Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fruit Fly Trap

Home canning is so fun and easy and it just tastes better than anything that you can get in a can from the grocery store.  Unfortunately it comes with fruit flies. Those tiny little flies that seem to appear from nowhere the moment you bring fruit into the house. I have been doing some canning and boy howdy, I had a cloud of those little stinkers flocking around my kitchen.  So I concocted this little getup to trap the little beasties.  My Mom used to do something similar to this when she would make grape juice from our concord grapes in Washington. This worked like a charm.
It's super easy!
1-Put some very ripe fruit in the bottom of a mason jar. I used a couple of nectarines that my toddler bit and left sitting around.
2-Then just make a funnel from a scrap piece of paper with a very small opening at the bottom.
3-Tape it into place so they can't escape (we're talking Azkaban prison security here) and let it sit for a day. Eventually they will all check in and they won't check out.
4-Now, how to dispose of the little critters?  You can either release them into the wild or (for us blood thirsty types) you can simply fill the jar with water, let it sit for a few minutes, then wash them down the sink.

Happy fruit fly hunting!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My New Kitchen Cutesie

I have a gi-normous island in my kitchen. It is fantastic.  I love having all that wonderful cupboard space underneath, not to mention all of the open counter space. You can really make a lotta pie on this baby.
We have lived in this house for a year now and the whole time I have been wishing I had something to occupy the void in the elbow of this island.  So I finally went down to Tai Pan Trading and bought some of their beautiful glass jars that they sell for oh so cheap (at least in my opinion, my hubby didn't agree).
I spent a total of $63 give or take & that includes the cute little bird cage.
 I didn't want to spend a bunch of money filling them up (those kind of cutesies can really add up!) so I grabbed a candle I had sitting around and then put the produce I have been harvesting from my garden into the jars. I love how it turned out. It's so fun to look at the veggies, that I grew, displayed in such a beautiful way.  It really brings the feeling of fall harvest into the house as well. The beauty of this kind of decor is that I can totally change it up when the season changes. Just add candy canes or Christmas ornaments or candy hearts or sea shells or nuts or pine cones or cookies or rice or dried beans or candy corns... I think you get the picture  : )  
I am totally in love with this idea!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Vanilla Experiment - Half Way There

So it's been a few weeks since I last posted an update on how the vanilla is coming.  I'd say it's doing really good.  I did a little research on this process and discovered that most people say to split the beans down the center.  So I dug them out and used a pair of kitchen shears to do so and my vanilla instantly got a lot browner.  Really it makes sense to do this.  The seeds inside are where all of the flavor is at.  Here are my pictures from week two and week four.  Sorry, no week three picture due to travel.

Week Two & Week Four 

I am really excited that I am half way to the point that I can begin using my vanilla.  In my research I also discovered that eight weeks is a minimum time frame in which to extract the vanilla.  Many people say that six months is a better amount of time to wait.  I just can't do it though.  I am going to reserve a small amount for baking and then let the rest go for the six months.