One Word Photo Challenge: Strawberry Pie!

February 4, 2015 Strawberry pie 017

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What tastes more like spring than strawberries?

We love strawberries sliced and drizzled with a bit of honey almost as much as we love them whole and warm, freshly picked and fragrant.

Coastal Virginia is known for our abundant harvest of sweet strawberries, but the harvest is still months away.

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Our produce guy hinted these may have come from “south of the border.”  No matter.  We are thrilled to have them!

We will enjoy them this evening on top of chocolate coconut pie.  The filling is made from a pudding recipe I found several weeks ago in Vegetarian Times magazine.  Yes, I’ve tweaked it a little bit…. but it is still vegan and gluten free, if that is important to you.  We often eat this as a pudding, but tonight it is made into a pie.

Here are the “step by steps” should you want to try it for yourself.

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Crust:

Preheat an oven to 350 F.  Melt 6 TB of butter or margarine in a pie pan with a handful of thinly sliced almonds, about five minutes.  Meanwhile, mix together a cup of almond flour, 1/2 c. of wheat or rice flour, a little salt and 2 TB of sugar (coconut sugar here).  Stir into the melted butter with 1/2 tsp. of almond extract, and press into the pie pan to form a shallow crust.  Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes or until fragrant and lightly browned.

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Filling:

Combine 2/3 C. of powdered icing sugar, 4 heaping TB of cornstarch, 1 C. of unsweetened coconut, and a little salt in a dry pan.  Combine well until no clumps of cornstarch are left.  Slowly add 3 cups of coconut milk, stirring to dissolve all of the cornstarch and sugar in the first cup.  Add 1 cup of water, and stir over medium heat.  Allow the mixture to heat gradually, stirring from time to time as the mixture thickens.  Take care that a layer is never allowed to form on the bottom of the pan.  Stir constantly as the mixture approaches boiling,  letting it bubble gently for only a minute or two before removing it from the heat.  Stir in 1 tsp. of vanilla extract.

Now this coconut pudding is delicious just as it is.  Use it at this stage if you prefer vanilla or coconut pudding.  But we go a step further….

Pour a half of a bag of chocolate bits into the hot coconut pudding.  Here we’ve used Hershey’s Special Dark bits.  Stir with a rubber spatula as the bits melt until the pudding is a uniform deep chocolate.  Pour the pudding into the pie shell, leaving 3/4 inch head space in the top of the pan.  We had enough filling left over for two little pudding cups…

Cover the pudding filled crust and chill for an hour.

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February 4, 2015 Strawberry pie 024

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Strawberries:

Wash a quart of fresh strawberries, cap, and slice.  I cut the two best looking sides off for layering, and dice the middle of the berry into the pan for sauce.

Drizzle honey over the sliced berries and allow them to sit for at least 30 minutes.

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Strawberry Sauce:

Mash the diced berries or process in a food processor.  Add 1 tsp. lemon juice, a dash of salt, and 1/3 C. cherry juice for color.  Mix together 2 TB  sugar and 1 heaping TB of cornstarch in a small bowl, then whisk this mixture into the mashed berries as they heat.  Drain any juice off of the sliced berries into the pan as it heats, along with 1/3 C. of cold water.   Stir over medium heat until the mixture thickens and turns almost clear.  (The milkiness of the cornstarch will disappear when the sauce is done.)

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Finishing:

Layer the sliced berries over the chilled chocolate pie, and top, if you wish, with the strawberry sauce.  Chill for at least an hour.

Garnish with whipped cream and additional chocolate curls just before serving.

Enjoy!

With appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Well’s

One Word Photo Challenge:  Strawberry

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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February 4, 2015 Strawberry pie 008

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One Word Photo Challenge: Strawberry

February 3, 2015 strawberry 008

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Real strawberries may be months away from ripening in our pots on the deck, yet I’ve found touches of pink and red growing now in our indoor winter garden.

Thank you for coming to enjoy these photos today, inspired by Jennifer Nichole Well’s One Word Photo Challenge:  Strawberry.

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This challenge helps us focus on the many beautiful and unusual colors which surround us each day.

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This Christmas Cactus, Schlumbergera truncata, is so happy in its cool spot near a window that it continues to set buds.

This Christmas Cactus, Schlumbergera truncata, is so happy in its cool spot near a window that it continues to set buds.

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I found touches of “strawberry” in new growth on our houseplants today, and also in a single Viola blossom in a sheltered area on our still-frozen deck.  I thought you might enjoy it in the same vase photographed last Monday for Cathy’s Vase Challenge.

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February 3, 2015 strawberry 016

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Although last week’s Violas and snowdrops didn’t stay fresh for the entire week, the two white Hellebore blossoms continue to swell and will open later this week.  Forsythia branches have responded to the warmth indoors and have begun to show color.  The blueberry buds remain tightly closed, which isn’t surprising since they open much later in the spring than the Forsythia in the garden.

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While you’re here, I need to share something with you that we learned earlier today.  It seems a neighbor of ours suffered a robbery while he was sleeping last week.  But there were no signs of forced entry.  It was as though the robber somehow had a key…. and the crime remains a mystery so far as has been told to the community.

We heard a related story on our local news this afternoon about a website which allows one to order duplicate keys from a photograph.  Would-be robbers can simply take a photo of your house key with their phone, upload it to a particular website, and order a duplicate key for less than $10.00.

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This newly opened Philodendron leaf is nearly 'strawberry'....

This newly opened Philodendron leaf is nearly ‘strawberry’….

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As much as we love the conveniences technology offers, now we must all be vigilant and careful with yet another bit of our daily routine.  The days of leaving our keys in plain sight, whether on our desk, clipped to our belt or purse, or even loaned out to a valet or mechanic’s shop, have passed.  Any unscrupulous person may quickly snap a photo and help themselves to duplicates of our keys.

Even a workman coming into our home could quickly snap a photo of our keys left lying on a counter, and then sell our house key and our address.  Please don’t think I’m overly paranoid in sharing this with you.  We just all need to be very smart and mindful in these interesting times in which we live.  We weren’t aware of this  online “service” until we heard the story today; and you may not have heard of it yet, either.

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New spring growth on a cane Begonia

New spring growth on a cane Begonia

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Here is the story from our local news, and another from New York.  Keysduplicated.com, which provides this service, offers these safety tips to help you protect yourself from an invasion of your privacy:

  • Keep keys in a pocket, purse, or anything else worthy of guarding your credit cards.
  • Don’t leave your keys unattended, even on your desk at work.
  • Be careful who you let borrow your keys, whether it’s a friend, mechanic or valet. Only hand over the necessary keys, not your whole key-ring.
  • Buy (or have your landlord buy) high security locks
  • Don’t post pictures of your keys on Twitter, Facebook, or other online services.

We have ventured a bit far afield from a photo challenge post today, and I appreciate your patience.  If you were hoping for a bit of poetry, I’m sorry to disappoint.

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Our Amaryllis is coming along nicely.

Our Amaryllis is coming along nicely.

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Assuming I’m finally able to get out of the house tomorrow, it will be to pick up a quart of strawberries.

And once we have some fresh strawberries in the house, I’ll hope to show you something delicious made with them.  When it’s too wet and cold to dig in the garden, there is always the kitchen to play in…

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Ah, June....

Remembering June….

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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February 3, 2015 strawberry 012

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