Roasted strawberry and rhubarb butter

Roasted strawberry and rhubarb butter | Me & The Moose. This thick, spreadable butter uses minimal effort for maximum flavor and is an easy way to use this seasonal vegetable. #meandthemoose #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #rhubarbbutter #strawberryrhubarb #vegan #vegetarian

Rhubarb season is here! Turn this tart veg into a thick, spreadable butter to use all day, every day.

Take me to the recipe!

If you’ve searched Instagram recently, it’ll come as no surprise that rhubarb is a very photogenic vegetable. The variations in color lend themselves to ombre-ing and chevron-ing to your hipster heart’s content. But today, we’re keeping it simple by doing neither of those things.

Instead, we’re turning frozen strawberries and those giant rhubarb stalks you find in the grocery store (or your garden if you’re lucky enough to grow your own) into a butter in the style of apple or pumpkin. Because why should our fall fruits and vegetables have all the fun?

I used frozen berries in this recipe because it annoys me that strawberry and rhubarb are a perfect combination, but their growing seasons only overlap for a hot minute. Here in New England, rhubarb starts popping up in stores and markets around mid April, but strawberries aren’t ready until June.

Anyhoo, if you do use fresh berries, I’m guessing there will be slightly more juice, but they may cook a little faster. Keep an eye on the berries after about 20 minutes instead of waiting until 30 have passed.

Let the berries and rhubarb cook until the juices start to get a little syrupy. You can test this by sticking a spoon into the hot liquid (DON’T USE YOUR FINGER!!!). If the strawberry juice coats the back of the spoon and doesn’t drip off entirely, you’re about done. Make sure that your berries don’t burn because they can taste bitter.

Stay tuned on Insta for a few ways to use this butter in both sweet and savory ways!

Roasted strawberry and rhubarb butter | Me & The Moose. This thick, spreadable butter uses minimal effort for maximum flavor and is an easy way to use this seasonal vegetable. #meandthemoose #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #rhubarbbutter #strawberryrhubarb #vegan #vegetarian

Roasted strawberry and rhubarb butter | Me & The Moose. This thick, spreadable butter uses minimal effort for maximum flavor and is an easy way to use this seasonal vegetable. #meandthemoose #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #rhubarbbutter #strawberryrhubarb #vegan #vegetarian

Roasted strawberry rhubarb butter

Active time: 5 minutes
Total time: About 1 hour, 45 minutes
Yield: 12 oz (1½ cups)

 
3 heaping cups frozen strawberries
2 heaping cups chopped fresh rhubarb (about 3 extra-large stalks chopped into 1-inch chunks)


Preheat the oven to 350.

Wash and chop the rhubarb. Combine with the frozen strawberries on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking tray.

Cook for 35-40 minutes, until the fruit is soft, the strawberries have released their juices, and the juice has started to become syrupy. Watch the berries closely after about 30 minutes to ensure that they don’t burn.

Let the fruit cool completely, about 1 hour.

Scoop the fruit into your blender. Whatever juice gets onto the spoon is fine, but do NOT add any remaining syrup.

Blend until smooth.

Store in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Roasted strawberry and rhubarb butter | Me & The Moose. This thick, spreadable butter uses minimal effort for maximum flavor and is an easy way to use this seasonal vegetable. #meandthemoose #rhubarb #rhubarbrecipes #rhubarbbutter #strawberryrhubarb #vegan #vegetarian

Dole whip popsicles

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If Dole Whip isn't your favorite Disney park food, then what's wrong with you? For those of you who don't know, Dole Whip is basically pineapple soft serve. But's it's so so much better than that description implies.

I swear I'm going to tell you how to make it in a minute, but first I need to talk about some parenting challenges we're having. As always, skip to the next photo if you're only here for the food!

Lately, parenting has felt like being on a high ropes course. It's wobbly and scary and you rarely feel surefooted. Occasionally you reach a platform and feel like a badass who has everything figured out. But then you start the next leg of the course and feel even more wobbly because now you're tired and also annoyed at yourself for not learning enough from the earlier stages. And while you're taking all the necessary precautions, what if you prove the tragic exception?

The long and short of it is, M started preschool 2 months ago and isn't adjusting all that well. He's acting out a bit and having trouble sitting still and it's been hard to watch.

I want to chalk it all up to his being three and starting a new school (any school, for that matter), but words like "evaluation" and "sensory issues" have already been floated.

Maybe I'm just taking it too hard. To me, he's still the chubby cheeked baby with long eyelashes and a silly lisp, so to hear anything different is hard to accept. I'm sure most parents go through some form of growing pains the first time they get any negative feedback about their child. But oof, does it feel like a knife to the heart. 

