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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Summer Peach Salsa

After picking peaches over the weekend at Southern Belle Farm I’ve had to work quickly to get them put away before all my girls and sons-in-law arrive for the holiday weekend! Tammie came over yesterday and we used up a good portion of them making peach salsa.

I love a good fruit salsa and peaches make one of the best! Not only is it delicious on tortilla chips like any good salsa, it makes a scrumptious accompaniment to grilled pork, chicken and fish!  Then there is always the option of eating it straight from the jar like my son is prone to do.

He is actually hoping I pack a jar … or three in his next package headed to Camp Pendleton.

I usually preserve my salsa so we can enjoy it throughout the year, but the beauty of this recipe is you can half it if you choose and serve it up immediately with a delicious summer supper. Just refrigerate and it’ll keep a couple of weeks.

Not that it’ll last that long.

Canning the peach salsa is not that hard. All of the ingredients are fresh, easy to pronounce which makes it even better.

Gather together all the things you need before you begin so that you’re not scrambling around while scorching your salsa on the stove.

I used Ball jars to store the salsa. These can be found at just about any grocery store as well as Walmart. Canning supply lists can be extensive, but I stick to the basics for this recipe: jars with lids, funnel, tongs, 2 large stock pots (one for sterilizing the jars & one for cooking the salsa mixture), a ladle and a couple of towels.

For a few canning basics you can check out these canning tips from Martha Stewart.

If you want the freshest salsa hit up your local farmers market (you’ll also be supporting a local business), but you can also purchase your ingredients at the grocery store.

For this recipe all you need is peaches, red & green bell pepper, sweet and red onions, cilantro, jalapeños, garlic, cilantro, honey, vinegar, cumin and cayenne pepper. That’s it.

You’ll chop your peaches, dice your veggies and cook together until it comes to a boil.

Talking with Tami / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Next you’ll ladle the salsa into your prepared jars, wipe clean, seal and process in boiling water about 10 minutes. Allow to cool and make sure the jars have sealed.

Is it necessary to sterilize your jars? Yes. Absolutely. If you are preserving this for later use you do not want any bacteria to have an opportunity to build up. Two things will happen: one, your hard work will be wasted, & two, you may have a major mess as bacteria builds in a jar the pressure can cause a huge mess.

It may or may not have happened to me.

For the full detailed & printable recipe, click Peach Salsa

I hope you enjoy this little taste of summer! Let me know if you make the peach salsa and what you think!

Old-Fashioned Vanilla-Laced Blueberry Jam

Summer is passing quickly, but thanks to a little time in the kitchen we’ll be enjoying some of our favorite summer flavors well into winter!

Preserving food has nearly become a lost art as the busyness of life has consumed every aspect of our being, but there is something so simple about slowing down, diving into traditions of the past, and savoring simple flavors all year long.  Making jams and jellies, canning fresh veggies; these are things that remind me of my childhood and my mother spending hours a day all summer putting away fresh food we could enjoy all year long.  She still does this and I love being able to have that bit of her in myself, even if so many think it’s out-of-date or old-fashioned.

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I would much rather savor old-fashioned traditions with my family, than get lost in the sad hustle and bustle of this modern world.  Y’all, we all need a little old-fashioned goodness in our lives to keep us sane and connected to all the amazing women in our lives from generations before.

Recently, after spending an afternoon picking blueberries with Madeline at Washington Farm in Bogart, Georgia, I took the time to do more than just freeze berries for cobblers, pies, pancakes, and smoothies; I also whipped up a batch of scrumptiously rich vanilla laced blueberry jam.

There are a couple of ways to make jam, from the simple very few ingredient SureJell recipe (don’t knock it, it’s absolutely delicious), to spending just a little longer on your recipe and relying on the natural pectin in the fruit for the gelling process.  While not using pectin does take longer when making jam, the longer time is going bring really bring out the flavor of the blueberries and give you a richer tasting jam.

