Canning, Garden, Recipes

Mint Jelly

I’ve wanted to make mint jelly for the past few years, but never grew enough mint to make it happen. Mint is basically a tasty weed and takes over a garden, so I’ve never planted mine in the ground. Just in a small pot… and even though I have a green thumb in my garden, I have blacker than black thumb for potted plants.

Lucky me, my neighbor offered me a bunch of hers this past weekend, so I got to try my hand at making some jelly! The recipe I followed was from my Ball recipe book  — I highly recommend their home preserving book. It’s one of my favorites! (I get no money from the sale of this book, in case you care) — and I doubled it to make 9 jars instead of 4 or 5.

The mint jelly recipe was a cool one to try for me because I usually make jam. With jam, you use the whole fruit. With jelly, you are using just the liquid. So I got to use a fancy jelly straining bag for the first time! (nerd alert!)

After boiling the mint leaves in water for a bit, I poured the entire mixture into the jelly bag, which then separated the leaves from the mint water mixture.

mintjelly-straining-web

Once I got the amount I needed, I put it back into the pot and added in the sugar, lemon juice and liquid pectin.

A few things I learned:

1. Mint jelly is only green if you add food coloring. Otherwise, it’s a yellow-y color.

2. Even if you aren’t making a huge batch of jam or jelly, use a big pot! I have a stock pot, but opted for a smaller pot for this batch of jelly. HUGE mistake. The jelly bubbled over at one point and has permanently (or so it seems) stickied my stove. Joy.

3. Follow the recipe, even if your jelly isn’t super jelly-like when it is suggesting you take it off the heat. I have a hard time with this because in my mind it needs to be jelly before it is canned. But once your jelly cools and sits for a few days, it will gel up perfectly. If you over boil, it will be rubbery and gross. Listen to the experts — they know what they are talking about (mostly).

By doubling my recipe, I was able to get nine jars of mint jelly.

mintjelly-web

I got a text from my mom (my biggest jelly and jam fan) this morning saying how good the jelly was on her lamb dinner last night. Glad to have found another recipe that I like for canning.

All in all, this took me about 2.5 hours from start to finish, start being taking out supplies and picking the mint, finish being clean-up and jar storage. Not bad.

 

Advertisements
Craft Projects, Quick and Easy Crafts

Indoor Window Box

IT’S APRIL FOOLS! No jokes in today’s blog posts (promise!), but big jokes at work today. I had the pleasure of creating an April Fools poster and web story to hopefully give our students a chuckle or two. We had such a fun time brainstorming ideas and I was tickled to design and write a joke-riddled poster and story. It’s not often we get to be super funny at the business school, so this was quite the treat for me.

Do you play any pranks on April Fools? When I was younger I remember my dad calling me to tell me he had just seen an elephant run by his office at work. I totally bought it! A few years ago, my officemate (now one of my best friends and a great craft night buddy) decided to tape the receiver of my phone down. I’m dense and couldn’t figure out why my phone wouldn’t answer when people called me. She had to tell me because one of our colleagues kept calling and I kept accidentally hanging up on her. Whoops. I am very easy to prank.

So who knows how many times I will publicly demonstrate my gullibility today. Too many for sure.

Anywho, I had some fabulous thrift store luck recently that enabled me to do a quirky floral project for my bay window. We’ll call it an indoor window box.

Window Box

I have been holding onto this teak box for a while, wanting to do a floral project with it. I couldn’t decide what to do though. I thought of doing glass jars with flowers, but mason jars were too wide. So I prowled thrift stores and found a bunch of pretty white vases to fill the box.

The funny thing was the vases I found were all from different thrift stores. They must be a standard florist vase because of how common they are:

Vases

You can see one is more opaque than the others. Meh, perfection is overrated.

The vases fit perfectly in my indoor window box, so I happily skipped off to Michaels with a birthday gift card from my god momma to buy paper flowers for the project.

I came away with these beauties:

Paper Flowers

All that was left to do was put all of the items together. Not that hard, huh?

Indoor Window Box_1

I think if I stumble upon one more vase I’ll snatch it up and add it to the box. There’s definitely room for one more. Couldn’t hurt, right?

Indoor Window Box_2

My indoor window box looks really great in the bay window. It fills the space nicely without blocking the view. Plus, I am really digging the pink, wood and white combo! Looks pretty sweet with the gray and mint combo I’ve got going on in the living room.

Happy April Fools! … do people say that?

Quick and Easy Crafts

Pillow talk, part 2

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my pillow dilemma, so now that it is mostly solved I thought I’d update you guys on what went down.

Earlier this summer I shared with you a bunch of different options I was considering for my couch. Taking a page out of Young House Love‘s (and many other bloggers) book, I photoshopped my options before actually deciding on one.

Couch_Option2

I opted to go with option 1, buying a single coral poppy pillow from decomodwalls on Etsy.

After I got the pillow I of course wished I had gotten a larger size and multiple pillows, much like one of the other options in my original pillow talk post.

Couch_Option5

I let the pillow situation fade to the background for a bit, option to live with just one pillow for the time being. Then my neighbor and I got to talking about her pillow situation (don’t worry, we solved that problem!) and I realized that she could probably turn my single pillow into two! You see, Allie is really good at sewing (something I really don’t like very much). And, I had two pillows that came with the couch that had a fabric backing the exact same material as the couch.

So I asked if she would rip apart my new pillow and my two couch pillows, and then frankenstein them together. Being the kind person she is, she happily said “yes!”

Pillow Front

Pillow Back

Pillow Side

The pillows look great and saved me some cash money, too. Gotta love when that happens!

Pillows on Couch

Loving the added color in my living room 🙂 I still might add in a navy pillow, but for now I am quite content.