Texas Hill Country peach season is here! I got giddy with excitement at my first stop at my trusted peach guy’s roadside stand, and ended up with about 60 peaches. I just can’t resist peak season local fruit. I thought it would be a challenge to use them all, but it wasn’t. I used them all and I’m ready for more. Many of them went towards this peach vanilla jam. It is incredibly flavorful and not too sweet, so you really taste the peaches. It’s easy to make too.
I have a major sweet tooth. Going sugar free is a real challenge for me. This tasty banana “ice cream” hits the spot. It has only three ingredients and is super simple to make. Really you just need frozen banana. I added peanut butter for flavor, which might be my favorite add-in for banana ice cream. Cocoa powder and almond butter are great too. I added coconut milk to make it easier to blend in my not-so-powerful mini food processor. If you have a powerful blender, you probably won’t even need the milk. This couldn’t be any easier or healthier given how indulgent it tastes.
This is hands down the best fennel dish I’ve made. The salad is bright, crunchy, and sweet. The fennel adds just enough licorice flavor without being overpowering. I started with a recipe from my favorite cooking blog, Smitten Kitchen, and substituted a few ingredients. I’ve posted a few recipes from Smitten Kitchen before: Garlic & Butter Roasted Mushrooms, Deb’s Decadent Hot Chocolate Mix, and Strawberry Summer Cake. I can always trust Deb for a fantastic recipe. I think we are foodie kindred spirits. I served the salad with cod roasted in lots of lemon juice. It was a light, refreshing, and fulfilling meal.
Did you know that if you mix chia seeds with liquid they will gel and turn into a pudding-like substance? I capitalized on this to make a tasty, hearty breakfast pudding that fits within the Whole 30 diet. It can be made with any kind of fruit added. Bananas are my favorite so far, with blueberries a close second. The texture of banana works well with the texture of the pudding. This pudding is enjoyable to eat with its funny consistency and it fills me up for a long time.
This orange and avocado salad is fantastic. The flavors combine in a special way. The bite of the jalapeño and shallot bounces perfectly off the sweetness of the orange and richness of the avocado. I need more of this in my life. I already have plans to buy the ingredients so I can make it again, very soon. This recipe is Whole 30, paleo, and low carb friendly. But you don’t have to be on a diet to appreciate it. It’s super yummy.
Mug cakes are great because I can make one serving and avoid the temptation to binge! They’re also made with just a handful of basic ingredients and take only a few minutes to throw together. There are endless variations. This banana cake version is delicious. It’s gooey and a little pudding-like in texture. It satisfies my sweet tooth and is a special treat. In future posts, I plan to share recipes for chocolate, snickerdoodle, and peanut butter versions.
Have you tried microwave mug cakes before? Share in the comments.
I make these sparkly little berries almost every winter for holiday festivities. They are a delightful burst of sweetness and tartness. Sugared cranberries dress up any party spread and compliment so many different flavors. There’s still time to make these for New Year’s! They take a while because they soak for a few hours in syrup, but the hands-on time is only about 10 minutes. You make simple syrup with water and sugar, and a little added flavor from ginger. This syrup can be re-used to make multiple batches of cranberries. It can also be used in mixed drinks. It turns a cheery bright pink color and has a hint of cranberry flavor. This year, my friend Stephen improvised a super delicious and therefore dangerous mixed drink with the leftover syrup. He calls it “Cranberry ginger fizz,” and I’ve shared the ingredients below.
Recipes after the jump!
This cranberry sauce is nothing like the cranberry sauce from a can. It’s sweet and tart and has the texture of a soupy jam. My mom made this for Thanksgiving every year when I was growing up. For me, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. I didn’t like it much as a kid, but fell in love when my tastes buds grew up. It’s too good to eat only on Thanksgiving! The recipe is very quick, easy, and delicious.
For me, one of the great pleasures of spring and summer is picking and eating berries. Strawberries are the earliest berries ready for harvest everywhere I've lived, so every year, eager for the season, I find myself on my hands and knees in a strawberry field, covered in mud with red stained teeth and nails. As with most produce, strawberries are best when they are in season, from late spring to early summer. While you can get them year-round in grocery stores, store-bought strawberries never compare favorably with freshly picked ones. That said, if you know what to look for, you can find respectable strawberries everywhere from the field to the farm stand to the supermarket.
Choosing fresh strawberries:
Color, while important, is not the most reliable indicator of strawberry flavor. Deep red color on the whole berry, up to the greens, indicates ripeness, not sweetness. Even after berries are picked off the vine, they continue to develop anthocyanins, the pigments that make strawberries red. However, they do not continue to produce sugars, so a strawberry can be very red and ripe, but still not sweet. So how do you choose scrumptious strawberries? Give 'em a whiff. Sniff for a strong, sweet, strawberry smell. The most fragrant berries will also be the most flavorful.
What do you do with 15 pounds of strawberries? Eat some, bake some, freeze some. This past weekend, I went strawberry picking, which is, of course, how I ended up with 15 pounds of these delicious little balls of nutrients. Berry picking is one of my favorite summer activities. First strawberries, then blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Strawberries are one of the more challenging berries to pick because they are so low to the ground, so you have to either kneel the whole time, or not mind a muddy butt. They don’t last more than a week in the fridge, so if you pick very many, you’ll end up having to freeze some. And that means hulling. Strawberries are pretty easy to hull with a good knife, but it takes a while. It took me an hour to hull about seven pounds.
My name is Hillary. This blog is about the everyday food I prepare in my kitchen, with tips and recipes for easy, wholesome, and diet friendly meals. I have been chanting "cheese please!" since I was a toddler, although lately I've cut back on dairy.