Saturday, June 30, 2012

When life hands you old lemons, make Lemoncello

When life hands you lemons make lemonade; when life hands you old lemons make Lemoncello.  As our great-grandmothers always said, "waste not, want not."  Just because your fruit is aging doesn't mean it's time to throw it out.  In fact, these recipes work better if your fruit is already on the mature side.

"But I think it's a little different in Europe, because 40 is really the best age for a woman. That's when we hit our peak and become this ripe fruit."

--Juliette Binoche

1 750 ml bottle of vodka or everclear
15 old zested lemons
3 cups cain sugar
4 cups tap or distilled water

my baby batch of lemoncello
1. zest or skin the lemons and allow the zest to sit in the vodka or everclear for a week
2. Make a syrup out of the sugar and water by combining and allowing them to boil for 15 minutes.  Do not stir this.  Allow to cool to room temp.
3. Stir vodka mixture into syrup and allow to sit for a day.
4. strain, chill, and serve.
Click here for lemoncello cocktails

(And if you don't want to drink the juice from the lemons you can always make furniture polish)

Watermelon, Tomato, Peach, or Pineapple Salsa
2 cups fleshy fruit of choice
1 cup cilantro
3/4 cups red onion
1/4 cup lime juice
(if you use tomatoes add a dash of sugar.  The sugar in the other fruits will be sufficient)
4 jalepenos, deseeded and chopped.
my watermelon salsa

Mix ingredients and allow to sit overnight.  I put mine on fish tacos--yuuuh!!  You can also change the flavor by adding alternative herbs like mint or basil.

3. Berry, Apple, or Peach Crisp 
(sorry!  No photos for this one.)
3 cups fruit, peeled and cut
1 cup brown sugar
a dash of salt
4 pats of butter
2 T flour
1 T cinnamon


  1. 1 cup flour
  2. 1/2 cup white sugar
  3. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  4. 1 cup cold butter
  5. 1 T cinnamon
  6. 1. Mix fruit, sugar, salt, butter, flour, and cinnamon.
  7. 2. in a food processor process crust ingredients until it is crumbly
  8. 3. top fruit mixture with crumbles and bake on 350 for about 30 minutes.

Banana Bread
3 bananas, mashed
1.5 cups brown sugar
1 T water or milk
1 t vanilla
1/2 cup butter or oil--pick your poison (if you'd like to leave this out entirely, you can still achieve a moist loaf by decreasing a bit of flour)
3 eggs
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 cups flour
walnuts (optional)

Perfect for afternoon tea with a friend.

1. Mash bananas and sugar with a potato masher or fork
2. add wet ingredients and mix
3. Add dry ingredients and mix
4 sprinkle with brown sugar or crisp crumbles and bake on 340 for about 30-40 minutes

Aunt Beth's Fruit Jam
This one is straight from the kitchen of Aunt Beth

7 cups of fruit puree (or fruit of choice)
8 cups sugar
2 T butter
2 packets of Certo fruit pectin

1. To make the puree, heat the fruit, then mash them through a sieve.  If you like the seeds or want your jam to be chunky you may skip this part.
2. Bring the puree to a boil, then slowly add the sugar.
3. Bring the sugar and fruit to a boil.  As it begins to rise, remove it from the heat and drop in a "pat" of butter (we determined that a "pat" is about 2 tablespoons of butter). 
4. Lastly, add your packets of Certo fruit pectin.
5. Can your jam and spread on toast!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lighter Hair and Whiter Whites--a few ways to use the sun this summer

Blonder hair, bronzer skin, and whiter whites?  
Many of us have been incorporating the sun into our beauty regime since we were in Jr. High--lemon juice on our hair to make it blonde while we baked for hours to achieve the perfect bronze.  But did you know that you can use the sun to clean your clothes? And standing in the sun for 15 minutes is more effective than taking vitamin D supplements?  Did you know you can elevate your mood AND make your white's whiter simply by taking a step into the sun?  As temperatures creep into the triple digits this week and you're stuck inside, sipping cold iced tea and working on your blog/inside-project-of-choice, why not let the sun do a little of the extra work for you?

1. Brighten your Whites.
my sun tea
The sun emits ultraviolet rays which have the ability to break down organic stains on fabric (note, the sun will not be effective on inorganic stains such as paint, ink, some food stains etc).    The sun does this by breaking apart the molecular structure on a stain, which, in turn, changes the way light is reflected on the fabric (Heida).   Be careful when putting your colors in the sun as well--it'll bleach those too.

2. Disinfect and Freshen your linens 
In addition to bleaching your fabrics, the sun's ultra violet rays can also disinfect and freshen your linens.  That's right, put your stinky, musty, and mildewed items in the sun and let 'em bake.

3. Make sun tea.
So, I grew up drinking this stuff and have never become ill from sun tea.  Apparently, if you don't make sun tea the correct way it can grow bacteria which is harmful, so proceed cautiously.  In a large glass jar, place sprigs of mint leaves, lemons, sugar or honey, and black tea (make sure the tea is caffeinated, as the caffeine will help stave off bacteria that may grow in luke-warm water).  Let it sit in the sun for 3-4 hours.

4. Soak up some D's.  
Step outside for at least 15 minutes to get your daily dose of vitamin D.  A healthy dose of vitamin D will not only reduce your chances of developing certain diseases, but it will also put you into a better mood and help regulate your immune system.