DIY - Homemade Coffee Filters & Simple Vanilla Syrup

For a season I worked as a Barista in a small coffee shop out west... and trust me when I say - I really really enjoyed that job. There is actually a lot to learn about coffee and the proper brewing there of. I remember having to watch a video called Coffee 101, which was very similar to this style. And I had to obtain multiple hours of hands on training before I was allowed to fly solo. I am still so thankful for the instruction, readers you do not want to be the girl to mess up a Monday morning coffee fix.

My coffee making endeavors now are in the service of family, friends and hospitality... and vary slightly in preparation.

Most recently I made up some reusable coffee filters for my coffee cone from some muslin I had stored aside... by simply tracing my last paper filter on a fold, and stitching along the sides. I made a small loop hanger on one end, which allows for the filter to hang dry after rinsing.

I also blanket stitched along the top of the filters to give a more finished look. This was done before the actual side stitching...

There is also my cold brew coffee sock, the one shown here was a gift from a friend, whom shared her pattern with me. This coffee sock fits a gallon or half gallon jar just perfectly. It too was made from muslin, sock measurements are approximate as shown in the photo and the stitching is beautifully simple.

How I Make Cold Brew Coffee: you will need to play with the recipe to find your desired strength

~ Place about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of coarsely ground beans into your coffee sock, in the neck of your jar. Fill the half gallon jar with water, allowing the water to flow through the coffee sock. Draw up the strings to seal the sock and place the lid on the jar, with the sock string hanging out. Let rest for twelve to eighteen hours and remove the sock. Store cold brew in the fridge. Recycle the coffee grounds to the garden or compost. Rinse the coffee sock and hang dry.

I tweak the recipe for a quart size jar... it's very forgiving.

These days I drink my coffee two ways... in the morning it's hot and bullet proof in composition. In the afternoon, if I desire a cold frappe or iced coffee I reach for my cold brew... and on certain days I like my cold joe with a touch of vanilla syrup.

Simple Vanilla Syrup

½ cup coconut sugar
½ cup water
1 T vanilla extract

*Bring the water and sugar to a boil, simmer over low heat until thicker. Remove from heat and add your vanilla extract. Stir. Let cool and store in a glass jar in your fridge... use as needed.

This would make a great gift for some one who really appreciates coffee, a sock and filter set... special coffee beans and a pretty little jar of homemade vanilla syrup. Hhmmm... maybe I should try to design a recipe and tag set.

~ blessings!

Shared with: The Art of Homemaking Mondays #94

Management Molly & the Modern Day Herbal w/ Printable

Confession. I have a strong binder affection. Which seems to be closely followed by my 'need' to collect office supplies... tape... and pencils of all sorts. Well there's that admiration I have with all things wool but we won't talk about that right now. This is about organization.

These days I am trying to be very intentional with a couple of resources that I have. They help guide me in my home keeping... doing a wonderful job at keeping me focused and on task in multiple areas. I admit that sometimes I still feel like I am trying to find my groove, but these administrative assistants have definitely blessed me and I get to utilize my affection for binders to boot!

Let me introduce you to my friend MollyGreen, through her I acquired my Garden Planner:

I am  still working on coloring all the pages...

Which contains... binder cover page and spine, garden plans, necessities, seasonal to do-lists, seed inventory, monthly to-do lists and to-plants, garden layouts, seed to save lists and garden notes. I really enjoy the graphics in this planner, the larger but detailed images that are great for coloring and the all the areas where I can pour my self into the planner to make it more geared for 'me'.

And my Canning, Pantry and Food Preservation Planner:

I haven't even started coloring those pages yet...

Which contains... binder cover page and spine, pantry and freezer inventory sheets, preserving plan, long term food storage, food storage summary, supplies, notes and information on water and pressure canning. Along with recipes and labels. My daughter and I are counting the days when we can move into a 'home' with cupboards that will truly support our desire for canning as much as possible.

I also have a copy of Building a Sustainable, Ever-Green Food Plan by Rose Gardener in the back of my Home/Stead Management Binder. To which I have also added two new sections... one for Fowl and one for other Livestock. These sections are a work in progress, because as of right now I have neither, however my binder does contain some wonderful printables from Reformation Acres to get me started in that area. And to help me plan for the future...

