A New Loveseat For Your Mental Health

Sunday, August 31, 2014

New Loveseat

This is not a life changing announcement, but we rented a U-Haul van, and got a new loveseat off of craigslist. No more stained, faded, ripped, sunken chair and a half for us! Living the high life.

I spent months getting angry at an inanimate object, every time I saw it. And while this new contemporary sofa doesn't match the other modern sofa so well, it's still amazing what a hundred bucks placed in the right location will do for your mental health.

Success? Blueberry Lavender Jam

Friday, August 29, 2014

Blueberry Lavender Jam

When a friend and I went to Paskorz Berry Farm to pick blueberries, we ended up having to purchase a pre-picked pint so that we'd have enough ripe berries to make FoodInJars' small batch blueberry jam. It turns out, the berries still weren't quite ripe, because this stuff is tart. I'm sure the lemon isn't helping matters! All's well that ends well. We still were able to have our mini canning party.

We basically followed the recipe, except we swapped out the ginger for a ~1Tbsp of lavender in a tea bag. I think, going forward, I would use slightly more than a tablespoon, rather than slightly less. Also, not pictured: the half pint of jam that my friend took home with her.

Blueberry Lavender Jam
Blueberry Lavender Jam

Success: Plump Pea Dumplings

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Plump Pea Dumplings

These Plump Pea Dumplings from 101cookbooks are fantastic. Like, super awesome. I only bought one package of dumpling wrappers, so I ended up with some leftover filling (shown below). I'll probably go back to the Asian grocer tomorrow, nab some more wrappers, and maybe mix up some kale-bacon dumplings. The possibilities are endless!

I basically followed these instructors for folding my dumplings, since I'm a total newbie to this. They're not the neatest, but that matters little when the dumplings are in your belly.

Plump Pea Dumplings
Plump Pea Dumplings - Filling

Like a Label Machine Ready to Reload

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Puttin' the labeler to use

This may make me an old person, but having a label machine is pretty handy. It's great for all the random jars I use to hold spices, but it's even better when I'm giving random friends bits of new teas to try in tiny containers. 'Makes it look more official. And I am nothing if not official.

I've really gotta be careful of this jar-collecting addiction.

Puttin' the labeler to use

Success? Boiling Water Bath Preserved Brandied Cherries

Friday, August 22, 2014

Brandied Cherries

This recipe from PlanToCan for sweet cherries in red wine is the closest to the recipe I followed that I could find, but I used brandy instead of wine, no oranges, a split and scraped vanilla bean, and considerably fewer cherries (adjusting proportions as necessary).

A mistake I seem to be making over and over, I made once again. Don't be afraid to really pack the produce in there for raw processing. The hot syrup/brine + bath processing has a tendency to really help the produce shrink. If you don't jam them in there, you run out of syrup fast and end up with half-filled jars. So, pack them tightly. Tighter than you feel comfortable with.

Also, when I took the first few jars out of the water bath, the syrup inside the jar boiled up so fast and spattered everywhere. I've now also learned to let these jars cool a bit in the hot water before removing them to cool. Remove the canner from heat, and wait 5 minutes. Lesson learned.

Brandied Cherries

Success: Cherry Almond Poke Cake

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cherry Almond Poke Cake

I followed TheKitchn's Cherry Almond Poke Cake, except I held onto the solids from making the cherry syrup, removed the pits, and used the cherry guts as a topping. I also added an extra blob of confectioner's sugar to the icing to make it pop a bit more.

I'm currently doing an experiment, in which about half the cake is being frozen. The icing is basically a sour homemade whipped cream, which means it's not real sturdy. We'll see how the freezing/thawing process affects it.

Cherry Almond Poke Cake
Cherry Almond Poke Cake
Cherry Almond Poke Cake

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