Friday, February 28, 2014

Home Garden Care: Strawberries

You can enjoy fresh strawberries during the summer from your garden, and the best part is they are relatively easy to take care of. Here are some tips and tricks if your new, or looking to learn more about growing strawberries.

Different varieties produce fruit at various times during the growing season. After your strawberries are finished producing fruit, usually in summer or fall, cut or mow the plants down to 1 or 2 inches above the crowns. When winter arrives, it's time to care for your strawberry plants by keeping them warm until spring. Cover strawberry plants once temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Use 3 to 4 inches of loose mulch, such as straw or leaves. This is necessary in climates where winter temperatures are regularly below freezing. Remove mulch in spring when the strawberry plants start to grow again or when temperatures remain regularly above freezing.

Protect strawberry plants temporarily in warmer climates on unusual cold, freezing nights. In the evening, cover plants with a sheet of spunbound polyethylene, recommends University of Oregon, and remove it in the morning. A bed sheet or piece of burlap can suffice in a crunch.

Bring potted strawberries to a protected area where freezing temperatures are not an issue. Potted plants are not as insulated as ground plants and are more susceptible to winter injury. A covered porch, garage or basement might work well. If you cannot move the container, cover the plants with mulch as you would ground plants or drape a piece of burlap over top of the container.

Some other resources to consider:

Then with all your delicious berries you can try out this yummy recipe!
Strawberry Shortcake Pops
makes 12 popsicles
2 cups fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
1/2 cup crushed Nilla wafers
2 cups plain whole milk yogurt
1/3 cup honey (more if desired)
12 6 oz. Dixie cups
wooden popsicle sticks
In a medium bowl, combine the crushed Nilla wafers, yogurt, and honey. Set out 12 6 oz. Dixie cups, and fill each one with 2 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture. Set in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, puree the berries. Divide the berries among the 12 cups, and freeze for another 30 minutes.
Finally, divide the remaining yogurt mixture among the cups, add a popsicle stick to each one, and chill completely, several hours or more.
To serve, simply cut or tear the cup off. 

From Babble

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Smoothies! Everyone Loves Smoothies!

There is an endless amount of delicious types of smoothies that can be created and if your like me you never make the same one twice, if when trying! Here are some recent yummy smoothie I have come across. Enjoy!

Strawberry Banana Pineapple Smoothie (vegan, GF) - No Added Sugar

YIELD: about 20 ounces, serves 2
PREP TIME: 2 minutes
COOK TIME: 0 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 2 minutes


8 ounces strawberries (about 2 cups, I used whole, frozen berries)
2 medium ripe bananas, peeled (previously frozen into chunks is ideal)
about 1 cup pineapple juice, or as necessary (substitute with orange juice or your favorite juice medley)


  1. To the canister of a blender, add the strawberries, bananas, and about 1/2 cup juice. Add enough juice only as necessary to get blender moving and until desired smoothie consistency is reached.
  2. Blend on high power until smooth and creamy. The longer you blend, the fluffier the mixture tends to become due to the bananas.
  3. Pour mixture into 2 glasses and serve immediately. Extra portion will keep airtight in the freezer for up to 1 month (cover a freezer-safe glass with plasticwrap or place inside a ziplock to prevent freezer smells). Allow to come up to room temp for about 30 minutes before serving.

Berry Green Smoothie

Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
Make-ahead freezer friendly smoothies that are healthy, nutritious and so refreshing for your mornings!
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons old fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or more, to taste
  • Combine spinach, blueberries, raspberries, banana, milk, oats, sugar and 1 cup ice in blender until smooth.
  • Serve immediately.

Blackberry Coconut Smoothie 

Ginger and toasted coconut give this breakfast smoothie a nice kick.
  • ½ cup frozen blackberries
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • ¼ inch piece of fresh ginger
  • ½ cup almond or coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons toasted coconut
Directions: Combine all the ingredients and enjoy! 

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Something Sweet for Your Sweet Heart

Strawberries have become a romantic an iconic treat for Valentines day, so if you want a treat for yourself or for your sweetie here are some delicious recipes to lend some inspiration.

Strawberry Shortcake with lemon cream sauce

For the strawberry filling:
1 quart strawberries, sliced
½ cup sugar

For the shortcakes:
⅓ cup shortening
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup milk
Additional sugar, for topping (if desired)

For the lemon cream:
½ cup lemon curd
½ cup heavy whipping cream

Mix strawberries and with the ½ cup of sugar. Let stand for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 450°F. 

In a medium bowl, cut the shortening into the flour, 2 tbsp. sugar, baking powder and salt until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in milk just until blended.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead 20-25 times. Roll out into ½-in. thickness. Cut with a 3-in. floured biscuit cutter. Place shortcakes about 1-inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with additional sugar, if desired. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Place the lemon curd and heavy whipping cream in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until thickened, about 3-5 minutes.

Split shortcakes horizontally. Place shortcake bottoms on serving plates. Top with lemon cream sauce and strawberries. Replace tops. Serve immediately.

Strawberry Cannoli Parfaits with Pistachios
           1 pound of strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 3 Satsuma Oranges, freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • ? cup pistachios, chopped roughly
  • 1 package Amaretto D’Italia cookies (200g/7.05oz Matilde Vicenzi), crushed
  • Cut up your strawberries. Slice oranges in half and squeeze the juice over the berries. If your oranges are large you could cut this down to 2.
  • Place the berries in a glass container and stick in the fridge for about 2 to 4 hours. Give it a shake every hour if you can.
  • Now in a mixer combine your heavy cream and confectioners sugar. Whip until peaks form.
  • Place your ricotta in a large bowl. Stir in ½ the whipped cream and mix a bit. Then add other ½ and fold it in.
  • Place a layer of crushed cookies in the bottom of your glasses.
  • Add a layer of strawberries.
  • Add a light layer of pistachios.
  • Add a layer of cannoli cream.
  • Repeat steps for a second layer.
  • Top with chopped pistachios.
  • Add a strawberry garnish on top.
  • Refrigerate for about an hour or more.
  • Serve with a big old strawberry, cannoli-y, pistachio smile


Buy these simple ingredients, mix together in a large bowl, fill parfait glasses, refrigerate, and serve! You can buy a pre-made angel food cake, too!


2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. container mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup lemon curd
1 lb. or more of strawberries
1 whole angel food cake


Whip the heavy cream on high, adding in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Add the mascarpone cheese and lightly mix.
Fold in the lemon curd.
Cut the angel food cake into pieces.
Slice the strawberries (I use an egg slicer.)
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Top with more berries.
Serve cold.

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