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Posts Tagged ‘strawberry’

Happy summer, everyone!

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Know how I know it’s summer?

It’s not the sweltering humidity that keeps me up at night. It’s not the fact that Boston is blessedly free of a ginormous number of students. And it’s not that the sun is blinding me at 5am because I’m faced with that weird dilemma of keeping the curtains open so I can actually feel the fresh air my fan is blowing in.

Nope. It’s that I’m crazy, insanely, busy! What is it about summer that makes our calendars fill up and has us going non-stop?

Anyway, that would be the reason that I haven’t posted anything in, like, 2 weeks!! And by 2 weeks, I just checked and actually mean 3! Wowza!

What sucks is that I’ve been making some pretty healthy and yummy summer meals that I’ve been wanting to share with you. With that said, you may find this blog relaxing a little more in the coming weeks. In an attempt to get some recipes up and keep on top of things, I may trade the staged, somewhat-edited pictures for cellphone, even-less-edited pictures, making this more of a food journal/blog thing. It’s just a thought. We’ll see where the summer takes us. But if the last few weeks are any indication, it’s going to be taking me to the pool/beach/bars/cookouts/social events and those places aren’t always update-your-blog friendly. So bear with me if things start to become a little more casual around here.

With that said, I did manage to get my crap together for Friday favorites, which ironically, is one of the harder posts to do since I have to pay attention to what I have been enjoying the past week (or three in this case!)

Favorite activity: lounging on the deck with friends and watching the storms come in

porch loungin storm watchin

Favorite beverage: a nice cold beer. My favorite lately has been Shock Tops Raspberry Wheat

shock top

Favorite music (you knew it was coming!): Taking Back Sunday’s new acoustic cd. I know- it’s kind of a cop out since over the years, they’ve released some of these songs live SO many times AND they didn’t put the Ballad of Sal Villanueva. But it’s TBS. I can’t help myself

Favorite read, (definitely wouldn’t qualify as “beach read” I don’t think): Game of Thrones. So…I’m caught up. Watched all the seasons. Ranted to my one friend who watches it. Was left frustrated because seriously, how is one supposed to wait a whole year for new season?! So I picked up the third book, where the series left off, and just started reading the bloody thing! Image and book can be purchased from herestorm of thrones

and last but not least, Favorite summer produce: Fresh strawberries. OMG. SO good. I can’t stop putting them in everything!

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And this is where todays recipe comes in. Strawberry macaroons! It doesn’t have fresh strawberries but it does hit the spot without rotting nearly as quickly as the fresh ones.

Strawberry Macaroons
by Tessa the Domestic Diva

makes between 20-24

Ingredients
  • 2 cups unsweetened grate coconut
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 bag freeze dried strawberries or raspberries (1.2 ounces), (I found mine at Whole Foods. Also available at Trader Joes and online
  • 3-4 tablespoons of maple syrup, honey, or coconut nectar, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, plus an added vanilla bean scraped (optional)
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Process the ingredients for 2-3 minutes until the shredded coconut beings to break down. Depending on how textured you like it, as long as the ingredients are well incorporated, the will hold together well.
  3. Drop the batter, about 2-3 teaspoons worth onto a lined cookie sheet. If you find that the ingredients aren’t sticking together easily (mine didn’t), place them in the fridge to harden a bit. They will be more moldable once chilled a bit
  4. Place in the fridge or freezer to harden for 10-20 minutes.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

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I find that once these have been chilled, you can keep them at room temperature for a bit without them melting all over the place, which is nice. I wouldn’t leave them in the sun or anything though.

These little things are light and not too sweet, two things I love when making dessert for the summer. Plus, they are no bake, which is huge! My house is a sauna as it is. No need to crank the oven to 350 also!

What are some things you’re looking forward to this summer? I have some summer concerts I’m pumped for! Also, lots and lots of relaxation (hopefully!)

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ahh yes. Another week as arrived. I spent the weekend moonlighting as Minnie Mouse at my niece’s Disney Carnival Birthday party (It was a bazillion degrees out!), working, and brunching it up with some friends at Fiori’s bakery (bagel sandwich with tempeh, avocado and spicy veganaise…so good!). I was hoping to catch up on some much needed sleep but that was the one thing I didn’t manage to fit in! There never seems to be enough hours in the day during the summer.

