An Adventure in food, DIY, and More

Delicious Fruit Crepes

I’ve loved delicious treats (especially breakfast ones!) for as far back as I can remember. Sunday mornings, we would always have waffles, sometimes even bacon waffles, where the bacon was cooked inside the waffle. Then they were topped with delicious maple syrup. Um, yum! On the other hand, I just love fresh fruit. When summer comes, I do as much fruit harvesting as I can. We grow strawberries here, raspberries, and grapes. If we don’t grow it, we go pick it at local U-Pick farms, which always makes for a fun family day out. Usually by the time summer is over, I’ve got jars of jams and jellies, and plenty of fresh fruit tucked away into the freezer to use all winter long. While it doesn’t taste quite as good as fresh off the vine, it still tastes better than store bought, out of season fruit. The photo below is my husband and son enjoying an afternoon picking strawberries at a local farm. A bonus in this, is supporting local farmers! We picked 7 1/2 lbs of strawberries for about $10!

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Today, I want to share with you my favorite recipe for delicious fruit crepes. They come together quickly and easily. I’ve combined a few different recipes to create the perfect crepe. You start with a basic crepe, filled with a delicious ricotta/cream cheese blintz filling, topped with fresh fruit mixed with a tiny bit of sugar and a bit of maple syrup. If you’re daring, you can add a bit of homemade whipped cream on the top too. Hey, I didn’t say it’s the healthiest thing on the planet, but it sure is a nice treat now and again.

I typically use a strawberry topping for my crepes, but you could also do a mixed berry topping, or realistically any topping that you’d like! Last summer, I tried making a Blueberry Lemon Honey syrup that turned out delicious, and I’m sure if you used that on top of a fluffy pile of crepes, you wouldn’t regret it! Throw in some fresh blueberries and it’d be delish! Here’s the link to the Blueberry Lemon Honey Syrup!

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And now, let’s get on with it! I suggest making your filling and topping first, so that your crepes are hot and ready to be filled, topped, and served. We will start with the filling. It’s quite simple, and I do recommend a hand mixer or even a stand mixer to help make it smooth.

Blintz Filling Ingredients

  • 1 cup lowfat ricotta cheese (or nonfat if you are watching fat intake)
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese (or Neufchatel cheese)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

Blend all of the above ingredients together until smooth. Some people like it a bit lumpy, and I’ll leave that up to you. Blend to your desired consistency. I personally prefer it smooth. Set aside for now.

Next up, we will make our topping!
Strawberry Topping Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or you could use agave nectar, or even a sugar substitute)
  •  1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

Place your strawberries into a medium sized bowl, and then add your sugar and maple syrup. Next, use a potato masher, or a large spoon to squish them and mix until desired consistency. If you want a syrup with no chunks of fruit, you can process this in a blender. I usually like to have fruit chunks in my topping. Set aside.

Now, it’s time to make the crepes! If you have a crepe griddle, that makes a huge difference, but any non stick pan works fine. You’ll want a reasonably sized one so you have room to flip the crepes. Make sure your spatula is handy! This recipe can easily be halved to make less crepes if you don’t want as many. In fact, you can halve the topping and filling recipes as well if you only need a small amount.

Basic Crepe Recipe

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the wet ingredients (eggs, milk, water, butter and vanilla) and blend well. Sift the salt and flour in another bowl, and then slowly add to the wet ingredients, blending to combine. You want your batter to be very smooth, with no lumps.
  2. Heat your crepe griddle or pan to medium high heat. Lightly oil it (not a lot or the edges of the crepes don’t quite set, and as long as your pan is a true non stick pan, you only need to oil it once at the beginning), and then pour or scoop about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle or pan. I use a ladle to do this, and then I use the bottom of the ladle to swirl the batter around to cover the pan. You can also tilt the pan with a circular motion to coat the pan as well.
  3. You’ll want to cook the crepe for about 2 minutes or so until the bottom is a light golden brown. Loosen it with your spatula or shake your pan very gently to loosen it, and then turn and cook the other side of the crepe. I set my finished crepes on a plate nearby and cover with foil to keep them hot.

