5 Homemade Delicious and Nutritious Popsicle Recipes

There’s nothing better than a frosty sweet treat after a long day of playing or working in the hot sun. Unfortunately, a lot of us end up reaching into our freezers only to grab popsicles filled with sugars and preservatives.

Now that doesn’t sound refreshing or appetizing!

While there’s nothing wrong with eating a store-bought popsicle from time to time, we figured you might like the option to make your own popsicles, made with fresh fruit and natural ingredients.

Here are a few of our favorite delicious and nutritious popsicle recipes. Give them all a try!

Strawberry Buttermilk Pops

It’s the perfect season for fresh strawberries. Visit a local berry-picking farm and grab a bushel of berries for this delicious strawberry buttermilk popsicle recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Puree the strawberries, buttermilk, yogurt, honey, sugar, and salt in a blender until smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture into 8 4-ounce ice-pop molds, dividing evenly. Insert ice-pop sticks and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 4 days.

Recipe Source: https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/strawberry-buttermilk-pops

Cucumber, Agave, Mint Pops

Looking for a guilt-free desert to try? This recipe is it! Made with cucumbers and mint leaves—plants you can grow in your own summer garden—this refreshing pop is as nutritious as it is delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large English cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Puree the cucumber, mint, lime juice, agave, and salt in a blender until smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing with a spatula to remove as much liquid as possible.
  2. Pour the mixture into 8 4-ounce ice-pop molds, dividing evenly. Insert ice-pop sticks and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 4 days.

Recipe Source: https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/cucumber-agave-mint-pops

Peaches and Cream Pops

If you have a sweet tooth, this peaches and cream popsicle recipe, made with peach nectar and brown sugar, is for you. This popsicle is so fresh and tasty, it’s like eating a peach from your local roadside famer’s stand.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups peach nectar (100% peach juice)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the peach nectar, cream, sugar, ginger, and salt in a large bowl until smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture into 8 4-ounce ice-pop molds, dividing evenly. Insert ice-pop sticks and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 4 days.

Recipe Source: https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/peaches-cream-pops

Dairy-Free Cherry Almond Pops

If you’re sensitive to dairy products, but are still looking for a creamy and delicious popsicle recipe to try, we highly recommend this dairy-free cherry almond pop recipe. This recipe, made with fresh cherries, almond milk, and lemon juice, is packed full of bright and tangy flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pitted cherries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Puree the cherries, almond milk, sugar, lemon juice, almond extract, and salt in a blender until smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture into 8 4-ounce ice-pop molds, dividing evenly. Insert ice-pop sticks and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 4 days.

Recipe Source: https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/dairy-free-cherry-almond-pops

 Grape, Green Apple, Kale Pops

If you love tart and sour treats, this grape, green apple, and kale pop is perfect for you. The best part…the flavors of the grapes and green apples are so powerful you won’t even notice you’re getting a serving of antioxidant-rich kale in your dessert.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white grape juice
  • 2 cups seedless green grapes
  • 2 cups stemmed kale
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 green apple, chopped
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Puree the grape juice, grapes, kale, bananas, apple, and salt in a blender until smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing with a spatula to remove as much liquid as possible.
  3. Pour the mixture into 8 4-ounce ice-pop molds, dividing evenly. Insert ice-pop sticks and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 4 days.

Recipe Source: https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/grape-green-apple-kale-pops

If you’re interested in adding additional healthy treat recipes to your recipe box, we suggest that you check out the Positive Health Wellness website.  This website contains tons of delicious recipes and gives great advice on how to live a healthier lifestyle.

 Do you have a favorite homemade popsicle recipe?

Share it with us in the comments below!

Summer Safety Tips for Kids and Adults

Between swimming, vacations, and being able to spend time enjoying outdoor activities, the summer months are fun for everyone! We certainly hope that you take some time this year to get out and enjoy them with your friends and family.

That being said, the summer months also come with certain risks–sunburns, dehydration, or suffering from an injury while enjoying an outdoor activity.

At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we want your family to stay safe, healthy, and happy. For that reason, we encourage you to check out some of our summer safety tips.

Water Safety

Family time at the pool, beach, lake, or water park should be fun.

