Saturday, September 17, 2011

iHeart Strawberries

Strawberries are one of my favorite foods.  I’m always so happy when summer rolls around and they are on sale at the grocery store.  Even better is when you are able to get freshly picked berries out of the garden.  We had a small strawberry patch in our backyard when I was younger.  I have fond memories of running around and playing in the yard, then popping over to the patch to see if any were ripe.  In my opinion, there isn’t much better flavor in the world than a sun ripened strawberry picked right off the plant. 
Up in Boise, a lot of farmer’s stands go up in the summer to sell extra fruit, and we would often get these huge flats of strawberries.  That meant that mom would make strawberry shortcake and jam, and we would have lots of berries to snack on.  Yum.
Besides being pretty fruit (I love love that deep beautiful red), strawberries are very nutritious (which is a good quality in something that I can sit down and eat a whole lot of, am I right?).   They are high in fiber, low in calories, and one cup of strawberries has 136% of your daily vitamin C.  They also contain manganese, which is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent.  Because they are so packed with vitamins, strawberries are not only good for consumption, but for cosmetic purposes as well!  Did you know that placing the leaves of a strawberry on acne will help the swelling and redness go down by reducing the acidity of the affected area?  It’s true!  Strawberries also contain salicylic acid, which helps to slough of dead skin cells and refine pores.  They also contain powerful anti-aging properties and soften skin.  And you can make an all-natural facemask at home!  The two simplest versions are:

Version #1
5 medium strawberries, mashed
3 tablespoons of raw honey

Mix together and spread over face with clean hands.  Leave on for 10-15 minutes, then wipe off with a warm cloth. 

Version #2
5 medium strawberries, mashed
1 teaspoon raw honey
1 tablespoon plain yogurt

Mix together and spread over face with clean hands.  Leave on for 10-15 minutes, then wipe off with a warm cloth. 
(p.s. this is also a fantastic breakfast, if you forgo the mashing and chop the strawberries instead and add a lot more yogurt. Mix the plain yogurt {greek yogurt is my favorite} with a spoonful of honey then mix in the chopped strawberries with a little granola.  Delicious, and so good for you!)

Tadaaa. Easy right?

Ok. Back to strawberries as food.  One of my all-time favorite recipes is for strawberry muffins.  They are just sooooo good!  Andrew requests these all the time; he loves them too J

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
3 tsps sugar (preferably raw sugar)

Preheat oven to 400°

Cut Strawberries into small pieces.

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well.

If you forget to leave out your stick of butter to soften, microwave for about 10 seconds.

Creamed butter and sugar

Nice and smooth once you mix in the egg

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. 

Then, add flour mixture and milk alternately to butter/sugar mixture.  

When finished mixing, the batter should be pretty thick

Add vanilla and gently fold in the strawberries.

Spoon the batter into muffin pan, then sprinkle each muffin with a little raw sugar.

If you don't have one already, go get a large muffin pan!  They're fantastic!

Just a sprinkling of the raw sugar

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Let the muffins cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan, they tend to fall apart if you try to take them out too soon.

Delightful Saturday morning breakfast. Serve with coffee!
*Note: all these pictures were taken with my iPhone

So there you have it! Let me know if you try this recipe... or if you have any favorite recipe that use strawberries!


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