Strawberry Blueberry Pie

Guys. I am sooooooo far behind. Summer is usually my time of frequent posts, desserts, gardening, and all of the fun things. I have spent my summer doing all of the usual things, with the exception of working a full time teaching job and a part time job at a craft store- yeah, cuz I need that temptation. SO, between the two things, I have had no life and blogging has sadly fallen to the wayside. BUT alas, I am FINALLY able to find time to blog again. In the next 2 weeks, I will catch up on my summer. By the time that is done, I will be starting my student teaching!!! Along with my regular foodie posts, I will be posting about activities and fun! Oh yeah, not to mention WEDDING THINGS! Not for me, but I’ve got plenty of them coming up to blog about! Woo Hoo!

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, now it is time for me to finally post my recipe for my strawberry blueberry pie that I made for the 4th of July….yeah. I’m way behind. But, it’s PERFECT for a picnic and even boasts red, white and blue!

To start, you will make a double crust pie crust. I always use the tried and true Betty Crocker recipe. You can find that HERE! I do add a tablespoon or 2 of sugar to the dough when making a sweet/fruit pie. But it’s not a necessity.

Filling-

1 qt strawberries cut

1 pint blueberries

1 cup water

1 tablespoon sugar

2-3 tablespoons flour.

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

  1. Rinse and cut strawberries into smaller pieces. Rinse blueberries.
  2. In a medium saucepan on medium-low heat, combine strawberries, blueberries, flour, sugar, and water.
  3. Stir regularly to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pan. It will begin to thicken and break down. Mine too about 20 minutes. While this is cooking, roll out the pie crust into the bottom of a pie tin/glass. Poke holes in the bottom and bake for 15 minutes to prevent the bottom from getting soggy.
  4. Pour the strawberry/blueberry mixture in to partially baked pie crust.
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  6. Roll out the rest of the crust, using a cookie cutter, I used a star, cut out pieces. Lay out your cutouts on top of the pie. I tried to do mine in some kind of circular pattern that allowed you to see the fruit underneath.
  7. Bake until the top crust is browned and the fruit is bubbling. Mine took 20 minutes.

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Sadly, this was eaten so quickly I was unable to get a picture of what it looked like done. Serve warm with nice cold vanilla ice cream!

 

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It’s Only Been A Week

It’s been just over a week since we planted our garden. We have had lots of growth and some death thus far.

IMG_5609Our strawberries are the only ones to have seen death. Out of all of the plants I put in, 2 have died. We specifically put so many in for this exact reason. It is still early, there may still be some loss, but as of now, the rest of them look like they are doing well. 

 

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IMG_5614Two of our 12 potatoes have busted through! There is evidence that at least 3 more will pop through in the coming days. This is the first year we are growing potatoes in this garden. I am excited to see how well they do.

IMG_5613Our mixed greens and leafy lettuce are flourishing. Fresh lettuce grows like weeds, and lasts FOREVER. We were giving it away last year because it lasts 3-4 weeks when stored properly. 

IMG_5612Our radish patch is doing quite well. We only planted in half of the area because we are going to rotate them out. So next week we will plant another 2 rows of radish, just in time for our first ones to be done in a few days time. They have a quick germination/maturity time. 
IMG_5611This is our singular bush cucumber plant. We planted 5 in the little plot. We’re hoping that by the end of the week we’ll have a few more. Mom wants to make pickles…even though she’s the only one that eats them.

IMG_5616I like to call this the “Mater Forest.” I feel like we have so much more than last year, and I know that once they really start growing up, it’s going to look like one as well. They haven’t had much vertical growth, but it’s still early. They’re more busy rooting that growing.

IMG_5610We planted about 8 sunflowers and 6 of them have already started popping! I took a shot of the two biggest ones. I will harvest the seeds in the fall and bake them! 

IMG_5608We are most excited for the green beans…ok….it might just be me. I LOVE green beans. I like them raw, I like them blanched, I like them sautéed in butter with garlic and onion, I like them fried. I haven’t met a green bean I didn’t like…except casserole. They are bursting forth in their little rows and I could not be more excited.

IMG_5618This little guy is not in our back garden, but I like it anyway. We planted 4 lavender plants in our front/side gardens this year. Lavender is not only pretty once it blooms, but it also smells good and is a natural bug repellent. It is also a perennial so we will not have to worry about having to replace it every year.

