Posts tagged ‘homemade’

April 15, 2012

Maple Sugaring

by Jillian Douglas

It was not my intention to neglect you, oh blog! Life has the uncanny habit of swallowing me whole at times.Don’t worry though, it spat me back out. It’s good to be back! I have many posts floating through my head, ready to land in the crisp screen of a blog post.

First up is fun with maple syrup making!


Mid-March I went to my dear friend’s house and had a great time with her family and another friend, watching the maple syrup process and making maple cream candies with them. They only have 3 sugar maple trees, each tapped twice, but this apparently creates a substantial amount of sap, which is then boiled down to syrup.


This process interests me a lot! I love handgrown and homemade things. Collecting sap for syrup-making is on my list of Dreamy To-Do’s, along with beekeeping, canning homemade salsa, and sewing my own clothes.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera when I went over (sigh), so I only have photos of the delicious syrup they gave me. Which we consumed it in a week. (hah!)

We also made chocolate-covered maple cream candies! They were so easy but delicious (and I discovered a new chocolate pair that I adore… Nate didn’t like it especially, but I loved it. Even more than chocolate + bacon…).

Simply melt chocolate chips in the microwave, then dollop a bit into paper candy wrappers. This makes a bottom for the candy (it will appear similar to a Reese’s peanut butter cup later). Then place that in the freezer until the chocolate is stiff while you mold your maple cream into little balls (my friend’s dad had made the maple cream by simply heating maple syrup. I didn’t catch how to do that, but here’s a recipe elsewhere. He apparently did it a little longer than usual to make the consistency thicker and moldable, and placed that in the freezer to stiffen a bit as well). Place the maple cream balls in the cups with the chocolate bottoms and pour more chocolate on top to seal the deal. Place them once more in the freezer for a bit. Enjoy!


So here’s a quick list of

Things I Learned on This Adventure:

1. It takes 32 gallons of sap to create… (get this)… 1 gallon of syrup.

Is that not crazy? I am surprised people still even do this; it requires so much patience. But then again, I can understand how they fall in love with the process.

2. Maple cream is really just maple syrup (with a tiny bit of butter) boiled more to create the thicker consistency. I thought for sure there was some dairy yum in it… but nope!

3. This year, because of the unusual weather, the maple sugaring season was much more successful and earlier than usual. When tappers would normally begin in February, they started in January (remember when we had those crazy summer days when it should’ve been frigid? Those triggered the sap).

4. I have awesome friends who I need to hang out with much more.

March 8, 2012

The Beekeeper

by Jillian Douglas

I’ve shared with you before how enthralled I am with the process of keeping bees and harvesting honey… And someday, whether in the country or city, I will keep bees myself! I found this video the other day and immediately fell in love. It’s a beauty even if you don’t share the same honey-soaked dream as me (great job, Keith “keef” Ehrlich!).

Made by Hand is a series of short videos, each aiming to “promote that which is made locally, sustainably, and with a love for craft.” The two other videos that have also been released so far are The Knife Maker and The Distiller.

What do you think? Would you ever keep bees, in the country or city?

Is it important to you to buy handcrafted or homemade products? I’ll be posting again about this soon… in the meantime, happy video watching!

November 16, 2011


by Jillian Douglas

I absolutely love creating.

I love dreaming up an idea, working with it in my hands, and watching it develop. That creative process has given me energy since I was (much more) little. It’s God’s gift to me; when I imagine Heaven, I picture God and I working side by side, perhaps squishing some clay in our hands, perhaps smoothing thick paint on a canvas. Creativity is something deep in my being, and when it surfaces, it bubbles with joy.

Summer Wildflower Photo Print 8x10"Pinecone Photography Print 8x10", MattedHelp Japan- origami crane photo printNYC Central Park Photography Print 8x10"

I like to think that every single one of my creations has some token of joy. Like a memory, or a connection to a favorite thing or idea. And what was joy made for except to share? That’s why I made a spot online, called 48valentine, where I can put my creations up for sale. There’s quite a range; at times there will be photography, paintings, and other goods. I also include vintage items in my shop, too; items that recall beauty from the past or remain simply timeless.

Photography Print "The Sinking Sun" 8x10", Matted

He Holds Us in His Hands- Acrylic Painting- Bird

So take a look around…! And don’t be shy! Let me know what you think. 

You can also go here to like 48valentine on Facebook (you’ll find more details about the works, my creative process, and helpful, inspiring links, like how to start a productive day). Can’t wait to see you there!

November 14, 2011

No-Knead Clover Honey Dough

by Jillian Douglas

A couple weeks ago I picked up a book lying on the coffee table that my mom had gotten at the library… and read the whole thing through. Heartland: The Cookbook is filled with glorious recipes and beautifully written glimpses of what life in the west is like, from the various Scandinavian ancestral influences to the history of the All-American Hamburger. Go check it out. It’s wonderful.

Visit the photographer's great food blog here:

With this cookbook, along with Pioneer Woman’s hilarious blog about living on a ranch and this Hoof and Heel song, I am ready to move out west. I’d love to experience the great prairie in all of its flatness, embrace the earth’s longing for growth, and revel in the abundance of cheese.

Okay, it’s settled. I’m becoming a cowgirl.

But in the meantime I plan on making this wonderful No-Knead Clover Honey Bread over and over again! Judith Fertig‘s recipe is super easy to follow, and the bread is simply delicious, full of sweet honey flavor, and slightly sticky.  The dough can be used for many different types of baked bread, like loaves, dinner rolls, coffee cakes, and sweet cinnamon rolls.


Taken out of Heartland: The Cookbook by Judith Fertig

Makes 24 to 32 servings



6 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting

2 tablespoons instant or bread machine yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons fine kosher salt

1 cup clover or other amber honey

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

2 large eggs

Warm water (about 100°F)


1. Spoon the flour into a measuring cup, level with a knife or your finer, then dump the flour into a 16-cup mixing bowl.

2. Add the yeast and salt to the flour. Stir together with a wooden spoon or a Danish dough whisk.

Mix the honey, oil, and eggs together in a 4-cup measuring cup. Add enough warm water to reach the 4-cup mark and stir together. Pour the honey mixture into the flour mixture, stir to combine, then beat for 40 strokes, scraping the bottom and the sides of the bowl, until the dough forms a lumpy, sticky mass.

3. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature (72°F) for 2 hours, or until the dough has risen to about 2 inches below the rim of the bowl and has a spongelike appearance.

4. Use that day or place the dough, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before baking. If you like, write the date on the plastic wrap so you know the bake-by date for your dough.

So then the next page has the recipe for making Clover Honey Boules (2 large loaves), which is what I made with half of the batter. It was gone in a record three days.



1 batch No-Knead Clover Honey Dough

Unbleached all-purpose flour, for dusting


1. To bake into 2 round loaves, preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough in half on a floured surface. Coax the dough into a round shape and place each round on the prepared baking sheets. Pinch any seams closed, cover with kitchen towels, and let rest at room temperature for 40 minutes.

2. Bake for 40 to 42 minutes, or until the crust is a shiny, medium brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted int he center of the loaf registers at least 190°F. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy right away with Farmhouse Butter (another recipe in her book), or let cool, wrap, and freeze for up to 3 months. Freeze any leftover or stale bread to use in bread puddings.

Happy baking, my friends! Let me know how it turns out. And do you have any bread recipes I should try out?