Springtime Strawberries!

I don’t know about you, but strawberries have always been one of my favorite fruits. They are so fresh and juicy, and they remind me of the sunny, relaxing days of spring and summer. Strawberries are very versatile, and can be used in salads, smoothies, parfaits, baked goods, desserts…you name it! As with any fruit or vegetable, strawberries are linked with a plethora of health benefits. Strawberries are high in vitamins and minerals, low in calories, and rich in fiber and water. They have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, can improve heart health, and are filled with anti-oxidants to keep your body fit and healthy! The following are some DELICIOUS recipes that I have tried out over the past few weeks. I have been putting the strawberries in my CSA box to good use!

Strawberry Pecan Bread

This is a very quick and easy bread to make during the spring and summer season! It is rich in nutrients compared to other dessert breads due to the strawberries and pecans. This recipe is compliments of Christy Jordan and her Southern Plate blog!

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh, sliced organic strawberries

1 ½ cups self rising flour

1 cup white sugar, plus 2 tablespoons

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

½ cup vegetable oil (canola works well)

2 farm-fresh eggs, beaten

1 cup chopped raw pecans

Preparation:

1. Place sliced strawberries in a small bowl and pour 2 tbsp of sugar over them. Stir and set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, place flour, remaining sugar, oil, eggs, and cinnamon. Mix until well combined.

3. Add pecans and strawberries and mix again until well combined and a pretty shade of pink.

4. Pour into greased and floured loaf pan.

5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out of pan to cool completely.

Strawberry spinach and goat cheese salad

Ingredients:

½ # bag of organic spinach; rinsed, drained, and patted dry

1 cup fresh, sliced organic strawberries

¼ cup raw walnuts

1/8 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 tbsp. black cherry flavored vinaigrette

Preparation:

1. Lay a generous portion of chopped spinach onto salad plate, top with strawberries, and sprinkle goat cheese and walnuts on top of salad. Serve with black cherry or raspberry vinaigrette.

Strawberry-Flax Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen strawberries

¾ cup plain fat-free yogurt

½ cup fresh orange juice

1 tbsp. local honey

1 tbsp. flaxseed meal

Preparation:

Place all ingredients into a blender, blend until smooth and frothy. Serve immediately.

Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients:

1 slice angel food cake or shortbread biscuit, homemade or store-bought

1 container fat-free cool-whip

¼ cup fresh, sliced organic strawberries

Preparation:

1. Place cake or shortbread on center of plate, garnish with sliced strawberries and a dollop of cool-whip for sweetness!

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

I found this recipe in the Whole Foods recipe index. This is a simple and delicious appetizer for the spring! Use the best quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar that you have in your pantry.

Ingredients:

6 slices whole wheat baguette, lightly toasted

4 ounces fresh goat cheese (I got mine fresh from the State Farmer’s Market)

1 cup diced, organic strawberries

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

¼ cup sliced fresh basil leaves

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation:

1. Toast the baguette in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 minutes.

2. Spread the baguette slices with a generous portion of goat cheese and top with sliced strawberries, pressing to help the strawberries adhere.

3. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with basil and a generous amount of black pepper.

Take time to prepare and enjoy these recipes while strawberries are in season…and be sure to let me know what you think!

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