Monday, September 22, 2014

Freezing Fresh Fruits & Veggies

Hello, and happy Monday! My local news channel informed me that it will officially be fall at 10:29 pm. I'm so excited; fall is my favorite time of the year. 

I hope all of you had a fabulous weekend. I worked for most of the weekend, but babe and I both have today "off", so we're going to pretend like it's Saturday!

On to today's post...

There's nothing better than fresh fruits and vegetables. When in season, they're bursting with flavor and packed full of nutrients. 

Freezing produce when it's reached peak ripeness allows you to enjoy it all year long, even when it's not in season. And friends, having a freezer full of fresh strawberries and peppers from the garden is a very beautiful thing.

But freezing fresh produce isn't as simple as dumping fresh berries into a freezer bag... there are a few tricks and tips (courtesy of my mamma) that will help you get the most out of your fruits and veggies!

 

  • Freeze fruits and veggies when they're at their peak of freshness.
  • For fruit: wash/prepare fruit thoroughly and let dry. Place the fruit on a cookie sheet in a single layer (not touching) place in the freezer. Once the fruit is partially frozen, transfer it to a Ziploc bag or any other type of freezer-safe storage container. Allowing the fruit to first freeze while not touching other pieces of fruit ensures that you will be able to take out individual pieces of fruit instead of one huge chunk of strawberries. For fruits that tend to brown (think apples), treat them with ascorbic acid first. 
  • For veggies: veggies are best frozen when blanched first (briefly submerged in boiling water). Then, place the veggies in an ice bath to prevent the veggies from cooking- the purpose of blanching is to preserve the color, nutrients, and flavor of the veggies.
  • Most veggies can go straight from the freezer to boiling water to be cooked. Most fruit should be defrosted/thawed at room temperature. Some people aren't crazy about mushy defrosted fruits, so eating them just before they're completely thawed is also an option.
  • Frozen fruits can be stored for about a year, while veggies can last for up to 18 months in the freezer. They can be stored for longer, of course, but the quality can start to decline.

Now you can eat fresh fruits and veggies all year long!

Hope these tips were useful :)


Friday, September 19, 2014

Triple Threat Workout!

Hello, friends! I'm writing from Panera Bread. Why is their soup so good???

I have a quick, but killer workout to share with you today. But first, I had to share this photo of Arthur. 

She went for her 16-week shots today and she was not a happy camper! She's usually crazy and all over the place, but she actually acted like a good little kitty today. Don't worry, as soon as we got home she was back to her normal monster kitty self!! 


So back to this workout... It's a butt kicker, but you'll love it! It consists of three exercises, performed for one minute each, for four rounds. I understand that not everyone will have a basketball court to work with, so choose any starting/stopping point for running suicides. 


*Always start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down. Remember to listen to your body, rehydrate, and modify each exercise as needed.


Hope you all have an amazing weekend :)
If you try the workout, let me know how it goes!!



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Homemade Plant Food

There's no simple pleasure I love more than fresh cut flowers on the table. They instantly brighten any space and add a smile to my face. 

I used to resort to buying fresh stems at Harris Teeter or Trader Joe's, but now I'm blessed with having a local farmer's market that has the most beautiful assortment of flower bouquets. Beautiful flowers for my home + supporting small businesses = super win. 




The only downfall to fresh cut flowers is that they don't last as long as I would like them to (well that and my cats try to chew/shred them). I always wondered what the trick to long-lasting flowers was, and now I have it! My friend Jennifer shared a simple solution that she picked up from a florist and I'm excited to share it with all of you today. 

I've already tried this solution and I'm happy to report that my last farmer's market bouquet lasted nearly two weeks! I will be using this Homemade Plant Food every time I get fresh flowers; it's magic :)




Hope you're having a glorious week :) I'll check back in on Friday with a fun workout.




Monday, September 15, 2014

Week(end) Things

Hello, hello. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. It was so great having my mom stay with us for a few days. I've really been missing her :) We showed her a few of our favorite spots in Wilmington, made a trip to the farmer's market, and did a little shopping. I tried to convince her to just move in with us, but was unsuccessful. Here's a few snapshots from the week and weekend.


beautiful cone flowers


lovely breakfast with babe and momma


farmer's market flowers


fall decorations everywhere


pumpkin spice latte @ java dog


look what found its way back to TJ's
i'm a happy girl :)


historic wilmington 5k

i manned the new balance booth, as we were a sponsor.


love the new quick bread ideas in this month's food network mag.




our apartment is finally starting to shape up...



Hope you have a fabulous week :)