Posts tagged strawberry

The Spring Weekend Sunday smoothie

As Uconn’s favorite holiday once again comes and goes, Sunday morning brings the not-so-welcome repercussions of the three day festival.  In spirit of Spring Weekend, I decided to try an item or two myself from the Food Network’s suggested hangover cures.  I enjoyed a plate of scrambled eggs with a strawberry banana smoothie, since according to the article, “Drink a smoothie (with lots of fruit) to up your blood sugar and replenish at least one or two nutrients you might have lost the previous night.”  

Now I know most people know how to make a smoothie, but this post is more about the suggestion than the execution.  Smoothies are really easy as long as you have a blender and a couple of ingredients.  You can enjoy many different types, and they’re really healthy for you.  Feel free to mix it up and pick out your favorite items to combine for a delicious, refreshing flavor.

For one serving, you’ll need:

  • Ice cubes (about 15)
  • One yogurt.  I used Yoplait whips in strawberry, but other great options are french vanilla or any other fruity flavors
  • Fruit of choice.  I used a banana, because the potassium works against the dehydrating effects of alcohol and it goes well with strawberry.

Directions (as if they’re really pertinent):

  1. Throw it all in the blender and let it do its thing.

The smoothie didn’t completely cure my headache, so don’t omit the Advil or sleep.  But it’s a nice pick me up, and it definitely a great alternative to other foods that might not go down so easy.  Enjoy!

Mix all the ingredients together and blend

 

There are a ton of websites with smoothie information and recipes.  Here are some top choices:

Smoothie Web: with tons of different categories and unique recipes

Flowercarole.com, which has vegetable smoothies, or non-dairy ones too

Healthy and refreshing smoothies from Fitness Magazine

 

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The chocolate bunny days are over; Introducing your new Easter dessert

Easter means two things.  One, it’s my favorite dinner of all the holidays, including Thanksgiving [insert gasp here].  And two, I head home for the weekend to relax with the family.  This Easter, it’s just me and Mom, so we spent one evening preparing a dessert fueled by the recent warm weather and the quickly approaching spring season.  It’s a lemon filled pasty topped with fresh strawberries that’s super easy, and pretty light.  For this recipe, we’re using store-bought items, since making pastries by hand take a while and you’ll end up spending more money (yuck!); plus they taste just as good in this case, so we’re going to let it slide.  Sharing the kitchen with Mom is always an experience; one that usually consists of her taking off halfway through then returning to eat whatever was made.  But she did buy the ingredients this time around, so credit goes where credit’s due.  The good thing about this dessert is that you can make as much or as little as you’d like.  All you have to do is stick as many pastries in the oven as desired, and save the leftover filling for other uses (or for a midnight snack).  

You’ll need:

  • Puff pastry shells.  Pepperidge Farm makes good ones that you can find in the freezer section at the grocery store.  They come in boxes of six.  Make sure you get the shells and not the sheets!
  • One package (serving size=4) of Jello instant pudding, lemon flavored
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • half a tub of Cool Whip (8 oz)
  • Fresh strawberries: about 4 or 5, slices thinly (see pictures)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. Take out the pastries and unwrap them before placing them on a cookie sheet
  3. Once the oven is preheated, place the pastries in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until they’re golden brown and risen.  If you read the directions on the pastry packaging, I know it sounds a little confusing, but the flat-looking discs really will rise into shells, trust me!
  4. While the pastries are in the oven, prepare the lemon pudding as directed on the packaging.  This is where you’ll need to add the milk and cool whip then whisk everything together until the mixture is thick and creamy.
  5. Put the pudding in the fridge right away, so the filling gets cold and thickens more.
  6. When the pastries are done, let them cool for at least 15 minutes.  They need to be completely cooled before you cut the tops and add the filling.
  7. This is the trickiest part: with a knife, cut out the middle of the puff pasty and the top (a circle shape).  Be careful, they’re very flaky and fragile.
  8. Now they’re ready for the lemon filling, so carefully pour a couple spoonfuls into each pastry without over-filling them.
  9. On top of each, place two strawberry slices for a tasty garnish (see picture).

And you’re ready to serve your delicious dessert, just in time for the holiday (or any spring occasion)!

