Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

IMG_4129I think I have finally rubbed off on my mother. All these years of me changing my eating (dairy free, sugar free and sometimes though now more often gluten free) and hanging out at her house. She was always very accommodating and ensured the meals met our needs.

But now she has gone off on her own! and is giving me all kinds of new recipes to try. It kick started when she and my Dad did a cleanse this past summer. Mum discovered some fabulous and tasty new recipes that they have now made part of their regular diet. So when they were here visiting recently Mum made a couple of her new favorite gluten free muffin recipes – pumpkin and a fruit one. I say a fruit one because we had yet to decide what kind of fruit it would be. This recipe (below) Mum uses as a base but has experimented using different fruit and nut combinations, like peach pecan, nectarine almond, etc.

strawberriespictureThe day she was making the muffins at our place, my daughter Chloe, suggested Mum use strawberries and rhubarb. We just happened to have some rhubarb in the the freezer left over from earlier in the summer when I made a sugar free strawberry rhubarb pie for the first time, and Mum bought some strawberries. Voila! We were set.

Mum was a little unsure how they would turn out but was willing to try the combination. For me, knowing how much I enjoy strawberry rhubarb pie had no doubt that it would be fabulous!

And of course, they were. Fresh and warm out of the oven, all the adults got to try them first, as the kids were all in bed (yay for us!). They were delicious! Moist, tasty and full of flavor. My Mum thought they could use a little more fruit but she prefers lots of fruit in her muffin. I thought it was fine, just our personal preferences.

What I also really like about this recipe is there are no eggs, you use chia seeds as the replacement and I think that is fabulous! Not only do you eliminate the eggs, but now you are adding a superfood. Fantastic!

So whether you are gluten free or not these are an excellent muffin. Give them a try and comment below, letting me know what you think.

Gluten Free Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

2 c. brown rice flourRhubarb-timperley-early1-300x300

1/2 c. arrowroot powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. chia seeds

3/4 c. warm water

1 c. strawberries

1 c. rhubarb

1/3 c. coconut oil, melted

1/3 c. coconut sugar

1-2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. walnuts

In a large bowl combine brown rice flour, arrowroot powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In another medium sized bowl, whisk together chia seeds and water. Mix in strawberries and rhubarb, coconut oil, coconut sugar and vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients over dry and gently mix. Do not over mix. Fold in walnuts.

Line muffin tin with paper liners or grease tin with coconut oil. Spoon batter into each cup. Bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes.


Makes 12-15 moist delicious muffins

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

IMG_3349The other day one of my neighbors offered me some fresh rhubarb from her garden. I am not a big fan of rhubarb (and don’t really know a lot about what to do with it) but I do really enjoy strawberry rhubarb pie (and I love making things with ingredients fresh from the garden). Years ago I had found a recipe and tried it. So when Matthew came in and said the neighbor asked if we wanted some I said yes! right away.

IMG_3330Rhubarb is a tart fruit that on its own is not to my liking but combined with strawberries I find the whole thing delicious. Now those years ago when I first made this pie it was the traditional white sugar filled filling, so this was my first attempt making it sugar free. I was a little nervous because it called for mixing the flour and sugar together but thought that would not work well with the agave nectar (what I chose to substitute for the sugar) being a liquid.

What I decided to do was to mix the flour and salt together and then once everything was in the pie shell to then pour the agave over top, letting it fill in the holes, as well as being on top.

IMG_3335The kids of course love pie, so it didn’t matter to them what kind of pie I was making, just that we were having pie after supper. Chloe actually helped me make the pie and enjoyed assisting in rolling out the pie crust. She also watched me cut the fruit and asked many questions along the way as to why I was doing this or that.

Once the pie was in the oven, everyone settled down. But as soon as it came out after supper I barely had time to let it cool before everyone was asking for a piece. I would have prefered to let it cool much more to allow for the filling to set but they weren’t having any of it. So I cut pieces for everyone and topped it with ice cream.

Oh. my. God. It was delicious! In fact it was even better than the sugar version I had made before. The kids licked and practically ate the plates it was on. And then promptly asked for more!

I feel that anything made fresh and with fresh garden grown ingredients is going to turn out quite well. But this was beyond my expectations, it was sooo good. With just the right combination of sweet.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

2-9 inch pie crusts (one for top and bottom)IMG_3331

2/3 c. agave nectar

¼ c. flour

¼ tsp. salt

3 c. chopped rhubarb

3 c. sliced strawberries

Mix flour and salt together, put 1/3 of mixture on the bottom of the pie crust. Add fruit in pie shell, leave slight mound in the center, and pour remaining dry ingredients on top. Pour agave nectar over top of fruit and dry ingredients. Cover with top crust. Pinch edges together to seal. Cut small slits in top of crust.

Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F and bake for 40-50 minutes. Let pie cool for at least 15 minutes before serving to allow the juices to cool and set.IMG_3345

Homemade Jam Sugar Free and Just as Delicious!

For years now I have been making my own jam, a tradition that I have learned and carried on from my mother. In the summer, we would go strawberry picking, bringing home flats of strawberries and Mum would make fresh jam.

Our kitchen would become a production center with flats of strawberries, jam jars, and other ingredients all laid out to make the jam making process easy and smooth. Mum would make jars and jars of it; because as a family of 5 we ate a lot of jam.

Many times we would have enough left over to make some great desserts too, like strawberry shortcake or strawberry rhubarb pie. Often too, Mum would simply freeze the berries for later.

Jam is very easy to make and with a few simple ingredients, a pot and your stove you can whip up a batch quite quickly and have fresh homemade jam. There are sugar free, reduced sugar and regular jam recipes, but regardless of your preference they are all delicious! The first time I made jam my husband looked at me weird and asked me why was I making jam when we could buy go some at the store. I smiled and said, “Just wait.” He did, and when he tasted it, his eyes got big and he promptly started eating it with a spoon!

When we were first eliminating sugar at our house, I wondered what I would do about making jam, as the recipe I usually used had tons of sugar in it and there were no jams in the store without sugar. The regular Certo recipes use up to 8 cups of sugar per batch, so I had to find an alternative. Last year I discovered Pomona’s Universal Pectin, which is 100% pure citrus pectin and you can use honey or other sweeteners for your jam.

I was so pleased to have discovered this I made a batch of jam right away. It turned out beautifully and my family continues to gobble it up! We tend to go through a jar of jam a week. The favorite is peach jam, but I like variety, so I also make apricot, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry and cherry.

The thing that I really like about this pectin is that I can double or triple my batch. I found that with the Certo recipes doubling or tripling did not work well and therefore was having to do one batch at a time. Ugh! Though I enjoyed making it, the process was slow and as I am sure all parents can relate, we are happy when we can do things faster and still maintain quality!

With all the fresh summer fruit I tend to make a lot of jam; as I said we go through a lot. I usually buy cherries in the Okanagan when I am there visiting my parents, I also get fresh peaches as they have a peach tree. We have our own raspberry bush, and when the children have not picked it clean and eaten them all, I will make a batch.

There’s nothing like the taste of fresh homemade jam, it is so delicious that even I would eat it with a spoon!

Making jam is very easy. Below is a recipe for Peach Jam (the favorite at our house) using Pomona’s Universal Pectin. Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

Other jam recipes are included inside both Certo and Pomona’s pectin boxes, and vary slightly depending on the kind of jam you are making. They also offer cooked and no cook jam freezer recipes.

Peach Jam

4 c. mashed peaches, peeled

1/4 c. lemon or lime juice

1 c. honey (you may use as little as 1/2 c. honey depending on how sweet you like it)

3 tsp. Pomona’s Universal Pectin

4 tsp. calcium water *

Jam jars with seals/lids and rings

Large pot to make jam in

Small pot to boil lids

Wash and rinse jars. Heat jars in 225 F oven for 10 minutes, keep warm until ready to use. Boil lids and rings in small pot. Turn down heat and let stand in hot water.

Prepare peaches by peeling, slicing and mashing to make 4 cups. Put fruit with lemon or lime juice in large pot. Add calcium water and stir.

Measure honey into a separate bowl. Add pectin powder; stir thoroughly.

Bring fruit to boil. Add pectin-honey mixture, stir vigorously about 1-2 minutes to dissolve pectin. Return pot to a boil and remove from heat.

Peach Jam on toast

Fill jars to 1/4″ from top. Wipe rims clean, place lid/seal and screw ring on top. Screw on tightly. Put filled jars in boiling water to cover and boil for 10 min. Remove from water, let jars cool. Lids will ‘pop’ as they cool to seal and should be sucked down. Store in a cool place until ready to eat.

Makes 5 -250 ml jars.

*calcium water is 1/2 tsp. white calcium powder (provided in Pomona’s Universal Pectin box) and 1/2 c. water

Note: if you do not have time to complete your jam but have the fruit; you can measure and prepare your fruit and freeze it for later use. I have done this and it works well.

Happy Jamming!

Matthew enjoying a piece of toast with freshly made peach jam