Blackberry Frozen Yogurt (without an ice-cream maker)

It’s finally summer and my favorite time of year- berry season!  Give me all the berries…strawberries, raspberries, cherries and blackberries.  It brings a smile to my face when the little fruit stands on the side of the road that have been shuttered for nine months are now brimming with fresh fruit.  There is SUCH a difference in flavor between store-bought berries and local, freshly-picked berries. No comparison, really.

We recently had family in town from Illinois and it was such a pleasure to share this unique California experience with them.  There we all stood with our cartons of berries, devouring them in the gravel parking space with juice dripping down our chin.  Messy, but the best.  So, with our house constantly full of summer fruit, I decided to find another way to use them instead of eating them straight from the refrigerator.  And since it’s going to be over 100 degrees every day this week (!!), let’s do some homemade froyo!

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tomato & cucumber salad {with lemon-caper dressing}

This salad screams summertime!  Though it’s only April, we’re getting summertime vibes over here and I am (somewhat) ready.  I’m ready to walk away from the stove and fire up the grill.  I’m ready to simply toss some veggies together to accompany our meal and call it day.  I’m envisioning sitting with my husband on our back patio at dusk under the twinkling pergola lights, listening to our wind chime dance in the breeze.  While sipping on an ice-cold, crisp glass of Pinot Grigio, I am wholeheartedly enjoying this salad on a perfect summer evening.

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“Chorizo”-Spiced Sweet Potato Soup

‘Tis the season for cookies and soup.  I have a feeling I will be making an abundance of both in the next few months, and as mentioned in previous posts, soup is one of my all-time favorite meals.  (And yes, we’ve concluded it IS a meal 🙂 ).

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Crusty White Beans & Roasted Brussels Sprouts {with greens}

Beans n Brussels 3

Beans n Brussels 2

So, this dish combines crispy, roasted Brussels sprouts and crusty, creamy white beans– lots of texture and tons flavor.  The addition of the greens give the whole dish a nutritional boost while freshly grated Parmesan is just icing on the cake.  Essentially, this dish is satisfying and filling but if you simply cannot live without some sort of of meat, I think the saltiness of chopped bacon or pancetta would work fabulously here as well.

Brussels sprouts are a staple of my fall cooking and for the past few years, once this season rolls around, I tend to eat them in bulk.  Usually roasted and straight off the pan.  If you haven’t had sprouts before (um, how?), I feel this is the most delicious way to cook them.  There’s no lingering bitterness and the edges and leaves get super crispy, almost like chips, while the insides soften in the oven. So. Good.  It took me a while to give them a try but once I did, I was hooked.

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