Category Archives: baking

Blueberry Jam Tutorial

Three weeks ago, I purchased a 10lb box of blueberries from a local library fundraiser. Do you know how many blueberries are in 10 pounds?! A lot. A lot a lot. 20140629_19071920140629_190715 

 

So, what the heck were we going to do with these? I made one pie, I was eating them every day mixed in with granola and yogurt, but these activities hardly made a dent in the box.

 

We decided to make blueberry jam! It was a modified recipe (Ok, I misread the recipe) and it turned out great! It’s always nice to have a helper when you’re making jam.

20140629_185343

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephanie’s Blueberry Jam Recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

5 1/2 cups crushed blueberries
4 tablespoons lemon juice
7 cups granulated sugar
1 (3-ounce) pouches liquid pectin

DIRECTIONS:

1.Simmer the jars and lids in a canning pot with the rack on bottom. Keep jars hot until you’re ready to use them. Set the screw bands aside, they do not require heating.

20140629_184737
Mashed blueberries and suger

2. In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine crushed blueberries, lemon juice and sugar. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the pectin. Boil hard, stirring frequently. Check to see when the jam is set using the spoon test. Dip a metal spoon into the jam. If the jam drips off quickly, it is not set yet. If the jam coagulates and drips off slowly, it is ready to can.

 

 

 

 

 

20140629_190833
Boiling Blueberries

3. Working with one jar at a time, remove a jar from the canner. Place the jar on a heat-protected work surface, such as a wooden cutting board or towel. Ladle the hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Slide a rubber spatula down between the food and the inside of the jar two or three times to release air bubbles. Adjust headspace if necessary, by adding more hot jam. With a clean damp cloth or paper towel, wipe jar rim and threads. Center the sealing compound on the rim of the jar. Place a screw band on the jar. With your fingers, screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight. (Do not use excessive force to tighten.) Return the jar to the rack in the hot water-filled canner. Repeat filling steps until all jars are filled.

20140630_073806
Six jars of blueberry jam, all ready to eat!

4. When all of the jars are in the canner, adjust the water level in the canner so that it covers the jars by at least 1 inch. Cover and bring the water to a full rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling hard and continuously, process for 10 minutes. After letting it sit in the pot with the lid off for 5 minutes, remove the jars, lifting them out of the hot water without tilting them. You don’t want to disturb the lids while the seal is being formed. Place the jars upright on a towel in a draft-free place and let cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours.

It makes a delicious topping for toast!

Next up, strawberry jam! That will have to be a different post though, because I can’t find the memory card those photos are on…

Posted in canning, canning, cooking, Tutorial, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Success!

This past weekend, I hosted a trunk show for my business. I set up on the front patio of my local yarn store on Saturday. It was a gorgeous day- not too hot, just enough of a breeze, and sunny. The store currently carries only one size of bags that I make, so I loved having the opportunity to showcase a wider range of sizes, plus introduce new items. Overall it was a very productive day, and I am glad I did it.

Here was the set-up:

10300976_583118965140401_8770612320005810428_n

10395845_583118605140437_8137253398709026154_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the large box bags and drawstring bags. These large bags are amazing- I can fit a completed adult men’s sweater in one! These are nice for those large projects. The photo on the right is notion pouches, DPN holders, and needle rolls. These were all brand new items, and I loved having the chance to show them off.

These next two photos are just an overview of the set-up. A really cute location, and a ton of fun to do.

10407609_583018181817146_7510447722583249465_n

10401972_583018108483820_1941111177161489651_n

 

 

 

Now on to some more fun personal stuff!

20140526_124128 20140531_131346

First up is shawl progress. We had such gorgeous weather a few weekends ago that I spent the afternoon on our patio knitting. This of course involved lunch on the patio, too. We eat nothing but the best here- mystery meat in a tube. The shawl is complete, with a few modifications. I didn’t do the lace edging, and instead did a garter stitch border. I wish I had more mats so I could have blocked it a bit more vigorously, but it is still pretty generously sized. I am so madly in love with the fiber and color that I am tempted to buy another 8oz and spin some more.

20140526_181339 DSC02616

 

I also went on a baking kick. This was a rosemary potato bread recipe I’ve had for a while, but never tried. This came out exactly like the Wegman’s rosemary-sea salt bread. It was delicious, and gone within a few days. I couldn’t believe how large the two loaves were going to be- these things proofed out huge!

DSC02615 20140526_152156

Then it was pie time. Blueberries aren’t quite in season here yet, but they are on sale at the grocery stores, so we decided it was time for blueberry pie. It’s my basic pie recipe- baked shell, with the hot filling poured in and then chilled. It takes 15 minutes, start to finish, and is always a hit.

20140526_104826

I will say, all of this activity seemed to wear someone out. She tried to help as much as possible (read: get underfoot and then be cranky when she accidentally got kicked); but finally resigned herself to napping over by my wheel.

