Amy Artisan

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Category: Canning

Bucketful of Summer…Revisited

Labor Day has passed, Columbus Day is around the corner…schools have been back in session for 4-8 weeks…the sunlight is starting to change…morning temps have already flirted down into the 40s a few times…meteorological summer has given way to autumn…leaves are falling and the season has changed. At the start of summer, a Ten on Tuesday prompt was for things I’d like to do before autumn rolls in. So, as the seasons change, a check-in on the list…

Summer Bucket Scenes

 

  • Continue to exercise konmari as I tackle the stuff in my house. I recently read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” While I didn’t progress as quickly as I would have hoped, the #konmari is happening in my house. My bedroom and bathroom are complete. The kitchen is almost done. Next it is time to head into my office/guest room and start tackling books and then everything else. To date, a lot of things have exited the house: 12 bags of clothes; a large bag of sample and travel toiletries to a local women’s shelter; kitchen appliances & more that I “had to have” & realize now I don’t need & don’t fit in with life these days; in addition to pulling items for donation, it has also sparked joy to see some items leave my house & go to friends that will enjoy them.
  • See a movie at a drive-in theater. Our intention was good…but the timing didn’t work out to enjoy a kid friendly movie under the stars this summer…there’s always next year.
  • Take in another Iron Pigs baseball game. The last Sunday in June was a perfect day to take in a double header from the Bacon Strip
  • Add another presidential library to the “I’ve visited” list. (Truman, Carter, Reagan, Bush 2) Yes and no. The intent was to tour the FDR library as our family vacation in New York began. We ended up not having the time to tour – but post cards were picked up. It is on our list to do another time.
  • Can some jam. Definitely achieved – through 2 canning adventures. The first time was a Sunday afternoon with Gretchen and her girls at their house. Later on, a couple of hours in my kitchen yielded tomato jam. Now, I have jars stored in the closet for gift giving and meal enhancement as the seasons change and the summer produce becomes a distant memory.
  • Enjoy some family vacation time at summer camp in upstate New York. Most definitely achieved! This is a week that is staying with all of us and definitely goes in the pantheon of great family vacations.
  • Send a pack of t-shirts away to become a t-shirt quilt. My pack of t-shirts has returned to me from a visit to the textile factory in Massachusetts and is now a cozy quilt for cooler days ahead. I’ll share the quilt in another post.  
  • Achieve my “summer reading challenge” at the local library. My target is 12 books – of course, they consider summer to end on August 18th. Where’s my reading ribbon? I completed a baker’s dozen by Labor Day. Reading is a year round sport for me and I have several reads going at any one time. I set a 2015 reading goal on GoodReads for 40 books in 2015 and I’m well on track to meeting (& maybe surpassing?) that goal.
  • Spend some time coloring in my copy of “the” Secret Garden coloring book I picked up in London last summer. While I didn’t color in the Secret Garden, I have had fun coloring in the Paige Tate coloring books. This is an activity that is staying in rotation.
  • Complete a photobook for 2013 or 2014 with the Shutterfly Photo Story app. So this didn’t happen. While I have both photobooks started, I just didn’t find the spark to dive in and complete them this summer. Historically, I’ve been more productive with scrapbooking in cooler months…I’m anticipating this item will happen as the temps drop.

While I didn’t completely fill my summer bucket list – without a doubt the bucket has been filled with fun (&productive) times. As the seasons change and routines shift, I’m pulling together new items for my list – it will be fun to see what happens as the pages of the calendar keep marching onward.

What was on your list of goals for the summer? Did you achieve them? What is on your list for autumn and winter?

