What a glorious summer we’ve had this year! After a spell of wet, overcast summers, it was such a refreshing change to have blue skies and sunshine for pretty much the whole of July and August. I absolutely loved it and took every opportunity I could to be outside, making the most of it ♥
The plants and insects clearly loved the weather too! This year, I decided to let the failed ‘veggie’ patch grow wild and turn it into a little haven for wildlife.
The whole summer it’s been a hive of activity, filled with all manner of bee, butterfly and beetle. We’ve also had baby toads and slow worms living in there too!
Does anyone know the name of the yellow plant below? I think it’s beautiful and it doesn’t get munched at all. As soon as I know its name, I’ll add it to my list of slug and snail resistant plants
We’ve also had success growing raspberries in the patch A generous friend gave me six plants earlier this summer, and by late August they were already producing fruit. This raspberry is golden yellow in colour, which seems to make it less appealing to the birds. While the leaves of the plant have been munched, the fruits haven’t been touched at all!
Normally at this time of year, I would be out on my bike foraging for blackberries, but this year there was no need. By leaving the garden wild, we ended up with our own bumper crop!
In the mornings, I’ve been enjoying energy shakes for breakfast, made with a cup of freshly picked blackberries. By adding in some oats, ground almonds and chia seeds, the shake becomes a very satisfying ‘breakfast in a glass’. The additions make the shake so filling that I don’t get hungry all morning!
This shake also makes a fantastic post-exercise recovery drink and after-school ‘snack’ to revive energy levels. I find they’re especially useful as a filling, energy booster on weekday nights when Lil’ L has after-school activities and dinner is going to be served late.
These smoothies have been a great way to encourage Lil’ L to eat berries. He still won’t go anywhere near whole berries (it’s a ‘texture thing’) but he’ll happily gulp them down in a shake. When he was little, I used to blend the berries and milk first, then strain it to make it completely smooth before blending in the remaining ingredients. These days, he’s happy to drink the smoothies straight up, pips and all!
Here’s how we make them:
Summer Fruits Energy Shake
Makes 1 large drink
Hands-on time: 5 minutes Ready in: 5 minutes
240ml / 8 fl oz / 1 cup fortified soya milk (or other non dairy milk)
4 tbsp soya yoghurt (or other non dairy yoghurt)
140g / 5 oz / 1 cup fresh summer fruits* (blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, tayberries)
1 TBSP rolled oats (use certified GF oats, if needed)
1 TBSP ground almonds
1 TBSP chia seeds
1 TBSP maple syrup (or agave syrup)
Ground cacao nibs (optional, for nutrient boost & garnish)
*You can use frozen berries to make a thicker, ice cream-style shake
Place the ingredients in a high speed blender. Pulse to break up the fruit, then blend on high speed until smooth. Taste test and add more sweetener, if needed. Pour into a tall glass and serve.
To make a smooth, pip-free shake (which might be more appealing to small children), first blend the milk and berries on high speed for a minute. Pour through a sieve to catch all the pips. Return the shake to the blender, add in the remaining ingredients and blend on high speed for a minute or so.
And to make to even more scrumptious, I like to top off my shake with some ground cacao nibs
The Good Stuff ♥
Blackberries – Fantastic immunity boosters, packed with antioxidants, including vitamin C. Also a great source of dietary fibre, vitamin K, and manganese
Fortified soya milk & yoghurt – Good source of protein, calcium, vitamins B12 and D, yoghurt cultures
Oats - Provides slow-release energy
Almonds – Provides protein. Rich source of antioxidant Vitamin E, riboflavin, manganese and magnesium
Chia seeds – Good source of protein and dietary fibre. Rich in calcium, manganese, phosphorous and omega 3 fat
Cacao Nibs – Packed with nutrients, including lots of antioxidants. Check out my raw chocolate post to find out more.
Products used in this recipe
Alpro soya milk and plain soya yoghurt (available in all major UK supermarkets)
Mornflake Superfast Oats (available from Tesco and Asda)
Chia seeds (available from health food stores and online. I purchased mine from Earthfare)
Duronic 1200 1.8 litre Jug Blender, available from Amazon
Cacao nibs – available from health food stores and online. I use the Elements for Life Cacao Nib Grinder
Have you had any success growing fruits or veggies this year? Do you ever go foraging?