Monthly Archives: May 2011

Cobble Cobble!

I am crazy for cobblers all of a sudden.  After making them at work last week, I got to thinking about my Flathead Cherries I still have in my freezer from last summer that I pitted and vacuum packed, and thinking about how they need to be used!  A cobbler can really be whipped out in no time, and in my opinion it’s just as good as pie, or better.  Without as much work!

Over the last few years I have grown to love the use of the freezer, and learned how to really take advantage of it.  One of my favorite things is reaching in the freezer in the winter or even Spring, when we don’t yet have all the fresh berries and produce, and grabbing a ‘little piece of Summer’ to thaw and use.  Around here you really can’t miss out on enjoying Flathead Cherries in the summer time.  However, one could easily miss out on enjoying Flathead Cherries any other time of year, if you don’t go to a little extra work when you get them to store some away and take advantage of that freezer!  It is so worth it and rewarding.

::Flathead Cherry Cobbler::

I made it the same as previously mentioned, but for the filling just did:

2 1/2 lbs cherries, pitted
3/4 – 1 c. sugar
1 T. instant tapioca
1 T. AP flour
zest of 1 orange

That’s it!  SO good.

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Mixed Berry Cobblers

Here’s a little Spring/Summer baking inspiration.  I made these beauty-ful berry-ful Mixed Berry Cobblers at work today.  Cobblers are so perfect for this time of year, especially during summer when the berries are ripe and fresh.  Here I used fresh strawberries, blueberries, and frozen huckleberries.  This cobbler topping is absolutely perfect, and everything that it should be.  I read that the topping is supposed to look kind of piece-y and lumpy, like cobblestones, which is how it got it’s name.

I had to take a quick shot with my phone camera as I was working, since they were looking so mouth-watering delicious when I pulled them out.  I’m not ever there in the evening when they’re plating them up all pretty and serving them in all their glory, but really these guys don’t need much dressing and garnishing, perfect right out of the oven just like this.  I will definitely be making more cobblers throughout the Spring and Summer…

::Recipe::  Mixed Berry Cobblers

Fruit filling:

2 c. strawberries, quartered or halved
3 c. blueberries, huckleberries, and/or any other fruit of your choosing
3/4 c. sugar
1 T. flour
1 1/2 T. instant tapioca
1-2 T. juice of lemon or orange
zest of 1 lemon or orange, (optional)

Toss all together in a large bowl, set aside.

Cobbler topping:

1 3/4 c. AP flour
1/2 c. sugar
pinch of salt
2 1/2 t. baking powder
4 oz. (1/2 c.) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 egg + 1 yolk
2/3 c. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Work the cold butter cubes into the dry mix with your fingertips, rubbing into the dry mix until the butter pieces are the size of peas.  Combine the egg, yolk, and cream in a small bowl, stir together, then gently stir into the flour mixture only until combined, careful not to over-work or over mix.  The dough should be loose, lumpy, and light.

Pour fruit mixture into a buttered baking dish (9 x 9) or individual baking dishes.  Carefully drop spoonfuls of dough on top of fruit, leaving it loose and lumpy, it should look rough and rustic, like cobblestones.  Bake until topping is golden brown, about 40-50 min.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature, better yet with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream.

Cheers!

Our Newest Additions

I’d like to introduce you to the new additions to our family, or our home I should say… We start slow, with plants, vegetables, and trees.  Maybe someday we’ll take the next step and get a cat or a dog.  Anyway, I’d like you to meet Mr. Acer rubrum, Mr. Prunus maackii, and Miss Malus dolgo.  They are all really darn good looking and stand tall and firm.  We adopted them at age three, and they weigh in at 800-900 lbs.

This weekend we went to work and got three nice trees on our property.  May is surely the month of planting and gardening, and we have really been getting a bit of landscaping done too.  After a while of coming up with a vision and somewhat of a plan for our property, we went to Four Seasons Nursery and picked out our trees.

They are looking pretty good and healthy now that we got them to their new homes and their roots planted firm in the ground.  I think they’re adapting nicely…

Amur Chokecherry

The Chokecherry tree is in the front yard, kind of along the side in a bed which we will fill with ornamental gravel and some shrubs.  She is starting to be covered in soft white frilly flowers that look like snow.

Red Maple

Red made his way to the backyard, nestled in where we have a fire pit, landscaping rock, and soon will be accompanied with some big shrubs and gravel.  Might look kind of small from the photo, but actually is about 13′ tall.

