Lemon and strawberry are two great summer flavors and I’ve been seeing Strawberry Lemonade photos come up quite a bit this summer on Pinterest. So I thought I’d try a recipe out from Better Homes and Gardens. I added a little more strawberries … Continue reading
Fresh fruit served with a sweet, creamy dip is great for a summer brunch, snack, or even a light dessert. Here’s an easy fruit dip recipe that’s so simple to make and so good! It’s made with just two ingredients–marshmallow creme and fruit-flavored cream cheese. The … Continue reading
It was just a matter of time before I made this Blackberry Banana Bread, since I love trying different banana bread recipes and blackberry season is in full swing! This recipe makes a nice, full loaf that is dense and moist and full … Continue reading
Hope you are enjoying the last day of your holiday weekend! I haven’t touched my computer for several days and it sure has been nice to unplug for awhile! :) I haven’t done much cooking or baking this weekend either, but I did make … Continue reading
I mentioned in my last post that I had been picking some blackberries this past week. And this is one of the recipes I made with them–Blackberry Buttermilk Cake. It’s a recipe I’ve had for awhile, clipped from a newspaper and kept … Continue reading
We’ve had lots of rain this spring and summer and everything is so green and lush and pretty. And the blackberries are growing well this year, which I’m really excited about! I love blackberries–eating them just the way they are, using … Continue reading
I recently posted a recipe for a Blueberry-Honeydew Smoothie and I also came across some info about why honeydew melon is good for you–so I thought it would be a great time to share this! According to Healthy Eating, one cup of cubed … Continue reading
It’s always nice when you can make yummy snacks that are good for you, too! I found this recipe in a review copy I received of Keep Your Brain Young: A Health & Diet Program for Your Brain, Including 150 … Continue reading
Have you ever been to Provence? I have never been to France but if I have the chance to go, Provence will be one of the areas I want to visit! This region of southern France stretches from the Mediterranean to the hills of Haute Provence, and from the Rhone River valley to the Italian Alps. It was the site of the first Roman colony beyond Italy and today it’s known for fragrant lavender fields, beautiful beaches like Cannes, Saint-Tropez, and Nice, quaint small villages, and fine wines and food. The cuisine of this area includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, extra virgin olive oil, and nuts–basically the core of the healthy Mediterranean diet.
I learned these things and more about Provence as I was looking through my review copy of Provence Food and Wine: The Art of Living, by François Millo and Viktorija Todorovska. This softcover book introduces you to the geography, history, traditions, wines, and recipes of the region. Here are some images of Provence you’ll find in the book:
Isn’t it beautiful? You’ll find more full color photography of picturesque Provence as well as many of the 47 recipes in the book, which are traditional favorites of the region…like Niçoise Salad, Fougasse with Tomatoes, Olives, and Peppers, Artichokes Barigoule, Tapenade, Swiss Chard Tart, Mediterranean Cod with Caramelized Onions, and Lemon Tart. The recipes are organized by the different areas of Provence that they’re popular in–Aix-en-Provence and Haute Provence, Marseille, La Cote Varoise, and Nice and the Riviera.
I decided to try the recipe for Tomatoes Provençal, because I love tomatoes and this is a simple yet delicious way to fix them–fresh tomatoes topped with a mix of breadcrumbs, chopped fresh parsley, and minced garlic. This makes a great side dish and would even work nicely for a spring or summer brunch. The book recommends serving “as a light meal with other Provençal delicacies and some crusty bread, or with meat.” For best results, use fresh, sweet, ripe tomatoes!
TOMATOES PROVENÇAL from Provence Food and Wine: The Art of Living
Makes 4 servings
This traditional Provençial dish relies on the quality of the tomatoes used; they must be fresh and ripe. It’s best to prepare this dish in the summer, when tomatoes are at the peak of ripeness, sweet, and full of flavor….
- 4 small to medium ripe tomatoes, halved and stems removed
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup (64 g) chopped fresh parsley (I used Italian flat leaf parsley)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs (I used the very fine breadcrumbs you purchase, but I think fresh breadcrumbs would be even better!)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Optional: I added some additional chopped parsley for garnish
Lightly dust the cut sides of the tomatoes with the sugar.
In a large sauté pan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, cut sides down, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until they caramelize.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the parsley and garlic.
Flip the tomatoes and distribute the parsley and garlic mixture evenly onto them, pressing down so the mixture adheres to the tomato. Sprinkle with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper. Distribute the breadcrumbs evenly among the tomatoes.
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and fully cooked through. Remove from the heat. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Transfer the tomatoes to a serving dish and serve warm. Note: I drizzled the remaining olive oil from the sauté pan over the tomatoes and garnished them with additional chopped parsley.
I thought the blend of parsley, garlic, olive oil, and touch of sea salt made a great flavor combination as a topping for the tomatoes.
Have you made or tasted this dish before? And are you ready to take a trip to Provence now? :)
This is an easy, fruity drink to make–perfect for enjoying on a sunny spring day! This cooler has strawberries that you mash, or muddle, to release the juices, and then you add in the orange juice for a really great fruity combination! If you need to make a larger amount of servings, just multiply the ingredients by the number of servings you need–you could even mix up a large batch in a pitcher!
