Category Archives: Fruits

Morning Fruit and Yogurt Shake-Up

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blueberry ahake
I get bored with oatmeal.  Especially when the weather is hot and humid like is the norm at my house in the summertime.  This summer when berries were fresh and I wasn’t feeling good about my swim suit I started drinking fruit and yogurt shakes for breakfast.

Blueberry shake blender
I didn’t go all out and add protein powder or anything like that. I simply opened my refrigerator and put together a cup of Greek yogurt (vanilla flavored), a handful of blueberries and tossed in a few strawberries.  I added 5 pieces of ice and about 1/2 cup milk.

blue straw for shake
No sugar is needed because the yogurt has the vanilla flavoring and that is enough for me. You may or may not want to add a teaspoon or two of sugar if you give this a try.

pouring berry shake
I pulsed the blender on the crushed ice button a few times and voila’!  I really never intended to blog this little recipe of mine except that it is so dang tasty and really filling and I thought you might like to give it a try.

picked blueberries
I realize that for the most part the fruit is now stowed-away frozen in the freezer, but that’s okay.  The frozen fruit works equally well.  I also tried cantaloupe that was almost past it’s prime and boy-oh-boy is it delicious!  The weather is finally turning cooler and oatmeal may be back in style. But for me — I am shaking up the morning with fruit and yogurt!

Have a blessed week,
Catherine

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”

Philippians 2:1-2 NIV

Morning Shake-Up

Morning Shake-Up

Shake up your morning with a delicious combination of fruit and yogurt. Perfect on-the-go breakfast!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (plain or flavored)
  • 1/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 5 ice cubes

Directions

  1. Place everything in the blender and pulse on and off until well blended and the ice is crushed into fine pieces.
  2. If the shake is too thick for your taste, add a little bit more milk.
  3. Enjoy!

Notes

Most any fruit will work equally well. Peaches - cantaloupe - raspberries - kiwi - blackberries - your choice!

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Lessons From The Blueberry Bush

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Blueberry cobbler
M
y sweet, wonderfully talented husband is our Chief Gardener. From early spring until late fall he spends hundreds of hours outside digging in the dirt, planting, tending, weeding, feeding, and then finally harvesting a variety of the fruits of his labor. However, this week he is in New York City tending to God’s garden, namely helping out at our friends at Hephzibah House!

Before he left last Friday I was given several necessary instructions about tending the garden in his absence. I will tell you that I love to eat fresh tomatoes, but planting, spraying for bugs, picking off bugs, checking on them daily, praying for rain, praying the rain will stop and then finally picking them just doesn’t excite me. But, being the dutiful wife (yikes!) and being seduced by the promise of fresh fruit and vegetables I am more than willing to tiptoe through the wet grass of the garden and “check” on the progress of some fruits and vegetables this week.

Weeding The Corn
Earlier this month the Chief  spent days on his hands and knees weeding the corn. We had been traveling and the weeds had a party while we were gone multiplying beyond what the Chief could bear.

July Mushroom Corn
Fast forward a few weeks and my job – “check” on the corn. I didn’t ask exactly what I was to “check for” – but I decided to take my camera long as I checked on the corn. Today, just after dawn, I made my way to the garden. The grass was very heavy with dew and I can see equally heavy air filled with misty morning humidity. The corn, oh the corn, is taller than I am, watered well by recent rains. Each stock is beaming with several lovely rusty shocks of corn silk showing me where each ear of corn is growing.

Corn July 22
From there my instructions were to “check on the tomatoes” and pick the ripe ones. There were 3.  Since these are Roma tomatoes and I use them for making spaghetti sauce, 3 aren’t going to do me much good. So, I will send them to the freezer to use another day.

Roma Tomato July 22
Finally I stop by the blueberry bushes. Oh my gosh they were just brilliant with little blue jewels hanging from the branches just waiting for me. I hurried to the garden shed, picked up a little plastic basket and returned to the bushes.

Blueberry Bush July 22
Picking blueberries is a specialty. If you pick too early the blueberry is still reddish-pink and quite sour. If you pick too late the birds will have had their share first! When a blueberry is ripe and ready for picking it will easily fall off the stem with a gentle touch.

