Thursday, June 14, 2012

How To Make Miracles Happen

By Karla Jones Seidita, Home Economist

Need a miracle?  (Who doesn't !!!!)

Miracles happen to everyone.  You don't have to be a religious person or belong to a church.  All you have to do is open your heart.

It's easier than you think. 

No special training or studying involved.

Any hiccough in your daily routine gives you space for miracles flood in!!  And, when you're aligned with the purpose for your life, miracles flow like water.  Isn't that miraculous?

There's hundreds of easy ways to open your heart and let miracles in.  Start with silly as they may seem.... then come up with your own.

1.  Bake a birthday cake and celebrate someone. 

2.  Get out of your comfort zone.  Do the thing you hate first. 

3.  Say no the next time you feel like a door mat.

4.  Take a casserole to a sick friend.

5.  Pray for what you want but be prepared to hear the answer.

6.  Plant a garden.

7.  Sit quietly by a pond or a stream.

8.  Take a warm bath.

9.  Get a massage - even a mini one.

10. Need a miracle right now?  Don't whine.  Do something.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Radical Cooking - No Cook, No Can, Low Sugar Home Made Jam

From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms

Beyond the take out box...
Better, faster, fresher, cheaper and healthier

Here's a radical idea..... Home made jam that whips up in a flash without cooking or canning.  How great is that????

And, since it's not cooked, the fruit retains all its enzymes - a big nutritional plus.  Add sugar, if you want, or leave it out.  

No Cook - No Can - Low Sugar Home Made Jam
Make as little or as much as you want - no exact measurements necessary.  
And, because sugar is just to taste and not needed to make the jam "gel", you can add as much or as little as you like.

Keeps, refrigerated, just a day or two so make only the amount you'll eat quickly.
A great way to use up fruit that's over-ripe but too good to throw out. 



Very ripe, soft fruit, berries or a combination (see Karla's Tip #1 below)
Lemon juice (optional - see Karla's Tip #2 below)
Sugar to taste (optional - See Karla's Tip #3 below)
Spices (optional - See Karla's Tip # 4 below)


Wash fruit well.  Drain and dry.

Coarsely mash using a fork or an old fashioned, hand held potato masher.  (Blender, food processor or food mill mashes the fruit too much.)  

Add sugar and/or spices to taste, if desired.  Serve immediately or briefly chill.

That's it!!


Karla's Tip #1 - Choosing the Fruit
The fruit must be very soft and very ripe. If it does not mash easily with a fork, it is not ripe enough. It's OK to use fruit that is too soft for eating but still good quality. Cut away any badly bruised spots.

Choose berries of all types, peaches, nectarine, pears even bananas or a combination of fruits and/or berries. Apples are not recommended for this recipe.

Unlike the other fruit and berries, bananas should be ripe but not past the eating stage. Use overly ripe bananas for banana bread or cake instead.

Karla's Tip #2 - Lemon Juice
If the fruit you've selected has a tendency to turn brown when cut or mashed (like bananas, peaches, nectarines or pears), it's a good idea to toss the fruit with a little lemon juice after mashing but before adding the sugar.  The lemon juice slows down the browning process.

As a rule of thumb, use at least 1 teaspoon lemon juice (fresh or bottled) per cup of fruit or berries - more (up to 1 tablespoon according to your taste and the type of fruit) is OK.

You can omit the lemon juice, if desired. 

Karla's Tip #3 - Adding Sugar
The more sugar you add, the shorter the amount of time this uncooked jam keeps.  Sugar draws the juice out of the fruit so the mixture will get watery as it sits - and if you keep it too long, it will ferment. 

You can make this jam without any sugar at all, if you'd like. Yes, it is just mashed fruit - but that's what jam is. 

You can also use raw sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave and even artificial sweetener - although, in our opinion, you should not be eating artificial sweetener at all.

Raw sugar, honey and agave, because of their textures, do not mix in as easily as white sugar.  Brown sugar will make the jam darker in color.

Don't waste left over jam that's gotten watery.  If it hasn't fermented, stir it into smoothies, lemonade or milk shakes...even make it into a Margarita.   Enjoy.

Karla's Tip # 4 - Spices
Nothing is more pleasurable than fresh, ripe, luscious fruit bursting with juice but you can gourmet up this jam with some exotic spices.  

Nice additions are ground, dried or fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, or cardamom.  Choose one and add to taste but don't over do it.  A pinch goes a long way.

Finely grated fresh orange rind is also a nice addition.  It's not a spice, of course, but it yummy-s things up, too.