Pears and Blueberries, Oh My!

I’ve been keeping an eye on two Kiefer Pears that were still trying to ripen when I noticed they were finally ready.  After doing a bit of searching, I found a recipe for a Blueberry, Pear & Walnut Galette that sounded yummy.  The recipe uses Puff Pastry, which I love to use, some blueberries and pears.  It also calls for walnuts, but I used pecans instead.  Other than that one change, I followed the recipe exactly.  Unfortunately there is nothing left.  Sister and I each had a piece, I shared a couple of pieces with my neighbors and a couple more pieces with a friend who stopped by.  Oh well, guess I’ll have to make it again.  Hope you’ll give this a try.

Blueberry, Pear and Walnut (Pecan) Galette

Thanks to Pie Lady Bakes for the recipe and inspiration for this dessert.  Pie Lady Bakes, click here: Pie Lady Bakes-Blog

Blueberry, Pear & Walnut Galette

Ingredients:
1 roll of frozen puff pastry
2 Bosc pears, peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (or pecans)
1 egg, beaten

Directions:
Thaw the puff pastry, and place on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the brown sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and ginger together. Toss the pears and walnuts in the sugar mixture until well coated.  Arrange the pear slices over the dough in two rows (see photo), keeping about 1/2 inch from all edges. Sprinkle blueberries over pears.  Fold over the puff pastry along each edge, pressing corners together.  Brush the puff pastry with the beaten egg.  Place in the bottom third of the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden. Remove and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

 

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A Cool Salad for a Hot Summer’s Day – Sesame Chicken Cucumber Noodle Salad

When I was working in Nashville, Tennessee, one of my favorite places for lunch was a small bistro directly across the street from the Main Library.  They had scrumptious pastries for the morning and satisfying salads for lunch.  My choice was their cold peanut noodle salad with fresh vegetables.  I had not thought about that salad for quite some time until I ran across this recipe from the Eating Well Test Kitchen.  Loaded with strips of chicken, red peppers, cucumbers and green onions, the pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti) is bathed in a sauce of creamy peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil and soy sauce.  I followed the recipe (see below) but feel it’s a bit too much rice wine vinegar.  I am not a fan of Cilantro so that was not added to my dish.  I used whole wheat pasta, low sodium soy sauce, and Smart Balance peanut butter for a healthier version. For purposes of my photo, I did not add the romaine but I will when this dish is served.  Try making this dish with less rice wine vinegar and then add more if needed.  You may also need to add a touch of sweetener; just taste the dish and make any necessary adjustments. I added a small amount of Splenda.

Many thanks to Eating Well Test Kitchen for this delicious recipe, click here:

Sesame Chicken Cucumber Noodle Salad

I mean, who doesn’t like peanut butter for lunch!!  Give this salad a try for your next get together or as a treat just for yourself.  Go ahead, you deserve a treat.  See ya in the kitchen ~ Barbara

 

 

Combine Two Favorites, Lemon and Zucchini, For A Tasty Tea Bread

One of my favorite flavors for baking is lemon, either lemon zest or lemon juice … or both!  And this tea bread combines both, zest and juice, along with shredded zucchini for a light and easy to make tea bread. To cut down on the sugar, I used Splenda for Baking and I also used a little less oil than was called for in the recipe.  Even though my dough seemed a bit thick, it baked up in 45 minutes to a beautiful golden brown on the outside and a light and airy dough on the inside.  Be sure to watch your oven around the 45 minute mark so as not to overbake.  The recipe calls for a bread pan, but I just used a 9×5 loaf pan and it worked just fine. I also omitted the glaze on top, but that’s up to you.  This will be the perfect bread paired with my ham and cheese egg casserole.

Thanks to Lemon Tree Dwelling for the recipe, click here to download recipe: Lemon Zucchini Bread

Check out Lemon Tree Dwelling for more recipes, click here:  http://www.lemontreedwelling.com/

Need to find me? I’ll be in the kitchen ~ Barbara

Buzzing Around Brunswick County – Local Beekeepers and Their Efforts to Save the Bees

“We would like you to write an article on local beekeepers” my editor said to me earlier this summer. “Sure thing” I say.  Oh no, what did I get myself into, I ask?  I know nothing about bees other than they produce honey and bee stings.  Well, I was going to find out all I ever wanted to know about beekeeping, and then some.  My journey started by attending a local beekeepers meeting, and then scheduling interviews.

