Beans, Beans and More Beans

This year has been an amazing year for gardening. We have had a bumper crop of vegetables. The vegetables that have given us the greatest yield so far have been the green beans. We froze them, and froze them, canned them in pints, canned them in quarts, cooked them for dinner, and even gave some to co-workers. All that out of just 2 short rows of green beans!

My husband finally pulled the plants after the fourth picking. We’ve never had more the two pickings. The second picking is usually inferior to the first. Not this year! Here is a picture of one of the plants at the fourth picking.

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Beautiful clean, straight beans. Amazing!

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These beauties kept me up till midnight one night. After work I picked up fast-food for dinner so that I could get started on canning as soon as I got home. My canner only holds 7 quart. So I had to process them in two batches. That’s what kept me up till midnight. I had to wait for the last batch to cool so I could take them out of the canner.

This winter when the snow starts to fly and I open a can of these green beans for dinner it will all be worth it!

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Berry Season Continues

Now that strawberry season has come to an end for this year, black raspberry season has begun. And there are a lot of black raspberries this year!

I made a berry cobbler to celebrate the first berries. I adapted a recipe from the Food Network website. It is Paula Deen’s Slow Berry Cobbler. It’s a slow cooker recipe that is easy and delicious!

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The recipe calls for 3 types of berries, but I used my frozen strawberries (from the last picking) and fresh black raspberries from my raspberry patch. The recipe also called for baking mix, which I do not have. So I made my own using this substitution recipe for Bisquick. It uses just a few simple ingredients that I always have on hand.

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I mixed the berries; frozen strawberries and fresh black raspberries.

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Stir in sugar and 1/2 cup of the baking mix.

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Put the berry mixture in the slow cooker that you sprayed with cooking spray. Then in another bowl mix baking mix, sugar, melted butter and milk.

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By the way…I love Snowville milk! It is from a southern Ohio creamery called Snowville Creamery. Check out their website. If you can get their milk in your local grocery store I highly recommend trying it. It is the only milk I buy.

Okay, mooooving on…sorry about the cow joke.

Don’t over stir the mixture.

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With your hands drop pieces of dough on the top of the berry mixture in the slow cooker.

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Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top.

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Cook on high for 3 hours. The smell of berry cobbler cooking is so amazing. It just smells like home, like summer, like grandma’s house…it smells yummy! And the best way to eat cobbler is with good vanilla ice cream!

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Slow Berry Cobbler (adapted from Paula Deen’s recipe)

Filling:
16 oz strawberries
16 oz black raspberries
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup baking mix (see substitution recipe below)

Topping:
1  1/2 cups baking mix
1/2 cup sugar; divided
4 Tablespoons of butter; melted
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Spray the inside of slow cooker with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl combine strawberries, black raspberries, 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup baking mix. Pour the berry mixture in the slow cooker.

In another large mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 cups baking mix, 1/4 cup sugar, melted butter and milk. Stir with a spoon but do not over mix. With your hands drop small amounts of dough on top of berry mixture in slow cooker.

In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Sprinkle over dough in slow cooker.

Put the lid on the slow cooker. Cook on high for 3 hours. Dough will puff and berries will be bubbling.

Serve warm with ice cream. Enjoy!

Bisquick Baking Mix Substitution
(makes 2 cups)

2 cups flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of melted butter

Mix the dry ingredients. Add melted butter and stir till crumbly.

Strawberry Sorbet

My strawberry patch is still going strong. I’ve already made freezer jam, so what to make now…Strawberry Sorbet. I found this recipe on Food Network’s website. It’s Paula Deen’s recipe for Strawberry Sorbet and it is really good!

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It has just 5 ingredients…I didn’t include the water in the picture. I thought that would be silly.

IMG_3409The first thing you do is make the simple syrup. Bring the sugar and water to a boil on medium-high heat. Do not stir! After it comes to a boil reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook for 3 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool.

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Put the cleaned and halved strawberries in a food processor with the lime juice and puree. I used my Ninja…I really like this thing.  IMG_3412

Pour the strawberry mixture into a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds.

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I pressed the mixture with a spatula. A few seeds did get through, but that’s okay.

