Right now : I am

right now i am

 

right now i am

 

right now i am

 

right now i am

 

preparing : for a certain boy's 5th birthday celebration

eating : this bread & jam and never tiring of it

feeling : very sappy and oh so sentimental about my baby boy (5? Oh my)

baking : dark chocolate cupcakes

thinking : the Five birthday shirt might be a wee bit late

waiting : for some of these bolts to arrive (!!!!)

drooling : over this new to me space

savoring : these last few days of summer vacation with all six of us together

thinking : sangria is in order for this weekend or perhaps this?

putting up : one last batch of peach lavender butter to smile at me in January

loving : the wishes that are filling up Luke's first birthday jar

in awe : of the almost five year old boy who sped down the sidewalk last night on his sister's two wheeled bike. wow.

 

Happy weekending to you all.

 

Peach Sauvignon Blanc Jam

Peach Sauvignon Blanc Jam

 

Here it is!

Let me tell you, no one was complaining when I cooked up a second batch of this lovely jam to make sure the recipe was just right. It's so very good. The white wine & peach combination idea came from our favorite white sangria recipe, which I still need to share here. I researched a few wine jelly recipes online to get an idea for proportions and…. viola! Some darn good jam was born. I do so hope that you love it just as much as we do. And I'd like to say it is just delicious with butter on a warm slice of our favorite bread. Mmmmmm.

 

Peach Sauvignon Blanc Jam

 

Peach Sauvignon Blanc Jam

{makes about 7 half pints}


8 cups of chopped peaches (about 8 or so large peaches)

1 bottle of dry white wine (3 cups) *see note below

1/4  cup lemon juice

2 cups sugar (we use organic evaporated cane juice)

1/2 cup water

1 box low sugar pectin (I use sure jell, pink box)


Scrub the peaches clean and halve them to easily remove the pits. Discard the pits and cut the peaches up into 1 inch cubes. Leave the peels on the peaches for a beautiful & easy jam. Puree half the wine with half the peaches in a blender and pour into a large pot, repeat with the second half of the peaches.

Bring the peach wine puree to a simmer & continue simmering uncovered for 15 minutes over medium heat. It will thicken slightly and become clear-ish.

Mix the pectin with 1/2 cup of the sugar & set aside.

Add the lemon juice & 1/2 cup of water to the peaches & stir well. Add the remaining 1.5 cups of sugar in 1/2 cup increments, stirring well after each addition. Add the pectin sugar mixture and stir very well. Simmer for 5 more minutes or until the jam sets up on a cold plate. {if you put a plate in the freezer before you simmer the peaches, you can put a spoonful of the jam onto it, place it in the freezer for 2 minutes and it should set up. If you push your finger through it, it will be solid & wrinkle slightly.}

Fill sterilized half pints with 1/4 inch headspace, wipe tops clean, place lids & rings on making sure rings are just finger tight & process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

If you are new to canning, I highly suggest this book for understanding the basics. It has fantastic pictures too!

*For the wine I would suggest Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. Both are dryer less sweet wines. We used our own home-brewed Sauvignon Blanc and the results were fantastic.


Peach Sauvignon Blanc Jam

 

Enjoy!

  

bun-less burgers, mayo & a camera mishap

That's a heck of a title, no?

Let's start from the beginning.

These are bun-less burgers which all of us (well, maybe not the teenaged boy) have very much enjoyed. Senposai leaves from the garden make great 'buns' on these petite hamburgers. Local grass-fed beef, homemade mayo and garden/farm fresh leaves & tomatoes. So good.

 

Senposai Burger

 

I've been making mayo. Yep. And it's really good. We finally settled on a recipe we like and I thought I should share it with you here. I have no issues with raw eggs and we seem to eat mayo up within a week-ish time frame so I'm cool with that. However…. it is made with raw eggs, so use your own judgement should you choose to make it. I highly recommend farm (backyard) fresh eggs.

 

homemade mayo

 

Our favorite Mayo

2 egg yolks

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp white vinegar

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt

1-2 drips of honey (scant 1/4 tsp)

1 cup grapeseed oil

 

Whisk together everything except the oil. You can use a food processer, however I don't have one right now…. so this cute guy I know volunteered for the whisking job. (thank you Joe!) Here's a great tutorial on the emulsification process. You need to whisk the oil in a wee little speck at a time. Seriously, watch that video. When it's nice & thick store it in the fridge in a glass mason jar. It keeps for up to two weeks. If it lasts that long.

 

mayo & tomatoes

 

garden fresh tomato, homemade mayo & pepper {so good}

 

It is good on anything. But I have this personal weakness for mayo & pepper on garden fresh tomatoes. Spicy chipotle is even better than fresh black pepper…. yum.

And the camera mishap? Well… you see… those cute littler kids in the house were building an epic fort out of play silks and it seems mama's camera took a major digger. After which the youngest brings me the lens cap…. with half the lens still attached to it.

"Oh noo….." say I.

"Daddy could fix it?" Luke says to me.

