Respect Your ElderBerries

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Retirement? What’s that? I have never been so busy in my life. On any given day I am cooking/baking up a storm, baby-sitting my grand-daughter, tending the garden and traveling here or there. I am not complaining, but here is the thing. While my mind still thinks I am 30, the body knows I am double that number. I get a bit tired a bit quicker, but that is not going to stop me. While I always taught my children to respect their elders I just can’t believe I am that person now. I will do whatever it takes to stay healthy, vibrant and energetic because I have a sweet grand-daughter who is no longer walking, but running. “Wait for Kiki Annabelle”!

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Enter elderberries. Recently, I was gifted some elderberry products from Ann & Rodger Lenhardt of Norm’s Farms. The information on the web site is fascinating. I didn’t know much about elderberries, but in my research learned that Hippocrates (ancient Greek father of medicine) referred to “elders” as his “medicine chest”. High in vitamin C, iron, antioxidants and potassium elderberries outshine all those other “super fruits” that seem to have gotten lots of press lately. Not only are the berries nutritious, but they are delicious and come in a variety of supplements, syrups and jams to boost your immune system and good health.

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I very much enjoyed developing a few recipes with Norm’s Farms products. First up is a very simple appetizer (great for those outdoor deck parties y’all are throwing right now) using the most sweet and savory Elderberry Ginger Pecan Jam. I love the crunch contrast of the pecans mixed in with the fruit. Next Thanksgiving skip the cranberry sauce and serve this jam with your roast turkey. You heard it here first.

Crispy Melted Cheese Cups with Elderberry Ginger Pecan Jam

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1-package (15 count) mini fillo shells

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Norm’s Farms Elderberry Ginger Pecan Jam

Heat oven 350F. Mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese and pepper until well blended. Remove shells from all packaging. Fill shells with cheese mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes. Remove tray from oven and top each with a small spoonful of jam. Return to oven and bake 1 to 2 more minutes or until heated through. Makes 15 small bites.

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The next recipe uses Norm’s Farms Blueberry Elderberry Preserves. While developing a dessert recipe would have been the obvious choice I decided on another savory one. Plus this vinaigrette does double duty as a salad dressing and marinade taking full advantage of all the greens in my garden and the grill. After all, the weather is so fine right now I’m betting you’d rather be outside enjoying yourself rather than stuck in the kitchen.

Blueberry Elderberry Vinaigrette & Marinade

¼ cup Norm’s Farms Blueberry Elderberry Preserves

¼ cup canola oil

¼ cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce (regular or low-sodium)

2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Whisk all ingredients until well blended. Drizzle over your favorite salad as a vinaigrette or use as a marinade on fresh chicken and/or pork. I like to marinade meat overnight and grill the next day.

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Norm’s Farms products are sold in many stores across the USA and can also be ordered directly from their web site. Click on the link, Norm’s Farms for more great recipes, too. Enjoy.

Why-Elderberry

elderberries from Norm’s Farm

Warm & Wild Blueberry Smoothie Latte

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

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Baby it’s cold outside! Get out the warm wool sweaters, favorite fleece lined boots and the blender. Blender? Yes, I said blender because we are making smoothies. Believe it or not winter is one of the most popular times of the year for smoothie making because it fits right in with those healthy new year resolutions. Smoothies are the easy way to pack more nutrition into your diet.

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Now let’s talk about wild blueberries.

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Wild blueberries are little purple powerhouses of nutrition. Grown in barrens across Maine and Canada wild blueberries are quite different from those that are planted or cultivated.  Wild blueberries have grown naturally under harsh conditions for 10,000 years, so they have adapted with more than 2x the antioxidants and fiber of cultivated blueberries. Frozen at harvest to lock in the goodness studies show that they may help prevent the onset of cancer, heart disease, alzheimer’s and diabetes.  With a well balanced sweet-tart flavor just about everything pairs well with these super fruits in a smoothie.

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Webster’s dictionary defines a smoothie as “a creamy beverage made of fruit blended with juice, milk, or yogurt.” Much to my delight it doesn’t seem like I am breaking any smoothie rules by going warm instead of cold because did you hear me earlier? It’s freezing outside here in Pennsylvania and I can use all the antioxidants I can get to boost my immune system. Fighting off a cold or the flu? I have a smoothie for you!

