The other day I could feel my body needed something packed full of good nutrients and protein … I didn’t have much time to cook, so I quickly whipped up this delicious smoothie. I like how the kiwi adds a little “zing” to the taste, along with being a nutrient powerhouse. According to a study at Rutgers University, the kiwi is the most nutrient dense fruit, ounce for ounce. It’s high in vitamin C and one study showed that eating 2-3 kiwi fruits a day can reduce the potential for blood clots and decrease triglycerides. Yet another study cited the kiwi’s ability to protect and repair the body from DNA damage, which could protect against cancer. (Source: Super Kids Nutrition)
All of that, plus it makes a really yummy smoothie.
Strawberry Banana Kiwi Smoothie
- 2 small kiwi fruit
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/2 of a frozen banana
- 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1/4 cup lowfat milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- A few fresh mint leaves
Cut the kiwi in half and scoop out the fruit from the fuzzy skin. Put the flesh of the kiwi along with the rest of the ingredients in your blender and blend everything till smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
After the rainbow fruit kebabs we made for my daughter’s birthday, my daughter and I thought it would be fun to do a 4th of July version with red, white and blue. We were having trouble figuring out what to use for the white, though. Are there white fruits? I suppose you could use apples or bananas … at the time, we couldn’t think of any … so we ended up going with angel food cake for the white … you could also use marshmallows.
But then if you have cake, you want a dipping sauce, right? Something wonderful to dip it in or to drizzle over it to make it more dessert-like.
Three options occurred to me:
- Whipped cream: so you have a berry shortcake on a stick
- Strawberry (or blueberry) yogurt: a healthier option for dipping. You could even mix your own using plain yogurt and crushed strawberries and honey
- Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Sauce: oh yeah! the take-it-over-the-top, make-it-flippin-amazing option (this was my favorite … can you tell? The way the sauce soaks into the cake and contrasts with the fruit is just oh so wonderful.)
I am guessing you probably don’t need a recipe for #1 and #2, so I’ll just give you the recipe for #3. These 4th of July kebabs are a great project to do with kids … it’s a good pattern recognition exercise for little ones.
Red, White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Sauce
The sauce is, incidentally, the very same dressing I used on my Red, White & Blueberry Salad.
- Angel Food Cake, cut into squares
- Strawberries, washed and cut in half
- Wooden skewer sticks
for the dipping sauce:
- 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
- 4 teaspoons of honey
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- Juice of 1/2 lime
In a small bowl, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together until they are well mixed. Keep any leftover sauce in a covered container in the fridge.
Skewer the fruit and cake on the wooden skewers to make a red, white and blue pattern. My daughter says the way to do it is to start with blueberries, then cake, then a strawberry so that you end up with a strawberry on top.
Serve with dipping sauces of your choice.
My daughter was hungry for crepes the other day, but it was in the middle of my work day, so she decided to make them herself. I thought I would have to help her because she usually gets frustrated with the cooking of the crepes, but she cooked them all herself, with no help from me (except for a little whisking of the batter)! I was so totally proud of her.
There were several left after she had her own personal crepe fest which she stuffed with caramel apples (just chunks of apples that she stirred into in a caramel sauce), so I put the remaining crepes in a tortilla bag in the fridge for another day. And then yesterday I thought I might have one of her crepes. I offered to make my girl one, but she wasn’t in the mood for a crepe. I guess her crepe craving was done. Good thing, because mine has just begun.
Berry Cherry Cream Crepes with Toasted Pecans
- Crepes (recipe below)
- 1/4 cup berry basil sauce (the sauce left from making Italian Cream Sodas … or cook up some fresh berries with a bit of sugar and fresh basil, then blend to make a sauce)
- 3 oz. light cream cheese
- 1 – 2 tablespoons nonfat plain greek yogurt
- Sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
- Toasted pecans
- Whipped cream or sweetened yogurt (either fruity or vanilla), for the top
Mix the berry basil sauce with the light cream cheese and greek yogurt till it’s pretty well combined. I couldn’t get the cream cheese to completely blend with the fruity sauce, but I got it pretty well mixed. Heat the crepe a bit in the microwave if it’s been chilled (like mine was) … 15 – 30 seconds should do it, then spread a good thick layer of the creamy berry sauce down the middle, leaving a little space on the ends. Sprinkle with cherries and toasted pecans, then fold over the ends and roll up the crepe.
