white chocolate strawberry jam cookies

a couple weekends ago, we spent a saturday at my parents' for three reasons: my mom's double nickel birthday, father's day, and to make as many four ounce jars of strawberry jam as we could. an hour and a half into it, we made four batches of jam, jarred close to thirty jars, and were starting our clean up when mom stopped mid-sentence "now really, why does anybody ever buy jam? it's so easy to make. it takes no time, it just dirties a lot of pots." i think she's on to something.

if you've never made your own jam before, it's easy. unbelievably easy and pretty dang hard to mess it up. last year, i went directly to the source - my almost eighty year old grandfather, who has been making jam longer than i've been alive - and learned a few tips to make jamming even easier.


strawberry lemon bars

while there's no doubt i am a lover of berries through and through, there are very few berry and fruit combinations that i really like. strawberry + lemon is one of them. it doesn't hurt that jason loves lemon desserts. which is shocking, since he mentions often that he doesn't "like dessert." yes, really. which is actually good for me, since his lack of a sweet tooth often limits how much i bake. my pants are thankful.


strawberry vanilla summer cake

it's day three of strawberry week! be sure to check out the other recipes using one of my favorite fruits.

this cake is great after a nice, light, summer dinner, with a side of lightly whipped cream. and it's even better the next morning for breakfast. the strawberries turn super sweet, and almost jam-like, creating a perfect layer of strawberry goodness over a moist vanilla cake.


strawberry sorbet

i bought my ice cream machine soon after we moved into our house in late may 2009. the very first thing i made was a basic vanilla ice cream made with milk and heavy cream (it took me a while to work up to custard based ice cream) and topped with fresh strawberries. soon after, i made this strawberry sorbet.

sorbet is the easiest frozen dessert you could ever make. juice some fruit, add some sugar and a splash of vodka, and freeze in your ice cream machine. super easy. and the flavor is incredible. i made mine from a quart of super ripe berries i got at the public market for a steal. apparently most people think ripe, super red strawberries are past their prime, rather than in it.


strawberry mojitos: the kickoff to strawberry week!

for as long as i can remember, my grandpa has grown strawberries and every summer makes a batch of strawberry jam. this year, when i visited my mom for her birthday, she had a few quarts of berries grandpa picked for me to take home. by a few, she meant three. 

so just as i had a week of blackberries last year (i have a feeling it will be back again this year), i'm kicking off strawberry week with a variation of my all time favorite drink: the mojito! so stay tuned this week, as i'll have a new strawberry recipe every day for the next seven days! (miss a day? check out the strawberry week link on the right side of the page.)


mexican baked eggs

i'm starting to think that eggs really are the perfect meal. they're great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. they cook fast and can be cooked a number of different ways. these eggs get a bonus: make the beans and tomatoes once for a weekend breakfast and a weeknight dinner.

i saw this recipe last christmas, amidst a flurry of sugar and chocolate, and bookmarked it for later. needless to say, the recipe and thought got lost in the back of the bin, with other layer cakes and elaborate dishes. until last sunday. when i wanted something more substantial than a bowl of cereal for breakfast. these eggs were just the thing i was looking for. the only thing missing was a thin slice of avocado to top it off.


crunchy croutons

got some day old bread lying around? maybe the heel of an italian loaf? or a few slices of a skinny baguette leftover from a summer barbecue? turn (thanks for spying the typo amanda!) old bread into croutons. easy, quick, and light years better than any you can buy in a package. and they are great on top of a nice crisp, cold, summer salad.

[are you as excited for strawberries as i am?! hang on, i've got quite a week coming up...]


caramel corn two ways

in the last two years , i have attempted caramel corn at least half a dozen times with zero success. i was determined to tackle it this year, so much so that i added it to my 11 in 2011 list. first i burnt the popcorn (bad enough that have a pan dedicated to stovetop popcorn). then i mastered the popcorn and burnt the caramel. and the last few times, i mastered - or so i thought - the popcorn and the caramel, only to have it turn to sand once the popcorn was coated and cool enough to eat. the only thing worse than taking a big bite of sand coated popcorn, is a bite of actual sand.


secret recipe club: simple almond sandwich cookies

it's time again for the secret recipe club! i was still on a banana high after last month's banana rum cake, and had to seriously pull myself away from anything banana. which brings me to one of my favorite ever flavors: almond.


garlicy BLT

i'm hubs-less this week. jason took the week off and headed down to oklahoma to spend the week with his mom. which leaves me with a week's worth of cooking for one, which unexpectedly has me thinking about my single girl days.

see, before we lived together, i lived in my own apartment for two years. it was one of the best things i ever did for myself. i had my own routine, my own place for everything, and didn't have to answer anyone. those of you who have lived by yourself - in your own space - know exactly what i mean. but once you live with someone, in a place that belongs to both of you - not his, not yours, but ours - it's different. not bad, just different. so as much as i love him and can't wait for him to come back on saturday, everyone could use a little time to themselves. i'm filling mine by hanging pictures, planting my garden, and cooking. lots of cooking.


portobello risotto

i haven't yet figured out this summer's weather. it started out cold and rainy for a few weeks. then we had a week or so of heat and humidity, so much so that we turned on the air conditioning already. and now we're back to cold, overcast, and threat of rain every day for the next week.


blackberry swirl ice cream

i know, i know. i really should have saved this one for this year's blackberry week, but i just couldn't wait that long. last week, i just happened to have some blackberry juice leftover from making this cake for my sister's bridal shower - which i filled with blackberry curd (more on that later). and since the weather has finally decided that it's summer, skipping right past the 70s and 80s and hitting record-breaking 90s, i already had ice cream on the brain.

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