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and yes, I really did accidentally spill all that froth all over the counter

Infused with green tea, pomegranate and warm revitalizing cleansing spices this deliciously wild blueberry smoothie will certainly cure your winter blues.

Warm & Wild Blueberry Smoothie Latte

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup frozen wild blueberries

1 ½ tablespoons real maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup water

2 green tea with pomegranate tea bags

1/2 cup milk (or almond milk)

Place blueberries and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup in blender. In small bowl, combine cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and allspice; stir to blend spices. In small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and ¼ teaspoon of spice mixture; stir and let steep for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, heat milk with remaining ½ tablespoon of maple syrup and 1/8 teaspoon of spice mixture just to a simmer, stirring to combine. Stir and strain hot tea mixture into blender with blueberries. Add ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture; blend well. Re-warm mixture in pan on stove to desired temperature. Froth the remaining milk mixture with an immersion blender or tool specially designed for frothing milk. Divide the hot tea mixture among two mugs and top with frothy milk. Sprinkle with additional blueberries and spice mixture, if desired. Serve warm. 


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wish you could see my wild blueberry smoothie latte mustache right now

Frozen wild blueberries are available all year long.Click this link to find a store near you: grocery store. Click here if you would like to try my Easy as A-B-C Wild Blueberry Smoothie

 

Easy as A-B-C Wild Blueberry Smoothie

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By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Keeping a new year resolution to eat healthy has never been easier. Start with one simple idea liking eating real food instead of something processed. Just look around your kitchen. I bet you have a whole assortment of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables ready for a quick smoothie buzz in the blender. What I especially love about smoothies is that they can be completely customized to your own taste. Right now I’m loving experimenting with wild blueberries. Sipped through a straw or eaten out of a bowl with an assortment of toppings wild blueberry smoothies bring us one step closer to a healthier lifestyle.

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Food trend predictions for 2017 will have you adding some rather unusual ingredients to your smoothie. How about charcoal or Peruvian maca powder? Ah-no thanks. Then there is blue-green algae, sorry, but not happening here. Lastly, and this one really blows my skeptic mind is something known as an “adaptogen” (is that a real word?) called ashwagandha….I can’t even. Just give me some real food like wild blueberries!

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And in case you did not know wild blueberries are quite different from cultivated blueberries. Wild blueberries are not planted, but occur naturally in fields in Maine and Canada. Smaller in size they have twice the antioxidants of regular blueberries and are more intensely flavored. They have a nice balance of sweet-tart and those flavors and nutrients are locked in at harvest when they are individually quick frozen (IQF). Find them in the frozen food section of the grocery store.

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My friend Marcie reminds me that something homemade is always good for the heart and soul. 

Back to easy! Open your fridge, check your pantry and grab some wild blueberries from the freezer. You will have everything you need to put together a super food delicious and jam-packed naturally nutritious smoothie. Not to mention you will save a ton of money not buying supplements created in some laboratory.  This A-B-C (apple, basil, Cinnamon) wild blueberry smoothie came together in a few minutes with what I had on hand today in my kitchen. Notice the subtle changing layers of flavors as you sip down to the delicious last drop. Your belly says, “thank you”!

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Easy as A-B-C Wild Blueberry Smoothie

¾ cup frozen Maine wild blueberries plus additional for garnish

1 (5.3 oz) container Greek nonfat blueberry yogurt

½ large red apple, quartered (do not peel)

4 large fresh basil leaves plus a sprig for garnish

1 tablespoon honey

1/8-teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 small frozen banana

2 tablespoons plain Greek nonfat yogurt

1 (5.3 oz) container Greek nonfat coconut cream yogurt

2 ice cubes

In high-powered blender combine blueberries, blueberry yogurt, apple, basil, honey and cinnamon until smooth. Measure out ½ cup and divide between two serving glasses. Add banana and plain yogurt to remaining mixture in blender; blend until smooth. Top off glasses evenly using just half of the blueberry-banana mixture. Add half of the coconut cream yogurt and the ice cubes to the remaining mixture in the blender; blend until smooth. Divide evenly between glasses. Spoon or pipe remaining coconut cream yogurt on top. Sprinkle with wild blueberries. Garnish with basil sprig. Makes 2 servings.

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