Plum Fresh

Or should it be more appropriate to call it “Fresh Plum” today?share a bit of love DIY Plum Sauce1

I obtained a large basket of perfectly ripened Italian Plums this week from a colleague. To avoid the inevitable fruit flies that have run havoc around my kitchen this summer, I opted to make plum sauce.

Plum jam was really on my mind, but then I realized I was plum (ha!) out of my main canning staples. Enter Plum Sauce.  It just sounds decadent over vanilla ice cream, cheesecake, scones, goat cheese toast, or even as a glaze on a slow roasted turkey breast- doesn’t it?

Here is what is needed:

  • 4 cups of washed & halved Italian Plums
  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon/lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice

In a large non reactive sauce pan, pour plums, sugar, spices and lemon juice. Simmer on low-medium for about an hour and a half while stopping to stir and to make sure the mixture doesn’t over boil.  220 (f) degrees should probably do the trick.  Your house will smell amazing. Meanwhile, prepare your jars for canning.  While the jars are still hot, spoon the sauce into each jar, and process using a water bath. Lick the delicious leftovers off the spoon and swoon at the late summer taste of beautiful Italian Plums.

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Mid-Week Retreat

I’ve been working. A lot. So has the Handsome.  He managed to swing vacation this week which he deserved and needed so much.  Knowing I couldn’t take a whole week off, I opted for a mini break from my hectic schedule.

We took to the woods for an overnight and midweek recharge and retreat.  With such short notice and a very busy holiday weekend ahead of us, we stayed close to home and stayed at Millersylvania State Park.  Staying mid week, we almost had the entire campground to ourselves. We had our girls in tow, so we didn’t take to the lake on the canoes/kayaks, but did managed to let them paddle near the shore for a bit. We love to camp. Our dogs love to camp. The smell of the forest is healing and refreshing. We had a great camp fire, chatted, and heard every bird in what seemed within a mile radius. It was the perfect way to slow down and catch up with each other.

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Home Frost

I love coming home. Not only to the home I’ve built with The Handsome, but the home I remember more than any- My Grandma’s house.  It was always comfortable, full of love, and so warm. So many memories that have been made, and still to come.

The best time there is early in the morning, on a very cold day, where you can leave the comforts of the wood stove in the back room and venture out into the orchard to roam.  It was an unusual and green Christmas gathering, but it was not without frosting.

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A twist on an old tradition

Every holiday season, my Grandma makes the same delicious meals. It is tradition after all.  Every year, I drool over the smell of of her version of “Pigs in Blankets”. Don’t let them get confused with the hotdog/pancake imposters, but rather the zesty, hearty cabbage rolls made of magic and covered in Sauerkraut.  Now, there is one giant problem for me. I don’t eat pork. Its like I am missing out on a pot of gold every year.  So instead of stuffing myself with her traditional creamed potatoes and appetizers in regret of my no-pork diet, I took matters into my own hands to make a new version “Birds in Blankets”. Recipe Below of course.

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Here is what I used:

1 lb of Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey

2 cups of Brown Rice

2 tbsp of seasonings (I used generic Italian, Garlic and Onion Powder)

1 Jar Homemade Sauerkraut (equivalent of 3 cans store bought)

1 Package of Italian Chicken Sausage (precooked)

Instructions:

1. Steam your Cabbage until soft and plyable (this may take a couple steams after the first few peels)

2. Peel into large petals and set aside

3. Mix ground turkey, rice, and seasonings together in a big bowl

4 Lay the cabbage out flat, and spoon 1/4 cup of the ground turkey mixture in the middle of the leaf

5. Roll the cabbage from the bottom and sides, and carefully place into a casserole dish

6. When the casserole dish is full (about 14 rolls), slice your sausages in half, line the edge of the dish

7. Cover the entire dish with the Sauerkraut and cover with foil.

8. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and cook for 90 minutes.

9. Serve and Enjoy

Peppermint Bath Salt DIY

I have a large circle of fabulous people that I work with.  I have never been a big fan of buying gifts for colleagues for many reasons, but have found that my homemade gifts are much more memorable.

This year, I have all women (with exception of one great guy) that surround me professionally. All fun, friendly, and festive. I needed something that I could make a large batch of, please the masses, and acknowledge the hard work that happens daily.

Each jar was less than $2 to make with plenty of extract left over for another craft.

Homemade Peppermint Bath Salt

For 12- 4 ounce jars you will need:

.5 fl ounces of Peppermint Extract

3 lbs. of Basic Epson Salt

The Super Easy Instructions

1. Pour Epson Salt into a large bowl

2. Drop 12 drops of peppermint extract and mix together

3. Scoop into jars and seal

4. Add your own adorable touch (Cupcake Liners for a jar topper)

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Cold Air, Warm Hearts

I love spending time with families- especially this one. This darling group braved an extraordinarily bright and brisk day for family photos. Our hour shoot, was quickly cut short to keep noses from getting too rosey and fingers from freezing.

These three beautiful girls full of sweetness ad giggles kept mom and dad warm.

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