apricot bars

Do you ever sit down and consider how blessed you are? After a weekend with family and the dearest of friends, the blessedness of my life seems to be as clear as ever. I find it easy to confine myself to the daily distractions, struggles and occasional disappointments that come with living in a city, never leaving room to step outside and view life from a wider angle. Whenever I go home to the mountains, my thoughts grow wider and clearer with all the extra room to breathe. Maybe it’s in part because of all the open space or just the simple joy of fresh pine in the air mingling with smoke billowing from a smoldering wood stove. It might be the slower pace of life or it could be the darkness that falls at night allowing me to gaze at the blanket of stars above, reminding me that I’m smaller than I think I am. Slowing down is easier when I’m in the mountains and spending time on the porch with coffee and a best friend while passing the time chatting about less weighty matters, tends to be a requirement.

I feel very fortunate to live within just a few hours of the rest of my family as well as one of my truest friends. It’s easy to drive up after a busy week and unwind in what feels like the wilderness, comparatively. When I stay with Joleen, in her sweet little cabin in the woods, we often bake together, enjoying the fruit of our labor on the porch swing, in our pajamas, with a tall cup of coffee, admiring the beauty of our surroundings. This time of year, the mornings are still a little brisk, warranting long pants and a light sweater, but warm enough for bare feet. We prop them up on the railing, balancing a plate of frittata or biscotti on our laps, cupping our mugs in our hands as we catch up on life. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to do.

Let me share our view from the porch: Isn’t it lovely?

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April 23, 2012. baking, breakfast, cookie, dessert, fruit, jam, quick and easy, vegetarian. 79 comments.

jam: the beginning of a beautiful love story…

strawberry jamCanning has always been something a bit frightening to me. Likely, this stems from my completely logical fear of a little something we call Botulism. See, I would rather not have this potent creature running around, wreaking havoc in my nervous system. Not to mention, there is also the lazy factor. I mean, it really did seem like a lot of work.

Thankfully, I have very brave friends, whom I have the utmost trust in. They have this canning thing d-o-w-n. Even, the part about the Botulism, which I’m quite happy about. I don’t have a recipe for you, but I do have to let you in on a little secret: there is A LOT more where this came from. I am simply in love. The whole process is spectacular. You pick the berries right off the plant, and mere hours later they are bathing in sugar, encased in a beautiful mason jar, just waiting to be married to crunchy peanut butter on a bed of warm wheat toast. And oh is it good. The best thing about canning is, these gorgeous berries will be available to you for an amazing amount of time. I do think this would make a wonderful gift for anyone on any occasion. Who doesn’t like home made jam? I can’t imagine it. The major obstacle here is sharing. So far, we have gone through one whole jar. At this point, it doesn’t look good for any of you out there.

Stay tuned. I hope to bring you more canned goodness very soon.

August 6, 2009. Tags: . canning, fruit, jam. 10 comments.