Anyway, due to the fact that it is, as a mentioned, a bazillion degrees out (and usually humid), my oven has officially been retired for the next few months (with the exception of roasted chickpeas…cause I’m obsessed!). I’ve been eating lots of salads, fruits and lighter meals which is why Wicked Vegan has been light on posts lately. Strawberries and blueberries drizzled with agave and shredded coconut (aka, my breakfast last week) is delicious but not super exciting! How many more weeks ’til fall? I miss the cool weather and comfort food!

Until then, here is one of the many salads I’ve been eating with yummy summer veggies.  Perfect for when you buy a crap load of corn on the cobb because they are 50 cents a piece…

Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing
salad was adapted from For The Love of Cooking;
serves 1-2  

  • 1 cooked corn on the cob (can be cooked however you like- grilled, boiled, etc)
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, approximately 6, quartered
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1/8 c chickpeas (preferably roasted with a little salt and pepper)*
  • 5 strawberries, sliced
  • quinao (optional, about 1/2 cup per person)
Cut the cooked corn kernels off the cob. Toss with the tomatoes, avocado, chickpeas and strawberries. Drizzle Honey Lime Dressing (recipe below) over the corn mixture and let it sit for 10-15 minutes so the flavors mingle  and the avocado breaks down a bit (makes the dish creamier. yum!). Eat as is or mix with quinoa for a heartier dish.
*To roast chickpeas for this recipe, toss one 14 oz can with 2 TBSP of olive oil and salt and pepper (to taste). Roast for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. You can also use this cinnamon chickpea recipe with the cinnamon dressing for this salad and it also tastes delicious!

Honey Lime Dressing:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
Add all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

I know this recipe seems to have a lot of ‘approximates’ and vague ingredient amount. It’s because I make it a little different each time. I may have found a really good deal on tomatoes that day but am running short on chickpeas, or I’m having this as a small lunch or I’m throwing quinoa in for dinner. I love it because I almost always have these ingredients in the house during the summer so I can make this  quickly for almost any meal/snack. It’s light for summer, requires minimal stove work (I always make the chickpeas in the evenings when it’s cooler and make one big batch at a time) and it tastes fresh- all the things I require from a summer meal!

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One more day until we get a mid-week day off! I have to say, even though I’d rather be on vacation this week with everyone I know, the lack of traffic in Boston is beautiful! It took me 7 minutes to get to work. 7! It usually take me at least 20. I am way too excited about this.
 
So what are everyones plans for the 4th? I foresee some serious sleeping in and laziness occurring for me. Maybe a mid-day BBQ, definitely a margarita and overall just enjoying the day I have off while secretly praying my 6-930 shift at my retail job is cancelled.
 
One things for sure- I will be concluding my BBQ lunch with these Popsicles, which I am a HUGE fan of. I’ve been craving popsicles like crazy lately but I haven’t been able to find popsicle molds anywhere. Popsicles are like the new cupcake. Come on, stores! Instead, I went the old fashion route- dixie cups, popsicle sticks and a spring form pan to keep the cups from rolling around in my freezer. Success! I imagine a lot more popsicle recipes in the future. Chocolate mint? Strawberry margarita? Cookie dough? oh yeah!
Patriotic Popsicles
from Taste of Home
  • 1 1/4 C sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 3/4 c (14 oz) vanilla yogurt divided (I used Soy  Delicious vanilla coconut-milk yogurt)
  • 1 1/4 c blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 6 popsicle molds or paper cups (app. 3 oz. each)*

Place the fresh strawberries and 2 TBSP yogurt in a blender and process until fully combined. Transfer to bowl and set aside.

In the blender, process the blueberries and 2 TBSP yogurt until full combined. Set aside.

Layer approximately 1 1/2 TBSP of strawberry mixture, 3 TBSP yogurt and 1/2 TBSP blueberry mixture in each mold or cup. Top with holders or cover plastic cups with tinfoil then insert popsicle stick. If you are using plastic cups, place the cups in a deep pan to hold them together in the freezer. I used a round springform plan and it worked perfectly!

*The original recipe said this made 12 popsicles by doing a 1:2:1 ratio of fruit, yogurt, fruit but when I tried doubling it to 2:4:2, I barely got 5. This 1.5:3:1.5 ratio I provided above should comfortably give you 6 popsicles.

 

And know for some great vegan recipes that should please everyone at your BBQ, or at least give you something to munch on!

