August 28, 2013

Wild Berry Crumble

You probably already read my post about berry picking in the Poconos. I'm amazed at how common wild berries are around here. We picked a good mix of Blackberries and Blueberries.

In case you are inspired to run out the door right now and forage some berries yourself you might want to go back and read some very important tips that I shared on the subject. It would at least give you a good laugh. 

The awesome thing about crumbles is their versatility. I made mine gluten free. A gluten free diet has recently become very important to me. It helps me to feel healthy! As I recently read in a wonderful post written 
by the Gluten Free Girl, 


A crumble is a super easy dessert to make if you're gluten free. You don't have to worry about anything rising or falling and the berries are the star of the flavor show. Really you could take this recipe and use any fruit. The secret is leaving one cup of fruit uncooked and whole, unless it's an apple or similar fruit then it would need to be chopped up. This provides maximum fruit flavor. The reaming fruit you cook into a filling. 

Another helpful tip when making a crumble is when cleaning your fruit do so in a strainer. Wild berries are especially fragile so rinse them off in a strainer then place the strainer of berries over a bowl. This provides a place for any juice to collect. You can add that juice to the cooked portion of the crumble. 

When you cook up the filling part of the crumble you add any remaining berries and juice. I also added lemon juice and zest and honey for a sweetener. If you don't like honey no problem add maple syrup or any other sweetener you're fond of. If you don't like lemon try lime or orange. 

The topping is just as versatile. I used G-free flour, almonds, oats, cinnamon, brown sugar and finally some butter. You could use a variety of nuts and seeds in place of almonds. You don't have to use G-free flour either. Don't want to put butter on top use a drizzle of coconut oil. 

Isn't cooking fun? You can take a recipe and use it as a base adding whatever ingredients you like or have on hand. 
Here's how I made my Wild Berry Crumble:

Once you've made the crumble you have more options for how you want to serve it.

It's hard to resist a drizzle of heavy cream over a crumble. 

Or a scoop of ice cream on the side.

Or both...
I hope you're inspired to get in the kitchen to make a crumble with whatever fresh fruit you can get your hands on. It's one of the simplest, most versatile, delicious desserts you can make. Enjoy!

August 26, 2013

Let the Swapping Begin

Those of you that joined the swap will be getting an e-mail soon letting you know who your Unpaper Swapmate is. I posted a few ideas the last couple weeks you an find them here, here or HERE. I decided not to do a linky party and thought in might be easier to share what you receive on Pinterest. Look for an invite to this board soon. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Happy Swapping!


August 23, 2013

Wild Berry Picking in the Poconos

I've never lived in a place with such an abundance of wild berries.  Granted some of you might not think it's so special, maybe you grew up picking berries and it's common to you. To me is new and very exciting. I heard locals talking about the berries and read a few things in the paper but I was clueless that there were so many all over the place. I first discovered wild berries when my husband was doing this, 
fly fishing. That man has really fallen in love with the sport. 
This was Princeton's first time crossing water.
He had some trouble getting out.  Poor little guy. 
The dogs and I like to tag along when my husband goes fly fishing. 
We enjoy watching him and of course exploring the area. 

Down a secret pathway adorned with flowers we found mushrooms

and sunlit flowers. 

There is always so much to take in. I often wonder how can I fully enjoy and consume all this beauty around me? Then we found them, 
wild blueberries. There was no sign that said, "fresh blueberries $5." They were just there right along the creek in all their glory, waiting to be gathered. So the obsession with berry hunting began. Here's an 
up-close shot of the branches and leaves of a blueberry bush. 

They really aren't that hard to identify, it's pretty obvious when you've found blueberries. Since that day fly fishing if we planned an outdoor activity I would bring along something to put berries in 
just in case we found some. 

And we did! We are training for a triathlon so we went mountain biking and I kept stopping and picking berries. I guess I'm not so good at the training thing. This time we found blackberries. They were AMAZING. Picking berries is hard work. You could pick for hours and only get 1/2 a bag full. I then thought to myself I wonder if we have any berries right in our own back yard? 

We haven't found any blueberries or raspberries but we did find those things above. 
Do you know what they are? 

These very tiny berries that hang in clusters upside down are called Elderberries. Apparently they are very high in vitamin C and can be used as a medicine. I had never heard of them before until I realized they were all over my property. You can read more about them HERE

They don't taste very good raw. I read that they definitely need to be cooked. Beware of the red ones,
 only the blue and purple elderberries are edible.
These elderberries are growing all along our creek and they aren't easy to gather. 

We managed to get quite a few elderberries. From what I understand the hardest part is cleaning them up. I'll share how I did that soon and some very yummy wild berry recipes. In the meantime I hope that if you've never had the chance to pick wild berries you'll get one soon.
 Here is some information to help you out. 

August 21, 2013

Unpaper Product Ideas (practical)

The last day to join in on the Unpaper Swap is August 26th! If you're still looking for ideas check out the Unpaper Products Pinterest board or check out the posts HERE or HERE.  Today I'm sharing some practical ideas.

Like for example the Flour Sack towel. These are super practical to have around. They are lint free and absorbent. They are perfect for absorbing grease. I've read that people who switch to cloth still keep emergency paper towels around, which I think is a great idea. They often use paper for absorbing grease from sausage or bacon. You don't have to do that anymore.  Just designate at least one towel as the grease towel. The neutral colored flour sack towels below would be perfect for the job. These towels won't leave fuzz balls of any kind on your food. 

Okay while were still on the topic of absorbing grease you could always get the towel that looks like a piece of bacon, which is sure to help you remember that it's used for just that purpose. Isn't it fun? 

