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 🙂

Back to school, back to school…

I graduated with my Master’s Degree four years ago (crazy how time flies!). My degree is in counseling and human development with a concentration in student affairs. Getting this degree was a huge accomplishment and landed me my current job at a university.

I absolutely love my job! I enjoy going to work every day and rarely do I find myself frustrated with it (maybe with the students…but not with my job). I love my boss and the wonderful people that make up our very large department. We spend a lot of time together and we eat a lot! We’re actually having a cookout on Thursday that I’ll miss since I’m taking the day off 😦 Oh well, there will be more throughout the summer.

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I’m passionate about healthy living and nutrition. It has become such a huge part of my life in the past few years and it’s something I decided I wanted to pursue a little bit more.

Working at a university has so many perks. Not only do I get a lot of vacation days, but I also get breaks when the students get breaks for the holiday- like almost two weeks off at Christmas! Another amazing perk is that I can take classes for free.

That’s right, any class on any topic for FREE!

After working here for four years, I finally decided to take advantage of this and I signed up for two online summer classes. The first one started on Monday and so far I’m loving it. However, I forgot how much time it takes to get through a 16 week course in just four weeks. I really should be listening to a lecture right now, not blogging…

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been a little nervous about the classes. I haven’t had to write a paper or take a test or read a textbook in four years! What if I’ve forgotten how to do those things? So far, the assignments for this first class have been easy, but I have a bunch of reading to do and videos to watch. Plus, I’m going to have some projects to start working on…I’m hoping I can still find the time to blog while also getting my schoolwork done.

This first class I’m taking is called Nutrition for Wellness. I knew going into it that I would be learning (and then have to regurgitate) information that I disagree with. See this post about fats to get a sense of what I’m talking about. But I decided that it was a step in the right direction and it will be a great learning experience for me. Fortunately, my professor used to be a powerlifter/bodybuilder, so I think some of his values are in line with mine as far as clean eating goes.

Quick story about the book for class…I kind of forgot that I needed to get it so I went to the bookstore on Thursday to see how much it cost. It was $105 for the used book!!!! That’s insane, and I was definitely not going to pay that much. I immediately went back to my office and looked on Amazon for it…$11! Score!! After I ordered it, it said the estimated delivery date was June 5th…just 3 days before my class would be over. I was so nervous. But luckily, it shipped right away and got here yesterday. Just in time for me to start reading chapter one.

I have my first test on Friday, so I need to get crackin on my reading an assignments! I’ll keep you updated on how it is going. I’ll let you know if I learn anything new 🙂

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 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day and some Honey-Cocoa Mixed Nut Butter

It’s crazy how social media works, isn’t it?

I follow Lindsay on Instagram (find me at eathealthybehappy), so I saw when she posted a photo of the Cookie Dough Nutty Butter she got from Sarah at The Smart Kitchen. I immediately found Sarah’s blog and started looking for the recipe (if you go there now, you will be teased with a post titled Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Nutty Butter, but no recipe! She’s keeping it a secret for now, let’s hope she shares soon!). I read through some other posts and figured out that she is from VA, right down the road in Charlottesville! How fun to find local bloggers.

I commented on her BLEND retreat recap post and told her I was also a VA blogger. She immediately e-mailed me back asking if I wanted to be part of the Virginia Bloggers group. My answer was yes, of course! I need to learn a little more about the group, but they are doing monthly meet ups which I’m super excited about! Hopefully there will be one soon.

Anyways, through reading her blog, I found her recipe for what she calls Nutty Butter and was inspired. It’s basically a nut butter made with several different nuts. What a fantastic idea! I decided that since I had just about half a cup left of some raw peanuts and a small amount of pecans and cashews, that I would make my own version.

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Here’s what I did:

Cocoa-Honey Mixed Nut Butter (Makes 16oz)

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw peanuts
  • 1/2 cup raw pecans
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup almond slivers
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • splash of vanilla
  • 2-3 tbsp honey
  • 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

2. Mix nuts together in a large bowl.

3. Melt the butter and pour over the nuts. Stir to coat all of the nuts.

4. Lay the buttered nuts on a baking sheet in one layer. Sprinkle salt over the nuts.

5. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until they start to become fragrant. You don’t want to over-bake them; you just want them to get a little roasted.

6. Dump the nuts into your food processor and let it go. Stop and scrape down the sides if necessary. Add the coconut oil at any point. I usually do it once the nuts get crumbly.

7. Once it gets to a creamy state, add in the vanilla and the honey while it is still processing. It might clump up on you, but just let it be. It will get creamy again.

8. Remove the nut butter from the food processor into a bowl. Stir in the cocoa and taste. Add more honey and/or salt as needed.

9. Transfer to half-pint mason jars to store.

As you can see, it has a little bit of a grainy texture. It also has a very complex flavor (you were right, Julie!). I think when I make this again, I might leave out the walnuts. Their skins can be a little bitter and I think they were a little over-powering in this batch. You’ll have to try it for yourself and see what you think. Let me know if you do!