Unfortunately, while water activities are a lot of fun, they can also be dangerous. Here are a few ways to ensure you and your loved ones stay safe around water.

Take swimming lessons—Swimming doesn’t come naturally to everyone and it’s certainly a skill that little ones should learn before diving headfirst into a pool, lake, or ocean. Community pools and places like the YMCA often offer swimming lessons. Join a class and brush up on your skills. And if you have kids, this is a great opportunity for them to learn water safety and how to swim.

Wear life jackets–Even the strongest swimmers should wear a life jacket when enjoying water activities such as boating, jet skiing, or tubing. Accidents can happen anytime. And, if for some reason, you ended up injured or exhausted and became unable to swim, a lifejacket would save your life.

Life jackets for small children are also a must…even if you’re just hanging out around the pool deck or dock at the lake. Drowning can occur in a blink of an eye. Protect your little one with a life jacket.

Don’t swim alone—Always enjoy water sports or a dip in the pool, lake, or ocean with a buddy. It’s important to have someone around in case you suddenly need help in the water.

Sun Safety

While the hot sun may feel good on our skin, it unfortunately has the potential to damage skin and even cause cancer.

Here are a few things you can do to keep your skin safe

Apply sunscreen—Anytime you go outside for an extended period of time, be sure to lather up with some sunscreen. If you’re sweaty or have been submersed in water, apply sunscreen more frequently as it can easily wash off—yes, even the waterproof sunscreens!

Wear a hat–Wearing a hat is an easy way to keep your face, scalp, and neck from burning. The skin on your face is particularly delicate, so it’s important to keep it safe and out of direct sunlight.

Limit your time outside—It’s important to take breaks during the day to get out of the sun. Keep watch of how much time you’re spending outside, and be sure to come in for cooldown breaks throughout the day.

Play Safety

There’s nothing better than a day of bike riding, hiking, or playing in the yard. But there are precautions you should take, even in the safety of your own neighborhood to ensure your kids stay safe while at play.

Wear helmets/safety gear—Every year people fall off bikes, scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, etc., and end up with broken bones, head injuries, and bumps and bruises. To prevent serious injuries, always hear helmets and other safety gear like knee pads.

Stay hydrated—An intense game of basketball or tag in the hot summer sun is enough to dehydrate you. Make sure you and your kids drink a glass of water every hour or so to stay hydrated and healthy.

Avoid heat stroke—Heat exhaustion can be very serious. Before you end up getting sick or passing out, make sure you take rest breaks in the shade, cool off inside, and drink plenty of water.

Do you have any summer safety tips? Share them in the comments below!

3 Delicious Picnic Recipes for a Great Memorial Day Picnic

Every Memorial Day, we celebrate the courageous men and women who have died serving our country. If you’re a retired or active member of any of our armed forces, we thank you for your service!

On this special holiday, many people get their friends and families together and host a delicious picnic or BBQ. And while traditional burgers, potato salad, and watermelon slices are always good picnic staples, we thought you might like a few new ideas for your picnic menu this year.

If you’re hosting—or attending—a Memorial Day picnic, we recommend adding the following recipes to your menu to mix things up. We hope you love them!

Crisp Cucumber Salad

If you’re attending a picnic feast, chances are someone is already bringing your standard potato or green leaf salad. In an effort to not double up on the same menu item, we recommend giving this recipe for a crisp cucumber salad a try.

Not only is this a unique salad option, but it’s a cool and refreshing menu option for a hot day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine cucumbers, scallions, and red pepper.

2. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients; pour over cucumber mixture.

3. Cover and chill at least 2 hours before tossing and serving.

Recipe Source: https://www.mrfood.com/Deli-Salad/Crisp-Cucumber-Salad

Shrimp Burgers

A burger is a classic summertime picnic staple. Yet, as tasty as they are, you’re bound to get bored of the traditional ground beef burger—especially if you cook out a lot or are attending more than one picnic over the weekend.

This year, impress your seafood-loving friends with a new twist on a classic menu item and make them a shrimp burger.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Old Bay Mayo Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

Directions:

1. Coarsely chop half of the shrimp.

2. Put the remaining shrimp in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Then, combine both shrimp in a large bowl with the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder, pepper, scallions, and egg, and mix.

3. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, and then form into 4 patties. Refrigerate 10 more minutes.

4. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the burgers, about 3 minutes per side.

5. Make the mayo by combining the mayonnaise and Old Bay to taste in a small bowl.

Recipe Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/katie-lee/shrimp-burgers-with-old-bay-mayo

Lime Margarita Bars

No picnic is complete without a tasty dessert.

These lime margarita bars are sweet, tangy, and salty and will be sure to please any palate. And don’t worry, despite the name, there is absolutely no alcohol in this dessert so they are 100% kid friendly!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups finely crushed pretzels
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 teaspoons grated lime peel

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, combine pretzels, sugar, and butter. Press firmly into bottom of prepared baking dish.

3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until crust is firm; remove from oven and cool slightly, leaving oven on.

4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour into cooled crust.

5. Bake 25 to 30 additional minutes, or until center is firm. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into bars and serve, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe source: https://www.mrfood.com/Bar-Cookies/Lime-Margarita-Bars-1550

What’s your favorite picnic recipe? Share it in the comments below!

5 Fun Ways to Keep Cool This Summer

What’s not to love about summer? Bright sunshine, weekend trips to the beach, and indulging in cool treats like ice cream make this season by far one of the best.

The only downside…extreme heat.

We’ll take hot weather over cooler temperatures any day. But, after weeks of scorching heat, we’re ready for a cooldown.

Good thing there are a lot ways to keep cool when the temperatures are just too hot. If you find yourself stuck inside due to the heat this year, give our following favorite activities a try.

Go for a Swim

Swimming is a classic summertime activity.

Living in Charleston, we are lucky to have access to beautiful beaches that are perfect for swimming. If you live in Charleston, or plan on visiting, we recommend you go for a dip at the following beaches…

  • Folly Beach
  • Isle of Palms
  • Sullivan’s Island

If you don’t live near a beach, grab a summer membership to a local pool or gym that has a pool. Places like the YMCA are typically very affordable and even offer swim classes for kids and adults that want to fine-tune their swimming skills.

Whether you’re at the beach or pool, don’t forget to pack lots of sunscreen to keep your skin protected! It’s possible to get sunburn even when you’re in the water swimming, so be careful and always apply sunscreen!

Create a Cool Body Mist

Regardless of how hot it is outside, chores like mowing the lawn, gardening, and walking the dog still have to get done.

If you’re about to head outdoors for a few hours in the heat, we recommend bringing a cooling body mist spray with you. The following recipe is safe and chemical-free, and will help keep your body temperature cool.

Peppermint Body Mist Spray

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 peppermint tea bags

Directions:

1. Boil 2 cups of water.

2. Steep 2 peppermint tea bags in the boiling water for 10 minutes.

3. Pour peppermint tea into a spray bottle and set in fridge. Do NOT add any sweetener or sugar.

4. Let peppermint tea sit in fridge for at least 1 hour.

5. Mist on body while you are outside to keep you feeling fresh and cool.

Go to a Movie

Movie theaters are notorious for cranking up the AC. That makes them the perfect place to cool down and get out of the hot sun.

Get your friends or family together, and make time to finally go to that movie you’ve been dying to see.

Treat your family to popcorn for dinner. (It’s ok to have some fun and have a treat for dinner every one in a while!) Not only will the kids love it, but you’ll be able to avoid turning your oven on to cook dinner when you get home so you can keep your house cool.

Set Up a Sprinkler

Call us old-fashioned, but there’s nothing better than running through a sprinkler on a hot summer day. And yes, adults, this activity is for you too!

If you don’t have a sprinkler, take a trip to your local garden center or home store. You can pick up a decent sprinkler for under $20 that can be used all summer long.

When you get home, simply change into a swimsuit, attach a garden hose to the sprinkler, and enjoy!

Indulge in an Icy Treat

Last, but certainly not least, is our very favorite way to stay cool—indulging in a tasty, ice-cold, refreshing treat.