 

 

 

And what would this be without a photo of my current WIP?

20140530_192033

That right there is 21 weeks. I feel so much larger than I look! He is becoming quite active- the kicks are visible now, and half the time it feels like an alien is trying to burst out of me. We are officially past the halfway point! I guess this means we should start working on putting together a nursery…or planning a nursery…

Posted in baking, fiber, knitting, pie, shawl, wool, yarn | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goodness and Light

We are a mere days away from Christmas, and preparations are in full swing! Because of exams and fieldwork, I got a late start on the Holidays this year. Life has been so busy, we didn’t even get a real tree, we just put up my artificial one from college. I don’t mind too much- I’m glad it’s getting used. I just miss having a real one. 

856219_10101427128270378_1317278008_o

We got the tree up at the beginning of the month, and decorated soon after. Even though not much else was completed all month, it is nice having it there, decorated and lit up. It helps bring a little bit of the holiday spirit. There is a certain cat here that feels the tree is meant for eating. I think from now on we need to suffer through getting a real tree. At least those are less toxic than processed plastics.

 

 

 

I’ve been working on my Opulent Raglan almost exclusively this month. I hope to have it done in time for my work holiday party in January. This photo is old- I cast off the body this morning, and am getting ready to pick up stitches for the sleeves. This is a perfect tv watching knit.

1470281_10101438564532018_1351419053_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday my mother and I finally found time to get together and knock out some of the baking. We managed to complete two batches of spritz, 1.5 batches of gingerbread and a batch of peanut butter blossoms (peanut butter cookies with a hershey kiss in the center). I still have two batches of sugar cookies and some gingerbread to complete, but that’s not bad for one day!

1518286_10101447415070468_880479835_n1525360_10101446914608398_1783598926_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my family we usually do half the gingerbread with red hots, and the other half plain, but this year I had a sudden urge to ice some of the plain ones. I had so much fun giving them little faces and outfits! They will be much more entertaining to eat than the plain ones. 

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been all joy and light around here. On our way to dinner Friday, Skye had an unfortunate incident. Seems the lady behind us at a red light was in a great rush to get somewhere, and nailed us on the right corner. Skye isn’t too bad, but her car 

is totaled. It could be much, much worse, and I will say that considering how hard she hit us, I am so thankful for how well made Honda’s are.  

20131221_084513

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is going to be full of baking, prepping for perogi’s to eat on Christmas Eve, and sewing some special project bags for Christmas gifts. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

Posted in baking, knitting, yarn | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Late Valentines

J and I have a Valentine’s tradition. Every year, I buy nothing, and every year, he makes me chocolate covered raspberries. This has been our tradition every year that we have been in the same time zone (mailing these would get messy). The one rule he has is that I am not allowed to help. I can supervise, since baking isn’t his forte, but I am not allowed to lift one finger. Twist my arm, darling.

Here are some photos from his delicious gift.

DSC02035

DSC02055

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, off to eat my delicious raspberries!

Posted in baking | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pi(e) squared

The third Thursday of every June is Jubilee Day in Mechanicsburg, PA. It’s the largest single day festival on the east coast, and is filled with food, music, souveniers, you name it, it’s there. This year they decided to host an old fashioned pie contest. I love baking, and I love competing (more importantly, I love winning,) so I figured why not? 

I make a blueberry pie that my family loves. Part of it could be because they like me and don’t want to hurt my feelings, but I like to think it’s because of my superior pie-making skills. Even with my awesome culinary talents, I knew this would be a challenge. I need to pull out the big guns.

enter Pinterest. A while ago I had pinned a photo of a braided pie crust. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to dress up my plain blueberry pie in it’s finest, to try and get some bonus points with the judges. You start by rolling out the dough about 1/8″ thick. You then cut long, thin strips out, and take three at a time pinch them at the top, and very carefully braid them. I found it easier to braid them if I also twisted each strip as I crossed it over, otherwise it wouldn’t lay flat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I brushed water around the edge of the main crust, and attached the braided strips. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While that was baking, I needed to get my filling ready to go. This filling is super easy and quick to make, with little hassle. All it takes is some water, sugar, cornstarch, and blueberries. I like easy, so this is perfect! ( The teapot in the background is not necessary for pie-making).

Once the crust is baked and the filling had set, it was time for the finishing touch. What is the one thing that might make a pie judge swoon over how clever you are? Why, a Pi Pie of course!

 

…I accidentally burnt my Pi. I made a new one, but was way to tired to take a photo of it by the time it was done, so you all get to see the poor first attempt. Sorry everyone.

I didn’t win the pie competition, but it was still tons of fun, and so great seeing everyone else’s entries! Now I know just how to step up my game and win it next year. 

 

 

 

 

Posted in baking, pie | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment