Making Grape Juice for Jelly

My friend, Reva, texted me saying she has “a butt load of grapes” that she picked and asked if I’d like them. ROFL! But of course!

I would say there was about 5 quarts of grapes, once I picked them off the stems. When I left this morning for work I had 2.5 quarts of juice and it was still draining…so I may have another pint.

Concord grapes ready to make juice.

Concord grapes ready to make juice.


Simmering grapes.

Simmering grapes.


Straining the juice from the pulp.

Straining the juice from the pulp.


Two quarts of juice (as of last night).  Had a pint this morning, and it's still draining when I left.

Two quarts of juice (as of last night). Had a pint this morning, and it’s still draining when I left.

Weekend Roundup ~ 22 September 2014

Depending on which ever way the wind blows, our days here in the Truckee Meadows either start off looking like this:

Morning smoke from the King Fire in Pollock Pines, CA.

Morning smoke from the King Fire in Pollock Pines, CA.

Or, yesterday’s sunrise pre-settling of smoke:

Canada geese flying by Sunday morning ~ 21 Sept 2014

Canada geese flying by Sunday morning ~ 21 Sept 2014

As of this morning, the King fire has burnt 87,592 acres and is only 18% contained. Come on Mom Nature! Bring them some rain already!

Friday I took 4 hours of annual leave and stopped off for some canning jars as I had mustard seeds soaking in some Sierra Nevada 2014 Beer Camp West Coast Double IPA.

I adapted a recipe I saw using Guinness Stout:

In a glass bowl add the following: 1 cup yellow mustard seed, .5 cup of brown mustard seed, 12 oz IPA or dark beer, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 2-3 tsp of sea or kosher salt, 1 tsp coarse ground pepper, 1/4 tsp each of cloves, nutmeg and allspice. You can add turmeric for yellow coloring, but I didn’t use it. Let it sit on the counter, covered, for two days. I stirred it before going to work and then when I got home. Plop it all into a blender or food processor and grind away until you get it how you like it…I added a bit more beer to get it the thickness I liked. Pour into your canning jars and hot bath process for 10 minutes. Being at a higher altitude I processed mine for 20 minutes total.

Beer Mustard in the making.

Beer Mustard in the making.

10 4-oz jars of Sierra Nevada Beer Mustard.

10 4-oz jars of Sierra Nevada Beer Mustard.

I also stopped off at the Sparks Windy Moon Quilts shop to buy a yard of white on white fabric to start a wall hanging quilt. While there I bought the September’s Fat 8th to make a Building Blocks To The Moon in support of ovarian cancer research.

You donate $1 and then you receive a Fat 8th of focus fabric (September’s is a multi-colored Autumn leaf fabric). You then make a 12.5″ block using the fabric, a selected colored fabric by the store (brick red this time) and any fabrics from your stash. Turn in the block by noon of the last day of the month. Both stores are participating in the challenge…anyone who made a block will have their names entered into a drawing where one of us will end up with all the blocks.

I had saved a Mini Medallion tutorial and thought the center block of that would make a great block for that fabric.

My entry to Building Blocks To The Moon…September 2014.

My entry to Building Blocks To The Moon…September 2014.

After finishing up the challenge block, I got my Kate Spain’s Solstice layer cake out and Lori Holt’s tutorial for a Scrappy Cross Roads Block.

Then on Saturday morning, after shooshing my husband out the door for his half day of overtime, brewing a cup of chai latte, I settled in with my pretty winter Solstice fabric. I have four blocks all sewn together, now will put a border or two on it.

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Winter Solstice Cross Roads

Winter Solstice Cross Roads

Sneak peak at an upcoming post ~

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Wild Nevada Blackberries

Saturday, on our way to our favorite spot on the Little Truckee River at Boca, we stopped off at Verdi to see if there were any blackberries still to be picked. The bears and other people picked most, but, YAY! I found enough to make 2.5 pints of juice to make jelly.

To make the juice I plopped the berries into my stainless steel pan, added water to almost the top layer of berries, and simmered until they were starting to pop. I smashed them with a potato masher then ran them through my cone sieve (found at an estate sale long time ago). I added the strained juice with pulp back through the sieve this time using cheese cloth to catch the small pieces.

