How-to Make Cantaloupe Banana Ice Cream

Cantaloupes at the Market

A nice cool refreshing dessert made from frozen fruit, including bananas and fruits of your choice, is easy to make with another toy that we own – Yonanas. But don’t fear, if you don’t own one, you can do the same by using a strong blender.

Yonanas
Yonanas

No dairy or added sugar but all the wonderful nutrients makes this a super healthy treat. Plant-based ice cream can be made anytime of the year but it is especially pleasurable during the summer.

Ice Cream Made with Bananas and Blueberries
Ice Cream Made with Bananas and Blueberries
Cherry Banana Ice Cream
Ice Cream Made with Bananas and Cherries

The other day I noticed that our cantaloupe was getting ripe faster than we could eat it. We’re aware of food waste and try our best to eat what we purchase or grow. So what to do with those fast ripening fruits, well easy, just freeze them, especially bananas and, in this case, half of that cantaloupe. I’m curious about how yummy this ice cream will taste. First time try but I think it will be perfect with cantaloupe’s natural sweetness!

You can see from my food photography that I’ve made ice cream from bananas and blueberries and cherries. Try strawberries, peaches, mangoes, raspberries…how about watermelon. So let’s see what happens with the cantaloupe in this video, what do you think?

Remember to throw over-ripe or excess bananas and fruit in the freezer – make an ice cream treat later! Top with nuts and add chocolate chips too. Delicious. Waste NOT!

An Evening of Corn Gleaning

Me and Tom gleaning corn at Etter's.

What a beautiful evening to glean corn – fresh air and sunshine! Once again Tom and I were at Etter’s cornfield near Marion PA gathering corn for The Gleaning Project. It’s a time to help more people in our community have access to fresh produce, in turn, helping our community to be healthier – a win-win. It’s time in the fields to meditate and count our blessings. It’s a time to keep moving – great physical activity. It’s a time for community gathering and to meet our neighbors. There were such a variety of gleaners, old and new faces, a wonderful turn out. I love to see so many young gleaners, one young man mentioned that he was 5 years old, they are such troopers…makes my heart full. 

Jay giving a quick tutorial on picking corn.
Jay giving a quick tutorial on picking corn.
BJ thick in the corn rows, looks like her bag's empty!
BJ thick in the corn rows, looks like her bag’s empty!
BJ and fellow gleaner Jerry, having fun like Jay told us! Be safe and have fun.

The Gleaning Project is a nonprofit effort to reduce food loss on local farms, and increase food security in our communities.

Not everybody has the time or schedule or physical ability to help with gathering the food but you can support this great nonprofit in other ways. They are holding a Glean-A-Mania, it is a new and exciting way to support The Gleaning Project. They state on their website, “The idea is simple. We’re asking our community members to pledge a penny for each pound of produce that we glean during one super week in September. (September 9-15)” See detail here at The Gleaning Project.

As I write this post, Tom is off again, geaning peaches, this is the season. Support this terrific community endeavor by helping The Gleaning Project! 

Blueberries In The Round and more

Coach BJ's Blueberry Cobbler in the Round

I’m totally in love with cobblers in the round with a hint of peanut butter in the cobbler… throw in some beautiful fresh blueberries with a splash of a juicy peach…makes my mouth water. Decadent without many calories; plant-based fruits produce natural sugar – the best. Natural fruits…what a dessert treat! 

Aren’t we lucky to be surrounded by fruit orchards here in Central PA. We love to support our local farmers who work so hard to bring freshness to our table. We have no excuse for not eating healthy fruits and for those less fortunate there are various outlets and food pantries where in-season fruit is available for the asking if you qualify. Tom and I participate in the Gleaning Project where we help other community volunteers collect fruit which would otherwise go to waste but is now distributed to people who are eager to eat fresh vegetables and fruit. 

Tom Gleaning Peaches
Tom Gleaning Peaches

Here are a few of the cobblers I’ve made this season. Even when the fruit is out of season, it is perfectly fine to use frozen fruit…so enjoy cobbler all year “in the round”.

Coach BJ's Blueberries cobbler in the Round
Coach BJ’s Blueberries Cobbler in the Round
Coach BJ's Blueberry Cobbler in the round
Taking a bite of Coach BJ’s Blueberry Cobbler in the round…delicious!

