Monday, December 30, 2013

Top 5 Posts of 2013

As we look toward a new year, I wanted to look back at your favorite Fruitful posts from 2013!

Let's dive in:

1. Easy Pie Crust
I'm glad that you guys were as excited as I was to find this super easy pie crust recipe. And Lord knows, I've use it to make near a dozen pies in the past few months. Talk about upper crust...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Simple Saturday: Roasted Vegetables

I hope you all had a beautiful and very merry Christmas and spent lots of time giving thanks and feeling blessed with others.

This month I have been getting used to the end of the farmers market...and it hasn't been easy.

I'm really missing my Arkansas black apples (though I might have found a place to get those, but please share if you have any orchard connections), fresh greens, fun squashes and fresh herbs.

But we have been eating a lot of root veggies, broccoli, cauliflower and kale, so that's not too bad.

After you've eaten veggies steamed and mashed, sometimes you want to cook them in a way that lends a little more flavor and texture.

When that's the case, you need to try some roasting.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Dinner Out: South on Main

A few weekends ago I got to try a new restaurant that I have been eyeing since it opened a few months ago.

It's South on Main in Little Rock and, oddly enough, it's located in the old "Juanita's", a concert venue where I saw many a good and not-so-good band play. But I have good memories there, either way.

The restaurant is neighbors with the Oxford American magazine, famous for its Southern literature.

I found South of Main to be a breath of fresh air with its fun, folksy decor, relaxed atmosphere but high-quality, Southern-influenced food.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Goodies to Gift Day 5

We finally made it...through 5 full days of treats!

I hope you've found some recipes and ideas for things to bake, mix, season and give away.

I'm pretty stoked to give away my goody sacks this year. This is about as crafty as I get, folks. (Thanks to Spoon Fork Bacon for these fun labels.)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Goodies to Gift Day 4

Today's installment of Goodies to Gift is something that I make every few weeks.

It's perfect for breakfast, snack, dessert, travel and absolutely great for gifting.

And it's The Best Granola!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Goodies to Gift Day 3

Today we're continuing in the spirit of giving with a goody that no one can say no to.

If you can say no to pie, get out.

Just kidding, but I'm fairly certain that anyone you give a pie to will gladly accept it and want to dive a fork into it as soon as possible.

And this pie is absolutely no exception.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Goodies to Gift Day 2

Happy Tuesday and second day of Goodies to Gift.

This week, we're taking 5 days to highlight various treats for you to give to your loved ones, friends, neighbors or complete strangers.

Today, I'm sharing a recipe for Rosemary Crackers that go splendidly with the Goat Cheese Dip that I shared last Saturday.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Goodies to Gift Day 1

Today we're starting a little week-long (well, work-week long) list of delicious, tasty and fun-to-share sweets and savories for you to give away!

It's one of the best times of the year to get your giving on and I'm giving you some recipes and ideas to help you along your way!

Today, we start with Eggnong Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Simple Saturday: Goat Cheese Dip

What's better at this time of the year (or, well any) than sitting around with family and friends and snacking.

Or, who am I kidding, lounging by yourself watching way too many episodes of Chuck (which just got added to Netflix) and sitting up just far enough to reach a bite to eat.

Sometimes you want a sweet bite and sometimes you want something salty with a kick.

If you're in the latter mood, then this dip is for you.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pasta Making

A week after I graduated high school, my mom and I hopped on a plane and flew to Paris then Florence for a week of travel, eating and celebrating!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Indian Comfort Food

Today, I'm sharing a food that's made it into my favorite foods list over the past few months.

It's eaten in many countries of the world (India and Southeast Asia mainly) and is a fabulous vegetarian, spiced comfort food that's actually not bad for you.

It's also something that was on my 2013 Food Resolutions to make and I finally made!

And it's something that I couldn't get out of my culinary mind after eating it for breakfast in Burma.

It's Chapati and Dahl!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Simple Saturday: Holiday Shake

Around our house, it's not only the season of joy, giving and celebrating Jesus' birth, but also a time to consume egg nog and peppermint ice cream.

My husband already bought our first jug of egg nog last weekend and we've been slowly sampling it since. And I made it clear that we had to buy some peppermint ice cream to get in the holiday mood.

Do you ever feel like you're taking the gallon challenge when you drink egg nog? It's so rich that I really can only drink a shot glass amount at a time, but I love the eggy, spiced taste.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rugelach for the Holidays

When I had just turned 16 and had my license and a car to drive, I decided I would find myself a part time job to make a little cash...and be able to pay for my gas so I could actually go places.

I had a friend from school who worked at a local bakery and she said she could get me a job so I jumped at the opportunity!