To Assemble Your Crepes:

Now it’s time to put them together! Take a warm crepe and put a tablespoon full of filling on it, and spread it around to cover the crepe. Roll it up, and then do the same with the remainder. Fill each plate with desired number of crepes, and then place desired amount of topping over the crepes. Lastly, add a dollop of whipped cream if you so desire! Tada! Your crepes are complete! Here is an image of mine when they are filled and topped. YUM! Enjoy!

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Easy Apple Fritters

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Ah, we all love the occasional sweet treat, don’t we? Especially a sweet breakfast treat. OK, maybe lunch too. Or after dinner. Heck, a snack between meals! And there is definitely nothing better than making that sweet treat yourself, in your own kitchen with minimal effort. I have many a good memory of getting a Saturday morning donut with my family at the local donut shop. Guess what I always picked? If you guessed Apple Fritter, you guessed correct! Nothing like the yummy goodness of the sweet taste of apples and cinnamon with a sweet glaze to top it all off.

Now I know in today’s hurried world, it can be tough to find the time to put together a complex recipe. With that in mind, I have some good news for you! I stumbled across an excellent AND quick apple fritter recipe that you can make in the comfort of your own home, and you don’t even have to have a deep fryer to make it happen. Just a relatively large, high walled pot works just fine. That’s what I used and my fritters turned out excellent. So good that I’m sneaking off to the store to buy more apples to make more tomorrow! Shh, don’t tell my husband.😛

For those of you who have apple trees in your backyards, I’m a bit jealous of you right now. What I wouldn’t give to walk out on a crisp early fall morning, grab a couple of apples straight off my tree and come back inside to prep them for fritters. Or even an apple pie…but that’s a whole different story. Just the thought of that makes me smile. I’m telling you right now, this is a recipe to tuck away into your most prized recipe book, you’ll thank yourself later. Even my picky 2 year old enjoyed these, although, honestly, what’s not to like?!

Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients

Fritters:

  • 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for batter)
  • 3 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped small
  • 1 cup cinnamon sugar for tossing

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions (20 minutes Prep Time, 15 Minutes Cook Time)

  1. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or deep pan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Pour in the milk, eggs and oil and stir until well blended. Mix in apples until they are evenly distributed.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and fry until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes depending on the size. Fry in smaller batches so they are not crowded. Remove from the hot oil using a slotted spoon or tongs (I found that tongs were easiest, I just let the fritter drip over the hot oil for a couple of seconds before removing) and drain briefly on paper towels. Toss with cinnamon sugar while the fritters are still warm.
  4. While your fritters are cooling, prepare your glaze. Put your powdered sugar in a small measuring cup, and add the milk and vanilla. Whisk until no sugar lumps remain. If your glaze is too thick, add more milk. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar until it is the consistency of a thin syrup.
  5. Once your fritters have cooled for about 10 minutes, dip one side of each fritter into the glaze and then place glaze side up on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. If you have remaining glaze, you can drizzle it over the fritters.

 

Recipe adapted from http://www.allrecipes.com.

Fresh Tomato & Basil Chicken Pasta

Many people love to grow their own vegetables in the summer. If that’s you, you might want to tune in to this post, since it uses fresh tomatoes and basil…and nothing is better than picking it straight out of your own garden right before you begin cooking. That’s one of the biggest thrills of gardening for me, the produce yields. Whether it be fruit or vegetables, it’s still exciting every time you get to pick something that just ripened to perfection, with plans to use it in tonight’s dinner. Tomatoes and basil are both a very simple backyard gardening effort, as long as you have a decent amount of sunshine and ample water. Basil can even grow year round if you have it in a pot that you can bring indoors during the colder months. Tomatoes typically grow from mid-May until September or October, depending on the summer. Picking a fresh tomato (regardless of variety) and cooking with it that day makes for some excellent flavor in your dinner, I promise!

