Canning, DIY, Recipes

Turn Up The Heat

IMG_4267My favorite jelly that my grandmother used to make was jalapeno jelly. She would dollop it on top of cream cheese and crackers. To this day, I remember it being her go-to appetizer for family gatherings and our little afternoon treat on hot summer days. I think it was then that my love of the sweet and spicy combo began. I thought I’d share with you the recipe that she used to use. Admittedly, I may have wanted to share it with you just so I could whip up some crackers with cream cheese. Either way, I hope you enjoy it!

Jalapeno Jelly

  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 14 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 cups of sugar
  • 1 packet of liquid pectin
  • 3-4 jalapenos, seeded and minced
  1. Coarse chop bell peppers and 14 jalapenos in a blender, pulse smooth
  2. Pour in a saucepan with the vinegar and bring to a boil for 20 minutes
  3.  Remove from heat and strain through cheesecloth or fine sieve
  4. Return pepper juice back to the saucepan and combine with salt and sugar
  5. Bring mixture to a rolling boil and stir in pectin
  6. Then add minced jalapenos and ladle the mixture into jars.

 

 

Canning, DIY, Recipes

Things Are Just Peachy

IMG_4183I hope that everyone had a happy and safe Fourth of July! Here at the homestead, we had a quiet and relaxing day. No farm work, picking out new chickens to add to our flock, feet up, delicious summer mocktails, and, ok, finally at 2 pm I had to do something and made some peach jam!

Texas peaches are here. They are big, juicy, and absolutely perfect. We snacked on them, grilled them (served with ice cream), and still had plenty to whip up some jam. We even fed a few to the chickens! I don’t share jam recipes as often as I should, but here is a great recipe for peach jam!

Peach Jam

  • 4 pounds of peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  1. Place chopped peaches into a pot and bring to a boil
  2. Use a potato masher periodicaly to mash peaches into smaller pieces
  3. Stir often so that the peaches do not burn on the bottom of the pot
  4. After 30 minutes or so add the sugar and lemon juice
  5. Return to a boil for about ten minutes or until the jam begins to gel
  6. Remove from heat and transfer the jam to jars

If you do not want to cook the jam for what seems like forever, you can add pectin to speed up the gel process. You can store this jam in the fridge in Tupperware, or use the traditional water bath canning method and store it in the cupboard up to a year. IMG_4261

 

Canning, Updates

PSA: Canning & COVID-19

Good morning.  I realize the title doesn’t exactly lend itself to the happiest of morning vibes, but one worth making a quick announcement about.  While everyone’s news feeds are filled with talk of Coronavirus, toilet paper, and quarantine, I’ve been wondering what my best course of action is. Many gigs and events are getting canceled or rescheduled, and I just found out yesterday that my biggest art fair of the year has been canceled due to the virus.

As someone with a compromised immune system, I’m grateful for all the precautions that are being taken.  I’m sure others and the elderly would agree. That being said, moving forward I will be suspending all jam, jelly, and fermented food sales until further notice. As a small business that operates under the Cottage Food Laws, I always operate under the cleanest of conditions, but due to my concern about others’ health and immune system, I will be holding off food production for a while.  Due to the information available about the virus’s life span on plastic, etc. I don’t want to take any chances of passing it on.

Growing up, I was taught two rules:

  1. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.
  2. Better safe than sorry.

That being said, I am most definitely taking a financial hit with the cancelation of craft fairs and suspending food production for the time being.  I see an outpouring of support for all local businesses, artists and musicians at the moment, which makes me incredibly happy.   In the next two weeks, I will have new embroidery work on the website and be taking on any custom work, so if you’ve been thinking of a great birthday present for your Auntie Joan… now’s the time!

Thank you again for your support.  Stay healthy, friends… and share the TP!

 

Brand, Canning, DIY, Mixed Media, Recipes, Updates

Pickles & Press

What a whirlwind of a week it’s been… Well, I guess almost two since my last post! I’ve since been an embroidery machine as made by laura lee was featured in the Austin 360 (by the Austin American Statesman) Holiday Foodie Gift Guide! This is the biggest bit of press that my little handmade business and blog has received yet.

