Fall Fresh Fruit Salad

Despite the heat and humidity in this early fall, nothing is more enjoyable than strolling through your local farmer’s market on Saturday morning, then preparing a meal! The little market In Snellville is my favorite Saturday morning adventure. Audley and I will often wake early just to go over and pick through the seasonal fruits and veggies while planning our meals for the week.

Snellville Farmers Market

Market Flowers

Local Figs

Right now we are at the very last of nectarine season and fig season. As we were strolling through the market I was concocting a yummy, but healthy supper in my mind using some of the fresh goodness around me. What I came up with was such a hit, the family was disappointed that it disappeared so fast.

Fall Fresh Fruit Salad

 

Honestly this is so easy and versatile that it doesn’t warrant a recipe card (I added it at the end of the post so you have a shopping list). I’m going to tell you what I used for this super easy and flavorful supper, giving you the opportunity to let your own creative juices flow!

Salad Ingredients

There are no measurements for the salad, as you will create it to fit your own personal tastes and the number of people dining at your table. I’m just here to share suggestions!

Slice your nectarines and figs, then toss into the mixed greens. Cook your bacon crisp (I used a whole package for four of us), but not over cooked, and dice the prosciutto to sauté. After draining the excess grease from the bacon and prosciutto, add it to the salad, reserving a couple of pieces for your dressing. Add your pecans as well.

My bacon vinaigrette is not a traditional vinaigrette dressing as I use less oil than most people. But the dressing simple to whisk up and consists of white balsamic vinegar, stone ground mustard, honey, garlic, bacon, bacon drippings! When the ingredients are well mixed, drizzle over the salad and toss together. Don’t over saturate the salad with dressing or you’ll take away from the fresh fruit flavor!

You can serve this with grilled salmon, rotisserie chicken, a steak, or just enjoy it on its own!

It’s that filling and satisfying!!

What I love about salads of this type is you can swap the fruit for whatever is in season (pears and apples for example). You can also swap up which nut you add (cashews & walnuts for example). I chose pecans as living here in Georgia they are plentiful, fresh and so delicious!!

Click here for a printable recipe for this Fall Fresh Fruit Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette.

Have a great weekend y’all and eat well!

Sugar Factory Atlanta!

Happy almost fall boys & girls!!

Have I ever missed you all, but sometimes we just have to have a little time for ourselves to regroup, refocus and decide exactly what we want to do!! I am back and do I ever have a great restaurant to share with you this Foodie Friday!

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered in the 2 1/2 years we’ve been living in Atlanta it’s that you can find something for every palette in the family and have a blast doing so!

The latest in food and fun here in Atlanta comes in the form of the Sugar Factory in the heart of Midtown. This is the 16th Sugar Factory location, and I can totally see why the company is growing! I was invited to pop in last night for a little tasting and can’t wait to return for a night out again soon!

 

 

With fun decor from chandeliers to a candy wall & tufted benches, music, monstrous burgers (that’s what they’re called!) & salads, so many unique libations, desserts galore, the Sugar Factory is the perfect place for lunch with the kids, a girls night out, birthday celebrations and just a casual night out with friends.

It’s loud, trendy and will definitely make the perfect setting for any adult night out!

 

Last night I was able to taste a few items from the menu including bruschetta, the Big Cheesy (this one includes macaroni and cheese), shrimp, several drinks and of course I couldn’t go without sampling a fabulous over-the-top-milkshake!

 

“Sugar Factory is all about celebrating the sweetest moments in life. We want to create a fun, unforgettable dining experience for any age, at every location,” said Sugar Factory Owner Charissa Davidovici. “We are all about treasuring family fun and are looking forward to welcoming the Atlanta community to our newest restaurant.”

The drink menu is expansive and all I love dessert in one way or another. I do love the fast that any of their drinks can be made without alcohol, so those of us who do t really drink can still have a cool glass and drink, too!

 

 

Just a few quick observations:

1. This isn’t McDonalds or Chic-Fil-A. If you decide to take children plan your budget ahead of time and plan to spend money. Milkshakes begin at 20$. Lunchtime may not be as hectic as the evenings. After all this is still a bar.