Dolgo Crabapple

And my favorite, the flowering Crabapple is looking right at home in the backyard near the garden.  She is covered in pretty pink buds that are now blossoming into white flowers and will soon give us lots of good-sized crabapples to eat.


I really can’t wait to have this fruit and make jelly and Apple Butter to can for the winters!  And I’m hoping the birds and deer know better than to try and beat me to the apples, or I will teach them!  The Dolgo is so beautiful, completely covered in white blossoms in the Spring.  She will someday reach about 30′ tall and look like this.  We are going to get a dwarf or semi-dwarf apple tree soon to put by the Crabapple.  The Dolgo happens to be a perfect pollinator for apple trees, and is sometimes added to apple orchards just for that reason.  Someday we’ll get to enjoy a nice bumper crop of apples!

I’m kind of making it sound like it was a walk in the park getting these trees put in, but involved a lot of labor.  Will used a tractor of a friend’s, and rented a Bobcat with a forklift for the day, and I helped with a lot of digging, watering, and raking.  It was a lot of work!

Digging big holes… the root balls were 3′ wide and 2.5′ deep!  …And digging big holes while talking on the phone.

The three trees on Will’s trailer weighed more than having two snowmobiles on it!  It seemed like quite the feat to get these things off the trailer and over in their holes until we got the Bobcat rented with the forklift…

Then it was easy getting them into their spot!  Now for the dirty work…

I hosed it down and got it all saturated as he filled it all in.


Yes I was working too, and covered in dirt… just quickly snapped a few pictures in between!


Soon enough she’s in there good, ready to withstand the annoying windstorms we get… (we hope), and free to grow.

We do live in a wind belt area at the bottom of a mountain, and get some pretty brutal wind storms and gusts sometimes, so we can’t be picking out any dinky trees to put out here, they’d get pretty beat up!

After doing that process three times and having a good 8 hour work day of landscaping, we were pretty happy it was done.

And dirty.  And tired!

We’re really enjoying the new additions.  Feels good to have another big project done that makes the house feel more homey and beautiful!

 

Seeing Double… Rainbows

Last night we had an evening of the most gorgeous rainbows I’ve ever seen!  Actually saw two different ones, one on my drive home and another later at home… And they were each full size, and double 🙂
Someday soon I’m going to actually have a *good* camera, and get some real photos!  I was wishing I had a better camera last night.
Anyway, it was a beautiful view from our back patio.

Happy Friday!


Just Me and the Garden

Today I spent the entire sunshiny afternoon and evening gardening.  It was bliss.  Sunny, calm, blue skies, so peaceful.  All by myself, with a little music playing in the garage, and lots of seeds to make their way to their new summer home.  There’s nothing like getting into your own little gardening world for (at least) half the day with no distractions, getting your hands in the dirt, enjoying some nice Spring weather, and planting seeds.  It just connects you with the dirt, the earth, and your organically grown food.  And, fills you with anticipation of waiting to see how they’ll grow and turn into your summer eating delight!

Lately (especially the last couple weeks) I have been devouring all the websites, books, articles, and blogs that I can find, on every different vegetable and herb, starting transplants, sowing seeds straight in the ground, and things like companion planting (good article here).  All in efforts to get a good garden map and plan of action going.  I’m just in a one-track mind lately!  …(So that probably means, if you call me to chat, and not interested in chatting about growing things, don’t be put out to just be hearing stories and updates on the garden, he he..).  🙂

My hubby was away for work today so it was just me and my garden, which I really just can’t get over how much I enjoyed.  I really needed that, it was like therapy.

Chard, Spinach, Butterhead, and Beets

(Well the photos aren’t real exciting yet, just looking all brown and boring… but they’ll get prettier soon!)…

This last weekend we worked on preparing our soil, adding some compost into each raised bed.  But today I got to work up a sweat stirring a little more in, and I got our Spring leafy greens and some root vegetables planted.  Chard, Spinach, Butterhead Lettuce, Chioggia Beets, and some ‘Atomic Red’ carrots, and ‘Cosmic Purple’ carrots.

Most of these seeds are Italian seeds, ‘Franchi‘, we got from my cousin and Aunt, as they sell these each year in their Italian specialty food store, All Things Italian.

A bed for peas and carrots 🙂

I decided on what I think is a pretty smart and efficient way to do carrots.  I have a half of a bed I’m using for carrots, a 4′ by 4′ space.  So rather than doing 4 rows all at once I sowed three rows today, 16″ apart, two rows of red carrots and one of purples, and then three weeks from now I will inter-plant two more rows between them of each carrot variety.  So we’ll get five rows this summer rather than four, and continuous rather than all at once and having to eat carrots all day long and turn into Mr. and Mrs. Peter Rabbit!

