Posts Tagged diy

Blueberry Lavender Jam with Vanilla Bean

Sadly, this has not been a summer of canning. Rather, this has been a summer of work, writing a cookbook, throwing a pop-up beer garden for the World Cup, and getting ready for a tiny human. I’ve been distracted, to say the least.

In the midst of the craziness, I’ve found pockets of spare time to can and preserve a few precious jars of goodies. I inherited a rather large stash of blueberries recently, and made a number of different dishes (including these blueberry and corn crostini). I set aside most of the blueberries, however, with the intention of making jam as I absolutely adore blueberry jam. In fact, blueberry jam might be my second favorite jam of all time. (It should go without saying that my Grandmother’s strawberry freezer jam is the best jam of all time.) Blueberry jam is just so dark, sweet, and wonderful. It is especially delicious when slathered on biscuits, toast, scones, or any other bready item.

For this particular batch of blueberry jam, I wanted to mix things up a bit. So, I decided to add lavender and vanilla bean. Because, why not? It sounded good. As it turns out, the combination of blueberries, lavender, and vanilla bean really is quite good. If you happen to have a few extra blueberries lying around, I highly encourage you to make a batch of this blueberry lavender jam. You won’t regret it.

 

Blueberry Lavender Jam with Vanilla Bean

Ingredients

  • 8 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender
  • 4.5 cups sugar
  • Zest & juice of one lemon
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 3 tablespoons Ball RealFruit Pectin
  • ½ teaspoon unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Wash and sterilize jars and lids. In a large canning pot, cover jars with water and bring to a boil. Boil for at least 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow jars to rest in the hot water until needed. Additionally, places the bands and lids in a small pot and boil for a 5 minutes.
  2. Place lavender in a small bowl or cup, and pour ½ cup of boiling water over the dried lavender. Allow to steep for 15-20 minutes. Strain out the dried lavender and reserve the remaining liquid for the jam.
  3. Using a blender, immersion blender, food processor, or potato masher – mash or crush the blueberries.
  4. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup of sugar with the pectin.
  5. In large stock pot or pan, combine the crushed blueberries, lemon zest and juice, vanilla bean seeds, and lavender liquid. Stir in the sugar-pectin mixture and the butter. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  6. Once the mixture is boiling, add the remaining sugar (4.25 cups). Return to a full rolling boil, and boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove jam from heat and skim off any foam.
  7. Remove jars from the hot water, and ladle jam into hot jars. Leave a ¼” head space. Wipe the jar rims clean, and place lids and bands on the jars. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
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Coconut and Date Granola + A Handmade Holiday DIY Gift Guide!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really love Christmastime. It may sound cheesy, but I do believe this is the most wonderful time of the year.

Each and every year, I write out my thoughts on Christmas and include a handmade holiday gift guide. This year, I’m going to keep it short and sweet. I’ll include some of my text from last year’s post, as I think it sums up all that I want to say.

+++++

I love Christmas: I love the baking, the decorations, the gifting, the crafting, the music, the family, the traditions, and the nostalgia of it all.

If only it were as simple as that. But there’s the ugly side of Christmas: The shopping malls, the parking lots, the Black Friday lines. The anxiety, stress, and despair. The wish lists, greed, credit card debt, and consumerism. The poor, the broken, the forgotten, the needy.

It’s all so unsettling.

But four years ago, I watched one short video (from the wonderful folks at The Advent Conspiracy) and it changed the way I do Christmas. The message was so simple and clear: Love All, Spend Less, Give More.

Those six little words pack quite the punch. They’ve given me a new outlook, they’ve given me hope. Christmas is different, in the best way.

+++++

For the past four years, I’ve made most of my Christmas gifts. I find so much joy in the process and I have a ton of fun getting creative with gifts. I don’t pretend to be superwoman and I certainly don’t try to take on too much. I do purchase gifts from local businesses and artisans, and I’ll also pick up things at vintage and thrift stores.

This year, I put together A Handmade Holiday Pinterest Board, with 25 handmade gift ideas. There’s a little something for everyone – ornaments, terrariums, spice blends, jams, sauces, and more. Take a look!

Lastly, I am including a simple and delicious recipe for homemade granola with coconut, almonds, and dates. I plan on giving jars of this granola to various friends and family for Christmas.

You can’t go wrong with the gift of granola!

Coconut and Date Granola | Rosemarried

Coconut Granola with Dates and Almonds

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup roasted coconut chips (from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • 1 cup dried dates, pits removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Generous pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat.
  2. In a small pot, heat the coconut oil, olive oil, and honey over low heat. Whisk together until coconut oil is melted and the mixture is combined. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and spices.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the oats, shredded coconut, and chopped dates. Toss with the honey and oil, to coat. (Note: I don’t add in the toasted almonds and coconut chips until after baking.)
  4. Pour onto prepared baking sheets. Using a spatula, spread granola into an even layer.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until granola is golden brown. Check granola every 5 minutes and stir, if needed. Allow the granola to cool on the baking sheets. Once cool, mix in the coconut chips and toasted almonds. Store in airtight containers in the pantry. Granola will keep for 1-2 weeks.

Notes

Adapted from La Casa De Sweets

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Chipotle Fig Jam

I’ve been a canning fiend for the past couple of weeks.

Blame it on the changing of seasons, but I feel a strong urge to pickle and preserve all of the summer fruits and veggies that I possibly can. Most of the things I’ve canned and pickled recently are your typical summer canning fare: canned peaches, refrigerator dill pickles, plain tomato sauce. These are the jars that will get me through the winter months. They are my pantry staples.

However, it is my firm belief that among the staples there’s got to be a few surprises! Hence, why I made this jam: it’s unexpected. It’s spicy, rich, sweet, and smoky.

This jam is phenomenal on biscuits or breakfast sandwiches. (Note: my favorite breakfast sandwich combo of all time is made with prosciutto, caramelized onions, fried egg, Beecher’s white cheddar, dijon, and fig jam. Try it. I promise, it’s awesome.) This jam is also great with plain Greek yogurt or slathered on baguette with goat cheese.

It’s just one of those jams, it’s good with (most) everything.

Chipotle Fig Jam

Serving Size: 4 half pints

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs (Black Mission or Brown Turkish) figs, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 or 2 chipotles in adobo, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Place chopped figs and sugar in a large, non-reactive pot. Stir, and allow the figs to macerate for 30-60 minutes.
  2. After the figs have macerated for 30+ minutes, stir in water, chipotles, and lemon juice, and bring the mixture to a boil over med-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for at least an hour. Stir occasionally. (Note: use a potato masher to further break down the figs. Mash until desired consistency is achieved.)
  3. Meanwhile, sterilize jars and prepare a hot water bath.
  4. After an hour, check the jam’s consistency. If the mixture is thick and jammy, it is ready. Ladle the jam into clean, hot jars. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Notes

Slightly adapted from Homemade Trade

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Slow Cooker Blueberry Plum Butter

Canning in the summertime presents a funny conundrum.

On the one hand, this is the best time of year to preserve fruits and vegetables. We are in the peak of summer and farms and gardens are bursting with an amazing array of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The fields are plentiful. My fridge and pantry are full of the goodness of summer. This is a wonderful time of year.

On the other hand, there is the issue of warm weather and the unbearable temperature of my kitchen. My kitchen is, by far, the hottest room in my house. So let me tell you,
the idea of firing up the ole canning pot on a hot August afternoon sounds ludicrous to me.
When it’s sweltering outside, I would rather not hang out with boiling pots of water and jam.

Thankfully, there is good news. There’s always the option of the slow cooker. Granted, you cannot actually can or preserve using a slow cooker. You must process jars in boiling water, which requires a large pot and a stovetop. There’s just no getting around it. However, you can make your jam or preserves in a slow cooker, which drastically cuts down the amount of stove time. This, in turn, drastically reduces the sweltering temperatures in my kitchen. And, for that, I’m thankful.

This recipe is incredibly simple and yet, it is so rewarding. The blueberry butter is smooth, luscious, and full of the flavors of summer. And through the simple act of canning, I can enjoy these summery flavors all year long.

Slow Cooker Blueberry Plum Butter

Ingredients

  • 10 cups fresh blueberries
  • 4 large black plums
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • Zest and juice of one lemon

Instructions

  1. Wash and drain blueberries. Remove any stems, leaves, or debris. Cut the plums in quarters and remove the pits.
  2. Using a food processor, puree the blueberries and plums. Process until smooth. (You should end up with 8 cups or so of puree.)
  3. In a slow cooker, cook the fruit puree on high heat for one hour. After one hour, stir the butter and crack the lid for the remainder of the cooking time. (This allows steam & water to escape so the butter reduces and thickens!).
  4. Cook the butter on low heat for 6 (or more) hours. (Note: slow cookers do vary depending on size, brand, etc.) Stir the butter once an hour.
  5. In the final hour of cooking, add the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir well. Turn the heat up to high and continue to cook with the lid slightly ajar.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare your canning jars and lids. Sterilize jars and lids by boiling in hot water for 10 (or more) minutes. Keep the jars in hot water until ready to use.
  7. Once the butter is thick and creamy (similar in thickness and texture to ketchup), it is ready for canning! (Note: I pureed my butter with an immersion blender at this point in the process, because I wanted it to be super smooth. I highly recommend it!)
  8. Remove jars from the canning pot and fill with butter. Wipe the rims with a clean, dry cloth. Seal jars with lids and rings and place back in the canning pot. Bring the water back to a boil and process the jars for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove jars from the canning pot and place on a dry towel or rack to cool. After the jars have cooled, check to ensure that all jars sealed properly. If properly sealed, jars may be kept on the shelf or in your pantry for 6-12 months. (If they did not seal properly, the jars can be stored in the fridge and will keep for a week or two.)

Notes

Slightly adapted from Simple Bites

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Sparkling Blueberry Lavender Lemonade Cocktail (with DIY Blueberry Vodka)

Last week, I bought a rather large flat of local blueberries. Since then, I’ve been happily immersed in the wonderful world of blueberries. I canned blueberry plum butter. I froze a few bags of blueberries. I’ve been eating handfuls of blueberries with Greek yogurt and honey.

And, I made a few jars of blueberry vodka. Just because it seemed like a good thing to do.

Let me tell you, it was a great thing to do. Fruit vodkas are ridiculously easy to make and they don’t taste half bad, either. (No, really: Just soak some fruit in some vodka for a few days. Strain out fruit. Simple as that.)

This blueberry vodka is great with soda water or tonic, and is a great base for summer fruit, citrus, or herb cocktails. Give it a try!

Sparkling Bluberry Lavender Lemonade

Sparkling Blueberry Lavender Lemonade Cocktail (with DIY Blueberry Vodka)

Ingredients

  • For the lavender simple syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons dried culinary lavender
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • For the blueberry vodka:
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3-4 cups vodka
  • For the cocktail:
  • 1.5 ounces blueberry vodka
  • 2 teaspoons lavender simple syrup
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • Sparkling water, to taste
  • Blueberries, for garnish
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. To make the lavender simple syrup: Combine water, sugar, and lavender flowers in a small pot. Heat over high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and stir, and let the syrup simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain out the lavender and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The simple syrup will keep for one week.
  2. To make the blueberry vodka: Place blueberries and vodka in a large jar or airtight container. Store at room temperature away from sunlight. Shake the jar a few times a day, and allow the vodka to infuse for at least 3 days. When the vodka has a distinct blueberry taste (and color), strain out the blueberries. Store the vodka in a sealed bottle or jar at room temperature.
  3. To make the cocktail: In a large glass (or cocktail shaker), mix together the simple syrup, blueberry vodka, and lemon juice. Taste, and adjust levels if needed. Fill a cocktail glass with ice and pour mixture over ice. Top with a splash of sparkling water and garnish with fresh blueberries. Enjoy responsibly!
  4. Makes one cocktail.
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Pickled Blueberries

I’m a big fan of pickles in general. I love the taste (and crunch!) of a good pickle. A good pickle is salty, briny, and complex. Plus, pickles are a fantastic way to preserve summer crops.