2. If you are looking for an intimate spot for a date, this is not the place to go. It’s loud, colorful, and you will be seated very close to other patrons!

3. In the mood to celebrate?! This is the place! Not only is the food over the top, so are their celebrations!! Grab the girls for a night out, your closest friends to feel young again, or several couples needing a casual night and head on over!!

4. Make a reservation. Definitely make a reservation. Without one you may be waiting two hours for a table!

I’m looking forward to taking my own family when Bradley comes home on leave from the Marines in a few weeks. He’s a sugarholic and this screams our young Lance Corporal’s name!

Check out the Sugar Factory on your next weekend getaway to Atlanta.

The Sugar Factory

1080 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
470-428-4395

‘Til next time!!

Hiking Providence Canyon State Park

I often hear people complain how hard it is to lose weight.

Let me tell you, losing 100 pounds was easy!

What’s actually hard is maintaining weight loss and not slipping back into ages old habits! It’s so easy to have a cheat meal here or there that becomes weeks of poor nutrition, to become disillusioned or bored with the gym, discover a new series on Netflix, or decide to take a little break because we can just jump right back in.

Believe me, I struggle with this a lot, and since moving to Atlanta two years ago it’s been a continual struggle as I emotionally ate my way through the move, MacKenzie’s wedding, Bradley’s enlistment, and now sheer boredom and loneliness has become my worst enemy. Thankfully I have an amazing husband who has dove into his own fitness journey and is now my “let’s get off the couch” motivator.

hiking Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

My handsome Spartan running motivator.

For the first time in years Audley is working 40 hours a week… a Monday-Thursday schedule. It’s so nice, but it didn’t take long for us to go stir crazy in the house on his off days. While scrolling through Instagram one day I saw pictures of this gorgeous location right here in Georgia; Providence Canyon.

Providence Canyon State Park / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

We decided to take a short road trip and get our rear ends off the sofa and away from the pantry.

Located about 2 1/2 hours south of Atlanta, Providence Canyon is actually the result of poor farming practices 200 years ago (many lessons learned), but it’s also a beautiful location for picnicking, exploring, and photographing.

in the base of Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

The stunning red, white, purple and pink sandstone walls that form the canyon might have you thinking you’ve gone out west, but I promise, you’re still in the South!

The canyon makes a gorgeous backdrop for hiking and exploring.

Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Hiking Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

There are roughly 10 miles of trails you can hike throughout the beautiful canyon. These various hikes range from easy to moderate in difficulty. Choose wisely for your level of fitness and health.  Each can take a couple of hours to five or more. You’ll be amazed at the different scenery as you wander through the canyon. One minute you’re in a lush forest and the next sandy desert. It’s a beautiful result from costly mistakes generations ago.

Overlooking Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon Wooded Trails / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

When hiking Providence Canyon you need to prepare accordingly. First, this is a state park, so there is a $5 fee to park. If you purchase a Georgia State Parks pass you can find all kinds of adventures throughout the state and only pay once! While strolling around the top of the canyon is relaxing and easy, going into the canyon is a little different. The grounds throughout the area are sandy and wet. Trails take you down and up hills, through forest areas and into various rocky fingers of the many canyons. Wear appropriate shoes for these trails; shoes made for hiking and that you don’t mind getting muddy and wet are best. Smalls steams of water flow all through the canyon floor. You also need water for drinking. Once down in the canyon there are no bathrooms or water fountains. We packed a small backpack with bottles of water.

And don’t forget bug repellant.  Mosquitos love wetlands.

Hiking Necessities / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Our lightweight Kavu bag holds several bottles of water and snack packs of nuts for a trail hike. Audley is partial to his Salomon trail shoes, and I love my Merrells. Shop for hiking/trail shoes that fit your feet well and work for various weekend adventures. Protecting your feet is so important if you are going to hike!

Hike Providence Canyon / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Dress comfortably for your hike. I wore leggings and a tee-shirt even-though it’s hot, just because of their water wicking ability. You don’t want blisters on your thighs from hiking and sweat rolling down your legs. It is NOT comfortable. Wearing pants also leaves less places for mosquitos to nail ya.

