Sunday, July 31, 2011

Garden Fresh Dessert

You may or may not be finding yourself with an abundance of raspberries, but I am.  And when life gives me raspberries, I make dessert.  Not just any dessert, but a Gluten Free, Dairy Free Fresh Raspberry Crumble Bars.  Why Gluten Free, Dairy Free?  I have an intolerance to both gluten and cow's milk..... I will go into that a little further in another post, but this can easily be adapted for all you wheat and milk consumers.

First, round up your help to gather the berries.  You may have to force creatively pursuade them to pitch in; I recommend retelling the story of the Little Red Hen for a sure fire way to have everyone ready to do their share.

Important note:  you need to pick more berries than you actually eat.  But, with my QA background, I can appreciate wanting to make sure they are ready.  Thanks, Jacob.

Then, while the berries are still really fresh, quickly collect all the items you'll need in the kitchen and get crackin'.  Here's what you'll need to do.....

GF/DF Fresh Raspberry Crumble Bars

1/2 c sugar
3 t cornstarch
4 c raspberries
3 cups GF flour blend (or substitute all-purpose flour)
1/2 c light brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 c shortening (or 2 sticks of butter ~ best heard in the voice of Paula Deen)
1/2 t salt
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1 t baking powder
Gently mix the raspberries with the 1/2 cup of sugar and cornstarch.  Set aside and out of reach from anyone passing through the kitchen that may want to snatch a berry or two.
Combine all the rest of the ingredients.  Incorporate them by using a pastry blender or two knives, or two forks.... or two spoons.  Whatever works.  Just get everything together and when it's ready it should look like a bowl of thick wet clumpy sand.
Then, in a greased baking dish (as close to a 9 x 13 that you have), press in just a little over half of the batter mixture.  Then pour in your juicy, sweet berries.  Top with the rest of the thick wet sand batter, randomly crumbling it over the top.
Bake at 375F for about 35-45 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the top is nice and golden brown.  Let cool.  Don't get too anxious; the fruit will most likely take the ridges off the roof of your mouth at this point.  Let it rest.... your patience will be rewarded. 
When it's time to enjoy, dish it up with some whipped cream, top with vanilla ice cream or enjoy as it is.  Yummy!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Project: Basement

I don't know if I ever dreamt of living in my father-in-law's basement..... probably not.  But with the big move and all other things considered, it's just where we need to be for now.  Work has officially begun and it's getting a little easier for me to see the diamond in the rough.  For now, the concrete walls have been sealed and the framing is in progress.  As the framing goes up, the electric and plumbing is in progress as well.  This is big progress people..... a couple of months ago, it was difficult to walk through the space let alone see it as a potential warm and welcoming home for a family of four.

In the beginning.....

Framing in progress.....
Our handy helpers who work for peanut butter and honey sandwiches and the promise of a new DS game.....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Life in Montana

It's taking a little bit of adjustment.... life in Montana is quite a change.  Oh, they are good changes and believe me, I've always welcomed the new possibilities with a big move.  I am not sure I really  had my head wrapped around the enormity of this move, and I don't think everything has quite sunk in yet either.  I guess we'll see how welcoming to change I am in January when I am up to my tooshie in snow and don't have a clue how to handle it.  In the meantime, though, I am really enjoying the summer here.

I may have previously defined wildlife outside my window as a group of tattooed, pierced punks walking down the sidewalk in front of my house.  Well, with a little fresh air and Montana starting to flow through my viens, I have a different perspective.  Here's a shot of the twin fawns I see regularly outside my window now.  Aren't they cute?
Another change is how I go about getting fresh fruits and veggies.  Before it was a trip to the grocery store or if I was fortunate, I visit to the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning.  Now, it's a short walk down the driveway and through the gate to the garden and orchard.  The season is a bit late this year, but things are starting to take shape.  We are enjoying raspberries and early cherries, red potatoes, radishes, zucchini, beets and baby carrots.  Before I moved up here, I swore my thumbs were black... I couldn't keep a house plant!  Amazingly, things don't die when I touch them.... they actually grow and become mighty tasty.