Note : It's always the best idea to send the youngest cutest child when something goes wrong. Those kids are smart.

Joe did snap it back together with a warning of it's not lasting for long. He was right. The very next pictures I took (these ones) ended with the lens popping off and flying into the grass. Really. *sigh* Some days are just like that. So I'm back to the old basic and hoping maybe the sugar sprite will bring me a new one this fall? I'll even bake her a pumpkin cake.

Mostly I just wish I could have taken a photo of that lens in the grass to share with all of you. But then, it's hard to take a picture with lens-less camera…. so just imagine it and laugh with me. That's the best thing to do about these sort of mishaps anyhow.

 

a flyby

 

flyby

 

This week was a bit of a flyby….

you know, the kind where you get to the end of it and wipe your brow and say phew, that was something.

So. Darn. Busy.

We learned together.

I worked a little.

He worked a lot.

He brewed some beer.

I canned & cooked.

There was laughing.

And not laughing.

It was hot. And humid. {And more hot.}

Somewhere we managed to fit a run to the hardware store in, just the two of us…. you know the two grown ups, riding in Lola.

Oh yes, that bus, she has a name. The windows rolled down, the air whistling past us. So  q-u-i-e-t, even amongst the very noisy sort of car that 30+ year old vw's happen to be. We both sighed…. and smiled and laughed at life. This sweet chaotic busy and beautiful life.

It's good to be here.

Happy weekending to you.

 

home canning anonymous….

 

Hi my name is Stephinie, I am an obsessive home canner…..


millions of peaches

 

For reals folks, it's been crazy around here. Last weekend we put up 10 quarts each of whole tomatoes & peach halves, 6 pints of tomato salsa, 6 pints of peach salsa, 6 jars of gingered fig jam and 3 jars of Sauvignon Blanc Peach Jam. (The last two my very own creations!)

 

peach salsa

 

tomato salsa

 

My friend Rachel seriously has the best darn salsa recipes out there. Her peach salsa is amazing (& gorgeous to look at!) and her tomato salsa is rich and hearty and peeping out from my pantry asking to be opened. I've been bringing home boxes of local produce and the salsas have been almost totally local, with the exception of cilantro & onions.

The pantry is filling up little by little and I am loving (like entirely too much) labeling the beautiful jars of food with these simple little labels. And these adorably fantastic labels have foodie gift giving ideas dancing in my mind.

 

tomatoes & peaches

 

It's pure addiction friends…. pure addiction indeed. It sure keeps a girl busy in the humid heat and jars hold awfully still while you photograph them. A jam photo shoot?! I know, I know. I promise to try and curb my preserving posts back to a reasonable amount…. really I will… but first just take a peek at these lovelies…..

 

peach & fig jam

 

free figs = figgy jam

 

sunshine peachy jam

 

Peach Sauvignon Blanc ~ A lovely jam made from blended peaches, a whole bottle of Joe's amazing Sauvignon Blanc Wine, sugar and pectin.

With this sort of loot, toast can never be boring.

Tell me, are any of you enjoying putting up the summer's bounty? Do share.

 

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt {Monday Bites}

There it sat.

The very last jar of blackberry jam from last year's wild blackberries. It was sooooooo good. I kept trying to think of something sort of noble to do with that last jar. Something amazing…. something delicious.

And then I did.

No, no I didn't eat it up with a spoon. Though that would have been delicious also….

 

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt

 

I made homemade Blackberry Frozen Yogurt.

We've been making half gallon batches of yogurt for quite awhile and I have loved the ease of the culture on the counter variety we purchased here. No need to scald the milk first or use a yogurt maker, just add the starter culture to the cold milk & leave it on the counter overnight. So easy! 

This frozen yogurt recipe is more tutorial then exact measurements. Feel free to change things around, I'm sure it will be delicious no matter what you try!

 

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt

 

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt (makes about 2 quarts)

2 quarts (1/2 gallon) of plain whole milk yogurt

1 pint of jam

1 cup of sugar

1/2 c reserved whey or water

 

First you need to strain your yogurt. If you buy store bought yogurt you can skip this step. However, homemade yogurt tends to be more loose and I strained about 2-3 cups of liquid (whey) from our yogurt. To do this I lined a fine mesh colander with a piece of cotton cloth (like a cloth napkin), poured the yogurt into it and let it drip into a bowl underneath the strainer. I covered it & let it sit for about and hour or so until it was closer to a soft-ish sour cream consistency. The whey can be used for lacto-fermenting or poured into your compost.

Next you need to make a simple syrup. I used 1/2 cup of the whey and 1 cup of sugar and simmered it until the sugar dissolved and the mixture was a light syrup. You can use water in place of the whey. Making a simple syrup makes the frozen yogurt creamier than just adding sugar to it. Honey could also be used.

Add the jam to your strained yogurt and mix well. Add the simple syrup a little at a time to sweeten it to your taste. We ended up using all of it for ours as the blackberry jam was on the tart side and the result was a tart-sweet yogurt. A bit sweet for breakfast, but not nearly as sweet as ice cream.