If you’re an ice cream lover, head down to your local ice cream parlor. Love slushies? Take a trip to your nearest gas station. Or if you’re more of a smoothie connoisseur, grab your favorite fruits, juices, and yogurt, and whip up a refreshing smoothie.

Delish!

What’s your favorite way to cool down in the summer? Let us know in the comments below!

 

5 Fun Late Spring Activities to Enjoy This Year

Here in Charleston, it’s beginning to feel a lot like summer.

But for many in the USA, spring is in full swing, which means it’s time to get outside and enjoying the warm weather, fresh air, and beautiful budding trees and flowers.

Need some inspiration on how to get out and enjoy this beautiful season before it comes to an end?

Not to worry. We, at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, have a few ideas we think you might enjoy. Check them out…

Do Some Spring Cleaning

At first thought, spring cleaning may not sound like such a fun activity. But, you can make it fun when you get your family…and even your neighborhood…involved!

Spring is a great time to finally clean out your home and garage and host a neighborhood yard sale.

Start by finding gently used clothing, toys, and other household items that you don’t use or want anymore, and assign price tags to them.

Then talk to your neighbors and see if they want you join you. Pick a date for a neighborhood yard sale, and before you know it, you’ll be clearing unused item out of your home while earning a little extra cash to spend on something you enjoy doing!

Bring Out the Bikes

Biking is a fun activity…especially when you can get a group of friends or family members to go biking with you.

This time of year is one of the best times to bring out the bikes and go for a ride. Not only is the weather nice, but the flowers and trees are all in bloom. This makes for a beautiful ride!

It doesn’t matter where you bike. Do a lap around your neighborhood, go to a local park, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try some biking trails at a local state park.

Here in Charleston, there are a variety of locations to enjoy biking. Here are some of our favorites…

Francis Marion National Forest

Mountain biking in the no-mountain Lowcountry is a blast. We recommend you try the trails in the Francis Marion National Forest, which is located on nearly 259,000 acres in the coastal forest north of Charleston.

Sullivan’s Island

This three-mile-long island has low traffic roadways, which makes it the perfect place for riding bikes. If you bike down to the Charleston Harbor end of the island, you can climb on former military grounds of Fort Moultrie.

Downtown Charleston

Want to get a good view of downtown Charleston, a 300+ year-old city, and take in all the history? If your answer was “yes,” we suggest you bike the city! Sunday morning is the best time to avoid heavy car traffic downtown, so plan your ride accordingly.

Plant a Veggie Garden

Why go to the grocery store when you can grow your own delicious and nutritious vegetables right in your backyard?

All you need to grow your own garden is a garden plot or raised garden bed (we recommend at least 4 foot by 4 foot), garden soil, a shovel, a hose, and some seeds.

Everything mentioned here can be purchased at your local home gardening center or home improvement store.

Then all you have to do is till the soil, plant your seeds, and water your garden every couple of days, and as summer arrives, you’ll have your very own homegrown veggies to eat.

Not sure what to plant? Check out our recommendations for spring veggies.

Visit a Botanical Garden

If you’re not a fan of gardening, but still enjoy the sight and smell of flowers, we recommend you visit a botanical garden.

Botanical gardens are filled with trees, shrubs, and flowers that are native to the area where the botanical garden is located. And because these gardens are planted and maintained by professional gardeners, they are stunning to go see.

Most botanical gardens charge a small entrance fee, so be sure to do some research on the garden you’re going to visit so you’re aware of costs and other important information.

Tip: A trip to a botanical garden makes a fun ladies’ day out! Get your girlfriends together to enjoy this activity.

Visit a Local Farm

If you love animals, springtime is the very best time tovisit your local farm.

The reason: it’s the time of the year when new baby farm animals start to make their grand entrance into the world. And boy, are they adorable!

Local farms that allow visitors also tend to have little shops where you can buy fresh produce, milk, and eggs. Not to mention, many places also make homemade ice cream with milk from their cows! Delish!

Note: Before you visit a farm, always make sure that they allow visitors. It’s a good idea to give a courtesy call before you visit, unless the farm you’re going to has established public visiting hours.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the spring? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Spring Gardening: Beautiful Flowers to Grow This Year

 

You know what they say…April showers bring May flowers. And at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we think there’s nothing better than taking a stroll through a garden full of fresh, beautiful, fragrant flowers.

