Slow Cooker Blueberry Thyme Jam

I’m writing this post from 36,000 feet while on a plane to Phoenix (YAY TECHNOLOGY). I’ve also been up since 3am, so if my writing gets a little…off-track? Just roll with it.

Slow Cooker Blueberry Thyme Jam

It’s the beginning of a whirlwind month for me – first, I’m spending a few days in Arizona for the Mortar Board National Conference (I’m part of their national leadership board) to talk about leadership and fundraising and event coordinating and strategic planning and all my faaaaaavorite (seriously) organizational/administrative things (COLOR CODING 4 LYFE).

Slow Cooker Blueberry Thyme Jam

Then, on Sunday, I’m off to Oregon for THE WHOLE REST OF AUGUST. I’m meeting with some clients in person, hanging out with my family, soaking up enough Portland to last me the next year or so, and taking press visits to local farms, fisheries, and food artisan hubs in PDX and elsewhere in the Pac-NW. I’ll be taking lots (and lots and lots and lots) of pictures, writing about food systems in the Northwest for both Life As A Strawberry and The Sustainable Seafood Blog Project, and eating ALL.OF.THE.THINGS. (Side note: if you’re located in Oregon or Washington, represent a food and sustainability- or hunger-related organization, and would like to show me and my readers around your operation, shoot me an email! I’d love to connect).

But I think the point of this post is to tell you about jam, yes? THIS jam ⬇️⬇️⬇️.

Slow Cooker Blueberry Thyme Jam

I loved the strawberry basil slow cooker jam I made last year so much that I decided to give it a whirl with a blueberry and thyme combo. Now, confession: I am not a blueberry person. Like, AT ALL. But my friend Megan (HI MEGAN) gifted me with a giant bag of blueberries when she moved out of town, and they sat in my fridge just staring at me for a few days before it occurred to me to cook them down with some sugar and herbs and slather them on bread (along with a heap o’ goat cheese, you know how I do). Fresh blueberries are fun because you can pick them up at the farmer’s market in nifty little containers, but frozen blueberries work just as well.

Slow Cooker Blueberry Thyme Jam

If you’re not a fan of chunky jam (*raises own hand*) give the final product a whirl in the blender to smooth it out and make it more spreadable. I served it with crostini topped with a shmear of goat cheese (can you say shmear when it’s goat cheese? Or does it have to be cream cheese? Shmear police assemble!) and it was kind of awesome. Kyle and I actually liked the combo so much that we forewent real dinner and instead ate a meal’s worth of these crostini jam guys. And then I bought more bread and ate it again for breakfast yesterday. #CantStopWontStop

The thyme in this jam is mellow – it lends a deep, earthy flavor but doesn’t jump out and smack you in the face. I loved this combo, and the tartness of the goat cheese we paired it with just took it over the top. PLUS, this is slow cooker blueberry thyme jam, which means it takes maybe twenty seconds to throw together and won’t produce any excessive stovetop heat (it is summer, after all).

Happy jamming, friends! [Read more…]

Creamy BLT Gnocchi

Creamy BLT Gnocchi

It’s supposed to be close to 100 degrees outside today, so naturally I’m taking this opportunity to share a rich, creamy gnocchi dish that requires you to turn the stove on. 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

I promise it’s worth it, though. This BLT gnocchi comes together in about half an hour (yay for quick and easy meals!) and it reheats really well, so you can snack on the leftovers for days afterwards without losing any flavor. [Read more…]

Avocado Eggs Benedict with Bacon and Goat Cheese

Avocado Eggs Benedict

I can’t stop thinking about brunch.

It’s Monday, so I really shouldn’t be thinking about brunch. I should be thinking about answering emails and catching up on some client work and organizing my desk so my workspace looks a little less “natural disaster” and a little more “competent professional.” [Read more…]

A Bloggy Birthday and My Thesis Results

Today is kind of a weird day, and I’m about to make it a little weirder by skipping a recipe entirely. But it’s Life As A Strawberry’s third birthday (🎉🎂👏🏼) and I figured a blogaversary is the perfect time to be a little weird (“but Jessie, you’re a little weird every day…” <— SHHHH) and celebrate how much I and you and all of us love food in a way that isn’t just making myself a cake (although I will probably also make myself a cake, because cake).

I figured maybe today, instead of throwing my new favorite dinner in your face, I’d tell you a story about me, Life As A Strawberry, and food. And also share a peek at the results of my Master’s research (which I have been promising to do for what seems like eternity but totally haven’t done until right now, and I would like to say it’s because I had a master plan to wait until the blog’s birthday to share it but really I’m just lazy and it’s quite nerve-wracking to publish this post so, umm, please be kind if you leave a comment?).

If you’ve known me for awhile or heard me speak at a conference, you know that my academic background is in food security. I grew up watching my Mom (Hiiiiiiiii, Mom!) in the kitchen (she’s a caterer) and learning to love not just food, but the community it created. When I was 15, Mom started a nonprofit called The Table that provided free meals and groceries to the working poor around Portland, Oregon (where I grew up). I spent most of high school and college breaks working at The Table – even running the kitchen a few times – learning a lot about food, cooking, and what it means to be hungry in America. More than anything else, I listened to people’s stories. [Read more…]