Stay Classy

…that’s the way I roll…

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Iced coffee in a Mason jar. Oooooh, yyyyeeeeeaaaaah!

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“The Hip Girl’s” Give-Away

Mmmmkay. Here’s the deal-io: I’m in love with “The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking” and I’m going to give away a copy to one lucky reader.

The thing about this book is (drum roll please) It Makes a Colossal Amount of Sense. Its full of stuff that makes you say, out loud to the dog, “Well, duh! Why didn’t I think of that?!” There’s nothing earth-shattering in the book, but its all Good and Calming and Earth-Friendly. And she curses, which I always appreciate in a book. “Hip Girl’s” is Martha Stewart for The Rest of Us. I love it. You’ll love it.

So far, my favorite forehead slapper is:
On a clean cotton ball, put a few drops of vanilla extract. Put that cotton ball in your vacuum cleaner bag or canister and while you’re sucking up dirt, the vanilla will make the air smell divine.

Well: duh! Of COURSE that’s a great idea! I wish I’d thought of that…and everything else in this book…

Kate Payne, the author I wish I could adopt and move in with, talks about composting, cleaning, indoor and outdoor spaces, and all manner of things that make a Home. Bonus: its all cheap, green, and totally doable. (that’s do-able, k?) She’s fabulous. I love her. …in a non-creepy, author-ish sort of way…

Here’s how to win:
Leave a comment describing one area of your homemaking that you’d like to change. It could be organizing your junk drawer or thinning out toys or making dinner more relaxing or whatever.

I’ll assign each comment a number in the order it was posted, then I’ll use randomrandom.org to generate a random winner. The winner will receive a new copy of “Hip Girls” and a $10 donation in your name to The American Red Cross.

Catch: you have to be okay with me having your mailing address.

Good Luck!

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Winner will be chosen on July 1. If you already have the book, you can still enter! If that’s the case, then you’ll receive a $35 donation to the Red Cross. πŸ™‚

Moscato & Vanilla Bean Jelly

Moscato is my favorite wine.  It’s sweet and fruity; I actually got to buy the gem of a grape when we lived in San Antonio.  I would buy pounds and pounds of them, getting my “fix” without the added sugars or alcohol.  The local winery, Duplin, makes a wonderful Muscadine wine which is tasty, too, and pretty similar to the Moscato I adore so much.  What follows is a recipe that would be fantastic to serve with “adult” peanut butter and jelly hors d’oeuvres or warm brie and crackers.  Being jelly, it’s fine at room temp, but like the Mother Wine itself, it is best served chilled.  Enjoy!

Moscato & Vanilla Bean Jelly

(makes 9 half-pint jars)

The Grub You’ll Need:

7c Moscato wine

7c sugar

3c water

1 vanilla bean, halved

2 pkgs liquid pectin

the juice of one large lemon

What You’ll Do:

In a large, non-reactive pot, pour in the wine, the water, and the sugar.  Stir well to dissolve the sugar.  Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and drop them into the liquid.  Put the pod halves in there, too.  Reduce this mixture by at least 1/3 over medium-high heat, stirring often.

Begin to process your jars and lids.

Bring the wine mixture to a rolling boil, then add the lemon juice and pectin, stirring to combine well.  When the temperature reaches 230-240F, test a small amount on a chilled plate.  If it sets after a few minutes, turn the heat off and skim the surface.  If it does not set to jell, continue cooking and test every five-ten minutes.  Continue to scrape any scum or foam off the top.  Remove the vanilla seed pods.

Fill your sterilized jars, leaving 3/4-1 inch of head room.  Secure lids and rings and process in a rolling boil for no less than 15 minutes.  After processing, let the jars rest on the counter top for at least 24 hours before moving them.  Don’t open your jar of golden goodness for at least 48 hours.

jelled. πŸ™‚ I'm so proud...

**I don’t know the alcohol content of the jelly after cooking, so I’d imagine everybody who should stay away from wine, should stay away from this jelly, too.  …no snacking and driving…**

Moscato & Vanilla Bean Jelly on Punk Domestics

Made in America

“I love the Earth.  It’s where I keep all my stuff.”- SpaceGhost

“I just want to work.”-my Uncle Danny

While at Barnes & Noble yesterday, I bought a new notebook. I went with the intention of buying a Moleskein book. I just love those little black books with the heavy feel, the elastic straps, and the book markers. There’s even a pocket in the back. What I found first, however, was an EcoSystem book. It was cheaper, made from 100% recycled stuff, and made in America.

That other book I was about to buy? …”made in China”… The company is in Italy, so you know… kinda cool…but I’d rather employ an American, thanks.

