Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What is this?!

After scouring the internet high and low, I have yet to find a definitive answer as to what function this item serves:

My first thought is wine carrier, especially because MADE IN ITALY is stamped on leather.  The strap shows wear and the metal components of the strap do not look new.  Lined in thick black fabric, needlepoint on outside.

Any vintage buffs out there who can shed some light on this?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

No More Jelly Jars

Once again, I resorted to a random container to hold jelly. 

The color of the jelly is so beautiful; it was made with very ripe red and yellow plums.  Mr. K.  gave me a giant bag of plums and they were on the verge of turning into wine.  After washing them and pulling out the pit (yes, they were that soft), I cooked them down in the Dutch oven.  When the peels were slipping off and the pot was a bubbling, fragrant mass, I added a bit at a time to my makeshift chinois.  The juice dripped slowly and I pressed the pulp.  The plums produced about 8-10 cups juice and a few cups of pulp.

Sugar and pectin added and...voila!...plum jelly.  I only had a few jars so the lot of it will sit a covered refrigerator dish.  I covered and saved the pulp because I remember reading that it makes fantastic fruit leather.  If anyone knows of a good fruit leather recipe, let me know!

Off to start my quiet time, the best part of my day.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tart Cranberry Lemon Bread

A few years ago I created a recipe for cranberry lemon bread.  As a lover of tart-sweet breads, I never found a recipe that was "sparkling" tart...puckering lemon and tart cranberries with a lemony-vanilla cake-like bread.  Many experiments later, this bread is our hands-down favorite, loaded with cranberries and walnuts.  The batter is VERY stiff and it almost needs to be patted into the loaf pans.  It makes 3 generous 9 x 5 loaves so some can be frozen.

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. lemon zest
Juice from 2 lemons +  jam to equal 1 1/2 cups (I used homemade yellow plum preserves)

4 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

About 3 cups fresh/frozen cranberries (I use a 16oz bag)
About 1-1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

Cream butter & sugar.  Add eggs.  Add zest & juice/jam mixture and mix all.  Sift together dry ingredients and blend into wet.  Last add berries & nuts and mix together.  (A KitchenAid reigns supreme here).  

Lightly spray or butter three 9x5 loaf pans.  Place batter (stiff!!)  into pans and press down, if necessary.  Bake in 350 degree oven until done (about 45 minutes; I usually determine by the smell and/or pressing center of loaf).  Let cool and slice.  Like most breads, it tastes even better if you can restrain yourself and let it rest a couple days.

*Also waiting to make my pumpkin latte.  Etsy has been so busy, among other things.  Per MySweetCreations suggestion, I am going to buy some vanilla syrup (or make some).

Stay tuned!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall in the Midwest

Unlike my husband, I am thrilled when the hot, muggy days begin to give way to cool days and cooler nights.  Autumn has been my favorite season for as long as I can remember. 

One of my favorite memories is a day spent raking my Grandma Fitzgerald's huge yard, heaping the leaves into massive piles that were twice the size of me or my sister, Jill.  (They seemed like small mountains).  The day was chilly and I remember getting cold even with my jacket on.  Burning leaves was the climax of our fun day and the smell of the huge bonfire and smoke was/is wonderful.

We have been "blessed" with many trees in our yard.  Unfortunately, leaves must now be bagged and placed curbside.  Adding insult to injury, the Village requires waste stickers on each bag.  We usually have around 30:( 

The fall baking has already begun.  In a few weeks, Meijer will have their apple sale.  They bring in about 10 varieties of fresh apples from Michigan and supply bags for filling.  For a flat price, one can cram as many apples as possible in a bag.  T & C help choose a colorful variety. We pile them into vintage bowls and use them for all kinds of baking.  Two favorite recipes are: chunky apple cake and apple butter.  I think I posted both recipes last fall....I will check & link back.

Seeing all the advertising for pumpkin spice lattes has made me want to learn how to make them at home.  Doesn't everything taste better homemade?  I will be trying this weekend and will post pics & review. 

Best news of all this week!  My sister, Lisa, had a baby girl!  After 3 boys, baby Hannah is a much anticipated arrival.  Cannot wait to meet her.

As for my adventures in vintage, T & I were out last night and I spotted a curious cookie jar shaped like a pig.  He looked "familiar" to me and I was fairly certain that he was a collector's item.  We scooped him up for $2.99 and here is his listing.  Found out that he is, indeed, a collector's item:


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wisdom from my sister

Does every stay at home mom feel like September is actually the "start" of the year as opposed to January?  This past week, month has been busy.  Between the new quarter for children's ministry, managing the soccer team and prepping T for school, it has been non-stop action.

We have been very consistent in adhering to regular family devotions and it has been a welcome moment at the day's end.  If any body has ideas on what would be a resource for both 10 and 3 year old boys, let me know! 

Next week, my Tuesday Bible study starts up again and I am so excited for B & A to be teaching!  I miss the accountability, the prayer time, the mommy talks. 

Now on to the title of the post.  My sister, Lisa, was a guest blogger for a website and had some great thoughts to share on being a wife.