Entries in Berries (3)
Strawberry season is sadly long gone with the first frost of fall. The last warm days reminiscent of summer are lingering. And the nights are getting cooler.
That's all the more reason to buy what's left of the fresh, local strawberries and package them up for the cold winter months when I need a little reminding of what summer air smells like.
This naturally sweet fruit is one of the easiest, simplest things you'll preserve all year round. It also makes a wicked jam.
Strawberries are very delicate and sensitive to heat, so it's best to freeze them shortly after buying (unless of course you're enjoying them fresh). I should note that refrigerating them does not improve their quality -it will only keep them fresh for 2 to 3 days. Warm temperatures will cause strawberries to brown because the pigments that make them red are heat sensitive and break down when exposed to heat. The all important Vitamin C is also heat sensitive, and will be lost as well when strawberries turn brown, or are heated when cooked.
When freezing your berries, whatever you do, please do not just lump this gorgeous fruit together into a plastic bag. They will just freeze together into a giant ball and get freezer burn. This will make it impossible for you to grab a handful of strawberries for smoothies and other things like dessert. Think of the vanilla ice cream! Let's give them a little tender love and care!
How to Freeze Sliced or Whole Strawberries
- Make sure you buy strawberries that are free of any mold. To wash, place berries in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Do not allow them to sit in water as they will lose colour, flavour, and nutrients.
- After washing, remove the green cap with a pairing knife without removing any of the fruit.
- Slice the berries (optional), lay them on a baking sheet covered in a sheet of parchment paper making sure there is minimal touching, and freeze until solid. At least 1 hour or longer.
- Transfer the berries to a plastic resealable freezer bag and store in your freezer for 6 months.
Let's take a minute to consider the following:
- Pancakes are delicious.
- Rainy days are perfect for making comforting things. Like pancakes.
- When making pancakes it is probably best to preheat your pan first...fail!
...I wouldn't serve you burnt pancakes.
It's seriously starting to feel like fall around here. We've had a crazy hot and dry summer. Now the pattern seems to be all about raining every weekend. Boo-Urns!
I love rainy days, but seriously, not every weekend. And while were speaking of fall, believe it or not Haliburton Ontario actually had a frost warning last week. Eep!
So to celebrate this fall weather and fall's approach I made warm comforting blueberry pancakes.
These aren't just any pancakes either. These are from Michael Smith's new cookbook Fast Flavours. Penguin Group Canada Publishers are hosting a contest for the arrival of Chef Michael's newest book. It's simple. Make one of three recipes, photograph, and share. I thought it would be great fun to enter and seeing how Michael Smith is one of my favourite celeb chefs, I rolled up my sleeves and dove right in.
I used local wild blueberries to amp up the berry flavour and antioxidants. They're also packed with tons of whole grain goodness.
Comforting + Good for you = :)
Extra-Blueberry Pancakes (serves 4)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups milk or water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted better
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar (or unrefined sugar)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups blueberries
- Over medium-high heat, gently preheat a large skillet.
- In a large bowl whisk the flours, oats, baking powder, nutmeg and salt nice and evenly.
- Crack the eggs into a separate bowl, then whisk in the milk, vegtable oil, brown sugar, and vanilla.
- Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, add the blueberries and stir to combine.
- Add a little vegetable oil to the skillet and spoon the batter into the pan, forming pancakes. Smaller ones are easier to flip. Watch for bubbles. When the surface is dotted with holes, you're ready to flip. The second side will cook faster than the first.
- Transfer to a plate and keep warm in the oven until you are ready to serve with the rest.
- Serve with a small splash of pure maple syrup or nut butter.
In my family we used to put ice cream on our pancakes with maple syrup. That one was my dad's doing.
They have now been coined with the name Trennum Pancakes.
We've all tried green smoothies or monsters right?
If you haven't then what are you waiting for!?
They're the simplest, fastest, most satisfying breakfast you can make. . .
. . .(except for oatmeal of course, it may not be as fast but it is just as satisfying).
Now you know me I'm a health nut. I get over-excited about nutrition facts and finding out new things I never knew before. So naturally I like to through spinach at my smoothie. Or I should say "into my smoothie". The best part is, it tastes like dessert and yet its ridiculously healthy and far from it. I must admit that when I first discovered the green monster a few years ago, I was kind of skeptical and weirded out by it. But not anymore. Now I am obsessed with spinach in my smoothies. I really love the way I feel after eating one of these. A full serving of greens for breakfast (or lunch/snack) is so hydrating and refreshing. I think blending the spinach/greens helps you digest them better and get the most nutrients out of them. When you think about it, your body doesn't have to work as hard to break down the food and get feed you the vitamins and minerals. It's a world of health in a glass or should I say bowl?
Yes, that's right I love my smoothies served in a bowl. There's something about getting to top your smoothie with fresh berries, fruits, nut butters, and granola that is just too much fun to pass up. It's like an ice cream bar! But for breakfast!
I have to say I just drool over Kath Eats' smoothie-in-a-bowls and all of her oatmeal/breakfast creations. I owe her a big thank you for showing me something so simple as serving a smoothie in a bowl.
The frozen banana makes this super thick and creamy. Perfect for a hot day when you want something ice cold.
Ahh, convenience in a blender with barely any clean up. If you do serve this in a glass, its the easiest thing to take with you on the run or for your commute to work. Now you have no excuses not to make a nutritious breakfast.
Simple Green Smoothie in a Bowl (serves 1)
- 1 large frozen banana slices
- 1 nice big handful baby spinach
- 1/3 -1/2 cup skim milk (or milk of your choice. I love using almond milk when I have it in the house)
- Pretty self explanatory. Put spinach and banana in blender. Then add the milk and blend away until smooth and creamy. You may need to give the mix and quick stir part way through depending on how powerful your blender is (I clearly need a new one).
- Pour and top away!
- Love Grown Foods sweet cranberry pecan granola
- 1 big tbsp organic natural peanut butter
- Pitted fresh cherries
- Sliced strawberries
- Sprinkle of shredded coconut
I know it doesn't look like there are any berries in there, but I promise you they are there. It got a little melt-y while photographing.
See I told you they're in there!
I really enjoy having this for lunch some days when I don't feel like making a salad. I could probably live on green monster smoothies and be the happiest person E-V-E-R!
There will be more variations to come, that's for sure.