In between embroidering Texas Towels, I took breaks by baking banana bread and pecan pie as well as whipping a quick batch of refrigerator pickles. I love having pickles around as a cool, crips snack or a great addition to a cheese plate or sandwich.  Here’s a quick and easy recipe for you!  Oh yea, these are a little zingy!

Quick Zingy Fridge Pickles

  • 2 32-ounce mason jars
  • 3 cups of cider vinegar
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cucumbers, washed & sliced
  • 6-10 small sweet peppers, washes, quartered, and seeds removed (you can use bell peppers instead)
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Version 2

  1. Clean and prep cucumbers, peppers, onions, and garlic
  2. Stuff clean mason jars with cucumbers, peppers, and onions
  3. In a saucepan, combine vinegar, water, garlic, salt, sugar, and spices then bring to a boil
  4. When vinegar mixture has come to a rolling boil, place mason jars in the sink and pour the mixture into mason jars
  5. Place lids on the jars and wipe down outside of any spills
  6. While cooling, place jars on a towel on the counter (towel acts as a buffer so the hot glass does not cool too quickly and shatter). Leave jars out until room temperature
  7. Place jars in the fridge.  Pickles will be ready in a day or two
  8. Enjoy!

 

Before & After, DIY, Garden

Down & Dirty

IMG_1016The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and, clearly, reorganizing my shop wasn’t enough in the getting dirty department. This past week I brought in four yards of dirt to revive what once was a kitchen garden.  

It needed a little love, but after cutting down the three-foot tall weeds, laying down cardboard, layering leaves and compost, I laid down the dirt, with a little help from the manpower on the property.  What can I say, I’m not in the shape I used to be, after hauling 3.5 yards with a shovel and wheel-borrow, I was a little tuckered out and needed to call in reinforcements.

The manpower also framed in our garden gate, restructured our compost bins, and got the worm farm constructed and operational.  

While we are not quite out of the clutches of the late winter freezes, (it was 20 degrees here two nights ago), we’re looking forward to seeing the following lovelies in the sprout for eating, canning, and more: beets, basil, carrots, collards, and rainbow chard!

 

Before & After, Uncategorized, Updates

I’m Back. Really.

img_1369Really.  To say that I’ve been a little quiet may in fact be the biggest understatement since my last blog post and should cover the understatement bases for the remainder of 2019.   I have come back to life.  In fact, Life is kind of what got in the way.  So much has changed since my last post, I don’t even know where to begin. Rather than recapping and rehashing the last year or so, what I will focus on are the things that have recently taken place to get me back on track.

Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork

I have found my tribe.  I have teamed up with some amazing people to help push me forward, grow, learn… and learn things that I really needed to know to help grow laura lee… like that online store, a better website, etc.  It’ll be a slow process to build, but I’ll get there.  Despite sometimes what I think, I can’t do everything by myself.  This team is the A-Team.

New Home… New Homestead

To wrap up 2018… I moved.  I left my adorable little apartment that I’ve called home for five years and completely uprooted myself to a little home in the country.  I’m surrounded by hundreds of acres of rolling hills, cows, pastures, some trees, and John Deere tractors.  I’m greeted by the wagging tales of dogs every morning and coffee already brewed.  (*note: we have not trained the dogs to make coffee yet) I will start prepping my garden beds this week so that I can start growing my own produce for my canned goods!

More Updates:

  • I have not forgotten about Kickstarter Incentives. I have learned that I signed myself up for too complicated of incentives, which is taking me much longer to fill. My sincerest apologies… thank you for your patience.
  • I’m still working on the cookbook.  I will post a teaser soon.
  • I now live on the same property as my furniture shop, you can expect to see more updates about that once I finish unpacking boxes.
  • I’ve fallen in love, despite my greatest attempt not to.
  • I am working on a new line of embroidery goods.
  • There are workshops/classes being planned.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for a made by laura lee Youtube channel coming soon.

