News & Blues!


Long time no read, I know, I know.   It's been embarrassingly long since I've posted, but we have had a lot of changes happening!  For one, we moved from sunny Florida back north to Indiana, home of the Hoosiers, corn hole, and sugar cream pie.   We wanted to be closer to our family and friends, and secondly, my husband is starting a new job with his family's 70 year old pie company, Wick's Pies.

One week prior to our big move (I mean, BIG move), my girlfriend asked if I would like to go blueberry picking.  It was the end of the season, so we could take as many berries as we wanted!  I came home with about 25 pounds of these babies and one week to use them...grrrreat.  

I called my Grandma Quiring for some canning tips, because, of course, I had never canned a thing in my life.  With the clock ticking, I decided to give canning a whirl.  Blueberry pie filling it was!  A pot of blueberries, some water, sugar, lemon juice/rind, and corn starch is all it took!  Brought the mixture to a simmer, boiled the jars & lids, and filled everything while it was piping hot.  I ended up with about 7 Ball jars of pie filling, and 2 of the remaining juice/syrup (which is great on yogurt, as seen above).

3 weeks post-move, I opened a few cans of filling and made a quick pie using our family's raw pie crusts.  Call me Sandra Lee here, but this semi-homeade pie turned out to be one of the easiest and prettiest pies I've ever made!  


Ready to give canning a whirl?  See the recipe I (kind of) followed below:

Blueberry Pie Filling (for canning)

Ingredients

  • 3 quarts fresh blueberries
  • 4 cups water
  • 2.5 cups sugar
  • Lemon juice from 3 lemons + Rind from 1
  • 6 heaping TBS cornstarch
Tools
  • 2 large stockpots (one for the filling, one for sanitizing the jars/lids
  • tongs 
  • ladel
  • oven mits (or dishtowels)
  • ball jars (about 10) with sealers and metal screw bands
Before you start, run all the jars, sealers, and metal bands through the dishwasher with no detergent to sanitize.

Bring one large stockpot of water to boil.  

In the meantime, place blueberries, 2 cups water, sugar, lemon juice and rind into another large pot.  Mix 2 cups hot water with cornstarch and stir until dissolved.  Add to the blueberry mixture.  Bring to a simmer.

While the blueberry mixture comes to a simmer, place one jar and one sealer and one metal screw band into the boiling water.  Let sit in boiling water for 30 seconds.
 
Working quickly, carefully pull out the glass jar with tongs, empty any water left in it.  Fill the hot jar with hot blueberry filling (using ladle); fill right to the top so there is no space between the lid and the liquid.  Place the sealer lid on and screw the metal band closed.  Do not close the lid too tight; just to where it stops (about 90% closed...according to Grandma!).  Set aside on the counter and let cool.  

You will hear the seals "pop" quite loudly, within 10-20 minutes or so.  You should also be able to see the lids dip down towards the liquid.  If you notice one has not sealed properly, place in the fridge and use within 3-5 days or so.  I had one that did not seal...it happens!

Keep in mind that you want to work quickly as the blueberries will soften within 5-7 minutes of simmering.  After your first jar, the rest will be easier.  Don't overthink it, it's very easy!  

Cheers to summer! 

Resolutions, Schmesolutions




Happy 2014!  A new year brings new resolutions, and this year, I am keeping it simple – the 5 minute rule.  Basically, if a task takes 5 minutes to complete, do it now instead of putting it off.  That's it!

It seems like such a simple rule in theory, and it has taken a few days to get used to, but, I can already see a difference in the number of tasks I am checking off my list each day.  It has helped keep the house a lot cleaner AND more organized, which in turn, makes me less stressed out.  Boom.

As you can see, lots of these are cleaning/organization related, but not all.  A few squats and lunges during commercials can add up to 15-20 minutes in no time – hello, toned tushie!  And changing filters, although it seems obvious, does need to be done!  So what other 5 minutes tasks are you needing to finish up today?  As in, RIGHT NOW?

xoxo

Work Lately...












With all the work that has been coming down the pipeline, I haven't had a chance to sit down and write a proper blog about all the fancy peppermint bark I'd like to taste and all the DIY gifts I'd like to try…if I had time.  That said, I am feeling pretty blessed to be able to work from home and do what I love!  

Above is a tiny snapshot of some day-to-day projects that I've had a chance to tinker with.   Lots of print and web work, creative directing on the LP spring 2014 shoot & catalog, Fall 2013 catalog, Clever Training office posters & flyers, and quick insurance ad that came through today!

On another note…I am going to be an AUNTIE!  My sister is due at the beginning of March, and I am absolutely thrilled for her.  We are having a little baby shower after Christmas.  Below is the invite ;)  





Happy Friday!


Mantel Mania!


'Tis the season!  Hope all your wildest Black Friday dreams are coming true as you venture into the abyss (aka the mall).   I, on the other hand, am happy staying home today to put up some Christmas decorations because, after all, it is simply uncouth to put them up any sooner than Black Friday.

My makeshift mantel seemed like the most obvious place to start, and behold, we have the above photo!  I usually have a stack of photos and prints layered in multiple frames on our shelf.  Nixed 'em.  I replaced one frame with a piece of Kraft paper with a little holiday cheer written on it.  Next, I added a wreath, some candlesticks, and I filled hurricanes with ornaments and beads.  A little extra green garland fills in the blanks along with a few extra ornaments scattered throughout.

PLUS, our big red surfboard actually seems to fit right in.  Never mind the 4 wakeboards to the left of our shelf…conveniently cropped out of the photo, of course…as well as the 3 bikes that seem to only fit in the living room of all places.

SO, there you have it folks.  Our cozy apartment seems more festive than ever this year.  Maybe it's that the weather if finally cooling off.  Maybe it is that I am more at peace with our life than in years past.  Dylan and I just had our two year anniversary this month.  I cannot believe how far we have come in two years!  New careers, new home, new friends, new adventures!

Stay tuned for more holiday cheer!