And for the next 2 years, I worked behind the counter, refilling the cookies and cakes and delivering special orders to many happy faces.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fruitful Travels: Escape to Mexico

After almost a year of planning, a few weeks ago my family (including my husband, parents, two sisters and their husbands) took a week-long vacation to Manzanillo, Mexico. It's a beach town on the Pacific coast.

We found a gorgeous house (complete with maid, chef, house manager and two pools) at and it was absolutely amazing being there!

We had a fabulous view of the ocean and mountains and the tropical weather was just right for swimming and margarita drinking. We spent most of our time swimming, reading, laying out, going to the beach, playing games together and the guys even went deep sea fishing and we ate the mahi mahi that they caught!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Simple Saturday: Boozy Whipped Cream

It's post Thanksgiving and I bet most of us are already eating on leftovers (or leftovers of leftovers) from the big day.

Although a plate of goodies from a day or two ago can be just delightful, sometimes you want to give your dishes new life and spice it up a little.

And that's where this boozy whipped cream comes in. For when that slice of pie is looking a little sad and you want to give your guests something to talk about.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thinking Thankful

This is a special day.

And not just because we'll all be enjoying a cornucopia of amazing food and restful naps after eating that food.

And not just because we'll be surrounded by a few or a roomful of loved ones and family.

And not just because it gives us an excuse to say thanks and count our blessings.

For me, it's all of those things combined.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Our Thanksgiving Menu

The week is upon us and maybe your Thanksgiving menu is set or maybe you're still looking for a few new ideas.

This year, my husband and I are spending T-giving with my parents and sister and brother-in-law in Oklahoma City. I can't wait to have our first holiday celebration in my sister's new house and I love her kitchen and can't wait to cook together there!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Random Acts of Foodness

Here's this week's dose of good news about food.
  • This school's vegetarian menu sounds amazing!
  • On a semi-un-food related note, these JOYN Christmas stockings are amazing, support artisans in India and are adorable. 
  • These 10 beautiful coffee mugs all support a charity.
  • Learn about Story Company and fancy up your (or a friend or family member's) house, kitchen or wardrobe with some items to support creativity in Africa.
  • This list has some great Thanksgiving-related stories. Dive in!

Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! I hope that this week (and every week) we can let food bring the people in our lives together and spread goodness around.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Simple Saturday: Wine and Cheese Party

Today, we're covering a simple idea for a friend, neighborhood or just because wine and cheese party.

I really like the idea of wine and cheese because...well what's there not to like.

It's really easy for people to mingle at a wine and cheese party, it caters to many tastes and allows you to showcase all of your cracker-buying, cheese-selecting and appetizer-making skills.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Trip to Tuscany

Let's all take a deep breath, forget about the stresses of life and take a quick trip to Italy, where olive trees abound and rustic food is king.

Also, let's go to Italy because they probably invented combining kale and Parmesan cheese!

In Italian cooking, it's not always bing bang boom to get the complex flavors you want. Sometimes that picture you have of Nonna standing over the stove all day to make something incredibly delicious is a picture of what it takes to make some great flavors.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pie Time

Even though I just got back from a glorious seven days of relaxing in the tropics of Mexico (posts to come soon), I'm so ready to get into the Thanksgiving season!

I've been practicing my pies with my new-found Easy Pie Crust recipe.

Fruits, gourds, squashes...I relish in the fact that mostly everything inside a perfect crust tastes great.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Guest Post: Butternut Squash Gnocchi Sauce

Here's a guest post from my fabulous blogger friend Elsie over at Richly Rooted. We met each other while studying abroad in Oxford four years ago and we were even in a dinner group together! I am so excited that we are blogger friends now and I get to keep up with all of the healthy, inspiring meals, series and ideas that Elsie comes up with.

Back in August, Grace shared these fabulous Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts on my blog, Richly Rooted.

Since tomatoes are an iconic produce pick for August, I thought I'd share a recipe that showcases a fall favorite: squash!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thinking Fruitful: Gift Giving

Today I'm beginning a new series "thinking fruitful" that will hopefully inspire you to look at things through a new lens and give you ideas to make the every day things shine! Today, we tackle gift giving.

Guess what season it is?

Yes, it's apple season, but also gift season!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Simple Saturday: Easy Pie Crust

About a year ago, I made a few sub-par homemade pie crusts and I just stopped making pies and quiches until a few weeks ago.

I knew I could buy a pre-made crust from the store, but I just felt like I was letting myself down.

My mom is like the pie queen and could make a crust in her sleep and I really thought I would inherit some of that magic.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fruitful Travels: War Eagle Mill

We have a picture from about 15 years ago of my mom and my two sisters and me standing smiling on a bridge in front of a mill in Northwest Arkansas.

After living in NWA for the past 7 years, I finally got a chance to return to this place: War Eagle Mill.

We picked a nice fall day while the leaves were changing to their deep oranges, fiery reds and brightening yellows to drive to visit this historic mill.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Arkansas Black Apples

I've gotten really excited about apples lately.

