Hi All! My name is Janet and I am a wife to Mike and a stay-at-home mom of four beautiful children ages 11, 8.5, 7, and 5. We are a busy family; I think this goes without saying. But I still love to be creative in my free time. Sometimes, being a mother of four hinders my creative streak, but most often it enhances it. Generally you can find me baking, but I also like to knit, paint,sew, and just try something new! If I’m honest with myself,which I usually am, I can tell you that I always wanted to be that mother that had fresh baked cookies cooling on the counter when the kids came home from school. If you called me Martha Stewart, I’d be delighted. Well, except for the whole felony conviction thing. I am a self-taught baker (as is true with most of my various crafting). I’ve liked to bake for as long as I can remember. But I’ve gotten progressively better at it through the years, mostly because there is not a challenge that I won’t take, because I can fail and still keep trying. I vowed that I would always make my kids their birthday cake/cupcakes and I have not faltered. That is 30 different birthday cakes! Well, probably more since I usually make my hubby’s cake and sometimes my own, but I know I’ve done 30 for sure.
Most recently, I’ve been able to share my love of baking with my sister Lisa, who lives in England. She started a baking blog called United Cakedom. I am a featured blogger, I contribute on weekends: Weekend Baking with Janet. I bake cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and bread. I try to make just about anything just to try it.
I’ve never made jam. I’ve always wanted to make jam. The last three years we have gone strawberry picking in hopes to make some. But the kids were young, so they didn’t pick a lot (or a lot of good ones) and they ate ALL of the berries we picked, so it’s just never happened. This year I was on a mission! I took the kids to a local farm that offers U-Pick and we got to picking…we picked nearly 30lbs of strawberries!!! I guess all this rain in the Midwest has paid off…these berries are the sweetest I have ever tasted.
Today, my oldest son helped me to make our very first batch. And it was soooooo easy!
Here is the recipe we used:
2lbs of fresh strawberries, hulled
3 cups of white sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
Mash the berries until you have 4 cups. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix all the ingredients and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase to heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often, until temp reaches 220 deg, or for about 15 min. Transfer to hot sterile jars, leaving ¼ inches of head space, and seal.
We did not complete the preserving process because this recipe (found & altered on http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/38410/strawberry-jam) makes 5 cups and we were giving some away with the intent of using it right away. Obviously we have many more berries to use, so we will make another batch and then I’ll make some shortcakes for them. And maybe a pie…hmmmmm?
Here is a link to my Strawberry Shortcake recipe: http://www.unitedcakedom.com/2012/06/strawberry-shortcake.html?m=0
Baking gives me that calm that I need on crazy days, the pride I need on down-in-the-dumps days, and yummy things to feed my family with! I've been asked by friends, family, and strangers if I intend to make a business out of baking which absolutely flatters me. I'm not sure I'm cut out for the business of baking, or at least not right now. But I sure have a lot of fun with it! I would be delighted to know what you think about some of the things I've baked, so come see at United Cakedom!
Thank you so much for sharing with us Janet! I hope you guys have a summer as fabulous as you all are. This post makes me nostalgic of the Strawberry Fest that goes on in our hometown about this time of year. Fun, yum, eye candy, cute kids, awesome person... all wrapped up into one post! Definitely go check out United Cakedom (go follow!), and you can find United Cakedom on Facebook as well (go like!).