There are tons of unlikely duos out there when it comes to food. Such as cheese & jelly, chocolate & salt, broccoli & Cheetos, Mango & chili, goat milk & caramel, sriracha & peanut butter. A personal favorite of mine is peanut butter and pickle sandwiches-it’s an acquired taste, I’ll admit, but so good! Well, I seem to have stumbled upon another unlikely duo; Nectarines and Aronia berries! They are delicious together.
YAY! I’m making videos again because I actually have time now! Summer was so stressful with my job, I have about a week more of crazy and then I can go back to working “normal” hours. I hope you enjoy my video!
Summer is winding down in Oregon, and most of the harvest is over. We just have aronia berries left. This summer went so fast, but the weather was also so weird and caused all of the crops to be much later than expected. The only crop that was “on time” was raspberries. This past week we wrapped up harvesting on the blackberries, and with the few last fresh ones I made this delicious cake to celebrate a harvest well done.
I used a white sponge as a base for the cake, with layers of buttercream and fresh blackberries bursting with sweetness in the middle.
What You’ll Need:
For the Cake
- 1 C Salted Butter, Softened
- 1 1/2 C Sugar
- 2 TSP Almond Extract
- 3 1/2 C Flour
- 4 TSP Baking Powder
- 1/2 TSP Salt
- 6 Large Eggs, Room Temp
- 1 1/2 C Milk, Room Temp
For the Frosting
- 1 1/2 C Butter, Softened
- 1 1/2 TSP Vanilla Extract
- 6 C Powdered Sugar
- 6 TBSP Heavy Whipping Cream
- Food Coloring (optional)
- Extract for Flavor (optional)
I used about 2 cups of fresh Blackberries, our cake is 9 inches in dimeter. You can use more or less depending on your cake size and shape.
What You’ll Do:
- Grease three 9-inch pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in almond extract.
- Use a fork to combine the eggs and milk together in a bowl or 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
- In another mixing bowl stir together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add ⅓ of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix in until just combined. Add in half of the milk mixture and combine. Add in another ⅓ of the dry ingredients until combined followed by the remainder of the milk mixture. Add in the remainder of the dry ingredients and mix with the hand mixer until just combined, using a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom to make sure everything is mixed in.
- Divide the batter among the three prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit in pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before layering and frosting.
- To make the frosting: Use mixer (hand or stand) to whip softened butter and vanilla extract together. Slowly add in powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time. Thin out with milk if it gets too thick.
This is a short little post on some delicious scones I just had to share! This summer is so weird for where I live. Usually blueberries are in season from late June to mid July, then peaches come in to season with blackberries in August. Not this year though, all three are over lapping this year which is so exciting! I got to use fresh blueberries, and fresh peaches in these scones. I usually used dried blueberries, and dried fruit, so it’s a bit of treat to use fresh fruit. I like using local produce, usually organic, or I get produce from farmers I trust. The blueberries are from my parents farm, Sunset Valley Organics, and the peaches are Aspenwall’s fruit stand in Salem, OR. It’s really hard to find certified organic peaches, so these are conventional. Work has been so busy with harvest that this is really the first time I’ve had a chance to bake in what feels like forever.
There are a few reasons I choose to go out of my way to buy from local farmers (mainly certified organic farmers):
- I love supporting my local community, and encouraging the farmers that are here to keep doing what they’re doing. It’s hard work, and not a lot of people would choose farming as their profession. But without the Farmers, we would all starve, or become dependent upon other countries to supply us with food, which sounds terrifying to me.
- The United States imports an absurd amount of low quality food at dirt cheap prices which hurts the American farmer. We have plenty of food to support our own country, so we should. We should also reward farmers that are doing more, and producing high quality food, and taking care of their land. (By this I mean putting minerals back into their soil, and taking care of land not because the government, or a certifier tells them to, but because it’s the right thing to do.)
- This is a universal one; there is something in the taste of locally grown food. I think this is most noticeable in veggies from backyard gardens. A tomato from your garden is going to taste different from a tomato from the store. It’s just better. It hasn’t been sitting in a container for 2+ weeks making it’s way to the grocery store.
I understand not everyone has the same community around them, or can afford the same quality of food, but I happen to live in an area that is bountiful with veggies, fruit, wines, cheese, meat, and all kinds of good food. And I am in a stable financial situation, so I feel an ethical duty to support these men and women.