Aside from adding beauty, planting a flower garden at your house has a lot of benefits.

First, gardening is great exercise!

Digging holes, planting, watering, and weeding your garden are all activities that require you to get up and moving. And, as an added bonus, caring for your garden gets you outside and into the fresh air.

Second, gardening is always a great hobby and social activity. Across the country, there are numerous gardening clubs and societies you can join if flowers are your passion. Attending garden society meetings and flower shows is a great way to make friends and learn new things.

And last, but certainly not least, planting a flower garden helps the bees. While you may not care for these flying critters, they are extremely important for pollination. Without their help, many of the foods we love would not be able to grow.

Whatever your reason for wanting to garden, the best part is that as long as you have access to flower seeds, gardening tools, a patch of soil, and live in a climate zone that’s suitable, you can easily grow your very own garden—no green thumb needed!

Ready to start your own garden this spring? Let’s take a look at the different climate zones so you can determine what flowers grow best in your area.

Zones 3 and 4 – Carnations, Hyacinths, and Black-Eyed Susans

In the United States, zones 3 and 4 sit in the large area of land between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes north of Nebraska.

This region has cold winters and short summers, yet despite the cool temperatures, a few flower varieties thrive in these areas.

If you live in zonez 3 or 4, try your hand at planting carnations, hyacinths, and black-eyed Susans.

Zones 5 and 6 – Marigolds, Roses, and Hydrangeas

Zones 5 and 6 are located in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, and Ohio. These states tend to have dry summers, which means drought-tolerant flowers are key for this area.

Flowers like marigolds, roses, and hydrangeas will do best here. If you want to plant non-drought-tolerant flowers, be sure to water them often during the hot summer months.

Zones 7 and 8 – Hibiscus, Freckled Geisha Japanese Iris, and the Climbing Tea Rose

Texas, California, the Carolinas, and the southern half of Oregon are classified as zones 7 and 8. These zones are known for mild winters and warm, dry summers.

The cool thing about this zone is that flowers can be grown year-round due to temperate climates.

Beautiful flowers like the hibiscus, Freckled Geisha Japanese iris, and the climbing tea rose do well in this environment.  If you live in zones 7 or 8, give those flower varieties a try!

If you’re a South Carolina native, you might know that South Carolina’s state flower is the Gelsemium sempervirens—a vibrant yellow, trumpet-shaped blossom.

These flowers grow very well in the Charleston area. If you’re local to the area, try planting this flower variety in your garden this year!

Zones 9 and 10 – Fanfare Gaillardia, Summer Breeze Agastache, and the Casablanca Lily

Zones 9 and 10 include California, Florida, and Hawaii.

These regions are known for stable, hot temperatures throughout the year. In the winter months, these zones experience high humidity and rain.

Because of the heat and humidity, flowers like the Fanfare Gaillardia, Summer Breeze Agastache, and the Casablanca lily grow best in this zone.

Best of luck in your new spring flower garden!

Do you have a favorite spring flower you plant every year?

Share that with us in the comments below!

3 Decadent Dessert Recipes for a Treat Yourself Day

Every day people go to work, run a business, care of their children, take care of their pets, volunteer, and do many other tiring jobs.

It’s possible you do at least one, or even more, of the things we just mentioned above.

The bottom line is that we know you work hard every day to make ends meet, care for your family, and help those in need. And most of the time, you probably even do it without getting one “thank-you” in return.

Well, we believe it’s time to thank yourself. And one of the best ways to do that is to set aside a time to indulge in a decadent “treat yourself” dessert.

We, at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, love to indulge in a sweet treat from time to time ourselves. So, we thought we’d share 3 delicious recipes that we think you’ll enjoy.

Ready for a much-needed treat yourself day? Give one of the following recipes a try!

Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe

There’s nothing more decadent than a warm, gooey piece of cake filled with rich, molten chocolate lava. If you’re a chocolate lover, this recipe is for you.

The best part, it’s super simple to make. Check it out…

Ingredients:

  • Baking spray, for spraying custard cups
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray four custard cups with baking spray and place on a baking sheet.

