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Summer At Our House

I just love summer, don’t you? The weather is beautiful. The kids are out of school. Projects abound. Life doesn’t really slow down a lot, it just changes venues and it is a nice break from the norm. Here is a glimpse of what is going on this summer at our house. The children won’t quit reading because they are competing in the summer reading program. Every time I need someone and cant find them, they have found a quiet place (not always an easy thing to do) and are devouring their latest book. The girls are showing our neighbor’s goats at the Youth Fair this year, so they work with them nearly every day.  They have helped a lot with raising the babies and milking their mamas, so they are very used to being with them.  They are also baking and selling bread at market. Tomorrow they want to go to an orientation for volunteering at the animal shelter. They volunteer at the local food bank on Saturdays. They do extra lawn and house work for neighbors. One would think they would get tired, but they don’t. I get tired thinking about it and bringing them everywhere, but they don’t. They just keep going and going and going; energizer bunny style.

Summer also means that I get to try my hand at gardening again. I love gardening, even if I don’t achieve award winning results. Each year I hope that I learned a little from last year and do at least slightly better this time. Summer means Garage sales every weekend, concerts in the parks, picnics, carnivals and amusement parks, the beach (or the splash pad), and camping. Its just such a busy, creative, fun time of year. Lazy days of summer? Not here!

The Best Part

The highlight  of summer for me, though, is fresh produce. The farther you go in summer, the more of it there is. If you don’t garden or own your own orchard, fresh produce is still pretty easy to come by.  Roadside stands and farmers markets are abundant. You-pick farms are fun if you want to pick your self and they make a great family outing. They also usually sell pre-picked and packaged produce if you are in a hurry. Even grocery stores have lots of  produce in summer and often feature local farms that supply them with seasonal offerings. You just cant go very far without coming face to face with this amazing joy of summer.  All of this gets my creative side churning. The wheels in my head start spinning and I get very excited.

At our house, summer also brings with it several birthdays. Birthdays mean, at minimum, presents, a special dinner, and a dessert of choice picked by the birthday person. We don’t get through very many of these until everyone is asking for something other than birthday cake for their special dessert.  This is great because summer is a wonderful time for cobblers, crisps, and pies.  This year though, John surprised me with a new request for his birthday dessert. He wanted crepes.

What is a crepe?

Crepes, in case you never heard of them, (I never had until several years after I was married), are ultra thin, slightly sweet pancakes.  After they are cooked, you fill them with…..well, I guess you could fill them with whatever your heart desires or with whatever you have in the refrigerator at the moment.  We always have them, though, with fruit and whipped cream, or fruit with yogurt, or just sliced fruit, slightly warmed or raw, with a little sugar sprinkled on top. They can be made in a small skillet, like an omelet pan; but when John wanted me to learn to make them, he bought me a crepe maker.

Crepe makers are a unique cooking piece. Unlike a pan, where you would normally pour batter in, a crepe maker looks like the bottom of a skillet with a permanent lid on top. Instead of pouring batter into it for cooking, (there’s no place to do so), you heat it up and dip it in the batter.  You then turn it over and allow the batter to cook on top. This creates a one of a kind, 6 inch, very thin pancake-like disk that you slide onto your plate to be filled with whatever wonderfulness is in your mind at the moment. Once you get the hang of it, its really enjoyable. I can stand in the kitchen dipping and flipping for a long time before I get bored. And I always have a troop of willing, even begging, volunteers waiting to have a turn at the fun.

So a few weeks ago when I found a really good sale on strawberries, I bought several one pound containers. I went home and dug out my crepe maker from the back of the top shelf of the cabinet and made crepes one night for supper. I know you’re not supposed to make dessert in place of supper, but sometimes, especially in the summer, I just cant help myself. I guess they turned out pretty well, because John asked for them again for his birthday. I thought I would make them with you this time, (or you can just watch the first time if you want) and see what you think. I warn you though, they are addicting, both to make and to eat. Once you make them for your family, you might be stuck with them on the menu, especially in summer. Are you ready then? Lets get to it.

crepe with strawberries and whipped cream
Crepes
Print Recipe
Summer time brings with it all sorts of lovely fresh fruit. What better time to make these wonderful, fruit filled crepes that your family is sure to love.
crepe with strawberries and whipped cream
Crepes
Print Recipe
Summer time brings with it all sorts of lovely fresh fruit. What better time to make these wonderful, fruit filled crepes that your family is sure to love.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Turn on the crepe maker. First of all, and most importantly, turn on your crepe maker. This will heat up while you are doing all of your other stuff. You could turn it on after you make your batter and before you make your filling, but I always get distracted and forget to do it if I don't do it right away.
  2. Mix your ingredients. So, the thing about making crepes really well, is to mix all of the ingredients together and let them soak for a while. You want every morsel of flour to be completely saturated. We need a smooth thin batter with no lumps. So put all of your ingredients in the blender and mix it very well. Set it aside. Give them at least 20 minutes. I like to make my batter and let it sit while I prepare my filling.
  3. Prepare your filling. Slice your strawberries and sprinkle them with sugar. You could also heat up some peach slices and sprinkle them with sugar. Berries work wonderfully too. Whatever filling you choose, you want to let it sit so that it gets all juicy and yummy.
    bowl of sliced strawberries
  4. Make the crepes. If you have a dipping type crepe maker, pour the batter into your holding tray. It is shaped to the inverse of your crepe maker, so it just fits right in. LIGHTLY grease your crepe maker. I like to spray a little pan spray on the dipping surface. It helps the crepes to come off easily. If you overdo it however, your batter will slide right off. You'll be able to figure it out pretty easily. Hold your hot, lightly sprayed crepe maker in the batter for 8 to 10 seconds. Pick it up and flip it over. Don't try to do it too fast, but don't poke around about it. I usually hold it up for a second or two and then just turn it over. Let the crepe cook for 30 to 40 seconds. Loosen the edges and let it slide off into the plate. Dip again right now so that your 2nd crepe can cook while you fill the first one.
  5. Fill It Up. Now Add your prepared fruit down the center. Not too much because you are going to fold or roll it up, but enough it will be plenty full when you eat it. Put some whipped cream on top of the fruit and fold or roll it up. By now the second crepe should be done, so take it off and put it on the same plate. You need to have at least two crepes to even call it a dessert, more if you are substituting this for supper. (which I highly recommend)
    strawberries and whipped cream on crepe before its folded
  6. Give it Away. Now give the plate to your husband or child and they will love you forever. Don't forget to fix some for yourself before its all gone. Enjoy!
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