Super Alaskan Fireweed Jelly

(Originally posted on July 24, 2011 – thought we could all use a refresher since it’s that time of year again and the fireweed is out in all its glory!)

Because I was feeling all “superhomemakerey” this weekend, I decided to try my hand at jelly-making! I settled on a very Alaskan project… Fireweed Jelly.

My superdad graciously offered to gather a large bag full of beautiful fireweed blossoms for me off of the riverbank near his cabin on the Little Su River.

 

ALASKAN FIREWEED JELLY

8 C Fireweed Blossoms
1/4 C fresh squeezed Lemon or Lime juice
4 1/2 C Water
2 pk Powdered Pectin (Like Sure-Jell)
5 C Sugar

Pick Blossoms off the stem, separate leaves, and wash blossoms. Add to a pot, add citrus juice and water (we find that Lime works best), Boil for 10 full minutes, stirring occasionally. The color will slowly fade from the blossoms, that’s what you want! Strain the “juice” into pot (the juice is what you’ll use to make the jelly) and add pectin. Bring to full boil, and add sugar one cup at a time, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute after all sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat, place into clean jelly jars. Let sit overnight on a cooling rack. You’ll hear the lids “pop” and seal throughout the night. If there are any that don’t seal, simply store in refrigerator. Enjoy!

 

Here are a few photos from the process – this jelly turned out AWESOME! Such a yummy flavor, and a surreal color – like a fluorescent purple, almost! My sister-in-law, Amanda and I had a great time making this. We ALSO made two loaves of my Grandpa Bill’s Beer Bread so that we’d have something to try the jelly on… we ate a half a loaf and a half a jar of jelly by the time she went home!

Super Alaskan Fireweed Jelly

Because I was feeling all “superhomemakerey” this weekend, I decided to try my hand at making jelly – Alaskan Fireweed Jelly!

My superdad graciously offered to gather a large bag full of beautiful fireweed blossoms for me off of the riverbank near his cabin on the Little Su River.

 

ALASKAN FIREWEED JELLY

8 C Fireweed Blossoms
1/4 C fresh squeezed Lemon or Lime juice
4 1/2 C Water
2 pk Powdered Pectin (Like Sure-Jell)
5 C Sugar

Pick Blossoms off the stem, separate leaves, and wash blossoms. Add to a pot, add citrus juice and water (we find that Lime works best), Boil for 10 full minutes, stirring occasionally. The color will slowly fade from the blossoms, that’s what you want! Strain the “juice” into pot (the juice is what you’ll use to make the jelly) and add pectin. Bring to full boil, and add sugar one cup at a time, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute after all sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat, place into clean jelly jars. Let sit overnight on a cooling rack. You’ll hear the lids “pop” and seal throughout the night. If there are any that don’t seal, simply store in refrigerator. Enjoy!

 

Here are a few photos from the process – this jelly turned out AWESOME! Such a yummy flavor, and a surreal color – like a fluorescent purple, almost! My sister-in-law, Amanda and I had a great time making this. We ALSO made two loaves of my Grandpa Bill’s Beer Bread so that we’d have something to try the jelly on… we ate a half a loaf and a half a jar of jelly by the time she went home!

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Alaska Big Dipper Cookies

The “go big or go home” version of a rugged Alaskan cookie, the Alaska Big Dipper is a mountainous oatmeal cookie filled with sweet and savory treats including dried Alaskan high-bush cranberries and dried wild Alaskan strawberries, white and dark chocolate chunks, glazed pecans, peanut butter chips and crunchy rice krispies. Dipped in a rich snow-white chocolate glaze, these hearty cookies will surely remind you of The Last Frontier’s beautiful snow-capped mountain landscape.

On Monday evening I baked all three of the cookie creations that I came up with, and BY A LONGSHOT the Alaska Big Dipper was the winner. Even Ellie liked them better (and she helped make them all!). So, I’ve officially entered these cookies into the Better Homes and Gardens State Cookie Contest – please, go vote for Alaska Big Dippers! Just “like” the BHG Live Better page on facebook and VOTE ALASKA! 🙂 You can vote once per day through July 27th at 5pm EST. Share this with your friends, and your friends’ friends, and your friends’ friends’ friends… you get it. 🙂 (If you like this recipe, or love all kinds of sweets, use this Williams Sonoma promotional code to help satisfy your cravings!)