We have six raised beds, one of them is taken up by strawberries… (which made their way back from winter pretty nicely)…

So five beds available to fill up.  I have come up with a plan of action for the entire garden, intending on using every square foot of space, plus more with the addition of using several big containers, and some ground space along the fence.

On the agenda for tomorrow/the weekend when my hubby is home and will rota till some ground, is some broccoli rabe, arugula, radishes, and we will get potatoes, asparagus, and peas started.  And probably a couple hills of pumpkins, and some Sweet Pea flowers.  I could have ideally got most of these started up to a week or two ago, but by the time you get all your ducks in a row, your soil amended, and have a nice weather day where your available, it’s May 11 already!

I’ve got to give a big shout out to my husband.  He has really done an impressive job building the garden!  Last year he worked hard building the raised beds, and the fence around with a cute little gate to keep the deer out. It went from this…

To this…

by the end of the summer.  I was also so impressed and happy to not be ran out of my work space when the newly installed sprinkler system started up all the different zones, but was able to stay in there while all the sprinklers went off on our baby green grass lawn, around the garden and not in it!

Well I enjoyed gardening last year, but this year is just heaven with it all built and established, and all the over-whelming wedding planning isn’t hanging over my head!  It will just get better and better each year.

Stay tuned, as more progress and (lusher, greener) photos crop up!

…And if you’ve read this, and are as excited about the gardening and summer season as I am, please tell me… What have you planted in the dirt?   What transplants have you started?  Have you just recently learned any little new and exciting garden tid bit, or have a new found vegetable, herb, or flower you can’t wait to grow this year?

🙂

Baby Cuteness

A friend of mine recently saw a picture of the baby loafers I made and right away asked if I could make a pair for her.  So excited about the baby cuteness, she asked for a hat to go along with it.  So I just finished up her ‘order’, which she will give to her friend who is a mama-to-be of a baby girl.  I really hope the little things fit her little head and feet.

I kind of just winged it with the hat, going off of an old pattern I have for a crocheted adult beanie for making the body of the hat, along with a lighter weight yarn and smaller hook size.  Then made up the ear flaps, added on the tan trim and a pom pom.  It turned out about 6.5″ wide at the base/ 13″ around so I think that’s about right!

So cute with the little loafers…

Well I think I’ve had my fill of crocheting for a while, and making baby things!  🙂

Hope Ashley, and her mom-to-be friend, will love them.

***

::On Ravelry:: Ashley’s Order

Felted Oven Mitts for Aunt Connie

I recently made some felted oven mitts for my aunt, and gave them as a late Christmas/ early Birthday gift.  At Christmas time I always have great intentions and ideas of gifts I’m going to make for everyone, and they’re usually late or just get put off for the next year.  So I like to just give gifts at random times, better late than never right?

I knitted and felted the mitts, so they’re knitted extra big, then put in the hot wash machine to felt.  The felting is the really fun part, I love dropping the wooly knits in there and watching them shrink to size and take on their new shape.

These knit up really big, and are a super easy and quick project.  I chose some nice blue and yellow colors to go in my aunt’s french-country style kitchen, in Lamb’s Pride Bulky-weight.  I’m kicking myself for not getting a picture of the fun felting process, but I’ll be sure to get that part next time.  Well this is what they looked like after their hot bubble bath!

They ended up pretty furry.  I’ve knitted and felted with this yarn a lot, but was not remembering how hairy the felted knits end up, due to the 15% mohair.  My next oven mitts will be made with all wool, no mohair.  No one wants oven mitt fuzzies in their food, right?  So I took my husband’s electric shaver to them and gave them a hair cut..

Much better, all clean cut and ready for their appearance in the kitchen with Connie.

About a year ago, my Aunt Kathy made a pair of these for me as part of my bridal shower gift.  I absolutely LOVE them, and use them all the time!!  I love the colors and just how useful they are.

And if you get them a little dirty during use, they can easily be dropped in to some lukewarm water with a drop of dish soap, then rinsed, laid on a towel to dry, and you have perfectly new oven mitts again.

If you knit and are looking for a super easy and quick project, that you can use all year long no matter the weather or the season, I highly recommend making these!  So fun 🙂

***
::On Ravelry::
Oven Mitts

::Pattern:: Felted Knits by Bev Galeskas

::Yarn::  Lamb’s Pride Bulky