Fruit is the food that is digested the fastest while, I believe, meat is digested the slowest, because fruits are low in fat and meats are not.  (Fats take a long time to digest.)  A lot of people say that, when eating fruit, it should be eaten before everything else in a meal (or always on an empty stomach) so it does not ferment in one's stomach and cause problems like gas, bloating, and such.  I don't know how true that is; I've done a little research, and opinions are mixed.  If anything, I guess that eating fruit first, which digests the quickest, could mean that you could get a jolt of energy the quickest?  I don't know...

I have been eating fruit (and veggies) first, not because I necessarily believe it will ferment if I don't, but so I am certain to eat more of it by filling up before I dive into the rest.  (Then again, I consider my childhood, when I would always eat each food separately and would not allow them to touch...and my digestive tract was much better.  That makes me go, "Hmmm...")  Anyway, I am trying my best to get in my five-a-day of fruits and veggies, and in researching recipes this past week, I kept coming across some yummy looking fruit salads.  So I decided to make one this week!

Anything Goes Fruit Salad
several kinds of fruit (I used green grapes, 1 Granny Smith apple, 1 Gala apple, 1 quart of strawberries, and a handful of leftover raspberries.)
1 1/2 cups of yogurt (I used vanilla.)
1/8 cup honey (I used My Paw Paw's Honey that we bought at our Farmers Market.  :)

Wash, peel, cut, etc. fruit as desired and place in large bowl.  In a smaller bowl, mix yogurt and honey together and then mix into fruit.

This recipe allows you to use whatever fruit you have on hand or are in the mood to have, and I suppose you can change out the flavors of the yogurt as well.  This salad was very good!  (The picture is without the "dressing.")  My only complaint is that the dressing got a little watery in the bottom of the bowl by the second day, so next time I think I will keep it separate and add it as needed.  That would have worked just as well today when Zach and I both took some for lunch in separate containers...and then ate together.  *lol*  I am so eating the leftovers for breakfast in the morning.  :)


My husband LOVES raspberries.  I actually don't think I had eaten a raspberry until I met him.  Wild, I know!  I used to not like raspberry-flavored things, especially blue raspberry-flavored things.  (Are there such things as blue raspberries?  I must know.  I know there are red ones [obviously] and black ones and yellow ones...but blue?)  But then the husby got me into raspberries, and now I adore raspberry-flavored things (I'm talking artificial here--I even like blue raspberry Icees!) as well as real raspberries in jams and desserts and snacks and such.  Ah, raspberry jam is sooo good.  And real raspberries are very good for you.  For one, they are HIGH in antioxidant (cancer-fighting agents) as well as Vitamin C and fiber.  Raspberries also offer such vitamins as folic acid and iron, which is good for me because I'm always anemic or borderline anemic...and can use all of the help I can get.  :)

We got these raspberries at the Farmers Market from the blueberry man, and they were so tasty!  I reserved some for us to snack on, but we decided to use the majority of them in raspberry tarts.  I know, I know, that isn't quite healthy, but we wanted to bring something special to the Gates' for Memorial Day and decided to use our tart pans finally.  I figure, if anything, we will still get some fiber and some vitamins from these.  ;)  And the tarts turned out FANTASTIC.  :)

baking spray
2 pie crusts (I used my KitchenAid Mixer recipe I always use.  This will also leave you extra crust, so you can bake the scraps after sprinkling them with some cinnamon sugar.  MMM...)
1 whipped topping container lid (to cut the crust for 4-inch tart pans--you can top the tarts with whipped topping as well!)
2 cups cold water
1/8 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups berries (can reserve a few to decorate the tarts)
mint leaves

Spray tart pans with a baking spray.  Roll out the pie crust.  Place the container lid atop the dough and use a knife to cut around it.  Place crust in tart pan, pressing dough against the sides and trimming excess from top.

Pour the water into a pan and whisk in the cornstarch until it is dissolved.  Add the sugar and berries and boil until the mixture is gelatinous and clear rather than cloudy.  (This took a l-o-o-o-ng time.)

Pour the filling into the tart shells and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Top with mint leaves, whipped cream, excess berries, or as desired.  :)


This weekend, I really wanted to make a fruit salad because I have been craving fruit like crazy since summer is right around the corner.  However, since we are going out of town to Fort Smith to visit Zach's best friend Kevin and his wife Bree for Memorial Day right after Meeting tomorrow,  we won't be able to transport it in the heat without tons of ice and such.  Zach suggested I just make it at their house, but their apartment has a tiny kitchen, and I hate crowding someone's kitchen with my dish when they are hosting dinner.  As such, we decided to bring a surprise dessert (but more on that later this week!).

We still bought some fruit to munch on until we leave, including our first honeydew of the year!  Zach thumped on one, thought it sounded hollow enough, felt dense, and swooped it up.  :)  I was too tired to recall how to pick out a melon, so I let him do it, and I think he did a great job!

