Category Archives: Berries

Strawberry Shortcake

When I went strawberry picking last weekend, they had strawberry shortcakes for sale. Obviously they weren’t gluten-free, so I didn’t have one. BUT, I was inspired to make my own version when I got home. I was incredibly excited about it, especially since I had some raw cream to make my own whipped cream!

There are three parts to a strawberry shortcake: the biscuit, the strawberries and the whipped cream. I made everything from scratch- YUM 🙂

Gluten-free biscuits (Makes 6-12 biscuits depending on size)

Inspired by this recipe by Elana from Elana’s Pantry. I added more honey and the vanilla since I was going to be using these in a sweet recipe. You could do less honey and omit the vanilla for regular dinner biscuits. These are phenomenal! I have actually been cutting them in half and toasting, then smearing with butter and jam in the mornings. 

  • 2 cups almond flour/meal
  • 1/2 cup flax seed meal
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

1. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the almond meal and the flax meal. Add in the salt and baking soda and stir together.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the softened butter, eggs, honey and vanilla.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until a dough forms. Add more almond meal if it is too sticky, or add a little water if it is too dry.

4. Form your biscuits. You have a few options here: you can either roll out the dough and use a circle cutter to make round biscuits, or you can put into a muffin pan for more of a muffin shape, or you can put into a special pan that has squares instead of circles like I did 🙂 This formed 12 little squares of biscuits. They were a  little small, but I liked that it made more biscuits.

5. Bake the biscuits at 350 for 10-12 minutes, depending on their size. Just keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t get too brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Strawberry Sauce

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 tbsp honey

1. Chop the strawberries up into small chunks and place in a bowl.

2. Drizzle with honey and stir to coat.

3. Let sit in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. The sugar in the honey will bring out the juices.

Whipped Cream (Makes about 1 1/2 cups of whipped cream)

  • 1 cup cream, raw if you can find it
  • splash of vanilla
  • 2-3 tbsp honey

1. Before you begin, put your bowl and beaters into the freezer for a few minutes.

2. Take out of the freezer and pour the cold cream into the bowl.

3. Add the splash of vanilla and then beat the cream until stiff peaks form.

4. Drizzle in the honey and fold in carefully with a spatula.

5. Cover and put in the fridge until ready to serve.

Strawberry Shortcake

  • 1 biscuit
  • 2 spoonfuls of strawberries
  • 2 dollops of whipped cream

1. Cut the biscuit in half and place on a plate.

2. Place one spoonful of strawberries on the bottom half of the biscuit.

3. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

4. Repeat with the top half of the biscuit.

5. Enjoy 🙂

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Toast and Jam

Last summer, I had high hopes of making some sort of jam for the first time. I had a ton of blueberries and enough blackberries to feed my entire town, but I couldn’t find the right recipe (one without white sugar) to make the kind of  jam I wanted to.

I knew that with so many strawberries from my first trip picking last Saturday, I would need to finally find that jam recipe.

A blog I came across a few months back actually posted a jam recipe that I vaguely remembered. I went back and checked it out and it turned out to be the perfect one!

Jill at Real Food Forager made a jam by cooking down frozen raspberries and sweetening it by adding honey at the end. I figured this had to work with fresh strawberries…right?

From a little Googling, I figured out that using the least ripe berries would be best if I wanted to forgo using pectin to help it set. The least ripe berries have more pectin in them than the ripe ones, so they will produce a more jam-like consistency. So I picked out the least ripe strawberries from my six quarts and ended up with about 1 1/2 quarts for the jam.

In a large shallow skillet, I put the hulled berries in one layer and added just a little bit of water. I also sprinkled them with a tiny bit of salt.

Over low heat, I let it start bubbling. I mashed up the berries a good bit and let it continue to bubble, stirring frequently (no need to stand next to the stove the whole time, but don’t go too long without stirring).

I just sort of eyeballed it and when I could tell that it had moved from a watery state to a little more gel-like, I turned off the heat to let it cool. I would say I let it simmer for about an hour, maybe a little more. You can tell how much it has reduced if you look at the edges of the pan.

Another way to test it is to dip a spoon into it and pull it out. If it slides right off, then it isn’t ready, but if moves slowly or doesn’t move at all, then you know you’re good to go!

The above photo wasn’t quite ready, so I kept it going for a little longer and ended up with the below photo. Just right!

