Garden Fresh: A Few Grapes For Smoothies

I processed the few grapes I got this year into juice that I then add to my morning shakes. My neighbor gave me a handful of passion fruit, as an exchange for all my plums her toddler loves to eat. So I also added those to my shake this morning.

Not exchange was not necessary, he can have all the plums he wants! He’s a pandemic baby, born just as we went into lockdown, so I have probably seen more of him than I normally would, as mom and dad walked around the neighborhood several times a day and my office faces the street. Socially distant chats were a welcome diversion.

It’s been my pleasure to watch him grow and start walking and now starting to talk, enough to make his desire to pick plums from my tree clear. Still a nice distraction from work, as far as I’m concerned.

This morning’s smoothie:

Mixed Berry Smoothies

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup ea:  blueberries and raspberries, frozen
  • 4-6 whole strawberries, frozen
  • 1/4 cup fresh grape juice
  • 2 passion fruit (scooped from shell)
  • opt: 1 tbsp ground flax and 1 scoop whey powder

blender

Add all ingredients to the blender and blend well.  This makes 2 thick smoothies.  For more of a milkshake consistency, add 6 ice cubes and blend well. I use frozen fruit, so I don’t add the ice cubes, but sometimes a bit of water to make a smooth consistency.


x-posted at Annie DeMoranville

Gadget Post – Ball Jam Machine

I don’t have the recipe down yet  The recipe booklet that came with the machine give reduced sugar variants on the recipes.  I went with the reduced sugar recipe for some blueberries that I bought frozen.  The recipes all claim to produce 2 pints of jam but I have had two batches produce 3 pints when I followed a recipe.  The strawberry recipe I found online and was for Splenda, the blueberry recipe was from the booklet.  Neither produced jam that set.  Both were pourable.Not a big problem but it has been disappointing so far.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Happy 80th, Elvis

Fools Gold SandwichYesterday would have been The King’s 80th birthday. I like Elvis, but I’m young enough that I missed out on the frenzy of all things Elvis. Though, I’ve managed my own six degrees of separation…

My friend has an adorable, sweet story of how he hit on her (she was very much engaged at the time) when she worked on a film with him. She remembers him as a complete gentleman and had a lovely conversation between takes.

I met his step-brother years ago and he also had only wonderful things to say about him, especially when he was just a young boy and Elvis was already an American icon. Family was important.

So how does this get us to the recipe exchange tonight? All over the news last night was the story of how one of his favorite sandwiches was created right here in Denver. It had bacon, so I had to try it.

I’m not well versed in Elvis’ favorite foods. Fried banana sandwiches (recipe here) were about it, but I searched around, turns out there is a whole cookbook of his favorite foods, recipes and links here. Seems to be a lot of bacon involved.

How about you, what unusual things do you like to make into a sandwich? My brothers like peanut butter and dill pickles. I love lettuce, tomato and mayo on whole wheat. What else is on the weekend menu?

Tonight’s featured recipe is my take on Elvis’ favorite Mile High sandwich and you can find the whole story and video here.

Fool’s Gold Sandwich

  • 1 foot-long loaf Italian, French or Sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 16 ounces creamy peanut butter (I used crunchy, because that’s what I liked)
  • 16 ounces grape or blueberry preserves (I used an all fruit style, no added sugar)
  • 1 pound bacon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the bread in half, length-wise, coat with butter. Place on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes

While the bread is in the oven, fry the bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Hollow out one of the bread halves, fill with an entire jar of peanut butter and an entire jar of preserves. Top with bacon and top with the other half of the loaf. Slice to serve. I have no idea how many this would serve, I made enough for 2 servings instead of the entire recipe.

That’s it for this week. For the pet lovers, here’s some new Bixby, and here and his favorite new treat here.  Next week…I think something chocolate – TaMara

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Friday Dinner Exchange: Holiday Weekend Grilling

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

I have a four day weekend and most of it is supposed to be wild and windy weather, so  grilling will most likely have to wait. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have  grilling recipes. These all seem to be favorites based on comments, views and requests.

First up, the basics of grilling a good steak are here.

Next is one of my most requested recipes in the summer, Steak with Coffee Rub (click here). There is an entire dinner menu and shopping list at the link.

There are nine different hamburger recipes here, including Stuffed Burgers (pictured above) and veggie Black Bean Cheddar Burgers.

And finally, a few grilled chicken recipes, including Sunrise Chicken and Fruit Juice Marinated Chicken are at this link.

What’s on your menu for the weekend? Staying home or hitting the road? What are some of your favorite grilling recipes? Hit the comments and share. Be safe this holiday weekend, and don’t forget to thank a vet.

Tonight’s featured recipe is one of my favorites, because, well, blueberries!

