Posted in Food & Beverages, Recipes

Summer Recipe: Berry Bread

The other week, I made banana bread. My husband and I gobbled it down and kind of wanted more. So, I went to the freezer but discovered all the bananas were gone. I did have some frozen strawberries though, so I thought, why not?

Here’s the result of my little experiment – and it is absolutely delicious (and incredibly easy).

Berry Bread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen berries, thawed (I used strawberries, but mixed berries or raspberries would work)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups 1-to-1 ratio gluten free [GF] or all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum, if using GF flour not containing
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a 4 x 8 loaf pan with olive oil cooking spray.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, mash the thawed berries together until smooth. You will have some juice/liquid in the bowl.
  4. Mix in the baking soda.
  5. Next, stir in the melted butter.
  6. Now, add the sugar, salt, eggs, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly until well combined.
  7. Now, add in the flour (and xanthan gum, if your GF flour doesn’t include it).
  8. Then stir in the pecans or walnuts until incorporated.
  9. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake on the center rack for 60 minutes.
  10. Check with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the bread is ready. If not, add another 10 minutes to the timer and check again.
  11. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.
  12. Remove from pan and let cool completely before cutting.
  13. Store in an air tight container after completely cooled.
Posted in Food & Beverages, Healthy Living, Recipes

A Tasty, High Fiber Breakfast Smoothie: Berry Oat

My smoothie this morning

Someone just gave us a gently used Nutribullet, thanks to the amazing Freecycle site. (If you don’t look here for stuff you need, you seriously should! It’s a great way to save stuff from landfills, de-clutter, get things you need but don’t need brand new, and even find some amazing treasures for home projects).

So, this morning, I decided to make us a delicious, high-fiber smoothie before church.

Berry Oat Smoothie Recipe

  • 1/2 cup dry, quick oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 spoonfuls of unflavored powdered fiber supplement (optional)
  1. First, dump the oats in the blender, cover, and chop to a fine powder – basically making oat flour.
  2. Then, pour in the milk.
  3. Next, add the fruit.
  4. Finally, add the fiber powder.
  5. Blend all together and serve immediately.
Posted in Food & Beverages, Healthy Living, Recipes, Seasonal

A Summery Non-Alcoholic Cocktail: Lime Berry Refresher

This past winter, while I was developing a fun cookbook for Ulysses Press, called Hogwarts for the Holidays, I had the pleasure of creating some fun drinks based on concepts from the popular book series. And that kind of lit something in me.

Now, I have fun creating all kinds of beverage concoctions – all non-alcoholic (since I don’t drink) but still fun and delicious. I avoid using added sugar for the most part as well, so that makes these great for anyone trying to drink something more exciting but low-calorie.

One of the ones I’m enjoying this summer (not in the book) includes this delightful fruity, low calorie medley.

Prep time: 7 minutes

Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen berries, almost thawed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 4 16-ounce glasses, chilled
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 2 can sparkling water, lime or plain
  • Garnish options: sprig of mint, slice of lime, or a whole raw strawberry

To Make

  1. Throw the berries into a food processor and process until pulped.
  2. Transfer the berries to a blender.
  3. Add the lime juice and lime zest to the berries. Blend well.
  4. Add 1/4 of the ice to each glass, then a quarter of the berry mix.
  5. Next, pour half a can of sparkling water into each glass.
  6. With a long-handled spoon, stir the ingredients together.
  7. Garnish with a slice of lime, a whole berry, or a sprig of mint, if desired.
  8. Serve immediately.
Posted in Food & Beverages, Health & Fitness, Healthy Living, Lifestyle

The Joy of Sun Tea

When I lived in Australia for a few months back in 2008, I had the joy of introducing my friends and church family there to sun tea. I hosted a church-wide “American” dinner that I whipped up for everyone (BBQ pulled pork, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, angel food cake, coriander cookies), and served sun tea as the American beverage.

I grew up in the South, so technically I should have used sugary tea, but knowing that my Aussie friends didn’t have much of a sweet tooth, I opted to do traditional sun tea.

How to Make Sun Tea

If you’re not familiar with making sun tea, it’s really rather simple. And absolutely delicious and delightful. It’s a beverage from my childhood, from my mother’s farmer-family side of the tree.

  1. Find a glass jar with a lid or use cling wrap and a rubber band
  2. Add 2-6 tea bags of choice to the jar (I like strong tea, so a 2-quart jar is usually a full 6 bags)
  3. Fill the glass jar with clean, fresh, cool water
  4. Cover the jar and place in direct sunlight.
  5. Let the tea “brew” for a few hours until it reaches the strength you prefer.

Great Options for Sun Tea

Our family’s personal favorites include any of these teas.

  1. Straight up black tea
  2. A blend of half black tea, half green tea bags
  3. Raspberry Royale Tea from Bigelow
  4. Mango Magic from Ahmad Tea
  5. London Fog from Harney & Sons
  6. Breakfast in Paris from Stash Teas
  7. Blueberry & Honey from Tevive