 Working on my herbal make-over...

I have multiple printables from JES over at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, in all honesty... it was her home management cover and recipes/book with all of the gorgeous images that added fuel to my binder usage. In the past, I have printed multiple copies of them, at least four off the top of my head... we gave the completed/printed binders away as gifts to other ladies. And they really enjoyed receiving them. 

Then there is her Ways of Her Household/Modern Day Herbal... recently I down sized my regular sized “herbal” to a small one, because of space issue in the camper and I am not sure what I really think about it. I mean I like the size, I just lost a lot of what I liked about the herbal... the pretty pictures and recipes on full pages. So I am not sure what I am going to yet... but while working on my Modern Day Herbal make over, I thought it would be handy to add a quick reference guide about herbal preparations to the front section. I just wanted something right in front...

And because I like to share, you can get yours too - right hereHowever, it's looks much better on google docs/drive than in my photo... so while I am learning how to add printables to this blog, I do have a newbie question... how do you format a standard size printable to say an A5 style binder, without loosing all the creativity? Is my question clear enough to understand what I want to ask? :)

And can you tell me if this printable works for you all... I am not sure if I did it right.

~ blessings!

P.S. A heartfelt thank you to the creators of these helpful home keeping tools! And this post was shared with the Art of Home-Making Mondays Link Up # 93. ** Of course reprinting my "Modern Day Herbal" would give me a reason to purchase a new binder. But I am not sure that would be helpful for the home economy right now.

Let the green houses begin ~ first fire!

Peppered along the country roads are small clouds of smoke... hovering slow and steady, from one rolling knoll to the other. Little smoke stacks puffing out evidence of life, similar to the pace of which it flows... for our Amish neighbors, the gardening season has formally begun.

It seems every Amish home around here has a green house of some sort, they are very similar in appearance... with some minor variations on materials, size and the quality of the existing structure. But each one, functional. Serving multiple purposes, ranging from a place to dry your laundry in the rain to providing a jump on your families produce sales... think tomatoes in June!

Encouraging really. Some what of an affirmation that we are 'not of our rockers' when we fired up the green house this Sunday... for us the maiden voyage of the Shalom Farm green house has commenced!

There are lots of gardening aspirations being planted with each one of these seeds... germination and growth on the horizon of hope, yielding 'by the providence of the Almighty' luscious fruit and hardy veggies to fill tummies and pantry. Some for eating in the now, some for putting by, some to share and some to sell...

Tomatoes, Eggplant and Peppers... Broccoli, Cauliflower and Collards... Spinach, Asparagus, Kale... and hundreds of Strawberries... each tucked into their home of nurturing. 

Now comes the next challenge... keeping the first fire going. 

As I was unwinding from our hours of green house preparation, my mind began to formulate a personal green house comparative... the pro's and con's of each type of green house. The kind we are using here on the farm and the kind the Amish have, because even though they 'do' the same thing each one is different enough to warrant deeper reflection and observational note... 

I wonder if they will let me photograph their green house practices?

~ Blessings!

*Update: it's been two days since fire up... and the status is - fire has gone out - each night. Even with multiple checking and loading. Maintaining a consistent temperature has also been a challenge. There is talk of acquiring a larger stove... 

First Time Maple Popcorn

It's maple syrup season here, and can you believe that I have never tasted Maple popcorn until now! I know. Right. Anyway a friend blessed us with a quart of real maple syrup and planted the seed of Maple popcorn in my head... so I gave a whirl. 

How To Make:

Start with one cup of popped pop corn, in a large bowl. You will need to toss the ingredients together so allow room for this in the bowl you choose.

Then in a medium sauce pan, place:
  • ½ cup maple syrup 
  • ½ cup butter 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Melt together over low heat, and once this is melted pour the mixture over your popped popcorn. Toss/mix well. Add salt to taste and toss again...

Let your maple pop corn cool before serving. Resist the urge to pop a piece into your mouth right away... as the syrup mixture will still be warm. A little too warm for tender mouths. 

I wouldn't normally use this much valuable syrup in a recipe, however I just had to make and serve it up to my family.  And I can say if the means are there, then this may become a maple syrup tradition at least once a year. 

~ Blessings!