At the weekend one of my closest friends came to stay at our mad house. It was all fun and games, we had a good catch up, bit of a gossip, cheeky glass of vino and to round it all off we went Strawberry Picking! Picking strawberries, fresh from the plants, in the sunshine, with loved ones, has to be one of my favourite summer time activities.
Spontaneous eating is something I struggle hugely with and will always need to calculate the exact calories and know in advance precisely how much, of exactly what I will be eating. The only exception to this rule is fresh from the field fruit!! Picture this… Sunday morning, coffee slurped, suncream plastered on, flip flops and shorts are out, sunnies on, we’ve collected our baskets (after my awful sense of direction and taking a wrong turn, we did eventually make it) and we’re off down to the fields!! I’m the first out of the 3 of us to ‘taste test’ the strawberries (wouldn’t of wanted the others to take the risk, how kind am I?!). I lost track of how many strawberries I ate whilst wandering through the strawberry fields and for the first time (probably since this ED relapse started) I didn’t obsess over the calories per strawberry or keep tabs on how many I had had. Oh my gosh it felt soooo good. I didn’t even realise til we were leaving that I hadn’t done these things and that gave me a massive hit of pride (along with the fact we’d had a super sweet morning, in every sense).
Other than the obvious – strawberries straight from the punnet for breakfast, lunch, tea (and snacks in between), we had the task of what to do with all these strawberries (believe it or not, there’s only so many strawberries a girl can eat but they’re way too good to waste!). I passed this decision off to my strawberry loving, superstar and it may not take a genius to figure out his suggestions for using them all up. Top of the list was chocolate covered strawberries and in close second was strawberry ice cream! Chocolate and ice cream are both foods I really struggle to eat and accept (unless I’m in the midst of a binge-purge) so as you can imagine this was going to be a huge challenge, emotionally, to get through. My heart sank when he said the words, I panicked, but, after rationalising that this is for him, it will be fun, we can have a laugh and make a mess and, best of all, we can have some much needed quality time together… We did it. With huge success. Harvey loved it and I sneakily switched out the cream for natural yogurt so it’s a win win and I can actually have a bit of the ‘ice cream’ without as much of the guilt and anxiety!!
The chocolate strawberries were easy peasy. We lined a baking tray with foil, melted a bar of milk chocolate (30-60 seconds in the microwave, stirring intermittently), dunked our strawberries, put them on the lined tray and in the fridge for a couple of hours and there you have it!
Having never ever made ice cream before (without parental guidance, before I flew the nest) I wasn’t convinced the ice cream would be a success, but I think we “nailed it” (in Harvey’s words)!! We did some in his ice cream maker, which was a blast and we made some the ‘old fashioned way’ (mix, freeze, mix, freeze etc…). Not as straight forward as the choccy strawberries but it didn’t take all that much time or effort!!! We started by mashing the strawberries, the riper ones worked best and they were sweeter, added the natural yogurt (I used low fat with no added sugar, to make it a bit more acceptable), a bit of 0 calorie sweetener, vanilla bean paste for the extra hit of flavour, and that was about it!!
After giving everything a good stir, we got a gorgeous pink ‘ice cream’ mix. I’m a very ‘pink’ girlie girl and hadn’t expected it to be this pink, so that put a smile on my chops – little things ay! Anyhow in my lack of preparation I had to have a bit of a last minute freezer jig around to make space then precariously balanced the tin on top of a few mini milks and frozen peas and quickly shut the freezer door before it had chance to fall back out again. After about an hour and a half I gave it a stir and same again another hour and a half later, left it over night and… Voila, we have gelato 🙂 (technically fro-yo, but I don’t wanna burst Harvey’s bubble). When I lifted it out earlier (we made it last night), I had to leave it to stand for a few minutes and soften up (who knew there was such a thing as over frozen?!) before scooping myself some but it was so worth the wait!!! Topped with a few chocolate sprinkles and a fresh, sweet, little strawberry, I’d say Harvey and I have smashed this frozen yogurt thing!! Best afternoon snack, I ever had and I don’t even feel bad about it!!