Berry, berry good!

It’s summertime, and something about summer just makes me crave all things FRUIT!

I’m a huge fan of watermelon and berries, but also find them to be some of the hardest to find perfectly ripe.  For instance, once blueberries lose their firmness, I refuse to eat them as is.  I know, I’m a spoiled brat.  Being that I can’t possibly eat 2 pints of blueberries before at least some of them soften (they’ve been 2 for $5 on my dear, sweet Fresh Direct), I’ve been looking for new outlets for my fruit.  Both the fruit that is overripe and the fruit that’s a bit bruised and just doesn’t look pretty.

One of the perfect options is, of course, fruit smoothies.  Not only are they delicious, but they’re easy to make, versatile and are a healthy option (when I say healthy I’m assuming they’re made fresh at home.  I can’t vouch for the ones you buy at smoothie bars.  In fact, some of those ones are surprisingly terrible for you.  Proceed with caution!)

I’m giving you this “recipe” as more of a guideline than anything else.  Feel free to use the fruit of your choice and switch it up and have fun with it!

Berry Banana Smoothie

1/2 medium frozen banana
1 cup strawberries, halved
1 cup blueberries, frozen
1 4oz yogurt (I used Activia Light Strawberry)
Ice cubes (use as many as you need to reach desired consistency)

Put all of the above in a blender and blend until smooth.  The above yields about 2 servings.

—————

Next on the list is… Blueberry pancakes!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love breakfast food.  I’m particularly fond of pancakes.  I used to always buy the complete mixes that required you to only add water.  I still do that on occasion when I’m feeling a bit lazy or don’t have all the necessary ingredients for pancakes from scratch.  However, when I’ve got the time, engery and ingredients, nothing beats homemade pancakes.

Homemade Fluffy (and might I add, delicious) Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
(Adapted from Fluffy Pancakes recipe at AllRecipes.com)

3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking sode
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone. Stir in fresh blueberries.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

—————

Now, if you’ve managed to stick around this long, you’re in for a real treat.  Every Tuesday night I have bible study, and I always either bake or buy cookies for refreshments.  This past week I wanted to try something new, and since I’ve been on a fruit kick as of late, I decided I’d try raspberry bars.  I have to tell you, this was one of the easiest recipes to make and yet it got one of the biggest reactions.  I had a few people offer to pay me their entire salaries if I would just cook and bake for them every day.  I think I’ve got them fooled into thinking that this baking stuff is pretty hard work, but I’m telling you, it was easy as pie! (Ahem, pun intended.)

Raspberry Bars
Recipe from Sewfordough on Tasty Kitchen

Now I ran into a bit of a snag when I made this.  I have a problem with reading directions thoroughly sometimes.  It’s something I need to work on.  I had a 9×13 pan on hand.  Well, the recipe called for a 9×9 pan.  This meant that the dough I needed to press into the bottom of the pan was not going to cut it.  What I ended up doing (since I didn’t have a smaller pan, nor did I have the ingredients to make more dough) was reserving only a half cup of dough for the topping and adding more chopped pecans to it to make a little go a long way.  These ended up tasting just as good as they would have with the correct pan size!  The more time I’m in the kitchen the more I’m learning: you’ve gotta learn to improvise!  Thankfully this was an easy error to work around.

For those of you troopers who made it to the end of this post, what are your favorite fruit-based recipes?

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One Comment to “Berry, berry good!”

  1. Seeing that you are on a fruit-dessert kick, I’m gonna share this yummy recipe. I just tried it last weekend and it was a hit. I’ve always loved strawberry shortcake, but who has time to sit down and eat it? Here it is in easy, to-go, cookie form! They turn out soft like a cake, but firm enough to grab. MMM.

    strawberry shortcake cookies:
    (martha stewart living, june 2009)

    12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)

    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
    3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    2/3 cup heavy cream
    sugar, for sprinkling

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.

    Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart. Sprinkle with sugar, and bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Cookies are best served immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

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