Go Pick Some Fruit!

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We go strawberry picking every year at Froberg’s Farm.  If you are in the Houston area, I highly recommend it, and if you aren’t, you should find a place to go pick strawberries (or other fruits).  I’ve had good luck in the past finding pick your own places through pickyourown.org.  There are lots of reasons you should go pick some fruit.  Here are a few reasons we go…

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Oh and I forgot one big reason, you can’t find fresher fruit!  We ate so many of these super fresh strawberries the weekend we went.  Strawberries seemed to be ready really early, so we got to go picking on Super Bowl weekend.  I hope we’ll be able to go a few more times this season.  The kids really enjoy it and I am thinking I might try to make some more Strawberry Balsamic Jam this year!

Going Bananas!

All the banana things

I’m walking through our local farm/produce shop on Saturday and we pass by a table with large buckets full of ripe bananas marked $1 each.  Sometimes I’m too frugal for my own good, but I couldn’t resist the bargain which led to a morning full of banana baking on Sunday.

Here’s the full details of my banana baking extravaganza.

I started with a basic banana bread recipe.  I used this for some regular sized muffins and later for some chocolate chip mini muffins. I left out the nuts, and used 1/2 cup of chocolate chips for the mini muffins.  I had an assistant in the kitchen.  He probably made a bigger mess than he contributed, but we both had fun in the process.

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I had some sour cream, so I ran across a recipe for Banana Sour Cream Bread and thought, why not!  I didn’t have a full thing of sour cream, so I subbed in some plain lowfat yogurt.  I made mini muffins, regular muffins & one loaf of bread from this recipe.

I made banana waffles the last time I had some ripe bananas and they went over great with the boys, so I tried a different version.  The problem with my previous batch was that they were too soggy.  I tried a new (to me) recipe this time, but made some pretty significant changes based on what I had on hand.  I doubled the recipe, put in applesauce instead of butter because I was running low, left out the sugar, added two tablespoons of flax seed and 1/2  cup of chocolate chips.  The goal with the chocolate chips was to add some sweetness without having to use syrup.  They aren’t sweet enough for my taste, if I don’t get a bite without chocolate chips, so I’d probably add the sugar next time.  However, the boys still love them.

I ended up with 4 bananas left and couldn’t bring myself to bake one more thing, so I put them in the freezer for smoothies.  After everything cooled, I froze a bunch of muffins and waffles for later use.

Previous to my banana bushel purchase, I had planned on making some brownies.  I happened to have an unopened container of nutella in the pantry, so I found a nutella brownie recipe.  I added peanut butter m&m’s to the top before baking, and cut them out with heart cookie cutters after they cooled.  Cutting them out with cookie cutters meant I got to eat all the edges.  It was a tough job but someone had to do it.  ;)  C2 helped me by licking the nutella spoon.

Pumpkin time

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Last weekend we went to our local farm that, in addition to their own produce, also sells other mostly local produce. They had sugar pumpkins or what I call pie pumpkins! We had been looking for them in our grocery store but they hadn’t been there due to the drought so this was a great find. Today I finally had a chance to roast them and will have puree for several recipes. Then, I made pumpkin apple muffins. Tomorrow I’ll roast the seeds and freeze the puree for future recipes!

Favorite Things

Blueberry Muffins (YIP 8/11/10)

I love reading about what other folks are loving right now on their blogs, but don’t formalize a list of mine that often. So, here goes, things I’m loving right now.

Ellen’s Blueberry Muffins over at Pioneer Woman (my version pictured above). I baked them last night and they are really good! I think they are my first muffins from scratch. My only regret, not buying more blueberries to make some more. These may become a staple at my house.

School related sewing projects! I don’t even have a school-aged kid, and I work from home so have little need for a lunch kit or other school supply items, but I am so inspired to make some of these things right now. I particularly love this lunch kit and pencil roll both found via Sew Mama Sew.

Beginning of Gwendolyn (YIP 8/1/2010)

I’m also still loving working on my Gwendolyn sweater! I’m more than halfway finished with the back, so it’s coming along nicely!

Weekending

This weekend, we hibernated to get things done. There was a lot of cleaning, and a quick trip to the mall for the husband to see the new iPhone (we’re a bit behind), but otherwise, it was all about the food!

Elinor's Granola (YIP 8/7/2010)

On Saturday, I made granola. This was my second batch. It is so good that this whole thing only lasts about a week around here. I had never made granola before trying this recipe, and now I think we’ll always keep it in the house. It’s easy to make and comes in super handy as a good snack to have around.

BIG grocery shopping!

I also went grocery shopping!, which doesn’t sound like a big thing. However, this trip was a bit nuts, as I was buying food for a month for two families for freezer meals using the Once a Month Mom August menu. On Sunday, my friend Kate and her family came over and we made freezer meals! We made 44 meals for the two families, so 22 meals a piece. I can’t say that making a month’s worth of meals with two husbands and four kids under the age of 5 in the house was a peaceful and magical experience, but it was relatively easy and I think we’ll do it again! We learned a lot of lessons that will make it easier in the future, as well.

Lesson One – Thoroughly read all recipes prior to shopping. There were a few that we might have modified a bit for ease of putting together or just personal taste. We followed the plan blindly this time, mostly due to time constraints, but I’d read a bit more closely next time.

Lesson Two – Start earlier! Due to naptimes, we didn’t really get started until around 3:30. With one of us nursing a newborn and with three other little boys in and out, we didn’t get finished until around 8:30. Five hours isn’t bad for a month of meals, but would be better if we got finished earlier.

Lesson Three – I need a chest freezer, but we already knew that. We were joking that we were going to come out this morning and find freezer meals all over the floor from where the freezer exploded. It’s like when you “cleaned” your room by shoving everything in the closet, shove it all in and close it really fast!

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