30 August 2015

Oh my gosh! You guys, we bought a house!!

This month has been one of the more hectic months of my life.  Homebuying has been a rollercoaster for us.  The Portland market is insane and houses pop on and then off the market within 48 hours, so it's been a lot of quick decisions, offers made, outbids...then the inspections, structural engineering consults, funding, paperwork...but finally we made it through and it's official!  This beautiful home is ours!

The past couple of days, we've slowly moved some boxes and painted the whole main floor (with the help of an army of my amazing friends).   It's a really exciting and also nervewracking time for us.   With our budget and this Portland housing boom, we had to move further from our usual comfort zone in the city, so there is lots to explore and a change of scenery to get used to! Stay tuned for more photos and some exciting projects!

Jam Sessions: Use your fruit scraps to make vodka!

06 August 2015

As I am sure you all know, I love to make jams and pickles and preserve pretty much anything I can get my hands on.  There is something truly amazing about taking the sweet, perfect flavors of the season and capturing them for whole year.

The only downside about using lots and lots of fruit is that occasionally I find myself with lots and lots of waste.  Compost is an option for those food scraps, but I have found an even better option for all of my scraps - infusing vodka!

No need to use whole fruit when making infused vodka.  The peels, hulls, pits, and seeds are perfect for infusions!

Here are a few examples:

Strawberries:  When you are hulling strawberries, there is a ton of flavor left in the stem and bits of fruit, so just cut off the tops and fill up a mason jar with those tops.  Fill with vodka.  Let sit for about 5 days and strain.  Perfect berry vodka!

Pineapple skins & pineapple core:  My very favorite kind of vodka at the moment!  Pineapples in particular have a ton of waste, so this is the perfect way to use it.  Infuse for about 1-2 weeks for a nice strong pineapple pop.

Peach skin: The easiest way to peel peaches for jam is to cut an X in the bottom, dip into boiling water for about 2 minutes and then hit them with an ice bath, the skin will rub right off.  After you've done this, there is still a lot of flavor left in the skins even they don't look so pretty, so toss them in with vodka for about a week and you will have a beautiful start to summer cocktails.

Apple peels:  These are perfect to infuse into whisky or burbon with a cinnamon stick for a perfect holiday gift.  Infuse for about 5 days.

Your possibilities are pretty endless and the cocktails will be flowing!
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