Check out these Easter dessert recipes:

You knew it was coming: Easter dessert galore from the Food Network

Easter desserts from AllRecipes.com

Eight egg-shaped Easter desserts (yes, they’re all actually egg-shaped) from Woman’sDay.com

Here’s the visual step-by-step:

Pre-heat your oven and unwrap the pastry shells, putting them on an ungreased cookie sheet with the “tops” up:

While those are in the oven, prepare the pudding as directed:

And slice the strawberries:

Let the pastry shells cook for 20-25 minutes, until they’re golden brown and fully risen:

Let them cool fully, then cut out the tops and middles of each shell (carefully!):

After they’ve cooled completely, add the filling and top with fresh strawberries.  Now you’re ready to serve!

Let’s compare the finished products.  You saw mine above, and here’s Mom’s:  Let’s be serious, the winner is clear.

Haha sorry Mom, I had to…

Happy Easter from our family to yours; enjoy 🙂

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Spring is sprung! (At least on my calendar)

Storrs, CT, is dying for spring.  Girls are wearing sandals every chance they get and guys are sporting shorts, declaring it’s not too chilly to bear some leg.  In hopes of flowers and a few rays of sun, I brought spring into my kitchen last night with my favorite fruit: the  strawberry.  Inspired by a blog post I read by Connecticut food writer, Leeanne Griffin, I went with a spring salad.  My dish was a bit different: it features another favorite in this apartment, tortellini.  The combination of the two ingredients may sound a bit unconventional, but trust me, they work really well together, and it’s a versatile dish.  We had it for dinner last night, but it’s great for lunch too.  The best part about it is the honey  poppy seed dressing, a recipe I made up using a bunch of different ingredients, and you can store for later use on a regular green salad or over fruit.  This recipe is really quick and easy once you get all the ingredients together.  Hello, spring!

You’ll need:

  • One package of tortellini pasta (usually found cooled at the store)
  • Strawberries, about 5 of them
  • Scallions, chopped small
  • Half of a lemon

For the Honey poppy seed dressing:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • dash of black pepper
  • If you have some lying around, or want to spend the cash, add some sliced almonds to the list.  I left them out this time, but they do add a nice touch.

If you don’t have all these ingredients, and don’t want to spend the money or time making the dressing (if you get the chance to sometime, TRY IT!), then all you have to do is eliminate everything except the oil (use olive oil instead though), and the sugar and poppy seeds.  Don’t worry, poppy seeds aren’t too expensive if you buy them in a little can on sale.  I think I spent about $1 at Big Y on a tiny little can.

Directions:

  1. Prepare the tortellini as directed on the package.  Keep an eye on them, they usually cook pretty fast.
  2. While those are cooking, take the time to chop the strawberries and scallions.  Remember to cut both ingredients into small pieces.
  3. Prepare the poppy seed dressing.  Add all the ingredients listed above together and stir throughly with a fork or whisk (make sure that honey thins out).  Stick the dressing in the fridge until everything else is ready.
  4. Once the tortellini are done, strain them and put them into another bowl.  Make sure not to use a spoon with claws or tongs of any sort when moving them, they’re fragile.  Put the bowl of tortellini into the fridge for a while and let them cool (this salad is best served cold).
  5. Once you’ve waited for the tortellini to cool completely, toss in the strawberries and scallions (and almonds) and squeeze the fresh lemon over the bowl.  Then drizzle the dressing over the salad and mix everything together, but do NOT over mix.  This is one thing I learned the hard way.  The strawberries easily get spread out and mushy, and the pasta turns completely pink instead of maintaining that nice white contrast.  If it helps, stir everything together and then put the strawberries in and stir a little bit more.  

And that’s all you need to do for your spring-time salad fix!  Remember to use the dressing over regular greens for a tasty side dish if you have leftovers.  This salad would also work well served with grilled chicken (are you getting the barbecue by the lake image too?).  

Poppy seed problem?  I know I haven’t used poppy seeds in any of my previous recipes, so here’s a tip on what to do with those leftover seeds: lemon poppy seed muffins! A delicious quick fix!  All you have to do is buy a box of lemon cake mix, add 2 tbsp. of poppy seeds and bake the cake as directed in muffin tins.  A perfect breakfast solution for the rest of the spring semester! 

Here’s a visual guide for the salad:

Cook the tortellini:

Chop up the strawberries and scallions:

Prepare the dressing using all the listed ingredients:

Strain the tortellini and toss everything together:

Check out these other spring time salad recipes:

A springtime tossed salad from TasteofHome.com

A bunch of different spring salads to try from MommyTips.com

Had to get my Food Network fix: A spring goddess salad from Sunny Anderson

For different twists on the poppy seed dressing recipe, browse through CDKitchen.com’s collection, there are a TON!

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