Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's been a Berry Sweet year!

This title seems very fitting for two reasons, one our strawberry garden has blessed us with over 1000 berries this summer (yes Bacon Jr. has been keeping count!) and because July marks Bacon in my Pockets birthday!  It's hard to believe that it has been a year since I started out on this blog journey.  I looked back when I made my first post on July 12th, and I think I'll plan something special for that day!  You'll have to wait and see what I have in store for the big day.  For now, lets focus back on those berries! 

 Three years ago when we started our garden we were blessed with strawberry plants.  Friends of Mr. Bacon's parents were tearing out their strawberry patch and we managed to save them!  They are June bearing only plants (they will only produce berries for about a month in the early summer) which was fine, free is free right?!  To my surprise they transplanted very well and each year we've gotten quite a lot of berries from them.  This year was no exception.  But what to do with them all? Besides eat them of course! Last year I made some yummy strawberry jam with all the berries.  Three batches of it actually, which makes quite a few 8oz jars.  We still have lots left and I wanted to make sure they get eaten so I decided to pass on making more this year.  I have been freezing most of them to use later.  Daily I've been cleaning the berries and cutting off the tops and laying them whole on a baking sheet.  Then I toss them in the freezer for a few hours.   Once they are frozen I've been placing about 80 or so in a bag and food saving them. Why 80? I really don't know but it sounded like a good number!

However, I didn't want to freeze all of them.  So what can I make with strawberries? Shortcake, ice cream topping, strawberry muffins... and pancakes!  We decided to have a pancake night for dinner and I couldn't wait to add these fresh strawberries to them.  I crushed up about a half cup of berries. I just placed them in a container and took out my handy potato masher and started squishing.  Oh word of caution, make sure you're not wearing anything pretty, strawberry juice can get everywhere and it doesn't like to come out of clothes, or so I've heard.
 I mixed up a batch of pancake mix using my trusty homemade mix (you can find it here).  Once it's all mixed up I added in my smashed strawberries and gave it one last mix. 
 Place the batter on a medium heat griddle.  Little Miss Bacon loves 'baby' pancakes so I always make up a bunch for her.  Anything to see that big smile before she takes a bite.  Once they become bubbly on top, flip them over and continue to cook until golden brown.  
 And what would go good with strawberry pancakes?  Strawberry shakes!  I froze some of my homemade yogurt in those fun little cubes I use to make Bacon Bit's food. 
 I tossed them in the blender along with strawberries and about 1/3 cup milk. 
 And to make it creamier, a few scoops of ice cream.  Shhhh.. don't tell anyone, it's my secret ingredient!
 Blend it up until it's smooth and there you have it... delicious strawberry shakes.  Garnish it with some more berries, cool whip if you happen to have some and a straw.  The perfect companion for the strawberry pancakes!  And yes they were as good as they look. So go ahead and make some for yourself! 
Trust me, they won't last long! 

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