Many of us long for fresh strawberries all year long. There is nothing like the sweet, bright taste of a strawberry that has been recently picked. This smoothie is bursting with freshness with local, in-season strawberries and a hint of mint and lemon. The banana and Greek yogurt give it a smooth, creamy texture. It truly tastes like summer in a glass. (I guess it is not technically summer yet, but it will be very soon, and it feels like summer already!) Not to mention the nutritional benefits of drinking a smoothie with fresh strawberries and fresh herbs, and the Greek yogurt for protein–there are lots of vitamins and antioxidants in both the strawberries and the herbs.
Yesterday I was doing errands with my kids in the city near us, amidst strip malls, big box stores, and parking lots, when a pickup truck in a parking lot caught my eye. Next to the truck, under a tent, there was a man selling quarts and quarts of fresh strawberries! He was a farmer from the countryside near here. I was very excited. My kids and I were getting aggravated from all the traffic, construction, and the tedium of errands, but this was one last errand we had to do before we went home. I bought a couple of quarts and got to work as soon as we unloaded our groceries. First I made some strawberry shortcake, the recipe for which I posted on this blog last year, and which is always a favorite in my house. It was delicious.
I had a few strawberries left over, and wanted to use them soon, since truly fresh strawberries do not keep well. Smoothies are a good way to start the morning, so the next morning I made this delicious smoothie with strawberries, Greek yogurt, and bananas, sweetened with a touch of honey. My daughter suggested we add lemon balm and mint, since we have them growing abundantly in our garden. She went out and picked some for me, and they add a wonderful background flavor to the strawberries.
It has been a strange couple of weeks, with the transition from school to summer break for the kids, all-consuming soccer tournaments, and other issues that inevitably come up when one lives in this beautiful, difficult, imperfect world. We have had rainy day after rainy day, bringing mosquitoes and lots of wet shoes that take forever to dry. But we have not had to water our garden once yet this year. I have made some good things in the kitchen that just did not make it to the blog–rhubarb and red grape crisp, pizza with broccoli rabe, and chocolate oat muffins. As my kids and husband would say, they were not quite blog worthy. Yet these non-blog worthy dishes got eaten anyway, and they were quite good. I just have not been organized enough to have a well-stocked kitchen lately, and have been doing a lot of substituting and throwing things together at the last minute. We are almost to the summer solstice, so I would like to slow down and make time to truly experience the summer– watch the fireflies at night, and get to one of the many lakes around here as much as possible.
Strawberry Smoothie with Lemon Balm and Mint
- 1 cup of strawberries (add more if you wish), with their tops removed
- 1 banana, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup of plain, Greek yogurt
- 1-2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup, according to your taste
- 1 tablespoon of fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1-2 teaspoon of fresh lemon balm leaves, coarsely chopped
Wash and prepare the strawberries and herbs. In a blender, place the strawberries, banana, yogurt, honey or maple syrup, mint, and lemon balm. Puree until smooth. Pour into one or two glasses, and enjoy!