Monkey Bread

Last weekend, we house sat for my mom while she was out of town. Primary duties: feed the dog, let the dog outside, and don’t burn the house down. My baby sister hung out with us for the weekend, and we had a great time!

When I came downstairs on Sunday morning, I caught baby sister busy at work on a pan of monkey bread. Delish! Here’s how she does it!

Naomi’s Monkey Bread

You’ll need:

  • 2 containers of biscuits (Pillsbury or the like)
  • Cinnamon sugar (1 cup sugar+2 Tbs. cinnamon)
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 335 degrees. Pop open your biscuits, and cut each biscuit into quarters using a kitchen sheers or a knife. As you cut each one, toss it in the cinnamon sugar. Repeat until you’ve made it through both containers of biscuits.

2. Put sugar covered dough in bundt pan. On second thought, I don’t think there is a rule that states you MUST use a bundt pan. An 8×8 or a casserole dish would probably work just as well.

3. Over medium high heat, melt the butter and stir in the brown and white sugar until combined into a buttery, sugary paste.

4. Pour mixture evenly over biscuit dough.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow monkey bread to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Happy weekend breakfast!


Homemade Jam

Hang on tight, all. It’s food preservation week here at Balance and Blueberries. Today’s edition: Jam.There are many, many reasons to make your own jam at home. For instance:

  1. Homemade jam is real food, people. I know that you may really like your jar of Smucker’s strawberry, but check out their ingredients list. The second ingredient is high fructose corn syrup. The next is corn syrup. Not real food.
  2. Can you say “cost effective”? Especially if you have the jars already, the cost per jar of homemade jam is much lower than purchasing it in the store. Even with the purchase of a flat of jars, preserving your own jam is much cheaper in the long run.
  3. Did I mention that it’s real food? Local food. Organic, if you want.

On the way back from the Wine Festival this weekend, Darcy and I stopped by the side of the road to pick some elderberries. Don’t know what an elderberry is? Check out last year’s elderberry expedition.

It turns out that the picking is the fun part. To pick enough elderberries for jam takes approximately 10 minutes. To get the same amount of berries off their stems takes approximately 2 hours. So there I stood at the kitchen counter, stemming elderberries. For 2 hours. Attempting to have a good attitude. (See all the elderberries on the pan? That’s the un-stemmed stack)

I digress. In order to make jam, you will need:

  • Fruit (check!)
  • Pectin (in the aisle with the canning jars)
  • Sugar (lots of sugar)

Are you ready?

First, get your fruit all ready to go. This means that you have to wash or peel or stem or chop  the fruit that you are going to use.

Second, set a large pot of water to boil. You will need to sanitize the jars you are using by boiling them for 10 minutes. In another pot, boil the lids and the rings to sanitize them.

Third, open your package of pectin. If you don’t have a recipe, there will be directions in there for the different kinds of fruit jams you can make. Locate the proper directions, and follow them. Each pectin brand may have slightly different recipes. Be sure to follow the recipe that your brand provides. Because this is true, I’m not going to bore you with the recipe for my particular batch of jam. If you want some ideas, check out  Ball Canning Recipes and

Fourth, once you have prepared your jam by the directions in the pectin box or a canning recipe and you have sanitized jars, fill them. Wipe the rim, put a lid and a ring on each jar, and flip the jars over.

Lastly, do your dishes. After about 5 minutes, flip your jars right side up. Don’t touch the lids for at least an hour. They need time to seal. After they’ve all sealed, remove the rings and wipe the jars off. If one or two don’t seal, put them in the fridge to eat first.

Happy jam-making!




Lemonade by the glass

At the same farmers’ market where I got my sweet corn, I impulsively bought a cup of lemonade. This wasn’t your average lemonade stand. These kids meant business. They handmade each cup of lemonade upon order, squeezing the lemons in front of your very eyes.

I tried to recreate it, and, if I do say so myself, I’m pretty stinking close. Consider yourself warned, this makes one tart lemonade. If you don’t think that you’re going to be a fan and prefer a sweet lemonade, juice only 1 lemon, instead of one and a half.

Lemonade by the glass

In order to make yourself a cold glass of fresh lemonade, you’ll need:

  • two glasses (or, one shaker and one serving glass)
  • a citrus juicer
  • two lemons (1 and a half for juicing, half for a garnish)
  • water
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • Chop your lemons in half, and juice each three of the halves by pushing on the top of the lemon, and twisting. Pour the resulting juice into the glass.
  • Add 1 cup of water and 1 Tbs. of sugar. Stir (or shake, if you went the shaker route)!
  • Pour over ice in the serving glass.
  • Chop the remaining half a lemon into halves, and use as a garnish.
  • Kick your feet up and enjoy!

The great part about lemonade is that you can totally tweak it to suit your preferences. Want it sweeter? Add another teaspoon or 3 of sugar. Like your lemonade really tart? Try juicing the leftover half a lemon and add it to the glass.

I wanna know: How do you like your lemonade? Tart or sweet?