But pickled fruit? This is entirely new territory for me. I’ve always limited my pickling to vegetable varieties: cucumbers, carrots, beets, jalapenos, onions, and more.

However, thanks to the PDX Food Swap, I’ve come to love pickled fruits. At the last few swaps I’ve come home with a number of jars of pickles fruits or berries – apples, figs, apricots, rhubarb, etc – and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with them all. Pickled fruit is a delightful mix of sweet and salty, bright and briny. It’s balanced and complex.

I’ve been eating these pickled blueberries straight out of the jar. (That’s how good they are.) But, if you’d like a few suggestions on how to use these little gems, I’d suggest trying them with crackers and goat cheese. Or, toss them on a wedge salad. Let me tell you, the blue cheese dressing and the briny blueberries are a match made in food heaven.

Pickled Blueberries | Rosemarried.com

Pickled Blueberries

Serving Size: Fills 4 half-pint jars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup (or 1/4 cup honey)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 lb blueberries
  • 1/4 of a red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole dried allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Instructions

  1. Clean and sterilize your jars and lids. Set on a rack to dry while you prepare the pickling liquid.
  2. In a small pot, mix together the vinegars, agave, salt, and spices. Heat over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat.
  3. Pack each jar with blueberries and red onion slices. Pour the warm vinegar mixture over the blueberries. Use a spoon to distribute the spices evenly into each jar.
  4. Cap each jar and allow the jars to cool to room temperature before moving them to the fridge. The blueberries should keep in the fridge for 30 days.

Notes

Adapted from Of Agates and Madelines

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Meyer Lemon Curd & A Handmade Holiday

This post is only slightly different than my handmade holiday post from last year. I was reading over last year’s post (to gain inspiration for this year) and I realized that it said everything that I want to say. I liked it so much that I just decided to repost it for this year. However, I changed out the recipe – last year I made Spicy Brown Mustard, and this year I went with a Meyer Lemon Curd. In addition, I’ve updated and added to my list of homemade and DIY gift ideas. Lastly, I’ve included a few links to organizations that you can donate to in lieu of giving gifts. I think that about covers it, so please read below.

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This time of year is just so overwhelming. It seems that every year, the advertisements get louder, the Black Friday lines get longer, and the things I love about Christmas are seemingly lost in the throes of American consumerism. It all just seems so Charlie Brown, if you know what I mean. And I get so discouraged by insanity of it all! I feel like I need my own personal Linus to come remind me what Christmas is all about.

At the end of the day, I believe that Christmas is about a Savior who came to earth. It’s as simple as that. And whether or not you share my beliefs on Christmas, I do hope that we can all agree that there is something disconcerting about the modern American Christmas. The holiday has become a hallmark of greed, materialism, stress, waste, and so much more. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

For the past few years, my family and I have participated in the phenomenon that is known as The Advent Conspiracy. The Advent Conspiracy is trying to change how we do Christmas. Their motto is simple: Love All. Spend Less. Give More. I was struck by the simplicity of the statement: so much truth in so few words. To expand upon the motto, essentially The Advent Conspiracy challenges people to change their Christmas spending habits. Instead of spending bunches of money on traditional gifts, they challenge people to instead use that money to do good. They do not suggest that you forgo all gifts entirely, rather they encourage people to give thoughtful and handmade gifts, the gift of time (i.e. babysitting for someone, cooking a meal for someone), and other such gifts. (For more info, watch their fantastic promo video here.)