As promised, here is the delicious recipe – go, bake, have fun!

Alaska Big Dipper Cookies

Prep Time: 10 min; Cook Time: 15-20 min

Base Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 stick (1/4 lb) butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Fun Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chunks
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dried strawberries
  • 1/4 cup glazed pecans
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 1/2 cups rice krispies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Now, I used a kitchenaid for alllllll of these next steps, but if you’re old school you can do everything by hand! Cream together the butter, white and brown sugars until it reaches a fluffy consistency. Add the egg and beat well. Add in the vanilla, beat well. In a separate bowl, mix up the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add this dry mixture to the butter/sugar mix. Now, your base recipe is completed. From here, simply add in the remaining ingredients one at a time, mixing well between each addition – save the rice krispies for last! When everything else is finally in the bowl, add in the rice krispies and mix juuuust a tiny bit (so they don’t all crunch together!). Scoop onto cookie sheets and bake: 12-15 min for smaller cookies, 16-20 min for larger (Alaskan-sized) cookies. *As a side note, I used the Better Homes and Gardens cookie sheet, and it was awesome – the cookies baked evenly and slip right off the sheet, no greasing required.* When cookies cool, dip in melted white chocolate. Mmmmm…

This batch made 9 ginormous Big Dippers; feel free to double the batch if you’re cooking for a crowd! Enjoy!

Please go vote for Alaska Big Dippers in the Better Homes and Gardens State Cookie Contest HERE!

 

 

State Cookie Contest (Better Homes & Gardens)

Wonderful news, lovelies! Superwife has been asked by Better Homes & Gardens to participate in a “State Cookie Contest”… as in, Superwife is the one and only delegate from Alaska, and will be competing against just – you guessed it – 49 other entries!

The task at hand is to create a delicious, original cookie recipe that best represents the great state of Alaska. Land of the Midnight Sun. The Last Frontier. Home of Superwife. 🙂 Cookie creations will be uploaded to the BHG Facebook page and then fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite (by “liking” their favorite recipes). The recipe with the most “likes” at the end of the contest will win a $100 gift card to Walmart, a full set of the new BHG Bakeware line (accented in red, which means I am totally meant to win it because my entire kitchen is red), AND a full set of the bakeware to give away on their blog. I believe the full set includes 9 pieces (even though the picture below only shows 5).

After some mouthwatering suggestions from friends, I’ve decided to test out a few different recipes and then have readers choose which one Superwife submits to Better Homes & Gardens. So far, I’ve come up with the following three ideas:

Midnight Sun Snowballs

An Alaskan take on the delicious tea-cake favorite, the Midnight Sun Snowball is a shortbread-like, melt-in-your-mouth morsel that incorporates dried Alaskan blueberries and high-bush cranberries, as well as chopped pistachios as a reminder that, well, we Alaskans are all a little nutty. Rolled and coated in sweet powdered sugar, these little snowballs will have you yearning for a sledding session in the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Alaska Big Dippers

The “go big or go home” version of a rugged Alaskan cookie, the Alaska Big Dipper is a mountainous oatmeal cookie filled with sweet and savory treats including dried high-bush cranberries and wild Alaskan raspberries, white chocolate chunks, peanut butter chips and rice krispies. Topped with a juicy Alaskan blueberry-white chocolate swirl frosting, these hearty cookies will surely remind you of The Last Frontier’s beautiful snow-capped mountain landscape.

Alaska’s Deadliest Chocolate

Deadlier than an Alaskan crab-fishing excursion, the Alaska’s Deadliest Chocolate is a chocolatey-chocolate explosion packed with dark and white chocolate chunks, baked around a rich fudge-y center and topped off with a creamy snow-white chocolate frosting. Are you in heaven yet?

So… quick temperature check: how are we feeling about these options? Any of them stick out? Any of them suck? Anything you think is missing? I haven’t put these recipes to the kitchen quite yet, but I did just receive my cookie sheet from BHG to test during this whole creation process, so I believe I’ll start this week. Please send me your feedback so I can make this OUR contest entry – LET’S WIN THIS!