I'm looking forward to getting a set of these large unpaper towels from Juniper Seed Mercantile. What I've got from them so far was such great quality and so easy to keep looking clean. You can't go wrong with basic cotton, unbleached towels. 

I've also read positive reviews of these restaurant quality napkins. Just a little bit of polyester helps keep the stains from setting. According to one mom they are a great quality and value for her family of 4.  

The next few towels are practical in the sense that they are great references. In case you can't find your favorite brownie or cookie recipe just follow the directions on your kitchen towel. 

Or if you want to impress your guests with a fancy cocktail this towel tells you the ingredients, tools and basics you need to know. This would be a nice addition to a bar cart. 

Finally check out this towel. It's magnetic! I can't tell you how helpful this would have been throughout my life. Like when I was in college to have one handy on the mini fridge. Or when we lived in our first tiny townhouse. I mean space is a premium and to be able to just throw your towel on the fridge is awesome. 

Which towel is your favorite? Do you already have some that work for you and your family everyday? 


August 20, 2013

A Day on the Farm

We live in an old Farmhouse. I often have to ask myself is this real, do I really live here? It's such a special place. I often think about what it would have been like 100 years ago, when it was an actual working farm. When they had an ice harvesting operation in the pond just behind the house. There are all kinds of reminders and memories we have found of the past. I'm so curious to find out more of this farm's history.

Unfortunately our farm is not a working one today. Although I have dreams of goats and chickens roaming freely. We have plenty of other animals that make up for it though. I have yet to be surprised by things we've observed and experienced while living here. The animal kingdom is drawn to our property. It might be the creek that runs behind our home flowing from the pond which bubbles from a natural spring. Or maybe it's the apple trees and other plant life. Maybe it's just God that draws them in. I believe God knows the desires of our hearts and I absolutely adore animals. I feel so close to Him and so blessed when I'm experiencing His creativity, His work of art first hand.

Recently we had a Sandhill Crane visit.

He was so graceful and very aware. 

He didn't like being watched. 

So he didn't stay long. 

We have a stone wall along our garage. The craftsmanship of this wall is incredible. It's beautiful to me.
I wonder how far it extended before the garage was built next to it? I wonder why it's there? 
Did it retain cattle or sheep? Did it hold ice from a recent harvest, 
storing it until those from the community could pick it up? 

      One day we discovered it was an excellent hiding place for a creature. 
Do you see it? Look closer.

Still don't know what it is? 

Even though I adore animals, I'm not a huge fan of snakes.
 Isn't it so fascinating though!?!
 Let's just say I'll never look at that stone wall the same way again. 

August 15, 2013

Unpaper Product Ideas (clever)

There is something about using cloth towels and napkins that just makes me feel good. Cloth cleans better, absorbs faster and generally brings a smile to my face. I feel accomplished or something. I'm not really sure how to explain it. I remember when my husband used a cloth napkin for the first time he said, "ahhh that feels nice."  When there was a mess before I would grab an entire bunch of  paper towels and then go back for more. It feels good not to waste so much. Truth be told when you switch to cloth there are gonna be stains. It's just hard to avoid in some cases. It helps to have towels for different uses. For example we have a prettier towel that hangs up for drying hands or dishes. Then we have a basket of towels hanging where our paper towels use to hang, that are the more practical sort, for messes and such. We also have cloth napkins in the center of our table in a napkin holder. 

If you have towels that are fun, they motivate you to use cloth by wanting them out on display which makes them handy. My theory is that they also draw attention away from stains because their funness distracts you. Today is all about cloth towels and napkins that make you smile. There are so many fun ones out there.

Like this blueberry towel you can find on Zazzle which is sure to be a happy reminder. 

I could see this tongue twister towel being the source of
 much entertainment, find it at Uncommon Goods

For someone who enjoys baking, these towels will have them chuckling for sure. 
You can find them at the Love You A Latte shop on Etsy. 

What about geeks? Yes there are plenty of options for them too.
Like the "I'll wash, You Pi" towel found on Modcloth

Or the Robot towel found on Etsy by a shop called Girls Can Tell.

My personal favorite are the Gastronomy Map towels by Lucy Loves This on Etsy.
 They are more for the foodie but I suppose could still fit into the geek category. 

There's one of the USA which shows all the fantastic food each area has to offer. 

There's also one for Europe, France & Britain. Yes I want them all, I feel like I could learn a lot :)

So let's say you find out who your swapmate is and their favorite blog is full of cat pictures and their
 e-mail is then this is the perfect towel for them or anyone who adores felines. It's called the "Etiquette Got your Tongue" dishtowel and it can by found on ModCoth

Okay I can't stop laughing after that one. This next ones pretty funny too
and completely depicts the way I feel every time I chop onions.
 You can find it at

They also have this towel which is an official note that declares your husband must lend a hand!

These towels by Moxie Madness on Etsy are adorable.

Let's not forget cloth napkins. Who wouldn't have fun with a mustache on their napkin?
 Made by Snotty Brat on Etsy. 

I'm loving these notebook paper napkins. I always had a thing for school supplies.
They can be found at  Leafcutter Designs

Another set of napkins I found at Leafcutter Desings is the Cootie Catcher Napkin. Oh the memories this napkin brings back. They would bring hours of entertianment at the table for sure and great conversation! Too bad they're a few dollars out of the budget :(

In the budget and fun all year long are these Naughty/Nice Napkins
 by Bloom and Barnacle on Etsy.

I hope you're getting lots of ideas and are as excited about the Unpaper Swap as I am!
 If you haven't signed up yet you still can, you have until August 26th.