Recipe Round Up:

appetizers/drink:

Black Bean Salsa

Blueberry Strawberry Salsa– My friend Amelia said this salsa changed her life. She could be exaggerating. Then again, maybe she isn’t…

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Strawberry Avocado Salsa

Strawberry Margarita– Best. Cocktail. EVER

Meals/sides:

Nuts and Oats Burger (make ahead of time and bring to the party that way they are ready to get thrown on the grill when the time comes. Also freezes well)

Peanut Pasta Salad with Fried Tempeh


Strawberry Chickpea Salad with Cinnamon Dijon Dressing- A change from the heavy pasta and potato salad, this dish would work as a side or as a full meal for those not interested in grilled meat.

Desserts:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Cookie Dough Truffles

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes– Though these are chocolate and not white, which would be more ideal for the holiday, they are the perfect not-too-sweet cupcake that has always gotten thumbs up when served. You can go crazy with the frosting and sprinkles to make them more festive!

Fruit and Chocolate Dessert Pizza

Funfetti Cake Balls– these would look adorable with red white and blue sprinkles

Strawberry Margarita Cupcake

Trailmix Seven Layer Bars

Whole wheat Cherry Pecan Cookies– Cookies are great because they go together easily and are great for all ages

This round up has made me realize two things: 1. I have A LOT of dessert recipes and 2. I have A LOT of strawberry recipes. Good things 4th of July cook outs are perfect for both!

Have a safe 4th of July everyone!

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Last week was a really weird food week. I was in a major food funk.  For the first half of the week, I was completely unmotivated to make anything. One night, I walked into the kitchen and just stood in the middle of it. I unenthusiastically opened cabinets and refrigerator doors but just could not figure out what I was in the mood to make and eat.

I settled on a banana dipped in pb. Then I curled up in bed and caught up on Girls. I may have had an additional spoonful (or two) of peanut butter before I was done my tv marathon. Maybe… And that was my dinner.

Another night, I had some leftover blueberry salsa lying around so I baked a tortilla shell (one of the huge ones) and just ate that and the salsa. Except, there was maybe ¼ cup of salsa left and it was gone before I was even half way through my tortilla. So I just ate a plain, baked tortilla. And that was my dinner for that night.

Nothing says a well rounded meal like a plain, baked tortilla covered in sea salt! oh yeah!

Truthfully, I think my weird food phrase may have had to do with the weather. I had planned out a menu of grilled items and light salads but then it got cold and rainy. Suddenly, curling up in my pjs, eating a banana and pb for dinner and watching hours of Girls seemed way more fun then trying to get my grill lit for a measly veggy burger..when it’s cold…and rainy.  Yuck!

Thankfully, the blogs I follow posted some amazing looking food last week and by the time Saturday rolled around, I was ready to cook again!

The first thing I had to make was Strawberry Lime Granita that Angela posted over at Ohsheglows.com. We all know that I’m obsessed with lime recently (especially when mixed with strawberry) courtesy of my Strawberry Margarita addiction. For breakfast one morning last week I had hot water with lime because it was 10 degrees in my office, I had no tea and because, well, I’m addicted to limes. I’m hoping this dessert will feed my Strawberry Margarita addiction without me having to reach for the booze. That handle of tequila is disappearing a bit faster than I would like!

Strawberry Lime Granita
from Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 5-6 tbsp fresh lime juice, to taste*
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup water

1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients and process until smooth. Adjust agave or lime juice to taste.

2. Pour mixture into a 9-inch square pan (or equivalent non-stick pan) and place into freezer for a couple hours, uncovered is fine. After a couple hours, scrape the mixture with a spoon or fork to break it up a little. You can repeat this process in another hour. It should be ready after 4-5 hours of freezing, but this may vary based on your freezer.

3. When it’s firm enough, scrape/shave it with a fork or spoon and serve. Cover and freeze leftovers in the freezer until ready to enjoy.

*As I may have mentioned, oh…8 times?…I’m really into lime so I added the full 6 TBSPs of lime juice. It turned out very sour and almost overpowers the strawberry. I’m clearly ok with that as I’ve been practically squirting lime juice directly into my mouth but you may want to start with 3 or 4 TBSPs and work up. Just a little warning

This dessert is perfect for the summer! It’s cold and refreshing but doesn’t have the heaviness of ice cream. Plus, won’t ruin any diets your on. Win all around!

