Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie

Sweet, tart, tangy, creamy, and refreshing in every sip!

Last year, I wanted to create a strawberry lemonade after posting my spiced lemonade (found here: https://anticipatingadventure.com/2021/05/16/spiced-lemonade/) and frozen watermelon lemonade recipe (found here: https://anticipatingadventure.com/2021/07/12/frozen-watermelon-lemonade/). Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to it, but I have had it on my mind ever since, so I was determined to create a strawberry lemonade recipe before this summer slipped by.

I’ve known for a while that I wanted to use freeze-dried strawberries in my recipe to really draw out the sweet, strawberry flavor, but this summer I also opted to try my hand at a creamier version of strawberry lemonade. I knew that a creamier drink would help to balance out the acidity of the lemons as well as the tangy and tart flavors of the strawberries and lemon juice, which sounded like the best option.

After several attempts, I’m very pleased with the final outcome. This smoothie is tangy, tart, sweet, creamy, and utterly refreshing all at once. Packed with vitamin C and a healthy dose of protein, this lemonade would make for a great breakfast on the go or an afternoon snack. Or, enjoy it as a post-dinner dessert with friends and without the guilt! This smoothie tastes so decadent that no one would ever guess how nutritious it is!

 Although the summer is quickly racing by (can you believe it is August already?!), there is still ample opportunity to enjoy this easy, healthy, and delicious smoothie, so make yourself one today and see just how good and refreshing it is! You won’t regret it!

STRAWBERRY LEMONADE SMOOTHIE

Ingredients

  • 2 c frozen sliced strawberries
  • 1 c strawberry yogurt
  • 1 c milk of choice
  • 1/3 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 T honey or more, to taste
  • 1 package (0.6 oz bag) sweetened freeze-dried strawberries

Instructions

Add the strawberries, yogurt, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and honey to a blender and blend thoroughly, then add the freeze-dried strawberries and blend again for a few seconds. Pour into glasses and enjoy! Serves 2-4 cups.

TIP: Freeze any leftovers into popsicles for a tasty, frozen treat! My 4-year-old wholeheartedly approves of this method!

Three Ingredient Marshmallow Bar

My family and I finally got a chance to try out a bakery that JJ and I had been eyeing for quite some time. It’s a quaint, German-looking pastry shop located in a charming, German-looking town a half hour outside of San Antonio.

JJ and I had been wanting to check it out for quite a while, ever since our first trip to San Antonio after our move to Uvalde in March. Unfortunately, it was always closed by the time we passed by it on our way home. Last week was the exception, however, and we didn’t hesitate to go!

Somehow, my family and I managed to show some self-restraint in this impressively large pastry shop and only bought a handful of baked goods while there (the fact that the bakery was closing in ten minutes probably helped us in that respect). The ones we purchased did not disappoint, however, and I am already looking forward to the next time we can go back and try some more!

One of the treats that we enjoyed from the bakery was a simple bar consisting of melted chocolate, marshmallows, and sunflower seeds. Something that caught my attention about this dessert was the fact that the marshmallows were not melted like most desserts with marshmallows are. Rather, they were added to melted chocolate and mixed together with the sunflowers seeds, making for a very simple yet delicious dessert!

Since I could see how easy this bar must be to make, I decided to give it a try several days later, and JJ and I have been enjoying this marshmallow bar just as much as the one that we bought at the bakery. Liam seems to like it too, although he did complain about the sunflower seeds after entirely eating his own bar. He also suggested he should eat another dessert after finishing it since he hadn’t enjoyed the sunflower seeds. Nice try, kid! Perhaps I could have believed him more had his face not been covered in chocolate! That said, it may not be a favorite for children, but I’ll leave that up to you and your kiddos to decide! Worst case scenario, you’ll have a lot more for yourself to enjoy, and once you take a bite of these, you’ll be so glad if that’s the case! 😉

THREE INGREDIENT MARSHMALLOW BAR

ingredients

  • 1-10 oz. package dark chocolate chips
  • 1-7 oz. package roasted sunflower seeds*
  • 1-16 oz. package miniature marshmallows

Instructions

Heat the chocolate chips in a large pot over medium low heat, stirring constantly. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the sunflower seeds, then add the marshmallows and stir again until the marshmallows are mixed in with the sunflower seeds and thoroughly coated by the chocolate. Spread the marshmallow mixture into a 9 by 13 baking dish lined by parchment paper or aluminum foil, then place in the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to harden (roughly two hours or less). Makes 12 large bars. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or at room temperature in an airtight container.

