Rose Petal Jelly

One of the things I enjoy experimenting with in the summer is various types of jams and jellies. My favorite experiment was Wild Violet Jelly, which I posted about over 4 years ago! I’ve also made Dandelion Jelly, Apricot Pineapple Jam, Wineberry Jelly, and a whole host of others. Later today I plan to make Blackberry Jelly. My latest and greatest is this…..

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Rose Petal Jelly. Pretty cool, eh?

It sounds rather sophisticated, but is really pretty easy to make, and not very time consuming. I’m not a sophisticated gal, so it suited me just fine. The recipe I will share made about 7 jars of jelly.

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These are the ingredients I used:

@6 cups rose petals

4 cups water

1 TB lemon juice

1 box powdered pectin

5 1/2 cups sugar

Here is the process I followed:

Pick approximately 6 cups of rose petals. Lightly  rinse and place in a pot with a quart of water. Bring to a low boil and allow to bubble for maybe two minutes, then turn off the heat. Allow some time (maybe 20 minutes) for the rose petals to infuse the water. Strain off the rose petals and use the remaining rose water for the jelly.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, whisk the rose water with a box of powdered pectin. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice. (In a separate bowl, measure out 5 1/2 cups of sugar.) Bring your pot to a rolling boil, then dump in the sugar, stirring well as you add it. Make sure sugar is completely mixed in! Allow to boil for one minute, then remove from heat.

Have a separate pot of warm water ready for processing the jars. Ladle jelly mixture into jelly jars, leaving maybe 1/4″ of head space, then place new lids on with a band. Place into the pot with water. Bring to a low boil and allow to process for 5 minutes. Using a jar lifter, pull out of the water and allow to sit for 24 hours. Enjoy your beautiful jelly!

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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Hello!

If you are new here or unfamiliar with my “frugal accomplishment” posts, here’s a synopsis of what they are about.

Basically I go over what I have done in the past week (it’s ended up being about two weeks in actuality) to save our family some money. Some of the things may be repetitive, others may be brand new. We are a family of seven that has lived on one income for many years–and done so rather successfully, I might add. We don’t do credit, our vehicles have long been paid for, and we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on our mortgage. Though my husband is the breadwinner, I have been the one to manage our money over our 16 years of marriage. I’m not patting myself on the back or anything, but I think I do a fair job at it, and as our kids have grown I’ve gotten much better at being frugal. (Sorry to break it to you readers with small children, but they get more expensive as they get older!!) Therefore, I feel like I know a little bit about what I’m preaching on here, so I feel like I can share freely about what I do on a regular basis.

Anyway, with that bit of background, here’s what I’ve done these last two weeks:

*Harvested sugar snap peas, beets, scallions, greens, and hull peas out of the garden. I blanched and froze some bags of the regular peas to keep for winter.

*I just got a nice deal on apricots and am making Apricot Pineapple Jam with them.

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*Didn’t do any big grocery runs.

*Had a leftover smorgasbord for several different meals instead of cooking up something new.

*The kids and I went to the North Museum in Lancaster for free yesterday! I had a free voucher for a family that I had gotten the day they reopened after remodeling. We had tried to go that opening day, but due to plumbing issues, they had to close their doors and issued family vouchers to everyone who had tried to attend. I literally got handed one before even going in. SO…I paid nothing and we all got to see the newly remodeled museum AND planetarium show for free.

*Packed our lunch instead of eating out for several different outings.

*We’ve been to the library a couple of times since school let out. The library is our saving grace during the summer! Usually we stop to trade in books about once a week and then attend some of their free programs too. The kids signed up for the summer reading program, where they can earn free coupons and passes to local places.

*I helped serve a wedding rehearsal dinner at our church one evening. When the meal was done, I was given some of the leftovers to take home for my crew. They were yum!

*For the same wedding, I had Longwood Gardens tickets that we had gotten free with our family pass. I gave them as a gift to the bride and groom instead of buying something. (Hey, I know that sounds cheap of me, but I thought it was a cool gift! It’s a great date destination.)

*I bought some very cool retro soda advertisement glasses for super cheap at a yard sale. My kids are in love with them and I purged some of our little kid cups in the process.

*One of our AC units was making some crazy noises and I thought we would have to buy a new one. My handy man checked it out and was able to fix it on his own. Hooray for guys that can fix stuff!!!

That’s all I have for the moment. Hope you’re having a wonderful week.

–Rachel

Peasant Bread

Can bread be beautiful?

Yes, it absolutely can!

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This is a gorgeous loaf that we made yesterday. Hearty and rustic with just the right amount of crust. So, so good…

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My typical “go to” bread recipe is a honey wheat that I make about once a week.

This particular recipe, however, is one I found in an international cookbook.

It is entitled “Slavic Farmer’s Bread.”

Here’s the recipe we used, with a little extra somethin’ somethin’ added in for texture:

*2 Packs active dry yeast

*2 C warm water

*1 tsp salt

*Approximately  5 1/2-6 C bread flour

*1/3 C butter, cut into little pieces

*1/4-1/2 C wheat bran (Shhh…our secret ingredient!)

