Review & Preview: 7/31/16

Review & Preview is a weekly post that features a review of last week’s blogs, a preview of upcoming posts and a random assortment of food-related thoughts, discoveries, and experiences that happen between posts. My hope is that this will serve an “in case you missed it” purpose, as well as give you a glimpse of what will be in store for the week ahead.

REVIEW

This past week I took on the exercise of trying to do justice to a special group of friends in writing. In The Secret to Hummingbird Cake, I introduced you to my book club and the book of the same title that we read this month. It is impossible to highlight all the great qualities of each of those 12 ladies in a short story like a blog but I hope you can get a glimpse of the admiration and appreciation I have for them. And, of course, you get the recipe for a delicious cream cheese frosted, banana-pineapple-pecan cake!

IN BETWEEN

Beets

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The first harvest of beets from my garden happened this past week. Roasting them is my favorite way to prepare them. Salads are my favorite way to eat them. After trimming the greens and roots, scrubbing them mostly clean, cutting them in half and drizzling them with olive oil and salt and pepper, they go (on aluminum foil for easy clean up) in a 400° preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until a knife tip will easily go through the center of the beets. They are then allowed to cool until easy to handle. To peel, put on a pair of disposable plastic gloves (or don’t if you want a great excuse to get a manicure), cut off the remaining stem and root, and the peel should slide off with gentle pressure. If this doesn’t work, just use a small knife to scrape or cut off the peel. Slice or dice the beets.

To prepare the salad, simply drizzle some greens (spinach and arugula pictured) with oil and vinegar (I used Walnut Oil and White Peach Balsamic Vinegar from The Olive Tap), add the diced beets, some toasted walnuts, crumbled blue or feta cheese, and salt and pepper. Looks fancy … tastes awesome!

The remaining beets are portioned into Ziploc baggies and stored in the freezer. They defrost quickly and will be great as a side dish, salad or in a smoothie long after the garden is cleared.

Apples From The Farm

I made a trip back to my hometown this week and while I was there, I got the best text from my sister-in-law: “Would you like half a pail of apples?” She might as well have said “Would you like $100?” If you look at the first picture, you might question my sanity for being excited about these apples. In the spirit of my Hummingbird Cake blog, “Don’t judge a book …”! They just require a little attention. These are the most amazing baking apples but I didn’t save any of them for apple crisp. I made them all into dehydrated apple chips. It’s pretty easy to get your apple-a-day when munching on these chewy, tart slices.

TWO THUMBS UP

While grocery shopping last week, I intended to pick up a cantaloupe but while roaming the produce section, I found what looked like cantaloupe but was called “Lemon Drop Melon“. I’m a sucker for something different with an appealing name. This time I wasn’t a “sucker” at all! What looks like cantaloupe on the outside, resembled honeydew melon on the inside and in texture but has a sweet/tart lemonade flavor.

It is great on its own and I think I’m going to try to make a fresh fruit salsa (much like my Mango Salsa recipe) with some of it. There is also a recipe for a Lemondrop Melon & Mint Salad that I think I would like, compliments of Pinterest and another blogger.

Try it, if you can find it. I purchased this one at our local Hy-Vee grocery store. If your store doesn’t carry it, ask them if they could. They might just need the interest to give them a reason to add it to their produce section.

PREVIEW

I did manage to make the fresh pesto and Cuban Meatballs that I mentioned in last week’s review and am happy to report they are both worth sharing. Look for them this week. I also learned a lesson while making the Cuban Meatballs that is worth it’s own post.

GRATITUDE

“I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding.”
Philippians 1:9

After writing about my book club friends, this verse seemed to be a perfect fit for the week. Through the stories we read, our discussions, opinions, and insights, and the sharing of our life experiences, we know, understand, and accept each other like only true friends can.

Have a great week!


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