Blueberry Surprise … what could be the surprise?

Looking for a good summer read?  Check out Blueberry Surprise by Wanda E. Brunstetter.  A light, summer romance just perfect for those days on the beach or the front porch.  But what is the Blueberry Surprise?

The Blueberry Surprise is a light, moist tea bread made with honey, bananas and fresh blueberries.  You will have to read the book to see how this tea bread ties into the story, but what I can share is the recipe from the book.  Try to use local honey for a real taste treat and fresh blueberries.  Fresh from the farm ingredients can’t be beat for this tasty eats. Serve for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

Maybe I’ll see ya around the farm ~ Barbara

Recipe for Blueberry Surprise

Makes 1 loaf

1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup honey
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and honey until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add bananas and mix well.  Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture, mixing thoroughly.  Gently fold in blueberries. Pour into 9×5-inch loaf pan lined with waxed paper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.  Cool, remove from pan, and gently pull away waxed paper.

Recipe from Blueberry Surprise by Wanda E. Brunstetter.

 

 

Farm to Table … Delicious Transparent Apples and Local Honey

It’s summertime, the bees are working the buckwheat fields and the apple trees are loaded with green transparent apples.  Guess it’s time to bake some tasty eats.

Transparent apples ripen in late June and early July here in the South (North Carolina.)  The fruit is medium in size and best picked when they are pale green.  They will ripen to bright yellow, however they will not be crisp, so pick when light green. The flesh is white, tender, and a bit tart; perfect for cooked apples or in one of these desserts.

Apple Strudel with Honey, Raisins and Walnuts

Apple Strudel with Honey, Raisins and Walnuts

The strudel is made with phyllo dough sheets, each sheet brushed with a mixture of honey and warm water instead of butter.  Of course, your local honey is the best for this recipe.  If you can’t find transparent apples, use a good baking apple, i.e., Granny Smith.  Gather your friends and enjoy this summer dessert hot from the oven.

For recipe, click here: Apple Strudel with Honey Raisins and Walnuts

Apple Phyllo Pie

Another way to use these summertime apples and local honey is to make this Apple Phyllo Pie.  Like the strudel, this pie uses phyllo dough sheets instead of pie crust.  The sheets are also brushed with a mixture of honey and warm water.  Edges of the phyllo dough are gathered and layered over top of the apples, very similar to a galette.

Apple Phyllo Pie

Apple Phyllo Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream

And, it doesn’t get any better unless served warm with vanilla ice cream.

For recipe, click here:  Apple Phyllo Pie

Transparent Apples – Ripens late June to early July in the Southern states

Be sure to stop by your local farmer and support their efforts to bring fresh produce to your table.  Look for unusual ingredients and step out of your box to create tasty eats.  These apple dishes didn’t stay around our house very long as they were baked to be enjoyed at the moment.

Hope you will try one or both of these recipes.  See ya around the farm. ~ Barbara

Roasted Tomato and Onion Tart – Perfect for Sunday Brunch

Ah, it must be summertime when I see homegrown tomatoes appear on my door step.  One of my favorite ways to use these red jewels is in a tart with sweet Vidalia onions.  Roasting both the onions and tomatoes adds a different level of sweetness to this tasty treat.

Be watchful of the onions so they do not burn.  The tomatoes take a bit longer.

Puff pastry is my go-to dough for these tarts.  Let thaw, roll out and top with Mozzarella cheese, a Ricotta cheese mixture, the tomatoes and onions.

Slice the tart into six pieces and you have a nice addition to a Sunday Brunch.

Many thanks to my neighbor, Ray, for supplying me with these picks from his garden.  For the complete recipe, click on the link below.

Click here:  Roasted Tomato and Onion Tart

What’s your favorite recipe for summertime tomatoes?  See ya around the tomato patch. ~ Barbara

106 Miles – 8 Towns – 1 Saturday … Join me for a “Coastal Road Trip”

One of the joys of moving to a new town is “seeing” what makes a town unique.  Two years ago my sister and I moved to Southport (North Carolina) and now call it home.  After we settled in, we would take to the road to visit the neighboring towns.  Even though we had already traveled to these towns, I decided I wanted to “see” what maybe I had missed on our earlier road trips.  On a beautiful, sunny day last March, we set out for our “Coastal Road Trip.”  This journey was  documented through my photographs along with a short story.  My “Coastal Road Trip” was just published in the South Brunswick Magazine-Spring 2017 issue, Pages 77-84 and can be found in local grocery stores and drug stores in Brunswick County, North Carolina, for the next three months.  Be sure to pick up a copy, or you can read it here.  Ah, the joys of a good road trip!  Hope to see you on the road. ~ Barbara

It’s Almost Summer … Bring On The Salads!

With summer almost upon us, it’s time to start thinking of cool, fresh salads.  When I was living in Nashville, Tennessee, a favorite place for lunch served these cold sesame noodles, loaded with fresh vegetables.  It was always a highlight of the summer to grab a bowl and sit in the beautiful courtyard of the Nashville Public Library.

While browsing some magazines, I came across this recipe for Cold Sesame Noodles with Extra Veggies and decided to see if it mirrored the noodles I remember.  Yes, it did, and I was thrilled, but I did make a few changes along the way.