There is a longer hike through the canyon that you will need to pack snacks as well as extra water to take as it is pretty long. We plan to go back and do that one in the fall.

Canyon Floor at Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

img_6459canyon bottom at Providence Canyon / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Nature at Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon Lumpkin, GA / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Audley and I hiked over five miles in and around the canyon, then enjoyed a yummy picnic up on the rim.

Providence Canyon Picnic / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon was one time a thriving town. Remnants can be found throughout the park including an old wooden Methodist church building and cemetery dating back to the mid-1800’s. There are also old rusted out cars along the trail up to, but we didn’t explore that area to see them. We will definitely add that to our hike in the fall.

Providence Mothodist Church / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Cemetery / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Cemetery at Providence Canyon / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Providnce Canyon Cemetery / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Methodist Church Building / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

If you are looking for a quick weekend adventure and an opportunity to get off the couch, a trip to Providence Canyon is definitely worth making! I won’t say hiking is a way to lose weight, but it’s a great way to explore where you live (statewide or regionally), get in some fresh air, and get moving!

Being sedentary is hazardous to your health.

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Hooray for gorgeous days and beautiful places!!!

Enjoy the views and let me know what you think!

Looking down onto Providence Canyon Trails / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon State Park

8930 Canyon Road
Lumpkin, GA 31815
Stewart County

 

Summer Fruit Salad

Summer has fully encompassed Georgia and let me tell y’all…. it’s ridiculously sticky, humid and hot. Georgia has always been known for these type of summers and rarely disappoints its residents and visitors.

When the temps are still at 95° and it’s time to prepare supper I don’t know about you, but I have zero desire to turn on the stove and cook. I still want my husband and our occasional guests to feel spoiled and special, so enter my go-to dish: fruit salad.

Now this isn’t a big bowl of fruit like you might be picturing , but instead a crisp green salad which includes fruit. I love adding fresh, seasonal fruit to homemade salads and serving them up with complimentary vinaigrette dressings.

Summer Fruit Salad / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

When my friend Tammie joined me for lunch last week I served up a salad that incorporated peaches that was a real hit!

Peach Orchard / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

With Georgia’s peach season in full swing, peaches are definitely my fruit of choice, but it pairs so well with other fruits as well. For this particular salad I also added blueberries, mozzarella cheese, pecans, and bacon.

All of the ingredients (including the cheese, bacon & greens) were local and fresh which makes a summer fruit salad taste even better! You can hit up your local farmers or Saturday market, or a U-Pick Farm to find the freshest of ingredients as well as support locals farmers.

Peach & Blueberry Salad / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

As you can see from my picture, all I did was layer the ingredients so that they look appetizing. It is quite simple.Peach Blueberry Salad / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

For the peach salad I made a Lemon White Balsamic Vinaigrette using a gourmet Sicilian balsamic vinegar (purchased at a vinegar & olive oil shop nearby) and combining with California olive oil; 1/3 cup vinegar to 2/3 cups olive oil seasoned with salt & black pepper, and fresh minced garlic. Shake well and taste to see that you like the flavor. If it’s too bitter for your taste, add a teaspoon of sugar. I like mine a little extra vinegary, so I often add extra.

Make the vinaigrette yours.

Peach Salad with Chicken / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

I served the peach salad with sliced rotisserie chicken breast (once again, no oven/stove needed) since it was lunchtime. When I ate leftovers later in the day I just enjoyed the salad!

That’s the beauty of summer salads; they’re delicious and filling!

And if peaches aren’t your thing you can definitely change up your fruits. I served a similar salad in red, white and blue for our Independence Day cookout.

{My husband doesn’t care how hot it is when he fire’s up the grill; Audley holds the well-deserved title of Grill Master for a reason.}

This salad included strawberries, blueberries, mozzarella cheese, and almonds. Using the same ratios above for my dressing I used balsamic vinegar to make the dressing.

Red White and Blue Salad / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Red, White & Blue for the holiday. This salad is also delicious with blue cheese instead of mozzarella, and pecans instead of almonds. I told you these are so versatile.

There are so many ways to keep your diet fresh and clean as well as cool in the summer. These salads just happen to be my favorite way! How would you serve up a summer fruit salad? I would love to hear your ideas!

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