What You’ll Need:
- 2 cups all-purpose Certified Organic flour, plus more for hands and work surface
- 6 TBSP Certified Organic Sugar
- 2 1/2 TSPCertified Organic Baking Powder
- 1/2 TSP Salt
- 1/2 C Certified Organic unsalted butter, frozen
- 1/2 C Certified Organic heavy cream
- 1 Large Certified Organic Egg
- 1 TSP Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Certified Organic Fresh Blueberries
- 3/4 Cup Fresh Peaches, chopped
What You’ll Do:
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, or spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt. Grate the frozen butter (a food processor is perfect for this). Mix in the grated butter into the flour mixture and combine it with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk cream, egg, and vanilla together. Slowly pour into the flour mixture and stir the two together with a spatula until everything looks like it’s been moistened. Slowly, and carefully add in blueberries and peaches. At this point the dough will be very wet, and a bit sticky, you’ll want to work the dough into a ball.
- Transfer the dough ball onto a floured surface, press into a flat disk and cut into four quarters. Then cut each of those in half so you have a total of 8 equal wedges. Because the dough is overloaded with fruit it’s ok if the dough doesn’t want to stay as a wedge. When baked they will just be a bit more on the round side.
- Place wedges onto prepared baking sheet, at least two inches apart from each other. Place in over, bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack.
Make A Head Tip: These scones are awesome to enjoy in the mornings all week long. They be kept at room temperature for 2-5 days. They also are awesome to freeze, and will keep for up to 3 months. Just thaw them out and heat up to your liking!
So Summer, that’s a thing that’s happening right now. I have been so offline compared to past summers and that’s because I have just been way more busy not just with work life but also with personal life. I’ve been traveling a lot more on my days off, spending time with my family and friends, going out, doing things.
Right now my family is in the middle of harvest, we’ve had a bit of a rough start to the season. We had some machines rebel against us, so we had to make some decisions on how we were going to handle them. This made me so stressed out, where we are also had a heat wave which didn’t help anything. We’ve made it through unscaved basically and are back on track with our harvest. Right now I’m working 10-18 hour days so I don’t have much of social life just because I’m so tired after work. I’m glad harvest is only about a month and half long.
I haven’t done a life lately since sometime in the spring, so since then I’ve had my half birthday, in June, that was really fun to celebrate with my family and one of my pen pals/friends/brain twin sent me a fantastic little package. I made myself confetti cupcakes, and my mom gave me a unicorn topper kit for decorating. My boyfriend gave me a Fluffy from Despicable Me Pop Funko which is super adorable. It was a great day!
In July I went to a Geek Girl Brunch in Portland, it’s the closest chapter to me. We went to Sandy Hut, which is this grungy little dive bar that has an amazing breakfast that is inexpensive. The mimosas were $3.00 each way better than like $7 like at some places (or more). I also loved that the chapter leaders made up these amazing coloring books and gave us crayons. It was also so, so great to meet Mercedes finally. We’ve been friends on twitter and talk, but it’s so great to put a face to the name. That day was full of making friends, and hanging out. I can not wait to go to the one in September. I get really nervous before going to them, because I feel like no one is going to like me or talk to me and it’s always the opposite. GGB is such a fantastic community and I’m happy to be part of it.
I haven’t really been playing a ton of video games lately because of work. But I have really been enjoying Albion Online and Splatoon 2. Splatoon just had a splat fest of Mayo vs. Ketchup. I picked team Ketchup, because hello, it’s Ketchup. But I guess Mayo won…? I think its garbage how so many people picked team ketchup that there were tons of Ketchup vs Ketchup matches and those didn’t count towards the totals. Apparently this is an ongoing problem… *sigh* I hope they fix it in the near future. Not sure how many more Splat Fests I’ll be doing if this is their attitude. As for Albion Online, I’m going to do a whole separate post about it. I really enjoy the game, I’m a solo player – no guild- which some say is the “wrong way” to play but I disagree. It’s a great game for me to play this time of year because it’s very much a grindfest which takes little thoughts. Additionally the combat is simple and fun.
I started a brand new bullet journal this month, I found one that was on sale and I think I’m ready to get back into it. I used a bullet journal system, before it was know as bullet journaling. I used my system all through middle & high school, and into college. Then I used it organize my social irl life and my social internet life. Since finding the Erin Condren Life Planner I thought it would be a bit much to keep both up, so I’ve just been using the ECLP. But I really miss my bullet journal, and it works so well for me. I’m almost done with the ECLP so in 2018 I will be using a bullet journal and a recollections planner from Michael’s. Way less expensive than the ECLP, and planning, in my opinion, should be inexpensive (I got my recollections planner for about $15, while an Erin Condren can cost between $55-$60).
