And now for something completely different….Balckberry sirup

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We have TONS of blackberries ripening these days all around. We already  had blackberry pie, and it’s not quite enough to make a preserve, but it was enough to make sirup! Mine is still cooling off, as you can see. But the bit I tasted was fantastic! <3

How is it done, Bridgett? Why, quite simple, really.

Grab some blackberries (or really any fruit you want sirup from) and mash it to bits with a bit of water (maybe half a cup). I put mine in a blender on puree until it really is a nice saucy consistency. (If you have stone fruit, please take out the stones first!)

Now strain it (I really don’t like all the little seeds in my sirup, but if you don’t mind, by all means, skip this step).

I used 4 cups of berries and added 2/3 cups of sugar to it. You can use a converter and add any other sweetening agent you like to this at this point.

Pour it all into a saucepan and heat to a boil. Let boil for approx. 2 minutes, then take off heat and let cool completely. If you want thicker sirup, let it boil and reduce  little longer. I made my sirup to go and flavour sparkling water or tea.

Fill in bottles (you can also can it at this point to make it last longer, otherwise, please use it up within 2 weeks).

Enjoy over ice cream, in water, or tea, Italian sodas,for baking, or even in coffee, if you feel like it.

The one with the socks pictures and the apple butter recipe.

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The summer is in full swing, even up here in the Pacific-very-North-West. We do get the odd days of rain, but mostly it’s sunny and warm. That means the greens are growing and the fruit is getting ripe.

We live right smack in between two empty fields. Which makes weeding blackberry brambles pretty much a full time occupation in our yard. But in summer we are glad we have the huge bushes to our left and right. It makes it possible for us to have blackberry preserves without having to go buy them, or hike into the sticks to get them.  Yesterday, my daughter went to go harvest a few and we had blackberry pie. (sorry, no photos.. it was gone too fast)

She also brought in some apples from our tree. It did not bloom quite as exuberant as last year, but there are still a number of apples more to take care of than we usually know what to do with. (We share with the neighbor and this year we are contemplating to let the local Food bank gleaners get the majority of them.)

The apples my daughter brought in yesterday were posthaste made into apple butter! YUM! (Well… it wasn’t too fast, since I made it in the slow-cooker.)

If you want to make your own apple butter, here is what we did:

You need:

  • About a pound of apples (we took about 6 medium sized apples, some were nice and ripe and some were still a bit tart. You want to  make sure to have a good mix of both)
  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon, 4-5 cloves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (we have ready ground cinnamon at hand and have whole cloves and nutmeg to grind when needed. I ground the nutmeg, but left the cloves whole)
  • Optional: 1tsp lavender and rose petals each (from our yard, so I know they are not treated with anything)
  • 2 cups of sugar (you can do a blend of white and brown, or use a bit of agave sweetener,, or honey if you don’t want all that sugar. I use what I have on hand, so this last time it was two cups of white sugar.)
  • Slow cooker

Peel, core and dice the apples into bite size pieces, place in the slow cooker, add the sugar and spices and optional ingredients and stir. Let stand for about 10 minutes. Turn slow cooker to high and let cook for a few hours, stirring now and again. When the apples start to break apart on their own, it’s nearly done (this takes about 3-4 hours, depending on how small you cut your apple bits). This is when you turn the slow cooker down to low and let it simmer for another two hours. Turn slow cooker off and let the whole thing cool over night. Stir well the next morning, then put the whole thing in a blender (you can fish out the cloves now if you like, or leave them in). Blend until the whole thing is pureed and then fill it in glasses. You can now proceed with canning the apple butter, or freeze it. If you just stick it in the fridge as is, you may want to eat it within a relatively short while.

Presto! Not that hard and not that much washing up either. It’s a one pot job lol.

 

In knitting news: I have made a pair of socks for my daughter’s birthday. (I also have knitted other things, but can’t show them right now, since it is a birthday present as well)

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I am also working on a custom order crochet blanket. BRIGHT colours and fun! Pictures of the finished project fur sure, but here is one of half the colours for now. The customer picked them all. Aren’t they FUN?

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Zucchini Noodles

We are having Chicken cacciatore and zucchini noodles today.

How do you make zucchini noodles, you ask?

Why, it’s simple enough. All you need is a big, giant zucchini (small ones will do just as well, but they won’t look quite so spaghetti like) and a grater / mandolin.

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Take the zucchini and wash it well. Cut the top and bottom off. You can peel it, if you like, but we prefer a bit of natural colour in our food.  After it is washed (and peeled if you like) you just push it over your mandolin lengthwise.. (If it’s a big zucchini, you want to cut out the seed part, as it won’t “pastafy” where the seeds are (it simply breaks into smaller bits and won’t look as pretty, so we cut them out).

