Tuesday, October 17, 2017

i said no.

i am beginning to
grow 
more familiar
with the word 
no.
fond of it 
actually.
who knew it would 
bring 
freedom 
rather 
than 
restriction

.boundaries.

My First Experience with Homemade Rasberry Jam!

today's little recipe trial is considered another tiny step up the kitchen ladder in being able to
successfully make my own very own batch of home made jam. i mean, the idea of jam or preserves intimidated me, my imagination ran wild with mason jars and metal prongs, large pots, and professional seals..i imagined a kitchen turned science lab really, all with a little old grandma sporting goggles and an overly floral apron at the helm. how could i possibly attempt to make it myself?

I've been purchasing my favorite brand of raspberry and strawberry preserves, Bonne Maman for years now, i love how seedy and sweet it is, and the packaging wins my eye of approval. i save most of the glass jars and even have a few of the tiny miniature ones floating around as well. 

The other day, my generous neighbor Char appeared at my door with a lush metal pan full of freshly picked raspberries from the end of the season's pick at a local farm a few towns over. she is always gifting us with fresh produce, homemade meals, and if we are extra lucky, she'll show up with a hot apple pie or even more recently, pumpkin cheesecake! man o man, does she spoil us!!

i'd been only beginning to think about attempting to try my hand at jam by looking up recipes, figuring out what the word pectin meant, and would i need it? is it required to make jam? and what about the sealed jar method i was so frightened of? what was all that? is it also required to make a perfect batch of jam? to my relief, both of those commotions are not required to make a simple, delicious, hearty jar of homemade jam. phew phew phew.

i landed on one that asked for only 3 ingredients. 3 ingredients?! that sounds right up my ally!! i know everyone has their own methods and extensive instructions varying at length from easy to difficult, but where i ended up was good for a newbie like me. 

i honestly don't even know how many raspberries i used. i was looking for a small batch recipe anyways..i eyeballed what i had, and i think it was about 4 cups...maybe..?

ah, well, i am still learning and i'm really just sharing my tiny accomplishment, so i apologize for the guessed measurements..

i'll share what i remember.

this batch filled two empty bonne maman jars.


you'll need:
3-4 cups fresh raspberries, sorted, and removed of soggy or moldy ones..
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
the juice of  1 freshly squeezed lemon




method: [hold that word loosely]

i just threw all the raspberries into a large pot. i used a wooden spoon to kind of smash them down as they began to heat. of course natural breakdown will occur and liquid is released, so i just stirred away.

while i was doing that, i boiled water in my electric kettle and filled the empty glass jars i chose to fill, along with soaking the lids to kind of sanitize and bring the jars to square one and eliminate any odors or weird whatevers.

i added the sugar to the pot. i guessed on the measurement above, so it could have been 2 full cups when all was said and done. i think you can pick how sweet you want it. i thought mine was plenty sweet.

i continued to stir over medium to high heat, skimming the edges and trying to make sure everything was getting mixed evenly. i loved seeing how the jam really began to thicken on its own and the color deepened to a beautiful deep crimson color. my kitchen smelled wonderful.

i lastly squeezed the lemon juice and this i think gave its
perfectly balanced flavor of sweet, sharp, hint of lingering citrus, but not overpowering the delicious raspberry flavor. 

you don't have to do this, but i did add a tiny bit of vanilla extract as well. 

overall, i think i stirred and simmered and skimmed for a good 20-maybe even 30 minutes. i wanted that thickened jam texture and i found the longer i let it develop, it gave me the consistency i was looking for. not watery or soupy, but gloppy and saucy. i wanted to be able grab some with a knife and slather that red goodness on a buttery scone or hot baked bread.

i took it off the heat and let it cool completely. i then gently and carefully poured it into the two jars.

the satisfaction of seeing the jam I MADE, in a jar with a lid..was wonderful. i was so excited!!

i hope you get excited too, making something you've never really attempted before till now, and with a successful outcome at that! what a gift to be given that little confidence booster!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

brother brother

that's nice and all 
that you said you missed me 
to some one else 
but you haven't told me that 
you haven't told me anything at all 
for that matter 
not one text, phone call, 
a pop in to say hello, how are you. 
[all of those things used to be 
quite common, 
remember?]
the pain used to be pulsing, sharper, 
if i am honest..
but it has quieted 
and slowed to a dull by now.
i miss you too, brother.
miss the numerous meals shared, 
the talks on couches and 
wooden tables 
that exposed hearts
and brought about brokenness and 
accountability.
i miss that you lavished love on 
my husband and children 
and weren't afraid to embrace me fully 
as a sister in christ 
[and in color]
sigh. but 
the day always comes..
you found a girl that has occupied 
every corner of your heart. 
you can think of 
little else. 
i totally get it. 
seasons shift 
and priorities change. 
and for me, 
i want to honor 
this gift you have found-
in honor, purity, and respect..
so i have loosened my hands 
and have waited on the side lines
hoping for at least a smile 
or a remembrance of the joyful season [many seasons]
we all shared..
but sadly, i think that it 
all but over. 
but thank you for telling my
husband you missed me..
that was a tiny tiny gift 
i'll cherish..
goodbye for now,
my brother..

slow.

s l o w mornings..
just liv&me
waffles, homemade raspberry jam,
whipped butter.
soft christian music floating over
the bose speaker
unload/load the dishwasher
together.
nowhere to be. 
nowhere i would want to be. 
beginning to enjoy more and more 
this season of 
hybernation. 
dreaming of 
modern gray bassinets
with wooden accents
and creating a nursery for a tiny space..
yes, i do like 
the being
tucked away..
i know it won't last forever 
so i want to be purposeful 
not to squander 
it now..

Saturday, October 7, 2017

r e f u g e

my fingers find their way 
to the tiny 
ceramic bowl 
of extra dark 
chocolate chips,
a sleeping baby girl 
with her brown doll
snug beneath a sprawled arm,
breathes quietly
next to me.. 
the sound of cold October rain
steadily falling.
restful sigh.
this next season
i will hide.
tuck myself away.
allow Him to 
winterize me,
to gently remove the busy, 
the buzzing, 
the cluttering about,
and to fall in love
once again 
with the 
quiet,
the mundane,
the faithful presence 
of my Savior
and i will find 
sweet rest..

-the october before baby comes
small tiny steps towards less busy