pleased to discover that’s it’s pretty easy, too. If you don’t want a kick in the mouth, just make sure to get those little seeds out the best you can…

Cut fresh jalapenos in half and empty out the seeds.

Stuff peppers with softened cream cheese. It would be fun to add things to the cream cheese, like shredded cheddar.

Wrap each pepper with a half a slice of thin-sliced bacon.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

*You can also chill them after they’re baked. Just reheat them in a 375 oven for about 5-10 minutes.

liquid laundry soap 01

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blackberry Syrup

Thanks to the fact that most of the outskirts of our lot is overrun by blackberries, I get to make yummy blackberry treats every August! This time it’s blackberry syrup. Perfect on pancakes, waffles and French toast! And because it’s canned, we can enjoy a taste of summer in the middle of winter… The second best part is that you can use the leftover pulp from making juice to make jam! BONUS!!!

Wash and place berries in large stockpot. Crush and simmer until soft. Run pulp through mesh sieve over a measuring pitcher until you have 4 cups of juice. Save pulp in a bowl to use for jam.

4 cups blackberry juice

4 cups white sugar

1/3 (2 ounce) package powdered pectin (optional)

  1. Mix the blackberry juice and sugar, bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for 2 minutes. Skim off foam. Pour into HOT sterile jars or bottles. Fill to 1/4” headspace. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Let rest for 5 minutes before removing jars from canner.

* This makes a thin syrup. If you want it slightly thicker, you can add a small amount of powdered pectin (less than half a 2 ounce box) to the cold syrup and sugar mixture.

blackberry syup 01

Friday, August 27, 2010

Banana Blueberry Streusel Muffins

I got this recipe from one of the moms in our homeschool co-op. They sounded so good (I love streusel-topped muffins) and I happened to have ripe bananas and blueberries, so I gave them a whirl. I didn’t follow her recipe exactly but it was pretty close, so I’ll give you the one I made… Thanks Kristin!

Preheat oven to 375'.


2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 medium ripe bananas

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 tsp vanilla

Streusel Topping:

1/2 cup sugar

3 T white flour

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 T butter, cut in small cubes

1)In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.

2) In a small bowl, beat eggs, sour cream, butter and bananas; stir into dry ingredients just till moistened.

3) Fill greased muffin pan or paper cups  3/4 full of batter.

4) Fold in blueberries.

5)For streusel, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in butter. Sprinkle over muffins.

6) Bake at 375' for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean. (Mini muffin pans take about 13 minutes)

Makes about 18-24 muffins, depending upon how full you fill the cups

blueberry banana muffins 01

Monday, August 23, 2010

Zucchini Relish

This year’s horrible weather meant no cucumbers. :o(  But we do have zucchini… So what do you do when life hands you zucchini? You make zucchini relish! It actually turned out really good and I was able to make 3 batches with one zucchini!

2 cups chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup chopped red pepper

2 tbsp pickling salt

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 tsp celery seed

1 tsp mustard seed

1 cup cider vinegar

Combine zucchini, onion, and peppers in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Cover with cold water. Let stand 2 hours.

relish 01relish 02relish 03Drain; rinse and drain thoroughly.

Combine remaining ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add vegetables. Simmer 10 minutes.

Pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4” headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2-piece caps. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before removing jars.

relish 04

Spring Water Soda

My friend Marilee showed us how to make root beer this spring and we liked it so much, we had to do it again. This time we made strawberry and orange cream. It’s fun and easy to make! Just make sure you make it about 7 to 10 days before you want to serve it…

There are tons of flavor possibilities by mixing flavors or using honey instead of sugar! There also is no caffeine!!!

Supplies such as yeast, flavors, bottle caps and a capper are available anywhere that beer or wine making supplies are sold.

*Make sure you use water that has no chlorine in it. Well water or spring water are the best. You can also use distilled water. Refrigerate any leftover extracts or yeast.


1 Gallon of soda:

1/8-1/4 tsp champagne yeast (or less)

1 Tbsp soda extract

2 cups sugar or honey (or to taste)

Fill to 1 gallon of water

2 Gallons of soda:

1/4-1/8 tsp champagne yeast (or less)

1/2 bottle soda extract

4 cups sugar or honey (or to taste)

Fill to 2 gallons of water

4 Gallons of soda:

1/2-1 tsp champagne yeast (or less)

1 bottle soda extract

8 cups sugar or honey (or to taste)

Fill to 4 gallons of water

Step 1- Wash and run empty glass bottles through dishwasher and heated dry cycle. Keep warm in dishwasher until ready to use.

pop 01Step 2- Fill large pot with water and heat to 98-110.

pop 02 pop 03Step 3- Remove 1 cup of warm water and stir in yeast until dissolved. Let stand at least 5 minutes. Mix again before adding to soda.

pop 04  Step 4- Stir sweetner into water until dissolved.

pop 05Step 5- Add extract. Taste to make sure mixture is right.

pop 06Step 6- Stir yeast mixture and stir into soda.

pop 08Step 7- Put warm bottles on table. And fill within 1-2 inches from top.

pop 07pop 09Step 8- Seal bottles with caps.

pop 10pop 11Step 9- Store bottles on side to check for leaks in a cool, dark place for 3 to 4 days. Discard any leaking bottles.

pop 12pop 13Step 10- Place bottles upright in fridge for another 6 to 10 days. Open bottles carefully over a sink, they might be rather volatile! Pour carefully into a glass in order to leave behind most of the yeast deposit. (it won’t hurt you, it just tastes funny)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cranberry Hot Pepper Jelly

This was also one of our favorites, but it wasn’t quite spicy enough either. If you want it to have a bit more kick, just don’t seed the jalapenos.