 

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt

 

Chill the yogurt for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator and then follow the directions on your ice cream maker to make the frozen yogurt. Our favorite ice cream maker is the old fashioned crank style, ours is just like this one. If there are any leftovers, it can be stored in an airtight container in your freezer. For best scoopability it's best to let it sit at room temp for a few minutes to soften up before scooping.

 

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt

 

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt

 

This is definitely our new favorite ice cream. And my two little ones are insistent that both their ice cream cones be in this post. So, here they are…..

 

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt

 

7

 

Yum, right??

Enjoy!

 

Right now : I am

right now : i am

 

right now : i am

 

right now : i am

 

right now : i am

 

right now : i am

 

right now : i am

 

right now : i am

 

always : loving the sound of his fingers strumming that guitar….. especially when it's outside over a pint of homebrew

welcoming : a new baby girl into the world, my dear sweet friend had her third baby & first daughter this week, welcome to the world baby T…. we are so glad to have you with us

fermenting : flours and teas and dairy things and loving kitchen science

eating : fresh yogurt, frozen berries & hemp seeds for breakfast in my handmade bowl…. so good

loving : this musical girl of mine, learning the mandolin…. inspired by her daddy and this song

reading : the last of this book and feeling so inspired

thinking : of more things to do with local tomatoes and peaches (canning obsession, perhaps)

holding : this big boy a little close in my heart and thinking of his amazing upcoming adventures

grateful : for the abundance of local grub that is feeding my family

smiling : at that sweet, old dog (that picture is just for you Stacy!)

listening : to the sound of the rain and grateful to mother nature for watering the garden this week

 

Have a lovely weekend everyone.


this boy

There is a birthday coming up in a few short weeks for a certain boy in our house…. I am watching as a very independent 5 year old emerges before my eyes.

Last weekend I gave him a haircut and as his crazy wild locks fell to the floor I was a bit startled by the boy I found underneath. My goodness, is he really that big? My heart skipped a little at the sight of this big little boy staring back at me. I suppose so…. I thought. It creeps up on us, you know? It seems the littlest of things can make us suddenly realize the time that has passed, the changes that have transpired.

When I snapped the before picture, he asked me "Mama, can I just do a grumpy face?"

 

shaggy boy

 

Afterwards I asked if I could have a happy face this time, he obliged.

 

mama barber shop

 

The very next morning I sat drinking my coffee when he tumbled in with wild bed hair and sleepy eyes. He climbed onto my lap and nestled his head under my chin the way he does each morning. Telling me stories of his dreams as he transitioned into his awake world….. and before I'm ready he leaps out of my arms and onto the floor. Awake and energetic, excited to start this new day. 

"I'm hungry! I want a peach."

I get up and start to assist him in his usual foraging of breakfast items….

"You can make the toast, but I want to cut my peach myself. I can do it, okay mama?" he says to me. The last bit of it sounding more like he is reassuring me of his confident self then asking me permission. So I make the toast and I sit at the table and watch him.

 

peach

 

With determination he cuts it in half almost like he's seen it done so many times before. He looks at me every now and then….. most likely to read the expression on my face. I offer no assistance, no suggestions… I just watch. I'm trying to remember if I've seen him at the counter before, when was he able to reach by himself? How did I miss that?

 

peach

 

I get him a plate and he piles his cut up peach pieces onto it. I could have sworn just the act of cutting up that peach made him stand a little taller, look a little older. My baby.

 

brown eyes

 

"See Mom." He says to me as he sinks his teeth into a big chunk of fruit.

Boy do I ever.

 

Peachy Preserving

local peaches (ruston variety)

 

This is our first time ever having affordable access to local peaches. We've been eating them up and loving them…. really, really loving. We cubed them and froze them (peel still on) for smoothies and oatmeal. Frozen peaches stirred into oatmeal cools it quickly for the hungry people awaiting breakfast and it's soooo good… especially if you have blueberries too. YUM!

On Saturday, Joe & I blanched, peeled and cut up almost 35 pounds of peaches. 

 

blanching

 

peeled & halved

 

so many peaches....

 

We made a quadruple batch of ginger-cardamom-peach jam (from Gourmet Preserves). We left out the crystallized ginger in the recipe and instead added a little muslin bag of whole cardamom pods to steep during the boiling. Delicious! We also made a double batch of lavender peach butter (from Ashley English Canning & Preserving which I am loving). The lavender is really subtle and absolutely divine! We canned 23 jars total… a mix of pints & half pints. After buying fresh lids, peaches, ginger & sugar it cost us under $1.50 per jar to put these up. As if peaches didn't make me happy enough! (I all ready had the jars.)

 

ready for a bath....

 

hot water bath

 

ginger peach jam & peach lavender butter

 

Isn't there something so gratifying about putting up the harvest? I can't even quite imagine how wonderful it will be to open up that sweet peachy sunshine in a jar this winter.

Peaches, oh peaches… I do believe I am smitten with you.