For the past few months, when I go to the farmer's market the apple stand is one of the first places I go.

And I love hearing about the different types (when I'm not too scared to ask) and mixing it up each week and experiencing new tastes and crisp flavors.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Simple Saturday: Mexican Leftovers

I bet you have your favorite Mexican restaurant.

And when you go there, you have your favorite item with your favorite flavors and you pair it with chips and zesty salsa and maybe some glue-like but delicious cheese dip.

If you don't have your favorite place, you are in need of one!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Your Favorite Chili

Today we're talking chili, and I'm taking it pretty seriously.

Most people I know have a very specific chili preference. Sure we may like to walk down a chili buffet line at a cook off and get a taste dozens of varieties.

But I'm pretty sure that all of us deep down have a favorite chili and that chili probably has something to do with what type of chili we grew up eating.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Random Acts of Foodness

Here's this week's dose of good news about food.

  • We're in the last few days of Fair Trade Month. Here are 5 sweet ways to support and keep up with fashion fair trade companies by reading Grace's Fair Trade Friday updates on her blog.
  • Speaking of fair trade, we just discovered Wild Ophelia chocolates this week. I like their business ethics just as much as I like their Peanut Butter and Banana milk chocolate bar.
  • This doesn't necessarily have to do with food, but I got to hear the founder of LOVE146 speak at my church yesterday and they have an incredible mission to end child trafficking. Maybe you would like to get involved
  • In need of a last-minute pumpkin for Halloween this week? Modern Farmer offers 7 tips for finding the best one!
  • If you're a Northwest Arkansas-er, you have got to get a hold of a copy of the brand new edible Ozarkansas magazine. It's full of beautiful pages of local food news, recipes and features. Get a peek inside the mag from Lyndi.
  • Here are some Halloween-inspired dishes to start your festive week out.
Are you planning on making any special treats for Halloween? I think I'm going to whip up some of this Hot Cocoa Popcorn.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Simple Saturday: Indoor S'mores

Last week whilst celebrating my husband and my 1.5-year wedding anniversary, we came up with a genius plan.

A plan to make Indoor S'mores.

It was rainy, cold and dark by dessert time, so I knew that I had to find a way to get some marshmallows perfectly toasted and crammed in between dark chocolate and graham crackers without a fire pit or outdoor flame.

And I turned to my wonderful little toaster oven (which oddly enough my husband bought me when we were dating after my old one sparked and bit the dust).

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Day Off

A few weeks ago I got the privilege of having to take a day off of work.

It was my last day to use my last personal day before it disappeared, so I put the day off on the calendar and started planning/fighting the urge to plan a million things to do with my free time.

It was such a nice day to sleep in until 9, wear my pajamas for longer than I should and basically get a jump on life things.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sugar and Spice and Eye Sight

My grandmother always told me to eat my carrots so I would have good eye sight.

And I gulped down my mom's tender, savory carrots in our Sunday roast and hoped that I wouldn't be like everyone else in my family and have to get glasses.

And then in seventh grade, I took the vision test that we all had to take and completely failed. I remember telling the eye test giver that I couldn't see anything!

I was distraught that I would have to get glasses...even in the midst of having eaten my carrots all my life.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Simple Saturday: Seasonal Salad

Sorry if I got a little crazy with the alliteration in the title of this post.

I love words...what can I say.

I'm really excited about this salad (and you should be, too) because it's full of health, uses seasonally tasty ingredients and can be thrown together in a matter of minutes. It also got the thumbs up at my community group!

Curly kale has become one of my favorite raw greens because it keeps its crunch and texture fabulously even after being dressed and sitting for awhile.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tailgating Treat

Tailgating is not really in my vocabulary.

In the midst of living in the most football-crazed part of a state that worships the pigskin and the hog (aka Razorback), I live basically oblivious to football.

You see, I live in the same city as the University of Arkansas and while most people plan their yearly calendars by the football schedule, I don't even know there's a game until I'm stuck in horrible traffic while trying to grocery shop on Saturday afternoon.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Random Acts of Foodness

Here's another round of Random Acts of Foodness (aka good news about food) to start your week out on a positive, tasty note.

  • Mellow Mushrooms in the NWA area are doing some cool things to help people out in the community (like hosting charity events and donating to the fight against hunger). Follow their Facebook Page to stay updated. 
  • Heard about the Kitchn Cure 2013 and sad you missed out on this incredible organizing opportunity? Catch up on the 10 days of assignments here and you're on your way to a cleaner, happier kitchen.
  • Some interesting insight into the international trail that our sugar consumption leaves.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Simple Saturday: My Farmers Market

One of the best parts of my week is Saturday morning.

And not because I'm in my pj's, sleeping in.

