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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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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.


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!


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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!


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.

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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! 🙂


Well, ok, not really. More like, would you like to eat a pepper too? I ran across a fabulous, can’t go wrong stuffed pepper recipe today, and of course wanted to share it with my fantastic followers! Not only does it look delicious, it’s low calorie for those of us that are trying to eat clean and keep up with a good exercise plan. This recipe also is relatively simple.

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(image courtesy Simply Love Food)

STUFFED PEPPERS 150 CALORIES PER HALF

Olive Oil ( I used Tahitian lime olive oil)
1/2 lb lean ground turkey breast
1 cup chopped onions
1 heaping tbsp of homemade taco seasoning (or you can use the packaged type if you like)
2 cups of cooked rice (any type you like – I like brown)
3-4 organic bell peppers, halved and seeds removed
1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
½ cup of organic frozen corn
1 (15 -16 ounce) jar of salsa (my favorite is mango peach)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Toppings:
fresh cilantro
sour cream
sliced avocado
Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat the peppers with olive oil and roast in a baking dish about 20-25 minutes just until cooked thru. Remove the peppers from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle them.

*****Note – make sure you cook your turkey ahead of time that way you do not have to worry about it later. Also, I sauted the onions until cooked thru, I then added in my cooked rice, black beans and corn.

In a bowl add the taco seasoning, cooked ground turkey, chopped onions, black beans, corn and rice. Add in the jar of salsa and mix well.

Carefully spoon the turkey mixture into each half of the bell peppers and place back into the baking dish. Cook the peppers for another 15-20 minutes or until the peppers are cooked all the way thru. Before removing from the oven sprinkle the tops of each pepper with shredded cheddar cheese. Place back into the oven just until the cheese has melted.

Remove from the oven and top with fresh cilantro, avocado slices and/or sour cream just before serving.

 


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This is a fantastic little treat for the family! It’s not as hard as it probably sounds like, and I’m sure that you’ll be drooling a bit by the time the nuts make it into the oven. The best part of this whole recipe, besides eating them, of course, is the amazingly delicious smell that fills the house when they are baking! Definitely make sure that when you make these, that you follow the directions and stir the nuts every 15 minutes while they’re baking, if not even more frequently! This way they don’t burn and they get crispy all the way around! My favorite part is to snack on them when they’re still a little warm from the oven.

Don’t be shy with the cinnamon either. If you’re a cinnamon fan, the more the better. You could probably get away with 3 teaspoons if you are a die-hard cinnamon lover, or only 2 if you aren’t. You also can substitute other nuts into this recipe as well. My husband and I made this recipe with walnuts and almonds instead of pecans, since those were the nuts that we had handy at the time. I can imagine that it would be good with peanuts, macadamias, hazelnuts, anything really! The best thing about these types of recipes are that they’re easily “tweaked” to fit every taste!

Ingredients:

    • 5 cups whole pecans, unsalted
    • 1 cup whole almonds, unsalted
    • 2 egg whites
    • 2 Tablespoons water
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Toss the pecans and almonds in a large bowl and then set those aside as well.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and water on high speed until stiff peaks form, which usually takes about 4-5 minutes on average. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and mix on medium speed until well combined.

Pour the nuts into the sugar mixture and stir to coat completely. Spread the nuts as evenly as possible over the baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15, or more often if your oven runs especially hot. Allow to cool completely and enjoy. Store nuts at room temperature for a few weeks, covered.

*Recipe can easily be halved to keep around the house or doubled to feed a large crowd. Recipe courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction.