Using Every Last Strawberry

Although Grace and I only picked 20 pounds of strawberries this year, I had to make sure not a single one went to waste. So, when I found myself left with too few for jam, pie, or shortcake, it was time to come up with something new.

Strawberries are not typically one of those fruits I like to eat warm. It could be because they tend to get soft or maybe it’s just a texture thing, but I prefer my berries with a bit of crunch to them. Even when making jam I do my best to cook them for only a short time and usually the first batch of the season isn’t even sealed because I don’t want the jam subjected to the boiling water bath for even 10 minutes.

Even with this slight aversion to cooking strawberries, I decided to give making a strawberry cookie a try. Check out my post at Simply Grateful Cooking for Soft Strawberry Cheese Cookies.

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Boy am I glad I decide to try these. They were soft, creamy, sweet, and full of wonderfully tender strawberries. The family made short work of them which means I get to try another new recipe very soon, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

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Can You Remove Maple Flavor From Bacon?

That was my question this afternoon when it came time to make dinner and I found I’d bought maple bacon instead of smoked.

Well, the good news is you can remove the maple flavor, check out my post at Simply Grateful Cooking How To Get The Maple Flavor Out Of Bacon. What a relief. Being that it was 86 degrees, sunny, and humid today I was not in the mood to head back out to the store in my car with no air conditioning during rush-hour traffic.

Have you ever bought the wrong “type” of product when grocery shopping? I swear having so many options is more of a hinderance than a blessing. I suppose I’m more of a “You can have any color car you want, as long as it’s black” kinda girl than one that revels in multiple choices for every product on the market. Sure sometimes it’s nice to have a few choices here and there, but really, how many different types of vanilla ice cream, baked beans, vinegar, salad dressing, or cereal do we really need? And that’s just naming a few of the items where there are more options than I have time to peruse.

At least today I was able to fix my mistake and learned something new in the process, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Introducing — Tilly’s Test Kitchen (TTK)

Introducing a new page at Simply Grateful Cooking. Also, check out my post on Almond Boneless Chicken and some changes to my original post.

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The other day when planning to make Almond Boneless Chicken for dinner, I decided it was time to try a few variations with the gravy and see if I could finally put this recipe to rest. Although I had posted what at the time was my “final” recipe for this dish back in January of 2015 on my blog Simply Grateful Housewife, I was not completely satisfied with the gravy. It was time to open “Tilly’s Test Kitchen.”

Tilly’s Test Kitchen or TTK  will be a category of recipes listed in my new page, found along the left hand side of this blog, where I have tried variations of recipes, ingredients and/or techniques in the hopes of determining the best possible combination for a specific dish. It will list links to all the posts associated with the dish being tested so you can follow my journey and share in the successes, failures, or continuing saga of my quests…

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Fall In Michigan – Time For Comfort Food

DSCF2231Baby, it’s cold outside! Yep, fall has definitely set in here in Michigan. With temperatures in the 40’s the past few days and dipping below freezing at night, I’d have to say summer is officially over.

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I am happy that fall has come and the weather has been so agreeable. Very little rain, fairly mild winds, and for the most part the temperatures have been in the 60’s. Typically it seems that as soon as the leaves begin to change, the winds pick up and blow them off their branches before we have time to really enjoy the colors. Not so this year.

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Besides the cooler temperatures, the best part of fall would have to be the return of comfort food. Many dishes that I make all year long are somehow different, warmer, more fulfilling come fall. Not until the hot days of summer have left us for another year do these meals once again regain their “comfort” status.

Today we enjoyed a hearty meal of homemade chicken soup and Chicken In Herbed Gravy Over Rice (recipe found on Simply Grateful Cooking). Loving fall in Michigan, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Easy Caramel Dipping Sauce

The other day I decided to have an apple for a snack. As I cut it into slices, I remembered that I had some caramels sitting in the cabinet. There was no way I was about to unwrap the entire bag and melt them down to make caramel apples, I didn’t have that kind of time or inclination. So in order to enjoy that “caramel apple” taste without making a caramel apple, I opened up one caramel and cut it into pieces. Then, as I ate a piece of apple, I popped a piece of caramel into my mouth too. Viola! Caramel Apples–sort of.