It's because I'm waking up around 8 or so (which I know to some of you is sleeping in, but I still consider it getting up). I make my hair look presentable, or mildly so, throw on some clothes (usually of the exercise variety) and say goodbye to my husband as I head out the door on my way to...the farmers market!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Happy 2 Years!

What a happy two years it's been.

With lots of posts, pictures, sweets, savories and words.

Thank you for reading my words on occasion and sharing in my big appetite for food and life!

I'm really excited for where Fruitful is going (we might even have a new url soon...stay tuned).

Monday, October 7, 2013

Spicy Mac & Cheese

My husband really loves Sriracha, you know, the spicy red sauce in the plastic bottle wit a green top with a rooster pictured on the front.

Every stir fry or rice dish that we make gets smothered in it for Jason.

And I take a few drops for the garlic, chili ka-pow that it adds.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Veggie Awareness Month

Happy late World Vegetarian Day (it was Tuesday)!

And Happy Vegetarian Awareness Month!

I'm happy to celebrate this month because as a semi-vegetarian, I have really grown to appreciate vegetables in all of their colors, shapes, sizes and tastes.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Random Acts of Foodness

Here's another round of Random Acts of Foodness (aka good news about food) to star your week out on a positive, tasty note.

1. Talk about a win win for NWA locals- An Indian dinner to benefit Indian farmers.

2. Fashion + Bloggers + Travel + Helping people= BlogABLE is doing some really cool things. Read about this blogger's, What's Gaby Cooking, trip to Ethiopia with them.

3. It's No Kid Hungry Month! Here's how you can help and how Joy the Baker helped.

4. This week, I learned about NatureBox, a company that sends you a box of healthy snacks every month...and they're working to fight hunger and poverty.
(Enter Cup of Jo's NatureBox giveaway for a year of snacks and get $10 off your first box.)

5. And finally, fight those fall allergies with food!

Have a great week!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Simple Saturday: Black Bean Sweet Potato

Do you ever have an idea that's just brilliant? (I know that you do.)

And you think, "Wow, I've got to share this because it's so great and exciting and people are going to love it!"

And then you purposely avoid googling it because you want it to stay your original idea for as long as possible.

I feel that way with my food ideas and recipes a lot. But the good thing is food is all about sharing. Food and recipes are not to be invented then kept to one's self. They are to be put into as many welcoming tummies and on as many plates as possible.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Greek Yogurt + Biscoff Cookie Spread

This post is not sponsored by Biscoff (but I'm thankful to have received a free jar of cookie spread in my Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged swag bag). All opinions are my own.

So, I mentioned recently that I competed in an Iron Chef competition during the Foodie Friday event at Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged a few weeks ago.

I was super nervous about the competition. I mean I love to cook and do it all the time, but in front of people?

Eek! (Confession: I'm still learning how to hold a knife correctly.)

But it actually ended up being a really fun group activity.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Guest Post: Homemade Empanadas

Today I have a really special treat for all of you readers. I'm welcoming my first guest post on the Fruitful blog and it's from Sam Dinger, who is a lover of food and words. He blogs at The Plumstone and I think you will really enjoy his fantastic and detailed storytelling style of writing about food. Enjoy and thanks, Sam!

I spent the better part of June in Costa Rica this past summer with my friend, Jose, and his family. Jose’s mother, Margarita, was wonderful to me while I was there, offering me coffee and things to eat around every corner of the day.

Before I left, I asked her to teach me about cooking a few of the things she had made for the family and me during my stay. The night before my flight we convened in the kitchen. There was a towel over her shoulder, her hands were wet from constantly washing them and the stove was hot.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Simple Saturday: Cauliflower Soup

I've got the soup bug.

Do you have the soup bug?

It's something inside of you that makes you want to make and consume soup during any season and in any weather. And it's a way to make comfort food seasonal and healthy.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Different Sort of Crisp

Have I mentioned that this has been the summer of crisps (or crumbs or crumbles- not even sure what the difference is)?

I've baked a strawberry rhubarb crumble, blueberry crumble and apple crisp.

And then I saw this recipe for Savory Tomato Crisp.

Monday, September 16, 2013

AWBU Recap

As I mentioned in my post last Monday, I recently attended Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged 2013 Conference.

It was my first blogger conference, and even though I was nervous going in not knowing anyone, it was a fantastic weekend of learning, laughing and meeting lots of fellow bloggers who are inspiring and amazing!

Here are some of the highlights:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Simple Saturday: Brown Bagging It

We probably all know that the best way to eat healthy and on the cheap at lunch during the workday is to bring your lunch.

I set a goal of bringing my lunch to work at least 4 out of 5 days and save quite a few dollars and know that the food I'm eating is tasty and healthy.

And you can totally get on the lunch train, too!

Here are some ideas to hopefully get your homemade lunch wheels turning.