Blood Orange Marmalade

10:00 AM

I was so excited to see that Marisa from Food in Jars is holding a year long preservation challenge.  The Food in Jars Mastery Challenge is a year long, skilled-based challenge.  Each month focuses on a different aspect/ skill set of preservation.  I was so excited to see that January was marmalade.  I've made my fair share of jam and pickles, but I've never tried marmalade.  

I've always been intrigued by marmalade, but it was something we really didn't having growing up.  I can't even remember the last time I had marmalade or what it even tasted like.  In the Mastery Challenge Facebook Group, there has been lots of talk about the bitterness of marmalade.  I wasn't really sure where I stood, so I choose to make the most bitter kind of marmalade that uses the whole fruit.  

I choose the whole fruit method, as I was intrigued by creating a bitter preserve and also because the cut rind method would require slicing away the zest, which I don't quite have the proper tools for.  Turns out, I don't mind the bitterness.  

I used Marisa's Blood Orange Marmalade recipe and was very happy with the result.  It took quite a while for it to set, but with patience I have a looser set that pleases me.  I added some pectin which helped it set a bit better.  I also loved that I spilt this recipe up between two days, which made the process feel less time intensive. 

Blood Orange Marmalade
1 pound blood oranges
3 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar

Day 1:  Cut and core the oranges.  Pull out any seeds you find (tip: some blood oranges don't have seeds, so don't worry if you don't find any!)  Place cores and seeds inside cheesecloth, closed tight so they cannot escape.  Slice oranges into small strips.

Place oranges in a bowl with three cups of water.  Submerge bag of seeds and cores within the water.  Cover with plastic wrap and let soften in the fridge overnight.

Day 2:  The next morning, mix oranges and water with 2 1/2 cups of sugar in a large non-reactive pot.   Bring to a simmer and let reduce by half.  Using a thermometer, bring mixture to 220 degrees.  When finished cooking, ladle marmalade into prepared jars.  Wipe jars clean, put on lids and rings, and process for 10 minutes.  Let cool at room temperature for 24 hours. 

Recipe Review

Baked Peanut Butter Apple Oatmeal

2:36 PM

I love making big breakfasts on Sunday that will last me throughout the week.  With a long drive to work, I have to leave the house before I have a chance to eat breakfast.  Baked oatmeal makes a great breakfast to easily eat and enjoy when I get to work.  I love that this recipe is hearty and helps keep me satisfied until lunch time.

Baked Peanut Butter Apple Oatmeal

Slightly modified from Two Peas and Their Pod

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups skim milk (or milk of your choice)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
1 1/4 cups diced apples (leave the skins on, about 1 large apple)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8x8 baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.  In a small bowl wish together milk, egg, and vanilla extract.   Add milk mixture to oats.  Stir in peanut butter until smooth.  Mix in apples.

Place oatmeal in 8x8 baking dish and bake until golden brown, 35 minutes.

Recipe Review

Recipe Review: The Best Banana Bread

10:45 AM

I'm always on the hunt for "the best" recipe for simple, everyday baked goods and dinners.  I think I've finally stumbled upon that for banana bread.  Simply Recipes recipe for banana bread has almost 1,000 comments and I can see why.  I love this recipe.  It makes a consistently good loaf of banana bread every time.  

My favorite thing about it?  The flexibility.  Sometimes I have two bananas that need to be used up, sometimes I have three.   Sometimes you want your bread a little sweeter, so you can adjust the sugar accordingly.  This time around I added some cranberries for a tart compliment to this sweet bread.  It came out wonderfully.

Recipe: Banana Bread
Source: Simply Recipes

2 - 3 very ripe bananas, peeled
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 - 1 cup of sugar (I usually go with 1/2 cup!)
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
optional: add-ins such as walnuts, chocolate chips, or cranberries!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mash bananas with a fork in a large mixing bowl.  Once bananas are fully mashed, stir in melted butter.

Add baking soda, pinch of salt, sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Once combined, slowly mix in flour, making sure not to over mix.  Add any add-ins if using.

Pour mixture into a greased 4x8 baking pan.  Cook for 50 minutes to an hour, until done all the way through.  After 20 minutes of baking, I always place aluminum foil over the bread to prevent over brown.

Cool bread on a wire rack once fully baked.