Blueberry Blush upclose
As I began to lovingly roll the darkest blueberries through my fingertips I was thinking about how God does the very same thing with me. Each day I have the opportunity to give him my very best. But timing is everything. If I run ahead of His plans and try to do things on my own, they can often times turn sour and aren’t fit for anything.

“Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”  2 John 1:9

Occasionally when I run my hands across a blueberry I fumble and the juicy, plump little ball will fall to the grass. Have you ever tried to find just one blueberry in moist, heavy grass? It isn’t easy. And yet, it is worth it because that one blueberry added to another and then another will soon provide enough to make a delicious blueberry cobbler!

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
Luke 15:4-7

This morning I was reading Psalms 23. The practical part of this Psalm speaks to the Hebrews who were a nomadic people who wandered from place to place seeking pasture for their herds of goats, cattle, and sheep. A shepherd’s job was simply to protect his sheep. But it was and is, even today, no simple task. Often times the shepherd would need to leave the herd to rescue one straying ewe. No wonder God chose this image in presenting Jesus as the Good Shepherd, protecting each and every one of us, his sheep.

Blueberry Bush July
As I picked through the grass to recover that one fallen blueberry I am so thankful for the reminder of how often the Lord rescues me, over and over again.

Fresh Blueberries
Today, I pray you will take a moment and join me as I thank God for his constant care – for bringing me back when I wander. For providing nourishment for my body and my soul. For lovingly singling me out and picking me when the time is ripe to do his will. Let’s thank him for wanting a personal relationship with each and every one of us! For treating each of us with special attention, protecting us and giving us peace.

Blueberry cobbler single
It is a beautiful morning walking in the garden and feeling the full presence of the Lord. Whether you get your blueberries off the bush or off the shelf at the grocery store, here is a Blueberry Cobbler recipe that will simply bless your socks off! It comes from allrecipes.com and is simply named Best Ever Blueberry Cobbler.

Blueberry cobbler top down
Happy gardening, cooking, and enjoying the fruits of your labor.
Catherine

Best Ever Blueberry Cobbler

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6

Best Ever Blueberry Cobbler

This easy cobbler recipe makes a buttery, fluffy topping which is just the right contrast to the slightly sweet fresh blueberries.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (190 degrees C.)
  2. In an 8 inch baking dish, spray with oil. Mix blueberries, 3 Tablespoons sugar and orange juice. Spread out on bottom of baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, cream butter and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, stirring just until ingredients are well mixed.
  5. Drop batter by rounded tablespoons over the blueberry mixture. Try to cover as much of the filling as possible.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
  7. Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream, or all by itself!

Notes

This recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9" x 13" baking dish or a comparable round dish. Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

* If you don't have orange juice on hand I have made it without. I have also made it with 4 Tablespoons lemon juice instead.

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Dehydrating Oranges For Fun Gifts or For Eating

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Christina's dried oranges
My incredibly talented niece, Christina, posted this picture of dried oranges on Facebook.  It caught my attention because it is so pretty and because I love to dehydrate stuff!Christina2

I asked her if I could post the picture and she readily agreed and sent me the following information.


“They make great gifts or
just to keep in your own kitchen
!”

“If the oranges you dry are really sweet, then they could be eaten as a snack once dry. But if they are off season then they don’t really make a great snack, but are perfect for teas, infused water and even in recipes.

You can also sprinkle them with a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg while drying for a very fragrant result.

You can also do lemons and limes and they look really cute in smaller jars.

Four trays at 135* took about 15-17 hours to dehydrate. Once done, I let them cool completely for several hours and then used a wide mouth jar sealer to seal them.”

Thank you so much Christina for sharing this cute and delicious idea! I particularly like the idea of dropping one of these orange slices in a glass of cool refreshing ice tea this summer!  Yum!

Blessings,
Catherine

Psalm 119:103 (ESV)

How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Brown Sugar Banana Bread

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slice banana bread upclose
Do you have a favorite banana bread recipe?  I don’t. At least I didn’t until recently.  I’ve made a lot of banana bread through the years.  Mostly crumbly, sometimes overly dense, occasionally dry, and always leaving me wishing I just hadn’t bothered.

