Monday, August 17, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

Quickie: We have frozen lots of seasonal berries this summer after going to the orchard to pick blueberries, raspberries, black raspberries and blackberries. To make them easier to use at a later date, freeze them on a wax paper/parchment paper lined tray in a single layer for about an hour and then place in freezer bags.

Sorry no pictures this week.

If you want more kitchen tips head over to Tammy's Recipes and check out her new look.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies

Cookies? Strawberries? Oatmeal? I am in!!!!

When I got my new Sneaky Chef cookbook this was one of the first recipes that I tried, but I was not a big fan. My husband liked these cookies, my son liked these cookies, my mom liked these cookies, but I thought they needed a little work. So, I waited a while to make them again. Quite a while. In fact, several months passed with a batch of these hanging out in my freezer. Then, my son requested strawberry cookies for snack at school and I decided I needed to get busy. I think I just didn't give this recipe a fair shake on my first attempt, because with very little modification that have met both my approval and my friends at Mommy and Me aerobics today. So, I thought that I should share this delicious recipe with you.

It is made with strawberry puree. Sounds fancy, but just take any strawberries that you are worried will go bad (doesn't happen often around here, but it is possible), wash and top them and throw them in a blender or food processor with a couple of tablespoons of water. Turn on the food processor until the consistency is smooth and you have strawberry puree. This can be frozen like other purees for future use.

The recipe calls for one cup of puree. I added just a smidge more. That is a technical and very specific measurement. Then when I baked them I sprinkled the tops with sugar. I used a one tablespoon Pampered Chef scoop to measure out the cookie dough and then about 1/4 teaspoon strawberry jam to fill the tops. The original recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of jam in each cookie, but my cookies must be a smidge smaller as there is no way that there is room for 1/2 teaspoon of jam on each one. I also baked them for about 10-11 minutes. My oven must run really hot, because the recipe calls to bake them for 25-28 minutes and they would have been crispy critters if I had left them in the oven that long. Also, I like my cookies a little soft and not too crunchy so I tend to bake them for a little less time, too. Please modify the time as appropriate for your oven.

I did freeze these in the dough form and they were just OK. I also tried making the dough the night before and baking in the morning and again they were just OK. I am going to try to freeze some fully cooked tonight to see how they turn out, but so far they are best made fresh and enjoyed then or shared with friends!

Moral to the story, don't give up on a recipe; try, try again!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009


This past weekend my son and I travelled to Kentucky to visit my mother and were fortunate to visit Reed Valley Orchard to pick blackberries. It is amazing to me how much sweeter they are when you pick them fresh as opposed to buying them in the store. Earlier this year we were also able to pick fresh blueberries, raspberries and black raspberries as well. At that time, I froze the blueberries and black raspberries and my mom and I made raspberry jam/syrup (supposed to be jam ended up more like syrup, but still delicious). Seth really enjoyed picking the berries, although I think that we ended up on the winning end of the deal as he ate as many in the orchard as he picked and were weighed so that we could pay for them. He does love fruit. After this visit, we made blackberry jam-YUM! You can see how beautiful the blackberries were:

Something I learned while at the orchard is that they sell imperfect apples. What I mean by imperfect is that they were not picture perfect. They had small spots on the peel or were an odd shape, but otherwise they were perfect apples. So, I bought a bushel of these "imperfect" apples for $6.75. Can you believe that? What a great deal! Always one for a great deal, but then I thought what am I going to do with that many apples? APPLESAUCE! These were the earli-gold variety and known for making great applesauce.

Most recipes for applesauce call for coring and peeling the apples, but I couldn't make myself cut off the healthy peel. So, we had a little experiment to see if we could make applesauce with the peels left on. I sliced and cored the apples using an apple wedger.

Then boiled them with a little bit of water and sugar. After making one batch of applesauce we decided to use even less sugar than called for in the recipe.

Then, the recipe called for putting the cooked apples through a food mill. Well, I don't own a food mill and neither does my mother and we also thought that sounded like a tedious process, so we threw it in our trusty food processor and VOILA . . .applesauce with peels and all.

Now, I am no expert canner. In fact, novice may be stretching my experience at canning, but Mom has canned her share of green beans, jams and soups. So, we canned our applesauce in a pressure canner. For more specific instructions on this entire process you could visit a website like this.

We did not add cinnamon or anything to the applesauce as I am planning on using it in some of my sneaky recipes, plus it just didn't need it. It was delicious and simple and homemade. What a feeling of accomplishment.
Planning on adding a real sneaky recipe soon, for those of you who have noticed that there has not been one of those added in a while.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

Welcome to my first edition of Kitchen Tip Tuesday. It is my goal to participate in this blog carnival weekly to share a kitchen tip as well as learn something new, too. Just click here to visit the home of Kitchen Tip Tuesdays and learn other kitchen tips.
So, here we go.
Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs-I don't like to eat the ends of our loaves of whole wheat bread because they tend to get stale. This makes my husband crazy, among other things. But, I found a solution to this problem. I throw the left-over whole wheat bread in the freezer. Then, when I have a little extra time at home, I will gather all the left-over bread to make bread crumbs. I dry them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 200 degrees turning once to dry both sides of the bread. Then I throw them in the food processor to make bread crumbs that can then be stored in freezer bags. Now I have convenient and cheap whole wheat bread crumbs that can be used to make a family favorite, chicken tenders.
I plan on posting the links to Kitchen Tip Tuesdays under my "Sneaky Tip of the Week" section in the right column of my blog.
Please feel free to join the carnival and add your tips as well.