Currently…August

Ah, AUGUST…a month of… local heat waves 3 and 4 of the summer (and maybe the start of 5)…some mornings that had the slightest hint of crisp and the promise of cooler days ahead…birthdays and anniversaries of many dear ones…seemingly endless summer produce at the farm stands…in the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my days…

A farm stand bouquet to start the month

A farm stand bouquet to start the month

Reading…working my way through the lofty vacation reads stack…after finishing up my recent Civil War read, I transitioned to baseball & World War II for my next narrative nonfiction – The Game Must Go On: Hank Greenberg, Pete Gray, and the Great Days of Baseball on the Home Front in World War II by John Klima has kept my attention while diving into the way that professional baseball survived during the war…no surprise that I didn’t get my summer reading challenge finished by the arbitrary end of summer that the local library decided upon: closing time on Tuesday, August 18…but I did achieve 12 books this summer before month end…August travel provided a lot of reading time…

Reading on a rainy Sunday morning in WI with Willie Bear at my feet

Reading on a rainy Sunday morning in WI with Willie Bear at my feet

Watching…Wallander was the Netflix series to start the month…Doc Martin was a fun show to work through later in the month…The Astronaut Wives Club was a fun summer series…it won’t be long until Sunday afternoon football is back in rotation (time to figure out football knitting)…

Never too old to have fun opening gifts

Never too old to have fun opening gifts

Celebrating, Part I…On the front end of my work trip down to Florida, I was able to stop in Georgia for a weekend in the ‘Ville…it has been years since I have been with my sister for her birthday – it was fun to enjoy her birthday celebration in person instead of via photos sent via text

A bit of summer crafting

A bit of summer crafting

Crafting…breaking in new colored pencils with some coloring books…knitting a few more dishcloths (you can never have too many on hand)…working on a new infinity cowl for me with some local-ish yarns…

Supper one evening - a nod to British breakfast: eggs over baked beans

Supper one evening – a nod to British breakfast: eggs over baked beans

Tidying…#konmari action in the kitchen means I’m taking stock of stockpots and food stocks and everything in between…it’s really amazing what items that once were “must have” items are exiting the house because they don’t spark joy these days…

Pan fried zoodles & homemade tomato sauce

Pan fried zoodles & homemade tomato sauce

Cooking…late in the month I started another Whole30 & I will be sharing some of my recipes in September…but I resumed many of the food prep/meal concepts at home early in the month…the key to success really is prep…hard boiled eggs in the oven become quick meals/snacks during the week…chopping & cooking up a package of bacon on the weekend provides a quick addition to meals and snacks throughout the week…mason jar mayo is a great base for dressings and dips/sauces…several times in the month, a quick supper involved throwing a couple of fried eggs on top of whatever was in the house…pan-fried zoodles with homemade tomato sauce was a delicious Sunday supper…

Jam & Pickled Blueberries ready to put up

Jam & Pickled Blueberries ready to put up

Preserving, Part I…A heat wave Sunday afternoon was spent canning with a friend and her daughters. After many years of “canning solo” in my kitchen, it was fun to have the girls help with some of the activities and see their reactions to the alchemy that is canning. In a couple of hours we made a double batch of a favorite Cantaloupe-Vanilla Jam and tried our hand at Ginger Pickled Blueberries.

WI weekend fun

WI weekend fun

Celebrating, Part II…a trip back to Wisconsin to celebrate the kids’ birthday – a total of 42 candles was celebrated among the 3 of them…in addition to the party, the long weekend was filled with just general fun of hanging out together and ended with Vicki and I enjoying a spa day & discovering a great restaurant in Appleton before I flew out on a Monday afternoon…

Putting up tomatoes for the winter months

Putting up tomatoes for the winter months

Preserving, Part II…A plethora of tomatoes at the local farm stand provided several opportunities for “putting up” tomatoes for the cooler days…for the freezer, I made several batches of the go-to tomato sauce recipe that I picked up at the Italian cooking class I took in Assisi in July 2011 (must share this simple recipe!)…for the cupboard, a batch of spicy tomato jam was put in jars and put up for the winter and for gifts…

Airplane & airport scenes

Airplane & airport scenes

Traveling…eight legs of air travel between the 2 trips: early in the month, a work trip down to Florida with the detour to the ‘Ville on the way down…later in the month, the Wisconsin adventure…

Starting the WI weekend off right with yummy root beer & frozen custard

Starting the WI weekend off right with yummy root beer & frozen custard

Looking Ahead…as we turn the page to September I’m starting a new weekly planner calendar to try to keep more on top of things…no definite travel plans are booked yet but several things are blocked out on the calendar in the coming months…

Linking up with Leigh’s monthly “What I’m Into” roundup. What are you into these days?