NOTES

*I used salted sunflower seeds for my marshmallow bar, and it gave the bars a nice sweet and salty flavor. You can use unsalted sunflower seeds for this recipe as well, however. I believe that the sunflower seeds at the bakery were unsalted, and their bar was equally as good.

Easy Independence Day Dessert

When I was young, my mom used to make a dessert every Fourth of July. Or better put, she bought the ingredients and let us make our own according to our liking. It was a very simple but delicious treat consisting of a few scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with blueberry and cherry pie filling, which we then topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

As big ice cream fans on a hot, summer day, we really enjoyed this cold treat each year. It became one of our beloved traditions.

Several years ago, I decided to introduce this dessert to JJ one Fourth of July. He also likes ice cream, and summers here are hotter than anything either of us experienced growing up, so I was pretty sure he would enjoy it as much as I do. Since then, we have made it a regular part of our own Independence Day celebration, and our son loves it as much as we do.

This year, I decided I wanted to make a spin-off of this dessert—something a little more elegant with more measurable portions, so I present to you these fruit-flavored ice cream pie bites. This dessert combines a buttery, crisp graham cracker crust with all the flavors reminiscent of my childhood—creamy ice cream; sweet, slightly tart fruit topping; and a frothy dollop of whipped cream.

My husband and I are not big fans of cherry filling, so we almost always opt to use strawberry fruit filling instead, but cherry or raspberry filling work just as well. Alternatively, if you are not concerned about using traditional colors for this dessert, you could use apple, peach, or any other fruit filling you desire.

Although this dessert is easy to make, it does require some time, so feel free to skip the graham cracker crust and make it the way my mother did if you would rather enjoy a dessert without any time restraints. Your guests will love it just as much! Otherwise, pull out your apron and let’s get to making this delicious, elegant ice cream dessert! And to my American friends, Happy 4th of July in advance!

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

John 8:36 ESV

EASY INDEPENDENCE DAY DESSERT (FRUIT FLAVORED ICE CREAM PIE BITES)

Ingredients:

  • Parchment paper or sturdy muffin liners (I used aluminum liners)
  • 3 c vanilla ice cream, divided
  • 1 sleeve graham crackers
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • ¼ c granulated sugar
  • ½ c salted butter, melted
  • 21 oz can blueberry pie filling or topping, divided
  • 21 oz can strawberry pie filling or topping OR other red fruit filling of choice (I used strawberry rhubarb filling)
  • Whipped cream of choice (I used Reddi Whip)

Instructions:

Line a muffin tin with 12 sturdy muffin liners or parchment paper, then scoop ¼ c of vanilla ice cream into each muffin cup, using a spoon to smooth the ice cream into each cup. Set in the freezer to chill for two hours.

Meanwhile, make the graham cracker crust. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor or by hand until finely ground. Mix the crumbs in a bowl with the cinnamon and salt, then pour the butter of the mixture and mix well.

After the ice cream has chilled, take out of the freezer and put 2 tablespoons of the graham cracker mixture over each ice cream cup, making sure to firmly pack the graham cracker mixture over the ice cream so that the surface is covered. Place back into the freezer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

Before taking the ice cream cups out of the freezer, open the cans of fruit filling and remove the top to the whipped topping, then remove the muffin tin from the freezer, gently extracting each ice cream cup from the tin (if needed, wedge a butter knife on the side of the muffin tin to help remove each ice cream cup).

Invert each cup onto individual serving plates or bowls so that the graham cracker crust is on the bottom, then add one to two tablespoons of each fruit filling on top of the ice cream, or according to preference. Top off with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy! Makes 12 individual ice cream cups.

Zesty Italian Potato Salad

My mom flew into town during the Fourth of July weekend, so my younger sister texted me (instead of her) for her potato salad recipe—the one we enjoyed so much growing up. I found it, snapped a picture, and sent it to her by text. The incident made me remember my own version of potato salad, however—one that I had made for JJ and me a number of times when we were first married.

 I hadn’t made it for a couple of years, but I had potatoes and some other ingredients on hand, so I bought the few remaining ingredients needed and went about making this delightful, tangy dish.

This potato salad is different than others in that it doesn’t use mayonnaise as its base. It uses zesty Italian dressing instead, which is why I gave it its name. That’s not the only ingredient that makes it different, however. This mouth-watering summer side dish is a delightful combination of soft potatoes and carrots with chewy hard-boiled egg, crunchy celery bits, tangy banana peppers, and salty green olives (or black olives, if preferred). Add a hint of spice with jalapeño peppers, if desired, and some sunflowers seeds for an extra bit of crunch. It’s a dish that is bursting with flavor in every bite and sure to impress a crowd. Want to take things up a notch? Turn this side into a potato salad bar, leaving the zesty Italian-seasoned potatoes and carrots in a large serving bowl with all the other ingredients in smaller serving bowls so that each individual can personalize his or her serving. It will be a sure crowd-pleaser at the next summer party for all ages to enjoy.

So, without further ado, here’s the recipe for this festive potato salad. And as always, let me know if you make this dish and what you think!

ZESTY ITALIAN POTATO SALAD

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs potatoes (about 6 potatoes)
  • 5 medium carrots (about 1 ½ c)
  • 1 ½ c zesty Italian dressing
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped (about ½ c)
  • ½ c green olives, cut in half
  • ½ c banana peppers
  • ¼ c to ½ c pickled jalapeños (optional)
  • Sunflower seeds (optional)

Instructions:

Peel the potatoes and carrots and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place in a pot of lightly salted water and boil for 25-30 minutes, or until tender. Strain the carrots and potatoes and set aside for 10-15 minutes to cool slightly. Once cooled, pour the dressing over the potatoes and carrots and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, then add the eggs, celery, olives, banana peppers, and jalapeños (if using). Sprinkle a teaspoon of sunflower seeds over each individual serving, if desired, and enjoy! Makes 6 servings.

Cinnamon Strawberry Compote

Tangy and sweet with a hint of spicy warmth, this strawberry sauce makes for a special, winter treat.

In need of a special, last-minute Valentine’s Day dessert? This cinnamon strawberry compote would make an elegant addition to any store-bought cheesecake, ice cream, or angel food cake. Or make an extra special breakfast that day by topping waffles, pancakes, or toast with this rich, red sauce.

This compote combines the fresh and tangy taste of strawberries and freshly squeezed lemon juice with the sweetness of sugar and a hint of spice and warmth from cinnamon and cloves, making this sauce a special winter treat. The ingredients blend beautifully over the stove in a matter of minutes and can be served hot, or can be placed in the fridge for a few hours to be served chilled. It’s entirely up to you. Either way, this compote is good, and you’ll find yourself wanting to make it over and over again!

So, if you need a quick recipe, here you go! And as Valentine’s Day approaches, let us remember to love well and to love deeply, just as God loves us.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

CINNAMON STRAWBERRY COMPOTE

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz strawberries, diced
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice of (divided)
  • 1 ½ t cinnamon
  • ¼ t cloves (scant teaspoon)
  • 2 T cornstarch

Directions:

Mix the diced strawberries, sugar, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice together and simmer over medium heat for five to seven minutes, stirring often. Stir in the cinnamon and cloves and place on low heat for one more minute. Meanwhile, stir the cornstarch into the remaining lemon juice, one tablespoon at a time, until combined. Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the strawberry sauce while stirring constantly. Once combined, remove from heat and serve or let chill. Enjoy!