I’ll be making jelly sometime this week. 🙂

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Rambling Friday ~ 12 July 2013

Just a few rambles for today. Been insanely busy at work with the new fiscal year, but still was able to take a few days off here and there.

On one of those days off I made SWEET and SAVORY RHUBARB SAUCE that I found on on Mennonite Girls Can Cook’s site. I added a few more cloves of garlic and dried peppers, and I think it could of used a bit more. I used the chicken recipe that they suggested with the recipe, and dinner was wonderful that night! I used a water bath with my batch.

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I had the day after The Fourth off too…and made Beer Mustard. Overnight I soaked brown and yellow mustard seeds in Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale (had a bit of ale left for me!).

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I probably shouldn’t have drank the rest of the ale as I could have made the mustard a bit more “runnier”…I love it though! It has a BITE to it and sorta makes your nose run. I was able to can 3 half-pints with the recipe I used, will have to find the smaller jars to give as gifts and sell at the November craft fair.

mustard

I DID IT!!!!! I paid off my sewing machine on layaway! Yesterday I brought her home with me…but all I had time to do was take her out of the box, look at all the extra feet, and wind one bobbin.

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I LOVE the thread compartment…kitties can’t get to the thread now.

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My first project will be the Labyrinth lap-size quilt top that I’ll make in class this coming Monday. I even have all my fabric cut out for class. 🙂

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Have a great weekend everyone!

11 July 2013 - Reno, Nevada Sunrise

11 July 2013 – Reno, Nevada Sunrise

A Monday Ramble ~ 18 March 2013

Just a few rambles for this March Monday ~ 18 March 2013

I decided to finish my Denyse Schmidt quilt I started a month ago. Started out with a pile of charms I received from a Denyse Schmidt Charm Swap and with a few cuts from my own stash I went from this:

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To a 60″x72″ quilt top ready to be sandwiched, quilted and bound.

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But first I must wait to spring my new machine out of layaway prison (should anyone have any money burning a hole in their pocket…she’s sitting at Windy Moon Quilts! 😉 ).

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Last week on Facebook I saw this MEYER LEMON LOAF recipe on Mennonite Girls Can Cook.

Oh My Word! It’s very tasty! My husband and I have almost polished off one loaf…I stuck the other on in the freezer.

My loaf isn’t as pretty as theirs…the pan I used was a bit bigger than what they suggested. Use the smaller loaf pan, it’ll look bigger. LOL!

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Over the weekend we went to SWAN LAKE, in Lemmon Valley, to see if we could spy any birds. I walked along the Marsh boardwalk, but it was sorta of disappointing. Besides the sparrows and finches…we saw Mallards, Northern Harriers and Canada Geese. That’s it. I’ve been there before when there were quite a few swans and other water fowl.

Canada Geese

Canada Geese

Such a pretty birdie.

Such a pretty birdie.

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier

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Headed up to Frenchman’s Lake too…we like the little day area below the dam.

Creek below Frenchman's Lake.

Creek below Frenchman’s Lake.

Slushy ice behind the dam.

Slushy ice behind the dam.

Older guy fishing.  Looked like everyone was pulling out some fish that day.

Older guy fishing. Looked like everyone was pulling out some fish that day.

Monday Rambles ~ 8 October 2012

Big sigh of relief…Autumn weather is finally making an appearance here in Reno. I’m glad the summer heat is waning.

I even greeted the cooler weather with making a pan of lasagna yesterday! I’ve been wanting to try a sauce recipe that I saw on Jennifer’s blog THE MUDDY KITCHEN…Make Sauce like a Sicilian. Holy Moly…was that a simple yet tasty sauce! I followed the directions to the t…except I added pine nuts to the garlic and olive oil stage.

Sicilian Sauce

I had enough for two pans of lasagna (froze one for another dinner)…that yummy sauce with Italian turkey sausage, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, crookneck squash, fresh spinach, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, and shaved parmesan.

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A while ago I bought a book off of Amazon ~ Making Wire & Bead Jewelry: Artful Wirework Techniques by Janice Berkebile and Tracy Stanley. All I can say is WOW! I’ve never seen a how-to book with so many awesome photographs to help you along.

I tried a pair of copper paddle drop earrings for my first project.

