Strawberries make us happy!

One day my daughter went next door to play with the neighbors after school. My neighbor called me up and said, “I wanted to make her a strawberry smoothie, but she couldn’t have the soymilk, she couldn’t have the protein powder because it had soy in it too.” So of course, this usually starts a snow ball rolling in my kitchen, because now I have to come up with a recipe that fits our allergy requirements. Well, this was a pretty easy one, but it made me think about the beautiful little red fruit that really only have a short peak season, from late May to late June….strawberries! We love strawberries! Strawberries make us happy. We eat them all summer, even after the season is gone, we will buy them frozen and wait patiently until next summer. The only person I know who does not like strawberries is my husband. BUT he LOVES strawberry smoothies, so go figure! Strawberries are an easy way to get kids to eat their daily 5 of fruit and vegetables.
Both spinach and strawberries are nutrient-dense foods so it makes sense that they would top the list of fruits and vegetables containing antioxidants according to Felicia Busch a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association in Chicago. Strawberries are very high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and folic acid. They are a good source of dietary fiber. And they are a good source of other minerals, such as magnesium and potassium.
There are many ways to incorporate strawberries into your family’s meals. For breakfast, throw 4 large frozen or fresh strawberries into a smoothie, with bananas, other berries or by following the recipe below. Serve strawberries on top of cereal and milk or yogurt and granola. Serve strawberries on top of pancakes, waffles or crepes. Or simply serve some cut up strawberries topped with a little whipped cream or powdered sugar. At lunch, slice up some strawberries in your salad to give it a beautiful color with the lettuce, carrots, seeds and peppers. As a snack place some sliced strawberries on top of rice cakes spread with peanut butter or sunflower butter for a low calorie ‘peanut butter and jelly’ treat. Strawberries make a great dessert by itself or as a decoration on your favorite cheesecake, angel food cake, ice cream sundaes or use them to make a gluten free strawberry pie! And strawberries are low in calories: one cup of unsweetened strawberries has only 55 calories. During their peak season, 1 pint of strawberries is around $2.50. You can also buy them in bulk at larger warehouse stores. In fact from June through September there is a farm in Brighton, Colorado called Berry Patch Farms that has Strawberry picking. See their website at http://www.berrypatchfarms.com/ for more details.
Here is an easy smoothie recipe. Great to start your morning or as an after school snack on a warm day.
Strawberry smoothie

Ingredients:
8 whole frozen strawberries
2 T sweetened condensed milk
¾ cup vanilla rice milk
½ cup ff Mountain High vanilla yogurt
Blend. Makes 1 serving.

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