Now can someone please tell me what I’m supposed to think of Adam and Hanna on Girls? I can’t decide how I feel about their relationship.

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This has definitely been a week of celebrating! The most fun was celebrating my friend, Melinda’s, birthday.

If you read this blog often enough, you know Melinda is my fellow foodie friend. As such, I feel like I should give a little shout out to her:

Melinda and I have known each other since we were youngin’s in college. We met at a find-a-roommate night: I needed a roommate because my freshman one ended up not working out and Melinda needed one cause she had just transferred. We bonded over her purple vans and ended up rooming together off and on through college and after we graduated.

What can I say, a good pair of shoes can change your life.

We’ve come a long way since we rocked the vans and ate ramen noodles in our dorm room. I think one of the reasons we’re still hanging out (besides the fact that we’re both awesome!) is that our interest in food has weirdly enough followed a similar path. Granted, Melinda is always a step or so ahead of me buuut…she’s a year older then me. So, you know, with age comes wisdom? Or something like that…

Anyway, so it goes without saying that to celebrate Melinda’s birthday, we cooked. Obviously!

Homemade veggy burgers, grilled veggies and potatoes and almond joy cake truffles. Yes, please! Oh yes, there was also dancing in the rain, some speeches, drinking and Melinda as grill master. All good things!

Of course, I’ve already made and posted most of what we ate which meant I need to incorporate a recipe that I hadn’t shared with you.

Introducing Blueberry salsa aka, our appetizer:

Blueberry Lime Salsa
 from How Sweet Eats (aka, the queen of fruit salsas)

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 5 medium strawberries
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • juice of two limes
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

put blueberries, strawberries, onion, lime zest, lime juice and cilantro in a food processor. Pulse 5-6 times for a chunky salsa or longer if you want it smoother. Pour into a bowl and fold in the chopped avocado. Season with salt and pepper.

Basically, this was just an excuse to feed my new lime addiction. It’s weird because I loath lemons and anything with lemon in it. But limes? Limes I can’t get enough of! I had a ton lying around because I’ve been drinking lime water like its going out of style (and possibly margaritas…)so obviously, blueberry lime salsa was just begging to be made.

Anyway, you will notice there aren’t any action shots with this salsa. It’s because someone who was in charge of the chips *cough Amelia cough* took their sweet time arriving. By the time the chips did arrive, we were so famished and weak from hunger that we bypassed the photo sesh and just dug right in.

And it was delicious! Totally worth the excruciatingly long wait for chips and it was the perfect light, summery appetizer!

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These are the cupcakes, everyone. THE cupcakes I dreamed about making for Cinco de Mayo and couldn’t because I was sick. But I was not going to let a little bug prevent me from making them.

And they turned out delicious!

They earned me a hug from my roommate’s vegan friend, who seriously has the worst vegan diet I’ve ever heard of. He practically lives off power bars. So clearly, he enjoyed them!

They also earned me glowing reviews from my other roommate’s special guy friend. This is high praise because he is a hardcore meat eater. He even hosts a ginormous bacon festival every year. Anyway, he really liked them, too!

So, clearly, they get the non-vegan and vegan seal of approval, which basically means they’re awesome.

But, I need to give some high praises to How Sweet Eats, because I got the idea from her in two ways: 1. I’m SO addicted to her Strawberry margaritas- the traditional strawberry marg and the coconut strawberry marg. She’s turning me into a lush! and 2. She made a gin and tonic cake, which inspired me to turn it into margarita cupcakes. I salute her!

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes

Cakes
adapted by How Sweet Eats 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4  Ener-G “egges”
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly zested lime rind
  • 1/4 cup tequila, plus more for brushing the cakes
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • juice of 1 lime
Frosting
from All Recipes
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup vegan Earth Balance butter
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted (I left this out and just used the 2 1/2 cups below. I don’t love super sweet frosting.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add in sugar and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in each “egg” one at a time, beating until fully incorporated before adding the next. Add in vanilla and lime zest and mix.

With the mixer on low speed, add in half of the dry ingredients. Add in tequila, non-dairy milk and lime juice, mixing until combined. Add remaining flour and beat until just combined.

Line cupcake pan with liners and fill cupcakes 2/3 full. My cupcakes didn’t rise too much. Bake cupcakes for 25-30 minutes. When  you remove them from the oven, poke holes in the cupcake with a fork or knife. Brush tequila on the cupcakes.