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In our household, we have a picky 2 year old who doesn’t eat much besides cheese, yogurt, cereal, mac n cheese and hot dogs, much to my dismay. I love to cook and it’s very difficult to find meals that he will eat. Shockingly, he actually ate a good portion of the noodles in this dish, although he did pick around the tomatoes a bit, and steered very clear of the basil. He does appreciate some garlic on occasion, and I always tend to go a bit overboard with it because I am just a huge garlic lover. This is a very light and delicious dinner, and served next to a loaf of homemade bread, it’s downright delicious. I would recommend this to anyone, and I sure do hope you’ll try it. It’s well worth it.

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I have varied the types of tomatoes I’ve added to this dish, you can use varieties such as early girl, roma, and even cherry tomatoes like sun golds or sun sugars. Each tomato has it’s own unique flavor and I think if I had to choose, a mix of fresh roma and cherry sun sugars is my favorite. It just emanates summer. If you make this recipe in winter and buy the tomatoes from the store, I’d highly recommend just using roma tomatoes or a mix of roma and grape tomatoes. We make it in winter because it’s just too good to wait all the way until next summer to eat it again, and it brings nice fluffy feelings…and reminds us that summer isn’t too far off again.

Another fun twist, if you’re tired of chicken or just have a hankering for seafood, you can easily substitute shrimp into this recipe instead. If you decide to go that route, skip cooking the chicken at the beginning and just start by sauteing the tomatoes. As the last step, you’ll add the shrimp (peeled and deveined) and cook for 4-5 minutes or until pink and cooked through. Pre-season them with salt and pepper, and if you’d like, a seafood seasoning. Both ways are delicious!

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Lastly, the type of noodles can easily be varied as well. Linguine, fettuccine, spaghtetti, etc. It’s even more fun if you make your own homemade noodles.🙂

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And without further ado, here is the recipe!

Tomato & Basil Chicken with Pasta

Ingredients: (4 servings)

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips (or 1/2 pound shrimp, if substituting)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups roughly chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 4 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • 1/2 lb dry pasta of your choice

Step 1
Season chicken breast slices with salt and black pepper. Add olive oil to your skillet, and heat oil on medium high. While waiting for the oil to heat, start your pasta according to package directions, or if using homemade pasta, follow recipe directions. You don’t want to have to wait for your pasta to finish at the end. Make sure your oil is hot before adding chicken, you can splash a small amount of water on the oil and if it sputters, it’s hot enough. Add the chicken when hot, and cook until chicken is no longer pink.

Step 2
Next, add your tomatoes. Stir and cook for about a minute, and then add your fresh basil (reserve a small amount for garnish). Your kitchen will be smelling wonderful about now, so enjoy it! Then add the cold butter, and allow to melt, making a very delicious, thin sauce. Lastly, add in your garlic. At this point, you can sneak a quick taste and if you like, season your sauce with additional salt and pepper. Stir the sauce and chicken together well.

Step 3
Your pasta should be ready by now. Top the pasta with the chicken and sauce, and garnish with Parmesan cheese and remaining basil, and serve!

 

I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we have! Feel free to share and leave a comment below telling me what you think!

Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Soup

You know, there is just something about winter and soups….they just tend to go hand in hand. I love settling down to a hot bowl of thick soup, and a loaf of crusty bread or cornbread muffins. We eat lots of soups and stews in the winter, and sometimes doing the same recipes over and over again can get kind of old. I try to find new ones and branch out a little, sometimes with good results, sometimes not. It’s really awesome when you find one that’s OMG good. Like, when the first bite is so good, you just want to take your bowl and go hide in your room so you don’t have to share with anyone else. I sure do love those moments.

In our house, beyond loving soups and stews, we really love Mexican food. I love tacos, nachos, enchiladas, you name it, I probably like it. Oh…and tamales…one of these days I’ll learn how to make them! That said, wouldn’t it be neat if you could make something other than just a tortilla soup? Well, what about an enchilada soup? One that tastes just like an enchilada, but served in a bowl of hearty goodness. Look no further, here it is!