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I made ear wires in sterling silver, like the copper ones, for April’s earrings…they are off in the mail to her.

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Friday was the return trip of Union Pacific’s steam engine #844…she’s on her way back to Cheyenne for maintenance before heading to Texas to show off.

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Saturday we drove down to Carson City and visited the Greenhouse Project at Carson City High School. What a cool place! And great project! We toured the greenhouse, raised beds and a hoop house that a student was working on for his senior project. We watched as the manager showed how to propagate herbs from cuttings…took some oregano and sage home with us.

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We found an great bamboo chair (rocks and swivels) for our balcony at the SPCA thrift store in town for $15…on the lookout for another one.

Two New Recipes to Try ~

I love trying new recipes…or, just throwing stuff together from the pantry/frig.

Am going to share two of them, one from our local newspaper on 29 January 2012 ~ Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs. I’ll give you their ingredients and then my extras that I added.

1 small (1.5 pounds) spaghetti squash
1/2 cup water
6 ounces lean ground turkey
1 slice whole wheat bread
1 egg
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups marinana sauce
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh oregano

Cut squash in half lengthwise. Place cut side down in microwave safe dish with lid. Add water and seal the lid. Cook on high 8 minutes. Meanwhile, chop bread into tiny dice. In a large bowl, combine turkey, bread crumbs, egg and seasoning. Use your hands to mix well and shape into 2 inch balls. Remove squash from microwave and set aside to cool. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add meatballs and cook, turning often, until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Add sauce and reduce heat to low. When squash is cool enough to handle, remove and discard seeds, then use a fork to scrape out the stringy flesh. Add 3 cups squash to the pan with sauce and meatballs, toss well. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and oregano.

(NO PICTURES – sorry…we dug in and ate it all before I realized I didn’t get any pictures)

MY VERSION of above ~

My squash was pretty dang big. Probably 10″ in length so I cut in quarters, put them flesh down into a pie tin with some water and stuck it in the oven at 450F for 30 minutes. (Not big with microwave)

I mixed 20-oz package of ground turkey with 2 eggs, 1 cup of brown rice (had in the frig from another meal), 3 pieces of Milton’s Multi-grained bread, 1 tsp each of dried oregano, thyme, Italian parsley (from my garden). My mixture made up 20 2″ meatballs…I put them on parchment paper/cookie tin and stuck them in the frig until the squash was done. Scoop the squash into a bowl once cooked.

In a large fry pan I heated up 1 TBSP olive oil and cooked all 20 meatballs (covered)…definitely took longer than 7 minutes. 🙂 Once browned and cooked through I put them on a paper plate and added 1/2 of the spaghetti squash (freeze the other half). Then I made a ring and put 8 meatballs (I froze the rest to use later…even 8 was too many for two of us) into the middle of the squash and poured about 1 cup of my own tomato-basil based sauce over the meatballs, covered to let heat throughout.

Serve with a nice salad…with shaved parmesan over it ALL. 🙂

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Thai Chicken Pizza (at least my version of it)

I use Pioneer Woman’s basic pizza dough…1/2 teaspoon of yeast over 3/4 cup warm water (in a measuring cup). Mix 2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Pour in water/yeast and mix. Put in an oiled bowl, cover and let rest for 1-3 hours (if you don’t use it that day it can be kept in the frig for 3 days)

I cut up 2 chicken breasts and put them in a fry pan with a couple of teaspoons of peanut oil and a few splashes of sesame oil…with some fresh ground pepper. Once cooked through I put chicken in a bowl and added about 1/4 cup of Peanut Satay Sauce, set aside.

I shredded 2 carrots, sliced 3 green onions, sliced about 1/2 cup of mushrooms, 1/4 cup of red pepper.

Chopped up about 4 TBSP of unsalted peanuts.

Shredded 1 cup of Pepper Jack cheese and 1 cup Mozzarella.

Heat oven to 500F. Spray a large cookie tin with oil (unless you have a pizza stone)…roll out the dough nice and thin and plop on the cookie tin.

Spread out the rest of the jar of Peanut sauce, then add 1/2 of cheese. Next layer on the chicken, veggies, rest of cheese and top with peanuts.

Stick in oven for 10-15 minutes, slice and serve. I like to shake on crushed red peppers.