“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

 

No month smiles quite like the month of June. The sun-streaked days are filled with a carefree lightheartedness and warm jubilation.

    June is typically filled with celebrations, whether it be a Father’s Day gathering, high school graduation or a traditional June wedding. These are some of the celebrations that bring families and friends together to rejoice.

     How poignant it can be to watch children graduating from high school, when it seems only a moment ago, they were just babies. Preparing children and young adults for a lifetime of delicious living can begin with sharing an appreciation for a natural lifestyle. Seeking out organic and locally produced fruits, vegetables, dairy products, poultry and fish can help ensure healthy bodies and active minds.

   June is a wonderful time to savor local strawberries. Their succulent sweetness makes them a perfect celebratory food. The heady fragrance of fresh strawberries is one of the many joys of June. Not only beautiful and brightly flavored, fresh, local strawberries are a mighty source of nutrients. An excellent source of vitamin C, strawberries also offer dietary fiber, iodine, potassium, folate, riboflavin, vitamin B5, omega 3-fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin K, magnesium and copper. Strawberries are also a potent purveyor of manganese, a trace mineral that may help keep bones healthy and strong, protect the body’s cells from free radical damage and assist in maintaining normal blood sugar levels.

   Strawberries are highly perishable and will last only a couple of days in the refrigerator, so indulge immediately! When buying berries, check for a vibrant red color, distinctive lovely fragrance and avoid any with mold or bruising. Do not wash them until ready to use, as excess moisture will hasten their decline.

    Savoring a freshly picked strawberry is one of life’s strikingly sensual delights, and these juice, shiny, scarlet temptresses just clamor to be included in any June merry- making. Champagne toasts become just a bit more luscious with the addition of a fresh strawberry. Twirl strawberries in a molten pool of dark chocolate, let cool and serve your guests a most elegant dessert. Be sure the strawberries are as dry as possible before dipping.

    Prepare a celebration salad with fresh strawberry slices, baby arugula, toasted almonds, a smattering of goat cheese and a splash of balsamic glaze. Strawberry smoothies will start June mornings in a most delectable manner. Top oatmeal or cereal with a shower of sliced strawberries. Or prepare a parfait that is just pure strawberry heaven.

    Smile during this marvelous month and celebrate preparing a delicious life!

 

Strawberry Celebration Parfait

Serves 4

1 quart freshly picked native strawberries (gently well washed, tops removed and sliced, reserving 4 whole strawberries)

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ cup maple syrup or local honey

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ cup chopped toasted almonds  or hazelnuts

1 ½ cups of your favorite granola

Fresh mint leaves

 

Mix yogurt with spices, honey or maple syrup and lemon juice together in a bowl, until very well mixed.

In a pretty wine or parfait glass, layer some strawberries on the bottom, add a layer of yogurt, followed by a layer of almonds and granola. Alternate layers, 2 to 3 times, depending on the depth of your glass. Top with a whole strawberry, a mint leaf, and a few more almonds. Drizzle top with honey or maple syrup and serve immediately.

For more info on Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook”, go to www.theconsciouscook.net