Deep in Figs

We have a fig tree in our backyard. It’s a wide-spreading, large leafed, Brown Turkey fig tree. We grew it from a cutting taken from my father-in-law’s tree. His grew his from a cutting taken from his mother’s tree. Someday, I hope my sons have their own fig trees, grown from cuttings taken from our tree. It’s a lovely tradition to cultivate a new generation of this heirloom tree to each new generation of our family.

Our Fig Tree

Our third generation fig tree, popular feeding destination for our mockingbirds and cardinals.

 Right now, we are in the midst of fig season. This is the first year that we’ve had enough rain to give us a good crop of these delights. Dan has been harvesting them in the morning and again in the evening, bringing in five to 10 each time! I’m giving them to friends, and putting them in smoothies, and trying to find as many recipes as I can to keep up with production.

A fig on our tree

This baby is ripe and ready for picking!

 (Last year, I froze most of them, thinking I’d make fig preserves later. I never did, and I still have a freezer full of figs. I think when fig season is over and I have no more fresh figs, I’ll start throwing the frozen ones into smoothies.) 

Figs go well with sharp cheese, nuts, bread, in cereals and salads, and on the grill wrapped in bacon. There are so many things you can do with figs!

Figs go well with cheese, nuts, bread, in cereals and salads, and on the grill wrapped in bacon. There are so many things you can do with figs!

I’ll share with you some of the recipes I’ve been making with our figs. Today’s tidbit is this luscious recipe for Fig Bruschetta I found on WhiteOnRiceCouple.com. It’s worth a click to just take a look at the gorgeous photos there. Please visit them and try this recipe for yourself.

Ooohh, this was so good! Figs light sweetness is wonderful in combination with the flavors of ricotta, pecans, honey, and thyme.

Ooohh, this was so good! Figs light sweetness is wonderful in combination with the flavors of ricotta, pecans, honey, and thyme.

 I meant to make it for an appetizer, but we ended up having it for dinner. (What? It’s sort of a cheese sandwich with fruit. And just too good not to indulge yourself!)

After we had eaten our fill of the bruschetta, we still had some of the fig puree, thyme, chopped pecans, and chopped figs left. I saved them for breakfast and mixed all that into bowls of creamy amaranth made with coconut milk. Yum-my! 

Amaranth is an ancient grain that has more protein, iron, magnesium, and calcium than most grains. It's a little pricey, but one cup dry makes three cups prepared! And you can pop these tiny grains like corn!

Amaranth is an ancient grain that has more protein, iron, magnesium, and calcium than most grains. It’s a little pricey, but one cup dry makes three cups prepared! And you can pop these tiny grains like corn!

Today I’m making fig and blueberry nondairy ice cream. Should be dreamy! I’ll let you know.

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Summer Minestrone

Wednesday, I made this for dinner. We had it for leftovers Friday. And I have two more meals of it in the freezer! It’s delicious. So many flavors, and so fresh.

My Summer Minestrone

 It’s Summer Minestrone from the August, 2014, Family Circle Magazine. Quick to cook, but took longer than 30 minutes to prep. Instead of the bullion cubes, I used about 8 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth. Loved the sausage in there, and all the veggies! Such a healthy meal.

Next time I make it, I will leave out the pasta. I didn’t add anything to the taste, and I’d rather fill up on veggies instead.

It cost me about $24 to buy the ingredients for this, and I figure that for the two of us, we’ll get about 5 or 6 meals out of it, including my husband having leftovers for breakfast Thursday morning. So this is not only a delicious and nutritious meal, it’s economical, too! Continue reading

Eating Like Grown Ups

Somewhere along the line, we got off track and I stopped cooking for my family. It was in those years of soccer and little league, when Dan was always the coach and I was team mom. On those short evenings when we had to hurry and do homework, then jump in the car as soon as Dad got home to go to practice, it was always so much easier to just grab something to eat along the way.

That was when my children’s taste buds started to rebel against good, healthful food. I got so very tired of hearing, “Yuck! I’m not eating this!” when anything I made did not resemble mac and cheese from a blue box accompanied by frozen sticks of possibly poultry or feasibly fish. I know I should have been stronger and made them eat better, but I was tired. Ask any mom of youngsters. They are all tired. And if someone said to me, “Don’t cook. Let’s do what’s easier.” I didn’t have the energy to fight them too much.

As the kids got older, we continued our take-out tradition. By then we were deeply entrenched in the habit. Thankfully, as the kids became adults, so did their tastes. We ate a lot of take out, but it was mostly from local restaurants, not fast food. No one minded at all. And family time is much nicer when everyone can have their favorites.

But now we are living in an Empty Nest, just the two of us adults. Thankfully, I have a husband who is a bit of a foodie and will try anything. It’s more of a miracle that I am excited to try all the new foods we’ve been exploring. 

What got me started cooking (mostly) every night is a study our small group did at the beginning of this year. It’s called The Daniel Plan. I got really excited about the Food chapter. That is where I learned why some of the things I’ve always eaten are so bad, and why some of the things I thought were so hard to eat enough of are so good. Continue reading