Month: March 2014

Sunshine Jam (and How to Reclaim Honey)

sunshine jam

I’m so ready for spring. Real spring, as in I’m comfortable being inside.

Citrus is going out of season but there’s some stragglers floating around. And lemons are pretty much available at a decent price point year round. I’ve been sitting around thinking about citrus for a couple of weeks now.

This doesn’t make a terribly sweet jam, but it’s certainly not as bitter as marmalade either. I love the way that mint tastes with citrus but if you don’t like the combination leave it out. Use whatever citrus you have, or wait until next season for your favorites.

I’ve been craving honey in jam too, and stockpiling honey when I go to the store (about a month or so and I can start getting farmer’s market honey again!). When converting a recipe over to honey, remember that you use about 1/3 of a cup of honey to a cup of white sugar.

If you pull out your honey stash and found that it crystalized, reclaiming honey is really easy. In a medium sauce pan place some water to cover at least part of the jar and the jar. Over medium heat, allow the water to come to a boil. Turn off heat when it’s at a boil. With a chop stick or similar, stir the honey and pull from heat when just melted.

Sunshine Jam

3 1/2 cups supremed mixed citrus and its juice

1/3 cup honey

3/4 cups white or raw sugar

1/2 tea dried mint

Supreme your citrus into a bowl, reserving as many of the seeds as you can find.

Place everything into a non-reactive bowl and let macerate at least half an hour.

Place seeds into a cheesecloth and tie into a bundle.

Bring to a boil in a large non-reactive saucepan. When the jam comes to a hard boil, allow to boil for 10 minutes then add the seeds for at least another ten minutes. Remove the seed packet and check your gel point. Keep boiling if you don’t like the set.

When the jam reaches the desired consistency, fill prepped quarter pint jars and process for 10 minutes.

This batch gave me 5 quarter pints, but I’m fairly sure it’s going to set as a syrup.

Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

Please, stop by this week’s Inspired Weekends!

Linked to-

the blackberry vine
craft dictator
memories by the mile
clairejustine
a pinch of joy
weed em and reap
april’s homemaking
frugal by choice
vmg206
carolyn’s homework

bacon time

practically functional

domestic superhero

diana rambles

pickled okra

artsy-fartsy

First Born (2007)

I wasn’t going to review this movie because I really was underwhelmed with it as a horror piece.

But then I found myself wanting to scream at the computer ‘THIS IS WHY THE **** WE NEED TO BE TALKING ABOUT POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION’.

In part this is why I love horror, because we get open up conversations about things that we don’t talk about otherwise. I won’t call this a feminist horror piece, because there’s still a little too much masculine in this, as in, I’m not actually sure that we’re supposed to feel sorry for the lead as much as I actually do. Maybe it’s because depression is one of the things that I drag around in my personal invisible suitcase (how many feminist theoretical cliches can I shove into this review?) but I just want to scream at screen, ‘Steven, this isn’t about you or your job or your life anymore, stop acting like your wife weaponized her mental state to just get back at you.’

What I do find in this film are echoes of conversations I’ve had with women over the past decade. Conversations about lose of self after childbirth. Conversations about depression and hopelessness and feeling lost. Conversations about fears of the future, both their own and their children. Conversations about the nastier sides of motherhood that I’m hoping people are actually starting to open up about. There’s a phone conversation where the lead asks her mother how she felt after having her, and the mother replies ‘like shit.’ that’s a literal quote.

Maybe someday we can stop talking about this in horror films and start having this conversation for real.

Sunday Legends-The Wolf Woman of Mobile

sundaylegends

There’s a definite weird side to Pinterest. You look hard enough, and you’re going to find all sorts of strange things.

I love that about Pinterest, but I think my Pinterest followers probably think I’m insane. I have pictures hearses going onto my death studies board, how to dry herbs in your oven going onto my canning board, and a story about a demon possessed Elf on the Shelf on my hauntings board as inspiration for this column.

Keep in mind two things: someone else in the world took the time to write about demon possessed Christmas decorations, and that I don’t believe in said possessions.

Anyway, I love that Pinterest has become this fertile hunting grounds for all sorts of urban legends that I would have never heard of without the site.

Take for instance, the Wolf Woman of Mobile, Alabama.

According to the residents of Mobile the Wolf Woman began to wander their town in April 1971. She was said to be fond of Port City and Plateau. The creature was described as a woman with the lower body of a wolf-and attractive, at that.

The sightings seem to have started on April 8th with phone calls to the local paper and police force. The police received enough calls to investigate, and the paper, The Press-Register, ran an article on the Wolf Woman complete with a drawing of the animal. However the sightings were not reported after a period of about 10 days which led some people to believe that it was an April Fool’s hoax that got out of hand.

