Very berry crumble

Nothing screams spring time louder than a big bowl of fresh berries. And nothing tastes as great either. The weather in NC has been so beautiful lately so I have been taking full advantage of all the amazing produce that our grocery stores have been providing. I could not pass up buying fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries a few days ago – but berries go bad so quickly that I figured I’d better use them while they are still fresh.

By the way, since when is a half pint of blueberries $5??? I need a better job. Oh wait, I need an actual job.

Anyways, this crumble is a great way to use up some berries in a very delicious way. It is another very simple preparation with an amazing turnout. I usually bake my crumbles in a 9×13 baking dish, but my baking dish was being used to house my spinach artichoke dip (posting later on). So, I baked these little suckers in muffin tins. They were more like individual crumbles. But if you are anything like me – three crumbles was one serving size ๐Ÿ˜‰ . Oh well. It’s fruit so it must be healthy. Right?

Ingredients

4 cups of your favorite mixed berries (I used blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries)
2 Tbl brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Place filling into a baking dish or muffin tins. Set aside.

Crumble topping
1 cup quick cooking oats
4 Tbl butter
2 Tbl whole wheat flour
1 Tbl granulated sugar
2 Tbl brown sugar

In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter. Combine all ingredients until crumbly. Mixture should have the consistency of wet sand. If you mixture seems a little dry, add a tablespoon more of butter. Pour crumble over top of the berry mixture and lightly pat down.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is slightly browned. Serve with or without ice cream.

Enjoy!!

Lemon basil risotto with peas corn and spinach

Risotto is a labor of love. If you have ever had authentic risotto, you know that it is a creamy, satisfying rice dish that is full of flavor. And, if you have ever cooked risotto, you know that it requires your time and patience – standing over the stove constantly stirring it until it is perfectly cooked.

I don’t make risotto often. It can be heavy and I usually don’t have the time to make it the way it should be made. But tonight was an exception. And after I ate this, I realized the true reason why I don’t make it too much. It is SO good! And I would be a balloon if I ate this all the time.

Although this is an indulgent dish for me, the addition of veggies and lemon really helps keep it fresh and light tasting. Feel free to add in your own variations to this recipe. Some mushrooms or shrimp over top would also be amazing in this and would really make it feel like a complete meal.

This is a perfect spring or summer dish to add to your table and I know you will love it if you take a little extra time to make it right.

Ingredients

3 Tbl olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
4 cups low sodium chicken stock (If you are a vegetarian, you can certainly use vegetable stock here)
1 cup dry white wine
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups baby spinach
1 Tbl butter
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 Tbl basil, minced
1 Tbl lemon zest
salt/pepper to taste

In a small sauce pot, keep the chicken stock warm until needed.

In a deep saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic to pan and cook until slightly softened. Pour rice into pan and toast for five minutes, stirring constantly. Add white wine to pan and allow rice to absorb most of the liquid. Once the liquid has almost all absorbed, add in one ladle full of chicken stock. Stirring constantly, allow rice to absorb the liquid in the pan and then add in another ladle of stock. Continue this process, stirring the entire time until all of the chicken stock has been absorbed into the rice and the rice is al dente.

Once all of the chicken stock is absorbed into the rice, add in the corn, peas, and spinach. Let the risotto cook for five minutes or until spinach has wilted and vegetables are heated through. Turn off the heat and slowly stir in butter, cheese, basil and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

*If your risotto seems a little dry, add in extra stock to thin it out.

Enjoy!!

Watermelon lime frescas

Whoa. These are good. Perfect for spring time…maybe with a little vodka next time ๐Ÿ˜‰ .

Ingredients

1 small watermelon, diced
Zest and juice from one lime
1 pinch salt
1 tsp sugar

Add all ingredients except seltzer water to your blender and blend until smooth. Once blended, strain through a fine mesh strainer to get rid of any seeds or pulp. Refrigerate until needed.

Ice cubes

1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
mint leaves
basil leaves

In a small sauce pan, bring all ingredients to boil and simmer for about 12 minutes. Once the mixture thickens slightly, remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Once cooled, place in ice trays and freeze until solid.

Mint sugared rim

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3-4 mint leaves, minced

Pour your granulated sugar into a shallow bowl and add in your minced mint leaves. Run a slice of lime around the rim of your glass and dip the rim into the sugar to form the sugared rim.

Once your ice cubes are frozen, place a few of them into a cup with your watermelon puree and top with seltzer water.

Enjoy!!

Lemon poppyseed cookies

My sister is visiting me in Charlotte this weekend and as a way to kick off our Easter vacation, we made some lemon cookies. Lemon always reminds me of spring and summer because it is such a fresh, bright scent/flavor. I don’t use lemon in too much of my recipes, but when I do its the centerpiece of the dish.

These cookies are so good! They have a really bright lemon flavor in them with hints of flavor from the poppyseeds. The lemon glaze that is drizzled over them adds just enough sweetness to really compliment the lemon.

If you are needing something for your Easter table, this should be it! Head on over to Annie’s Eats to find the recipe. These are so easy to make and bake up in no time!

Green Machine smoothie

It is getting so hot in North Carolina! It feels like summer, but it was just winter. I’m not complaining – I am pleasantly surprised at how amazing it has been here. I am happily packing away all of my boots and coats and bringing out the shorts and bikinis ๐Ÿ™‚ Last night, we even broke out the grill and had a little BBQ.

In the spirit of St. Patty’s day, I thought it would be appropriate to make a “green” smoothie. For those who may be a little scared about incorporating greens into your fruit smoothies, don’t be! The flavor of the fruit completely masks the flavor of any veggies that are added. Not to mention, it’s an added boost of nutrients and a great way to start your morning!

Ingredients

1/4 cup greek yogurt
1/2 frozen banana
1/4 cup raspberries
1/4 cup strawberries
2 T agave
1/4 cup mango (I used a frozen puree, but fresh will work too)
1 small bunch Kale
2 T flax meal
ice

In your blender, add greek yogurt, agave, flax meal, fruit, kale and a small amount of ice (unless you used all frozen fruit). Blend until smooth and enjoy immediately!