If any of ya’ll are still reading my humble little blog… thank you.  It’s good to be back.  I appreciate you.

Canning, Food, Uncategorized

Pump Up the Jams!

Oh, how I love a good food pun.

Yes, PUMP up the jams!  Last weekend at the ABGB Austin Flea Market, I had a record breaking sales weekend, outside of the holiday season.  This week, I am a jam making fool!  I cannot believe that I am wiped out of stock.

Now, I would have been standing over the stove sooner, but I certainly didn’t foresee blowing out my back, which had me laid up for a few days.  Still a little tender, I got to it this weekend!

I’m kicking off the fall with blackberry rosemary jam.  This one is slowly becoming a silent favorite amongst regulars. It’s got the sweetness from the fruit (obviously), I leave the seeds in for a little bit of tooth and texture, the rosemary adds a touch of savory and is quite aromatic.  I’ve heard folks tell me they put it on an english muffin with butter, others use it as a last minute touch on grilled pork chops, etc.  I, myself, love it with brie! Whether it’s on grilled cheese or a condiment on a burger with arugula and more brie, of course.

Check out the upcoming craft fair schedule over the coming weeks to pick up some Blackberry Rosemary Jam to add to your cupboard.

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Canning, Uncategorized

Cool as a Cuke

It’s Summer.  It’s hot and some of my favorite vegetables are in season: okra, shishito peppers, and tomatoes.  Watermelon (yes, I realize this is a fruit) and cucumbers are runners up and with cucumbers means PICKLES!

I’ve been waiting since January, when I finished my last jar of bread and butter pickles, for cucumbers to make their come back.  I made sure to get some at the HOPE Farmer’s Market from Johnson’s Backyard Garden this weekend.

I spent Sunday afternoon slicing, packing, and brining these crisp cucumbers.  I still use the recipe Grandmother, Nettie, gave me.  It’s still on the same piece of paper she typed it up on her typewriter eight years ago.  My Grandmother passed away a few years ago and my family is delighted that her recipe was passed on.

That being said…

Austinites! I will be selling these pints of pickles at the HOPE Farmer’s Market this Sunday.  Swing by and get you some!  They’re just like Nettie used to make!

 

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12 Day of Crafting, Canning, Embroidery, Uncategorized

A Partidge & A Pear Tree

Today is the final day before the Handmade Holiday Show at OPA! I thought I would take a moment to share one more post with you before the big day! As promised in my last post on Wednesday, I have something a little on the matchy-matchy side.  To stick with the “what’s in season” category, I thought it only appropriate that pears should be included.  I will have pear embroidered tea towels as well as a pear canned good.  I’m feeling somewhat mysterious this morning and thinking that I might not actually reveal what the pear canned good is… just to leave you hanging, curious, and inquisitive.  Maybe you’ll feel so inspired as to come out tomorrow afternoon?

Hope to see you there, lovelies.

12 Day of Crafting, Canning, Food, Uncategorized

When Life Gives You Oranges

FullSizeRenderWhen I first started experimenting with canning I asked everyone what there favorite jam or jelly was.  The people pleaser inside of me was eager to make an impression.  Naturally, I asked my mother. She was quick to let me know that her favorite flavor out of a jar was lemon curd.  I was quick to learn that it is one of mine too.

Being in Texas we have the luxury of having some really great organic citrus grown in our backyard in McAllen, TX.  G&S Grove, check them out. (Seriously, the best grapefruit I’ve ever had.) So why does delicious curd have to stop with lemons?

FullSizeRender

I heard through the grapefruit vine that a friend liked grapefruit curd, viola, it appeared!  I had done a blend of grapefruit and orange, which was delightful! This holiday season, I will be introducing straight up orange curd! Yes, I certainly tried my darn-dest not to eat it all before canning it up!

I will have these little babies available at the Holiday Handmade Show at OPA! this Saturday!  See you there!