Summertime is one of my favorite times of the year. I’m reminded of backyard barbecues, tall glasses of iced tea with mint from the garden, homemade hand cranked peach Ice cream and tomatoes picked right off the vine. We had a front porch covered by an awning and early evenings were usually spent rocking on the glider, playing stoop ball, and watching the neighbors in their front yards. We'd go inside when the sun went down and the lightning bugs came out.
Easy meals are definitely on my mind as summer moves to August which is typically hot. I don’t want to spend endless hours in the kitchen, so I batch cook a few key ingredients like rotisserie chicken on the grill, roasted vegetables, simple desserts and baked goods (muffins and quick breads). If I do bake, it's usually very early in the morning before it gets too hot. Salads make up many of our summer suppers; I can always manage to make a salad out of what’s in the fridge or in the garden.
Fruits and vegetables are mainstays and I will stock my freezer with these colorful foods when in season, to enjoy throughout the year. Last summer I vacuum sealed peaches, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, green beans, corn and green squash.
But, this is a blog about summertime treats. Whether you have a favorite ice cream, fruit dessert or cake, treats are highly anticipated by family and friends who gather together.
Here are some of my favorite and easy summertime treats.
Blueberry Cream Pops
From The Flavor Equation Cookbook (full recipe there).
Blueberry + Omani Lime Ice Cream
This recipe is for ice cream, but you don't have to have an ice cream maker to make popsicles. I adapted it.
For 10 pops:
1 cup buttermilk, 3 Omani limes (dried Persian limes), 1/2 cup sugar, 2 oz cream cheese, 2T fresh lime juice and ~ 14 oz fresh blueberries.
Follow the recipe for infusing the limes into the buttermilk and blending in the sugar and cream cheese.
Puree the blueberries and run through a sieve before blending them into the mix.
Pour into into a popsicle or ice pop maker mold. Freeze until firm.
Berry smoothie pops (think frozen smoothie)
Recipe courtesy of cupcakesandkalechips.com
- Fresh strawberries
- Plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
- Milk – either dairy or nondairy milk
- Honey – or another sweetener if you use plain yogurt and need to sweeten the mixture a bit more
- Vanilla extract – again, only needed if you use plain yogurt
Combine strawberries, Greek yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract in a blender. You can also add honey depending on whether you use plain or vanilla yogurt, and how sweet your berries are.
Puree until smooth.
Pour into popsicle molds or four to six paper or plastic cups.
Insert sticks and transfer to the freezer.
- Freeze and enjoy!
Red, White & Blue Watermelon Pizza
Before you add your fruit, granola, sprinkles and other decorations, you need a creamy topping. You can make a homemade whipped cream topping, use yogurt or sour cream. Keep it lower in carbs by using stevia or erythritol to sweeten the topping. It can even be vegan.
- Homemade whipped cream.
- Storebought whipped cream from a can or whipped topping from a tub.
- Vanilla Greek yogurt or plain Greek yogurt sweetened with honey or stevia.
- Whipped coconut cream.
- Buy a whole watermelon. You can get a small one to make mini pizzas to serve one or two. Or grab a big one to make larger dessert pizzas to share with a crowd.
- Slice all the way through the watermelon with a very sharp knife to create rounds that are about 1 inch thick.
- Prepare your creamy topping that you chose from the list above.
- Wash, dry, and cut (if necessary) strawberries and blueberries for the red, white, and blue version. You could also use cherries, raspberries, blackberries, or really any other fruit you like.
- Gather sprinkles or sparkling sugar or powdered sugar. You could even add white chocolate chips or chocolate shavings.
- Spread your creamy topping all over the top of the watermelon round.
- Cover with fruit.
- Decorate with granola, sprinkles or other colorful, sweet toppings, if desired.
- Cut into pizza slices and enjoy!
Here's my recipe for biscuit shortcakes--works well with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or peaches.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet or baking tray for easier cleanup.
2-1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder (I use Calumet)
1 teaspoon granulated salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup whole milk or buttermilk
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl. Whisk lightly with a fork to remove any lumps.
Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal--it'll look crumbly. Work quickly as you don't want the butter to melt.
Mix in milk, a little at a time with your hands or a fork until just combined. Don't over mix. Add a drop or two or milk if the mix seems dry--it should be a tad moist.
Drop dough by golfball size spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Leave an inch or so between each biscuit. At this point, you can freeze the biscuits on a cookie sheet until frozen. Remove and place in a ziplock bag, making sure to remove as much of the air out of the bag as possible.
Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Best served warm, right out of the oven.
Split the shortcakes and fill with homemade whipped cream (or ice cream) and fresh berries.
Would love to hear what your favorite summertime treat is!
Pat Bennett is the founder and President of Pat's Granola, a Cleveland based food company. Pat's Granola is sold online at www.patsgranola.com and is also available at several Northeast Ohio businesses including:
Troubadour Coffee Roasters www.troubadourcoffeeroasters.com
Sports and Spine Physical Therapy www.sportspine.com
Locle Box www.loclebox.com
Made Cleveland www.madecleveland.com
Nature's Oasis Lakewood www.naturesoasis.com
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Sweet Bean Candies Sweet Bean Candies
The Bake Shop and Cafe The Roaming Biscuit
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The Corner The Corner at The Van Aken District
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NEW Heritage Coffee, Solon
NEW Gingham Market, Lakewood
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