May 20

On those really hot days that you don’t want to do much of anything, it is always nice to have a few frozen strawberries and bananas around to throw in a blender and make a really nice cool treat out of, this Strawberry banana ice  is a favorite round here!

Recipe originally found at the Primal Home   and adapted here

Strawberry banana Ice

1 banana sliced and placed in freezer on tray to freeze

½ cup of strawberries, washed and cut in quarters and placed in freezer

tablespoon coconut milk [optional]

 

Once fruit it frozen, place in blender or food processor together  with coconut milk  if using and blend until smooth*, place in a bowls and serve immediately.  Absolutely love this on a hot afternoon, such a great pick me up and best part is that  it is all natural too!

*As an extra special treat, when I am having some chocolate cravings, I sometimes add in a tablespoon of cocoa as well while blending.

 

http;//www/coocooforcooking.com/strawberrybananaice

Oct 12
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What happens when we get our pumpkins too early.

Sep 12
icon1 Jennifer | icon2 Dinner, Fruit, Potluck, Recipes, Salad | icon4 09 12th, 2011| icon3No Comments »

I had this great chicken pasta salad at one of our weekly potlucks this summer, and never got around to making it myself.  But since the temps around here climbed back into the upper 80s again today, I really didn’t feel like heating up the kitchen with dinner, and this worked out nicely.

CHICKEN PASTA SALAD WITH MELON & MINT

2 boneless chicken breasts poached in chicken broth (maybe in cooler temps – we grilled ours tonight)
1 pound bow tie pasta
1 medium ripe cantaloupe or honey dew (honey dew is not my favorite, but we’ve had one sitting on the counter for a week that was purchased in error, so I guess it was serendipity)
1 8oz pkg swiss cheese
1 bottle poppy seed dressing
fresh mint

Cook chicken breast, chill and then shred with two forks.  Cook pasta according to directions – place in ice water bath to stop cooking.  Cube swiss cheese into small, bite-sized chunks.  Cut melon into cubes or use a melon baller.  Mix pasta, chicken, cheese, mint and some dressing – chill for 12-24 hours.  Before serving, add melon and additional dressing to coat.

I didn’t take a photo tonight before the gang gobbled the salad down, but here it is from the first time I had it, and I believe that’s cantaloupe in there.  Next time I make it, I’ll opt for cantaloupe as well, but that’s just my personal preference.  The true surprise in this dish is the mint.  When it was first described to me, I was skeptical.  But just like I always tell the kids not to pass judgment on food without trying it, I’m glad that I did, and the blend of flavors has won me over.

Aug 24
icon1 Jennifer | icon2 Barbeque, Fruit, Wordless Wednesday | icon4 08 24th, 2011| icon3No Comments »

Okay, One Word Wednesday:  Watermelon

Aug 17
icon1 Jennifer | icon2 Fruit, FYI, Vegetables | icon4 08 17th, 2011| icon3No Comments »

I love the term “locavore” and the idea behind it:  consuming locally grown foods to support local growers, while cutting down on fossil fuel use necessary for transporting foods over long distances.  Although we couldn’t completely embrace the locavore lifestyle (the children insist on bananas and citrus fruits), it’s nice to do what we can, and I’m hoping to help make my kids a little more aware of the processes that bring food to our table.  Our community recently began hosting a weekly summer farmers’ market, and it’s a lot of fun to browse the selections of fresh fruits and veggies, homemade jams and breads, supporting the nice people who make their livings this way.  Here’s a handy guide to the annual availability of some common fruits and vegetables around the country:

Infographic courtesy of GOOD.

Jul 14
icon1 Jennifer | icon2 Desserts, Fruit, Recipes | icon4 07 14th, 2011| icon32 Comments »

Since we never refrigerated our blueberry yield, some of them were getting kind of mushy. So we turned to the handy little recipe book provided by Eenigenburg’s Blueberries, and decided to make some dessert! It’s too hot here to use the oven, so we chose a no-bake option.

BLUEBERRY CREAM CHEESE PIE

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
12/ c. heavy whipping cream, whipped
1/4 c. cornstarch
3 c. blueberries
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 9in. pastry shell, baked

In small bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped cream. Spread into pastry shell. In large saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, water and lemon juice until smooth; stir in blueberries. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for two minutes or until thickened. Cool. Spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until serving.

Sorry no photo. Someone ate it before I got the chance!

Jul 11
icon1 Jennifer | icon2 Fruit, Tasty Travels | icon4 07 11th, 2011| icon31 Comment »

This post has nothing to do with cherries; it’s not THAT kind of blog! Rather, we went blueberry picking for the first time last week. I’m not a pampered princess, but I’m really a wimp in the extreme heat, and I’ve always taken a pass when someone’s tried to convince me to go before. Since we live very near to the heart of midwestern farm country where the opportunities for fresh produce abound, I finally allowed myself to be talked into a u-pick outing.

We went to Eenigenburg’s Blueberries on the very first day of the season. It wasn’t too hot (mid-80s), and we got an early start since we had to drive about an hour. Our crew consisted of five moms and 14 kids ranging in age from 15 down to 4. Two teenaged girls on bikes provided us with buckets an ropes (for tying around our waists or necks) and led us to the back of the blueberry patch for a tutorial before turning us loose. Here’s what we learned:

1. This particular farm offered 18 different kinds of blueberries, but they were all mixed together, so you would have to look for the kind you preferred.

2. Each bucket would hold between five and six pounds of blueberries, so you could monitor your progress and not go too crazy if you didn’t want tons of fruit.

3. They asked that once we started picking a bush, we continue until all ripe fruit was removed. That would save them from having to come back and finish.

4. We were free to eat while we picked. This was the kids’ favorite part.

So we got to work. Since I wanted to follow the rules, I would sample a berry from a bush before I decided to pick it clean. It’s amazing how many different flavors there were! Don’t ask about varieties, as I can’t tell one from the next. But I did find that generally, the larger the blueberry, the sweeter its flavor, and those are the ones I mostly chose. We like to eat them by the handful and put them on cereal, so I prefer the sweeter berries. The smaller ones tended to be more tart, and I think those are better for pies. Once in a while I tried a berry that had virtually no flavor at all, and I’m not sure what those would be good for. Making dye? I don’t know, I just avoided those bushes.

We picked (and ate) for about an hour before the kids started to get bored and whiny, so we figured that would be a good time for a lunch break. You know how sometimes you picture how a day will turn out, and then something magical happens, and a different scenario unfolds? It’s like one of the best times you’ve ever had, but you can’t plan for it? A perfect convergence of the right place, the right people and the right circumstances? This was one of those days. And of course I forgot my camera, so it will have to live forever in my memory.

The blueberry patch verged right up to the edge of a little forest, so we had a nice shady lane to spread out blankets and lawn chairs. We had thought ahead and brought lunches, and once the kids had a little blood sugar adjustment, everyone was happy. We were back there chilling in the shade for so long that the girls on bikes kept coming back to check on us! When the moms were ready to get back to work, most of the kids opted out and instead started a rousing game of “Ghost in the Blueberry Patch.” They had a blast because there were so many places to hide, almost like being in a maze. The big kids kept an eye on the littler ones, and the moms were free to keep gathering berries while we could hear the laughter all around us. It was a win-win!

In the end, I only took home six pounds of blueberries. Although my “helpers” worked dilligently for that first hour, I think they consumed more than they contributed to our family buckets. But that was fine because we ate them all instead of freezing for a later date. We mostly ate them plain, but we also made smoothies and a couple of no-bake pies (did I mention how hot it is here?).