Strawberries galore!

We spent some time this weekend in Southern Alberta visiting friends.  Many times in the past we have gone to pick berries while visiting, and this time was no different from before.  We took the kids early one morning to Broxburn Vegetable and Cafe, and we were not disappointed.  The berries were plentiful, large and so sweet.  We were able to pick two pails full of berries, and a few may have also ended up in our bellies!  I wanted to bring some berries home for snacking, but I was also very keen to bake with them.  I still had some pie dough left in the freezer so I went looking for a recipe.  I wanted a recipe that was for more than just strawberries and I also wanted a streusel top.  After looking through many recipes I found one that looked great.  The recipe called for 6 cups of strawberries, but I ended up using 4 cups of strawberries and one cup each of raspberries and blueberries.  In the end the pie turned out even better than I had envisioned.  It was sweet from the berries and covered in a crumble top that was crunchy from the oven.  Served with vanilla ice cream, it was pure deliciousness.  Find the Streusel-topped strawberry pie here, remembering that I used my grandma’s pie dough for the crust.

Happy baking,
Sara

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Classic Saskatoon pie

The Saskatoon berries in Southern Alberta this year have been abundant, large and juicy.  My dad has been out picking them by the bag full, so of course I needed to make them into a pie.  I had leftover dough from pie making earlier in the month, so this pie came together quickly!  The recipe that I am going to share with you is from my Grandma, I have copied her words verbatim, and trust me she will not lead you astray in pie making.

Classic Saskatoon Pie

This is a true prairie dish served often by your grandmother and great-grandmother.  One tip: Saskatoon berries have to be cooked before baking with sugar or they will be woody and tough.

  • Pastry for a 2 crust 9 inch pie (see an earlier post on pie dough)
  • 4 cups of Saskatoon berries
  • 2-4 tbsp of water (this will depend on the juciness of the berries)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar (I usually use the lesser amount, but this depends on the sweetness of the berries)
  • 1 tbsp tapioca or 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp of nutmeg or cinnamon

Simmer Saskatoon berries and water in a pan.  Bring them to a boil, then turn off the heat, put the lid on and let the berries steam for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes remove lid and add, lemon juice, sugar, tapioca/flour, butter and cinnamon or nutmeg.  Cool slightly and place in pie shell.  I use milk and sugar on my crust.  Be sure to remember to make steam slits in the top of the pie.  Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 for about 35 minutes.

Happy baking,
Sara

*After doing some reading on different types of berries it seems that Saskatoon berries and Huckleberries are very similar.  Huckleberries may be slightly sweeter, so just decrease the amount of sugar used.  As we do not have Huckleberries in Alberta, this information is for my friends in the U.S.*

Weekly meals July 24-28

Meal updates from last week:
The BLT salad is always a hit in our house.  I changed it up a little this time and served some BBQ sausage with the salad.  We loved the apricot pork!  It was very simple but full of flavour.  My son’s piñata cake was amazing!  It turned out better than I could have ever expected.  You can see a picture of the cake on my Instagram (three_plates_full)

This week we will be eating at home Sunday-Thursday, Friday we may go out for dinner or have takeout.  My son is at camp all week, so I will be sending snacks with him to enjoy throughout his day.

There has been a lot of toast and cereal eaten in the last week.  This week I am going to try to bake some muffins, but it all depends on the temperature outside.  I did find this pancake recipe that looks very interesting!  My dad picked a large bag of Saskatoon berries last week, which I will be making into a pie.  I already have pie dough in my fridge.  Find the perfect dough recipe on an earlier post.  I will be using a pie recipe from my grandma, which I will post later in the week.  I have yet to try out another popsicle recipe, but I found this one that looks simple and delicious.  Don’t forget Dinner List 21 for ease when shopping.

Happy cooking,
Sara

Weekly meals July 10-15

Meal updates from last week:
The biggest hit from last week was the Thai noodle salad with peanut dressing.  We ate it hot at night, and then I ate it the following day cold for lunch.  Both were delicious!  I did not have a chance to make the pork sliders, we ended up having burgers instead.

We have another busy week!  We will be eating at home Monday-Friday and it looks like the heat wave is going to take a break for a few days, which means I will get a chance to turn on the oven.  We had Sunday dinner with my parents, mom made the chicken fajita burger from @iowagirleats and I brought this Southwestern chopped salad.

  • Slow cooker lasagna soup from @cremedelacrumb1 I have made other lasagna soups before but never tried this one.
  • Chicken fajitas from @marthastewart this is my go to recipe for fajitas, fast and simple to make.
  • Asian chicken foil packets from @twopeasandpod this is a new recipe for me it looks very easy and cooks on the grill.
  • Turkey kofta kebabs from @skinnytaste we will eat this with a Greek salad and warmed pita.
  • Blt salad from @marthastewart this is a recipe that we love!  We usually have this salad once a month.  The buttermilk dressing for this salad is amazing.

As the weather is going to be cooler for the next two days I am going to try to make some pies.  My good friend brought me some rhubarb from her garden, I am going to use it to make strawberry rhubarb pies.  I do not have a recipe right now, but will post it when I find one.  For my pie crust I always use my grandma’s recipe, to find this recipe go to my post on the best pie dough.  Next week my son is turning seven, in preparation for his birthday I will be baking him a cake.  I always use the same chocolate cake recipe, if you are a cake lover then you MUST try this cake.  My son has asked that I make a piñata cake, so I found this recipe that looks amazing.  I cannot wait to put it together for him.  As we are in the middle of Stampede I couldn’t help but find a new pancake recipe, I am going to try this with nectarines instead of peaches.  Don’t make your own grocery list just take Dinner List 19

Happy cooking,
Sara

*Here is the recipe that I used for my pie*

Perfect pie crust

Growing up I was surrounded by amazing women who were masters in the kitchen.  Both of my grandmothers made cooking and baking look easy.  Arriving at their homes everything would be prepared, the table would be set and they would be wearing lipstick and pearls.  When it came to desserts their specialty was pie.  It did not matter the variety they were always amazing.  As I got older I learned the key to a great pie was the dough, and so I spent an afternoon in the kitchen with my grandma learning the secrets to the perfect dough.  In celebration of National Pie Day I will be sharing this family recipe with you.

Ingredients
1 lb of Crisco
1/2 cup of margarine
1 tbsp of white vinegar
1 cup of water
5 1/2-6 cups of all purpose flour

Directions
In a large bowl mix the crisco and margarine together.  Add the vinegar.  Next, add the water in small amounts until it is all incorporated.  This will take a little bit of muscle.  At first it may not seem like it will come together, but I promise that in the end it will.  Now it is time for the flour, using a fork not a spoon add the flour one cup at a time.  You do not want the dough to be dry, so as soon as it is holding together stop adding the flour.  Remember you can always add more flour when you roll your dough out.  Divide dough into four equal balls, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to make a pie.

Happy baking,

Sara