To make the recipe healthier, I omitted the salt in the water for cooking the noodles.  I also used Smart Balance Peanut Butter, low sodium soy sauce and less sesame oil.  The original recipe did not call for zucchini.  Zucchini is a staple in our refrigerator so I added two to the mixture.  Our spiral slicer did not cooperate so I used the food processor and shredded the carrots, zucchini and the cucumbers.  Feel free to make any changes to the recipe to suit your healthy diet.  The recipe states it makes four servings, however I stretched it to six servings and served it over shredded lettuce.  Full of veggies and taste, this will be a repeat for our summer menu.  Enjoy!

Cold Sesame Noodles Loaded with Veggies
Serves 4

1 teaspoon coarse salt
8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
1 cup edible pea pods (or sugar snap peas), trimmed
5 tablespoons smooth (or chunky) peanut butter (no sugar added)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 large carrots, peeled and cut with a spiral slicer into “noodles” (or shredded or cut into matchsticks)
2 medium zucchini, cut with a spiral slicer into “noodles” (or shredded or cut into matchsticks)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and shredded (or cut into matchsticks)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Directions
Bring a large pot of water with 1 teaspoon coarse salt to a boil. Boil pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente; during last 2 minutes add pea pods, and cook until crisp-tender. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup liquid. Rinse pasta and peas under cold water to cool.

Whisk peanut butter with reserved cooking liquid, vinegar, soy sauce, and oil in a large bowl. Add pasta, peas, carrots, zucchini and cucumber and toss to combine. Top with sesame seeds.

NOTE: For a healthier version, omit the salt, use Smart Balance Peanut Butter and low-sodium soy sauce.

“The Hive” – Oak Island’s One-Stop for Honey on Tap

The Brunswick Senior Buzz is a monthly publication from Brunswick Senior Resources, Inc. (BSRI) here in Brunswick County, North Carolina.  The mission of BSRI is to promote the well-being and enhance the quality of life for all senior adults in Brunswick County; by advocating for programs and delivering services that encourages and sustains independence and their continued participating in the community.

Last month I was asked to contribute an article about a local honey business, The Hive.  Owner Craig Connolly was kind enough to spend time educating me about honeybees and his store.  The June issue, with my article and photographs, hit the stands yesterday. Check it out … and be sure to stop by The Hive and give a wave to Craig.

June 2017 Issue

The Brunswick Senior Buzz can be found at local grocery and drug stores, as well as all Brunswick Senior Centers in Brunswick County, North Carolina.

See ya around the honey hive. ~ Barbara

 

Summer Markets Begin! Visit The Southport Sisters This Wednesday.

It’s that time of the year again as the summer markets come to town.  If you are in the Southport/Oak Island area of North Carolina, be sure to check out the Southport Waterfront Market every Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.  My sister and I, the Southport Sisters, will be there every Wednesday, weather permitting.  Look for us under the big oak tree.  Scroll down to see what we’ll have new this year!

Barbara will showcase new local scene images on note cards:

Francine will offer new shell game boards, complete with shells from Oak Island:

Francine will also bring her many varied designs of children’s growth charts:

We hope to see you at the market this summer.  ~ The Southport Sisters

What? No Camera? – New Exhibit of Scanography Work

Just what is “Scanography?”  Scanography is the process of capturing digitized images of objects for the purpose of creating printable art using a flatbed photo scanner.  No camera is used to create this digital art.  From sea shells, to fruit, to vegetables, and of course, beautiful flowers, the combinations are endless.  Want to see more?

From May 1, through May 31, 2017, a selection of my work is on exhibit at the Calabash Library: Hickmans Crossroads Library, 1040 Calabash Road, Calabash NC 28467,  (910) 575- 0173.  The library is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and closed on Saturday and Sunday.  This exhibit is set up in the tall glass case in the main lobby, as shown below.

Here is a close up of a couple of the images on display.

I have written a tutorial that illustrates how this work is done on a scanner.  You will need some type of post-processing tools, i.e., Photoshop, Elements, etc. in order to process the images.  Click on the link below.

Click here: Scanography Tutorial by Barbara Sammons

If you need more inspiration to try this process, click on the link below that will take you to a gallery on my website of all the work I’ve done.  Maybe you will be inspired to try Scanography.

Click here:  Scanography-Creative Digital Photography

And don’t worry, you don’t have to grow your own flowers or vegetables … stop by your local food market or farmer’s market and pick up a bouquet and just have fun.

Any questions?  Drop me a line.  Happy Scanning!  ~Barbara

Craft Festival Season Begins – Come Out To The Villages Spring Market-April 29

And so the Craft Festival begins on Saturday, April 29, 2017!  If you are in the Wilmington, Leland, Southport or Oak Island area this Saturday, be sure to stop by The Villages Spring Market.  My sister and I, the “Southport Sisters,” will be set up under the big white tent on the parking lot of Lowes Food market at Brunswick Forest in Leland (located at 1152 E. Cutlar Crossing off Highway 17).  There will be 70+ vendors so there is something for everyone.

Be sure to stop by our booth and check out my sister’s new hand-painted Shell Tic-Tac-Toe board games complete with shells collected from Oak Island.  Many colors and designs to choose from.

Francine will also bring a wide variety of her hand-painted children’s growth charts.

I will be showcasing my photography on note cards with many new designs.

We hope to see you at this craft festival.  If you can’t make it to this one, we will be set up at the Southport Waterfront Market, every Wednesday (weather permitting) from 8am until 1pm, beginning May 3.  Click here to see our compete list of craft festivals and exhibits:  2017 Arts and Craft Festival Schedule