When picking out a honeydew, you want to look for one that is yellower than paler.  Feel the stem end and see it gives a bit when you push.  Try the opposite end as well.  Thump to see if the melon sounds hollow.  Then compare it with a similarly sized melon to see if it is fairly dense.  You can also shake it to see if you hear seeds moving around; it's good if you do.  (I have bad hearing, so this doesn't work for me.)  Finally, sniff the stem end for a melony smell--one that is not too strong.  If all of these things line up, then you probably will have a good, ripened, and sweet honeydew on your hands!  The only thing ours was missing was the melony smell.  :)

Since honeydew is in the same family as cantaloupe, I am assuming it is high in folate, Vitamin A, and potassium, which is very important for your health (though the others are as well).  The thing I love about this melon is its slight honeysuckle flavor.  I served mine cut into larger bite-sized pieces with a dash of lime juice, a sprinkle of salt and sugar each, and some mint leaves.  It was very delicious and light for breakfast!

P is for PEPPERS

I've learned that many of my friends have a haaaaate relationship with peppers and onions.  :(  I don't understand that because I LOVE them!  They are so good and say Mexican (as in, fajitas) to me!  I can understand people's negative views on onions a bit more because they do cause bad breath, but I can eat an onion, especially a purple onion, like an apple.  :)

I won't say anymore about onions since today's letter is "P," which means this post will talk a bit more about a "p" food peppers, bell peppers specifically.  Apparently, these lovelies are called capsicum in Australia.  Who knew?  I already knew that they are sometimes called sweet peppers because they don't provide much of a spicy kick.  (Another reason why I don't understand why people loathe them!)  Anyway, bell peppers come in a variety of colors, including green, red, yellow, and orange.  Whenever I made pasta primavera in the past (when I lived in central AR), I always would pick up Kroger's Stoplight Peppers because they contained one each of red, yellow, and green bell peppers--just like a stoplight!  In researching bell peppers, I also learned that red bell peppers are just ripened green ones.  AMAZING!  I liked a mix of peppers because of the color combo and taste variety.  The green ones are less sweeter than all of the others on the color spectrum; I'd say most people prefer the green ones to the rest, probably not just because of taste but because they are the cheapest.  ;)  Bell peppers are rich in lycopene, carotene, and vitamin C with red peppers having the highest amounts and green ones having the lowest.

I made some sweet and sour lemonade chicken from Six Sisters' Stuff, and I decided to serve it with rice, peppers, and onion for a pseudo-Chinese meal.  I'm not much on Chinese, but I did LOVE this chicken!  Zach said it was a bit too lemony for him, so next time I won't use as much lemonade.  I know white rice isn't the healthiest, but it is my favorite and easier for my tummy to digest.  I haven't had peppers and onions in FOREVER, so these were a real treat!

To make the peppers (and onion), I remove the caps from two peppers and slice out the white insides to remove the seeds.  (I've also found that holding a pepper half or quarter over the trashcan with the inside facedown and taping the back with a utensil helps the seeds fall out.)  Then I slice them into strips and half the strips.  I slice the ends off the onion, remove its peeling, and then slice it into strips.  I heat 1-2 Tablespoons of vegetable/olive oil into a skillet over medium-high heat, add the peppers and onions, and sauté until the onions are translucent and the peppers are tender and browned.  So good!

T is for TURNIPS

I tried turnips for the first time last night.  Zach had had them before; he thinks they were boiled and remembered liking them fairly well.  I wanted to go for a fail-proof recipe, so I settled on a caramelized turnip recipe that I tweaked a bit.  I figure adding sugar would mean I couldn't hate them.  And I didn't.  ;)

I know that some of my fruit and vegetable recipes aren't necessarily the most healthy fruits and veggies to eat, but I think I am taking a step in the right direction by incorporating more each day and trying ones I have never had, such as turnips, beets, and leeks.  For example, with the blueberry muffins, I know they had sugar, but I know they used lots of fresh blueberries, which is better than most packaged brands that used hardened bits of dyed high fructose corn syrup as blueberries.  Ick!

The turnips used sugar, too, but a lot of it ended up being stuck on the pan...and not on the turnips.  ;)  (I'm really not trying to rationalize using lots of butter and sugar; I just figure that with some vegetables that you have to start someplace familiar!)  Apparently, turnips are high in vitamin C.  Who knew?!  Now onward and upward...

Surprisingly, these babies were somewhat salty-tasting.  And, yes, I backtracked to make sure I used sugar, and not salt, and I know I used the correct ingredient because I used the sugar shaker.  :)  Zach and I liked these fairly well; I still think it's a vegetable that will have to grow on me a bit more because the texture sometimes threw me off.  : )~  They also became somewhat disappointing after they cooled off, but I feel that way about most vegetables.  I could never be a raw eater--I like my food piping hot!  Overall, I would say this is a recipe I am keeping around because the chicken stock, butter, and sugar gave the turnips a nice coating.  But I am excited to try more turnip recipes!