I’m also using my bullet journal for the Iggle Daily Journal prompts, it’s fun to put a bit of a spin on my old system, and make it accommodate new things. I also got a new toy, it the HP Sprocket that prints little pictures that are stickers you can stick to things. It’s been a ton of fun to incorporate them into my journal so far. The first spread I did for August is meant to celebrate Harry Potter because that Monday before the first was the 31st and Harry Potter’s birthday. I did red and yellow for Gryffindor and had these two really cool washi tapes that were perfect for the spread. If you like seeing bullet journal spreads, or planning related stuff I share my spreads on my dedicated instagram.
This week is IGGPPCamp! It’s my third time going to camp, and am so excited. I got sorted into Troop Chimera. I also made a map of the campgrounds for in my bullet journal in the IGGPPCamp section. I think it turned out pretty cool.
I’m part of Iggle Flicks and we will be hosting a bunch of watch-a-longs during camp. Mine isn’t until Sunday evening. When I thought I would have time off/be done with work. From what I’ve seen so far, all the activities look super fun this year! I have an activity that will be live on Saturday, so keep an eye out for it! (I’ll put a link HERE when it goes live) Until then enjoy this sneak peak:
I’m sure I have more to share but I can’t think of anything right now, haha. So for now we’re caught up. Hopefully once work calms down a bit I can get back on a regular schedule of posting things. Thanks for hanging in there with me! ❤
Aronia berries are a fun ingredient to experiment with. Sunset Valley Organics’ Aronia berries are unique in that they are so packed full of nutrients that the brix (natural sugar content) is actually a lot higher than average (which is around 15-18, while Sunset Valley Organics is averaging 22), and this makes the tannins in the berry not so much at the for front of the taste. Instead a sweetness starts to come through, which is highlighted more through any heating process. Not just baking, but also jams, syrups, or juice.
Typically this is a good indication of nutrition in our foods across the board; nutrition=more flavor. Have you ever had a strawberry that was really bland? What about a carrot? Or if you’ve ever grown your own garden there is a huge taste difference, that would be from the minerals in your soil compared to the soil of the farmer selling to the supermarket.
So I’ve been baking, and experimenting with Aronia berries, since they are so foreign to so many. I’ve developed two yummy recipes for Aronia berry oatmeal cookies. One is a super healthy, gluten free version, but today I’m starting off with a twist on a classic. The Oatmeal Rasin Cookie get a little make over! (I’ll post my gluten free recipe next week sometime.)
- 1 C. All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 TSP Baking Soda
- 1/4 TSP Salt
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened to room temp
- 1/2 C Brown Sugar
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 TSP Vanilla Extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats
- 1 C Dried Aronia Berries
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar for 1-2 minutes until well combined. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and mix until fully combined.
- Slowly mix in the flour mixture and continue mixing until just combined, then mix in the oats and raisins until fully combined, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Cover the cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
- Once the dough is chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and scoop out 2 tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough and dropped onto the prepared baking sheets. Make sure to leave a little room between each ball of cookie dough as they will spread a little while they bake.
- Bake in separate batches at 350 F. for 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are lightly golden brown and the top is set. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.
-Prep time includes 30 minutes of chilling time
-Cookies may be stored on the counter in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
This week’s plan with me has a fantastic mix of summer and 90’s vibes. I adore this clip art, and super happy with they amount of white space I used in this spread. If you want to see how this spread changes over the week be sure to check out my planning Instagram @unicornwglitter.
Thanks for watching!
Last month I did flip-gram thing for a flip through of March’s journal insert (I skipped showing anyone April, lol-it was a bit of a hot mess). So this month I have started a YouTube channel which means…drumroll please…I’ll be doing a proper flip through of my journal inserts from now on!
Hey friends! I can’t believe we are already in the middle of June! So let’s jump right into it!
I had so much fun filming my very first Plan With Me! I loved planning with one of my favorite shop’s (Boulderbon) kit. She has amazingly affordable stickers & kits, not to mention her Monthly Sticker Bundle.
Be sure to watch all the way to the end for a flip through of the kit I’m giving away, then head on over to my instagram for the details of the giveaway.