Add a dollop of whipped cream or yogurt on top and sprinkle with berries and cherries and a few nuts.
from the Betty Crocker Cookbook
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
Mix all the ingredients together to form a thin batter. You may need to whisk it a bit to get the batter smooth.
Spray a 6 to 8 inch frying pan with cooking spray and pour in 1/4 cup of the batter. Roll the pan around to coat the bottom of the pan with a very thin layer of the crepe batter. Cook until the bottom side is light brown, carefully lifting the edge of the crepe to check for brown-ness. When it’s ready, gently lift the edge of the crepe and slide a spatula under it, then flip it over to brown the other side. Stack the completed crepes on a plate. Betty says to put waxed paper between them to keep them from sticking, but I’ve never had a problem with my crepes sticking together.
Don’t get discouraged if you break a few crepes in the process … they are delicate pancakes and they can be a little tricky to flip. Just munch on your ‘mistakes’ with a bit of powdered sugar (or just eat them plain, like my daughter did) … and try again.
This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s Meals, Manic Mondays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tastetastic Thursday, Thursday’s Treasures, Foodie Friends Friday and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.
One day my daughter and I were shopping downtown and we got thirsty, so we stopped at this cute little coffee shop where they make all sorts of wonderful things and I suggested she try an Italian Cream Soda. She wasn’t really sure she wanted to, but I talked her into trying one … especially since they had several berry flavors to choose from. One taste and she was totally hooked. She has loved Italian Cream Sodas ever since. Every time we go to that little coffee shop … or any Italian place … she wants a cream soda.
So with all these berries in my house lately, I couldn’t help but think of making some syrup for her favorite sodas. And then last night we were going over to my friend’s house for dinner, so we brought along the syrup and the club soda and some half & half and everyone had a cream soda. or two. or three. I wasn’t really counting …
I’ll share the normal (non-alcoholic) version first and then at the end I will give you a grownup version.
Very Berry Italian Cream Sodas
- 1 pound strawberries, washed, hulls removed (frozen unsweetened strawberries would work too)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen mulberries (you could substitute raspberries or blackberries if you don’t have mulberries)
- A big handful of fresh basil leaves (the basil is what makes these so amazing …)
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup of sugar (or you can use a sugar/stevia mix … I think honey or another sweetener would work well too)
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Put all the syrup ingredients in a saucepan and heat over medium high heat till boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the berries are soft and mushy and the liquid is bright red. Strain through a cheesecloth into a bowl, then funnel the sweet syrup into a bottle, cover and put it in the fridge to cool. Don’t toss the berries, though! You can blend those up and make a nice berry sauce. I have great plans for those berries …
Anyway, now that you have this beautiful red syrup, you’re ready to make a cream soda … oh you are going to love this.
For each soda:
- 1/2 cup Club soda
- 2 Tablespoons Very Berry Syrup
- 2 Tablespoons Fat free (or regular) half & half (we used the fat free version)
Fill a tall glass mostly with ice, then add about 1/2 cup of club soda and 2 tablespoons of the syrup. The glass should be mostly full at this point. (If not, you can add more soda & syrup.) You could drink it just like this, but you would be missing the BEST part! I had to enlist my daughter’s help for this photo shoot …
Gently pour 2 Tablespoons of cream over the top of the soda … it will start to swirl around in the glass, making a beautiful display …
Keep pouring, taking care NOT to spill over the side like we did …
Watch the cream dance and swirl in the glass till you can’t stand the suspense anymore, then stir up the soda with your straw to mix all the flavors and savor the deliciousness …
Adults-Only Version of Very Berry Italian Cream Sodas:
Fill tall glass most of the way with ice, but when you add the club soda, leave a little extra room on top. Add 1 Tablespoon of the syrup and 1 shot of Chambord (or homemade berry liqueur). Drizzle a Tablespoon or two of cream on top, stir and enjoy.
