Thursday, August 15, 2013

Celebrating Berries - Christmas in August?

Photo by Buck's Happening (
Okay, so when November/December roll around all the Christmas movies start rollin', too. They can be cute or dramatic or sappy or funny or even sometimes a little scary (Island of Misfit Toys, anyone?) but they all come around to one point: the true meaning of Christmas. Because the true meaning of Christmas isn't toys or music or getting what you want; the true meaning of Christmas is giving to others. Just like when Jesus came to the Earth as a little baby to give His life for us.
So then, all the other seasons and holidays have to have true meanings, too, right? Well, where are all the movies about those? What's the true meaning of Valentine's Day or Labor Day or autumn? I don't know all of these answers, and I don't have a movie for you, but I do have one thing figured out. The true meaning of summer. You know what it is?


That's right. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and schnozberries. When the berries are in season they're not only delicious but actually affordable for the only time of the year. I load my fridge up with all of these goodies every summer and plow through them way too quickly.
So, with summer coming to a close and a mega berry sale at my local grocery store I went a little berry crazy. I tried and proved 3 pretty delicious recipes, two of which are super healthy and simple and one of which is a little harder and way worse for your body. Sound like a deal? Sweet, check 'em out.

So I decided to try out kale for the first time yesterday. I have been seeing all these recipes for green vegan smoothies and figured I should get in on that. My first experience was definitely a positive one! I made a fruity green smoothie instead of starting right off with veggie green and I loved it. It's chalk full of nutrition. So, if you like kale, you should try this smoothie. If you don't like kale you should try this smoothie. If you've never had kale, you should try this smoothie. It's that awesome.

Strawberry Banana & Kale Smoothie (V)
1 frozen banana
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1 1/2 big kale leaves
1 scoop soy protein powder
1 cup vanilla almond milk

Mix all in a blender and enjoy!

My husband loves the little $1 parfaits from McDonald's. I mean, that man will suck those down. But are they really that healthy and are the berries really that fresh? I doubt it. Plus, they don't have a vegan version. You could easily make this vegan by using almond, coconut, or soy yogurt. So I decided to make my own version.

Berry Almond Parfait
6 oz yogurt (I used strawberry yoplait, but you could also substitute vegan yogurt)
Handful of blueberries
About 5 strawberries
1/4 cup granola (I used almond granola from the bulk food section at my grocery store)

Dole half of the yogurt into your cup, then layer with blueberries, granola, and strawberries. 
Cover with the other half of the yogurt and bon apetite.

I have been craving lemon bars. Now when I say craving, I mean craving. It was funny throughout my pregnancy because I really didn't feel like my cravings were any more intense than my non-preggo ones. The only difference was that my husband went out of his way to fulfill those cravings when I was pregnant and he pretty much brushes me off now, haha. Not to say that he shouldn't; I crave something like crazy pretty much every day. =]
So, needless to say, when I found a lemon bar recipe that included berries I was sold. I couldn't get to the store fast enough to buy the ingredients!

Blueberry Lemon Bars (taste a lot like cheesecake!)
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I just bought graham crackers and crumbled them up myself)
6 tbsp butter
2 lemons
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup blueberries

1. Preheat your oven to 350F and grease an 8x8 glass pan.
 2. Crumble up your graham crackers and mix with sugar.
3. Get the lemon zest from your lemon by using a vegetable peeler to take off all the yellow of the peel, then add to mixture.
3. Melt your butter, add to mixture, and then stir until the whole thing is moist.
4. Pour the crust into the pan and pack it in there then pop the crust in the oven for 10 minutes.
5. While that's baking, start on the filling. 
6. Combine the eggs with the milk and stir.
7. Then use your second lemon to get about a teaspoon's worth of zest from it, and add to mixture.
8. Add lemon juice.
9. Stir until it smooths out and just starts to thicken.
10. Add blueberries, being careful not to break them.
11. Pour filling into crust and cook for 15 more minutes or until mixture sets.
12. Let it cool for 10 minutes then put it in the fridge.
13. Serve when it has cooled entirely.


  1. ohh these blueberry lemon bars sound divine. i love anything with berries!

    1. Aren't they just the best? One of the many reasons why summer can't be beat! =]


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