Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Repurposing mason

I am obsessed with saving glass jars.

And my husband absolutely cannot stand it.  The most recent jars I added to the collection I had to rescue out of the trash bin because they had ickies inside.  "But I can USE it!" is usually my reply to whatever else might be said about the poor jar.  Sanitized and happy, it gets stashed away in the cupboard set aside specially for my finds.

I'm often told that my hoarding is reminiscent of my great grandma, whom we lived with for several years when I was a child.  A woman of the Great Depression, she saved e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.  At seven years old, it seemed strange to save yogurt containers, clothespins and pieces of wrapping paper.  But now at a point in my life when I want to learn to reuse, repurpose and recycle, returning to the habits my great grandma developed doesn't seem odd at all.  In fact, it's smart.

Those pickle jars are now filled with other goods, such as nuts, granola and coffee.  The bathrooms are becoming more organized, tossing bobby pins and cotton swabs into their topless glass homes.  I even scavenged for more during trips to the recycling center, to be used at our wedding.  And I love it.

What things are you known for obsessively repurposing?

Monday, November 28, 2011


Over the last few months, Erik and I have been experiencing huge life changes.  We've moved way more than I would like to remember, gotten engaged and then married, purchased a new car and now Erik is graduating and in the process of looking for a professional career position as an engineer.

I'm worn out.

Things are getting stressful as we transition from student to real-life grown-ups.  There is just something about getting out of school that creates a different outlook, even though I've been taking care of myself for years.  We have no idea where we will end up, or if I'll be staying here to finish my last semester or trying to transfer to another university that offers a similar program to the one I'm currently in.  No way to plan, no clue as to what to do next.  Sitting on my hands isn't what I do best.

But I sit.

I know I've mentioned this before, but learning how to be happy in the moment and not always focusing on what will happen next is something I have never found easy (which is why I bring it up so often).  I want to be 18.  I want to be done with this semester.  I can't wait for this day to be over.  After a while, I will have wished my entire life away and I'll end up 85 years old wondering when I've ever been happy with the present moment.

So through all this craziness, through the life adjustment and uncertainty, I'm learning to just sit and enjoy.  Enjoy my husband, my health and my craftiness.  My home.  My job.  My life.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meet Me on Monday

Now that I'm back into blogging a little more regularly, I wanted to start doing Meet Me on Monday again, hosted by Java at Never Growing Old.  I love filling out little "get to know you" forms and it's always fun to see what other people are doing!

1.  Does your family/friends know about your blog?
2.  What is your favorite card game?
3.  What do you wear to bed? 
4.  What is your favorite kind of French Fry?
5.  What is your usual bed time?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pumpkins: Not just for carving

On Wednesday between the hours of 4:30pm and 1:30am, I spent the time baking and puréeing two very large pumpkins.  They were originally purchased for the sole purpose of carving, but never made it that far.  Last Halloween the same thing happened and the pumpkins ended up rotting, which I felt terrible about.  I don't know about you, but I really hate letting food in any form go to waste.  I just cleaned out my fridge and it wasn't a happy sight.

This year things would be different.  All I could think about when I saw these large orange boulders on my table was how many pies they might be worth.  Sure it's not quite as easy as buying a can of pumpkin (and maybe not quite as cheap either when you consider the oven cost) but at least I wasn't going to buy canned pumpkin and let these fresh ones rot.

As I usually do when faced with a new situation dealing with food and preservation, I hit up the Laurel's Kitchen cookbook my dad bought (and I confiscated) years back.  When I found nothing there, I googled it.

Side note--when did "googling" become a verb?

Here is my version of how to bake and purée pumpkins gathered from various sources.  Please note that I'm no culinary artist.  I'm just getting the job done.

1.  Cut pumpkins in half vertically so the stem is cut in half.  This makes it easier to clean and bake, in my opinion.  

2.  Scoop all the goop out, saving pumpkin seeds in a separate bowl for roasting.  

3.  Place the pumpkin cut-side down on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Doing this is like putting a lid on water so it boils faster.  It keeps all the heat in the pumpkin and I noticed it cooked a lot faster this way.  Then cover with foil, so as to keep the outside from burning and again, keep the heat "in."

4.  Turn the oven to 350 degrees and put your pumpkin in.  I don't let it preheat because when baking pumpkin your ultimate goal is to soften it enough to purée and preheating wastes energy if it isn't necessary.  

5.  Let your pumpkin bake.  Depending on the size of your pumpkin, it can take anywhere from 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours.  When it's done, it should be caving in a little which indicates it's soft enough to purée.  Take it out of the oven and let it cool.  I suggest 20 minutes of cooling time.

6.  Once you have let the pumpkin cool to where you are comfortable handling it, start scooping the insides out and place in a blender or food processor.  You should be able to get every little bit of the pulp while leaving a thin skin from the outside of the pumpkin.  Fill your blender to about 2/3-3/4 full, put the lid on and hit "purée."  The pumpkin is ready when it's smooth and there are no chunks left in the blender.

7.  You can store your pumpkin in the freezer or refrigerator.  If storing in the refrigerator, put in an airtight container and keep for 7-10 days (or so).  If storing in the freezer, fill freezer bags and store for 2-3 months.

Here are a few websites I found helpful.  

Happy puréeing!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Eye Candy

Ruche has become a severely addictive online boutique that I randomly found through Google ads.  The tagline is "Vintage inspired clothing, affordable clothes and eco-friendly fashion" and I have to say it lives up to all of it (except perhaps affordability for this college student/newlywed).

Recently they created a Homemade Holiday Handbook, which has become my favorite thing to stare at whenever I get the chance.  Their photos make you want absolutely everything in that little book and inspires so much beautiful creativity.  

I encourage you to check out their store for a little eye candy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

End and a Beginning

I have felt as though a huge part has been missing since I stopped blogging.  I keep thinking I need to start something and then I'm just unable to figure out where to start.  So here's to the end of abandonment!

And I'll begin with sharing some of our special wedding day.  Special it was.  Low-stress it was not.  With a car accident, family kerfuffles and not enough sleep, I can't imagine that I came out of it alive (or anyone for that matter).  But everyone survived, all is well, and we're married!