We had to do this photo shoot twice … the first time, we made a bit of a mess and we had to clean up the spilled cream and the poor drowned strawberry, BUT the swirl in the glass looked really cool, didn’t it? (Added Bonus! We got to make two sodas : )
I’ve been intrigued with the idea of baking with quinoa for a while now, so when I stumbled across this pretty muffin recipe from Poor Girl Eats Well, I really wanted to try it. They turned out a little differently what I expected, though, which is why I’m not calling them muffins. When I think of muffins, I think of something light, moist and cakey. These are not light and cakey. They are more dense, with a little crunch from the walnuts. I had my friend try them and she said they tasted like those fruit bars that you buy.
Anyway, they do have a lovely sweet vanilla taste, with juicy berries … and the quinoa adds a lot of fiber and protein, so that makes these little bites a really good breakfast … or a great snack to keep you going … especially before or after a workout.
Baked Strawberry Walnut Quinoa Bites
Recipe from Poor Girl Eats Well. I made 6 larger “muffins” and about 20 mini-muffin-sized bites.
- 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 medium overripe bananas, mashed
- 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour (or quinoa flour, if you can find it)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries (I actually used part strawberries, part blueberries)
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, loosely chopped
- several strawberries, thinly sliced (for the top)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray a muffin or mini-muffin tin with cooking spray or use muffin liners. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, eggs, bananas & vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients, stirring together until everything is well blended.
2. Add the quinoa and mix well. Fold the chopped strawberries (and/or blueberries) into the batter. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Place one strawberry slice on top of each lil bite, and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
3. Remove from oven and cool for a couple of minutes. Remove the bites from the pan and cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. Store any leftovers in the fridge.
The other day I was cruising around the blogosphere when I saw some coconut ice cream … I’m not much of a fan of that dried shredded coconut, but I love the flavor of coconut … and I thought: wouldn’t coconut ice cream be dreamy? Or better yet, coconut RUM ice cream? Oh and then you could go a step further and make it pina colada ice cream.
I didn’t want all the fat and sugar from the recipe I saw so I made up my own. It’s fruity with that creamy coconut taste and an underlying hint of banana … because frozen bananas have a luscious creaminess to them that no other fruit can quite attain.
And just for good measure (and a little color!) I added some more fruit on top.
Banana Colada Ice Cream
- 2 cups fat free half and half
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1/2 of a can of light coconut juice
- 1/4 cup pineapple orange juice concentrate
- 3 Tablespoons of coconut rum
- In a medium saucepan, mix half & half & sugar. Heat, stirring frequently, until small bubbles form at the edge of the pan.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg with a whisk or mixer until frothy.
- Slowly drizzle a stream of the hot cream mixture (about 1 cup of it) into the egg, whisking or beating constantly.
- Gradually add the egg mixture back into the remaining hot cream mixture in the saucepan, whisking as you go.
- Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon–roughly 5 minutes.
- Pour the hot mixture into a blender with the vanilla, frozen bananas, pineapple orange juice concentrate and coconut rum. Blend until smooth.
- Put the mixture in the fridge until cool. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Serve topped with the honey spiced fruit compote
Honey Spiced Fruit Compote
This makes a small batch of fruit compote, just enough for about 2-3 servings, depending on how much fruit you pile on and how big your servings are. Mix up the fruits if you like — pineapple or mango would be wonderful too.
- 1 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
- 5 – 7 strawberries, tops removed and chopped
- 1/2 Tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- A dash of each: nutmeg and ground ginger
- 1 banana, peeled and sliced
Mix all the ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes or so or until the fruits start juicing a bit. Pour over the frozen ice cream.