It’s Muh Jam!

How is May here already?

I’m not even sure what happened…other than I felt like April was a complete hurricane of a month.

I can honestly say, I neglected Fernandough this month. He is alive and strong…but he was left to fend for himself some days. And that is totally ok. I left for a weekend getaway and fed him just before leaving…and sent him to the fridge for the weekend…with a hug and a kiss. Sometimes it’s ok to neglect your starter. The amazing thing about natural yeast…is it’s strong…and it can come back from almost anything.

He and I are back in the kitchen working today. A couple (4) artisan loaves are going and we kicked out some english muffins this morning. It will feel good to stock up my freezer and feed the ones I love.

TODAY THO….is all about jam. I saw strawberries in the store a couple weeks ago and knew the time was coming. CLAPPING!! I have been looking forward to making jam for a while now. There is something about homemade jam. It feels so ….well….homey. It’s so satisfying to see the jars of jam cooling on your counter….to hear those jars pop and seal…and to refill the shelves. Food. I can make food! I can be self sustaining and independent if I need to be. I don’t grow my own strawberries…but I could! I don’t grow my own wheat…but I could! But for now…I can fill my shelves and freezer and all of my cute pink 5 gallon buckets with food.

I am sharing my strawberry jam recipe…click here. So now you can have your own secret toast and jam!

Yes, I use real sugar. And I don’t skimp on it either. In my opinion, this is way better than what I can buy at the store. First, I know every single ingredient that goes into it…..second, I use high quality ingredients and everything is washed and clean….and third….it’s made with love. It’s basically the same recipe for every fruit except raspberries because they are gross and I refuse. I can’t even make that jam for my dad and he loves it. I just can’t bring myself to be victimized by raspberries in my own home. So you’ll have to go to Pinterest for any raspberry contamination.

I will snag apricots as soon as they are ready…and patiently wait for peaches through the summer…those are muh favorite jams!! I am fortunate to live in an area known for growing amazing delicious fruits and vegetables. I have so many memories of picking and eating warm fruit right off of a tree in the middle of an orchard. There is nothing better. My sisters and I picked cherries as our first teenage jobs, and the highway where I grew up is known as the “fruit highway” with many fruit stands along about a 12 mile stretch of road. I still drive there to this day to get my produce in the summer. It will always be home.

I’m so grateful for the earth…and for hard working farmers. I completely missed posting on Earth Day. Which was my plan…to dedicate a post specifically to her. But truthfully, every post is dedicated to her. Nothing I share could be without her! Every single day I see the EARTH! Promise me…that this week…you will take 1 full minute out of your day to look around you…out a window….stare at the birds……stand barefoot in the grass…really taste a strawberry…. and just be grateful.

Dad’s Secret Toast and Jam

Have you seen the movie Nanny McPhee?

The part where the naughty children get sent to bed without dinner….and then they ask their maid for “secret toast and jam”.

My 80 year old VERY ACTIVE dad has had some tummy issues in recent years…and even though he knew that bread/wheat caused the issues to worsen….he always had “secret toast and jam” every night. I think he thought no one knew. But yet there was always bread and jam in the house for him. (His wife…my mother.. knows all of his secrets) She was buying him sprouted wheat bread from the store. And then he thought it was maybe the sugar causing issues…so he started asking my mom to buy sugar free jam.

It’s interesting how we don’t know…. what we don’t know.

There are good, better and best choices at the store for everything we buy. The sprouted wheat bread is probably better. And the sugar free jam is an absolute no go for me.

I started making him homemade jam and also making him sourdough bread and english muffins, for his nightly “secret toast and jam.” I knew the natural yeast could help heal his gut.

In my every so humble opinion, sugar free anything is harmful to the body and definitely to the gut. Artificial sweeteners cause a myriad of hormonal issues and gut issues. They disrupt the microbiome in your gut and affect hormone balance, blood sugars and brain clarity. I could go on… but I know you can do your own research and come to your own conclusions.

Sugar isn’t great either. There are better options. I use a lot of honey. BUT…having said that. I’d rather use natural cane sugar than a chemical. Good, better, best…right?

Another fact about sugar, if you balance your sugar intake (Jam) with a whole grain or natural yeast (sourdough bread) it will assist in balancing out your blood sugar and you won’t get sugar spikes. You can do this with anything…including fruits. Balance.

I used to say that I could balance out my Big Mac because it had lettuce on it…and let’s be real….french fries are vegetables too.

My Dad was resistant to the jam asking me to make some that was sugar free….and the answer was always…NOPE. “Dad, those chemicals used to make sugar free are worse for your body than real sugar…eventually you’ll see the difference.”

It’s getting that time of year that I will again be making jams and jellies. I don’t use full sugar amounts. But I do use it. I feel like it’s a better option than what I can buy at the store. And I also know what every single ingredient is that goes in it. Same with the bread I make.

It has taken some time…but guess who told me that he had noticed a difference in his tummy? That’s right…my Dad. I get text requests when there’s a bread or english muffin shortage at his house. I even make him his favorite dark chocolate almond nut clusters using only 2 ingredients….dark chocolate and almonds.

Even small differences in our daily food choices can make a big difference. I don’t think it’s realistic to make a 180 degree change from your normal lifestyle…but I do believe that you can make one change today….maybe another one tomorrow. Maybe that change is 4 Diet Cokes rather than 5. Maybe it’s a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a fried one. Maybe you buy organic jam rather than sugar free. Maybe you double your water intake today.

Maybe you start your own sourdough starter!!? Fernandough is my bestie…he’s been one of the funnest, most helpful journeys for me.

ANYWAY….I’m sharing the english muffin recipe with you today. Click here. And soon I’ll share my jam recipe faves with you!

Then you can have your own secret toast and jam! (Dad…it’s no longer a secret)