Cherry Crisp

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Last week my girls and I, along with my sister, ventured to my in-law’s home and spent the afternoon tangled up in branches and brambles.  It was picking’ time!  By the time the day was done, we ended up with two giant bowls of tart cherries and black raspberries.  Simply marvelous!

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The black raspberries quickly became freezer jam, with the help of my six and eight-year old sous chefs.  And the cherries, well, the cherries ended up going into an absolutely amazing cherry tart.  I don’t often like to toot my own horn, but friends, it was good.  Very good.  Let me share the recipe…

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Cherry Crisp

6 cups pitted tart cherries (This measurement was taken AFTER the cherries were pitted.)

1 cup local honey

2 T Non-GMO corn starch

Mix these ingredients in a large bowl and pour them into a 9×9 baking dish.  (I use this baking dish because then I can serve the crisp table-side and it looks as good as it tastes.)

2 cups oats

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 stick cold butter cut into cubes

Mix all these ingredients together in a large bowl (such as one of these sustainably harvested bamboo bowls) using a pastry blender.  Pour the crumbled mixture onto the cherry mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for one hour.  Allow 20 minutes to cool before serving.  Enjoy!

*A note about all my recipes: I use all organic ingredients, local when available. I use non-homogenized milk, and all of the dairy we use is from animals raised on pasture. I also use oils that are non-GMO verified. All our meat is raised locally on organic feed, and our beef is grass-fed, grass-finished. All our spices and cane sugar are fair-trade certified and purchased through a cooperative.

Best Made Plans

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Yesterday morning I rose early to head to the grocery store before dawn, before my girls woke up, and before my “To Do List” really got moving.  I returned home at 6:30 am, with arms full of groceries, and two little girls with pink eye. How quickly all those plans on my “To Do List” were put on hold, and a new (much better, I must say) plan developed.  Cookie-Baking Day.

The girls felt great, but still unable to attend school, dance class, and tumbling lessons, so we just stayed close to home and had ourselves a wonderful little day.  It’s these moments spent with my little ones in the warm embrace of our home that I will remember most as the years move on.  I will never forget their baking experiments with flour strewn all about the kitchen, their voices in the play room as my seven year old reads fairy tales to her little sister, or the tiny fists full of cookies being shoved as quickly as possible into their smiling mouths.

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Just Peachy

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The time has arrived again.  My favorite food time of the year.  Peach season.  There is nothing that ignites more excitement in my taste buds than those handheld orbs of deliciousness.  We are extremely fortunate that my in-laws have a beautiful peach tree on their property that has produced a record number of peaches this year.

So, it has been all things peaches in these parts, my favorite of all being peach pie.  If you are interested in my Grandma Dit’s peach pie recipe, you can find it here.  Enjoy!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Crisp

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‘Tis the season of strawberry and rhubarb, and our kitchen is quickly becoming laden with these early summer lovelies.  This past weekend I played around a bit to come up with a variation to a traditional fruit crisp.  After some experimentation, I came up with this recipe that goes together very quickly, making it the perfect dish to bring to a summer picnic or backyard barbecue.

This crisp is not overly sweet, so it allows the flavors of the sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb to shine through.  Coupled with the rich, earthly flavors of the pecans and oats, this is a treat sure to please the masses.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Crisp

For the crumble:

1.  In a food processor, pulse 1/4 cup raw pecans.

2.  Add 2 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg to the food processor.  Pulse 2-3 times.

3.  Add 1 stick of cold butter (cut into bits) and 2 tablespoons raw honey to the food processor.  Pulse until a crumble forms.

4.  Set aside.

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For the filling:

1.  Combine 2 cups strawberries (diced), 3 cups rhubarb (diced), 1/3 cup honey, 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 eggs (beaten), and 1 teaspoon almond extract in a large bowl.

2.  Add 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to the fruit mixture.

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Assembling the crisp:

1.  Pour the fruit mixture into a 9X9 inch pan.

2.  Spread the crumble mixture over the top of the fruit.

3.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the top of the crumble is golden brown.

Enjoy!

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*A note about all my recipes:  I use all organic ingredients, local when available.  I use non-homogenized milk, and all of the dairy we use is from animals raised on pasture. I also use oils that are non-GMO verified.  All our meat is raised locally on organic feed, and our beef is grass-fed, grass-finished.  All our spices and cane sugar are fair-trade certified and purchased through a cooperative.

Honey-Sweetened Oatmeal Cookies

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Again, in an attempt to lighten our refined sugar load, I have been playing around in the kitchen a bit to find some alternatives to our favorite dessert recipes.  Replacing the granulated and brown sugars in traditional oatmeal cookies with local honey, created a wonderful cake-like cookie.  The floral taste of the honey, paired with the nuttiness of these local oats, makes this cookie one you just must try!

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Honey-Sweetened Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 cup butter (softened)

1 cup local honey

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour

2 cups rolled oats

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and honey.  Then add the ingredients to the mixer in the order listed, being sure each ingredients is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Scoop out the dough by the tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes.  Enjoy!

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*A note about all my recipes:  I use all organic ingredients, local when available.  I use non-homogenized milk, and all of the dairy we use is from animals raised on pasture. I also use oils that are non-GMO verified.  All our meat is raised locally on organic feed, and our beef is grass-fed, grass-finished.  All our spices and cane sugar are fair-trade certified and purchased through a cooperative.

Master Chef Jr.

My children have an addition.  They cannot seem to get enough Master Chef action on Hulu.  My oldest especially, wants to audition for the next season of the show, or at the very least, start her own restaurant in the very near future.  In fact, she recently asked the owner of our favorite local restaurant if she could live there.  Precious.

So to curb their enthusiasm, I told each girl she could prepare her own dish to serve at dinner.  And I must say, I was thoroughly shocked at the result.  This five-year-old and three-year-old created two different dishes that not only tasted good, but in the words of Gordon Ramsay were “visually stunning.”  It is truly fascinating to me what the minds of small children are capable of when left to run free without boundaries or restrictions.

“I want to make my own thing!”

These are the words that ring throughout our home at least three times a week.  My girls just love to cook and/or bake “their own thing” and yesterday was quite the large step for my oldest daughter.

In the past, she had been content to mix random ingredients together, put it in our counter top convection oven (with Mommy’s help of course), and eat her creations.  Now with that said, she has done quite a bit of experimenting with various flavors and has come up with some delicious combinations, but the creations were random none the less.  But yesterday she said to me, “Mommy, I want to make my own thing, and I want it to be an actual recipe.”

So I decided, why not throw caution to the wind and let her completely take over the kitchen.  With a little bit of my help reading the measurements, she made cut out sugar cookies completely on her own!

Now the crowning moment of this adventure was when it came to the topping for these cookies.  My little five-year old gazed up at me and said, “Mommy I think I am going to sprinkle a little sugar, cinnamon and rosemary  from our garden on top of the cookies.  That way we don’t have to use food coloring or sprinkles with the yucky chemicals.”  (Oh she had just made her mama’s day with that one!) And an fyi…the cinnamon and rosemary combination is one of those flavor combos she came up with during her previous food experiments.  And let me tell you, it is really delicious!

Once she was done with her sprinkles, she sat back, looked approving at her creations and said, “Perfect.  It’s just like Jamie Oliver’s pumpkin muffins when he sprinkles lavender flowers on top for sprinkles!”  (My how this little one impressed me yesterday!)