Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

In the woodland valleys of Central California, Elderflower trees have been in bloom all spring with their prolific, lacy white blossoms.  I've enjoyed making Elderflower syrup, candied elderflowers and sweet Elderflower Tempura.  A few days ago, I noticed that some of the trees are starting to bear fruit -- diminutive, tart little berries, deep purplish-blue growing in heavy clusters.  

Inspired by a love of biscuits and jam, foraging, and adapted from a recipe from Simply Beyond Herbs, I whipped up a simple and delicious jam made from the foraged Elderberries, fresh blueberries and using chia seeds for a perfect jammy consistency.

Enjoy and Happy Foraging!
PrintWith ImageWithout Image Elderberry-Blueberry Chia JamYield: One half-pint jarAuthor: Jenn Erickson Prep time: 10 MCook time: 10 MTotal time: 20 M An easy and delicious sweet-tart jam to make from foraged Elderberries. Ingredients:1 1/2 cups elderberries, rinsedPinch of salt1 cup blueberries, rinsed2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds1/2 Tabl…


On our journey down the yellow-brick road of life, we often find that our search for inspiration and role models comes up short when we look to the Oz-like figureheads praised by the media and the masses.  Like Dorothy, we find that, if we "ever go looking for our heart's desire again", we need not look any further than our "own back yard".

As part of the SITS Back to Blogging Challenge, I was assigned to write a post about an inspirational woman.  I gave pause to consider some big names ~ Marie Curie (chemist and physicist), Alice Walker (author of "The Color Purple"), Indira Gandhi (first female prime minister of India), Julia Child (for revolutionizing American cuisine).  Inspirational?  Absolutely.  Have I known any of these women personally?  No.  Do they impact my life on a daily basis?  Not profoundly.  

So, I decided to approach this assignment by looking in "my own backyard."  I found that in simply thinking about a single, average day in my life, there were inspirational women at every turn.

--I wake up each morning to two wonderful little girls who greet each day with enthusiasm, excitement and a sparkle in their eyes.  They inspire me to slow down, smell the roses, and appreciate the "little things".  

--I go to work and am surrounded by amazing women -- elementary school teachers and school professionals who have dedicated their lives to educating our children.  They may have heavy stuff going on at home ~ an ailing parent, financial pressures, a troubled marriage ~ and yet they're here each day for our kids, fully present, giving fully of their energy, creativity, talent and heart.  Inspiring!

--Driving home I see my friend Shannon, an oncology nurse who works in hospice,  bicycling home from our small-town, independent grocery store.  Supporting local business, reducing her carbon foot-print, and purchasing locally-grown, seasonal produce to cook up something amazing for her family that day -- her choices inspire me to make better ones myself. 

--When I pick up the girls from school I see many of my friends -- Fellow moms who parent with such grace, kindness, patience and love.  We all have our days -- those days where we're just two penciled-in eyebrows short of "Mommy Dearest".  But when one of us is down, discouraged or having an "off day", the others are strong, supportive, encouraging and always eager to help.  

--I'd be full of beans if I didn't admit that part of my day was spent on the computer and online.  Whether I'm visiting other bloggers, or catching up with friends all over the world via Facebook, I'm constantly struck with inspiration:  Friends who are competing in triathlons, climbing mountains, going back to school, launching a new business, volunteering their time to a worthy cause, sharing their passions, projects, and wisdom with a giving heart and asking nothing in return.  

--After a long day I'm worn out, weary, and sometimes get my britches in a bunch.  But all it takes is a heartfelt hug, an "I love you mama", or a "wanna snuggle?" to set things back in the proper perspective; to inspire me to live in the moment and to count my blessings.

I need not venture out on a long journey down a yellow-brick road to inspire my heart and mind or to find my courage.  I may still have a weakness for ruby red shoes, but they're not requisite to the knowledge that there's truly "No Place Like Home."


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