2. Microwave the butter, bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate in a large bowl on high until the butter is melted, about 1 minute. Whisk until the chocolate is also melted. Stir in the sugar until well blended. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks, then add the vanilla. Stir in the flour. Divide the mixture among the custard cups.

3. Bake until the sides are firm and the centers are soft, about 13 minutes. Let stand 1 minute. Invert on individual plates while warm and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Recipe Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/chocolate-lava-cakes

Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

If you prefer a dessert made from fresh, sweet, and juicy berries, you’re going to want to give this strawberry shortcake recipe a try.

This light, yet decadent dessert, topped with a sweet homemade whipped cream, is so easy to make even a novice chef can do it. Give it a try.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pints fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups whipped heavy cream

Directions:

1. Slice the strawberries and toss them with 1/2 cup of white sugar. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease and flour one 8-inch round cake pan.

3. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons white sugar and the salt. With a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg and milk. Stir until just combined.

4. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool partially in pan on wire rack.

5. Slice partially cooled cake in half, making two layers. Place half of the strawberries on one layer and top with the other layer. Top with remaining strawberries and cover with the whipped cream.

Recipe Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/8201/strawberry-shortcake/

Vanilla Bean Mousse Recipe

Vanilla lovers, rejoice!

This 4-ingredient recipe is simple and delicious, and leaves you wanting to come back for seconds. And we say, go ahead and grab that extra serving—today is a day to indulge, right? The next time you have a vanilla craving, whip this recipe up…

Ingredients:

  • One vanilla bean, seeds scraped from the pod
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Directions:

1. Whip heavy cream with vanilla bean seeds and 1/3 cup sugar until soft peaks form (err on the side of slightly overwhipped). Set aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add 1/3 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

3. Fold together the whipped cream mixture and the egg mixture (I folded the eggs into the whipped cream).

4. Gently pour into individual serving dishes and refrigerate at least six hours, or overnight.

5. Serve!

Recipe Source: http://www.sugarlaws.com/vanilla-bean-mousse

Do you have a favorite decadent dessert recipe? Share it with us in the comments below!

 

5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

On April 22, 192 countries from around the world will all celebrate a very important holiday—Earth Day!

Schools will plant trees, groups will pick up trash in community parks, and thousands of people will pitch in to help clean up our earth in an effort to keep it beautiful for generations to come. This holiday is such a great reminder to all of us about how we must take care of the earth we live on.

We at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction believe we should take care of our earth as if every day is earth day. Which is why, on this holiday, we want to share a few ideas of things you can do to celebrate earth day that will help keep our planet clean and safe.

This Earth Day, and every day after, see if you can put some of these activities into action.

Picnic and Park Cleanup

Every now and then it’s nice to pack up a picnic lunch, head to your favorite park, and enjoy time outside with your friends and family.

The next time you head out for a picnic, we suggest you bring a few trash bags with you.

Before you dig into your delicious picnic basket, spend 15 minutes with your friends or family walking around the park, picking up trash. The more people you have, the quicker you’ll be able to clean up your park.

After you’ve collected your trash, dump it in the nearest trash can, wash up with some hand sanitizer or wet wipes, and then reward yourself for a job well done by diving into your picnic feast.

Take a Bike Trip

There’s nothing more fun than a bike ride on a nice sunny day—except maybe taking a bike ride to grab some ice cream or another one of your favorite treats.

If you live in town and can bike to your local ice cream parlor, celebrate Earth Day with a bike ride to grab a sweet treat.

Taking your bike instead of a car cuts down on gas emissions, which pollute the earth. Plus, you’ll get some good exercise as you ride your bike.

We then encourage you, if you feel safe enough, to take your bike instead of a car wherever you can. We understand this isn’t possible for everyone, but if you live in a community with safe bike paths, give it a try!

Plant a Garden in Your Yard

Planting a garden is a great way to make your yard look beautiful while helping the earth.

Planting a flower garden helps the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds get the food they need from nectar to thrive. More important, flowers provide bees with the energy they need to pollenate our food sources so we can eat fresh produce.

If you’re a tree lover, planting trees is great, too! Adding a few new trees in your backyard is good for increasing oxygen levels as trees take unbreathable CO2 emissions and turn it into oxygen.

Last but not least, you can also plant a veggie garden. The flowers on the vegetables provide bees with food. In return, the bees pollinate the flowers so that your vegetables can bud and grow. Bonus, you get the reward of having fresh organic veggies when you grow your own garden!

Make a Recycle Bin for Your Home

Every day people throw recyclable materials, like plastic, in the trash. And this is a problem because plastic doesn’t decompose.

When nonbiodegradable products are put in landfills, they pollute the earth and can even put animals at risk. If you’ve ever seen pictures of animals caught in plastic soda rings or images of birds and other critters tangled in plastic bags, you know what we’re talking about.

The good news is you can help change this problem.

All you have to do is go out to the store and get a bin. If you’d like, you can decorate it and label it “recycle.” Then all you need to do is throw your plastic containers, cardboard, and glass products in the recycle bin instead of the trash.

Once you’ve collected a full bin of recyclable materials, dump it in your outdoor recycle trash bin, or bring it to your local recycling center.

Turn Trash into Treasure with Repairing and Repurposing

These days, people are quick to throw things in the trash without trying to fix or reuse what they are throwing away.

A great example is a basketball that has a leak. Instead of throwing away the basketball, you may be able to fix it with a simple patch job. When you can repair instead of throwing away your things, you create less waste.

On the other hand, there are things that can’t be repaired or used in the same way again.

One example is an old t-shirt that no longer fits because you’ve grown. Instead of just throwing it in the trash, there are several things you can do with it.

First, you could donate it to someone in need, as long as it’s in good condition.

If it’s not in good condition, consider cutting it up into small cleaning rags and using those pieces of clothes to clean instead of buying a new package of washcloths at the store.

If you use some creativity, there are many ways you can repurpose older things into new things.

Do you do anything special to celebrate Earth Day? Share it with us in the comments below!

3 Reasons to Drink More Water

Your body is made up of about 70% water. Sounds, crazy, but it’s true! And your body depends on all that water.

This large percentage of fluid helps to regulate the temperate of your body’s cells, organs, and tissues and maintain other bodily functions. Without it, we could not live.

In fact, even being slightly dehydrated can cause problems, like dizziness and headaches—our bodies’ own warning signs that it’s time to rehydrate!

Now here’s the million-dollar question…what does water do in our bodies that makes it so important? Keep reading to find out why it’s important to stay hydrated!

Water Helps Us Transport and Metabolize Food

Water is an essential element in transporting waste and fluids. It’s also vital to metabolizing food. Without it, the proper chemical reactions of digestion cannot occur.

And when you’re unable to digest food properly, you’ll be certain to experience abdominal discomfort and a bad tummy ache.

Not to mention, the carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are also metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream. If we don’t have enough water in our system, we are unable to absorb the nutrients we need to stay energized and healthy.

Water Helps Removes Toxins from the Body

The body needs fluids to flush out the body’s toxins and waste products.

When hydrated, water moves through the kidneys, liver, and intestines to help cleanse and rid your body of harmful toxins.

Water also naturally suppresses the appetite, which helps the body metabolize and get rid of stored fat deposits—another form of flushing out stored-up waste.

Water Regulates Body Temperature

Water is essential for regulating the body’s cooling system.

It works by enabling the body to release heat when the temperature is higher than our body temperature. In other words, it allows us to sweat, which is our body’s most efficient way to cool itself when overheated.

Clearly, water does a lot for the body, and it’s very important. But, not everyone consumes enough water to help her body function at its best.

Personally, we think making flavored water is a great way to encourage us to drink more. So, to help you start drinking more water on a daily basis, we’re going to share a delicious flavored water recipe with you.

Check it out…

Strawberry Mint Water

Ingredients:

  • 6 – 8 sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup of mint leaves
  • 40 oz. of cold purified water
  • Ice

Directions:

#1 Slice up 6-8 strawberries.

#2 Crush 1 cup of mint leaves.

#3 Add ingredients to 40 oz. of water. If needed, add ice.

#4 Let sit for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, to let flavors meld together.

#5 Enjoy!