Currently…August

As August comes to an end there are all sorts of signs to remind you that fall is just around the corner…my sister began her 16th (!) year of teaching early in the month…dear kids are heading back to school…here and there you see a few leaves that are starting to change…there have been some crisp breeze moments…pots of mums are at the store to bring home…in the midst of it all, these are the some of the things that filled my August days…

Summer reads

Summer reads

Reading…an eclectic assortment…more details in a September twitterature round-up…I maybe got carried away with library requests & my appetite of books to read is out-pacing my ability to read them within the due dates…Rules of Civility had languished on the Kindle for so long – it was the perfect read for my “Meet Me in Milwaukee” travels…among the other reads: The Lincoln Myth and The Energy Bus

Listening…Packers preseason games on the radio online (if only it would stream through iDevices)…enjoying the One Republic iTunes Session (in addition to their current album)…a couple of audio books have also been coming through the earbuds…

Watching…Mercer’s first football game of the season – thrilled that all their home games will stream on the Watch ESPN app…enjoying The Honorable Woman mini-series on the Sundance Channel….The Lumineers Live at Red Rocks was a fun find while browsing the channel guide…

Crafting…I’ve called a “do over” on my Brewers Crackerjack – the reality is that 4 rows per game was too much, the scarf would end up being way too long…so I’m starting over – this might be football knitting for a while but I definitely do want to see this to completion

Browsing…a few good reads online this month: the story of a Korean KC Royals fan traveling to Kansas City and capturing the hearts of everyone; on becoming a London cabbie; on ending the round the clock attachment to work email; Ralph Waldo Emerson on friendship

Simple & Satisfying Supper

Simple & Satisfying Supper

Cooking…A bit late to the party, I finally tried the “Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Spiced Yogurt Sauce” recipe that has been floating around – delish! A simple & tasty baked eggs & roasted tomatoes dish is a great “any meal” option.

Sipping…Adding a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon to my coffee as I cold brew it…

Preserving Summer

Preserving Summer

Preserving…a bit of summer sunshine is neatly tucked into jelly jars for holiday gifts…Spiced Honey Tomato Jam & Vanilla Cantaloupe Jam

Dining where George Washington dined

Dining where George Washington dined

Noshing…quite a bit of frozen custard…enjoying simple meals of local farm fresh produce…a delicious grilled pork chop with grilled peaches at a local tavern where George Washington dined…

Traveling…2 trips to Wisconsin for some family summer fun

Remembering Grandma

Remembering Grandma

Remembering…Grandma would have turned 100 this month. On the day after her birthday, we noticed that the bing homepage featured the beautiful floral carpeted hills where Grandma & Grandpa posed for one of my favorite pictures. We all agreed that it was a delightful way to remember a delightful woman!

Looking Ahead…a quick business trip to Florida is coming up soon…are you ready for some football?…attending a Mercer away game…figuring out what Packers game to attend…planning holiday gift knitting…

Linking up with Leigh Kramer for the monthly “What I’m Into” round-up.

What are you into these days?

Preserving Summer

Whether we want to admit it or not, summertime is winding down. My sister has been back teaching for 3 weeks, Miss Butterfly started first grade (!) this past week, the sunlight looks different each day & indeed the days are getting shorter. Before too much longer, my summer Saturday ritual of going to the Farmer’s Market will be coming to an end for another year. As winter returns, I may not have the market to look forward to each week but I have been busy preserving a bit of summertime to enjoy in the coming months.