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As good as this tasted, I knew there had to be a better way.

My first thought was to see what sauces my cookbooks had. My search gave me several options, but because they used white sugar, they would take more time than I had. So finally I found a recipe using brown sugar. This cut the time to make a dipping sauce down considerably – instead of 30 or more minutes standing over the store, I would spend less than 10 minutes. Perfect.

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The recipe I ended up with turned out great and can be found on Simply Grateful Cooking, Caramel Apples The Easy Way. Now the next thing I want to see if I can make is a caramel dipping sauce that can be canned and stored on the pantry shelf for 6 months or more. Another project to tackle this winter.

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For now, we are enjoying Michigan Honey Crisp Apples with homemade caramel sauce and loving every bite, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

A Final Farewell To Plums

With plum season finally behind me, I wanted to update the Fruit Page on my Simply Grateful Canning site. Although the Recipes Page here at Simply Grateful Housewife has not been updated recently, I am going to try to play catch-up there as well.

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In the meantime, for a complete listing of all the Plum Canning Recipes on both Simply Grateful Housewife and Simply Grateful Canning, check out the updated Plums Page at Simply Grateful Canning.

It is hard to keep on top of organizing all my posts and recipes, hopefully if I start early on my new sites, I won’t fall as far behind or behind at all. It feels good to be organized, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Homemade Pretzel Hamburger and Hot Dog Rolls

Yesterday I read a post at This Abundant Life on Pretzel Sandwiches that made it impossible to have anything else tonight for dinner than something with pretzel rolls. Although I would have just loved to run out and pick up some pretzel rolls, when I checked at Aldi, they didn’t have any. Not wanting to run around looking for them, I did the next best thing, I decided to try to make them myself.

This afternoon I spent about an hour working on the recipe and although my first attempt tasted great, the looks left lots to be desired. For the complete story, check out my post on Simply Grateful Cooking Pretzel Rolls – Success and Failure All In One.

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This picture doesn’t show how flat my rolls are, but take my word for it, there’s no using these for hot dogs. I’m not going to give up on making my own pretzel rolls, but this has been a bit of a disappointing day.

Still, I will chalk this little set-back up to experience and push forward to not make the same mistakes next time and we are definitely going to enjoy eating my mishap, so for this I am — Simply Grateful.

No More Pitting, No More Plums, Finally All The Plums Are Done!

It has been a long road, but the final plum canning project for 2015 is complete and stored safely in the pantry.

Check out Brandy & Spice & Everything Nice Plums at Simply Grateful Canning.

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It doesn’t seem possible that I will not have to pit another plum for an entire year, or at least not any Damson plums. Who knows what I might find when I’m at the Farmer’s Markets in the coming weeks. Even though I have plenty of home-grown goodness to concentrate on, I still have to check out whats new at the local farms around me. Call it an obsession, but I just can’t resist.

At least with all the plums that were piled up no longer dominating my time, I can stop and take a moment, albeit a brief moment, to catch my breath. There are peppers, peaches, tomatoes, and beans still to can, but for now all I want to think about is:  I’m done with plums, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Plum Recipes #1 – Plum Pulp

The past couple of weeks have left me little time for much else other than canning and cooking. It seems that everything is ready for harvesting and every day there are more and more canning projects added to my ever-growing to do list.

Our plum tree has blessed us with over 120 pounds of usable fruit this year and I have completed canning more than 100 pounds of it. The remaining was given to friends and family other than the 12 pounds left on my kitchen counter and just a few left in the tree for picking. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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Today I finished my second batch of plum pulp and have ten quarts and one pint for the pantry shelves. Check out my post at Simply Grateful Canning Preserving Plum Pulp For Future Projects. There will be many other plum recipes for canning to follow.

With plum season finally coming to a close, I can concentrate on other pressing crops like tomatoes, peppers, corn, peaches, beans and potatoes, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.