We are still waiting for the onion, peppers and carrots to pop. They should be showing up to the party in the very near future. The cosmos and zinnias that we planted around the vegetable garden are barely showing above the mulch. Our marigolds are thriving. Those 3 were planted as bee attractors and bug repellents.

From here out, I will post garden updates once the plants start producing or something super super exciting happens!

Happy planting!

Spring Gardening

In March, in the midst of a snow storm I spent the day planning our garden. This weekend, the snow has been gone for a few weeks, the sun has been shining and we were finally able to get stuff in the ground!

I had come up with beautiful plans and a beautiful layout, created with tons of research, love and care. screen-shot-2015-03-05-at-5-18-30-pmThen we got out there and my dad decided things needed more space. The really pretty garden layout that looked like the above, ended up looking like the below in reality. Which, is ok. It doesn’t look near as pretty in a chart like this, but it works. Sunflowers and cucumbers were added to the garden. The “walking path,” kinda disappeared for the most part, but there is plenty of space between plants so we’ll be just fine.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 9.26.29 AMWe also have an adorable little strawberry patch, I have claimed it as my own.10689423_10206003822511341_2734209453159910876_nAround the garden we planted marigolds, cosmos, and zinnias. Marigolds are natural (bad) bug-repellants, cosmos and zinnias are natural bee attractors. When you have a garden this big, with this much stuff in it, you want as many bees as you can get! 11206100_10206003822071330_2141622102369986064_n

11204480_10206003822311336_9176184884080786480_nWe have 24 tomato plants of 3 varieties, Roma, Celebrity and Brandywine. We planted red potatoes because we think they are better to cook/bake with. Mom wants to make pickles this fall so the cucumbers are small bush cucumbers. There are 15 strawberry plants in the box. I’m not sure that they’ll all make it, and if I do…well…if anybody would like some strawberry plants, hit me up. The rest of the garden is seeds, so I guess we will see in a few weeks how many of each we have!

Stay tuned for update posts and recipes throughout the summer!

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Frosted Strawberry Raspberry Bread

My dad has this guilty pleasure- the frosted fruit bread from Shady Maple. It’s pretty awesome. With everyone home and my favorite guest joining us for the weekend, I figured I’d make an extra treat. I was going to make this recipe as muffins, but we didn’t have enough muffin papers sooo I changed my plans a bit and went for the full loaf. I am really missing my summer berries and decided to bite the bullet and just go get some to bake with and eat the next few days. If I do say so myself….I don’t think we’ll need to spend money to buy them anymore! 🙂

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

3/4 white sugar

1/4 light or dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 1/2 teaspoon vinegar and the rest milk, let sit a few minutes to make buttermilk)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Dash of cinnamon

Chopped strawberries, raspberries or fruit of choice

Glaze- 1 cup powdered sugar 1/4 teaspoon vanilla 2-3 tablespoons milk (until reached desired consistency) Whisk all ingredients together, adding milk until you’ve reached a thick, glue like viscosity.

Pre-heat oven to 350, grease and flour a 9×5 bread pan

1. Whisk the egg and sugars until there are no brown sugar lumps.

2. Add in the buttermilk, vanilla and vegetable oil.

3. Slowly add in the flour, baking soda and salt. Add a dash of cinnamon.

4. Hand mix in the chopped fruit.

5. Pour into bread pan. I added some additional strawberries and raspberries on top. Loosely cover with foil so that the top doesn’t burn.

6. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake until a knife comes out clean. Mine took an hour and 5 minutes.

7. LET COOL. Remove from baking pan onto a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet. Drizzle the top with the glaze. I added additional berries on top, because WHY NOT!?

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This same recipe can be used muffin size, just bake 16-20 minutes or until the tops are golden and a knife comes out clean. Other goodies to throw in include black berries, blue berries, and any combination with strawberries and raspberries! I would also dice/chop up the fruit a bit smaller and use the same batter in my mini-donut maker! YUM!

Snow Day Garden Planning

It is a winter wonderland right now. Seriously. We have over a foot of snow in our yard, a combination of the approximately 8 inches we got today plus what was already laying on the ground. My dad used our snow blower to created a doggy path in our back yard since our critters are a bit vertically challenged.