Our favorite way to eat it is on a toasted bagel with cream cheese and the jelly on top. It’s also nice with crackers and cream cheese as an appetizer.

1 large red pepper, seeded

2 jalapeno peppers (seeded or not seeded to taste)

3/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup cranberry juice concentrate

3 cups sugar

1 pouch of liquid pectin

Puree peppers in food processor until smooth. Combine puree and  vinegar and water in large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes. Strain mixture through a sieve, pressing with back of spoon into a bowl. Discard solids and line sieve with cheesecloth. Pour liquid through cheesecloth back into saucepan.

Add cranberry concentrate and sugar. Bring to full boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Immediately add pouch of pectin. Continue hard boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim foam, if needed.

Fill 4oz or 8oz jars to 1/4 inch headspace. Put on lids and rings to finger tight. Place in boiling water bath and process for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before removing to a towel on the counter. Let sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Remove rings and store in cool dry place.

pepper jelly 01

Jalapeno Jelly

Last year this was one of our favorites, but it wasn’t quite spicy enough. The recipe said to seed the jalapenos. I only seeded about half of them last year and this year I didn’t seed any of them. Wowzers! Don’t stand in the steam while it boils! But man is it yummy!

Our favorite way to eat it is on a toasted bagel with cream cheese and the jelly on top. It’s also nice with crackers and cream cheese as an appetizer.

12oz jalapeno peppers (seeded or not seeded to taste)

2 cups cider vinegar

6 cups sugar

2 pouches of liquid pectin

Puree peppers and 1 cup vinegar in food processor until smooth. Combine puree and remaining vinegar and sugar in large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Immediately add pouches of pectin. Continue hard boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim foam, if needed.

Fill 4oz or 8oz jars to 1/4 inch headspace. Put on lids and rings to finger tight. Place in boiling water bath and process for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before removing to a towel on the counter. Let sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Remove rings and store in cool dry place.

pepper jelly 02

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bubble Tea

It took me a while to perfect Bubble Tea at home. But I finally did it! Here’s what you need to do to have Bubble Tea any time you want. Our favorite flavors at home are orange, cocopandan and honeydew.

The first few steps will need to be done a few days in advance…

You will need to buy “bubbles” at a local Asian market. They are giant tapioca pearls and are sometimes called boba. You will also need giant straws so you can suck up the boba while you drink. These are also found at the Asian market, usually in the same place as the boba.

Step 1- Make strong black iced tea. I just put a few tea bags in a pitcher, cover them with cold water and put them in the fridge until it is done.

bubble tea 01 bubble tea 02bubble tea 03Step 2- Make tea ice cubes. Pour your tea into ice cube trays and freeze. You can store the extra cubes in a freezer bag in the freezer for later.

bubble tea 04bubble tea 05Now that your cubes are all frozen, it’s time to make Bubble Tea.

Step 3- Cook your boba. You must use them immediately, so don’t make more than you’ll need. You want about 20 – 25 for each drink.

Boil a bit of water in a small saucepan. Dump the boba into the boiling water. Return to boil. Stir softly. Reduce heat to medium and boil covered for 5 minutes.

bubble tea 06Then drain the boba in a colander or strainer and rinse well with cold water so they are no longer hot.

bubble tea 09Step 4- The next amounts will make 2 Bubble Teas.

Place about 10 ice cubes in a blender pitcher. Pour in about 1 1/2 cups cold milk. Add flavored syrup (like Torani) to taste.

bubble tea 07bubble tea 08   Step 5- Blend until smooth.

bubble tea 10Step 6- Divide the boba between your glasses.

bubble tea 11Step 7- Pour tea smoothie over boba and serve with straw.

bubble tea 12

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I have no idea what these tasty little suckers are called but I’ve always called them UFOs. Friends up north call them Wranglers. But I like UFOs! It’s more whimsical and fun! And what kid doesn’t want to eat a UFO for breakfast???

Ok, so here’s how you do it…

Step 1: Preheat your griddle. Get out eggs, butter, and bread.

ufos 01

Step 2: Butter one side of each slice of bread.

ufos 02Step 3: Cut a hole in each slice of bread with a biscuit cutter or small glass.

ufos 03ufos 04Now you have a stack of little bread circles and a stack of holey bread…

Step 4: Melt some butter on your griddle. And spread it around.

ufos 05ufos 06Step 5: Place your slices of bread and circles on griddle butter side up.

ufos 07Step 6: Break one egg into the hole in each slice of bread.

ufos 08Step 7: Flip everything over when the bread is toasted.

ufos 09ufos 10Step 8: Cook until egg is cooked to your liking.

Serve with the bread circle on top. They are even better topped with two slices of bacon!

ufos 11

Bakin’ Bacon

I am sure many people already know this, but I have “discovered” the very best way to cook bacon… In the oven! It’s quick, easy, clean, and no standing over the stove turning bacon and avoiding those nasty grease splatter burns!

Preheat the oven to 400.

Line a shallow baking pan with foil or parchment for easy clean up.

Lay bacon on pan in a single layer.bacon 01

Place in oven and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it reaches desired doneness.

bacon 02

Remove from oven and place on paper-towel lined plate.

bacon 03