When I was mashing up my strawberries, I found it was easier to do that in a medium-size bowl, and I used a spoon to mash them. But you could also mash them right in the glass if that works best for you.
STRAWBERRY–ORANGE MINT COOLER by NancyCreative, adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 2 servings
- Half a pint (8 ounces) of strawberries, hulled
- 4 fresh mint leaves
- 2 cups orange juice (or tangerine or mandarin juice)
- mint springs for garnish, optional
Divide strawberries between 2 (10 or 12-ounce) glasses. Add 2 mint leaves to each glass. Muddle (or mash) strawberries until they are crushed and juicy (you can use a spoon or muddler to do this). Add 4 or 5 ice cubes to each glass, then fill each glass with 1 cup of orange juice. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.
If you want a slightly fizzy drink, use 1 cup juice mixed with 1 cup sparkling water. It will be less sweet, but the fizziness is nice!
This would be a great beverage to serve at a spring breakfast or brunch. Maybe even on Easter! What types of fruity beverages do you like to make?
Linked to Inspire Me Monday.
Now that the weather is warming up, I’ve been eating more fruit–there’s something about the warmer weather that makes me crave it more! I love all kinds of fruit and that’s what I like about this Mango-Jalapeno Salsa–there’s a nice variety of fruit–mango, pineapple, and apple–mixed in with some diced tomato and red bell pepper. It’s a little on the spicy side, so use half the amount of jalapeno and ginger if you want a milder salsa. Overall, I think this is a great, healthy mix of naturally sweet and savory flavors!
Speaking of healthy, this recipe is from a new cookbook out last month, The Daniel Plan Cookbook, by Pastor Rick Warren, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman. It’s a companion book to the New York Times Bestseller, The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life and has 100 easy recipes (with full-color photos) to help you eat healthy for life. “Food truly is medicine,” says one of the authors, Dr. Hyman. Eating real, whole foods can help reverse chronic disease, aid in weight loss, and even optimize brain health. In developing the book, the authors thought about what most people like to eat, then created healthy versions of popular dishes to show that healthy eating is possible in the “real world.” So there are recipes for Blueberry French Toast, BBQ Chicken Pizza, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Classic Meatloaf, and Chocolate Coconut pudding, to name a few…that just goes to show you don’t need to feel deprived when you’re eating healthy!
I received a sampler of recipes from the book and decided to try the Mango-Jalapeno Salsa. This tropical-style salsa goes well with Mexican recipes using fish or chicken, like the Grilled Spicy Fish Tacos, another delicious-sounding recipe in the book. I really like it with those blue corn tortilla chips, too.
MANGO-JALAPENO SALSA from The Daniel Plan Cookbook
- 1 mango, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup diced pineapple
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup seeded and diced tomato
- 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
- 4 Tablespoons lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 Tablespoons minced seeded jalapeno (use half the amount of jalapeno and ginger for a milder salsa)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Place salsa ingredients in a bowl. Mix together well. Chill in refrigerator. (Keeps up to 1 week refrigerated).
This makes about 3 1/2 cups of salsa. It’s really easy to make and so good! Have you tried making a fruity salsa before?
If you want a cool, creamy treat, this smoothie is just the thing to make! It gets it’s creaminess from the tasty blend of frozen kiwifruit, banana, and key lime yogurt (you can substitute vanilla yogurt, but I really like this with the lime). There are a few other ingredients you’ll see in the recipe below and they all blend up into this wonderful smoothie that not only tastes great, but is also a delightful springy shade of green. How can you resist that?
SHAMROCK SMOOTHIE by NancyCreative, adapted from Midwest Living
Makes about 16 ounces, or 2 servings
- 2 kiwifruit, peeled and quartered
- 1 banana, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup seedless green grapes
- 1 (6-ounce) container key lime or vanilla flavored yogurt
- 1/3 cup orange juice or white grape juice, well-chilled
- 1/2 Tablespoon honey
- Optional: additional kiwi fruit slices for garnish
Several hours or the night before making: Place the 2 peeled and quartered kiwifruit and sliced banana in a small freezer bag and freeze for 2 hours or until frozen (arrange fruit flat in a single layer in the bag so it doesn’t freeze into a big clump; otherwise it will be too hard to break up for blending).
When ready to make, add grapes, yogurt, juice, honey, and half of the frozen fruit (break up fruit if any pieces have stuck together while freezing). Cover and blend until smooth. Add remaining frozen fruit and blend until smooth.
Pour into glasses and, if desired, garnish with fresh kiwi fruit slices.
Hope you get a chance to enjoy this smoothie! What kinds of fun green treats are you making (or eating) for St. Patrick’s Day?
I thought I’d try a flavored water with a green theme, since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up! But of course, this water is great any time of the year. You mostly taste the lime in this, but the kiwifruit and pear slices make the pitcher of water look so nice! :) I think this water tastes best the same day you make it, but you’ll want to refrigerate it a few hours before serving so the water has more flavor. Use organic produce if you can when making this.