10437617_10206255174127735_8793836284818350200_nI am desperately looking forward to the days when our yard looks more like this-

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Last year was the first garden my parents did. This little plot is 8×10. This year, we are more than doubling that to a whopping 32×10. Yes, 32×10. That is 320 square feet of prime food growin ground. When you decide to grow a garden that big, you can not haphazardly throw plant in the ground. There is an art to this, a serious science. I have spent at least 3 hours researching, drawing, erasing and going back to the garden boards to plan out our vegetable garden this year. An excel spread sheet, and 2 tables later, I think I’ve got it!

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This is an excel spread sheet of all different fruits and vegetables we will be growing, whether in the main 32×10 garden, in a separate box, like our strawberries, or in our side garden, like the cucumbers. It features how deep to plant the seeds, how far apart to plant them, how many can be planted in a square foot, when to plant, companion planting info, soil info and sun preferences. Instead of having to search 18 different websites, I can simply pull this up and all of the info I need is right there in one spot!

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This is our 32×10 garden lay out. Below is the color key, black is walking space. It is a pain in the butt to harvest, weed and take care of a garden when you have no room to actually walk! What a travesty to have great plants and accidentally step and crush them! This helps aid this problem. Having it laid out also means no guessing when it comes to planting time. Each square will have 1-16 plants depending on what is being planted there. We LOVE canning homemade tomato sauce, and being able to harvest and freeze fresh green beans, carrots and peppers to use throughout the winter and spring. Nothing beats having fresh carrots and green beans in a good hearty pot of stew in the middle of December. We are also planting marigolds around the perimeter of the whole garden. There are numerous benefits of this, one of them being that they attract bees, which helps pollination, which in turn means lots of produce!

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 5.18.33 PMRight now, the wind is blowing and the snow is still kinda falling. By the end of the week it is supposed to bounce back up to the 40s and Spring will quickly be approaching. I still have our front flower gardens to plan and a few weeks before we’ll be able to till the ground and get our (organic/natural) soil additives in preparation for planting time mid-April. Though it seems so far away, like the snow may never stop and the ice will never melt, I know that in just a few short weeks I will have my toes in the dirt and seeds in the ground!

Crepes with Strawberries

Yes, more strawberries. They’re still coming in and will be the rest of the summer. I HAVE to eat them!!!

Crepes:

1 cup flour

2 eggs

1/2 cup COLD water

1/2 cup COLD milk/cream

2 teaspoons coco powder

BUTTER

Cinnamon

Filling stuff of your choosing

I want to take a minute to adore these BEAUTIFUL brown eggs from Eric’s grandparents. Their red sexlinks have been supplying us while we are waiting for our girls to start producing!

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SIFT the flour, and if you so choose, the cinnamon and coco powder. This removes a lot of lumps and makes a nice smooth batter.

1.Whisk all ingredients together. I added a dash of cinnamon and coco powder because, WHY NOT!? It will all be the consistency of really thick chocolate milk, or a runny milk shake. You will have the urge to add more flour. DON’T DO IT!

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2. Chill in fridge for at least one hour.

3. I used fresh strawberries and chocolate syrup. You can use berries, bananas, peanut butter, whipped cream, caramel, chocolate- think of this as like a dessert/brunch taco. Go ham. HAHA get it, ham? Regardless of what you choose to fill your crepes with, you should prepare it while the batter is chilling.

4. Use BUTTER to grease the pan. Because crepes are French. Butter+French=all things good. In all honesty, I used a non-stick pan and you really don’t need that much butter. Slather it on afterwards though!

5. They are thin so they cook super fast. Add a dollop to the center of the pan, grab the handle and swirl around to spread the batter. The sides will begin to pull away.

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6. Flip once to finish cooking/brown the other side.

7. Slide out and fill til your little heart’s content.

8. YUM!

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Totally should have dusted with powdered sugar and coco powder! Oh for hindsight!

And even though crepes are French, I listened to the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack because Jean-Yves Thibaudet is breath-taking.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Milk Shake

Yes. Another strawberry recipe. I have a giant strawberry patch. What else am I supposed to do with them!? This one is super fast, super easy and sure to be a pleaser!

Ingredients:

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1 cup of Milk

Vanilla Ice Cream

Fresh Strawberries

One hot chocolate packet

1. The order in which you dump the ingredients is extremely important here!!!! Ice cream, hot chocolate packet, strawberries, milk on top. If you do not put the milk on top of the hot chocolate mix it will fly up and not combine into the shake like you want it too.

