Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Creamer Garden ~ 6.13.17 (a.k.a. The Goji Edition)

Every year I try to grow something new and different in the Creamer Garden because, let's face it, zucchini gets boring after a while!  Last year, on a whim, I purchased a goji berry plant.

I thought it would be a pretty ornamental in the garden, but I really had no idea how to use the berries.  You never hear of a 'goji berry pie' or a 'goji berry cobbler'...and now I know why!
They really don't taste sweet like you'd think a berry would be.  They taste like a sweet bell pepper and are hollow inside except for several tiny seeds.  To me, they seem more closely related to peppers than berries.

These plants also spread and multiply like crazy!
I've had three more plants pop up in this same garden bed several feet from the original plant.  I thought I'd transplant the extras so I dug them up by the root and gave them a new home.  Despite lots of watering and TLC, it appeared that my transplants died.  I just left them where they were and I'll be darned if a week later they both sprouted new growth AND berries!
Even if you have a "brown thumb," 
you can grow goji berries!

I'm still not sure what to do with all these berries!
Right now I'm drying them and using them in salads, sauces, soups, and they make the most lovely tea (with a little lemon!).
I definitely want to incorporate them into our diets 
more and more due to their amazing super food properties.

If you're interested in growing your own goji berries, 
I got mine HERE.

Now if anyone has that recipe for goji berry pie....

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Strawberry Fig Jam

When I was a child, we had a huge fig tree in our backyard.
I remember back then eating strawberry fig jam,
and I remember it was delicious!

My folks passed away.
I moved far, far away.
Life happened.
I never even thought of that strawberry fig jam again until about ten years ago when we moved to our current house.  Back then, we had a huge fig tree just like the one from my childhood home.  Memories came rushing back and I made my first batch of jam that summer with my own figs.

It tasted like home.

That fig tree was destroyed when we had some work done on our house.  I was devastated but planted another one as soon as I could.  It died, so I planted another one.  
It died, too.
Turns out I don't have such a green thumb 
when it comes to fig trees!

Today I was gifted with a box of beautifully ripe, sweet figs 
from an even sweeter friend.

Can you guess what I did with them?


6 cups of mashed figs
4 cups sugar
2 boxes of strawberry jello

Clean and cut the tops off of your figs.  Mash to your desired consistency and measure out 6 cups.  Combine figs, sugar, and jello in a large pot.  Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Pack into sterile jars and process per your preference.

Note:  I had 8 full cups of mashed figs and used the same amount of sugar and jello.  It came out to exactly 12 half pints
and tasted just as good!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Monster Cookies

We are hosting Daniel's baseball team at our 
neighborhood pool tomorrow.
They were the 12 year old LEAGUE CHAMPIONS,
so they're kind of a big deal!

I wanted to make a big batch of cookies
and figured these boys needed one
BEAST of a cookie!

So behold the

This recipe makes a lot!
(about 6 dozen)
And you can add in whatever you want 
to please your hungry crowd.

In a big bowl, combine:
           3 eggs                      4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup sugar                  2 tsp. vanilla
1 T. honey                    2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick of room temp. butter
1 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

Next, your add ins:
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 11.4 oz bag of M&M's

You can add whatever you like to the basic recipe:
White chocolate, dried fruits, coconut,
toffee or butterscotch bits, chopped nuts...
Just try to keep it to 2-3 cups of mix ins.

They will definitely bring out the monster in you...

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Creamer Garden ~ 6.3.17 (a.k.a The Tomato Edition)

The garden is lush, green, and growing like crazy 
due to all the rain we've been having!

The one thing I've been having to keep my eye on are the tomatoes.  Too much rain can be bad for them.

Too much water can cause these guys to split.
You can see the rings around the top 
of my Cherokee Purple tomatoes where they've busted a bit from all the rain.  It doesn't affect the taste, just makes them a little less "pretty."

The kids wait all spring and into the summer 
for batches of my home made salsa.
Me, I like them sliced with cucumbers, salt, and vinegar.

The birds and squirrels like them straight from the vine, 
so I've been picking them while they're still a bit green. 
Our new puppy seems to like them as well.  I find him in the garden beds a little more often than I like. 
We also have lots of rain in the forecast so I'm hoping between all of the critters and pups that I can get a harvest soon.
The boys have their tortilla chips ready and waiting!

Passing along my recipes for summer tomatoes:
My garden fresh SALSA recipe
My garden fresh TOMATO SAUCE recipe