Monday, October 22, 2012

Grape Jelly!

It's that time of the year...when the concord grapes ripen up and the intoxicating aroma at the market entices me to want to make grape jelly.  I haven't made homemade grape jelly in many years.  I remember the crazy mess that my sister and I made with the huge pile of grapes she bought to make jelly with.  Neither one of us had ever done it before so it was quite an experience.  This year, I was determined to make homemade jelly again.  And like my sister did years ago, I got carried away with buying grapes.  Really, a half bushel didn't seem like a huge amount - until I started weighing them out and cooking them.  After weighing a batch and picking out all the stems and stuff - into the pot they go - then get smooshed up and cooked down.

 Looks kind of weird at this point, but as they cook the house starts to smell awfully good.  The next fun part is straining out the juice from the pulp and seeds and skins.  I just lined a sieve with cheesecloth for this.  Amazing how difficult it is to find cheesecloth too.  It's a bit tricky here - don't want any of the seeds and stuff to get into the juice and this stuff is boiling hot.  After squeezing out the cheesecloth (beware, you WILL have bluish purple hands after this!) it's on to the next batch.

This is where you question the wisdom of buying a half bushel of concord grapes.  After all the grapes are cooked - it's time to make jelly!  This required lots of jars, sugar, Sure-Jell and another decent sized mess.  After about 4 or 5 batches I got really tired of the mess and decided to freeze the leftover grape juice.  However, I did end up with at least 3 dozen jars of awesomely tasty grape jelly.  It's so much better than the store bought stuff that it's worth it in the long run.

Oh, and if you're going to do a lot of this - get yourself a nice canning pot and supplies - it makes canning jars of jelly much easier.  Everyone's getting homemade goodies this year for Christmas!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The All New HodgePodgery!

At last - the all new HodgePodgery is now open in Midtown Harrisburg. Right down the street from it's original location, the new address is 1320 N. Third Street. Stop by and check it out if you're local (or just visiting) - buy handmade and support local artist and craftpersons. And don't forget to put February 17th on your calendar - it's the Grand Re-Opening celebration - also 3rd in the 'Burg - from 6-9pm.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pin Cushions

Oh, long time no blog...huh? I'm bad at this stuff, I'm going to try and blog more this new year - really. Just a short post - our latest fascination using scraps of fabric is pin cushions. Handy little things to have in the sewing room, but way more fun when they're cute and decorative too. Here's a little pouf styled one we made last week:
Fabric scraps, stuffing, some old buttons and embroidery floss is all you need to stitch these up. Would make a cute gift for someone that sews. The second crazy idea we got was to make one of these mannequin pin cushions. Found the idea at the DIY Dish - nice video tutorial there. Here's our finished pin cushion:
We need to find some old candlesticks for a couple more of these - this was what we came up with from the Dollar Tree. I think thrift stores would be a good place for some. Another really cute gift idea!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Granny Cake

Thanks to Pat, a lovely elderly woman that I went to church with years ago - I've got this fantastic Granny Cake recipe. She used to bring it to every potluck dinner and bake sale and it was SO good. She's long gone now but I hope everyone shares her recipe so it lives on.

Granny Cake

1 1/2 Cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 Cups flour
1 20oz can crushed pineapple (in it's own juice)

Mix and pour into greased and floured 9x13 cake pan.
Sprinkle on top: 3/4 Cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

10 minutes before cake is done, boil the following:

1 stick butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup sugar

Pour over top of cake and cool.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Free Shipping!

Just an FYI...from Black Friday thru Cyber Monday - free shipping at avocado! Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

More projects...

Not like I need any more projects, but Chelsea has been after me for a bit to try this one out. Coiled fabric bowls. Makes sense, as it uses up a bunch of fabric scraps that we have lying around. And we're all about the recycling (not to mention, I just can't throw away any fabric scraps...just in case, you know). So we picked up some cotton clothesline rope, cut up some of the fabric strips that were too large and started sewing. The most time consuming part is wrapping the fabric strips around the clothesline. Probably would be easier if you used longer strips but as we wanted to recycle our scraps we made do with what we had. And it really doesn't look bad - kind of cute in fact. I think some people will be getting these for Christmas this year. : )

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Brussels Sprouts?

So...just the very thought of 'brussels sprouts' kind of gives me the heebie jeebies - memories of having to try them in my childhood and the nasty taste involved. And here we were, with a bag of them from the farm with our last CSA pickup of the season. I do hate to waste anything and as I've gotten older I'm more willing to give stuff a try. As luck would have it, Chelsea got her latest issue of Cooking Light magazine in the mail and lo and behold - there was a recipe for brussels sprouts. Being that it included bacon, we figured it was worth a try - bacon makes everything good, right? And it WAS good - I actually had seconds. My mom would be so proud. : ) If you'd like to try it out - here's a link to the recipe: Brussels Sprouts Gratin Enjoy!