15 turnips, peeled and diced with the ends sliced off
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoon chicken stock base (I buy it at Sam's for super cheap!)
1 Tablespoon or more butter
2 Tablespoons sugar

Place turnips, water, and chicken base in a skillet and simmer on medium heat until the turnips are tender (about 15 minutes).  Stir in butter and sugar.  Cook until the turnips are sticky and turn brown (about 10 minutes).

Next time, I think I will add some carrots as well to help out with the texture!


Yesterday, Zach and I went to the Farmers Market for the first time this year.  Gee, it was a lot bigger and busier than last summer!  We found lots of yummy veggies (lettuce, carrots, turnips) and some potted plants/herbs (mint, basil, marigolds), but our best purchase was a quart of blueberries that we got for $3!  Yes, THREE DOLLARS!  Normally, they are sold $7 a quart ($4 for a pint), but these were the bottom of the barrel, so to speak, so the blueberry man sold them for super cheap and told us not to tell anyone we paid money for them.  That means, of course, that I must tell the world.  ;)  Since they were the "smooshy" berries, we have to use them up super fast, but they are perfect for baked goods and ice cream.  Onto today's recipe!

Blueberry Muffins
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line muffin tin with paper cups and set aside.
-In a medium bowl, combine 1-3/4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Make a well in the center of the mixture and set aside.
-In smaller bowl, crack one egg and beat.  Add 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup cooking oil and combine wet ingredients.
-Add to flour mixture and stir until just moistened.  Don't stir for too long!
-Spoon batter into muffin cups.  (I found that two heaping spoons, if using a larger spoon, filled them 2/3 full, which is what you want.)
-Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar atop each muffin, if desired.  Using two tablespoons of butter, slice each in half and then each half into thirds.  Top each muffin with a dab of butter.
-Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
-Cook muffin tin on a wire rack for five minutes before serving.

I am not much of a muffin person, but I loved these!  And my husby did, too--he ate FOUR!


photo originally here

I used to not like grapefruit very much.  It was too bitter and too tart, which sounds crazy, but that is how grapefruit is--and it confused my tastebuds.  I remember hearing in junior high and high school that grapefruit juice could help you lose weight, and I soldiered through glass after glass though I hated it.  I also thought having half a grapefruit for breakfast was very European and glamourous, so I forced myself to eat more than a few halves in my lifetime.

At some point, I discovered the beauty of a fresh grapefruit sprinkled with brown sugar and broiled for a short time so it got warm and caramelized.  Ahhh!  Then suddenly the grapefruit seemed great on its own!  This past year, I wasn't able to have any grapefruit because of the medicine I was on.  :(  But now that I have had my surgery and don't have to worry about blocking my stoma, I am slowly easing back into having citrus, including the one pictured above.

I haven't bought any whole grapefruit to broil yet, but my husby purchased this container that holds ten (yes, TEN!) grapefruit for six-ish dollars right before my surgery, and there is some left.  I think it is a wise purchase if you like grapefruit by itself.  The past few days I have been enjoying a few segments sprinkled with vanilla sugar.  Ahhhhhhhh. :)

B is for BERRIES

Well...I'm back and ready to conquer Crohn's one vegetable (and fruit) at a time!  I had my surgery on the 24th, was discharged on the 30th, celebrated my 27th birthday the following day, and have been recovering ever since.  Last Friday, I got my staples out and was cleared to drive (and pick up our kitties :).  I will try to go back to work this week but may need a little extra time at home; thankfully, I can work from here.  My surgeon says my body is healing up nicely, my colon and small intestine look great, and I am stronger than a lot of his male patients.  *haha*  He is partners with the official surgeon for the Arkansas Razorbacks, so I wonder if that means I'm stronger than those Hogs?!  ;)

Anyway, here I am with a quick little recipe to quick off my return--Quadruple Berry Smoothies!  We have breakfast for dinner quite a bit around here, and this smoothie is an item that has become popular on the Pharr menu.  For one, it provides some healthy foods, including milk, yogurt, and fruit (raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries with strawberries and additional berries from the yogurt).  Secondly, it purees the berries, so that they may be easier for me to digest as well as pick out some of the seeds that can be problem-causing.  Finally, berries specifically are low in calories, possess loads of antioxidants that fight cancer, may be anti-inflammatory, and offer lots of your daily needed vitamins and minerals.  Best of all, they taste AMAZING!  So mix together a smoothie tomorrow morning or tonight.  :)

Quadruple Berry Smoothie
1 1/2 cups yogurt (I used 3 individual-serving-sized containers of Activia, 2 in blueberry and 1 in strawberry.)
1/2 cup milk (I saved one of the containers and measured my milk using it since it is four ounces.)
2+ cups of frozen mixed berries (We buy the Triple Berries from Sam's Club.)

Pour yogurt and milk into blender.  Slowly pulse/blend/smoothie fruit into dairy mixture until well combined.  Pour into chilled glasses--we used our Simpsons ones--and serve with a festive straw and enjoy.  :)