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I was still reeling from the tragedy that hit the Boston Marathon, the terrible accident at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, when the recent news of the two suspects’ actions at MIT continued to prove how fragile our lives can be.
I feel sad that in many ways our society is becoming desensitized. I am not sure how many times I heard, and even thought to myself, ”at least it wasn’t like 9/11.” But if there is anything I know for sure it is that the good outweighs the bad every time. I hold on to that. You may not hear about every hero and every positive action, but they are there every day.
I believe you find inspiration and hope wherever you can in times like these. My children help. Music helps. Escaping into projects, books, baseball, anything really. Music is one of my favorites…
I believe it, if we can all find our inner light and love, tomorrow will be kinder.
My love for mason jars and fantastic desserts notwithstanding, how fun is it to create fun concoctions in them? The new cookbook, 150 Best Desserts in a Jar, from Andrea Jourdan doesn’t specify mason jars because there are countless gems you can find frugally and inexpensively at thrift shops or at the back of grandma’s pantry. Whatever jar you use, you are sure to create something delicious!
I won’t lie and say there is anything healthy about these desserts, but they are fun and have a great appeal for any time I’d want to impress someone with my (lacking) cooking skills. With 150 recipes to choose from there is definitely something for everyone.
Burnt Orange Crème Brûlée
Four 8-ounce (250 mL) wide-mouth jars, buttered
Baking pan large enough to accommodate the jars
Kitchen torch, optional (see Tip)
6 large egg yolks
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
11⁄2 cups heavy or whipping cream
2⁄3 cup whole milk
2 tbsp finely grated orange zest
1 tbsp orange-flavored liqueur
3 tbsp packed brown sugar, divided
1 orange, sliced thinly
Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C)
1. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring cream, milk and orange zest to a simmer. Gradually add to egg yolk mixture, whisking until incorporated. Stir in orange liqueur.
3. Pour custard into prepared jars, dividing equally. Place jars in baking pan, spaced evenly apart and not touching the sides of the pan, and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the jars. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until center of custards is still wobbly. Remove from oven and transfer jars to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Cover jars with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
4. Place jars on a baking sheet. Sprinkle a little brown sugar over each custard. Using kitchen torch, burn sugar just until it melts. Place orange slices over melted sugar. Sprinkle with remaining brown sugar, dividing equally. Using torch, heat until sugar has caramelized and orange rind is a little burnt.
1. Set aside 4 whole blackberries for use as garnish. In food processor fitted with the metal blade, process remaining blackberries, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and ginger for 1 minute.
2. In a large bowl, using electric mixer at high speed, whip cream until soft peaks form. Spoon out 4 tsp whipped cream and set aside in a small bowl. Slowly add blackberry purée to large bowl, beating until stiff peaks form. Transfer to prepared pastry bag.
3. Place some gold candy pearls (if using) in the bottom of each jar. Top with a meringue cookie. Cover with a swirl of blackberry cream. Top with a second meringue. Add 1 tsp whipped cream to each jar and top with a blackberry.
1. In blender, purée raspberries and confectioner’s sugar. Transfer to a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl and press mixture through. Discard seeds and set raspberry purée aside.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook cranberries and maple syrup, stirring often, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl, using electric mixer at high speed, whip cream, granulated sugar and vanilla until soft peaks begin to form. Beating constantly, slowly add cranberry juice and half the raspberry purée.
4. Spoon remaining raspberry purée into jars, dividing equally. Top with whipped cream mixture, dividing equally. Refrigerate for up to 30 minutes.
5. When you’re ready to serve, remove jars from refrigerator and top with cooked cranberries. Using a long spoon, mix delicately. Garnish with mint leaves and serve immediately.
I remember the day vividly. It had been an agonizing wait on pins and needles for the call… And that day, in the midst of selling our car no less, that day we found out for certain we were going to have our first baby bear. It happens every day to millions of women all across the globe. But when it is you, it is like no one has ever been pregnant before.
You wait the long – or short - nine months hoping for everything to go well. You say you don’t care whether it’s a boy or a girl as long as it’s healthy, even though in this part of the world we too often take that healthy part for granted.
Things may happen. We may have to have a c-section (three for me). We may have to undergo surgery while pregnant (twice for me, my theory being that my body attacks itself while pregnant). We may have pre-term labor, breastfeeding issues, low blood sugar at delivery, jaundice, and maybe even chromosomal abnormalities among other things. And I am not making light of some horrific situations anyone can face, however we live in an era and place where expert medical technology is available to us for so many, many things.
But do you know the stark truths of global newborn health?
UN Photo/Albert González Farran
Did you know that nearly 3 million newborns die each year globally?
Did you know that 99% of these newborns die in low- and middle-income countries?
Did you know that a newborn is 45X times more likely to die in the first month of life, when compared to age 1 month to 5 years?
Did you know that the major causes of newborn death are prematurity, infection, and birth asphyxia when a baby’s brain and other organs do not get enough oxygen before, during or right after birth are?
Did you know that complications of preterm birth are the second leading cause of death in children before their fifth birthday?
And, did you know that the majority of these newborn deaths can be prevented?
The first Global Newborn Health Conference will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from April 15-18. This is only a beginning of an important discussion from top maternal and newborn health experts, researchers, and NGOs on real solutions.
The modern environmental movement… From John Muir to Rachel Carson to David Brower to Judi Bari to the multitude of green bloggers, many of which I am proud to call friends, and everyone in between. How do we sum up the trial, tribulations, successes, and failures into one documentary?
A mama of three trying to live a green life, pursue greater health and well-being for my family and the planet, and teach my children well while providing tips, insight, and activism for those wanting to go green. Learn how to change the world through living, learning, and parenting.Read more about me...