Jam Squares

I have made this recipe multiple times. It is amazing. I modified it slightly from this recipe over at Skinny Taste. I really can’t say why I change what I change, but I think it is delicious and they are not on the super awful side of things healthwise. In the end, however, it still is fat and carbs and sugar haha.

If you’ve been reading my previous posts, you know I’ve gone a little jam/jelly crazy. There are currently 2.5 flats of jam/jelly in my house and I’ve even started giving it away. In the past when I’ve made this, I used store bought jam (typically smucker’s simply fruit – it is my fav!!) and I’ve always wanted to try with homemade jam or jelly. It is AMAZING.

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And, another thing I love about this, is that the dollops of jam give you portion control. Of course, you can still eat like half a pan in a sitting..but at least you can know as soon as they come out of the oven what a single serving is.

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Blueberry purple is probably one of the best colors out there.

Jame Squares
Based off/Inspired by Strawberry Squares from Skinny Taste

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Butter, Softened
1 1/2 C white sugar
4 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional, I think cinnamon goes really well with blueberries)
1 C White Flour
1 C Whole Wheat Flour
Approx 1/2C Jam

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare 13×9 pan.

2. In a mixer or a bowl, combine sugar and butter until smooth. Add in eggs one by one, mixing after each. Add vanilla and cinnamon if desired. Add flour and combine. The batter will be pretty thick.

3. Spread into prepared pan, you will probably have to spread it out with a spatula. Using a toothpick or a knife, divide the batter into 24 2″ ish squares. Place 1 teaspoon of jam onto each square.

4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

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They are so delicious.

Biscuits

So I guess I should eventually talk about the name of my blog, From Scratch. I LOVE making things from scratch. I really hate box mixes (although I do use them from time to time.) Same goes for can frosting. As I said, I do use them from time to time, but it really grinds my gears when I am looking up recipes and the recipe goes like this..

Ingredients
White Cake Mix
Can White Frosting

Directions:
Follow directions on mix box, frost when cooled.

I know USUALLY its a bit more then that, and I totally am down with doctoring box mixes..but seriously guys. I do not keep those in my house. If I am searching the internet for a recipe (which is dumb, considering how many cookbooks I own.) I want to find one FROM SCRATCH. I love making things from scratch. Cakes, cookies, breads, cinnamon rolls, frostings…Cooking I am a little bit more lazy about it, but baking from scratch is the bomb. I have never made biscuits, and as much as Pillsbury knows how to do it right, I figured it was time to do it myself. A friend/co-worker of mine had a baby last week, and my mom proposed we take her family dinner this weekend. So my mom made stew, I made biscuits and we are doing a combined effort on dessert (I made cookies and my mom made brownies!)

If you haven’t figured out, we like this lady and her family a lot.

So, I made biscuits. I used the recipe out of the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, partly because I’ve decided to start actually using my cookbooks and partly because I really trust this one.

The first time, I did it precisely as the recipe called for and I felt like the biscuits turned out small and some of them were not beautifully shaped. However, Pillsbury I am not, so that fact doesn’t matter too much.

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They do taste awesome though. Homemade biscuits, with butter and homemade AK raspberry jam. AKA a rockin’ party in my mouth.

The second batch I rolled out thinner and cut with a wider biscuit round (in my house, this was a pint jam jar the first time and a thermos lid the second time). I also baked them a bit longer.

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You can see the size/uniformity differences pretty obviously…

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Not quite Pillsbury flakey, but close!

Biscuits

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp Vinegar or Lemon Juice
1 C Milk
3 C AP FLour
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp White Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
3/4 Tsp Cream Of Tartar
1/2 C Butter
1/4 C Shortening

Directions:

1. Combine Milk and vinegar, set aside.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, and stir to combine.
3. Cut butter into small chunks, and add it and shortening to flour mixture. Cut it into the dough with a pastry cutter, until it is crumbly.
3. Add milk mixture to bowl, and mix until just combined.
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until the dough is uniform. You don’t have to knead long.
5. Press or roll out until the dough is about 1/2″ thick. Cut using a biscuit round of your choice. I used a pretty big one the second time around. The first time it was about 2 1/2″.
6. Bake in a 450F oven for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown.

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Holy cow!!!

So we are quickly approaching fall here in Fairbanks (yeah, I know, don’t remind me. I don’t really want to think about it either) and so that means the fall veggies/berries are in FULL blast. I have been making loads of jam/jelly (for the first time ever!), and shredded zucchini like it is nobody’s business. Seriously. I have one in the fridge right now that needs to be shredded and frozen in fact. I have made zucchini bread like four times in the last three weeks.

The zucchini thing is a little bit ridiculous. One we week had sauteed zucchini with dinner three times. Last night we had zucchini boats for dinner. And like I said, the zucchini bread. And here is the craziest part: I didn’t even plant any zucchini at my house. There are three plants in the planter at my work, and my mom has two or three plants in her garden. And they are HUGE zucchini.

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I went to bake the other night and brought out a zucchini and Bret goes “Zucchini bread?? Have you forgotten how to make anything else???”

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But then I had a jam making lesson with my mom…and I am TOTALLY hooked. We went blueberry picking a while back (and we need to go again!) and between Bret and myself, we had almost 5 lbs of blueberries (maybe it was more?) that were picked in about 2, maybe 3, hours of picking. So I knew jam was in my future. So we had a jam lesson. And it was way, way WAY easier than I thought it would be! thus the insane amount of canning that has been going on at my house lately. I made low sugar blueberry jam, high bush cranberry jelly, and tonight I made raspberry jam. I am planning on making a batch of regular blueberry and a batch of spice blueberry as well. I have probably lost my mind. That is not news though.

I have been baking as well, but all the pictures turn out awful or I just don’t take any at all! I’m making biscuits tomorrow and hope to blog about them..

So, I say that jam making is easy but truthfully, my mom and I totally screwed up our very first batch!! We added the sugar and let the berries and sugar cook forever before adding the pectin. So we have some jars of really thick, chunky blueberry syrup that tastes great on pancakes.

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in my parents big, beautiful, and so well lit kitchen.

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blueberry fingers..

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big, beautiful alaska blueberries! ugh I love them!!

and of course…
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our kitty helper. aka, my cat soul mate Gabby. Sadly, she lives at my parents house and not with me:(

I promise a more baking related blog post soon…And perhaps some gratuitous jelly and jam on bread shots…

PB and Chocolate Chips

Last night I needed a mental health night. Usually on tuesdays I go to knit night at my favorite LYS, but yesterday I needed a night off. I sent Bret off to my parents for dinner (as he usually does on tuesdays), and I put on my sweats, did the dishes, cleaned the downstairs, ate some dinner and baked cookies. And watched bones the entire time. It was awesome.

Needless to say, Bret came home to a much happier, more well adjusted girlfriend.

I’ve been craving the PB/Chocolate combo lately, which is kind of funny because I typically only like it in Reese’s PB cups or as PB and Nutella. Anyways. I was reading How Sweet It Is and there was a recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips. PERFECT!

I changed nothing, so I’m just going to link to her post and not post the entire recipe…

Here you go: Puffy Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips from How Sweet It Is

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Yes, that is a beautiful, amazing, GREEN, kitchen aide stand mixer:) My bday just passed this last saturday and it was a gift from my parents. I. LOVE. IT. I kind of want to stare at it at all times.

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