Super Strawberry Pulled Pork Recipe

Okaaaaaay… since I made all of your little mouths water by posting a pic on facebook today… here is the delicious recipe. 🙂

I hope you’ll all remember that I’m not so good at “measuring” things when I cook, so I guessed for you. I’m more of a “little of this, little of that” kind of chef.

Superwife’s Strawberry Pulled Pork

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless pork sirloin (or butt roast), 3-ish lbs
  • 2 cups whole strawberries
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dry rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • (optional) 2-4 cloves minced garlic

To Prepare:

  1. Stir together whole strawberries with all ingredients except the meat.
  2. Place all pork in slow cooker, cover with sauce mixture.
  3. Cook 6 hours on a low heat setting.
  4. Remove meat from slowcooker; shred using a fork (or 2 forks). Throw away any fat.
  5. Return shredded meat to slow cooker, add the 2 cups of sliced strawberries.
  6. Cook on low 10-45 more minutes (depending on how “cooked” you want the strawberries – I left mine in for 45 min).
  7. Serve on buns!

Enjoy! 🙂

Grandma Sue’s Cracker Jacks

Adam’s grandma Sue gave us some caramel corn (cracker jacks!) during Christmas, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how delicious it was… so I asked for the recipe. Surprisingly, it’s SUPER easy!! I thought the recipe’s yield was a little large until I realized it HAS to be that way, because you inevitably eat about a quarter of it before it’s even finished (especially if your Dad, Mr. Cracker Jim, is over). 🙂

Baked Caramel Corn / Homemade Cracker Jacks

  • 6 quarts popped corn
  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup (Karo)
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • can of spanish peanuts, if you’d like

Pop the corn (I use my WhirleyPop) and spread in large roasting pan (really, a LARGE one… I used one of those disposable aluminum ones). In a large sauce pan, oil butter, sugar, corn syrup, molasses and cream of tartar until bubbly (stirring constantly). If you’ve ever made toffee, cook it just a little less than you would that. If you haven’t… then basically just cook until it bubbles, then keep stirring for about 3 minutes. You’ll see the consistency change pretty drastically. :) Remove mixture from heat, and stir in (very well) baking soda. Pour over corn, add peanuts if using them and stir well. I used two serving spoons to mix the corn/caramel together. Bake one hour @ 225, stirring thoroughly every 15 minutes. Turn out on wax paper, let cool and enjoy!

 

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Sneaky McMocktail

3/1/10

I knew I’d have to bluff about drinking when I decided to keep this pregnancy a secret for a while… but I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to fake it! After these excuses got tired…

  • “I’m not supposed to drink while I’m taking my fertility medication.”
  • “I’m SOOOO hungover from last night.”
  • “I need to start off with water before I head straight to the hard stuff.”

… I came up with a few fake drinks. So this is what I’m drinking now:

Mama Mojito

  • 1/2 lime, cut into a few pieces
  • 5 or 6 fresh mint leaves
  • 7-Up, Sprite, or club soda
  • ice

Fill a glass with ice, then add mint leaves and lime wedges (squeeze them into the glass first). Using a muddler (or if you’re like me, the back end of a wooden spoon), smash the mint and lime into the ice a few times (to release the flavor in the mint!). Pour soda over the mixture and enjoy!

 

Alcohol- “Fre” Wine/Champagne

Found this stuff at the liquor store for about $8 or $9 each. I’ve found it’s a little difficult to conceal the bottle, obviously, but at home it’s kinda nice. Tastes pretty good, for not having any booze. 🙂 Add a red juice (pomegranite, cranberry, etc) to the champagne and it looks just like pink champagne (a staple at any of my girlfriends’ parties).

 

Modka-Cranberry

  • 2tbsp lime juice
  • ice
  • water or soda water
  • cranberry juice
  • lime wedge for garnish

Fill glass with ice; pour cranberry juice to about 3/4 full (maybe a teeny more). Add lime juice and fill to top with water or soda; stir. Garnish with lime and enjoy! Note: I only add water or soda to make the drink less “red” when trying to hide my pregnancy, because most cranberry-vodka drinks are more pinkish when vodka is mixed in.

I’ve also read that pomegranite juice looks like red wine (not cold juice, or it will condensate and give you away!) and white grape juice will pass for white wine. I have yet to try these, but will probably add them into the mix soon enough. 🙂