For the next several weeks, I visited farm after farm learning all about bee hives and the countless hours these beekeepers devote to protecting these tiny creatures.  Most beekeepers have the same thoughts about their bees. “They are like my children, they need nurturing, food and shelter.”

My story, and photographs, was just published in the South Brunswick Magazine, Summer 2017 issue.  To read about my journey into beekeeping, click on the link below.

Click here to read story:  2017 Summer SBM-Buzzing Around Brunswick County

Many thanks to all the beekeepers who gave up their time to school me in the “sweeter” side. And thanks for the honey!  Be sure to check out my recipe for Honey Thyme Shortbread which is included in the article.

Maybe I’ll see you around the bee hives! ~ Barbara

Fresh Pears are In Season … How About This Pear Tart?

Pears are starting to ripen here in North Carolina and what could be better than a Pear Tart?  This recipe calls for canned pears, just to make it a quick bake.  I used home canned pears in a light syrup, drained well.  The crust is light and crunchy with finely chopped walnuts, a slightly sweet layer of cream cheese and then topped with these glorious pears.  A sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar top this off for a truly delectable dessert. To keep the sugar content to a minimum, I used Splenda for Baking instead of regular sugar. In place of the recommended tart pan, I used a 9-inch springform pan and it worked just fine.

Thanks to Taste of Home for this recipe.  It’s a keeper for me and one that I will make again.  Recipe is below photo.  Hope you’ll give it a try for your next get-together.

Click here for recipe:  https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/pear-tart

See ya around the kitchen ~ Barbara

Figs are in Season! Try these Glazed Warm Fig Bars for a Tasty Treat.

In my younger days, one of my favorite cookies was Fig Newtons, and they still are a favorite today.  I wanted to try my hand at making my own, but I didn’t want the heavy texture of the original cookie.  Thanks to Pepperidge Farms and their Puff Pastry, I have found a way to get the taste of Fig Newtons, but with a flaky crust.  The recipe calls for dried figs, but since fresh figs are now in season, I cooked a batch of fresh figs and then drained them.  I did add some dried figs to tighten up the filling.  If you don’t have fresh figs, just follow the recipe (a link to the recipe is at the end of this post.)

Be sure to use local honey for this recipe for that taste of sweetness.  I will definitely make these again.

Homemade Fig Bars with Puff Pastry

 

Homemade Fig Bars fresh from the oven

Puff Pastry is my go-to pastry for these tasty treats.  If you do not like figs, try substituting any dried fruit; just follow the recipe on the initial cooking of the fruit.

Many thanks to Pepperidge Farms for their delicious recipes.

Recipe courtesy of Pepperidge Farms; click here:  https://www.puffpastry.com/recipe/glazed-warm-fig-bars/

Maybe I’ll see you in the kitchen! ~ Barbara

Need an idea for Breakfast? Try these Mini Ham ‘n’ Cheese Frittatas and Chocolate Delight Banana Muffins

Breakfast has to be my favorite meal of the day. It just gets my day going, especially after a couple of cups of coffee.  I’m always searching for new and simple ideas to add variety to my meals. This delightful combination of mini frittatas and muffins fits the bill for easy breakfast eats.  If you don’t want to bake early in the morning, make these the day before and then warm them up and serve with fresh fruit and coffee.  Both of these recipes are perfect if you are baking for a diabetic; food exchanges are included.

Chocolate Delight Banana Muffins (left) and Mini Ham ‘n’ Cheese Frittatas (right)

The muffins are made with reduced fat-biscuit baking mix, Splenda and a touch of sour cream, along with bananas, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and walnuts.  Light and moist, these are just perfect hot out of the oven.  For the frittatas, I made the recipe exactly as stated except I used about one tablespoon dried onions instead of the chives.  I only used the chives as a garnish.  A great combination of flavors all wrapped up in a small bundle.  Next time I may substitute turkey sausage and use fat-free mozzarella cheese for a different flavor combination.

Thanks to Taste of Home for the frittata recipe.  Click here for recipe:  Mini Ham ‘n’ Cheese Frittatas

Click here for recipe:  Chocolate Delight Banana Muffins

Both of these recipes are definite keepers.  I hope you give them a try and add them to your cookbook.  See ya around the kitchen ~ Barbara

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.

 

 

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

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