Friday, July 25, 2014

Homemade syrup

We have an apricot tree. We love it...that is, when it grows apricots. This year we got NONE. Last year, we got like 200. Utah has crazy spring frosts that can be detrimental to early bloomers such as the apricot tree. So sad.

We were pleasantly surprised when a kind soul brought us a big bag of apricots a couple of weeks ago from trees that had made it through the frost. That meant we didn't have to go without our beloved apricot syrup this year!

If your apricots are naturally sweet, you can really limit the added sugar. I like to add as little sugar as possible so I'm not covering my breakfast with candy. The fruit on our own tree is always very sweet and delicious. We prune our trees and thin the fruit. I have gotten away with adding as little as 1 1/2 cups of sugar to my syrup. Many syrup and jam recipes call for equal amounts of sugar and fruit puree. I think that's insane. If your apricots haven't been thinned or ripened, they might have little flavor and require more sugar. This was the case with the apricots that were gifted to us. I had to use 3 cups of sugar.

This syrup, or you could call it a sauce, is delicious. Enjoy!


6 c. apricot puree
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Bring a pot of water to boil. Set a bowl of ice water nearby. In batches, place whole apricots in boiling water for 1 minute, then remove and place in ice water. This is called blanching. The skins will slip right off the apricots now. They should also break open very easily so you can remove the pits. I never need a knife, but I do get a little messy.

Puree apricots in a blender, then pour into a pot, along with lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. The sugar will dissolve, and the puree will eventually boil up then back down. At this point it starts to look glossy and more syrupy. It will never get really sticky, though, like pancake syrup because I don't add enough sugar for that. That's a good thing. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. The syrup can be canned or frozen.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer refresher

Try this coconut limeade slush for a unique and delicious way to cool off this summer. My whole family downed it. The recipe came from Smitten Kitchen, but I had to increase the sugar because Deb's version, which was 3 tablespoons, was too tart for my taste. There was coconut milk leftover from the can, so I made a mini batch after the first since we hadn't had our fill yet. Yum.


2 1/2 c. ice
1 c. coconut milk (shake can first)
1/3 c. lime juice
6 Tbsp. granulated sugar

Puree ingredients in a blender until very smooth and creamy. Serve immediately. Makes 3 cups.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Super fast fish tacos

If you are looking for a really easy dinner, make fish tacos using frozen fish sticks! My husband and I loved these. There is a delicious sauce that you can adapt to suit your tastes. The version below is very mild but very flavorful. And, of course, you can use whatever toppings you have on hand. The fish sticks take about 20 minutes to bake, but other than that, there's very little time commitment. The sauce tastes better the longer it refrigerates, so make it first. Don't we all love achieving great results with very little effort?


20 frozen fish sticks, baked according to package directions
10 6-inch tortillas (I used flour)

Optional toppings:

Chopped tomatoes
Shredded cheese
Lettuce, spinach or cabbage
Green onions


1/4 c. sour cream
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. lime juice
1/8 tsp. each chili powder, cumin, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and dried basil

Mix sauce ingredients and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. Assemble tacos as desired, using two fish sticks per tortilla. Top with sauce.