Saturday, April 27, 2013

Summer Sides

 I love this time of year when we frequently fire up the grill and our meals get a little lighter and a little easier.  Yesterday afternoon my parents came over for supper... my mom and I usually split the duties, so she took the hamburgers and I took the sides. 

Roasted Sweet Potato "Fries"

I wanted to come up with something that resembled fries, but was healthy.  So I cut up some sweet potatoes to look like fries and roasted them.  I roast vegetables all year long, but my favorite time to roast them is in the summer when vegetables from the garden are plentiful (can't wait)... usually it consists of simply coating them in olive oil, but last night I added some maple syrup to give the sweet potatoes some sweetness... they were delicious!  

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut up 2-3 large sweet potatoes so that they resemble fries.

Whisk together 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil and 1/4 cup maple syrup and pour it over the cut sweet potatoes and mix so they are evenly coated.  

Lay a piece of parchment paper (makes for easy-cleanup) in a baking dish (I used a large glass Pyrex dish).  

Place the sweet potatoes in the dish and sprinkle with plenty of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Roast for 45 minutes.  

Fruit Salad

I don't know about you, but I start craving fruit this time of year... in green salads, by itself, mixed with other fruits, you name it.  This is almost too simple to share, but a hint of orange juice and local honey hit just the right note of sweet.

Chop and slice fruit (I used a combination of strawberries, grapes, blackberries, apples and oranges).
Add a splash of orange juice and honey and stir.

Buttermilk Cake with Homemade Whipped Cream

This is a cake recipe that comes from a cookbook I have called Super Natural Every Day, but I found a similar recipe posted on her website here.  Just omit the large grain salt at the end and I used blackberries instead (I've even used apples before).  What I love about this cake is that it's not very sweet or heavy.  I like to make homemade whipped cream to go with it... it's the perfect complement and completely worth the time.

Whipped Cream

With an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream until it has soft peaks.  Add a splash of vanilla extract (about 1 tsp) and some sugar (about 1 tsp - or to taste) and only beat long enough to incorporate.  You have to be careful not to beat overly long or the cream will quickly look like butter (don't ask me how I know - smile). 

Have a great weekend!  I'm sitting here watching the rain come down and hoping for some motivation to work on a project or two today...

P.S.  One last reminder that there is still time to enter the giveaway for the Pfister kitchen faucet!  


  1. A wonderful idea! Very tasty and healthy! :)
    Lots of love, Carmen

  2. Yummy, thanks. Next time try it with cinnamon sugar if you want to sweetend them up. Love it!
    Your watching the rain and I'm waiting for my husband to get home. He had to work today and we were supposed to start our vegetable garden and it's the most beautiful day gonna be 70 can't wait.
    Hope he gets here soon.

  3. Yummy! It seems lately we've been going thru sweet potatoes by the pounds! We love them all sorts of way, but fries are the kids favorite (smile).

  4. I like to roast vegetables...I usually end up doing cauliflower, broccoli and peppers together...have NOT tried sweet potatoes but this looks really good! Next grocery run I am going to get some sweet potatoes and fire up the oven for this one

    Your cake and cream look good too. Actually I should go get some lunch / this post of yours is torture to a hungry lady :)

  5. It all looks so good. I'm coming over to eat at your house. :)

  6. Andrea - Looks yummy!! I love sweet potato fries. There use to be a place here that made those and served them with a caramel and pecan dip. Yum!!

    Thanks for the recipes.


  7. I simply adore sweet potato fries! I'm not a fries person usually, but when we eat out, if they're on the menu, I'll get them. Like you, we've made them at home in the oven, but I've not tried maple syrup on them -- usually just oil and maybe some chili powder. Your cake and fruit salad are beautiful, Andrea. I wish I could enjoy some of both right now!

  8. I made your sweet potato fries tonight along with fried chicken and a spring salad, yummy! Your blog is so inspiring, I want to try the buttermilk cake next, with blackberries and vanilla ice cream!

    Thanks so much for all your help.


    1. Your dinner sounds delicious and I'm so glad to hear that you liked the sweet potatoes! Thank you for letting me know and for your kind words.

  9. I just made your buttermilk cake tonight, with strawberries and blueberries. It was delicious. I made it quickly before I started dinner. It was so pretty, too. Thank you for the recipe and inspiration.

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the buttermilk cake! Strawberries and blueberries sound perfect... I'll have to try that combination next. Thank you for reading!

  10. Thank you for the recipes Andrea! I've been busy with projects lately and haven't planned well for meals. These recipes sound easy and delicious ;) Also, I enjoyed your post at Cedar Hill Ranch and yes, you could definitely be a food stylist. Your pictures are amazing!
    P.S. The 1st picture of you at Cedar Hill Ranch looks so much like your daughter Jillian :)

  11. There is something just so inviting about a bowl of frest fruit. My husband did his usually Saturday morning trip to the Farmer's Market so we will have sweet, fresh blackberries and strawberries tomorrow morning.

    Today is my first visit, but I'll be back to read more.

  12. Thank you for the wonderful recipes! I am looking forward to trying them soon.

    Take care.

  13. You make food look so good and so easy. Definitely trying the sweet potato fries. I think even I could do those! :-)

  14. Great dishes! I'm one that likes things more spicy...I add a bit of balsamic vinegar and cayenne to the sweet potato "fries". Just a bit of a kick!

    Thanks for sharing all these beautiful dishes! I love fresh fruit too.


  15. Looks delicious, Andrea! I may just have to give those sweet potato fries a try.
    Mary Alice

  16. Oh yum! Heading to the farmer's market on Thursday and will pick up some berries so I can try your buttermilk cake!

  17. Oh how I love sweet potato fries! :) Yours look yummy! Hope all is well!

  18. Yummy! Yummy! I can't wait for grilling season to arrive here. Can't wait to try your verison of sweet potoato fries. They look so good.

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  20. This post just screams summertime! I'm so excited for some fresh fruits and veggie sides. I make sweet potato fries all the time! I like to toss them in olive oil and sprinkle with s & p, paprika and cumin. I like how how you can make them sweet and savory! I will definitely be trying your recipe above! Thanks!

  21. Yummy, yummy!! I can't wait for grilling season and relaxing on the porch nights. I pulled some blackberries from the freezer lastnight I might just have to try that cake!


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