Dissolve yeast in a bowl with warm water.

In a separate large bowl, mix salt with 4 C of the bread flour and the wheat bran. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until it is a crumbly mixture. Add yeast mixture in and stir by hand or in a stand mixer until flour is nice and moist. Work in 1 more cup of flour to form a stiff dough.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Add a little more flour to prevent sticking as you go.

Place in a greased bowl and flip to grease the top as well. Cover and allow to rise in a warm location for about an hour to an hour and a half.

Grease a baking sheet. Punch down dough and knead a little longer. Shape into a round or oval loaf and place on the baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise for about another 45 minutes. Loaf should about double in size during this time! Preheat oven to 400 F.

Cut a 1/2″ deep cross into the top of the loaf. Brush loaf with warm water. Bake for 25 minutes at 400, then reduce to 350 F and bake about 15 more minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.

The nice crusty underside of the loaf.
The nice crusty underside of the loaf.

Slice and enjoy!

Note: This makes one giant loaf of bread. When I make it again I am going to try dividing it into 2 smaller round loaves and figure out the baking times. Also, what we didn’t eat I stored in a paper bag overnight and it was just as wonderfully crusty this morning.

Apricot Pineapple Jam

 

 

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This recipe is a newbie for me as I have never really worked with apricots much before.

At first I was planning to make a basic apricot jam, but then in my research discovered that some people combine it with pineapple.

I am so glad that I did, for this was a winner! In fact, it turned out so well that I plan to make another batch later today.

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The recipe was taken directly from Sure Jell’s website, seen here. The only variation I had from this was that I used the basic yellow box of Sure Jell, not the MCP box (which I’ve honestly never even seen before).

Here is a breakdown of how to make this:

3 C prepared apricots

1 can crushed pineapple, drained

1/2 C lemon juice

1 box pectin

1 tsp butter (to reduce foaming)

8 C sugar

Prepare jelly jars. Wash, pit, and then finely chop apricots (with peels on) until you have 3 cups of it. Place in a heavy-bottomed sauce pot, then add drained pineapple, lemon juice, and pectin. Heat until it comes to a rolling boil, stirring often. Add sugar and stir in, then bring to a boil once more, allowing it to boil about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Skim off foam if desired.
Ladle into jelly jars, then place lids with bands on tightly. Process in a hot water bath about 10 minutes. Remove from water and let jars sit about 24 hours before removing bands.

Peanut Butter Monster Cookies

We go through tons of peanut butter in our house. I am seriously considering buying those giant gallon-sized containers of it because it disappears so quickly. My main PB consumer is Daniel, our oldest son who just turned 13. He eats peanut butter on EVERYTHING, even really weird stuff that kind of grosses me out**. So, for his birthday I made these cookies in lieu of cake this year.

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Imagine your basic Monster cookies (which I love just a little too much) with Reeses Pieces instead of M & M’s.

Peanut butter cookie dough with chocolate and peanut butter pieces added in.

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Yup, it’s good stuff.

These got gobbled up pretty fast, so I guess they were well liked.  I may have had one actual baked cookie out of the batch, but I can testify that the cookie dough was awfully tasty.

Here’s the recipe for these guys:

2 cups flour

2 1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup softened butter

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup white sugar

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup peanut butter chips

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup Reese’s Pieces

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Chill dough for at least 1/2 hour. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes.

**Moms–Do not, I repeat Do NOT watch a 12 to 13 year old boy eat pretty much anything. You will quite possibly be disgusted and nauseated. Yes, make your kids great food and love them to bits, but be ready to turn away when they are ready to actually eat/inhale it. Consider yourself warned.

Whole Wheat Hamburger Rolls

We had a most beautiful Memorial Day here. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect and we took full advantage of it.

For dinner we had a great campfire meal of burgers and cowboy beans, along with a couple of other things. Oh yeah, and some yummy s’mores to top them all off.

I had really, really missed burgers cooked right over the fire and hadn’t had any since last fall.

To take them to a whole new level, I decided to make my own rolls to accompany them.

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Oh.My.Goodness. They did not disappoint.

These are not hard or really too time-consuming to make and are really worth the extra effort.

Here’s the recipe I followed:

1 package yeast

1 C warm water

1/4 C + 1 TB sugar

2 TB melted butter

3 1/2 C wheat flour

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

Mix together yeast, sugar, and water. Let sit for about 10 until it gets nice and bubbly. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except for egg!) and mix and knead really well. Place dough ball in oiled bowl and let rise in a warm location for about 1 hour. Divide into at least 8-10 pieces and form into roll shapes. (I rolled out the whole dough ball so it was pretty thick and just used the top of a cup to make circles.) Place on baking sheet and let these rise for another hour. Preheat oven to 375 F and brush top of rolls with egg wash. Bake for 12-16 minutes. Let cool and then slice in half before serving.

