Deliciously Different Fresh Strawberry, Lime and Basil Popsicles

Zen and Genki:

Summer’s a real opportunity to get your your taste buds poppin’ with new, refreshing and unique flavours. Since I’m all about enjoying the heat, sunshine and fresh produce that abound during the season, I try not to let my culinary pursuits get too complicated or time consuming. “Simple and delicious” is my motto for summertime food prep, and this beautifully straightforward recipe by Anne Sture Tucker is just that. Four ingredients. Fresh, tangy, sweet and frozen. A classic with a modern twist. Easy to make and easy to enjoy. Perfect, perfect, perfect.
Anne’s blog is a treasure trove of great, green goodies, gorgeous food photography and a wholesome, healthy approach. If you haven’t already, check it out – you’ll come away just as I always do: inspired and salivating.
Bon appetit!

 

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Originally posted on Anne Sture Tucker:

Summer has come – with a vengeance – to the West Coast of Canada – 30C in the shade, gorgeous summer! Being used to the rain and the clouds this year, I am loving it, soaking it in!

I found some amazing, locally grown strawberries , deep red, sweet, and delicious. As sweet and tasty as I remember them from my childhood! I bought 2 trays and hurried home to make some refreshing, delicious – and healthy Popsicles. Pure, refreshing and delicious. on a hot summers day.

 

These are so easy to make and they are so tasty!!  It took me 5 min to blend them together and pop them in the freezer!

Strawberry, basil and lime popsicle

800 g of strawberries

6-8 dates

small bunch of fresh basil

freshly squeezed lime juice from 2 limes

Wash the strawberries and remove the green top, put them in the blender…

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The Sweetest Day: Maple Sugar Bush Hike at The Jack Smythe Field Centre (with photo album)

March Break has long come and gone, and now that we’ve had a while to get back into our groove and sift through the photos of the kids’ annual Spring reprieve, it’s official: The sweetest day was our Maple Sugar Bush Hike at the Jack Smythe Field Centre. Yep, we hit up the tried and true traditional, Canadian sugar shack and it was grand!

Français : « Une érablière » par Allan Edson, ...

"Sugar Shack" by Allan Edson (1872)

“Sugar shacking” is a well worn Canadian tradition, but I’ve only ever been during the winter months. I wasn’t sure what to expect as we drove up and down the huge hills to get there. The weather had been wonky for a few weeks (huge ups and downs in temperature) which left all of Spring’s new greenery and flowers in my area frostbitten, dead, half bloomed, or just plain pathetic looking (some of you may recall my Magnolia lament ;)).  I worried that the maple bush would be brown and withered, that the promised “friendly chickadees” would be holed up in their nests, and the kids woefully disappointed with the whole thing. I didn’t want their first maple sugar bush experience to stink – they’re half Canadian for goodness sake!

As you’ll see, however, Mother Nature pulled out all the stops and gave us a truly splendid day. I put up a teaser a while back promising this post would include “a sugar shack, mammoth teepee and some funkaliciously weird mossy rocks”.  Well, read on! Funkalicious – and delicious! – are right around the corner…

(Just a few of my favourite shots below, followed by the full slideshow/thumbnails with lots of additional pics!  Captions on my photos should tell the story :))

Arriving!

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No idea what kind of trees these are but the buds were remarkable

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Bud on tree

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Ava, Ben and Daddy entering the trail

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Spring was beginning to paint the place with some new life and colour...trees were beginning to green-up again

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Looking into the wood

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Tree that had recently been felled

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Mock up "person" with two cans for hands. The cans held bird seed that the kids could put in their hands and raise up in hopes of a chickadee landing, in palm, to eat. (I thought the scarf was a nice touch) We saw many chickadees, but none seemed hungry.

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Our first encounter with trees that had been tapped and were set up with buckets to catch the sap. It takes 40(!) of these buckets full of sap to make 1 small, glass bottle of maple syrup!

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Clear drop of sap about to fall into the collection bucket

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Finally, we made it to the back of the Sugar Shack! (Yes, that really is moss on the roof)

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Syrup is released through the tap and into a cheesecloth-type bag lined bucket. The cheesecloth removed any leftover impurities (or tree "stuff") from the syrup.

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After the presentation on how maple syrup is made, we were given popsicle sticks to dip into the fresh maple syrup....DELICIOUS! (Unfortunately, we were all too busy tasting to get a good shot of our "oh yummy!" expressions. With the exception of some syrup in the hair, all parties were impressed with the flavour :)

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The most funky moss rock we saw. At least 3 different kids of moss (completely different texture and shape!) all growing in different directions on the same rock. Each one of them even felt unique!

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The teepee is actually much larger than it would have been when the Aboriginal people lived in them (my husband, pictured, is just over 6"2 to give you an idea of it's size). It's been made this big so that visitors to Jack Smythe can enter and see a demonstration inside

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Looking down: More moss, foliage and leaves...at my feet.