PEAR, LIME, KIWIFRUIT WATER by NancyCreative
Makes a large pitcher (half gallon) of flavored water
- 8 cups of water (I used 2 cups of sparkling water mixed in with 6 cups of regular water to give it a slight fizziness–see note below*)
- 1 large organic pear, cut into thin slices
- 2 limes, cut into thin slices
- 2 kiwifruit, cut into thin slices
Fill pitcher with 8 cups of water. Add slices of pear, lime, and kiwifruit, and stir all ingredients together in the pitcher. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving (the slices of kiwifruit tend to settle at the bottom, so you will need to stir before serving to mix all the fruit evenly). When ready to serve, add ice cubes to pitcher and stir or add ice to individual glasses and pour the flavored water over the ice.
*For a fizzy water drink, use Seltzer water or natural sparkling water (like Perrier) instead of regular water, or use some of each (do not use Club Soda or Tonic Water, as one is high in sodium and the other is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup).
Have you tried making any uniquely-flavored water lately?
Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.
Here’s a roundup of 10 recipes that your Valentine–or Valentines–will love…some are healthy and some are not-so-healthy (but very yummy)!
If you’re wanting something sweet for your Valentine breakfast, try these Strawberry Yogurt Muffins–the strawberries on top look like hearts, so they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day!
Or if you’re wanting something healthy, try this Cranberry-Pecan Oatmeal, made with dried cranberries and chopped pecans. You can substitute dried cherries for the cranberries if you want.
Or make this Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Bake if you’re feeding a larger group.
You can also use your dried cranberries (or cherries) in these Cranberry Almond Breakfast Scones for a mid-morning or afternoon Valentine snack!
Since you may be eating lots of sweets on Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to include a healthy salad in your lunch or dinner menu–this Apple Pear Pecan Salad has dried cranberries in it too, but dried cherries would be yummy as well!
Savory Strawberry Salsa makes a great appetizer with tortilla chips, and it’s also really good served over grilled chicken!
Now you need some dessert ideas…Strawberry Cupcakes are just the thing!
But lots of people prefer something chocolate, and you can’t go wrong with these Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudgy Frosting!
If you want a healthier dessert, you could always make this Healthy Chocolate Shake…
But, hey, it’s Valentine’s Day–if you want to splurge, make these Dark Chocolate-Covered Cherry Swirl Brownies!
Hope you get a chance to try out some of these treats! Do you have a favorite Valentine recipe?
Did you know that February is National Heart Health Month? It’s a great reminder about eating foods that are good for your heart. Like nuts, for example. They have lots of vitamins, minerals, protein and omega-3 fatty acids–all things that your heart loves! There’s even some research that shows that eating just one ounce of nuts a day can reduce your risk of heart disease. So, in honor of National Heart Health Month, I recently received some product samples of nuts to try from SunRidge Farms–they offer a great variety of organic and natural non-GMO nuts (and other healthy snacks like seeds, dried fruits, and trail mixes). They sent me some of their Organic Walnuts, Supreme Almonds, Roasted Tamari Almonds, and Jumbo Pistachios roasted with Sea Salt–yum! I like all different kinds of nuts and I eat them roasted and unroasted, salted and unsalted, and I thought all these SunRidge Farms nuts were really good and very fresh. I had never had Tamari Almonds before–these are whole roasted almonds with a tamari shoyu (soy sauce) coating, which adds a slightly tart and zingy flavor–and I loved those!
Of course, nuts are great add-ins when you’re baking breads or cakes, and I also like to sprinkle them on salads. I’ve also sprinkled them, along with dried or fresh fruit, on my morning oatmeal. When I was deciding what to make with some of these SunRidge Farm nuts, I remembered this recipe from Martha Stewart –a healthy, quick and easy recipe with Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries and pistachios. So I decided to use the SunRidge Farms Jumbo Pistachios in this!
The original recipe calls for plain Greek yogurt, which works well because it has a nice thick and creamy consistency. Vanilla or strawberry Greek yogurt could work in this recipe too, if you aren’t crazy about using plain yogurt, but I like the plain yogurt with the honey–the honey drizzled on top makes it sweet enough for me. I’ve made this with salted or unsalted pistachios, and like it both ways. If you don’t have any pistachios on hand, try using chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, or even granola cereal instead. As you can see, this recipe is very versatile! :)
YOGURT WITH STRAWBERRIES, HONEY, AND PISTACHIOS slightly adapted from MarthaStewart.com
Makes 4 servings
- 1 large container (16-oz.) plain Greek yogurt (or use vanilla or strawberry)
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, stemmed if desired (you can also slice them or cut them into chunks, depending on what works best with the type of bowls you are using–I used glass teacups)
- 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. honey
- 1/4 cup shelled unsalted or salted roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped (or substitute chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds–or granola cereal)
Divide yogurt and strawberries among 4 salad/soup bowls. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with pistachios (or other chopped nuts or granola cereal).
This is great to make for a quick, healthy breakfast or even a healthy snack or dessert! I really like the strawberry-pistachio combination. Do you use pistachios often in your recipes?