June 29, 2013

Summer Double Berry Cobbler & Berry Picking in Baker, FL

 Some of my favorite summer memories are picking berries in Baker, FL with my parents. Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries grow like weeds in this area and we would fill buckets full of whatever sweet berry was in season. I even spent a birthday here as a teen. After a day of canoeing my parents brought my friends and I to Baker for berry picking and we had a blast! 
This cobbler is one of my favorite dishes to make with the fresh picked berries (along with blueberry pancakes on Sunday morning!).  


  • 3 cups blueberries, rinsed
  • 3 cups blackberries, rinsed
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 stick or 8 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt 


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2.  In a large bowl gently mix together cleaned berries, cornstarch, lemon juice, salt, and sugar.
  3. Spread berries into a 8X8 baking dish.
  4. In a mixing bowl cream together softened butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
  5. Add all remaining ingredients for the crumble topping to the bowl.
  6. Use your fingers to blend together the ingredients to make a crumble.
  7. Sprinkle topping over berries and bake for 60 minutes until brown and bubbly.
  8. Serve warm with ice cream for a sweet summer dessert!
 Triple J Farms is one of the most popular blueberry farms while Akers of Strawberries is a fun stop for garden veggies, homemade ice cream, and, you guessed it, strawberry pickin'!

Let the pickin' begin! At Triple J Farms with my parents.
 A bucket full of berries with my Gma and Mom.
 My Gma loved going to the farms with us and would pick twice as much as me!
 Dad got a bucket full too!
 Purple fingers!
 Bushes full of blackberries.
 The best way to store blueberries: do not wash until ready to eat. 
Simply spread out on a baking sheet and freeze
 then add to a large freezer bag and lay flat in the freezer.
 The perfect bubbly cobbler filled with fresh picked berries! 
What a great way to start summer!
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June 27, 2013

Tropical Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Mango Avocado Salsa

Lettuce wraps are a popular healthy dinner choice is our house lately. You can mix them up in so many ways and they are tasty, filling, and best of all good for you! This salsa is a favorite of my husband's and we use it on Grilled Chicken and Fish Tacos too.


Makes 2 entree portions or 4 appetizers.

  • One package Gorton's Classic Grilled Shrimp
  • 1-2 tbsp canola oil
  • 6-8 large Butter lettuce leaves  

  • Mango Avocado Salsa:

  • 1/2 medium mango, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion (my husband, who is an onion fanatic, adds a third of an onion!)
  • 2 tablespoons diced sweet red and orange peppers
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1 tablespoon seeded chopped jalapeno pepper (more or less depending on the heat level you like)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice  

  • Directions:

    1. Mix first 5 ingredients for mango avocado salsa together in a bowl. 
    2. Top with lime juice and stir.
    3. Place in fridge until ready to serve.
    4. Meanwhile heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
    5. Add frozen seasoned shrimp and cook according the package instructions.
    6. Once cooked remove to a plate, let cool for a couple minutes and remove tails.
    7. To serve place 3-4 lettuce leaves on a plate with a heaping side of mango avocado salsa. Arrange shrimp with pan juices spooned on top next to the lettuce and you are ready to eat! Also delicious served with sliced chicken as we did below!
    Author's note: I used Gorton's Grilled Shrimp because it is an quick item I like to keep in my freezer. The resealable package is the perfect size for a dinner for two and the Classic Grilled Flavor is delicious, reminding me of seasoned New Orleans BBQ Shrimp. Of course you can use regular shrimp or chicken and spice it up to your liking too!

     Dice 1/2 a mango and as much red onion as you would like. My husband loves onion so he uses 1/3 but since the flavor can be overpowering I recommend you start with a couple tablespoons.
    Mix mango, peppers, onion, and avocado in a bowl then stir in lime juice. 
    Chill until ready to serve.

    Fresh Butter Lettuce Leaves are the perfect healthy wrap for the shrimp and salsa!

    Saute shrimp with oil until cooked through then remove tails and serve!
    Make sure to reserve the pan juices from the shrimp! The flavorful sauce reminds me of New Orleans BBQ Shrimp and is delicious drizzled on top of the shrimp when serving.
    Serve the salsa and lettuce wraps with the grilled shrimp and also grilled chicken if you like.
    A filling, healthy meal that will tantalize your taste buds!
    The Mango Avocado Salsa is also delicious on Fish Tacos!
     These healthy sauteed shrimp lettuce wraps are easy to make and low carb too!
    Enjoy on Taco Tuesday for a tropical twist!
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    June 22, 2013

    Father's Day Special: PB&J Smoothie

    Since last weekend we celebrated my husband Ashton's first Father's Day I wanted to feature another one of his recipes today. My darling Ashton is the master of the grill and also the master of smoothies! He comes up with all sorts of fun combos and some of the guys at work have even offered to pay him to make them smoothies! His favorite (and mine too!) is his PB&J Smoothie. This simple combo of frozen strawberries and crunchy peanut butter with a banana and yogurt thrown in for texture is the perfect cool treat for a hot summer day!

    Ava and Ashton on Father's Day 2013.
    The goodie bag I made Ashton filled with fun snacks from the gourmet food 
    aisle in my local grocery store.
    Ashton with his kids: Charlie the beagle, baby Ava, and Dylan the cocker spaniel.
    Ashton grilled his famous ribs rubbed with a Jack Daniel's seasoning and basted with his famous homemade Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce.
    Now it's time for the PB&J Smoothie recipe!


    Makes two 12 oz servings 
    • 2 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
    • 3/4 cup vanilla or strawberry yogurt
    • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I like crunchy)
    • 1/2 cup skim milk
    • 1 banana, sliced
    • whipped cream, optional
    • 2 sliced strawberries, for garnish
    • 2 small peanut butter cookies, for garnish


    1. Add frozen strawberries, yogurt, peanut butter, milk, and banana to a blender and blend until combined and smooth.
    2. Pour into 2 cups and top with whipped cream (optional) and garnish with sliced strawberry and a small peanut butter cookie.
    Pour everything into a blender.
    Ashton adds a few tablespoons a strawberry jelly if he uses vanilla flavored yogurt 
    for some extra berry flavor.
    Blend until smooth and mixed well. Add a couple ice cubes if you want it to be 
    smoother and not so thick. 

    Ashton likes to use frozen strawberries instead of ice cubes. The icy fruit makes the smoothie the perfect temp without watering it down!
    Top with a swirl of whipped cream and garnish with a sliced strawberry and a peanut butter cookie.
    Ashton being goofy and sipping his delicious smoothie!
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