Renaissance Mama

{Real Food, Pure and Simple} | Lilac Jelly

Last month, the little ones helped me make some lilac jelly.  Our farm has been overrun with lilacs.  We are so overrun with them, in fact, that we will be dividing them and selling the potted lilacs to farm visitors next year.  That way, everyone can own a little piece of the farm (and make their own jelly, too!).

It was such a lovely day.  We threw open the kitchen windows while we worked.  The scent of lilac blossoms permeated the air. It doesn’t last long enough, lilac season.  This country jelly is a clever way to preserve it, in edible form, until next year.

I began by filling a 5 gallon bucket with lilac panicles, early in the morning, before the precious oils evaporated.  it is really important to get them early for the best results.  Remember to shake off the little critters.

We plucked the individual blossoms from the panicles.  You don’t want the green bits because they can make your finished jelly bitter. And when we made the infusion, we were surprised to see that the pretty pale purple blossoms produced a pale green liquid.

 

Real Food, Pure and Simple  | Lilac Jelly Real Food, Pure and Simple  | Lilac Jelly

Real Food, Pure and Simple  | Lilac Jelly

Real Food, Pure and Simple  | Lilac Jelly

Real Food, Pure and Simple  | Lilac Jelly

Real Food, Pure and Simple  | Lilac Jelly

Real Food, Pure and Simple  | Lilac Jelly

Real Food, Pure and Simple  | Lilac Jelly

 

William kept us entertained by catching butterflies and moths, bringing them to the window to show us.

Real Food, Pure and Simple  | Lilac Jelly

Real Food, Pure and Simple  | Lilac Jelly

Real Food, Pure and Simple  | Lilac Jelly

If you aren’t familiar with making jelly, you just need to remember these things:

Real Food, Pure and Simple  | Lilac Jelly

  1.  Your maximum batch size should not exceed 10 c. of infusion.  If, like me, you need to make much more than that, make your infusion in one batch and divide it into smaller batches before adding pectin and sugar.
  2.  I recommend ALWAYS using low-sugar/no-sugar pectin from real fruit.  This allows you to adjust your sugar content to your taste.  For this recipe, I cut the original amount of sugar by half.  My recipe below is exactly what I used.
  3. Always add pectin to the infusion and boil BEFORE adding sugar. 

Lilac Jelly

Lilac Jelly

10 c. lilac infusion

1 c. lemon juice

1 jar powdered pectin (low-sugar/no-sugar)

10 c. organic sugar

In a large roasting pan or steam pan liner, on top of the stove, pour lemon juice into the infusion.  Slowly stir in pectin with a whisk to prevent lumps.  Bring to a hard boil (one that can’t be stirred down).  Add sugar all at once, bring back to the boil and cook for about 1 minute.  Turn the heat off and pour jelly into prepared jars.  Wipe the rims clean, place lids.  Process in a water bath for 10 minutes (or as long as needed for your altitude).    Viola!  That’s it.

I’m not bothered by foam, but you can disperse it with a pat of butter or oil during the second boil.  Skim off any remaining foam.  It is still perfectly good to eat.  It just isn’t as pretty to some folk.

ETA: I TOTALLY forgot to give instructions for the infusion!  Mea culpa. You want:

10 c. lilac blossoms

11 1/4 c. water

Bring to the boil, reduce to simmer.  Simmer for 40 minutes, take off the heat and allow to steep overnight, covered.  In the morning, strain the blossoms and press all of the liquid out.  Measure the liquid.  If you need to, add some water to ensure that you have 10 c. of infusion.

 

If you missed lilac season, you can purchase some of ours here.

 

 

{Making a Home} | Of Pantries and Shelf Lace

I think it is true what they say about the adoption process causing similar symptoms to pregnancy.  I think that I am nesting.  Certainly, it also coincides with warm weather, and settling in to living in the farmhouse.  The temporary schoolroom is finished and I’m letting it steep a little before we dig in and really give it a work out.

Last week, we got some rain that was enough to keep everyone out of the field.  It was a perfect opportunity to get the top of the hutch painted and installed in the pantry.

I stayed out of the way and looked around for a pretty crocheted trim to use for shelf lace.  I found a beautiful French crochet pattern that reminds me of wheat sheaves.  I’m working on transcribing the pattern from a crochet chart into a written pattern to share.

I bought new drawer pulls in an oiled bronze-looking finish, and I found some tension rods to fit the openings in the lower part of the hutch.  I want to make some curtains to hide some of the bits and pieces stored there.

Making a Home | Of Pantries and Shelf Lace

Making a Home | Of Pantries and Shelf Lace

Making a Home | Of Pantries and Shelf Lace

Making a Home | Of Pantries and Shelf Lace

Making a Home | Of Pantries and Shelf Lace

 

It just need curtains for the bottom, and shelf lace for the top shelves.

Making a Home | Of Pantries and Shelf Lace

Check back here on the blog for the finished translated and written pattern.

This pretty hutch has been around awhile.  Brian’s brother made it for their parents, we received it a few years ago.  The pretty glass doors couldn’t hold up to our heavy use, and one of the lower doors developed a funny bow.  So we decided to give it a makeover and repurpose it.  Look around at what you have, or what you can find.  It doesn’t have to be costly to make your home lovely and functional.

{Making a Home} | Temporary Schoolroom: Finished!

C’mon in and have a look around.

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

Our cultural studies basket, set up with the India resources.

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

St. Anthony, a gift from my mom, watching over the children.

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

Papa’s liturgical books get a special roost.

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

The nature table. Not filled up yet. We’re making a new chalkboard, too. This one was not meant for heavy use.

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

{Making a Home} | Schoolroom

When the mantel comes back into the room, we will use it for our liturgical year displays.  We still need some artwork on the walls, and to change out the beautiful overhead light fixture for something that allows more light.  But it’s pretty wonderful.  Thanks be to God!

ETA::  Most everything you see here was thrifted or gifted.  Anything we bought new, was bought at at a discount place.  Everything was painted to match, so what looks like a large matched set, wasn’t.  Many of our Montessori materials are handmade, except for the pink and blue rods and the set of bells in the green cartons – those were purchased, used, from a fellow homeschooler.  You CAN do this in your own home, if you can spare the space.  I promise.

**Our favourite little saint peggies were made for us by Catholic Folk Toys

{Family Centered Kitchen} | Snack Time:: Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

{Family Centered Kitchen} | Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

We love popcorn for an inexpensive snack.  We like to experiment with different flavours – savoury and sweet alike.  Here is one we tried recently.  It was a hit.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER POPCORN

  • 1 1/2 c. popping corn
  • 1 stick butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/4 c. organic cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. organic sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c. organic peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp. salt (or to taste)

 

Pop your corn and set aside in a very large mixing bowl.  It’s going to make a boatload – but we have an entire Navy’s worth of people here, so…  Melt your butter over medium heat in a large saucepan, add sugar and cocoa.  Continue to cook over medium low until the sugar completely dissolves; stirring constantly.  Stir in peanut butter until completely blended. Remove from heat; add vanilla.  Pour mixture over popcorn and toss.  Sprinkle salt over all and toss again.

 

Welcome New Friends!

Welcome to everyone visiting from Farmish Momma!  I hope you enjoyed my guest post as much as I enjoyed preparing it.

Real Food on a Real Budget | Grains + Beans

We are really pleased to have you here in our family’s little corner of the internet.  Please stay for a while, have a look around, leave us a comment.  And please come on back to visit often.  I’m working hard to get back into the blogging groove, bringing you recipes, tutorials, opinion, and a taste of every day life At Home with the Gadbois Family!

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