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When the simple syrup has cooled, pour it into the strawberry puree…

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pour in the corn syrup also and stir.

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Put the strawberry mixture in the refrigerator to chill. Then using your ice cream maker’s instructions make the sorbet. I used my Kitchen Aid.

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After making the sorbet I froze it in freezer containers.

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This sorbet recipe is so easy to make and it is delicious.

For the recipe click here, which will take you to Food Network’s website.

Strawberry Season

It’s strawberry season in southeastern Ohio. This is turning out to be a great year for strawberries.

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This is one beautiful strawberry!

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It makes my hand look so small. No, that is not a child’s hand, it’s my hand and it’s a really big strawberry.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy strawberries is Strawberry Freezer Jam.

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Freezer jam is so easy to make. All you need is pectin, I use Sure Jell, and sugar…and strawberries, of course. I use the recipe that comes in the Sure Jell box. And I freeze the jam in jelly jars.

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Look at that yummy, sticky, strawberry goodness! I wish I could give you-all a spoonful!

Now they are ready for the freezer.

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Yes, there are several different types of rings, jars and lids. It’s eclectic, right? No, actually it is economics. Some of those lids were given to me. I’m not sure if they will seal so I’m not going to use them for canning, but for freezing they work great.

M&M Cookie Recipe

M&M Cookies are one of my favorites. My mom only baked M&M cookies at Christmas time. Now that M&M’s come in seasonal colors, I bake them throughout the year.

I purchased a bag of M&M’s after the Easter holiday. They were on clearance. Yea!

M & M Cookie ingredients

Here is the basic ingredients. The salt shaker was my mothers. It was the salt shaker used for cooking only.  She always kept it by the stove. Now it has the same place of honor in my kitchen. It reminds me of watching my mom cooking dinner and thinking “I want to cook like mom when I grow up”. Happy memories!

Cream shortening & sugars

Blend shortening and sugars.

Add vanilla & eggs

Add eggs and vanilla; only 2 eggs. One of the yolks broke and so it looks like three egg yolks but it’s only 2; confused me for a minute there. Then beat till well blended.

Sift dry ingredients

Sift in the dry ingredients. This fine mesh colander is great for sifting. Remember the old hand-held sifter we used to use? It was so hard to clean, noisy and it usually rusted. This colander works much better.

Add m&m's

Stir in the M&M’s. Don’t they look so pretty? That cookie dough really looks tasty!

Scoop onto parchment lined cookie sheet

I use a #40 scoop to scoop the dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Ready for baking

I usually bake 6 to 8 cookies at a time, giving them room to spread slightly. Into a 375° oven for 5 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet, then bake for another 5 minutes.

Sccop the rest to be frozen

While the cookies are baking I scoop the rest of the cookie dough onto a cookie sheet and put in the freezer.

Keep in the freezer

After the cookies are frozen, usually 24 hours, I put them into a freezer bag and back into the freezer. Whenever we want fresh-baked cookies I just go to my freezer and take out however many I want to bake. Put them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake as usual. No need to thaw or adjust cooking temperature or baking time. You get fresh-baked cookies whenever you want without taking the time to mix up the dough.

Now back to those cookies baking in the oven. Can’t you just smell them?

Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet

Yumm! I let them cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes.

Slide parchment paper off cookie sheet onto cooling rack

Then I grab the end of the parchment paper and slide it out onto the cooling rack. Allow the cookies to cool to your desired cookie temperature.                                                        My favorite

This is a beautiful cookie! I always go for the cookies with the fewest M&M’s. This one has my name written all over it…not really, unless my name begins with an “m” but it doesn’t.

Enjoy I’ll take two with a glass of milk, please!

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

M&M Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups M&M candies

Blend shortening and sugars, beat in vanilla and eggs. Sift remaining dry ingredients. Add to sugar mixture mixing well. Stir in M&Ms.

Use scoop to scoop desired amount onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Do not bake more than 8 cookies at a time for optimal baking success and deliciousness.

Bake at 375° for 5 minutes. Rotate cookie sheet and bake 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and place cookie sheet on cooling rack for 2 minutes. Using the parchment paper slide off onto cooling rack. Allow to cool until optimal cookie temperature for you. Enjoy!