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When I make these again, I may be tempted to do a double batch and then freeze a portion of them for future meals. I would also like to use the same recipe and make hot dog buns as well.

Summer is almost here, so enjoy!

Wild Violet Jelly

This is a little gem from my archives, posted over two years ago!

For some reason this is probably one of my favorites. I’m not sure why, it just is.

I was reminded of it a couple weeks ago when my kids were reminiscing about how I made them pick all of those little purple flowers out of our yard. Then they asked if we could make it again sometime.

Why not? We have a gazillion of these in our yard and pretty much any other grassy area right now. (I’m actually doing a similar experiment with dandelions at the moment. Can’t wait to see the results, I’ll let you know if it turns out.)

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Is this not a beautiful sight?

Seriously, this may be the prettiest jelly I’ve ever made.

What gives it that gorgeous color? Wild violets, straight out of my backyard.

As my little guys have now named it, “flower jelly.”

I stumbled across the recipe for it on another blog and had to at least try it once.

Luckily I had lots of helpers to pick the violets for me.

This is Andrew, my 3rd grader. He was by far the most diligent of my little pickers and also helped to separate all the blooms and stems. The kids were all pretty into helping though. So, if you have any crazy little projects like this, I would be glad to hire them out! Just kidding. Sorta. (They’re also great corn huskers and pea/lima bean shellers.)

Anyway, after they had bunches of violets picked, this is the recipe I used to make the jelly:

2-3 Cups Violets

Juice of 1 Lemon

2 1/2 C Boiling Water

3 1/2 C Sugar

1 Package Sure Jell

Pick flowers and separate the blooms from the stems. In a jar, place the blooms and pour the 2 1/2 C boiling water over them. This will help to make an infuson. Allow to infuse until the water color is a dark blue/purple. (I even pushed the blooms around to help with this.)

Once you are satisfied with the color (it doesn’t take very long), strain and add the lemon juice to the liquid. I wish I had taken a picture of this step, for this is when it changes into such a brilliant color! Pour all liquid into a heavy pan and turn on high heat. Add the package of Sure Jell. Bring to a rolling boil and add in the sugar. Bring to a boil again, allow to boil for @1 minute, them remove from heat. Pour into jelly jars and process for 5 minutes. Allow to set for 24 hours. Enjoy!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the taste. If you are not too weirded out by eating “flower jelly,” it really does taste fine. I have to admit that I was a little nervous–was it going to actually taste good? Or gross? (Almost all of my jelly-making experience has been with berry-based ones.) Well, we tried some with our Easter breakfast and the closest thing I can compare it to is a light grape-y flavor. Nothing strong, just a light, pleasant flavor.

Wouldn’t this make a pretty little gift as well?

Hmmm….I may have to send my little workers out with their baskets to pick me another batch.

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Finger-licking good and healthy to boot.

That’s exactly the type of snack these little bars are.

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They are honey-sweetened and feature peanut butter, dark chocolate, and coconut.

Oh yeah, and oatmeal too.

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See? Healthy and good. And maybe a little bit addictive.

Perfect for a little snack to accompany your coffee or a sweet treat to put in a lunchbox.

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In addition to being healthy, this is a no-bake snack, so it’s easy to make a full pan of these without even turning on your oven.

I don’t make these THAT often, but when I do they’re usually gone by the second day.

Trust me, it’s good stuff.

Here’s the recipe if you’re interested in whipping some up for your family:

1 C peanut butter
1/2 C honey
1/2 C coconut oil
2 C rolled oats
1 C flaked coconut
1/2 C nuts or dried fruit
1 1/2 C dark chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Melt the first three ingredients in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add in the rest and stir until chocolate is melted. Press into a 9″x13″ pan and chill for a few hours. Cut into bars.

Banana Baked Oatmeal Muffins

This is a great recipe if you’re looking for a healthy bite.

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Though we have no food allergies in our house (thank God!) and don’t specifically avoid any certain ingredient, they are perfect for families who ARE avoiding specific things.

No white sugar. No flour. No eggs.

Less than 100 calories a piece.

As an added bonus, they are super tasty and nutritious. Perfect for a quick grab-it-and-go breakfast or a healthy little snack.

These would also be great in kids’ lunchboxes. I am always struggling to pack healthy for my gang. After packing five lunchboxes a day every weekday morning I seem to run out of fresh ideas sometimes.

I haven’t tried this yet, but these supposedly freeze well also.

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I snagged the recipe off of this website.

Here’s the lowdown on what you need to make these:

5 cups rolled oats

2 1/2 cups overly ripe bananas

1 tsp salt

5 TB sweetener (you choose which one–I used honey)

2/3 cup Chocolate chips

2 1/2 cup water

1/4 cup + 1 TB oil (coconut or vegetable)

2 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 380 degrees F and line cupcake pans with liners. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl and then add in to the dry ones. Mix together well, than spoon into cupcake liners. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Makes about 24.

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