Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first. Ernestine Ulmer
"Got any sweets?" Who's heard this? I have. Countless times, especially right after dinner. Sweets could be any number of treats, including fresh fruit, anything chocolate, brownies, cookies, ice cream or something more elaborate like strawberry shortcake or coconut layer cake. Even the most diehard non-sweet tooth, like my son, can't resist just the right sweet that speaks to him like the blueberry streusel coffee cake. He kept saying "Mom, this really is good" after eating piece after piece.
I've been able to bake a little more since the start of the pandemic and stretch my baking skills by experimenting with ways to incorporate Pat's Granola into more foods. I'm surprised at the versatility of granola beyond enjoying it just for breakfast or snacking. The three flavor profiles add a definite "flavor layer" to baking.
My scratch cooking got a real workout this spring which has now moved into summer. Day after day, especially as the weeks progress, I challenge myself to do more with what I have on-hand to avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store. I invested in a deep freezer many years ago which has proven to be a lifesaver. Digging deep in the freezer for fruits, vegetables, shelled nuts, piecrust, cookie dough and the like, I've been able to make some of our favorite treats. And my neighbors have really enjoyed receiving some fresh baked sweets as porch drop offs. This has been the beauty of community these past few months.
Tropical Pat's Granola banana bread baked for New Day Cleveland on 9/12/19
June and July has brought balmy temperatures and beautiful fresh produce at the local Northeast Ohio farmers markets. Our friends at Northunion Farmers Market in Shaker Square have been a welcome sight on Saturday mornings from 8am to 1pm. I'm drawn right to the berries--strawberries in June and early July and now blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. My freezer had ALOT of berries from last year which brought smiles on those cold wintry days.
These were some of the berries I picked in 2019 at Rittman Orchards and Farm Market in Doylestown, Ohio. I've included some helpful berry storage tips at the end of this post.
Farmers Market basket from Northunion Farmers Market
On the hottest days when turning on the oven seems painful, I turn to treats that are easy to prepare and still satisfy a sweet tooth. S’mores with a little twist is perfect.
Toasted marshmallows and melted chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers is a classic campfire staple. I first enjoyed these at Girl Scout camp—thought it was some kind of wonderful dessert. My take includes a sprinkle of Peanut Butter Pat’s Granola. This former Girl Scout definitely stepped up her s'mores game. These are Yummy. Very yummy.
And, there’s always ice cream.
Berry storage tips courtesy of Countryside Food Farms
Have you ever wondered how to store your berries in order to keep them fresh for long enough to get through the obsessive number of quarts you bought because you just couldn’t help yourself?
BEST BERRY STORAGE PRACTICES:
➡️ Eat the ripest berries first- this way the remaining berries will last longer in your refrigerator.
➡️ Berries are best if eaten within 1 week, but to extend freshness, put a paper towel on the bottom and top of the berries to absorb any extra moisture.
➡️ Do not wash the berries before storing. Wait to do this until you are ready to eat.
➡️ If you can’t mange to eat them all before they go bad, make them into jam or pop them into the freezer to be used in smoothies or baked goods.
Got a sweet tooth? Tell us what’s your favorite sweet treat.