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Looking up...trees and light

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Moss growing up tree trunk

The full slideshow is here:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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To enlarge any thumbnail, click on image

All that sweet, mapley goodness got us in the mood for waffles and pancakes! Fortunately, I was able to find an absolutely wonderful recipe for egg free pancakes that my kids could eat (See my Eggless, Vegan Pancakes post).  As you can imagine, we all ate, breathed and oozed maple for many days after!

Coming home from Jack Smythe, we stopped into Montana’s Cookhouse for my favourite veggie burger…but that’s a story to be saved for another day :)

In the meantime, if you ever have the opportunity to visit the Jack Smythe Field Centre, I’d highly recommend it! It’s located at 14592 Winston Churchill Blvd., Terra Cotta, Ontario  N0B 1H0. Telephone number (905) 877-7771. Rates were $5 per adult and $4 per child 12 years and under.

Which of the pictures did you enjoy best? What did you do on your March/Spring Break? And (most importantly) does anyone know what the heck kind of tree that was with those huge, gorgeous, red buds??

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OR

Things That Make Me Zen and Genki

Wanted to share this precious post :)

Zen and Genki:

Absolutely lovely set of photos and words that were so beautiful, I just had to share with precious you! They are from Sarah’s blog, incitophotography, which never fails to inspire me with stunning images and sentiments.  Each and every shot in this gallery is really special (The dresses! The cutie pie girls! The pup!! Heart melting!…oh wait, that’s me not the post ;))

Click on any of the pics to get Sarah’s full post (and a closer look at these awesome photos:)), then tell me what you think!

The next installment of my Pics of the Week series returns tomorrow.  What do you all think of the For The Art of Play post? Any fav shots? (I’m partial to the ones of the girls with the pooch :))

Originally posted on :

When I first moved to Los Angeles it struck me, what people considered, “beautiful”.   Everyone wanting to take away their own uniqueness, to become some universal sense of “beauty”. Always younger, bigger lips, bigger eyes, bigger breasts, smaller nose, straighter hair, thinner build, but these attributes that didn’t necessarily fit their own body;  like playing Mr. Potato Head for adults.  How odd it seemed, that in a town of dreams (that you’d be the one to stand out in millions of dreamers) you’d want to strip yourself of your unique look, gift, perspective and become someone else, conformed, to fit into a category. What is this really all about? Beauty to me lies in how pure your spirit is, how much you own your journey, who you are, all of it. We judge and fix with age, when we should embrace and become the best version of the potential of…

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Fresh Strawberry Face & Body Exfoliate (Recipe)

Why spend a fortune at the beauty counter for tubs of chemical laden exfoliates? With just a few, easy to find ingredients, you can make your own inexpensive, all natural bowl of fragrant scrub to get your body’s glow on! Containing loads of antioxidants, rich in folic acid and Vitamins A, B, K and C, strawberries are not only nutritious, but esthetically useful too.  I whipped this recipe up last year and have used it many times since.  Time to share!  It’s a quick, easy number that can be used head to toe, and smells…well, downright delicious.


You will need:

10-12 fresh strawberries

2.5 tablespoons of extra light olive oil

1.5 tablespoons of sea salt (coarse salt can be substituted)

Large pestle and mortar OR strong tined fork/small holed potato masher and medium sized bowl.

Small container to hold your exfoliate.

Method:

  1. Wash the strawberries thoroughly and pat dry. If you’d prefer an “all red” exfoliate, remove the leaves and stems from the berries. Leaving the leaves on is another option to add color and textural variation.
  2. Place the strawberries into the mortar and use the pestle to mash/pound them into pulp. Though this is the best (and easiest!) way to get the perfect texture, a fork or small holed potato masher and a bowl can be used as well. Aim to mash the larger, fibrous pieces apart, into a sort of free flowing “gel”.  Do not try to pound/mash out all of the strawberry seeds, as their intact outer “husks” will add a, softer-grit exfoliant to your scrub.
  3. Stir/pound in the olive oil until the mixture is uniform.
  4. Add the sea salts (or coarse salt) and gently mix together, evenly.
  5. Spoon mixture into a container, and voila!  It is ready to be used, immediately.

If the scrub is to be used later, cover tightly and refrigerate. It should keep for approximately 1 week. Remember to gently stir before using to ensure equal distribution of the exfoliants in the mixture.

This homemade, eco-friendly scrub can be used on the entire body: hands, feet, face, elbows…anywhere that needs some refreshing and exfoliation.

Some Tips and Tricks to Use With This Recipe

  • Use within a couple of days, preferably right away for full benefits.  Refrigerate between uses.
  • There are a huge variety of sea salts available in many grocery and specialty stores. Experiment with different aromas and grains to further personalize your scrub.
  • A leaf or two of mint pounded or finely chopped into the mixture will add a pleasant “tingle” to the scrub.

*if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to acidic fruit or strawberries in particular, do a skin test on a small area before using the exfoliate on your body or face.