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Friday Felines ...

Exploring "B" Foods Week

Bananas for b week

In continuation of a project we started last week, the boys and I are currently exploring "B" fruits and veggies. Our produce choices this week include bananas and blueberries, which are easy to love, as well as beets, which are not quite so ... "child friendly." ;)

Here are a few of my ideas for "B" week:


Bananas are so sweet and delicious ... we're big banana fans in this house! So we started by finding out where bananas grow. Can they grow in our part of the world, we wondered? A quick look online and well, the answer was decidely, no. Banana plants need tropical conditions, year-round (not just in the depths of July).

We also found some neat video online that shows how bananas are harvested.

Earlier in the week we went shopping for bananas ... and we observed how some are yellow and some are green, and some are a little of both. We also saw bananas that were nearly brown! We chose some greenish ones so we could watch them ripen at home (and enjoy them fresh) and we also chose some "freckled" bananas with which we could bake something yummy.

We also bought a tub of Stonyfield Farms "BaNilla Yogurt. (We almost always have a tub of this in the fridge!) Saturday morning we'll make smoothies using this yogurt as the base.

And these would be fun to try if we have extra bananas and time!


Blueberries for b week


Little blueberries, one of the few fruits native to North America, are a big deal here in New England! And we learned that May begins blueberry season, which lasts through October and peaks in late summer. And that makes sense to me, because I've always connected blueberries with August. My grandparents would come back from Maine with fresh quarts of blueberries and then Gram would make THE best pies and cake. Yum.

I also remember sitting on my grandparents' hillside and picking the bitty bushy berries that grew wild there ... I'd fill a tiny dixie cup ... eat half of them, and then bring some back for my grandmother to "cook." I can remember that hillside so vividly ... the scratchiness of the scrubby undergrowth, the various shades of the berries - some of them so puny and hard. I think finding and eating food in its natural environment - whether you grow it or seek it out - is such a memorable childhood experience. And such a great learning experience, too.

So we "googled" a little, and learned that our neighbor state, Maine, is the top U.S. producer of "lowbush" blueberries, whereas Michigan produces the most "highbush" blueberries. We investigated the difference between high- and low-bush berries and then looked up what we would need to grow blueberries on our own. (According to this book - which is FABULOUS, by the way - we can grow them in pots, so I'm now totally sold on the idea. Not quite the hillside I grew up with, but it will certainly do!)

Back at the market, we searched out a nice pint of blueberries to bring home (we checked to see where the different packages were from). I found this recipe for Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake which we will bake this weekend to serve at Mother's Day Brunch.

I also dug out and read our much beloved (and bedraggled) copy of Blueberries for Sal (making me simply pine for a summer in Maine) and I just requested Blueberry Train from the library. (How perfect for EB?)


{Note: I have no picture of beets here, because we have no beets just yet!}


So I must admit, there's not much love in this household for beets, but I did not let that deter me. My mother LOVES them and I have very fond memories of the beets my grandfather grew in his garden. I never ate them myself (or if I did, I repressed the memory), but he was so proud of them, and they were just huge and earthy and so vibrantly violet. And my grandparents and my mother just relished them. I always wished I did like them because they seemed like such an honorable vegetable to like.

So, my plan for exploring beets is this ...

We will watch one of our Jamie at Home episodes, titled "Carrots and Beets," and see what Jamie has to say about these humble root vegetables. I have his J@H cookbook (which is SO beautiful and makes for excellent reading whether you cook anything from it or not) and I am going to try making the "Roasted Carrots and Beets" one night to accompany our supper. The recipe involves herbs, citrus and balsamic vinegar and honestly it does all sound rather delicious. It will be an experience if nothing else.

But to find beets, I want to get as close to the source as possible, as it is my understanding that beets are at their best when freshly harvested. This is likely true for most fruits and vetegtables, but if you're a beet, you can probably use all the help you can get. The farmer's market would be the ideal place to find them - roundabouts late June or July - but we'll settle for a quality produce store. This weekend we'll visit either Trader Joe's or Whole Foods and see what kind of beets they have on hand. Hopefully we'll find beets of a smaller size and varied color, but we shall see what we shall see!

As I said to the boys, Nana loves beets, so there must be something good about them! (I'll let you know how it goes, and if you have a fondness for beets I'd love to know how you prepare them!)


Well, my friends, I'm going to sign off ... but thanks so much for stopping by! I also thank you for all the FANTASTIC dinner ideas you've been leaving me under yesterday's post! Lots of great ideas there ... and goodness knows, I can use them! I also thank you all for the kind words and encouragement for my daily domestic notes blog. It's fun for me to do and I'm glad you find it fun, too!

So take care of yourselves and your loved ones ... I'll be back here again very soon!