While the cupcakes are cooking, you can start on the frosting. Place strawberries in a blender; puree until smooth. Transfer strawberry puree to a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring often, until puree is reduced by at least half, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
If you want your strawberry mixture super smooth, at this point you can strain it through a fine mesh strainer to remove all the seeds and any lumps that my have remained. I did this and loved not having the seeds in the frosting but it also makes a huge mess so you can easily leave this step out.
Beat butter with an electric mixer in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat 1 cup confectioners’ sugar into butter until just blended. Beat 2 tablespoons strawberry puree and vanilla extract into butter mixture until just blended. Repeat with 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, followed by 2 tablespoons strawberry puree. (repeat the sugar, strawberry puree cycle one more time if you are using the full 3 1/2 c. of confectioner sugar) Beat last 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar into mixture until just blended.
The tequila in the cupcakes is super subtle. It’s the lime and the strawberry that make the  most impression and they are delicious together! I’m especially a huge fan of the lime cake. It’s super light and summery. I will definitely be bringing this to a future BBQ or summer dinner.
Cupcakes on Weds? I thought it would help get you through the week!

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(Before I begin, please know that 1. my photo editor, which is free and does minimal things anyway, is not working and 2. the light in my kitchen is out so I’ve been using this tiny stand lamp to light the entire kitchen and my photos. So, we’re kind of lucky we have any photos at all but I’m sorry they are sort of flat)

Anyway, When I planned my menu for this week, I was soaking up the sun in 75 degree weather. I was wearing sunglasses. I was sipping strawberry frickin’ margaritas on my porch!

Currently, I am in two layers of clothes,under two layers of thick blankets…sipping strawberry margaritas…but it’s way colder!

they get all golden and delicious. yum!

So keep in mind that even though this is quite possibly my favorite dinner, when I planned on making it and sharing it with you, I imagined it going well with my cold margaritas and sunshine…and without the layers of blankets.

Crispy Tofu Margarita Wraps with Strawberry Avocado Salsa
 
adapted from How Sweet Eats

4 lb of tofu, pressed*

8 4-inch tortillas (corn, whole wheat, flour)

1 cups panko bread crumbs

1 1/2 TBSP whole wheat flour

zest of 3 limes

1 teaspoon ground coriander

for marinade:

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup tequila

1/4 cup lime juice

zest of 2 limes

1 teaspoon ground coriander

for salsa:

1 avocado, chopped

1 medium tomato, chopped

1/4 red onion, chopped

4 large strawberries, chopped

juice of half a lime

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

toppings: shredded lettuce, vegan cheese, cilantro, lime wedges

12-48 hours before making the tacos, combine the marinade ingredients in a baking dish. Slice the tofu into strips and season with salt and peper. Add the tofu to the marinade and let sit in the fridge until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine panko, flour, lime zest and coriander in a bowl. Lay a wire rack on a baking sheet and spray with non-stick spray. Remove tofu from marinade and coat strips in panko mixture, pressing so crumbs adhere. then place on wire rack. Bake for 30 minutes.

While tofu is cooking, combine avocado, tomato, strawberries and onion. Mix with salt, pepper and lime juice.

Heat tortillas if desired, then serve with crisp tofu, salsa, and toppings. Spritz with lime wedges.

*You can also use some sort of meat substitute like Morningstar Farm or Quorn chicken patties. They absorb the marinade quicker than the tofu but many of them aren’t vegan. Make sure you check the package first. Also, I pressed my tofu too long so it didn’t absorb the marinade in the time I gave it (12 hours). I would recommend using the paper towel/plate method or pressing it in a tofu press just over night. I forgot mine and left it in the fridge for two days. Whoops!

Seriously, this salsa recipe is easily in my top 10 favorite foods. Anything you pair it with will pretty much taste amazing. You can serve it with tortilla chips if you don’t want to make the wraps and it will still be delicious. My wraps usually end up being 1 or 2 strips of tofu and then half the serving of salsa, or something like that. I should really have called this recipe a strawberry avocado salsa wrap…with some crunch tofu thrown in.

Best. Dinner. Ever

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find my gloves. I’m going to need them to finish off this ice cold margarita in my heatless apartment. Clearly, I have my priorities straight.

PS. How sticking cute is this little purple bowl I bought on vacation?? I wanted to buy them all but wasn't even sure I could justify purchasing one.

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