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Apricot & Pineapple Jam

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This is yet another winner from my Foodie Mama’s cookbook (I think she still has a few available, just let me know if you’re interested) that she has not only won a blue ribbon for, but included it in a coffee cake recipe and won a blue ribbon for that as well. She’s pretty much unstoppable. :)

I don’t know what to tell you about this jam other than it’s really good! The pineapple isn’t very pronounced, but does decrease the intensity of the apricot a little and make it more exotic.  If you do adult Easter baskets like our family, this would be a wonderful addition.  A certain Mother-in-law may be getting one from the Easter bunny this year! :)

Apricot & Pineapple Jam

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 lb. dried apricots
1 quart warm water
6 cups sugar
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
5 whole cinnamon sticks
5 pint jars

Soak apricots 3 hours in warm water. Process in a food processor with blade attachment until finely ground. Place apricots and the undrained pineapples into a medium pot. Add sugar and cook rapidly until thick, stirring often. Pour into prepared jars. Insert one cinnamon stick to each jar and processes with simmering water bath about 5 minutes. Cool jars completely.

Veronica’s notes: I didn’t measure my soaking water, I just put the apricots in a very large bowl and covered them with twice as much water as the line they came to in the bowl. I let them soak for 8 hours, just because I was too busy to get back to them any sooner, and then drained before processing. I also did my canning the cheater way I learned from Suzie and Erin, which doesn’t include processing the jars in a water bath. I just put the jam in the sterilized jars and screwed on the caps and the heat from the jam sealed them all, as it always does. I only do this with jams or cranberry sauce, basically stuff with lots of sugar in it (which if you didn’t know, is an incredible preservative), and have never had any go bad within a year, though I’m not making any guarantees here and this certainly isn’t FDA approved. There’s my disclaimer so try it at your own risk. :) And perhaps it was because I didn’t process my jars in a water bath and reheat them once the cinnamon stick was inserted, but I couldn’t detect any flavor that the stick imparted so would likely just skip that ingredient unless I was going to can them properly. I might even try stirring a little cinnamon directly into the jam next time, which sounds so lovely to me.

Recipe source: Splendour In My Kitchen by Marina Castle

Daddy’s Boy

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a baby/toddler update, and even longer since I shared a video.  I took this one recently and I love it so much that I just had to share. I think it’s my favorite video to date. Joshua has suddenly turned into a Daddy’s boy and calls for his Daddy all day while he’s gone at work. This particular day, Dennis went in very early to work and Joshua didn’t get his usual morning time with him.  When I put him to bed, he woke up crying every 15-30 minutes for two hours until I finally allowed him to stay up a bit longer and wrestle with his favorite person.  You can tell he missed him. This just fills my heart so much.  Oh, and don’t be frightened by Den’s appearance, he was utterly exhausted but he got to sleep 12 hours the next day and no longer has those awful sunken eyes.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


I just couldn’t resist sharing this V-day card I made on PicMonkey just now. You may not be able to tell, but Joshua’s been very sick all week with a tummy bug and has lost a lot of weight. Today he’s starting to feel better and has his smile back. Best Valentine’s Day gift ever!

Sweet Potato Cookies


I was assigned to Saundra’s blog, Famished Fish, Finicky Shark, for the Secret Recipe Club’s Cookie Carnival. I found her recipe for Sweet Potato Cookies just after having bought a bunch of sweet potatoes on sale. I adore sweet potatoes and love baking with them (and eating them baked, and in stew, and in a casserole, and even raw cut into sticks….try it before you make that face). So sweet potato cookies – I was all over it.

What impressed me about this recipe is not only does it have sweet potatoes, which is totally unique and fun, but Saundra came up with this recipe herself.  There was no link to credit her recipe elsewhere, and I have to admit, I was skeptical. Seriously, who makes a recipe for something like sweet potato cookies and gets it right the first time?! Did she really just say “oh, I’ll throw this butter in here and add some sugars and flour and sweet potato and other sundry and various awesomnesses,” and then shazam! There was magic? Apparently so, because I went a-Googling and could find no recipe like hers anywhere. Um, Saundra? You’s be amazin’.  If I tried to do some shazam’ing like you did, there would have been a big sha-THUD and  no zam to be found.

So I should have left well enough alone because as we already know, Saundra is the amazing one, but I didn’t have enough butterscotch chips so I did some tinkering.  I will say I LOVED this base cookie recipe sans chips. So much love.  I could have just eaten the entire batch of dough by itself. Like wow.  It’s soft and tender and not very cakey like I’d expected.  Perhaps because I didn’t make her recipe according the original ingredients, I would have preferred this without any chips at all and just the glaze.  Both of them made it too sweet.  So make your choice, I would either go with her original recipe, or make mine with the glaze but leave out the chips.

I sent these to some friends in the mail along with my award winning chocolate chip cookies and fudge brownies, and one friend’s husband chose these as his favorite of all three so even being oversweet, they are pretty darn good to outrank two of the best things I make!  Thanks for sharing this fun and delicious recipe, Saundra!

Sweet Potato Cookies

1 ½ cups sweet potato puree
¾ cup unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup butterscotch chips (optional)
2/3 cup cinnamon chips (optional)

Glaze
¼ cup unsalted butter
Two dashes of salt (I forgot this so I added some salt flakes on top)
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats; set aside.