Frozen Summer

From almost the first trip to the farmer’s market in May, I have been “putting up” some produce. The first preservation was rhubarb – I have at least 8-10 cups of sliced rhubarb in my freezer. As I mentioned earlier this summer, most of my Michigan blueberries have been frozen for future use. (Although one pint was used to make a lovely blueberry infused vodka.) One of the farmer’s at the market features large bunches of basil for a couple of weeks – so the basil has been turned into pesto & awaits in the freezer to provide a bit of summer green throughout the coming months.

Golden Plum Jam

Until this summer, freezing was the only summer preservation that I had done on my own. When I came across a recipe for Apricot Jam with Riesling a few weeks ago I thought that would be a good way to try my hand at canning. Instead of apricots, I picked up my favorite golden plums at the market. I picked up some cute jars and made jam one Sunday afternoon. Surprisingly, I didn’t have any Riesling at home so I went with a Gewurztraminer instead. After standing over the hot stove & stirring the bubbling pot, I ended up with about 5 cups of jam – 3 cups of Golden Plum Gewürztraminer Jam were canned. I ended up putting the cans through a hot water bath – the pop…pop…pop…pop…pop…pop of the jars sealing once they were out of the water bath was a sweet sound indeed.

Sweet Sunshine Jam

With 6 jars empty and some golden plums left over I decided to make another batch of jam. This one I think bottled the summer sunshine, I call it Sweet Sunshine Jam – it is the Golden Plum Gewürztraminer with peaches, nectarines and a splash of vanilla extract in it.

As I had success with my first foray into canning I starting searching online for other possibilities. I stumbled across the Canning Across America site and discovered that this was their kick-off weekend of spreading the word about canning and preserving. With nothing on my calendar for the weekend, I decided that I would have my own “Canvolution” in the kitchen. The weather forecast was for an unseasonably cool Saturday – perfect for “slaving” over a hot stove.  On their site were 2 recipes that I decided to give a try: Sugar Plums in Syrup & Mixed Summer Pickles.

Sugar Plums

I remember Artisan Mom canning plums when we were younger – while the plums were delicious, my favorite part was the lemonade that she would always sweeten with the plum juice once a jar was opened. In keeping with my tradition of using recipes as a starting point, for my plums I added a bit of vanilla to the syrup & also had a cinnamon stick in the pot as the syrup came together. Since I had more syrup than jars of plums, I have put the leftover syrup in the fridge to use for sweetening iced coffee/frappes in the coming weeks.

Summer Veggie Pickles

For the summer pickles, I used green beans, carrots (orange, white & purple) & cauliflower. Each jar has a clove of garlic in it. Most of the jars have a combination of mixed peppercorns, mustard seeds and celery seeds. In one jar of cauliflower, I used curry powder and red chili flakes – attempting to recreate the pickled veggies from a local kabob place.

Spiced Tomato Jam

Since I was already venturing to w-mart to get the pint canning jars, I decided to pick up another flat of jam jars. Next in the jars this weekend was Spiced Tomato Jam. Last summer I made Mark Bittman’s Tomato Jam and thoroughly enjoyed it on steak, on sandwiches and on veggies. For canning, I merged elements of that recipe with another recipe that I stumbled upon and used an assortment of beautiful tomatoes. 6 small jars of tomato jam are ready for cooler months. The rest of the jam is in the fridge to be used this week.

Blueberry Jam

This morning I pulled the remaining blueberries from the fridge and filled 3 jars with Blueberry Jam using this recipe. There are still 3 jars from the flat that are empty but I think they will remain that way for the time being.

Pantry Pallets

For now, the canning is done. I now need to rearrange the pantry shelves for storing these bits of summer for use in the cooler months ahead. I still have a flat of pint jars – instead of dealing with the returning the jars I think I will hold onto them for later this fall – I normally put up applesauce in the freezer, this year I think it will be in jars!

Gewürztraminer

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