…and there’s more…

Coach BJ's Blueberries and Peaches Cobbler in the round
Coach BJ’s Blueberries and Mangoes Cobbler in the round

…and more…

Coach BJ's Strawberries and peaches cobbler in the round
Coach BJ’s Strawberries and Peaches Cobbler in the round

…more…

Coach BJ's Peaches and Cherries cobbler in the round
Coach BJ’s Peaches and Cherries Cobbler in the round

Now let’s dig into that fruit cobbler! But which is your favorite…blueberries, cherries, peaches, mangoes or strawberries? My favorite is the last one I’ve made, so mix and match fresh or frozen fruits!

Cooking Ears of Corn in the Microwave

Corn in the Wind

More CORN, CORN, CORN…we love it, summer fun! Takes us back to those playful summer vacation days. Aren’t we so lucky to have an abundance of fresh produce and fruits in Franklin County, PA. A perfect place to raise whole food, plant-based on fertile farmland  – the soil is filled with wonderful nutrients to grow fantastically healthy food, add blessings of sun and rain, and hard working farmers…can’t beat it.

Tom and I volunteer for the Gleaning Project of South Central PA and view fields and fields of beautiful fresh corn up close and personal. I have learned how to pick full ears of corn and toting those heavy bags is wonderful exercise, saving us a trip to the gym. Helping our community by providing saved veggies is another breath of fresh air. We love gleaning! 

Gleaning Corn in Franklin County, PA
Gleaning Corn in Franklin County, PA

Speaking of corn, let’s cook a few ears for ourselves. How to cook a few ears of corn on the cob without the fuss of pots and water while saving time is shown in the video. We’ll be watching Tom cook ears of corn in the microwave. Depending on your microwave, cooking time takes only between 1-2 minutes per ear. NO need to add anything to the hots ears, they are packed with natural sweetness. Let’s get started, I’m getting hungry. 

…and now enjoy those tantalizing ears of corn!

 

 

Air Fryer Explored

Air Fryer fries

We love to experiment in the kitchen and Tom loves new kitchen toys (oops did I say toys or tools). So I’ll share some of our first exploring with our AIR FRYER. In the following video, Tom shows you how easy it is to make healthy plant-based fries, of course, without using oil. 

Air Fryer Fries
Air Fryer Fries

(1) FRENCH FRIES EXPLORED:  About two months ago, Tom ordered an Air Fryer online. I was unsure about his new toy but I was a willing participant, as long as he’s doing the cooking. Of course the first exploration was the making of crispy French fries. Wow, they just blew us away – Crisp and Easy! Out of the box, they turned out terrific. Here’s the process; Tom just cuts up two potatoes as he normally would, places them into the basket, slides basket into the fryer, turn on 390 degrees F for 20 minutes, turns fries half way, and voila! NO OIL FRIES, who would’ve thought. We LOVE, LOVE the fries. Clean up is so easy, just wash out the basket. Tom makes fries about twice a week, sweet potato fried too. Since Tom loves toys and he takes care of them…don’t tell him but perhaps that’s why I’m so impressed with the FRYER, I don’t have to cook!

Our dog Zipper is featured in the video. He loves plant-based, no oil, air fries too!

(2) PIZZA EXPLORED:  Stay tuned, our next exploration will be cooking pizza in the Air Fryer. 

Air Fryer Pizza
Air Fryer Pizza

 

How-to Shuck Corn with a Knife

Bi-Colored Corn in Husk

In this video Tom is going to show you his way of shucking corn with a sharp knife. Then I’ll explain how to make a simple corn stock. Tom’s method makes it simple by using kitchen tools which you will already have, that is, a knife, cutting board and pot – quick and easy. But one of these days I’m going to try a small corn zipper tool…another post for another day.

Who doesn’t love farmer’s fresh corn from the market, my latest favorite, which I deem to be the most colorful and flavorful, is bi-colored corn. We just returned from the North Square Farmer’s Market, Chambersburg PA with our bags of goodies:  Plan on using around 6-8 ears of corn to make corn stock and have the cut kernels for a yet to-be-determined corn soup or dish.