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I just got home from dinner out with my parents and my honey’s parents. We went to a local steakhouse which was having a Mother’s Day Prime Rib buffet. Great for my mother-in-law since that is her favorite! They also had salmon, pork tenderloin, two different salads, some greens cooked with broccoli and some sweet potato casserole. To end it all, they had some fantastic cheesecake!

I of course bought my mother a card for Mother’s Day (always a funny one because we like to laugh together!), but I also gave her a jar of my strawberry jam upon request. I wanted to dress it up a little bit, so I wrote this little card for it in the car on the way there…it was a little bumpy and my handwriting is a little less than stellar.

I had a glass of wine with dinner and apparently it showed in my eyes…plus, my right eye was really red because when I mowed the lawn earlier, I got a bunch of dust in it. What I’m trying to say is that this is not the best picture of me, but my mom looks great!

Guess who my honey takes after?? Doesn’t she have great jewelry?! She’s always very nicely accessorized 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there! I hope you enjoyed your day to the fullest 🙂

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!):

Oh sunny day!

It was an absolutely incredibly beautiful day today! 

I took the day off of work since things have slowed down for me there. The students started their summer vacation this week, so I wanted to have a vacation day of my own. It turned out to be quite fabulous!

I finally cut up a honeydew melon, a few mangoes and some kiwi to freeze for smoothies. I now have 3 gallon-size ziploc bags full of frozen fruit!

Titan and I played in the back yard for quite awhile. He has a deflated soccer ball that he loves to chase after, so I kicked it around and watched him run with it. I ran around after it as well, so it was a nice little work out for me as well as him.

This is the view from our back yard. I simply love it!

And Titan loved it too.

After we ran around the yard, we went for a quick 2 mile run. I’ve been taking him running with me for a few weeks now. We don’t run the whole time since he’s got to stop and pee on random things along the road, but we get a good work out from it. Sometimes he wants to run too fast though and he just about pulls my arm out of the socket. I’ve found that I run much faster when I take him since he sort of forces me to speed up. I guess that’s a good thing if I want to train for a race!

After the 2 mile run, I did a killer HIIT workout in the front yard barefoot. It was awesome! The breeze was just enough to keep me cool, but my workout was tough enough to keep me sweating. Plus, I soaked up a bunch of vitamin D in the nearly cloudless sky. It was glorious!

Once I got back inside and got some lunch (a delicious green smoothie with pineapple and strawberries, plus some sweet potato chips…recipe to come!), I had a chance to sit down with my blog and update a few things. Check out my updated About Me page with new pictures of Titan. I also got to add a few new recipes the my Eat Healthy page. Plus, I finally had some time to read a few other blogs. I’m so excited to get back into blogging more and interacting with the blogging community.

In addition to all of that, I also took some pictures of my adorable Goddaughter Evi.

I’ve got plans with her and her mother to go pick more strawberries tomorrow! She’s got the most precious little strawberry outfit to wear when we go. I can’t wait to share those pics!

I’m hoping to share a few on Instagram while we’re there picking. If you have Instagram, find me: eathealthybehappy. I’m still hooked on the app (as you can probably tell since four out of the five pictures on here are from there :)) and I’d love to have more people to follow!

Teaser picture for a new nut butter I made today! Recipe to come tomorrow.

Chocolate and Vanilla Protein Balls

We all know there are tons of different protein ball recipes out there (and plenty of ball jokes to go with them!), but these recipes I’ve got today are truly out of this world! Not only are they super tasty, but they’re also full of some really great stuff.

I found a recipe in a recent Oxygen magazine for Peanut Butter Protein Balls and I actually had all of the ingredients on hand, so I whipped up a batch. I made a few minor adjustments to the recipe and this is what I came up with.

Chocolately Peanut Butter Protein Balls (Makes approximately 15-18 balls)

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 scoop cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • splash of vanilla

1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

2. Take a spoon and scoop out a small amount of dough. Roll it between your hands to form a ball.

3. Repeat step two until you have used up all of the dough.

4. Eat one of the balls because they are absolutely delicious!

5. Place balls into a sealed container and refrigerate until you plan to eat them.

The extra chocolate flavor from the cocoa powder really adds some extra oomph! And I cut the amount of honey by a little bit from the original recipe because my protein powder is sweetened with xylitol and I didn’t want them to be overly sweet.

After enjoying this recipe for a few weeks, I was thinking the other day how great it would be to make a vanilla version. I had already planned on making some cashew butter, so I decided that would be the best base for my vanilla balls.

Vanilla Protein Balls (Makes approximately 15-18 balls)

  • 1/2 cup cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • splash of vanilla

1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

2. Take a spoon and scoop out a small amount of dough. Roll it between your hands to form a ball.

3. Repeat step two until you have used up all of the dough.

4. Eat one of the balls because they are absolutely delicious!

5. Place balls into a sealed container and refrigerate until you plan to eat them.

This recipe is truly addictive. I just made these last night and have almost eaten half the batch! I was thinking that if I added some sprinkles, it would taste like Funfetti cake!! I’ll try that for the next batch and let you know 🙂