I’m sharing my four ingredient blueberry jam recipe today using the fresh sweet berries  we picked which were just right for this method.  All you need is sweet juicy blueberries, sugar, a whole vanilla bean, fresh lemon juice, and time to relax, pretending its a simpler time so many want to forget!

Making the jam is time consuming, but actually pretty easy.  Wash your berries using a colander so they will drain, picking out any bad ones. Transfer your drained berries to a large bowl. I use a potato masher, but you can use whatever to have to squish the berries and release their juices, then measure out the exact amount of berries you will need for the recipe and add to the stockpot you will be using to cook the jam.  This particular recipe calls for 10 cups. Add the sugar you’ve measured and toss together.  This will sit for a couple of hours.  During this time you can make sure you have all your jar sterilized and the equipment you need to preserve the jam ready to go.

After a couple of hours you will begin to cook the mixture on medium-high heat.  During this process you’ll slice open the vanilla bean and scrape it into the blueberry mixture, and throw the bean itself in as well! The cooking requires your full attention as the jam comes to a boil, so do not leave the stove and stir the pot continuously.  When it is cooked to the cosistancy you desire (anywhere from 30-45 minutes) add the lemon juice and finish cooking.

When you’ve made this delectible treat, bake up some fresh buscuits and dig in!  Youre not going to want to wait!  The complete recipe for my jam can be printed here by clicking Vanilla-Laced Blueberry Jam.

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What are your favorite things to preserve in the summer months?

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Celebrating Galentine’s Day

Do you remember filling out Valentine’s cards when you were little? You would go through the entire box to find the prettiest cards for your best friends, the least “lovey” card for the annoying boy next to you, and ask your mom to remind you again why you had to even give a card to the meanie who stole your special pencil right off your desk!?!

I think I just dated myself here….

Those were the good old days; the ones when how much you spent or who you were celebrating Valentine’s Day with didn’t matter. It was about friendship, camaraderie, and simple little things that have long passed as our lives grew complicated.

Now our lives are consumed with family, work, and oftentimes loneliness. As adults we’ve twisted what Valentine’s Day was all about and so many made it a day to hate instead of remembering what’s its for….… LOVE!

Not necessarily romantic love, but friendship …. Philia : an affectionate, platonic type of love that makes you crave friendship with someone. It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, or what stage you are in life, we all need Philia in our lives!

So what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with brunch with a sweet girl friend?!

Galentine’s Day, as the social media world refers to it, is a day for celebrating those special friendships; the friends you would sort through the entire card box looking for the best one to give. It’s an intimate time to catch up on life’s hardships and beauties, laugh together, share a meal if you choose, and make a mess while making your own chocolate dipped strawberries!

Earlier this week I enjoyed having my sweet friend, as well as fellow blogger, Tammie (Talking With Tami ), over for a little Galentine’s Day brunch.

It was so relaxing as we made our own dessert together, and caught up on the projects, busyness and even stresses in our lives! We prayed together over our meal which just strengthens bonds with those around you.

It was so fun to set a themed table with the colors associated with Valentine’s Day, and pull together a super easy (but very filling) menu to let Tammie know how special she is and have her feel welcome in our home.

What was on the menu?

Mixed Fruit

A fresh salad with vinaigrette dressing

Quiche

and Chocolate dipped strawberries we made together

That’s it; simple and understated. Quiche is the quintessential brunch dish; you generally have many of the ingredients on hand. I’ll attach the full recipe for you, but you need to gather together eggs, fresh veggies (I used spinach, mushrooms, onion, garlic), bacon, heavy cream, cheese, and a pie crust.

Click here for my recipe for Simple Quiche

Believe it or not, quiche pairs well with a salad, and you can’t go wrong with fruit. I think so many times we get caught up in going BIG that we forget the simple things often speak the loudest. The purpose of celebrating girl friends is not to stress us out, but to foster friendship and build stronger relationships!

Take some time out to reconnect with the ladies in your life. Celebrate your uniqueness and embrace your differences! God puts people in our lives for a reason. Embrace them and treasure the simple moments, even when life tries to get in the way.

Happy Galentine’s Day y’all!