Spring into Fruit Trees!

I love spring! First of all, the weather is so nice and warm- all of nature is bursting with new growth and energy and you can't help but join in by rolling up your sleeves to dig in the dirt. My vegetable plants go in the ground early, but the first signs of spring are in the fruit department. This always gets me excited, because every flower equals one fruit that I will get to harvest and eat later! 

Fruit is so expensive to buy, but so good for you! We go through a lot of fruit at our house. One of the best investments in our yard has been putting in fruit trees. They easily pay back your investment after just a couple of harvests but will keep producing for years and years. Currently in our yard we have 5 blueberry bushes, Crabapple, Fuji apple, Baldwin pear, Hood pear, grapevine, blackberry vines, Meyer lemon, satsuma, grapefruit, kumquat, and pomegranate. I know it sounds like a lot, but we enjoy them so much that we just ordered 3 more dwarf trees! Here are a few of my favorite sights in spring...

Our Balwin pear bloomed for the first time this year, which means we will get our very first harvest of pears in late summer/ early fall. Some little pears are already forming!

The mulberry was our first fruit tree. Here are some little berries on our mulberry tree. Mulberries don't technically bloom- they have little curly hairs on them for pollination purposes. I don't mind as long as the tree is covered!

Blackberries everywhere! So many little flowers with bees buzzing all around to pollinate each one. I have let the vines take over the entire back fence and we will probably get about 8 lb. of berries this year. I can already taste the summer berry smoothies :)

Satsumas (a kind of citrus) will have a heavy production year followed by a light one. This is our heavy year, and the tree is absolutely loaded with blooms.

I just love the little purple flowers on the lemon tree. So dainty and cute! And they smell like honeysuckle :)

Blueberry bushes don't have very showy blooms, but look like little white bells. Our bushes are still young, but put out a good amount of berries.

These pink Fuji apple blossoms make me smile. This is another tree that we will get our first fruit from this year. So exciting!

What is blooming in your garden right now? Anything promising some delicious treats later? I just love that I'll already be enjoying fresh fruit while my vegetables plants are just getting rolling. Hello, spring! It's been a while...

Summer Fruit Smoothie

In Louisiana, August is almost unbearable. The air is so thick and heavy with humidity that walking feels like swimming, and gills may be necessary to breathe. That's why we eat so many summer fruit smoothies! I'm not exaggerating, we stock up on berries in the freezer all spring because we go through pounds of them making smoothies when the summer heat kicks in. Need this summer lift? It's super easy!

For this refreshing snack, all you need is ice, orange juice, frozen berries, and yogurt.

Chop up the ice and strawberries first so that you don't end up with any big chucks in your smoothie.

Add in the rest of the ingredients and and blend until smooth!

This smoothie makes the perfect refreshment after a hot summer day, or even as a light meal. It is the perfect blend of sweet and citrus, cool and thick, and berrilicious! I'm addicted!

Summer Fruit Smoothie Recipe
5 ice cubes
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup frozen strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, or a mix!
(my favorite is 1/2 cup each of blackberries and strawberries)

Blend the ice with strawberries (if you choose to use strawberries) using the ice cube mode. Once the pieces are smaller, add in the other berries, orange juice, and yogurt and blend together until smooth!

Grandma's Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe

We hand picked over 20 pounds of blueberries at a local blueberry farm this year. Most of them became blueberry jelly, but the rest we froze to use throughout the year. And the one thing I can't wait to use them for is homemade blueberry buttermilk pancakes!

There is nothing like Grandma's pancakes. There's just something so amazing about them that the box doesn't duplicate. Let's face it, when you eat the real thing, you know it! It turns out that making the real thing is just about as simple as using a box mix and well worth the effort! If you aren't convinced, I'll let the pictures do the persuading :)

Simply mix the ingredients in a bowl.

 Not too thick, and not too runny. Look at those juicy blueberries!

 Waiting for them to cook is almost unbearable...are they ready yet???

Mmm, perfectly fluffy and delicious from the inside out! This is making me hungry :)

Grandma's Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe: (makes 16)
2 c. flour (sifted)
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

2 1/4 c. Bulgarian buttermilk
2 eggs (beaten)
2 tbsp. butter (softened)

Feel free to add some extras. My favorites include:
1 c. blueberries
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. chocolate chips

Mix dry ingredients together. Mix in buttermilk, eggs, and butter. Stir together until smooth. Scoop 1/4 c. amounts onto a greased skillet on medium heat. They are ready to flip once bubbles come up through the batter.

What are your favorite "extras" to put in pancakes?