After it was cooled, but still in the pan, I drizzled in some raw honey. If you’re using raw honey, you want to add it at the end so you don’t kill of all of the beneficial enzymes and bacteria (most commercial honey is pasteurized which kills off a lot of it’s benefits, so buy raw honey when you can!). You’ll want to add at least a tablespoon or so, but add some and then taste it to see if it is sweet enough. I probably ended up with 2-3 tablespoons total.

The 1 1/2 quarts of berries made two 8oz jars with a little leftover in a third jar. The stuff is absolutely delicious!! My honey said it was just the right amount of sweetness which is great to hear considering how little it is actually sweetened. And you can actually taste the strawberries, not just the sugar like in store-bought jellies and jams.

So now that I had this wonderful jam, I thought to myself…what am I going to put it on?? I know it will make a great ice cream topping, so that is definitely on the menu this week, but I really wanted to have it on toast. Since the gluten-free bread in the stores is either disgusting or just way too expensive, I decided to make my own.

I found a recipe a few months back that I decided to change up a bit based on the ingredients I had on hand. It turned out to be the perfect bread for toast to go along with my jam 🙂

Simple gluten-free bread (Makes one loaf)

  • 1 cup flax seed meal
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon stevia
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Combine the dry ingredients.

2. Beat the eggs a little and add the wet ingredients. Make sure the melted coconut oil and butter have cooled before pouring into the eggs.

3. Mix everything together with a spatula until completely combined. Let sit for a few minutes to thicken up. I added a teaspoon of arrowroot powder because mine was pretty thin.

4. Grease a loaf pan (I find that coconut oil works best) and pour the batter in. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until it is completely set and a toothpick comes out clean.

5. Serve toasted with butter and strawberry jam!

This is such a great all-purpose bread for toast and maybe even a small sandwich. Or maybe some French toast one morning…yum!! It puffed up a bit, so it’s much taller than other breads I’ve made. It’s also a little eggy, so if you don’t like that, I would reduce the number of eggs to four and a little more water.

I’m excited that the recipe turned out so well because it is the perfect match for the jam!

Since I started writing this post and made the jam, I’ve talked to a few people about the recipe. I’ve been told that my jam is really more of a fruit butter based on its consistency and the method of cooking. Strawberry butter just doesn’t have the same ring to it as strawberry jam, so I decided to stick with calling it jam. It’s still yummy no matter what you call it though 🙂

Another amazing day

Highlights from the day in word form:

  • picking another 6 quarts of fresh strawberries
  • spending time with one of my Goddaughters and her sister (who I’ve known since birth as well)
  • watching the little ones pick strawberries (and eat hay…)
  • the gorgeous sunshine and blue skies
  • the amazing idea to make my own blueberry muffin Larabar (recipe to come!)
  • downloading the feedly app on my phone. Now I can read blogs on the go!
  • weeding my raspberries and knowing I’m going to have a good crop this year 🙂
  • washing my car, which doubled as an upper body workout since I had to scrub so hard to get the bugs off!
  • making strawberry jam (recipe to come!) along with 5 other recipes including a scrumptious strawberry shortcake (yes, I will share this recipe too :))
  • the amazing burger I made for dinner- seriously, it was just so damn delicious
  • going to bed tonight with a clean kitchen

Highlights from the day in picture form (again, many from Instagram!):

What a Glorious Day

Today has been amazing!

Since I didn’t have anything on my schedule today, I figured it would be the perfect day to go pick strawberries. The season started a little earlier this year because of the crazy weather we’ve had. Apparently next week they are really going to peak, so I might end up going back again for more 🙂

I got up this morning and called the farm early to find out when the best time to come would be. They said to be there early, so I got ready and was out the door before 8:30am.

Since the farm is closer to my mom’s house than mine, I called to see if she wanted to join me. Of course, she couldn’t pass up time spent with her wonderful daughter, so she met me there. Even though she didn’t pick any for herself, she so graciously helped me pick 6 quarts! At $3 a quart, it was quite the deal! At the farmer’s market on Tuesday, they were $6 a quart, so I stocked up today.

I’d never been strawberry picking before, and neither had my mom, so it was a nice little adventure for us. There were plenty of ripe ones, but you just had to dig around for them. I really could have just stayed all day picking those gorgeous little fruits!

