Over the summer, there are specific food dishes that especially hit the spot. All the fresh fruit and berries you can imagine, yummy and cooling beverages, and any refreshing dishes that beat the heat. One of those in our house is Caprese Salad. There is something about mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes that just screams summer. So when I found this recipe from Love and Olive Oil for a Caprese Salad that includes blueberries, I thought – YUM! We made it on the Fourth of July. We were not intending to be patriotic, that was all luck.
I’ve changed it to our liking, but the gist is similar. I spooned a bit on crackers and Chris ate it straight from a bowl with a spoon.
I never used to enjoy eating my vegetables. They were always so gross to me. My mom usually purchased frozen or canned vegetables and then I truly think she pulverized them. Overcooked, often with added vinegar (um gross), and if lettuce at all it was usually iceberg. I do not blame her, maybe it was all she knew. I was that girl in college that basically ate cereal at every meal, or anything white (mashed potatoes, corn, pasta) — you get the point.
Yes, Chris changed my vegetable consuming life. Let me just say we rarely have frozen vegetables, and other than canned tomatoes for a potential recipe, I do not think we ever have canned vegetables. Fresh. Always fresh. We live in the perfect state to enjoy local farmers and their tasty bounty. I now crave vegetables, and make sure to have them during each meal of the day.
For at least the last five years I have consumed a green smoothie for breakfast. Usually it is this fruit version, or this chocolate yummy goodness. Lately though we’ve wanted to try new options to put in the rotation. Every version we have must contain spinach or kale. I think of it like having a salad for breakfast without having to masticate every piece. You do not even know you are drinking all the greenness. I found the original recipe on Averie Cooks, but have adapted it to my liking. The pomegranate juice adds a bit of tart in with the sweet blueberries. Oh, and for those of you that are grossed out by adding spinach, you cannot taste the spinach, but you get all the nutrients.
INGREDIENTS: 12 ounces frozen blueberries Large handful of spinach 1 med/large ripe banana 3/4 cup pomegranate juice (can also try blueberry, grape, cherry)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS: 1. Combine all ingredients in an amazing blender (my personal favorite is my trusty Vita-Mix and blend until smooth and creamy.
2. Serve immediately.
I am a fan of banana bread and pumpkin bread. They are almost both impossible to screw up. I have a version that takes sour cream, and a few years ago I found a version that has a crunchier top crust. That has become my favorite because there is a nice juxtaposition of crunchy top with soft insides.
I could hardly wait for this new version to come out of the oven. The smell of cinnamon sugar was wafting through the house. Of course once it came out of the oven it had to cool and I was pooped and ready for bed. I cannot take the credit for this random recipe. It was all Chris. I was working late and he graciously went into the kitchen to make it. Although I guess it is a win-win for him because he gets to enjoy such an amazing loaf of bread.
I would never have thought to put bananas, blueberries, and cinnamon sugar together. It works though.
7 tablespoons sour milk (make sour milk by adding 1 teaspoon vinegar to 6 1/2 tablespoons nonfat milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen, be sure to remove any ice crystals)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9x5x3” loaf pan with butter and coat it with sugar. (You do this like you would grease and flour a pan. Grease it first, then add about 2 tablespoons sugar to the pan and move the pan side to side until the bottom and sides are coated with sugar. Do NOT substitute cooking spray for the butter. You can skip the sugaring and just use cooking spray, if you wish.)
Cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar with a hand mixer. Set aside.
Add bananas, eggs, milk, vanilla, and baking soda to a blender jar and blend until smooth.
Pour half the banana mixture into the butter mixture with 1 cup of flour. Mix with hand mixer until just incorporated, then add the remaining banana mixture and flour. Mix until just incorporated. Stir in blueberries. (Make sure that your frozen berries are not overly wet; pat them dry and/or remove any ice crystals or your batter will be too wet.) Pour into prepared pan.
Combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs. The edges will be a dark brown and there will be a nice crack down the center.
Cool completely before removing loaf from pan, but you can cut slices from the pan after it’s cooled for about 15-20 minutes.