Friday, July 22, 2011

Cherry Pineapple Pie

I am going to guess I am the only one in the Midwest sitting in 90+ degree heat who turned on the oven for a cherry pie. But our trip last week to pick tart cherries and use them is just what I did.

These exact cherries ended up in our pie, yes we impressed family on Thursday evening with a meal featuring beans and cherries we picked ourselves.

Cherry pineapple pie:
1 Pint tart cherries
1 can pitted tart cherries (remember we only picked a few, had to combine with purchased can)
16 oz of pineapple, I used pineapple pieces, drained
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp vanilla
crust for 9" pan, I used Pillsbury crust two pack (still need to master crust from scratch)

Mix all ingredients and fill crust in a 9" pie pan. I did a half attempted lattice top, I used my rotary cutter with a pinking blade to cut into strips -- HOORAY for finally finding a use for rotary cutter in the kitchen !

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

SOOOOO happy there are leftover, with ice cream a fantastic pie!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July Treasury Features

Carnival Bloom

The Wise Old Owl:

Aging Gracefully:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Yule Love It Lavender Farm and Lavender Crafts

Continuing my post of my weekend outing to a local Lavender farm, this is about a 50 minute drive to me and what seems like way out in the country, down tree covered dirt roads. Peaceful rolling hills with blooming Lavender makes for a perfect summer outing.

The farm had several gardens all in bloom with varying varieties of Lavender, u-pick a bunch was 5.00, the first picture was my clippings this took me the best part of an hour to pick. You were given a basket and pair of scissors and a footstool if you wanted, I declined and soon realized its benefit as I sat in and around the plants gathering my bouquet.

I was given instructions which to pick and how, a "bunch" was defined by what you could fit between your thumb and middle finger when making an "OK" sign, you could pack it in. This was a ton of Lavender, so much I sort of gave up, the 90 degree day and my husband and 5 year old roaming around inspired me to finish early.

Looking down onto parts of the farm along with the covered patio, there is a small cafe that serves Lavender lemonade, ice cream and other Lavender infused treats. There is also a small gift shop, the patio hosts many talks and demonstrations during harvest months.

Filling my basket

Once I got home I was inspired to track down a Lavender craft I had been given many years ago, I had no idea what it was call I just knew it involved ribbon. Turns out they are called "Lavender Wands" or "Lavender Bottles", really a simple craft using the Lavender, ribbon and scissors. There are plenty of tutorials and videos out there should you wish to try this yourself, I took a few pictures of mine in progress, I made 3 of these with various quantities of stems.

First step, choose stems in about the same length, in an odd number, and tie off just below the buds.
Bend the stems down over the buds in twos winding ribbon over and under, the odd number is done in a group of three. You do this for about 3 rows then move to single weave. This is where the odd number comes into play to keep a consistent weave, to be honest each of my 3 have gone awry at some point having to double up the weave here and there, overall it is not noticeable. The goal is to create a cage of the weaved ribbon to hold the buds in when they dry and shrink.

Continue weaving below all the buds, tie off and make a bow, on a smaller one I did for my daughter (with just 11 stems - which si about the smallest I would do) I wrapped the ribbon all the way down and put the bow at the bottom, trim stems to equal lengths.

Lavender wands, great to slip into a drawer or set next to the bed for a light scent to promote relaxation (well that is what they said anyway).

Here is the rest of my bunch, I had used about 50 stems to make my wands, I am going to take the stems out for the first few days to promote drying so they don't mold, also there is some breathing room in this vase which should help too.

After this I was NOT done, I made Lavender cookies, I had lots of buds that fell during the Lavender wands so I used about 1/2 tablespoon in this simple shortbread cookie recipe. They turned out really good, I would cut down on the Lavendar the next time, but they were quite pleasant. These are not something I would make everyday but for a spe3cial occasion they will be a nice change of pace.

I have a recipe for Lavender lemonade and bread I am going to make hopefully this week. I also hope to share directions for a Lavender rice eye pack.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day Trip Lavender Festival and U-Picking

I have been yearning for a day trip, you know the kind when you want to feel like you got away yet did not have to go very far. I got an email from an artist friend that she would be participating in the "Lavender Festival" this was at a 'local' cider mill, I say local it was about an hour away in a very country setting...perfect!

I did some research beforehand to see what else we could do along the way and found the cider mill was about 15 minutes from a u-pick lavender farm...perfect! At the cider mill, which is actually a huge farm were u-pick, beans, raspberries, broccoli, cabbage and tart cherries.

Above the blue broccoli the green beans.

Had to practically drag our 5 year old out of the beans!

We opted to pick green beans, they were .99 cents a pound, we filled a produce sized bag, these were my favorite to pick, not sure why but it was fun finding a plant that you could scoop 15-20 beans. You should know I know virtually nothing about gardening, really nothing so everything for me is novel and exciting. My husband whom I never really complain about (I will say he was getting on my nerves around the beans) was not enjoying this part of the picking experience until he realized who could pick rocks, there were tons of big rocks all over the place he grabbed a bunch to add to our landscaping. We figured we were doing them a favor as some of these were quite big and for tilling it seemed they would be dangerous (we told them when we checked out we took a bunch of rocks they were totally fine with it).

Next to the beans, was broccoli and cabbage we did not pick this mainly because we did not need any but we were surprised how blue the broccoli was, I mean really blue.

Onto the raspberries we picked the most of these it took us a while as we sort of made the mistake of stopping at the first row which was sort of picked over.

Yum! These will be gone in no time!

Tart cherry trees, really made me wish I had a plan for these, I will be more prepared in a future visit.

After this we drove over to the Lavender farm to see what they had going on, it was a lovely unpaved rural road covered in trees. The farm was quite happening they had a lecturer on herbs and lots of kids running around and rolling gardens, it was quite peaceful and fragrant.

I picked a "bunch" of lavender, a bunch as described was what you could fit between your thumb and middle finger as if making a circle, you could pack it in. This translates to a TON of lavender for 5.00 plus the 3.00 admission fee, a bargain at 8.00. I thought it would be 10 minute task, was I wrong. I got my instructions, a basket and a pair of scissors and proceeded to spend about an hour cutting, and I gave up before I filled my allotted amount, I have a lot of lavender, a lot!

OOOOH...Pretty Lavender!

I will share more on my trip to the lavender farm this week along with a show and tell of my Lavender wands I have already made. I am now planning a trip back hopefully with a few girlfriends and going to prep to hopefully start my lavender patch.
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