Grilled Sirloin with Spicy Blueberry Sauce

  •  2 cups frozen wild blueberries (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you want it)
  • pinch of chili powder
  • 1 lb Sirloin, cut into 4 pieces
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Saucepan and small bowl

Run still frozen blueberries through a food processor until finely chopped.  Add all ingredients to a small saucepan on low heat until the blueberries melt and give you enough water to bring to a boil without scorching.  Boil for 1 minute or so, stirring constantly until liquid is reduced by half.  Let simmer on low, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of dinner.

Broil or grill sirloin until cooked according to your preference, if you can, sear the outside so it’s really crispy on the outside.  It works well if you coat the steak with lots of ground pepper on the outside as well.  Once the sirloin is done, place two tablespoons of blueberry sauce on the plate, place steak on the sauce then top with more sauce.  Place remaining sauce in a small bowl and serve with meal.  Goes great with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed zucchini.

That’s it for this week. If you missed it, I did post the Blueberry Upside Down Cake photos and recipe here. Later this weekend, I will finally have my gadget review for my robot “butler”.  Have a great holiday weekend – TaMara

 

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Holiday Gift Ideas: Fruit Pie Cookies

I made these last year.  These cookies are so pretty they make a great addition to any holiday cookie platter or box.

The recipe is for apple filling, but I then did another batch using strawberry, blueberry and apple fillings. I made 3 dozen, 12 of each flavor.  Strawberry, Blueberry and Apple.  It took 1 cup of fruit for each dozen.  The only changes I made was to use a splash of lemon juice in the blueberries and strawberries, instead of cinnamon and nutmeg.

From Oct 2010 (click over for more pictures).

I’m going to declare this recipe a success.  These are really good, not too sweet thanks to the butter cookie base.  I made a half batch, my usual technique when working on a recipe.  I wish I’d made a whole batch.  Partly because they are really good, but also because they are time consuming to mix.

I’ve had the idea in my head for a while and it just took some time for the whole thing to kind of come together.  It’s part butter cookie, part apple pie, part apple crisp – I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Apple Pie Cookies

Butter Cookie Base:

  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour

Apple Pie Filling:

  • 2 Golden or Granny Smith, or other firm, apples – cored and chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons water (as needed)

Crumble Topping:

  • 2 tbsp butter, soften
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats (not instant)

Bowl, saucepan, min-muffin pan, wax paper

In bowl, cream together butter and sugar, add cinnamon and vanilla, mix well. Add flour, blend until well mixed, but do not over beat. Spread onto wax paper and roll into a long tube, about 1-1/2” in diameter. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until chilled and firm.

Meanwhile, in saucepan, melt butter and add apples and simmer on medium to medium-low. Mix together brown sugar and spices, add to simmering apples, mix in well. When apples are softened, sprinkle flour over them, mix in, add water as necessary to create a thick syrup. Let simmer on low until you are ready to use.

In bowl, cut together butter, flour and oats until fine crumbles.

To assemble: spray muffin pan with oil, remove dough from refrigerator, cut twelve 1/4-inch slices from the dough, then replace remainder back into the refrigerator. Press each disk into the muffin pan, making a little bowl. Add apple mixture and top with crumbles. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool slightly before removing from the pan. They should slip out pretty easily – I used a knife to help slip them out. Makes 36 cookies.

You’ll have to let the pan cool just a bit before you assemble the next batch, as the butter cookies melt pretty quickly.

Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins

Soooo….I called a mandatory meeting this week to, well, let’s say adjust, some job practices and attitudes.  It wasn’t going to be pretty.  Or as I said to a friend, if they thought I was a b!t@h before, they hadn’t seen anything yet.

I debated about bringing in baked goods like I normally do for staff meetings.  I thought I needed to set a more serious tone for the morning.  But in the end, goodwill won out and I figured it couldn’t hurt.  So I decided on Blueberry Muffins.

 

Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2- ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil or butter
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed, drained

bowl and muffin tin w/paper muffin cups

Mix dry ingredients (minus 1 tbsp sugar) in bowl, make a well in the center. Combine egg, milk, sour cream, oil and add to well. Stir until completely moist, don’t over-mix. Add blueberries and gently fold into batter (use a spatula, keeps from beating the air out of the batter). Fill muffin cups ¾ full, sprinkle remaining sugar over tops. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes.

Mmm…Blueberry Pie!

Ahem.

Link goes to inspiration for the crust design.  The crust recipe was the same as for the cherry pie.  We did use the filling recipe at that link with very minor changes.  Splenda instead of sugar, some fresh grated cinnamon in there as was suggested by several other filling recipes we looked over.  I think we used closer to 5 cups of berries than the 4 mentioned.  Took a few tries before we were completely happy with the crust lay out.  There s an egg wash on it, and some sugar and ground cinnamon.

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