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…

Valentine Projects You'll Go Nuts For -- Part of "A Little Birdie Told Me..." Linky Party #3

Welcome to "A Little Birdie Told Me..." Tuesday!  If you're here to share a craft, recipe or project post, you'll find the linky and the specifics on how to strut your stuff below.

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy
No need to be squirrelly...If you're here to read, browse, or are just curious, please stick around, scroll down, and see if there's a little somethin' that catches your fancy -- perhaps a new recipe, a craft idea, or new creative technique!
Last week, A Little Birdie Told Me...
...Creative People were going NUTS for VALENTINES' Day

Last week's entries were choc full of nuts:
1.  PECANS:  Self professed "butter groupie" A Whisk and a Prayer shared her marvelous recipe for Butter Pecan Praline Bars. 2.  CHESTNUTS:  Camilla tempted my palette with a sophisticated Spiced Chestnut Biscotti at Culinary Adventures with Camilla. 3.  PEANUTS:  Not one, not two, but five layers of decadent peanut-buttery good…


Today, I'm pleased to introduce a fabulous recipe for homemade GRANOLA from my friend CK of Made By Bedtime Tales

I always feel inspired after visiting her creative and whimsical blog that she co-authors with her sister Becka.  A while ago, CK posted a recipe for Granola (one of my very favorite breakfast foods), and I asked if she'd be willing to share it with my readers in a guest post at Rook No. 17. 

Yesterday, my girls and I made a big batch of CK's delicious (and easy to make) granola. Just for fun, I decided to do some creative packaging to share the granola with friends and family.  

I used cans that had been opened with a "safety can opener".  I sterilized the cans and lids, then wrapped them in a strip of scrapbook paper.  I customized a cheeky little label:  "Can-O-La Granola" (because it's in a can, and is also made with canola oil -- tee hee!).  I also created an ingredients label to glue to the back.  
Next, I put a single-bowl serving o…

OWL VALENTINE TREATS -- Whoooo do you love?

The idea for these sweet little owls came to me a few weeks ago. Remember a few weeks ago?  Candy canes, Chocolate Santas, and gingerbread in every size, shape and form, but not a single heart-shaped valentine "Peep" to be found. Fortunately, my friend Holly saved the day when she scored a few boxes at a local drugstore.

My posts have been awfully long lately, so I'm keeping this intro short and sweet. Here are the instructions for making Chocolate Dipped Valentine Owls on a Stick made from heart-shaped marshmallow "Peeps":

Marshmallow Valentine Owls


--Heart-shaped Peeps (Our local store only had the pink, sugar-free type.  The regular version is red and should be available in most stores with a large Valentine candy section).
--Valentine's Day M&Ms (or just the white M&Ms if you're able to find them)
--A Food Writer Pen in black (available in the cake decorating section of most major craft stores)
--Nabisco 100 Fudge Petites, Mint Fudge…

"A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME..." LINKY PARTY #2 And a Whimsical Creative Showcase

Welcome to "A Little Birdie Told Me..." Tuesday!  If you're here to share a craft, recipe or project post, you'll find the linky and the specifics on how to strut your stuff below.
If you're here to read, browse, or are just curious, you've landed at Rook No. 17 on a frabjous day (that's right, frabjous -- I'm channeling a little Lewis Caroll as it were) full of inspiration and creative ideas! Just take a look at what talented people all over the world are sharing in their links below.  You may just walk away with a new favorite recipe or a spark of inspiration!

Red Herring - (n.) Something that draws attention away from the central issue.
I was so happy with the success of the launch of "A Little Birdie Told Me..." last week.  I had a wonderful time visiting all of the participants and was simply awed by all the talent out there.  As promised, I've been looking forward to shining the spotlight on a few of the submissions entered the previo…

I Knew You Were Coming, So I Baked You a Cake!

In this photo, my paternal grandmother sits on the front, right.  
Welcome one and all to Rook No. 17! My crafty little nest of inspiration is being featured at SITS today, which presents the perfect opportunity to welcome new friends and old, to show some old fashioned hospitality, and to give a little tour of my online "home". So, kick off your shoes while I cut you a slice of cake, and make yourself at home.

Here, please enjoy this slice of Chocolate-Marbled Banana Bread that I created just for this occasion! I know I promised "cake", but with all the holiday indulging and the subsequent New Years' Resolutions and all I figured I'd do us all a favor and offer up a reduced-fat/calorie treat! You can download a copy of the recipe HERE.

For a tutorial on how to make these whimsical glittered boxes and an idea for inspired charitable giving, click HERE.

I love comments and enjoy getting to know and connecting with "Followers". If you like what you see …


Birthdays can be "for the birds".  So, turning the tables, as I like to do, I have a little something for YOU on MY birthday:
Enjoy and get creative with these vintage birthday and inspirational postcards from my family collection:

Celebrating Three Kings Day with a Pull-Apart King Cake Recipe

Already this year is whizzing by, and I've found myself woefully unprepared for one of my favorite winter celebrations -- Three Kings Day; also know as Epiphany or Twelfth Night.
Each year, we enjoy a King Cake with a few close friends, and as per tradition, the person to find the baby in their piece of cake is crowned "king" or "queen" and will have good luck all year long.  With January 6 abruptly waking me this morning, shaking my shoulder and announcing, "I'm here!  Are you ready?", it's a good thing that my family-friendly version of the King Cake requires very little preparation or time.  
I published a post last year about my family's Three Kings Day traditions and have revived it here, for those who may have missed it. I've also added a quick new project tutorial, for those who are back for a second time around.

BACKGROUND:For those unfamiliar with Three Kings Day, this Christian holiday celebrates the day that the three wise men …