Friday, November 9, 2012

Dried Apples for Food Storage and Winter Snackin'

A canners dream. A lug of apples or pears, spray free and picked that morning for $8! Two please! put them up. First thing was dried apples.

Wash, core (I don't usually usually core tiny apples), and slice your apples. You can peel but being spray free I didn't bother.

To keep your apples from browning when drying, you may choose to pre-treat. This is mostly for aesthetic reasons, but it can also help your apples to retain more Vitamin A. I skipped this step but I actually do it most of the time. As you slice, toss them in a large bowl or pot with:

  • 1 cup lemon juice and 2 quarts water 

  • 2 Tablespoons absorbic acid in 2 quarts water

Make sure they aren't in there for more than 10 minutes. Soggy apples are no good. Pat dry and pop on the dehydrator. Each one varies but mine took 16-24 hours. Some took the lesser, some more depending on their size. Look for leathery fruit with no stickiness or visible water when cut in half. Cool. Seal up in jars, vaccum pack bags, or Ziplocs. Keeps for 6 months sealed in a cool dark place, up to a year in the freezer.

You can also try them in the oven. Instructions are here, here, and here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Handstitched Projects for Real Deal Bedrest

No more half a*s bedrest.
I didn't realize how much I've begun popping up and "just getting a little something done". The dishes in the dishwasher are not important. A half done bun in the oven...very important. It's not that I've HAD to it's just so hard NOT to! We are just 6 months along and continuing to having a gazillion contractions. My Fisherman's dear Mom has come up for the week and will be both keeping me company and generally helping get things caught up. My own wonderful mother, caring friends, and The Fisherman himself have all been wonderful. It's really I who haven't asked for the help I've been needing.  *There are baking, canning, and general busy-ness posts already photographed and scheduled to be shared but I promise I'm taking it easy*

So...this week I'll be working on the following projects:

Embroidered cuckoo clock from Little Dear Tracks. I'm particularly excited about this one!

400 pom poms. These are darling book marks by Design Mom but I'll be making little red pom poms for an upcoming holiday garland project.

Some variation of these gorgeous handstitched Frida Kahlo embroideries. Fabric and Embroidery Hoop by nicolemonjeau , all felt Hoop by BirdFace, Frida pattern by laceandsparrow.

What's up for your week? I'd love to hear!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hearty Lentil Soup with Kale

Sometimes, my soup starts out with a theme. Like...lentils. Most often, simmering pots on the stove are the result of what needs to be cooked up in the fridge, pulled from the garden, and what I came home from the farmers market with. I rarely follow the same recipe twice. Don't have potatoes handy but the celery needs to be used up? Use it! Only have two carrots but ten pounds of potatoes? You know what to do. Throw them in the pot! Follow this recipe loosely. Don't run to the market for another carrot or kale. Use what you have and enjoy.

3 TB olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 large onions, chopped (about 1.5 cups)
4 carrots (about 3/4 cup)
3 medium potatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
1-2tsp kosher salt
1 pound lentils, rinsed and picked through
2-3 quarts chicken or vegetable stock (water will do in a pinch)
             *I use 2 for a hearty soup, use 3 if you prefer soupier soup
1tsp cumin
1/2tsp coriander
salt and pepper to taste
1 small bunch kale

Optional Add-ins:
1 ham bone will add soooo much flavor
sliced chorizo (you can see some in the pot)
crumbled, cooked bacon
leftover ham
1/2cup chopped celery
1cup tomatoes or 1 15oz can tomatoes
more of this, less of that

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot.
Add onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, and salt. Cook 8-10 ten minutes.

Add lentils, stock, cumin, coriander, and any meat you might be adding. Turn it up to high heat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat back down to simmer 30 minutes, until lentils are tender.
 I prefer UNcovered to great a super hearty soup, covered will retain more liquid.

Add kale, simmer another 5-10 minutes. Enjoy! For more of my favorite recipes, follow along with my Pinterest board, Eat!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Little Chick Thrifty Quilt- in progress

This isn't your average quilt. It's thrifty and easy. I know you can do this and if you have actual quilting doubt even better. But if you have no experience but can stitch a stitch- you can make this, too.

I used:
a thrifted sheet with embroidered trim, cut into 42" square
wool blanket someone had washed and tossed in the dryer- super soft!
found doily and sweet hanky I stitched with one of my favorite embroidery patterns you can see here, Aunt Martha's 3753

Lay 'em out, stitch 'em up!
Place your scrappy bits (lace, trim, doilies, hankies, etc) on your top sheet until you have the look you want. Sew in place.

Now, lay your blanket right side DOWN on your kitchen floor. Layer your sheet on top, right side UP. Pin and smooth, pin and smooth. You want to make sure you don't stitch any lumps in place.

I used my acrylic ruler that happened to be four inches wide to draw lines across the quilt with a disappearing ink pen. Hand stitch (or machine) down each line.

The blanket is almost done! I still need to make the binding (using this method) and bind it. Bedrest has me stitching up a storm but no able to dash off for the perfect fabric for the trim. I'm a big believer in using what you have but I want a certain something not in my collection of fabrics. We'll see if I hold out for a fabric shop run or make do! I'll post the finished quilt soon. For more crafty ideas, follow along with my Pinterest board, Handmade and Handmade Embroidery!
What are you working up lately?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Fall! My Hopes for the Season

Enjoying breakfast on the porch this morning.

It's the day after Halloween! Time to get started planning and making holiday goodness. This is the first holiday season as a family for my Fisherman and I, plus the wee one on the way. Being on bedrest, moderate or not, it's a humbling chance to slow down. Soak up the season. Enjoy tiny moments. My hopes for celebrating the season:

  • not spend any money on decorations, including a Christmas tree. use what we have, make the rest, use nature to bring the season inside. 
  • purge even more of my own holiday decoration collection 
  • make a short list of simple gifts to make and share and stick to it. 
  • spend time on handmade cards. mail early.
  • above all else: keep it simple and roll with it.
Bam. That's really just about it. How do you hope to celebrate this season?
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