Recipe source: http://www.inspiredbythis.com/dwell/berry-infused-water/

What do you do to make sure you drink lots of water? Share in the comments below!

Delicious and Nutritious Plants for Your Spring Vegetable Garden

Spring has officially sprung, and it’s time to start planting your spring garden, packed with delicious and nutritious veggies. Yum!

If you’ve never planted a vegetable garden before, or are looking for some new ideas for your existing garden, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to share some of our favorite veggies that thrive in gardens during the cooler spring months.

Even better, we’re going to share some delicious recipes you can use once your veggies are mature and ready to harvest.

Keep reading to discover the best types of veggies to plant this time of year and a variety of different recipes you can use to make these nutritious veggies taste great!

Lettuce

From iceberg to romaine, spring is the prime season for growing lettuce. In fact, it’s the best time you should have this leafy vegetable in your garden.

That’s because as soon as the weather gets hot, lettuce wilts and dies. So, start planting now!

We recommend growing romaine lettuce in your garden. The darker-colored lettuce varieties tend to have more vitamins and nutrients, like manganese, potassium, biotin, vitamin B1, copper, iron, and vitamin C, and are a very good source of dietary fiber.

Once you’ve harvested your lettuce, try out this delicious lettuce wrap recipe!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 teaspoons peanut oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup julienned green onions
  • 12 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions:

#1. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook chicken in 1 tablespoon oil for 3 minutes; drain. Add the mushrooms, water chestnuts and ginger; cook 4-6 minutes longer or until chicken is no longer pink. Drain and set aside.

#2. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and remaining oil. Stir in the carrots, onions and chicken mixture.

#3. Spoon onto lettuce leaves; sprinkle with almonds. If desired, fold sides of lettuce over filling and roll up. Yield: 6 servings.

Recipe source: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/chicken-lettuce-wraps 

Broccoli  

Broccoli is another hardy cool weather veggie, which makes it perfect for springtime planting.

The best part—it’s a very low maintenance plant to grow. As long as you plant it in an area with full access to sunlight and water it every day, you’ll have beautiful broccoli stalks shooting up in your garden before you know it.

Tip: Broccoli does not like hot weather. For this reason, we advise you to pick up partially grown stalks from your local plant nursery so it has time to mature before summer hits.

Once harvested, each stalk is packed with dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin B1, vitamin A, potassium, and copper. All of these nutrients are vital for a healthy body.

When your broccoli is ready to eat, we recommend trying out this broccoli salad recipe.

Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5-6 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 1 pound of florets)
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed (or fresh peas if you can get them)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey

Directions:

#1. Bring a large pot of water, salted with a teaspoon of salt, to a boil. Add the broccoli florets. Cook 1-2 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want the broccoli. 1 minute will turn the broccoli bright green, and leave it still pretty crunchy. 2 minutes will cook the broccoli through, but still firm.

#2. Drain the broccoli and immediately put into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. After the broccoli cools, drain it well before dressing it in the next step.

#3. Combine broccoli florets, almonds, crumbled bacon, chopped onion, and peas in a large serving bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, cider vinegar and honey.

#4. Add dressing to the salad and toss to mix well. Chill thoroughly before serving.

Recipe Source: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/broccoli_salad/

Asparagus

Asparagus is a delicious and hardy spring vegetable. The only downside—this type of produce tends to be expensive when you buy it from a grocery store.

The solution: Grow your own at home and save big!

Because asparagus is typically grown from asparagus crowns that you buy at your local garden store, this veggie is pretty easy to grow. It’s also low maintenance, which makes it the perfect vegetable for those who are new to gardening.

On top of being easy to grow, it’s also very nutritious. It’s a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K. It also contains chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.

Pretty neat!

Personally, my favorite way to consume asparagus is by cooking it on the grill.

Simply coat the asparagus stalks in a little bit of olive oil, then lightly salt and pepper.

Throw the stacks directly on the grill, or use a grill pan, and cook for about 10-15 minutes. The longer you cook the stalks, the softer they will become.

Super easy and delicious!

Tip: You can add whatever seasoning you like to asparagus. Experiment with different seasoning combinations until you find the flavoring you like best!

Do you have a favorite spring vegetable?

Let us know in the comments below!