Isn’t the place gorgeous?! They also do cherries and other berries throughout the summer, so I plan to go back a few times.

Thank you mom for taking pictures!

Look at all of this beautiful fruit!!! I am beyond thrilled 🙂 There is just something about freshly picked food that you wash and prep yourself. It tastes even better than it looks!

I decided to separate the strawberries into three categories. Since they aren’t going to last too long, I figured I would use some of them this week in my salads and served simply with cream, and then I will freeze most of them for smoothies during the summer. I plan to make some jam with the rest. I’m still researching some recipes, but I’m determined to find one without sugar. Instead, I want to use a little bit of honey, and possibly no pectin. I’ll keep you posted on the results!

After I got home from the farm (which was before 11:30am), I got to spend some quality time with my lawn mower. We have a riding one that we borrow from my in-laws, which is really nice! It’s a lot of fun to drive and I mowed the lawn a bunch last summer, but hadn’t done it yet this year. I love the time I get to spend admiring the beautiful land around me while just thinking. I thought of what I was going to do with all those strawberries, as well as a few other recipes. But my favorite part was just feeling the nice breeze on me as I drove around the yard. I’ve been so cooped up at work lately that I haven’t been outside as much as I’d like to be. Now that the students have finished for the year, I’ll have more free time to get outside at lunch.

After mowing, I got started with the strawberries and I ended up working with them all day in some capacity. I hulled most of them and got the rest bagged up for the freezer (green stems and all!), and put the others in containers to use this week. I also need to figure out a way to not eat all of them…seriously…they are just so damn delicious!

Absolute pure heaven 🙂

Hopefully I’ll emerge from the strawberry coma tomorrow sometime….

The farmer’s market is back!

I’m so excited that my farmer’s market has opened up on Tuesday mornings again. They were still open on Saturdays through the winter, but since I’m not down that way on Saturdays, I had to do without. It was such a great sight to see all of the fresh produce again! And the wonderful people 🙂

I went back the first day they were open and got some regular and sweet potatoes, plus some kale and spinach. This week when I went, I got the same thing, but also got these beauties!

They are super early this year, but man are they good!! I’m excited for all of the other fresh produce I’m going to be getting this spring and summer. I won’t be having much of a garden this year (but my honey has promised me a lovely raised bed next year!), so I’ll be relying on the farmer’s market again this year for most stuff.

After a year of picking up the fresh stuff there and then going blueberry picking and peach/apple picking, plus having access to copious amounts of blackberries, I’ve learned that the best way to ensure I can have the yummy fruits for months to come is to pick in bulk and then freeze! So that’s my plan this year. I’m hoping to hear from the blueberry farm in the next month or so that they are ready to be picked, then I plan to pick a few gallons so I can have them for smoothies, muffins and oatmeal well into the end of summer and hopefully into the fall. I plan to do the same thing with the peaches and blackberries as well.

I get giddy just thinking about it 😀 Can’t wait!!

My love for Pamela (and her products!)

When I first decided to cut wheat from my diet back in February, I was pretty distraught about what I was going to be able to eat. I had primarily lived on food made from wheat: cereals, cookies, BREAD, pasta, pancakes, etc. I talked to a friend whose daughter has celiac disease and she gave me a bag of Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix. I made the cinnamon swirl recipe on the bag and was in LOVE! With this type of bread on my side, I could do this! I was a happy camper 🙂

To my surprise, I went to the gluten-free section at my local grocery store, and I saw Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix. I just had to get it, even though it is a bit expensive. Once I realized I could use it cup for cup as a flour substitute, I was sold! The first thing I made was the pancake recipe- YUM! I substituted whole raw milk for the water and oil, and later added in a flax egg, walnuts and vanilla to make my current recipe. Talk about knock your socks off good! My honey even REALLY liked it!

From there, I realized the possibilities were endless! I’ve now made cookies, breads, ravioli, muffins, cobblers, and LOTS of pancakes!

Now that I know what I do about flour- how nutritionally void it is- I definitely recommend Pamela’s to ANYONE, not just those with gluten or wheat issues. The nutrition facts on the stuff are so impressive that we should ALL be using the stuff instead of regular flour. I didn’t really notice a flavor difference, but as I use it more, I’ve become more attuned to the taste and can see how people might have issues with it tasting different than white flour. However, I feel like it tastes BETTER because of the flavorful ingredients- brown rice flour, almond meal, etc.