Was there something wandering through Mobile at night? It doesn’t seem that there was any physical encounters, or even paw prints. We’ll probably never know what Mobile residents were actually seeing in the dark.

5 mythical creatures that reportedly roam Alabama’s back roads

The Wolf Woman of Mobile Alabama

Sweet Hot Pepper Relish

Sweet Hot Pepper Relish

There’s lots of small batch pepper relish recipes out in the world. They all say different things; cook for 15 minutes, cook for 30 seconds, use 1/2 cup vinegar, use 3.

This is a mish-mash of a lot of different recipes though the base brine is derived from the Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving. The original is written for 8 cups of produce, but I had six. Remember, it’s okay to pull back on your produce-you’ll just have extra brine. Just never pull back on your acids. I left in the extra acid to account for cooking time.

I like these types of rough relishes for using up vegetables I had in the fridge. I found carrots, red chilis, habaneros, onions, and a handful of bell peppers. Use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge-this would work with no peppers at all. This actually ends up somewhere between pepper relish and chow-chow.

I have to admit, I prepped this batch more like hot pack peppers than a true relish. I didn’t soak my vegetables because I was impatient so I just went the diced pickle route.

Sweet Hot Pepper Relish

Modified from the Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving

6-8 cups (no more than 8 eight cups) chopped vegetables, including at least a couple of hot peppers

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbl pickling salt

1 tbl pickling spice

If you have the time and the patience, let the vegetables rest in a brine bath (see this post about soaking vegetables for relish). Otherwise, you can just pack your vegetables in a hot pack like pickles. The texture won’t be quite the same, but it’ll work.

Bring everything but the vegetables to a boil. Add vegetables, and boil between 30 seconds-10 minutes. I know that’s a really wide range, but boil to your preferred texture. Or however long it takes you to wander back to your stove. Innocent face.

Pack into prepped jars to within 1/2 inch. Use a slotted spoon, and make sure to bubble your jars.

Process for 10 minutes.

Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

Please, stop by this week’s Inspired Weekends!

Linked to-

craft dictator

memories by the mile

carolyn’s homework

vmg206

frugal by choice

six sisters stuff

cooking with curls

the chicken chick

create with joy

this gal cooks

flour me with love

clairejustine

a pinch of joy

weed em and reap

april’s homemaking

Inspired Weekends #13

springweekends

Inspired Weekends #13

Hello, crafters! This year’s spring craft-a-long is not socks, it’s stash! We’re working through stashed materials this spring, so please stop by and link up your favorite tutorials or your finished projects every Tuesday until the first day of summer. Spring Through Your Stash

All entries are pinned to the Inspired Weekends Pinterest board.

You are also invited to join my new blogger group board- Make Me, Bake Me, Craft Me, Inspire Me. Please make sure to read the joining instructions!

This is a free for all style link up-there are no rules! The only guideline is that each entry should be your own content-but feel free to link up round ups, link parties, giveaways, diy, recipes, tutorials, favorite entries from your archives, recipes, anything that you would like to share!

Featured Links

Zero Oriental Soup  Soup Spice Everything Nice’s Hot and Sour Soup

 dipdye

Annkaydesign @home’s Dip Dye Watercolor Tissue Tassel Garland

Click on the button that looks like a blue frog at the bottom of the page to view the collection.

Please link to entries, and not your blog main page.

Click around the list and leave a few comments!

I’d love if you would follow Horrific Knits on Facebook, Twitter or by email!

(Signing up puts you on a list for an email notification of future rounds. Please respond if you would not like to receive notifications either now or in the future. Thanks so much!)

Taco Soup

I’m still working on my rephotographing old recipes. Taco soup is still one of Mid’s favorite foods, and I make it once or twice a month.

I’m not sure why I’m posting his favorite food on my birthday…but I guess that’s how life works out sometimes.

taco soup

Taco Soup

1/4 cup crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup water

1 beef bullion cube or 1 beef stock concentrate cube

1/4 cup frozen corn

1/4 cup diced onion

1/4 cup diced bell pepper

1/4 cup kidney beans

1 tea hot sauce

1 tea garlic

1 table taco seasoning

Add tomatoes, water, and beef concentrate to a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer.

While waiting for the tomatoes to simmer, dice peppers and onions. Add to tomatoes, along with corn.

Add seasonings and hot sauce.

Simmer for 20 minutes, then taste and adjust seasoning if you need.

Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

Please, stop by this week’s Inspired Weekends!

