Seven-Way Strawberries

Ya’ll, for the second summer in a row we were able to make it out berry picking!  I would say it was an annual tradition but that’s not exactly true- we’ve intended to take the kids berry picking every summer but then life has gotten in the way and by the time we realize it’s time to head to the fields…the berry patch is closed.  Luckily, we were able to make time once more to pick our favorite summer fruit.

Marshall saying hi to the chickens before we head out to the berry patch

Vi has her bucket and her papa; she’s ready for the fun!

The farm we go to takes you out to the patch by a covered tractor ride. We also love that they are family owned and operated as well as an organic farm to boot!

Franki wasn’t sure about riding in her tula on a tractor. Though seeing the growing corn field made the older kids excited to come back during the fall pumpkin patch/ corn maze festivities

Our babies among the berries

Searching for the best ones

What may look like a sweet picture is, in actuality, Vi wrestling a strawberry from her annoyed brother’s grip

Our little city boy enjoyed berry picking but did question if the stores were all out of berries and that’s why we were picking them ourselves

Vi couldn’t get enough of hunting out the sweet fruit

Papa giving the kids a hand with filling the pail. Franki takes any opportunity to catch a nap on the go (another babywearing bonus)

Brad trying to get pictures and playing with his phone’s filter. I was talking to Vi and also trying to get pictures of the kids picking.

Racing to the red barn to pay for our goodies

Last year was our first year actually making it to the fields; we picked so many strawberries, brought them home feeling accomplished and dreaming of all the different dishes we would make.  Then, that night, our fridge busted- the strawberries were in a cardboard box on the top shelf of the fridge and they were all a complete loss with fridge drippings and weird freezer burns on top…just living the perfect Pinterest life ya’ll!

This year I was determined.  We would get to the fields, pick the berries, and be able to enjoy the strawberries.  So in two days we have made strawberries seven ways.

The kids love helping me in the kitchen and I find it is a nice way to incorporate simple math and reading for Marshall with using the recipes.  For Vi we talk about the colors, describe the textures, and count.

Vi mixing the dry ingredients for the cookies

Marshall taking his mixer duty very serious

Franki wasn’t as sure about this baking business

All smiles doing one of his favorite things; he still insists he’s practicing to one day be on Master Chef Jr.

The kids primarily made the cookies while I worked on the strawberry crumble bars.

I’ve been making this recipe for years; it’s always a hit and really is a perfect summer dessert.  Not super heavy or too sweet and with a light crunch, Strawberry Crumble Bar recipes are all over Pinterest but this one is my favorite because of its use of lemon zest.  Seriously, if you’re making a crumble you need a citrus zest to brighten up that flour/butter mixture.  I have also been known to serve this for breakfast as well.  This is Brad’s favorite baked item that I make.

My tips: While it’s possible to make this recipe without a pastry blender, it’s not easy or fun.  Do yourself a favor and spend the $10 on one before making this.  Also, I add an extra egg to the dough to cut down on loose flour.  After removing from the oven, I let this stand on the cooling rack for hours and hours before cutting- otherwise you’ll end up with a soup instead of bars.

Now, chocolate covered strawberries are my absolute favorite treat.  Chocolate chip cookies are Vi’s favorite dessert.  So when I saw this cookie recipe I knew it would be perfect!  It ended up looking beautiful and the kids had no issue making them at all.  Pretty, great tasting, and easy to make- you have got to try them!

img_7679

As soon as we got home from the farm, I quickly rinsed and hulled two ziplock bags of strawberries and threw them in the freezer next to a bunch of bananas I already had peeled and frozen.  About four hours later, when it was time for afternoon snack, I grabbed one of the ziplock bags and the strawberries were frozen through. I proceeded to quickly make some ice-cream-free strawberry “milkshakes”.

Full disclosure: I went off the recipe linked in the picture, but I didn’t bother with measuring everything out.  It was still awesome.

The kids enjoying the fruits of their labor. Picked the strawberries just hours before and now enjoying them in their cookies and shakes.

Muffins are one of the kids’ favorite breakfast foods and I just happened to receive the jumbo muffin tray and silicone wrappers that I ordered for Violet’s upcoming birthday; naturally this meant I also had to make some jumbo strawberry muffins.

My tip: if you’re using a jumbo muffin tin like I did, add five minutes to the baking time.

I know you’re probably envisioning us drowning in strawberry baked goods at this point, but I did freeze a good majority of the items.  When freezing your prepared bakes, freeze first just on parchment paper for about half an hour and then stack the cookies, muffins, etc and put in freezer bags.  The general rule is they can be frozen for up to 6 months and when you go to thaw them out, be sure to take out of the freezer bag immediately and thaw them spread out on a platter.  That will cut down on condensation and mushiness.

I had to throw some of the berries in a quick spinach salad (spinach, strawberries, almonds, and a bit of balsamic) because, dang Gina, I needed a bit of savory after so much sweet!  The kids agreed and they both asked for some of the salad in a wrap.

Spinach Summer Salad (spinach, strawberries, slivered almonds, and balsamic)

Vi loves salad wraps, they are one of her lunchtime favorites (she’s such a good eater, I would have been super cocky if she was our first)

Both kids loving their spinach wraps. Guys, Marshall has come so far this summer! I’ll make a separate post for it, but for Pete sakes look at him! Salad! I could cry!

The next morning I went back to it and made the family French toast grilled cheese. Marshall surprised me by how quickly he ate it down, seeing as he isn’t one who likes a lot of sweet.

 

The last sweet baked good I made was strawberry scones.  Another versatile breakfast pastry/ dessert, it’s a nice item to have in the freezer to change-up the monotony of the breakfast/ dessert lineup.  I think we will have to have a tea party with them sometime soon!  Also: this is another recipe where it is useful to have a pastry blender.  Now if only I had a tool for the broken glaze, ha!

 

img_7753

 

Of course, we also munched down on just good ol’ plain strawberries as well, but it was also nice to not have to worry about losing gallons of strawberries again.  Plus with school quickly approaching, I’m sure the frozen treats and snacks will come in handy!

Stay sweet!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s