Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dairy Free Strawberry Ice Cream

What to do with a few cups of strawberries that are going downhill???

Strawberry Ice Cream!!

After looking through a lot of recipes, plus my usual dairy-free recipe I usually follow, this is what I came up with. Enjoy!

1-1/4 C almond milk
14 oz can full fat coconut milk
1/2 C plus 2 TBS sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1-1/4 tsp puréed strawberries
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 C chopped white chocolate chips (optional)

Whisk all ingredients (except chocolate chips) until smooth. Chill in refrigerator 2 hours. Freeze in your ice cream maker per your maker's instructions. Add chips in about halfway through the process.

The chilling of the mixture really makes this freeze nicely. My kiddos enjoyed it!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Two New Garden Friends!!

My husband and I do our best to follow pretty closely to Dave Ramsey's financial plan. One thing we do very well, is budget out blow money. The only problem is, I spend my money on what makes me happy, and seeing my family happy makes me happy, and so I usually buy things for other people with my blow money. Honestly, I'm not a fashion gal, I don't have too many wants, all of our needs are met or being met. It's amazing how little one truly needs.

This month, though, I was determined to buy something just for me. Well, until the fruit ripens! Then I'll share! ;)

I bought a Top Hat dwarf blueberry and a Pink Lemonade blueberry plant!! I'm super excited!!! I'd read about these Punk Lemonade blueberries online (supposedly taste the same, but are pink) and was very surprised to find them at my local nursery.

I waited very patiently for three weeks until our paycheck came in and blow money was dispersed and then, BAM! Off to the nursery I went.

I will admit, everybody else must have been tempted by these berries full of gorgeous blueberries because it was quite picked over from last time. The Top Hat variety was the last one, and there were only a few Pinks left as well. However, I'm happy! Budget well spent!

Should I share my blueberries?? ;)

Friday, June 28, 2013

How to Propagate Strawberry Runners Into Containers

My strawberries are running!  I started a very LATE set of Strawberry crowns (June bearing) about mid-may.  So far, we've gotten 4 ripe berries, another will be ready to pick today, and we about about 6 smalls still on the vines.  Not sure they will ripen properly.

About half of them decided to bear fruit, the other half decided to become massive and send out tons of runners.  Instead of planting ALL of the runners, I decided to just do about 2 per plant.  I think this will give the child plants a good opportunity to grow and be healthy, and won't tax the mother plants too much.  After choosing the two strongest runners (most developed, no damaged spots in the runner), I clipped off the extras.  I had FOURTEEN extra runners that I clipped off besides the twelve I actually used!

I believe that when you do this, you are getting a plant that is essentially a duplicate (clone) to the mother plant.  As some of the healthiest runners came from plants that did not bear fruit, I'm a little concerned that I won't get a good crop next year.  I'm hoping that these plants will have a good chance to grow into healthy plants all summer, and next summer, they'll forgive me for planting their mothers so late.

We'll see.

Start with some moistened potting soil (much easier to handle and much healthier for the plant), and some containers that have holes in them for drainage.  We're getting ready to move and wanted to keep expenses down, so I used some cups I already had.

Fill up your containers, and get some good ol' bobby pins bent opened a bit.  Just go digging around WAAAAY back in your bathroom drawer.  You should have some there!

See how this runner actually started making two plants?  The first child plant is at the bottom of the photo, the grandchild plant (can I call it that?) is up by my hand.  Since I wanted the mother plant to be able to support and do its best with the child plant, I snipped off the grandchild plant.

I snipped it off where my finger is pointing.

Place the bobby pin GENTLY over the runner vine.  Be careful!  You don't want to cut the vine on accident.  Remember, you can always open the bobby bin a bit.  You don't want it rubbing into the vine constantly and killing your runner.

Stick the child plant/bobby pin down into the soil.  The bobby pins did a great job of holding the child plant down the way I wanted.  If you have any roots developing, make sure they are held down into the soil.  For smaller child plants, just do your best to make sure that the opposing side of where the little leaves will grow upwards are planted down into the soil.

Make sure you DO NOT snip the runner vine yet!  It needs to take root and develop with the help of the mother plant.

I've already had the first runner that I did this with take root.  Took about two weeks.  I'm going to wait until the plant has developed quite a bit and has some new growth, at which time I will snip it off from the mother plant.  I'm guessing about a 4-6 weeks.  I want to make sure it has plenty of time to go through the shock of being cut off from the mother plant, and begin growing on its own before the fall/winter come.

That's the great thing about planting these runners in containers.  Once you snip them off, you can give them a little time to go through the whole shock process, and then plant them where you want them.  It's more shock than if it went directly into the soil into a permanent home, but less shock than if you allowed them to grow in the ground, then snipped them from the mother plant, and then dug them up for a transplant.