Then my friend Opal called asking me if I have a recipe for banana bread — made with sour cream and brown sugar.  What?  I’ve never even seen a banana bread recipe with those ingredients.  Opal says it is the only recipe she has used for years and years.  Unfortunately, the recipe got away from her in a cookbook she gave to her granddaughter as she was leaving for Africa!

sliced banana bread
I Googled and read through dozens of recipes looking for just the right combination of ingredients that included the sour cream and brown sugar. By the time I passed this recipe on to Opal I was already on my way to the kitchen!

Black Bananas
But first, I had to retrieve these bananas from the freezer.  Many months ago (embarrassingly long ago) I put these in the freezer for a few days until I had time to do something with them.  Now I had the recipe … but I had no idea if the bananas were still good.  Turns out — you can put bananas in the freezer, leave them for a long time, thaw them out and squeeze them into your banana bread recipe!

3 loaves banana bread
First thing you may notice about my three loaves of banana bread … they are each a different size. Same size pans but my ability to split up the batter equally left something to be desired!

Banana bread sliced
I used Turbinado Sugar for the little sprinkling on top. Definitely a good idea as it left the top slightly crisp.  We slathered on some leftover Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Spread and ate it for dessert one evening.  Out of this world!  For me the decision to keep a recipe often times boils down to one thing.  In this case the Chief  took one bite and said, “wow!  this is the best banana bread you have ever made!”  That’s the one thing. :)

Banana bread is wonderful toasted and it can even be sliced thick and used for french toast.  Thanks to Opal for telling me about “brown sugar and sour cream” in banana bread!

Happy Baking!
Catherine

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.       Ephesians 1:15-23

Opal’s Brown Sugar Banana Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Opal’s Brown Sugar Banana Bread

Moist, rich, scrumptious!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium well-ripened bananas)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • *Additional brown sugar or Turbinado Sugar for top of batter

Directions

  1. Mix together butter, oil, sugars and eggs.
  2. Add mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla, stirring well.
  3. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring until it is well blended.
  4. Pour into 1 greased large loaf pan or 3 greased small pans (7" x 3 1/2").
  5. Sprinkle additional brown sugar generously over top of the batter.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees; large loaf for about an hour, small loaves for about 45 minutes. Test bread to make sure it is done in the middle.
  7. Allow bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges, tap the pan carefully on the counter to release the bread from the bottom of the pan, then invert pan over a wire rack and let the bread fall onto the rack to finish cooling.
  8. Butter up and enjoy!

Notes

Other favorite ingredients may be added according to your taste: miniature chocolate chips, toffee bits, shredded coconut, chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, chopped macadamia nuts.

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Blueberry Crumb Bars

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blueberry bars plate and panful
Even though I had just baked up Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars, I saw a picture of these blueberry crumb bars on three different websites within just a few days of each other and I knew I just had to make them.

blueberries layered
Thanks to a bumper crop this year, we have a fresh stock of blueberries in our freezer.  I didn’t mind a bit letting go of 4 cups to make these bars.  The crust and the topping are the same and so it goes together very fast.  Half the mixture goes on the bottom, then the blueberries combined with lemon juice, sugar, and corn starch layers next.  The crumb topping is crumbled over the blueberries.  The bars are baked for 40 to 45 minutes.

blueberry bars upclose
Once cooled I drizzled a bit of vanilla frosting on top.  It turned out to be a perfect crowning touch!

blueberry crumb bars plated
This is a short post –  I’ve gotta go — I’ve got just enough time to make up a batch of these before dinner! :)

blueberry crumb panfull
Happy Baking,
Blessings, Catherine

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:4-5

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Feed a crowd with these fruity, tasty bars!

Ingredients

    Crust/Topping
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Filling
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter and egg to the bowl, and use a pastry cutter to cut them in until the pieces of butter are no larger than small peas - the mixture should look like coarse meal. Transfer half of the mixture to the prepared pan and pat into an even layer to form the crust.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch. Add the blueberries, and toss gently to coat them evenly. Pour the blueberry mixture over the crust and spread evenly. Crumble the remaining crust/topping mixture over the blueberries to cover.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and the filling bubbles around the edges. Remove the pan to a wire rack and allow the bars to cool completely in the pan.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  6. Drizzle with vanilla frosting, optional - but a crowning touch!
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