Enchilada sauce, mild green chiles, shredded chicken and spices, rice and corn are what make this dish so good. Cream cheese is used to make it thick and creamy, and it’s very hearty and delicious. The nice thing about this recipe, is it can be made in both the crockpot and just a regular stockpot on the stove. You’ll have to adjust how you cook it on the stove timing wise, but I find that it’s just so much more simple to throw it all into the crockpot. The recipe says to cook for 3.5 hours, I usually just put it on low and let it cook all day. Works great!

Now, back to the bread part! I have served this soup with both rolls and cornbread. Both are great. I suggest a fluffy dinner roll or a crusty artisan bread to dip, or you can make some delicious corn bread with honey butter to serve alongside a big bowl of this tasty creation.

Regardless of how you make it, and what you serve it with, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. The taste is incredible. I’d love to hear your comments and opinions on it, so sound off in the comments once you’ve given it a try! And feel free to pass this recipe around!

Crock Pot Green Chile Enchilada Soup
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
  • 2 – 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans mild green enchilada sauce
  • 2 – 4 oz. cans diced green chiles
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1½ TB cumin
  • 1 TB chili powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ⅔ cup corn (if frozen, thaw out)
  • ⅔ cup instant rice
  • 1 – 8 oz. bar cream cheese (cubed)
  • salt and pepper
  • Monterrey Jack Cheese
Instructions
  1. Place chicken broth, enchilada sauce, green chiles, water, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic podwer and shredded chicken in crock pot on HIGH. Cook for 3.5 hours.
  2. After cooking for 3.5 hours add corn, rice and cubed cream cheese. Stir and cook for half hour.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and top with Monterrey Jack Cheese. Serves 4-6.

(Recipe from LilLuna.com, originally adapted from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom)

Tasty Summer Salad – Chicken Avocado

With summer being so hot here in Seattle, and our house being a heat withholding wooden box, I have tried desperately to find recipes that don’t require the oven or the stove. It is also nice to find recipes that are easy to throw together for a picnic or even for camping. Another bonus is when it’s healthy and refreshing too!

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In this family, we love nothing more than a fresh avocado. Summer here is known for a few tasty things, berries and avocados from California. Nothing…I tell you, nothing, is better than a fresh, ripe avocado. Combine that into a tasty dinner recipe and life couldn’t be better. (Sorry, avocado haters. More for me!) We really like recipes that have good flavor and a variety of fresh ingredients, so this summer salad is a big favorite for us now. It’s quick and easy to prepare, which is fantastic for me, my toddler doesn’t really like to watch me cook for hours. Can’t blame him though, I wouldn’t want to watch someone cook, that just sounds boring. He helps with basic cooking tasks, and he actually helped make the dressing for this salad, he’s a pro at stirring things together. All in all, if I had to rate this on the 5 star scale, it would definitely get a 5, for both taste and ease of preparation. So, here we go! Give it a try and let me know what you think of it!

Chicken Avocado Salad
Recipe adapted from various recipes, instructions taken in part from Kalyn’s Kitchen blog.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded. I find using a rotisserie chicken is great, speeds up the process, all you have to do is shred it!
  • 2 medium, ripe avocados, diced into chunks.
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, separated
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely diced green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, coarsely or finely chopped is fine, depends what your preference is.
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, or light mayonnaise

Instructions:

Shred the chicken apart until you have 2 cups of chicken shredded into fairly large chunks.   Dice the avocados into medium-sized pieces, mix with 1 T of the lime juice, and season avocado with salt to taste.  Thinly slice the green onion and finely chop the cilantro.  Mix mayo and 1 T lime juice to make the dressing.
Put the chicken into a bowl large enough to hold all the salad ingredients.  Add the sliced green onions and dressing and toss until all the chicken is coated with dressing.  Add the avocado and any lime juice in the bottom of the bowl and gently combine with the chicken.  Then add the chopped cilantro and gently mix into the salad, just until it is barely combined.

Serve right away or chill for a while before serving.

