Happy Valentine’s Day!
I hope this day is filled with smiles, warmth, goodness and love, and may I say my heart is so full of love and appreciation for you and this way to connect with friends and family. Happy Valentine’s Day to you from the bottom of my heart!
Today I wanted to share a recipe full of sweetness and the beautiful colors of pink and red to help celebrate such a lovely day! Strawberry Smoothies!
To start with, the sweetest ingredient of this blog post starts with my dear friend, Maribeth Schmidt, who is an amazing photographer, who among other things, shot my profile pictures for this blog and she shot all of the pictures for this post! We spent several hours together in her home with her daughter Amelia helping create these amazing photos, and her other kids, Becca and Will, helping taste test to verify if indeed they are as tasty as they look!
So here is how we make the magic happen!
Get out your trusty blender.
- Almond Breeze: 1 cup (or to taste if you like them thinner or thicker)
- Frozen Strawberries (I use enough to fill the blender 2/3 full)
- Vanilla Yogurt (I use Greek yogurt)
- Bananas (I use 1 or 2)
- Honey (About a Tablespoon) *Another alternative: Blue Agave Syrup (my favorite)
- Sliced Almonds (about 1/3 cup) (I get the Honey Roasted ones)
- Fresh Strawberries
This is a basic recipe you can totally modify to your taste! I use frozen strawberries to help give it the icy texture I love in a smoothie, but you could use all fresh and add ice to do the same thing. You simply put the ingredients in and blend ‘er up! Its a really fun treat! I usually use those smaller disposable punch cups, so at least everyone gets a taste of the first batch, and I can keep making more until we are strawberried right out!
I have to tell you, my friend Maribeth is such a passionate artist about photography, and she was having a blast arranging the fruit and smoothies! She and I shopped for the bowls and platters at our Kroger (they have some lovely dishes there!) We even found these adorable striped straws there!
I have affectionately named the picture above, “The 3 Sisters”, and indeed there are 3 girls in my own family I grew up in – my sister Susan (currently living in sunny Florida), then me, and then our dear sister Stacey (we are like the Brady bunch, 3 girls and 3 boys).
Maribeth stood on a chair for this shot! This really was alot of fun, and I learned so much watching her! Most importantly, I learned there are about a million things to think about when taking pictures!
She had different color backdrops, and various lights, and she used a white foam board (which I got to help on occasion holding in place) and that was to help reflect light.
And throughout all of this, the trusty blender was just whirring away faithfully!
Maribeth was particularly fond of this adorable white bowl holding the strawberries. She carefully arranged the berries to show just the right amount of the stems! She truly is an artist! And we continued to “sip away” just to be able to honestly testify to you, dear readers that these really truly are…
We will be making these this evening as a family, as we celebrate not only Valentine’s Day, but also my dear sweet husband’s birthday, Troy! We are having my sister Stacey and her husband Matt and one of her son’s, Seth is coming. And a dear friend Mark Buczek. Our son Jake will be there, and our other son Shane who lives in Chicago will be there in spirit! So it will be a nice gathering. His requested dinner this evening… homemade pizza, hot wings, and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. The smoothies will be an appetizer while we work on the other parts of the meal. Yep, this is shaping up to look like a pretty great night!
I often think of what an incredible Valentine’s Day my in laws Pat and Joyce Kennedy had on that day in 1962 when a beautiful new life came into their young lives forever redefining the word “love” with that new precious baby! Troy is one of those hard working, honest, strong, courageous, kind hearted “salt of the earth” people, born in Nebraska, with a historical family legacy of farming. He spent summers as a kid working the farm with his grandpa, and I think it left an indelible imprint on his life that carries in to who he is today. But my absolute favorite thing about Troy is his incredible heart for people. He truly believes there is hope for every single person on this earth, and each person is intrinsically precious and priceless, no matter what their circumstances. I have seen him moved to tears when he learns of someone who has gone through tragedy or failure or have lost their self confidence or will to persevere through adversity. He has said to me so many times, “What is a man worth? What price is too great to offer a man hope and a hand up if he needs it?” Ok, so I am tearing up thinking of how he inspires me, and feeling pretty blessed at this moment!
Well, I need to scoot to work, but I hope you have a fantastic day! Want to know the secret to a great Valentine’s Day? Make someone smile with an unexpected call or kind word today, I promise it will bless you doubly back if you do! By the way, you look gorgeous!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a”
Photo Credit: Maribeth Schmidt copyright 2016