Once the whole zucchini is grated (or however much you need for your family) put it in a bowl and put a little bit of salt over it all. Mix up, so all the zucchini get a bit of salt on them and let stand for about 10 minutes.

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Drain the liquid out of the bowl and squeeze more liquid out of the zucchini. They will be a bit “limp” after this step. Dry the “pasta” off a bit for the next step.

Now you have a few choices how to handle the “pasta” from here on. You can either bring a pot of water to a boil, add a bit of salt and boil the pasta for about 2 minutes. Drain and serve with your favourite sauce.

You can also saute the zucchini. Heat a pan, then add a bit of olive oil, or butter (make sure the pan does not get too hot for the butter. It will smoke and blacken and you don’t want that.) When the bottom of the pan is coated with a thin layer of oil, throw in the pasta and give it a good stir.  Heat the zucchini well in the pan, until it becomes soft (or the consistency you like for your “pasta”). You can add any kind of seasoning you like to it, or just leave it blank and let the sauce do the seasoning.

You could also just eat it raw in a salad. Or you could microwave it for a bit, in a microwave safe bowl with a tiny bit of water, to make sure the pasta does not dry out. Microwave for about 2 minutes, drain excess liquid and serve.

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Presto! Done! Enjoy!

Let me know when you try it out and what kind of sauce you prefer with your zuchini pasta, or how you prepared them.  <3

Refashioned Dread-wranglers

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It’s summer and I love to keep my hair off my neck when it’s hot out. I am sure a lot of you do, too. To top it off, i have dreadlocks, they seem to be even hotter than “regular” hair. So I tie it up a lot, or have my locks in a bun. Well… t gets boring fast if that’s all you do, so I figured a few headbands are in order. One still has to tie the hair up in a pony tail, messy bun or other up-do, but the headbands make it look different and fresh and fun. One can use a bunch of things for such hair bands. Anything from the obvious Bandanna to vintage scarves and lace shawls, or ribbons. hand made ones are the most fun and can be pretty price conscious, in a pinch. (I usually want things when I don’t have the cash in my budget to actually buy them. Does that sound familiar to you too?)

I do have vintage scarves, but a girl wants options, no? So I went through my stash to figure out how I can make these things for myself. I have a BUNCH of T-Shirt material, that I scavenged from our own old Shirts and from thrift-shop and yard sale buys. I use them to make all kinds of things, as you have noticed, if you have been reading my blog for any amount of time. Now they get turned into hair bands! (I like to call them Dread-wranglers lol) I already have ONE made. Out of striped T-shirt fabric. I love stripes!!! Honestly? This one was just the leftover from another project. It went on my nerves, as it was left out after the project was done and all the stuff put away already. So there it was and I glared at it and then it hit me: Tie it! I just cut it open (since it was still a loop) and ted it around my head and VOILA! It was close to perfect!

It goes around my head once, crosses in back and then ties. I am looking into making more just a wee bit longer, so I can wrap them twice and then tie it. I also want a few wider ones. Why not, right?

If you want to make your own:

Measure your head, then measure the T-Shirt (or fabric you want to make the wrap out of. I like T-Shirts, since you don’t have to sew anything) Make sure you have twice the head circumference, plus about 20 inches for tying (approx. 10 inches of tie on each side, or longer, if you want to tie it in a bow, rather than just a double knot). Find a T shirt wide enough to give you that measurement by only cutting off the bottom part. If you want both sides to look alike, cut off the hem of the shirt as well.

It’s best to find a T-Shirt without side seams. I don’t mind the seam in t, but if you can find one with out a seam, it will give you a continuous strip of material and some people might mind the look of a seam in the middle of the wrap. Take the T-Shirt and measure the desired width of your head wrap up from the hem to the underarm and mark it, then make a straight cut right at the mark. Take the resulting loop and cut it open on one of the side seams, Presto. Done. If you like you can make the |tie| parts pointy, but I like them blunt.

In the top picture you can see the uncut section of T-Shirt, the loop, in the light blue and the striped fabric is another T-shirt already cut open. I did cut away the entire seam, since I didn’t like the way it looked hanging off the end lol.

One could go and get yardage for this project, but where is the fun in that?

You don’t have to tie them, you can just tuck the ends and make it stay that way. Use a few bobby pins to hold the wrap on your head, if you feel it’s not secure enough (mine stay on just fine….) and go have fun in the sun.

So with a few of these I will be good for the rest of the year, or will I????

Honestly? Did you think I could go without a knitted one in my collection? NOPE! So I am working on one right now as well.  I love it. here are a few pictures of it, fresh off the needles. Very lacy, very cute, very stretchy! The yarn has elastic in it! How great is that?  I let you all know when the pattern is done and out.

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If you make any of these wranglers, let me know! Send me pictures! I want to see them! <3

Wishing you a great summer!

Hugs,

Bridgett