Strawberry-Peach Smoothie

When I did my three-day raw cleanse this summer (read about it here!), I seriously got into smoothies. I don’t have a juicer and certainly didn’t have $350 to spend on the one I want (I’ll save that for the wedding registry). Since I couldn’t prepare any kind of green juice, I decided smoothies were the next best thing and have continued enjoying them for breakfast or lunch (and tweaking my recipe) all summer.

You will notice that the recipe calls for frozen berries and peaches – I want to point out that I do not buy frozen fruit at the grocery store. You totally could, but I prefer farmer’s market produce.

To freeze the fruit, I wash and core (strawberries) or roughly chop (peaches) and lay them out on a baking sheet lined with saran wrap. I let them freeze in a single layer overnight, and them move them to a big ziplock. This keeps them from sticking together.

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Blackberry Shortbread Bars

blackberry bars

Some might say there’s nothing to do in my little town.  We have about 5,000 residents, and many of them are farmers (yep…real live cowboys).  Until a couple years ago, the tallest building in town – three whole stories – was the Templeton Feed and Grain.  (For all you urbanites, a feed and grain is a farm supply store where you buy hay, grain, and other things that livestock eat).  As far as I can tell, Templetonians come out mostly at major holidays, such as the High School’s Homecoming Parade (ha).

On Wednesday evenings in the summer, the park is the place to be.  Apparently late to the trend, my boyfriend and I recently discovered these summer events.  It turns out they’re actually a lot of fun…mostly because everyone brings food and wine and enjoys the beauty of our Central California town on a summer night, and you always see at least a handful of people you know.  Last week, Brian and I brought his parents with us, and wanting to impress them with my baking, I found this recipe, which is delicious but also makes a great picnic dessert.  Brian’s mom loved them, and so did my coworkers, to whom I brought the leftovers to the next day. Delish!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Scones

Strawberry Rhubarb SconesBefore my Grandpa Z passed away, he would make strawberry rhubarb jam every summer.  Some of my fondest summer memories involve lots of jelly spread between two slices of soft white bread.  I still have a jar hidden in the cupboard…I haven’t opened it, because I don’t want to let go of that one piece of summer that represents not only the memory of my Grandpa, but also his love of cooking and baking.  How long does jam last?  Maybe I can share it with my kids some day.  I bet the recipe is around, too….

Before today, I had never used rhubarb in my own cooking, and I wasn’t even sure how exactly it tastes – I just knew it was known for going really well with strawberries.  When I saw it at Avila Valley Barn yesterday, I knew I needed to try it out…and today scones answered all my questions.  Rhubarb is sweet, but with its own distinct flavor.  While baking in the scones, both the rhubarb and strawberry became very soft and delicious.

Scones remind me of England, clotted cream, and tea, but I rarely have them with any of these accompanyments.  I love them fresh out of the oven (duh), or heated up in the toaster the next day. They’re excellent plain or with butter…or with strawberry jam.  :)

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