Fruit Salads and Yogurt Parfaits

I am a grazer.  I don’t believe in three meals a day.  I need snacks.  In case you can’t tell, I eat a lot of food.  If I am being perfectly honest, I eat more than Bruce does.  I get away with it by eating healthier than he does.  I love fruit salads.  They are so bright and flavorful.  Berries are a favorite for me and Skylar, so I made a lot of berry snacks while I was in STA with her.  I look for organic, because berries are on the dirty list!

I think we eat with our eyes first, so I try to make sure snacks look as good as they taste.  Fresh mint as a garnish or chopped up in the fruit salad adds a fresh element, and a sprinkle of slivered almonds or seeds look pretty and taste delicious.  For a sweet (24 grams of sugar per serving!) snack, Silk yogurt is delicious with fresh fruit.  The first yogurt parfait has layers of vanilla soy yogurt, kiwi, mango, and slivered almonds, topped with fresh blackberries.  The second parfait has raspberries, sunflowers, chia seeds, pistachios, and half of a vegan anzac buiscuit.  Silk yogurt also comes in a Peach-Mango, Blueberry, and Strawberry flavors any of these are amazing in place of Vanilla.  Don’t be afraid to try new flavor combos with yogurt, fruit, berries, seeds and nuts!  I do it all the time, as you can see.  🙂

 

I also play with different fruit combinations in my fruit salads.  The one below was inspired by a papaya I found in the produce section at Publix.  It was small, so I knew none of it would go to waste and it was perfectly ripe and ready to go.  The bananas were perfect as well, so I couldn’t pass those up.  I already had kiwi and berries in the fridge, so I knew I had a good combo on my hands.

The last one I make all summer long.  It’s especially delicious on a hot day when the watermelon is cold, local, and fresh.  The key is freshly squeezed lime juice.  Once you have cut your watermelon into bite sized pieces, toss it with blackberries, sliced mint, and freshly squeezed lime juice.  It’s so cooling and delicious.  I bet it’s your new go to summer fruit salad.

I hope you are inspired to try your own fruit or berry salad, or maybe a yogurt parfait.  If you are, post a comment with a photo.  What is your favorite combination?  I’d love to try it.


Fluffy Vegan Yeast Rolls

It’s overcast and raining in the Abacos today.  A cold front is fighting with a warm front (and winning).  This is the first day I have had to close windows since we got here.  The wind was blowing the blinds around and rain was getting in.  So, I cranked them closed.  I have to admit though, I am so happy it’s raining today.  I told Bruce last night that I needed a down day, and then the weather showed up this morning.  For me, rainy days are perfect for reading, baking, and making soup…rainy day = down day.

Bruce ran into town to pick up a few things, so I put the hammock away and pulled the shade canopy down.  The forecast is calling for gale force winds, and I didn’t want the canopy to rip.  I stacked chairs against the SUP, so it wouldn’t get knocked over either.  Once I was sure everything was secure, the dogs and I watched a few episodes of Cupcake Wars.  The thing is, I can’t watch Food Network without needing to cook or bake. So, I made myself a fruit salad to snack on, and scrolled through www.Pinterest.com looking at recipes.

 

I have been craving home cooked yeast rolls for a couple weeks now, ever since my sister baked some and sent me pictures.  I have to admit, I was terrified of recipes with yeast in them until last year.  Even though I watched my mom bake TONS of bread when I was a kid, I just wasn’t confident enough to try it for myself.  The temperature has to be just right or the yeast won’t work; too cold and it won’t activate, too warm and it dies.  It sounds scary, right?  I finally worked up the nerve to try a yeast bread recipe about a year ago and it actually worked!  I was stoked.  Since then, I have gotten pretty good at baking with it.

So, here I am with no almond milk, but a driving need to bake.  I finally found what looked like a quick, easy yeast roll recipe that I could veganize and I actually had all the ingredients for. This is what I love about Pinterest, there are so many recipes to try!  The link took me to a blog called www.thebakerupstairs.com.  I’ll include a link directly to her yeast roll recipe at the bottom of this post, so you can check it out.  There were lots of comments from people saying they had tried subbing ingredients with success, so I decided to try it.  The only thing in the recipe that isn’t vegan is the butter and sugar.  I followed her recipe for the most part, with the following substitutions and changes.

I used Earth Balance butter and Florida Crystals Organic Sugar as substitutes, and once I had shaped the dough into rolls, I let it rise a second time.  I did this because I thought it would make them even fluffier, and also because my grandma always let hers rise a second time.  Her rolls were the absolute bomb.  No one in the world makes rolls like my grandma did, so I figured why not?  Lastly, I was supposed to get 20 rolls out of this.  I quite obviously did not, because I rolled them way too big.  I didn’t even get an even number.  Look at that pan.  I have 11 rolls in there.  Can you tell I am not a professional baker? I don’t even care.  That’s how many I rolled from the dough I had, so that’s how many I baked.

The best part, it didn’t matter at all…they are delicious.  The recipe really did give me soft and fluffy rolls that took close to an hour, even with the second rise.  My yeast got foamy in about a minute, so I was able to mix it up super fast.  I only kneaded for about 3 minutes before covering the dough and setting it on top of the stove with a cover over it.  I like putting it there because the heat from the oven underneath seems to help it rise nicely.  It only took about 10 minutes to punch and form into rolls, probably because I wasn’t being super picky with the process.  Another 20 minute rise, then 15 minutes in the oven. Let’s see…about an hour and 15 minutes from beginning to glorious end.  Bruce came home to a house that smelled of freshly baked yeast rolls. He complained for a moment that he was going to get fat if I keep baking for him, and then proceeded to eat two in a row.  ha!

Instead of rewriting the recipe, I am just going to post the link to Alicia’s blog.  Hey, it’s a down day, and I already explained how to veganize it.  I’m going to curl up with a good book and the boxer.  The link for the recipe is here:

http://www.thebakerupstairs.com/2015/09/soft-and-fluffy-one-hour-rolls.html

Let me know how yours turn out!