So here’s TOM! I’ll pick you up on the other side…

As you saw, he throws the cobs along with some husks into a large stainless steel soup pot. Now add water:  As a general rule one cup of water for each corn cob. This time I did not add any other ingredients since I’m not sure how we’re going to use the corn stock but it never hurts to add fresh onions and celery. Boil the corn stock on the stove top for about 30 minutes but of course it would only take a hot 4 minutes on medium pressure in your pressure cooker. Strain the corn stock and it’s ready to use! It really enhances soups made with corn, adding another layer to your culinary skills. Another bonus is that it’s doubly wonderful to freeze and have on hand, especially in the cold winter months!

Corn Cob Broth

Beets and Greens – nothing “beets” the flavor

Red Roasted Beets

Roasting market fresh beets is so satisfying! You get a TWO for ONE…the beautiful beets and the beautiful greens! I roast beets about once a week – we cut up the beets for our daily salads and eat the leafy greens with a little peanut sauce…so scrumptious. We love organically locally grown beets for freshness and color variety, then during the off season we purchase red organic at the supermarket. Do we love beets or what! Usually we roast in our small toaster oven – saving energy is always good for the environment, as is, eating whole foods, plant-based.

Farm Market Beets
Farm Market Beets

Serves: 4 || Prep Time: 10 minutes || Cook Time: 30 – 50 minutes

4 large or 6 medium beets, fresh
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

++++++++++++++++
Preheat 400°F. Scrub beets, cut off greens to use later in salads or to sauté. Do not peel or cut off root end. Place in a bowl and coat with a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Roast in regular oven or toaster oven on parchment paper. Depending on size, roast for approximately 30 -50 minutes, turn midway through. After roasting the peels will come off easily.

Nutrition Facts
Calories 43  Calories from Fat 1, Total Fat 0g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 64mg, Total Carbohydrate 9g, Fiber 2g, Sugars 7g, Protein 1g


NOW FOR THE BEET GREENS WITH PEANUT SAUCE:  Beautiful green leaves steam and pieces of red stems sautéed in peanut sauce.

Serves: 2 || Prep Time: 10 minutes || Cook Time: 6 minutes

Steam Beet Greens
Steam Beet Greens
4 cups fresh beet greens, stems and leaves
1/2 cup water or more as needed
2 tablespoons fresh peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Wash the leaves thoroughly. You can use both the tender stems and the leaves from fresh beet greens. Ribbon cut the green leaves, save the red stems and cut into pieces a few inches long. Stir the peanut butter into 1/2 cup of water, add garlic powder. In a skillet heat the peanut sauce, add red stems first, sauté/ steam for about 3 minutes before adding green leaves. Sauté for another 3 minutes, not too long as you want to retain the beautiful bright green color. Enjoy alone as a side or add to various other dishes.

Nutrition FactsCalories 27  Calories from Fat 3, Total Fat 0g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 196mg, Total Carbohydrate 5g, Fiber 3g, Sugars 0g, Protein 3

Beet Greens in Peanut Sauce
Beet Greens in Peanut Sauce

How about bean pastas?

fettuccine with pesto

I love to try various pastas…looking for an enjoyable taste, attractive color and interesting texture. Well today my quest turned out marvelously – Fettuccine made from edamame and mung beans fit the bill!

Edamame and Mung Bean Fettuccine
Edamame and Mung Bean Fettuccine

For those who are trying to cut back on eating wheat products or for gluten-free eaters, today there are many choices. Pick up some of these specialty pastas which normally are found in the organic section of the grocery store. Note the apropos name of this product, “Explore Cuisine”.

The dish that I made with this fettuccine turned out to be delicious. I boiled the noodles for  about 6 minutes. I poured on whole food, plant-based spinach/basil pesto then added garden fresh vegetable – red and orange cherry tomatoes, yellow peppers, kale, and sprinkled red pepper flakes on top. We had a sip of wine and a slice of whole grain bread. Oh yes, Tom made a beautiful salad but I was too full so it will become my evening snack. We definitely will buy this pasta again, try it, you’ll like it! Any type of contrasting red pasta sauce would look lovely on this green fettuccine too!

Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine with Pesto
Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine with Pesto

Make cooking and eating healthily an adventure. Try new plant-based products, fruits, veggies and grains. Besides the taste, note other features about food like their shapes and textures, you will start to appreciate the uniqueness of Mother nature in each piece. Take your time, be aware of all the senses which are invoked while eating, enjoy the little “bites” of life.