The Shared Labor of Love by Amy Cantu

Six and a half years ago, I called a huddle in the middle of my friend's kitchen with my bridesmaids. Our task: make 102 small jars of raspberry jam as favors for my upcoming wedding. The crazy voice in my head said, "This is noooooo problem. This is a completely reasonable task for your bridesmaids. Bridesmaids are just indentured servants right??? When else, (besides your wedding,) do you test the limits of your friendships?!" Yes, my inner-cuckoo was strong that day. Cartons upon cartons of raspberries were stacked up precariously around us, threatening to tumble down and bury us at any moment. I had never made jam before, let alone for 102 people, nor had I ever scaled a recipe to yield so many servings. What I did have were friends who clearly loved me enough to slave over a hot stove on a hot summer day to help me figure it all out. We churned out batch after batch of sweet, sticky, bright pink raspberry jam - each jar topped with a small square of floral fabric and painstakingly tied with a bit of ribbon. In that moment, I had never felt so loved by this group of friends who stood by me through all of my food-related (and non-food-related) drama, and again to bear witness to the love and happiness on my wedding day - the jam was truly a labor of love.

Once more, I found myself stirring together a big pot of jam, but this time with the help of much smaller hands. One of my besties had her seven year-old niece, Aaliyah, over for a visit, so together with my four year-old, Alex, we all gathered in the kitchen with a flat of peaches and a couple cartons of raspberries to make a yummy gift that Aaliyah could take home to her family. Raspberry Peach Jam and Buttermilk Biscuits! The kids couldn't wait to cover their hands in fruity goo! Their faces were wrought with deep concentration, as their little fingers nimbly peeled the skin from the peaches and scooped the flesh into a giant bowl. They giggled as the peach juices dribbled down their hands and arms and onto the counter. Again, my heart swelled with love, but this time because I was witnessing two small children learn the rewards of sharing and giving food with the generosity of their hearts.

Follow us to the recipes:

Raspberry Peach Jam

Easy Buttermilk Biscuits

The Shared Morning Pick-me-up by Amy Cantu

I always go a little crazy when I visit a farmer's market - three baskets of blueberries for a discount? OK! (For that matter, the same goes for Costco: I can totally use up the giant bag of carrots, no problem . . . or not.) I found myself lulled by all the fun produce recently, and with more blueberries than I could possibly expect my family to eat. Then I remembered that a friend had asked if we might post a recipe for blueberry muffins. My morning was instantly looking up! Even better? Cynthia had the brilliant idea to pair these bakery-worthy Blueberry Streusel Muffins with Cold Brew Coffee and Mint Syrup! Umm, yaaaas. If this doesn't solve that mid-morning slump, I don't know what will. (Dancing a sugar-fueled, caffeine-induced happy dance that thankfully no one can see but me! Weeeee!)

P.S. July 11th was National Blueberry Muffin Day, and in perfect mom-time, I missed it by one day. Still, I don't see why we can't celebrate Blueberry Muffin Day on July 12th or any other morning, where we might need a little goodie to make our day brighter! Happy Blueberry Muffin (every)Day!

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Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Cold Brew Coffee with Mint Syrup