Berry season

A sweet friend came into town for a few days, and her one request during the visit was that we find somewhere to pick fruit (an appropriate activitiy, given that foraging was one of the ways we got to know each other and continued to spend time together).

The strawberry season is coming to a close up here in New England, but that didn't keep us from finding a fabulous farm about 20 minutes away and picking for over an hour (we probably would've stayed longer had the kiddos not been flaking on us).

With an unfortunately cranky non-napper and the Little Helper on our team, we managed to pick close to 10 pounds of strawberries!  It was Little Helper's first real picking experience, and she was so proud of her basket!

So, what to do with 10 pounds of strawberries?

I put a bunch in the freezer, ready for smoothies and winter baking (when winter sadness creeps in, there's nothing like foraged fruit to remind me that summer will come back).

My friend showed me a wonderful website called Elana's Pantry that is a great resource for gluten-free baking.  We made a Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake from there and added 1/2 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips to the batter.

Given the gigantic heat wave that powered through, we had to cool off with some Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles.   I have this recipe for a Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart on deck, suggested by a friend who has a bunch of strawberries in her garden.  And, with a recent fresh lemonade kick, I decided to tweak this Strawberry Basil Lemonade recipe by substituting mint for the basil (because we have mint out the wazoo in our backyard).

We took one final strawberry fling and made up some of this vinaigrette dressing with mint, and soaked sliced strawberries in it.  It made for a delicious salad when we poured the whole thing on some mixed greens!

Beyond strawberries, we managed to squeeze in a trip to the beach, Big Sis took a tumble down the concrete steps (giving her a nice red smear up her face), we drove by a circus under a big striped canopy, and we found ourselves eating way too much ice cream at the UConn Dairy Bar in Storrs.

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