Saturday, May 28, 2011

Summer Fruit Favorites

What’s your favorite fruit?

I know it is a hard question to answer during this time of year!  I have quite the list of fruits that I love but I do have a favorite. 

I was raised eating fresh fruit and vegetables thanks to my Oma and Papa.  My grandparents run a fruit stand in CA (where I grew up) so our house was (and still is) always full of different varieties or fresh produce.  I loved it!  I would even go to the fruit stand and work some summers so that is pretty much all I ate some day.  I would graze (and work =)) all day on strawberries, tomatoes, peaches, you name it, I ate it!  I am so thankful that my Mom taught my brother and me to love fresh produce.  There are many parents that do not introduce produce to their children. So when they learn they should be getting a certain amount of severings a day, it comes as a shock.

My all time favorite fruit is strawberries!  It is a tough decision to make with so many choices out there. =)  I will say that peaches come in a close second.   My list pretty much goes like this…

Strawberries (They go with so many things and can be worked into a lot of different recipes.  They are best with a dollop of Nutella though!)

Peaches (Close close second! I LOVE peach cobbler.  I also love a cut up peach with just a sprinkle of cinnamon.)

Yellow Nectarines (Ripe, juicy ones are the best!!)

Cherries (LOVE cherries but truth be told, they are just a pain to eat sometimes.  I hate having to get a bowl and then something to spit the pits into. Lazy much?)

Pineapple (Fresh and delicious! I love it diced up on kabobs.)

Apples (I eat these pretty much year round so out of all of the fruits listed I probably eat these the most.)

Grapes (Green or purple will do.  Great on the go.)

Watermelon (Refreshing!)

Banana (Let me be honest, I only eat bananas because they are good for you as well as convenient.)

There you have it!  

So, what is your favorite fruit?

Franklin Farmers Market

Farmers Markets are awesome! For the past month and a half or so I have been going to the farmers market and just love it.  To me, it is the perfect way to start my weekend mornings.

I love all the locals getting together to sell their homegrown and homemade goodies.  There is so variety and options. I love just strolling around seeing what is new every week.  In the town I live in the market is pretty awesome! I can say that I have been to a few markets that are just no good, where everything is just thrown together and no one seems to care.  Not this one, there are super friendly people and everyone seems to be so welcoming.   

Since we are still in May (just barely) all the farmers markets seem to just be getting good.  There is not a TON of fruit and veggies just yet since it is not technically summer yet.  I am so excited to see all the summer fruit and veggies in just a few weeks…they are coming! Mounds and mounds of goodness!

It’s coming and I can’t wait!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fresh Spring Pasta

Spring is here!  Mid-May already, crazy!  One of my favorite things about spring is the food!  I do like the weather and the beautiful flowers as well but the fresh produce is the best!  I could live off of fruits and veggies in the spring and summer months. 

Here in Tennessee they have an amazing Farmers Market that I have been going to every Saturday morning.  It is awesome!  There are tons of people selling produce, breads, crafts, flowers and all different kinds of foods.  Good times!

We don’t eat pasta all that often even though I love it.  Kyle is not the biggest pasta fan so that is the main reason I don’t make it much, the other reason being that is it pretty unhealthy.  I use to only make white pasta but I have recently decided to only make whole wheat pasta and I don’t mind it at all.

This recipe is so simple it is ridiculous! I had some fresh asparagus that I was dying to use up and had some left over mushrooms that needed to be used, so that is just what I googled.  Up popped this lovely recipe so I went with it.  One thing that I love about all recipes is the reviews.  I don’t think I have ever made a recipe from all recipes without reading some of the reviews.  They are so helpful and give you little tips and hints and what to do differently.
For this particular recipe there were some comments stating that there wasn’t all that much flavor but that it was delicious. I decided to just add a little salt and pepper and see what I thought about the recipe for myself.  Now I know that the next time I make this pasta dish I will be adding a little somethin' somethin'.  I think that I will add some diced onions and maybe some diced garlic.  I did love home light this recipe was as well as how fresh it tasted.  There are a lot of pasta dishes with veggies but a lot of times there is a sauce that covers everything up and makes it unhealthy. 



1/2 pounds fresh asparagus (trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms (sliced)
8 oz. angel hair pasta (any pasta would work)
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
I added salt and pepper to taste just to give it a little more flavor.  


Cook pasta according to package instructions.
Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet.
Sauté asparagus in the pan over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
Add chicken broth and mushroom slices; cook 3 minutes more.
Drain pasta, and transfer to a serving dish.
Gently toss pasta with asparagus mixture; sprinkle with Parmesan and crushed red pepper. 


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole

Hash brown casserole, funeral potatoes, potato bake…same difference. I was recently introduced to hash brown casserole (about 2 years ago if you call that recently).  =)  My Mom never made this when I was growing up and when I told her that I loved it while having it at my in laws my Mom said “Ohhh yeah…I like that too!” WHAT!?  She didn’t like it enough to make it in my whole 23 years of life.  Thanks Ma!  

Anyways…now I know about it, love it and make it when I want! =) (Not too often since it is not healthy but it is DELICIOUS!)

This dish is really popular on Kyle’s side of the family.  Every time we go to Utah I have it at least once.  In Utah they call it ‘funeral potatoes’ but I think that sounds depressing so I am sticking with hash brown casserole, so much more fitting.

This recipe is great if you have a large group of people.  One casserole dish will feed ATLEAST 6 – 10 people but since I cook for just Kyle and myself I 1/2 the recipe and it was just perfect for us.  We had plenty which was great so I could pack it for lunches the next day.  The casserole saves pretty well and to me is even better the next day heat up in the microwave. 

SOURCE: (I think I am slightly obsessed with this darn site.)


1 package (2 lb. bag) frozen hash brown potatoes (thawed)
½ cup butter (melted)
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup (any cream of _____ works just fine)
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
½ cup chopped onions
1 - 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 t. salt
½ t. pepper
1 cup crushed cornflakes cereal (I only used cheese since I didn’t have cornflakes)
2 T. melted butter

*Low - fat or fat free products could very well be used.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In large bowl, combine hash browns, 1/2 cup melted butter, cream of chicken soup, sour cream,   chopped   onions, Cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.
Place in casserole dish.
In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté cornflakes in butter and sprinkle the mixture over the top of the casserole.
Bake covered in preheated oven for 40 minutes.