Posts Tagged ‘berries’

Post-Work Celebration Smoothie

It’s summertime.  That means it’s smoothie season!  I don’t give myself enough time in the morning to make these for breakfast, so I’ve been making them as a post-work treat.  They cool me down and give me the energy to cook dinner & clean house.

Currently Enjoying:

  • 3 ice cubes (I really should buy crushed ice, my blender isn’t very powerful)
  • 2-4 tablespoons vanilla yogurt (I use half a small container at a time, not sure on the measurement)
  • Small handful of fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 cup frozen fruit (I used strawberries & pineapple)
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds  (why chia?)
  • Generous pinch of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Trader Joe’s Dynamo Plus Calcium juice poured in while blending (you can use whatever juice you like, but I love this stuff!)

Freeze your own fruit:

Grow it yourself or buy it from local fruit stands.  Wash it thoroughly and cut it into small bite-sized pieces.  Lay it out on a metal baking sheet and freeze.  Then transfer to freezer bags or jars.

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Coconut Pear Granola Bars

Gluten-free granola bars for Michael.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups certified gluten free oats
  • 3/4 cups flax meal
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup roasted & salted pepitas
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried pears
  • 1/2 cup raisins

What I Did:

  • Toast the oats, nuts, and coconut on a metal 11×15.5 baking sheet at 350F for about 5 minutes, stirring every minute.
  • Simmer sugar, honey, oil, and molasses in a medium sized heavy bottomed pan on med heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Stir in the oats well, remove from heat.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Grease a sheet of waxed paper and place in a metal pan (I use the same 11×15.5 metal baking sheet, it’s cool by the time I get to this step) .
  • Empty contents of the pot onto the paper, and cover with another greased sheet of waxed paper.
  • Spread it out and press it down REALLY HARD (this is why you use a metal pan and not glass or ceramic).  Use a mallet or rolling pin.  It should cover the entire baking sheet.
  • Set aside and allow to set for at least two hours (the most difficult part, really).
  • Cut into desired shapes, store air-tight layered between waxed paper (you can save cracker & cereal bags and cut them just for this purpose!)

I’m going to make a batch for myself without the gluten-free oats.  They were kind of pricey.  But at $8 for 2lbs we got a better deal at Andy’s Food Market than we could find online.

Granola Bars

If you’re looking for a sweet treat that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup or preservatives, and also happens to be rather nutritious, look no further!

I’ll admit openly that this recipe has nothing to do with CSA.  It can, however, have a LOT to do with your local farmer’s market.  The one near me almost always has honey, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit available.  I even plan on dehydrating my own fruit soon, so I could potentially dehydrate apples, pears, and berries from my CSA box!

Version One:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats (you can toast these by spreading them evenly on a baking dish and putting them in a 350 oven, just take them out and stir them often and KEEP AN EYE ON THEM)
  • 3/4 cups wheat germ or flax meal
  • 1 cup chopped toasted nuts (walnuts, peanuts, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, etc)
  • 3/4 cup toasted seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (skip this if you’re buying already salted nuts/seeds)
  • 8 oz dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, chopped apples, figs, dates, pineapple, mangoes, etc)

What I Did:

  • Toast the oats, nuts, and seeds if you want/need to.
  • Simmer sugar, honey, butter/oil, vanilla and molasses in a med/large heavy bottomed pan on med/low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Stir in the oats well, remove from heat.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Grease a sheet of waxed paper and place in a metal pan.
  • Empty contents of the pot onto the paper, and cover with another greased sheet of waxed paper.
  • Spread it out and press it down REALLY HARD (this is why you use a metal pan and not glass or ceramic).  I use a wooden mallet.
  • Set aside and allow to set for at least two hours (the most difficult part, really).
  • Cut into desired shapes, store air-tight layered between waxed paper (you can save cracker & cereal bags and cut them just for this purpose!)

Other stuff to try:

  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom…
  • Coconut

Version Two:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats (you can toast these by spreading them evenly on a baking dish and putting them in a 350 oven, just take them out and stir them often and KEEP AN EYE ON THEM)
  • 3/4 cups wheat germ or flax meal
  • 1 cup chopped toasted peanuts
  • 3/4 cup toasted seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (skip this if you’re buying already salted nuts/seeds)
  • 8 oz chocolate chips

What I Did:

  • Toast the oats, nuts, and seeds if you want/need to.
  • Simmer sugar, honey, butter/oil, vanilla and peanut butter in a med/large heavy bottomed pan on med/low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Stir in the oats well, remove from heat.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Grease a sheet of waxed paper and place in a metal pan.
  • Empty contents of the pot onto the paper, and cover with another greased sheet of waxed paper.
  • Spread it out and press it down REALLY HARD (this is why you use a metal pan and not glass or ceramic).  I use a wooden mallet.
  • Set aside and allow to set for at least two hours (the most difficult part, really).
  • Cut into desired shapes, store air-tight layered between waxed paper (you can save cracker & cereal bags and cut them just for this purpose!)

I make these pretty often.  Tonight was my first time trying the peanut butter chocolate chip ones, and I took pictures to help you out with the steps:

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Nom nom nom nom…

Coconut milk ice cream is delicious and doesn’t give me the sticky burps like cow’s milk ice cream does.  This is a great recipe for the lactose intolerant!

Ingredients:

  • 1 14oz can of light coconut milk (99 cents at Trader Joe’s!) – that’s 1 3/4 cup
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

What I did:

  • Beat the egg, add the milk & sugar.
  • Heat in a heavy-bottomed pot (or use a 1 quart Pyrex measuring cup in a hot water bath) for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently/constantly.  You don’t want to make scrambled eggs in milk!
  • Add the vanilla and allow to cool completely.  I cover it and put it in the fridge.
  • Ready your ice cream maker.

Variations:

  • Too many to list.
  • I personally sliced up 4 strawberries and added them while the ice cream was being made.  Next time I’ll add them during the cooking process so they won’t end up as hard crunchy chunks in the ice cream.  You live, you learn!  🙂

We served them (to ourselves, it was Valentine’s Day) in white chocolate dessert cups:

I am really looking forward to getting fresh berries in my CSA box!

Flax Meal Muffins

When I first made these for M, he poked at them and said, “I can eat these?  Are you sure?”  Of course I was sure!  I had tried a gluten-free diet for six weeks, just to see if it had any positive effect on me (it didn’t).  I did a lot of research to make sure I was 100% gf, and tried out some gf baking recipes.  He ate one and simply asked, “How??”  He didn’t understand how a gluten- and dairy-free muffin could be so fluffy and delicious!

Here’s how…

Ingredients:

  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cup flax meal (remember to keep your flax meal refrigerated!)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

What I did:

  • Beat the eggs and add the other wet ingredients.
  • Add the dry ingredients, combine well.
  • Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 350F.
  • Bake in well-greased muffin tins for 15-20 minutes (tops should not look squishy).

Variations:

  • 1 cup berries or fruit (if you add these, omit the 2 T water).  Suggestions: blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, apple, fuyu persimmon.  The best way to add apple or persimmon is to peel, core, cut into about eight pieces, and roughly chop in a food processor.  If using these, add a dash of cardamom to your recipe!
  • 3/4 cup nuts.
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange peel.

My CSA box has apples on a semi-regular basis.  During the spring and summer, we often are treated to baskets of berries.  I can’t wait!

1/2 cup of sugar means there are just two teaspoons of sugar per muffin!

Read a little about the benefits of flax, including lowering cholesterol, fighting inflammation, and easing constipation.