To make the sweet potato puree, peel a large sweet potato or two medium and cut into chunks. Cover with water in a saucepan and boil until very tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain and measure out 1 ½ cups- if you have extra, set it aside for another use. Mash with a fork in a mixing bowl along with the butter to melt it into the potatoes.

Add the salt, pumpkin pie spice, and the sugars. Beat for several minutes until lightened and fluffy. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla, beating until well combined. Ad the flour and stir it in. When nearly mixed, add the chips and stir until incorporated.

Using a small cookie scoop, place the cookies evenly spaced apart on prepared cookie sheet and press down with fingers to flatten slightly. Bake for 8 minutes, or until they are starting to puff but still look ever so slightly underdone. Allow to cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely-they will be very soft. Repeat with remaining dough.

To make the glaze, melt the butter in a small saucepan and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the solids separate and turn a deep brown and the butter turns golden. Stir in the sugar and vanilla until as mixed as you can get it, smashing out lumps, then add cream a teaspoon at a time until you get your desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled cookies or put in a Ziploc bag, snip the corner, and squeeze over the cookies.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Recipe source: Famished Fish, Finicky Shark

Be sure to check out the other Cookie Carnival cookies for some Christmas baking inspirations – just click the linky frog below!

Joshua’s First Year

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Everyone says that time flies when you have kids, and it’s oh so true. I can’t believe Joshua is already one year old! My newborn baby that seemed unaware of everything around him, that stayed in one place and slept and ate and pooped and cried all the time, is now the happiest walking, baby-talking, little boy with a personality and sense of humor.  He has started getting so tickled about things like Jessie jumping up to catch treats mid-air, Mommy doing things like trying to crawl through a tunnel, and those crazy little belly laughs are just. The best.

I spent a lot of time compiling short clips of his first year into a short video for you guys and those of you who know about his special number (three) will be tickled to know that without me planning it or noticing until I had saved it, the movie turned out to be three minutes and thirty three seconds long. Go figure. :)

I probably had about 5 hours worth of video footage so you can imagine the work I put into this to cut it down to just three and a half minutes. Oh yes, and I used my own voice for the song. :)  I’m really pleased with how it turned out and I hope you enjoy it.  This little boy is just the light of our lives.

Love, V

My man-baby

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I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since my last blog post. I guess I’m overdue for an update of some sort, though I’m unfortunately not ready to share any recipes. The only food I’ve photographed lately has been at night with the flash on, and do you really want a recipe for something like this?

good pork chops, bad photoDidn’t think so. :P

But I’ve taken plenty of cute baby photos! Although I don’t know if I can even call him a baby any more.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to wake up tomorrow and he’ll be graduating high school, he’s growing so fast.

I took his 9-month photos myself in September to save money, since we didn’t have any (lol), and I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.  Here are my favorites.

Yes, he’s standing now. Not walking yet, but maybe soon.

We also switched to cloth diapers a couple months ago. It’s going great!

My little Tom Sawyer.

He is seriously the happiest baby, ever.

And possibly the cutest. Not that I’m biased at all. ;)

It has been so long since my last baby update, I’m not even sure all his advancements since then. He’s got three teeth now, and looks like soon will be four. He’s crawling everywhere like a little speed demon.  He loves to take off squealing, like he expects me to chase him, so of course I do. It’s so funny. He’s pulling up on everything and has been for a while. At the beginning of October he was 21 lb, 5 oz and 28 1/2 inches tall. Crazy he’s almost grown a foot in less than a year.

Anyway, here are some more recent pics – he’s now 10 1/2 months old. Where has the time gone? I guess it flies when you’re having fun, and I’m having the time of my life. :)

Look who started Sunday School!

Last month we stayed with Den’s parents for a week – he and little man got their jam on while we were there. It’s crazy how fast kids learn – he already knows how to strum and you should see him go up to Den’s guitar and strum it, then start boppin’ up and down, dancing to his own music. Hilarious!

Oh and the necklace – it’s a Baltic amber necklace and is supposed to help with teething pain. For us, it made a big difference. The amber releases an oil into the blood stream simply by being in contact with skin, and the kind of oil it is helps with pain. Crazy, huh?

Our little KU fan.

And so it begins…

Baby’s first bacon.

Seriously. Happiest. Baby. Ever.

17 weeks: reasons it rocks to be pregnant

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I really love being pregnant.  At least I do for now.  :)  I might be singing a different tune come 38 weeks.

Top 10 reasons it rocks to be pregnant:

1. No period. Duh.

2.  It means you’re going to have a baby. Duh.

3.  People will give you maternity clothes or loan them to you when they find out you’re pregnant.  Unlike when you suddenly gain weight and have nothing to wear, when you’re pregnant you suddenly find yourself rich in new clothing without having to spend much.  Loves.

4.  You finally have an excuse for your pot belly.

5.  You no longer have to suck it in to look good.  Somehow you can look even better if you pooch your stomach out even further.  Awesome.

6.  Your boobs get huge(r).  Duh.

7.  In many cases (mine included) your hair gets thicker and shinier, and nails grow faster and get stronger.

8. You need 500 extra calories a day.  Yay for more food!

9. You’re not supposed to lift heavy things.  Which means you can get out of lifting heavy things when helping your sister move. Sweet.

10.  Your husband is so grateful for you doing all the hard baby-making work that he will do nice things for you like rubbing your tired feet at night before bed. *happy sigh*

“For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him.” Hannah ~ 1 Samuel 1:27

Just so happy right now. :)

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