Linked to-

flour me with love    this gal cooks     the chicken chick

artsy fartsy mama     sunny simple life     diana rambles

domestic superhero     practically functional     pickled okra

serenity now     heavenly savings     six sisters stuff

cooking with curls    love bakes good cakes

nifty thrifty

navy wifey peters

flamingo toes

i should be mopping the floor

a pinch of joy

the prairie homestead

create with joy

The Wilberforce Riddle

“Sweetest of sound, in orchestra heard,

Yet in orchestra never have been,

Bird in light plumage, yet less like a bird,

Nothing in nature has ever been seen,

On earth I expire, in water I die,

Yet I run, swim and fly,

If I cannot be guessed by a boy or a man,

A girl or a woman I certainly can!”

The Wilberforce Riddle was written by Samuel Wilberforce in the 1870s. Wilberforce was a clergyman who was heavily involved in the Darwinian/evolution arguments, but he is best known for this riddle. The riddle appears to have no answer-or rather, Wilberforce did not leave one. The answers given to the riddle range from mythological beings to whales.

So what’s the answer? I have no idea. I’m too abstract a thinker to figure out logic problems (but if you want to debate the treeness of trees, and how trees don’t exist because of that same inherent treeness, then I’m your girl.)

Tips For Teaching

These tips are for teaching in the broader sense, whether you’re training concepts or teaching knitting.

1. Praise as much as you criticize, or more.

2. You started somewhere. Masters started somewhere. The path to perfection is a long one, remember that you weren’t born with this knowledge.

3. Admit when you don’t know something.

4. Try to learn who can give you the knowledge when your student asks you a question you have no answer to.

5. Never stop learning yourself.

6. Remember that everyone walks their road to learning at a different pace.

7. If an idea doesn’t seem be to sticking, ask your student what is confusing them or where they feel the problem is.

8. Remember that with difficult sessions, it’s probably as frustrating, or more frustrating, for the student than it is for you.

9. Very few things in life are ‘obvious’.

10. Remember to enjoy the process.

11. ‘If you can’t paraphrase a complex term in simplified language, you may not have a solid grasp on the concept yourself.’ [I teach semiotics with trees, all the time.]

12. Have fun with the teaching process.

13. Your students will teach you as much as you teach them, if you let them.

The Great Attractor

To begin wrapping up End of the World month, a very short, not entirely scientifically sound look at a force that will eventually bring us to an end-though what that end will look like remains to be seen.

There is a force in the Hydra-Centaurus Supercluster that is drawing the entirity of our universe towards itself, with relatively breakneck speed. I say relatively breakneck because this is something that only people living long after our bones turn to dust will deal with.

And the thing is, while it probably will cause mass destruction in our solar system-at the very least, it will probably be the end of life on this planet due to unavoidable environmental changes-we still have no idea what will happen when we get there. We’re still not even sure where ‘there’ is.

No one knows what we’re moving towards. The best working guess is some form of dark matter, but even that is an unknown. Dark matter is still a theoretical model; we’re not all that certain about the nature of dark matter as it stands.  We know where the Attractor is, and we know that it’s definitely some form of matter. But what that matter is-well, someone is going to win a mountain of awards when they figure that out.

The Boys of Summer {Spring Through Your Stash}

boys of summer

I fell in love this yarn. I really should not have fallen in love with $13 a skein organic cotton yarn. This was the first 100% cotton yarn that I enjoyed knitting with in years.

The actual skein though? Who’s idea was this? Winding this ball was one of the most awkward experiences I’ve had with yarn, probably ever. That was horrible. Love the yarn, hate the way that it’s put up for sale.

I’ve started working on my summer veils. All of my head covers are wools or acrylics, with the exception of a pile of bandanas. I want a wider range of options for spring and summer wrapping-so cotton it is. I love this hat. It’s so bumpy and goofy. And it came out loose enough I can get an underwrap layered under it.

boys of summer 1

Boys of Summer

1 skein Classic Elite Sprout-organic cotton, 109 yards a skein, natural

10 1/2 dpns

This was just a bare bones, basic, formulaic hat pattern from one of those books of plain patterns that you can mod yourself. I didn’t mod it because the yarn knits up with so much texture.

The hat’s a little too loose without an underwrap but I haven’t worn it with one. If it’s still too loose I might reknit it. Maybe.

spring through your stashThis year’s spring Knit-a-long is actually a Craft-a-long. Whatever your favorite craft is, it’s welcome!

The only requirement is that we’re trying to work down stashed materials. Every project that you work on for the CAL should incorporate stashed materials, the more the better. You can purchase materials as necessary, but the majority of your project(s) should use materials you already own.

Beyond that, have fun! Knit, spin, crochet, paper craft, sew…whatever moves you! You can follow along in the comments or link up on the Spring Through Your Stash posts up every week. The Craft-a-long will run through the first day of summer.

Linked to-

sunny simple life

vmg206

carolyn’s homework

memories by the mile

mamaldiane

the walker fireside chats

adorned from above

mom’s test kitchen

the tasty fork

family home and life