Tag Archives: recipe

Blueberries: From Picking to Eating

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Muffins

This past month marked the height of blueberry season here in North Florida. We have three bushes in our yard, but the late frost killed most of the berries on the vine. Fortunately, we found a u-pick blueberry farm right outside of town.

Picking

Robby went to school with Jen, who owns Myrtle Creek Farm along with her husband Scott. It was nice to visit with them and see their beautiful farm, filled with blueberry trees, blackberry bushes, and even a pear tree. They lost a lot of berries to the late frost this year, too, but they still had plenty for us to pick!

Even though we have our own blueberry trees, Jen told me something I never knew: they only ripen on the vine. That means you have to pick them at their peak (dark blue). If you pick them early (when they’re still pinkish), they won’t continue to ripen on the counter or in the fridge. Their technique? “Tickle” the berries. If they fall off the vine, they’re sweet and ready to eat.

 

FreezingBlueberries_1

Now, Robby and I can’t possibly eat two quarts of berries before they go bad, so we freeze them to enjoy throughout the year. The trick to this is to lay the berries on a small sheet pan and then set the pan in the freezer. That way, each berry will freeze individually, and you won’t end up with a solid mass of blue ice. Once frozen, scoop the berries into freezer-safe bags and return them to the freezer.

Mary Frances’ Cobbler

Cobbler

Nothing beats my mother-in-law’s cobbler. Seriously, I can eat so much of this stuff that I make myself sick. It’s that good.

When I stopped eating wheat, one of the first things I did was figure out how to make this cobbler gluten-free. The good news is that it’s easily altered, and it tastes even better without wheat flour!

Click here to download a printable recipe card.

 

Banana-Blueberry Muffins

My new favorite muffin is banana-blueberry. They have just the right amount of sweetness, and they smell like heaven when they’re heated up. If you don’t have time to make these from scratch, there are some great mixes available. I’ve tried a couple gluten-free options, and both were delicious.

IMG_4829The King Arthur Gluten-Free Muffin Mix is a basic vanilla mix, but it has a great flavor. You’ll need to add one or two soft bananas and a cup of blueberries. The batch always makes several more muffins than it promises, which is really nice. If you prefer, you can use a small loaf pan instead of muffin cups.

Robby recently picked up a box of Simple Mills Naturally Gluten-Free Banana Muffin & Bread mix. It has far less carbs than the King Arthur mix because it uses coconut sugar. In total, the mix has only seven ingredients, including dried bananas. Just mix in a few blueberries. I got 11 nice-sized muffins out of this mix.Muffin_SM_1

If you have leftover muffins—and that’s a big IF—throw them in a freezer-safe storage bag and freeze them for later. They’re great for breakfast or dessert!

Do you have a blueberry recipe you’d like to share? Please post it in the comments.

Thank you!

Recipe: Sausage Alfredo (Gluten-Free)

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SausageAlfredo.v1

Sausage Alfredo with gluten-free lasagna noodles. We’re going to try linguine next time.

 

Every once in a while, I get a hankering for Alfredo sauce—not the slimy kind that comes from a jar, but Mom’s can’t-get-enough homemade Alfredo. For years, the idea of making a cream-based sauce seemed daunting, right up there with homemade biscuits. But my craving overcame my fear last month, and I gave it a shot. I’m so glad I did!

The following recipe for Sausage Alfredo is actually my own creation. I compiled several different recipes, keeping the ingredients I liked and substituting the ones I didn’t. Of course, Mom gets all the credit for the Alfredo sauce.

I think you’ll agree, the result is a meal worthy of a Saturday night but easy enough for the roughest Monday.

 

Ingredients:

1 Package of mild, cooked sausage (I like turkey kielbasa.)
Capers (to taste)
Noodles (I use gluten-free linguine.)
Tomatoes (either fresh, halved cherry tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes)
Other options: Matchstick carrots, sliced bell peppers, black olives

 

Ingredients for Alfredo sauce:

½ Cup – 1 Cup of Half-and-Half
2 Tbsp butter
Parmesan cheese (fresh, grated)
Chili powder (1 or 2 dashes; you don’t want to taste it)

 

Directions:

Boil water for the noodles.

At the same time, cut up the sausage and brown in a skillet. Once browned, remove the sausage and set aside.

To maximize flavor, make the Alfredo sauce in the same pan you browned the sausage. Simply add the ingredients together and heat while stirring, careful not to burn the sauce. Once it is heated through, add the capers and continue to heat while stirring. Then add the browned sausage and mix together. Continue to heat while stirring.

Once the noodles are cooked, add them to the sausage and sauce. Stir in Parmesan cheese to taste, and top with fresh tomatoes. Serve immediately.

I do hope you enjoy this recipe! If you try it yourself and find new ways to make it, please let me know. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas.

Taco Soup (Recipe!)

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Taco Soup with toppings. (Food and Photo by Ashley Jones)

The holidays are finally upon us and, if you’re like me, you’re dreaming of your mom’s dressing, your aunt’s pecan pie, and an extra slice of pumpkin pie. However, by the time Christmas comes, most of us are “turkeyed out,” looking for something with a little more flavor. And since it’s turning cold out there, it needs to be nice and warm.

This time of year, the go-to meal in our family is my mother-in-law’s famous Taco Soup. She made it the very first time I went to visit them, and I’ve been making it ever since. Although it’s called a soup, it’s hardy enough to be a chili. The ingredients are simple and inexpensive, it tastes great heated up the next day, and it would keep well in a crockpot if you want to take it to a potluck. Oh, and it’s gluten free. You just can’t lose with the Joneses’ Taco Soup!

 

Ingredients

Soup

  • 1 lb. hamburger meat
  • Onion, chopped
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can “Ranch Style” pinto beans *
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes with peppers, regular heat
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix, mild or regular heat
  • 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix

Toppings

  • Fritos corn chips
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream

* Ranch Style beans are seasoned pinto beans. If you can’t find them in your grocery store, just use two cans of regular pinto beans.

 

Directions

Brown the hamburger meat with some of the onion and taco mix. In a large pot, add the remaining soup ingredients to the hamburger and simmer until ready (about 30 minutes). You may want to add a little water, but the consistency should be between a soup and chili.

Serve in a nice crock bowl and let each person add their own cheese, sour cream, and Fritos.

Depending on how spicy your ingredients are, this can be a medium to hot dish. Have something cool and sweet ready for dessert.

 

Helpful Hint

Did you know you can freeze soup in Mason jars? Just leave about an inch at the top for the liquid to expand and use a regular lid. Wait for the soup to cool before placing in the freezer, and freeze the jar upright.

Defrost the jar in the fridge or in your lunch bag if you’re at work. You can even heat the jar in the microwave, but be sure to defrost it and remove the lid first.

WARNING: A rapid temperature change can cause any glass container to shatter. This is why it’s important to defrost the jar before heating it in the microwave. Similarly, you shouldn’t place hot glass (like a coffee pot) in cold water.