Visit www.pamelasproducts.com for more information on all of the available products.

One cup of the stuff packs 12g of protein so I feel better about stuffing my face with yummy cookies 🙂

My most recent creation with it is a Raspberry Banana Muffin. I have failed at making banana bread too many times to count! It never fully cooks in the middle, so I decided that I was going to make muffins instead of a loaf of bread. I have lots of raspberries from my honey’s grandma, plus I had two extra-ripe bananas. I also have cashews that I’ve been meaning to do something with. Naturally the wheels started turning in my head of what I could possibly create. On the way home from work today, it all finally clicked. I must make raspberry banana muffins with cashews!!!

Raspberry Banana Muffins

No picture because my camera still doesn’t like its own battery!!!

A light and fluffy muffin that isn’t too sweet. The secret ingredient adds a little extra protein along with a mild sweetness. 

2 ripe bananas

1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground up flax seed + 2 1/2 tbsp warm water)

1/4 cup honey

2 tbsp melted butter

1/2 cup cashew meal

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/8 cup GF flour (Pamela’s baking mix)

2/3 cup raspberries

First make your flax egg and set aside. Next, mash up the bananas, then add in the flax egg, honey, and melted butter. Grind up 1/2 cup cashews into a meal/flour. Combine the cashew meal with the baking powder, salt and GF flour. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the raspberries gently. Resist the urge to eat the batter straight from the bowl and divide evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are nice and golden.

Words cannot even express how good these are! I am so tempted to eat all of them this instant and not save any for my honey (who is sleeping with the dog right now!). They are not super dense like a lot of banana breads/muffins I’ve had. They are very moist and just absolutely delicious!

If you haven’t tried any of Pamela’s gluten-free products, I highly recommend them!

Note: this review was simply just me sharing about a product I love which I use all of the time at home. Pamela has never heard of me before! 

Have you ever tried a gluten-free baking mix? Which brand? What did you make?

Workout Wednesday- Office Edition

I sit ALL day. I sit in the car for almost an hour on my way to work. I sit at my desk for 9 hours (I eat my lunch in my office) then I sit for another hour in the car on the way home.

All that sittin’ does nothing good for my rear end. Neither does my puppy who has sapped up all of my workout time in the morning.

Therefore, I present to you my office edition of Workout Wednesday.

First things first. I gave up my office chair a few months back and sit on a stability ball instead. For $9 at Target, it is the best chair in the world! It helps me sit up straighter, it doesn’t bother my sciatic nerve, and I get to bounce around on it all day 🙂

source

Today, while participating in a webinar (really, I just sat, watched and listened), I decided that I needed to get moving. I had been freezing all day and had only left my office once in the morning. So, I stood up from my ball and started doing a few exercises.

I did the following “routine” at my desk (with my door closed because I was also in a dress!).

  • Desk push ups
  • Squats
  • Leg lifts while sitting on the ball
  • March in place
  • Crunches on the ball
  • Oblique crunches on the ball
  • Overhead press (without any weights)
  • Biceps curls (again, without weights)
  • Jumping jacks
Other exercises and stretches I have been known to do in my office
  • Hip flexor stretch
  • Lunges
  • Down dog
  • Mountain climbers
  • And anything else that tickles my fancy at the time!

I worked up a little sweat doing the above “routine” and had that extra boost of energy to get me through to 5pm. It wasn’t much of a workout per se, but every little bit counts and I need to do this more often! I actually used to set my calendar to remind me to do hip flexor stretches everyday at lunch, but since I’ve been using my ball, my hips haven’t been as tight. I plan to try doing more exercises at lunch when I’ve got the time in an effort to get me off my behind just a little bit more each day.

Tonight when I got home, I ran around outside with the dog for a bit, then ran up to my honey’s grandma’s house.

Why did I run up there? Two reasons. 1) I wanted to get a little bit more exercise into my day. 2) These bad boys!

Yep, she’s got raspberries! I know, I know! I just can’t get enough of the fresh fruit around here!!

When I got home, I made peach pancakes and topped them with peach jelly from a friend. Absolutely amazing!

Off to pick up my raw milk for the week 🙂

Have you ever exercised at work?