So, propagate away!  Only 11 of my 12 original strawberry crowns survived, but I've already got 12 of these child plants going, and I've got my eye on some more more runners.  I'll probably end up with 15-18 if I can get these child runners snipped off, and a few more started soon enough.  It's a great way to double your bed or fill in any bald spots.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What's On Your Table?

My husband and I had a long conversation the other day about dinner meals. We realized how few different recipes we eat during the month, and we remembered some of our old favorites. So tonight I busted out one of those favorites. Drumroll, please...

Breadsticks with Sauce and Salad

1 C warm (not hot) water
1 TBS yeast
3 TBS sugar
3 TBS olive oil
1 tsp salt
2-3 C High Gluten Flour (you can use All Purpose, but they won't be as chewy)
More olive oil for brushing
Granulated garlic and onion powder for sprinkling on top, as well as Italian seasoning (all optional)
Cornmeal for dusting cookie sheet

Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl (I use my Compact Bosch), let sit 5 minutes until a little bubbly.

Add 3 TBS olive oil, 2 C flour, and salt. Combine, and add more flour as needed until the dough can be handled without dough sticking to hands in globs. If using a mixer, add flour until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Kneed 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Cover and allow to rise 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into long tubes and place on a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Not only will the cornmeal impress your family and friends with the professional quality, it helps the dough to not stick to the cookie sheet.

Let shaped dough rise 20 minutes.

Gently brush breadsticks with olive oil, then sprinkle away with your favorite seasonings.

Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a little darker than golden brown. Pull out and let cool on cookie a sheet.


1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 TBS Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder (granulated)
1/2 tsp onion powder (granulated)
1/2 tsp minced onion
3/4 tsp salt

These are rough estimates. Don't be afraid to season it the way you like it!

Heat in a pan on low while your breadsticks bake. I leave it uncovered to let it thicken a bit.

Make salad and enjoy!!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I Can!!!

Last year I bought two dozen canning jars. Though I had planned on water bath canning, and I've always had a strong desire to can, a huge vat of boiling water and easily shattered glass makes me anxious. I filled about 18 with freezer strawberry jam (which is delicious and we haven't had to purchase any jam all year), and I also made applesauce but chickened out of canning it and stuck it in the freezer in ziplock bags.

When I saw this canning set at Target for $9.98 last month, I bought it because I thought it was a worthy $10 risk. It might have been really low quality, or it might serve its purpose for several years. $10 was enough to tip me to the side of trying it to either get used to canning, or get it out of my system.

All of the pieces seem quite a bit higher quality than $10! My two complaints would be that the spatula thing was a little rough and could use sanding, and the lid to the pot is difficult to grip with an oven mitt.

Can you see the terror in my eyes??? Look hard. It's there!

After emptying the contents of the pot, I filled her up over half full of water, then got ready to can some fresh pineapple. Get that water heating! Pineapple's probably not the wisest choice for your first canning experience, but I got five pineapples for $1 each. AND I DIDN'T WANT TO FREEZE THEM!!!

Prepare the pineapples by cutting off the skin, and cutting out the eyes. I used a bread and parring knife to accomplish the task.

Slice up the pineapple. I quartered, then sliced out the cores of the pineapples. I threw the cores in a pot of heating water (about 9 cups water plus 2 cups sugar) and let them get warm/let the sugar dissolve while I chopped the pineapple. This made a lite syrup.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the cores from syrup, then carefully dump or spoon in the chunks of pineapple.

Allow pineapple to simmer 10 minutes. Also, heat rings and lids until simmering, then remove from heat and leave in hot water until ready. Wash glass jars and then put them in hot water. I filled my sink with the hottest water I could and left the jars there until I was ready to fill them. I've since learned that I'm pretty sure I should have boiled them 10 minutes.

Fill those pint jars up leaving 1/2" head space. Using a canning funnel, I used a slotted spoon to fill them with pineapple, then I used a non-slotted spoon to add the syrup. Wipe rims, place lids on, then tighten rings to fingertip strength.

Place the jars in your water bath. Add more water to ensure that the water covers them by 1-2 inches, and bring to a boil. Check your processing time per elevation. I processed mine for 15 minutes, starting the timer once the water was boiling.

Using your canning tongs, pull out the jars. CAREFUL!! Set them on a couple of layers of DRY towels. You want to do your best to help the glass ease out of the boiling temperature.

Let them cool completely. This took close to 12 hours for me.

Take the rings off, once completely cooled. Stack them up and enjoy how beautiful they are.

I've used mine in muffins and homemade pizza. Tastes WAY better than commercially canned pineapple!