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…

THE SUGAR MOUSE CAKE IN STORYBOOK NEVERLAND -- Sharing Our Memories of Favorite Childhood Books

The stories of childhood leave an indelible impression, and their author always has a niche in the temple of memory from which the image is never cast out to be thrown on the rubbish heap of things that are outgrown and outlived. ~Howard Pyle

Dear Sir or Madam: 

 Kindly bring back our favorite children's books...

One of the greatest gifts I ever received from my parents was a passion for reading. From the earliest age, my room was filled with wonderful books. My parents weren't wealthy people by any means. Most of my cherished books from childhood were purchased from the Los Angeles County Library System cast-offs. I always thought it peculiar that something so wonderful, magical, and meaningful as a children's book could ever be stamped, "DISCARD".  Well, "one man's trash..." as they say... Thirty and some odd years later, they are still wonderfully intact and being enjoyed by my daughters. Treasures indeed!

Sadly, so many of our childhood literary treasures
have gone out of print and have been replaced by
high gloss, flash over substanceand a curious 
trend of Hollywood actors turned "authors".

If you had the power to resurrect 
one cherished book from your past,

Here are some of my picks:


This is one that came from the LA County "discard", was read hundreds of times in my childhood, and is now a favorite with my girls:

The Meanest Squirrel I Ever Met, by Gene Zion
Scribner, 1962
An enchanting tale of a young squirrel, Nibble, who must confront a mean old squirrel who tricked him out of his family's Thanksgiving nuts.


What is a Whispery Secret?, by Lois Hobart
Parents' Magazine Press, 1968
A sweet, gentle story with soft watercolored illustrations, perfect for bedtime reading. Simple, yet poignant, and a perfect book for a parent to share with a child. 


Clotilda, by Jack Kent
Random House, 1978
Clotilda is a story about a small but wise fairy godmother who teaches the lesson that magic is everywhere if you simply open your eyes and mind.


And my Holy Grail of Children's Books:
(Still on my quest to find a copy -- So rare and collectible that even a disintegrating copy runs upwards of $100)

The Sugar Mouse Cake, Gene Zion
With the help of an amazing little white mouse, Tina, a cook's assistant, Tom, bakes a magnificent cake judged the best in the kingdom and thus becomes the Royal Pastry Chef.



Let's create a little Storybook Neverland -- Where "Lost Books", can live on forever and always...

-- In the comment field at the bottom of this post, reminisce and share your favorite childhood books.


-- If you've written a post or article about a favorite children's book, or write a blog dedicated to childhood literary nostalgia, please feel free to add a link to the "Storybook Neverland" gallery below.


Perhaps...just maybe...if we make enough noise...someday...somehow...a little "Clotilda magic" will happen and a wise publisher will bring back some very deserving lost classics.

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