A Summer Syrup – Blueberry Lemon Honey

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So I recently stumbled across a recipe I thought I would stick away for another time; I bookmarked it and went on with my day. Next on my list was grocery shopping, and ironically, the main ingredient, blueberries, was on a crazy sale that day. 2lbs of blueberries for $1.99. Can’t beat that! The recipe is a delicious, multipurpose Blueberry Lemon Honey syrup. I had fresh lemons at home already, as well as a jar of fresh honey from a local beekeeper. Needless to say, my plans changed and I decided to give this syrup a whirl.

The nice thing about the syrup is that it can be used in pretty much anything you can think of. It’s delicious in teas like chamomile, regular lipton, green tea, etc…and it gives a great antioxidant boost! I also tried it out on belgian waffles with a little butter, and it was absolutely tasty. My husband was drooling over my shoulder hoping I wouldn’t finish it all. I did. Sorry hubs, maybe next time. I also thought that it might make a good ice cream topping, or an addition to a mixed drink for adults. The possibilities could be endless with a little imagination! Maybe a topping for a fresh angel food cake, versus the classic strawberry? If anyone comes up with anything interesting, definitely share it here in the comments, I’m always open for new ideas and love learning new things!

Anyway, by now I’m sure you’re drooling and want me to just get down to business and share the recipe with you, huh?

Blueberry Syrup with Lemon and Honey
Recipe From Rachel @ Grow a Good Life

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is ideal, as you will need the zest from a lemon as well)

Directions

  1. Using a paring knife or vegetable peeler, peel five 1-inch strips of zest from the lemon then juice the lemon reserving 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. Extract the blueberry juice by combining blueberries and water in a saucepan over low heat. Gently mash the blueberries with a potato masher and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain the juice into a heatproof bowl, pressing hard on the solids. Discard the solids. **Tip from A Recipe to Life: Another way you can do this, especially if you’d like to leave a little of the blueberry solids in there for either decoration or flavor is to use an immersion blender and break down the berries to consistency that you want them. I did this before I heated them, but you could do either.
  3. Return the blueberry juice to the saucepan and add the lemon zest and honey. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of your spoon or registers 225° on a candy thermometer. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Continue stirring and boil over high heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat, discard lemon zest, and allow the blueberry syrup to cool. Pour into just-cleaned bottles. Seal and refrigerate for up to 3 months.

Enjoy!

Back on the Map!

Hi friends!

I’m not sure why I do this, I tend to disappear off the map for a while and then pop back in and post a whole bunch. My goal is to keep this blog active with all sorts of neat information, DIY, recipes, and more! I love to write so I may as well put that love to use! Expect much more to come, especially now that I have a laptop.

This summer has been abnormally hot here in the Seattle area, we have been breaking temperature and heat streak records left and right, and we also haven’t had any significant rainfall in over 45 days. Yes, you heard right. Seattle hasn’t had rain in almost 2 months. Crazy, I know. We have been dealing with hotter than normal temperatures for us, between 85-90 most days, which most Seattleites aren’t used to. I’m sure some of you are shaking your heads, thinking, wow, they are wusses. Just remember what we are used to…grey, cloudy, and rainy. With that in mind, we have been doing everything we can to stay cool, which means finding alternative ways to cook or recipes that don’t require cooking. I’ve also been trying my hand at canning on the cooler days, as well as a number of DIY projects. I have also been gardening this year, and it’s wonderful.  Since I last blogged, we have purchased our first house and have a decent sized yard with beautifully established trees and plants, and I tore out a weedy patch next to the house to turn it into a container garden area, which turned out decently successful despite not having full sun. My dream would be to have my own homestead, so I’m attempting to do that on a smaller scale. We have two Silkie chickens who lay us adorable and tasty little eggs frequently which helps combat the rising price of store bought eggs due to the avian flu. The photo below is of our new yard, in late Spring.

backyard

I have also been doing survival prep and emergency prep, just in case. All this talk of earthquakes here on the west coast makes one a bit uneasy, so I’d rather be ready than not ready. I’ll touch more on that later, and explain what we have been doing little by little to prepare.

For now, I have to get ready to head out to my job, in which I am a line cook, so I have plenty of recipe ideas and whatnot to share. Give me a follow,  leave a comment, etc!🙂


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