2. Blend until combined with no strawberry chunks or ice cream globs. Unless you like that sort of thing. You might need some more milk to reach the desired consistency.

3. Pour into a glass and enjoy! YUM!

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Variations: Add chocolate syrup, use chocolate or strawberry ice cream, throw a banana in there, make it chunky

Summer Tea

Having done mission trips through a southern based organization, to say I’ve grown up with southern sweet tea is an understatement. My mother’s recipe is a collaboration of an Alabama recipe and a North Carolina recipe. She made it during one of our mission trips and auctioned off two gallons to go towards our mission fund that week. Both gallons went for HUNDREDS of dollars. Poor Southern boys were a wreck up North here without their sweet iced tea.

MY tea, is not southern sweet tea. There is not 2 cups of sugar. No peaches were harmed in the making of this tea either. It’s fruity, fun and refreshing.

Ingredients:

2 Black Cherry Berry and 2 True Blueberry teabags

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1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup honey

Fresh Strawberries (optional)

Lots of water

1. Heat water in a pot until it starts boiling.

2. Add sugar, honey and the 4 tea bags

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3. Allow to boil about 30 seconds and remove from heat. Let the bags steep for about 10 minutes.

4. While the tea is steeping, slice up some strawberries! When I got to the house today Eric had been out in the patch and picked an entire bowl of the little red rubies! Talk about FRESH!

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5. I poured the tea into a pitcher to chill for about an hour.

6. Pour into a mason jar, add strawberries AND ENJOY!

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Check out that back porch view!

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And because I’m not spoiled enough, I spent my afternoon floating around the pool, drinking tea and reading “The Jane Austen Handbook.” I’d like to clarify, I spent my whole weekend working retail, I have EARNED this lazy day. 😉 That book review will be up tomorrow!

Babies! And Not Just the Chickens!

We have lots of “little” things around the gardens this week! I can assure you I am NOT growing one myself. Just wanted to clarify so that my mother doesn’t have a heart attack. 🙂 We are hitting that point in the summer where everything is really starting to grow. We have more than just green beans and strawberries coming in! Though, let’s face it, nobody is complaining about either of those things!

First, we’ll check in with the strawberries! They are due for another shoot cut off and bury day in the very near future! They are producing like crazy and it’s wonderful! I love going outside to pick breakfast FRESH every morning!

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Next, the mater plants. It’s like a forest. We have beautiful baby green tomatoes! By the time I get back from my mission trip the first week in August they will be ripe and ready to turn into SAUCE! 😀

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Baby watermelons are the cutest. They’re just adorable. Our watermelon plants are monsters this year and I have a feeling we will have some monster melons to go with them!

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We trimmed the pumpkin back a TON so that the main plant, some choice leaves and the blooms have been left. This helps ensure that the good stuff can go towards making PUMPKINS! 😀

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We’ve got fuzzy little sprouts on a number of our corn plants. Whether or not we get some real ears this year will be the real question! They’re growing like weeds and looking good so we’re hoping we get SOMETHING from them!

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Last, but certainly not least- the ACTUAL babies! THE CHICKENS! I don’t think I can quite call them babies anymore being that they have all of their big girl feathers. They aren’t quite laying yet but we should be getting our first eggs by the end of August! They also, after well over a month, have figured out that they can roost all together in a row on the hockey stick, seen in the first photo in the top right corner. They have all turned gorgeous shades of red, mahogany and brown. Women pay big bucks to have their hair dyed the colors of these girls. Their combs are turning red and their beaks are getting darker. They have totally made friends with Miller, through the fence of course.

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The gardens are producing, growing, and taking over. There is something humbling, earthing, and beautiful about being able to go outside and get fresh fruit for breakfast and fresh green beans for dinner.

Jeremiah 29:5 “ Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;”

New Additions

Eric had a brilliant idea. Our girls love roosting together in a row and the balusters we set up aren’t too long. So he put an old hockey stick for them. GENIUS! Of course they weren’t hanging out on it when I went out to take pictures.

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Our gardens have some new additions as well! We have our first baby beans starting to burst through!

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Eric’s tomato plant was the first of them to have a mater bud.

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And the strawberries are coming in strong!

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I plucked a few before work. I meant to take pictures of them but uhhh oops! They were delicious!

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