Strawberry Crumble Recipe - Simple & Delicious

    The hunt for this recipe comes from a special place. My BFF’s & I have just celebrated the one year anniversary of our trip to Scotland. I always promised to try and duplicate a fruit crumble dessert that was the staple of almost every meal we savored while there. They gave it the thumbs up so here you are. I chose strawberries because they are in season. I chose to macerate the strawberries to help soften them & help them retain their color when baking. This involves washing and slicing the berries then sprinkling them with sugar to stir and coat them. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours. Drain to continue with recipe but save the juice! Yum.

1 quart strawberries sliced
½ cup granulated sugar
1-1/4 Tb. corn starch
For crumble topping:
½ cup flour
½ cup oats
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

In bowl mix strawberries, granulated sugar & corn starch. Stir gently until dissolved. Pour into baking dish 8 x 10, 9x9, pie plate or I used a pretty tart dish. In second bowl combine flour, oats, brown sugar & melted butter. Stir until crumbly. Take your fingers and evenly crumble mixture over strawberries. Bake in 375 degree oven uncovered for 25-30 minutes until all over bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes (smells divine!!) Serve with a side of ice cream or a creamy custard. Simple & delicious!

Attracting Those Flying Jewels

    The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are on their way!  Now is the time to get your feeders ready & to plan a few plantings to attract these gems. East of the Mississippi, this is the only hummingbird we will see. They winter in Mexico & Central America & fly 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico & head north in early spring. I am okay with this one species; I know how much joy this one tiny, 3-1/2” bird can bring. The male has the beautiful iridescent red throat & green iridescent upperparts & belly. The female has green upperparts & whitish under parts. After about three years in my present home, my first hummingbird arrived & they have been in my garden ever since. To follow the migration patterns of Ruby-throats, check out the link below & see when you can expect them in your area (under the science tab).   http://hummingbirds.net/
   To get started all you need is a feeder & some sugar water. You can make your own by boiling water & mixing one part sugar to four parts water. Cool & store what you don’t use in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. No need to fill your feeder to the top at first. See how much they drink first. With the hot summer you need to clean & refill every few days. To properly & safely clean use a little vinegar & water with some rice and swish then rinse. Use pipe cleaners to clean any hard to reach spots like feeder holes.
    To attract the hummers, it helps to have part of your feeder colored red, but never color the sugar water. You can also simply tie a red ribbon on your feeder or close by to get your feeder visible. Once you have them, they will stay. Hang your feeder at a window where you can really enjoy the antics! (Once overnight freezing temps are over of course.) When strong feeding habits are established it’s time to get up close & personal! I have my feeder hung at my kitchen window & often just go and lean against the wall of my house, my face just inches from the feeder. It is an amazing experience! Once the hummers are used to seeing you, you can even hold the feeder in your hand. They even sell feeding tubes you can just hold in your hand.
   As for plants in your garden, I have had the most success attracting these gems with easy to grow perennials like bee balm (see my photos above; have a camera always handy!), coral-colored heuchera & columbine (my photos below), honeysuckle, trumpet vine & annual hyacinth bean vine. Other red flowers to help attract are cardinal flower (for wet areas), peony, penstemon, hibiscus, Oriental poppy, garden phlox & daylilies. Remember, be patient, plant & they will come!