So, my family and I have done just that. We’ve gotten really creative with our gifts – it’s usually a combination of handmade items, secondhand items, or things purchased from local businesses. There are no hard and fast rules, we just do the best we can. And maybe I’m crazy, but I take so much joy in the process. For me, this is what Christmas is all about (Ahem…Charlie Brown). It is about taking the time to invest in those that you love, to gift meaningful and thoughtful gifts, and to use your resources in a way that will benefit others.

That’s my reasoning for making a lot of my Christmas gifts, anyway. I’m not particularly crafty, but every year I challenge myself to try something new. This year, I’m making a few darling yarn wreaths, as well as Meyer Lemon Curd, Crema di Limoncello, Apple Butter, and a few other fun things that I’m not allowed to mention (yet). I haven’t personally tried all the recipes and/or crafts on this list, but they’re all on my list of “things to eventually make”.

I hope that you’re inspired this holiday season, and a happy handmade holiday to all of you.

A HANDMADE HOLIDAY ROUNDUP: GIFT IDEAS FOR YOU AND YOURS!

*Yarn Wreaths with Felt Flowers
*Homemade Creme de Menthe
*Grapefruit Cranberry Marmelade
*Crema di Limoncello
*Cute Little Marble Magnets
*Homemade Vanilla Extract
*The Cutest Little Holiday Snow Globes
*Moss Terrarium | Tiny Terrarium | Hanging Succulent Terrarium
*Chai Tea Mix
*Ina Garten’s Chipotle and Rosemary Spiced Nuts
*Hot Chocolate on a Stick
*Vodka Infusions (Rosemary Lavender & Rhubarb)
*Pumpkin Butter
*Basil & Wine Jelly
*Balsamic Fig Thyme Jam
*Hazelnut-Lavender-Coconut Granola
*Maple Cinnamon Granola
*(Really Cool) Vintage Tin Candles
*Spice Blend: Herbs De Provence
*Vanilla Sea Salt
*Homemade Curry Powder
*Slow Cooker Apple Butter
*DIY Reed Diffuser (Air Freshener)

WAYS TO GIVE TO OTHERS:
I highly encourage any/all of you to give back this holiday season. Here are just a few (of many) organizations that could benefit from your charitable donations:

Give a goat to a family in need (via Oxfam)
Clean Water for Haiti
The International Justice Mission
The Oregon Food Bank
Women for Women: The Women of South Sudan
Chickens for Christmas
No Kid Hungry: Share Our Strength

And finally, here’s one of my absolute favorite recipes for gift giving!

Meyer Lemon Curd
Confession: I’ve already posted recipes for Lime Curd and Grapefruit Curd on my blog, so at this point I think I’m what you’d call a “curd enthusiast”. But, my aunt gave me a whole bag of Meyer Lemons from her trees in Palm Springs, California. I had no choice but to make Meyer Lemon Curd!

1 and 1/2 Cups of fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice* (from 10-12 lemons)
10 tablespoons of chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
6 eggs, plus the yolk of one egg
Zest of 2 lemons (cut into large pieces for easy retrieval)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

*If using normal lemons instead of Meyers, you may need to add a touch more sugar.

Method:
Juice the lemons. Rolling the lemons with your palm on the counter will yield much more juice. Pour juice through a strainer or cheesecloth to remove any seeds and large bits of pulp.

In a saucepan, whisk the eggs (and yolk) together. Add in lemon juice and sugar, and whisk until well combined. Turn your stovetop on, and gradually heat up the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Once the mixture is warm, turn the heat up to medium and add in the strips of zest. Next, begin to add the butter pieces, bit by bit, whisking the whole time. Continue whisking, adding butter all the time, until you’ve added all the butter. Continue whisking, being careful not to burn (or allow the eggs to curdle), and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until curd is thick and creamy.

Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for an hour. I put a piece of plastic wrap over it (so a film doesn’t form on top). Transfer to sterilized jars. These can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.