So I went to the EcoSystem website to register my book. Turns out, in the back of all their books, they print an ID number. You can go online, register your book, and see all kinds of stuff about your book: where it was made, what’s in it, and even how many people are employed in the making of your book.  My book employed up to 65 people in states from WI to DE.  I think that’s cool.  The jobs aren’t “high tech”; they are things like packaging, shipping, binding and sewing, and printing.  Still…they’re American jobs, American recycled materials.  My little book is trying hard to be a superhero.  πŸ™‚

This got me wondering about what other things I use that are made in America.  Happily, I discovered my jars are American made and always have been.  I found Skilcraft pens and pencils (probably courtesy of Uncle Sam), and a whole box full of baseballs and gloves that were made in Missouri.  πŸ™‚

Here’s a list of some other things that are made in America.  Go on…I dare you to see how many American moms and dads you can employ the next time you go shopping.  πŸ™‚

Skilcraft Clothing

Ball canning jars                         Boots

Baseball bats Girl Scout Cookies

Handguns Toys

Ammunition Furniture

Kitchen Stuff

Cosmetics

…anyway, you get the idea.  There’s tons more stuff out there than I thought there was.  I hear people say, “Nothing’s made here any more.”  I’ve even said it.  But it turns out, all I need to do is look around like I’ve got eyes.  There are people up the road who refurbish washers and dryers (so that mine don’t have to be recycled or trashed), sell their own food (pesticide free), make candles and pottery, roast their own coffee beans, grow their own grapes and then make wine with American made bottles.  I can buy butter from American dairies, olive oils made from California olives (Italian doesn’t always mean best), and even the dog food I buy comes from Montana.  …sadly, my shoes still come from China…

The cool things about American companies are fairly endless.  They recycle more, conserve more, and pay more taxes that keep our nation going.  I find myself continually thinking about what can be recycled, what can be purchased locally, what companies do the most good…like Skilcraft.  They employ the blind.

I guess the point is, if we look close enough, we can find what we’re looking for.  If you know of an American company who’s products you use, please post it in the comments.  I’d love to learn more.

Plus, between me and you, I’d really love to hear a conversation like this on the news:

Foreign Dignitary: We are concerned with the decline in imports to your nation.  We have many products which your people are no longer purchasing.  This could lead to the decline of goodwill on our part.

POTUS: Yes, well, you see…our people finally realized that your stuff breaks all the damn time, is poisonous, and you support terrorism all the while you stand here smiling and demanding our jobs. Jog on.

…I can dream…

Meyer Lemon Project: Day 2 (but really day 7)

This Meyer lemon stuff has been sitting in my fridge since the 15th. Last night, I pulled it out to finish up, so I’ve really only been working on it two days, but in all fairness, the lemons and sugar have been working their magic for a week. This is what I did last night while watching Faulty Towers with The Husband.

…Basil Faulty makes even boiling water funny…

My friend Minda, also known as The Kitchen Fairy and the Queen of Quilting (in my head, anyway) was kind enough to offer some advice.  Since Minda is smart and an all around domesticated intellect (as well as a wicked awesome gamer), I have included her pearls of wisdom for you, too.

You’re welcome.

Meyer Lemon & Mint Marmalade (MLMM…)

(adapted from Elise’s recipe on simplyrecipes.com, published 2-24-08)

The ingredients are as follows:

the zest from 2.5 dozen Meyer lemons and their juice;

the juice

6c + 2c sugar; 6c water; 1/2c roughly torn mint leaves; 1 pkg liquid pectin

What I did last week: (“the story of the film so far…”)

in a large, non-reactive bowl I combined the zest, juice, 6c sugar, and mint; after stirring as best I could, I covered it with plastic wrap (put the wrap directly on the top of the mixture, like you would for a pudding or custard.)  I put this in the coldest part of the fridge and forgot about it until last night.

the mix as it came out of the fridge; to this, I added an additional 2c of sugar along with the 6c of water because it tasted like Lemon Pledge.
Minda says: "be sure to use liquid pectin." Yerttle says: "yes, ma'am."
If you blink or turn your back or try to sneak off to potty this stuff will throw a real rager all over your stove top. ...better stay close.
...leave some head room, yo.
mint leaves and lemon zest are chillaxing together in the matrix of jell, sugar, and pectin

I processed these in a boiling water bath for twenty minutes, letting the rest/dry off on a cooling rack where, if I’m lucky, they won’t get bumped or spoken to or looked at for a few days.

there are 12 of these little buggers on my counter top. Minda says: "Don't move them for at least a week." Yerttle says, "yes, ma'am."

Thank you, Minda, for letting me pester you. I think you rock socks. ❀

Meyer Lemon & Mint Marmalade on Punk Domestics