And I'm doing my best not to let the feedback make me feel distant or separate from M. At first, hearing about his behavior made me feel like I didn't know him at all. But some 3-year-old acting out doesn't make him a bad kid and the more empathy I can have for him while we all hang in there and try to figure this out, the more successful he'll be when facing challenges in the future. 

But for now, it's just... rough.

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Anyway, this recipe is a great one to make with kids. M loves adding the ingredients and pushing the button on the food processor and that's really the whole shebang. He also calls Dole Whip, Dole "Yip," and it kills me.

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If you plan on eating this right away, then you get the true Dole Whip experience (well, a close approximation anyway). If not, and this recipe makes a lot so you won't likely eat it all in one sitting anyway, freezing it as popsicles is the most successful way to enjoy the leftovers. It freezes really hard, so trying to recreate that soft serve texture is nearly impossible later on. But the mixture makes oh-so-refreshing popsicles. Hang on to some for the first 90-degree day (here in CT, anyway) and thank me later.

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Dole Whip

2 large bananas, peeled and frozen
1 lb bag of frozen pineapple chunks
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 can full-fat coconut milk

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Eat immediately or pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Yield: 24 small popsicles or about 4 cups of soft serve

Dole whip bowl. Feel no shame about eating this for breakfast.

Dole whip bowl. Feel no shame about eating this for breakfast.

Raspberry rhubarb chia jam bars

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Preschool germs. Is there a stronger force in the universe? In my memoir, this era will be titled: The time when my child who never got sick, was never not sick.

And I don't know if all kids do this when ill, but mine is like a koala bear who drank a pot of coffee. He's both lethargic and wired, wanting to be on top of me while simultaneously thrashing like he's breaking out of a human prison. In short, this has not been a fun week.

Anyway, since we're stuck in the house for the foreseeable future, I've tried my hand with chia jam a few times. The basic recipe in that link has worked well for me as long as I cook the fruit down for about 20 minutes before adding the chia seeds and letting the mixture set in the fridge for about 30 to 60 minutes before using it. 

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And this jam is really versatile! It works in sandwiches, obviously, but is also great when added to oatmeal, yogurt, and baked goods. It would also make a tremendous baby puree.

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This is as easy as dessert/snack/breakfast gets. One bowl, no extra tools, and the same batter for the base and the top crumble. This recipe also uses gluten-free flour and clarified butter, so it's free of gluten, dairy, nuts, and eggs. And I've used as little butter and sugar as possible to maximize health without losing out on taste and texture.

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This dough is definitely crumbly, but packs down nicely with a rubber spatula. If it's too crumbly, feel free to add an extra tablespoon or two of butter.

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Raspberry rhubarb chia jam bars

For the jam:
12 oz frozen raspberries (one package or about 1 ½ cups)
2 cups rhubarb, chopped
2 large green apples, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp water
4 Tbsp chia seeds  

Add raspberries, rhubarb and green apples to a medium pot. If your berries are still frozen, add 1 tablespoon of water to get things started. If your berries have unfrozen and there’s some liquid in your bag, skip the extra water and just start cooking.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium or medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is falling apart and the liquid has largely evaporated or become syrupy, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly and add the chia seeds. Cool in the fridge for 30-60 minutes before using.

Yield: About 3 cups


For the bars:
1.5 cups gluten free flour
1.5 cups quick oats
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
½ tsp kosher salt
Zest of 1/2 large lemon
8 Tbsp clarified butter
4 Tbsp ice water
1.5 cups chia jam (see recipe above)

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9x9 brownie pan with clarified butter or olive oil and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt and mix well.

In a small bowl, melt some clarified butter. Measure the butter when melted and add to the dry ingredients, stirring after adding each tablespoon. Add the ice water, also stirring between additions.

Pack about 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of your brownie pan with a rubber spatula or wet hands. Top with the chia jam and smooth out. Crumble the rest of the oat mixture over the chia jam. If possible, pack some of the oat mixture into larger pieces and place those on top.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the edges begin to darken slightly.

Let cool completely before cutting.

Yield: 16 pieces

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Chai spiced sweet potato and orange oatmeal

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We're back from a very impromptu trip to Disney during which we ate primarily ice cream, sausages, and french fries. It was really nice to worry mostly about having fun for a few days, but our diets definitely took a hit. To reverse course, we're pushing the veggies, even at breakfast. 

This puree is delicious with oatmeal, yogurt, or on its own. Though the chai mixture contains a lot of different spices, the end result is very mild. And yes, I realize that "Chai" actually means tea, but I think Starbucks has conditioned us all to use "Chai" as shorthand for versions of this spice combo.

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I boiled the sweet potatoes here, but feel free to use the microwave, steamer, or oven if that suits you better. I find boiling to be the fastest and easiest method.

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Though it's more work, use whole oranges instead of orange juice since the juice doesn't have nearly as much fiber as the actual fruit.

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Chai spiced sweet potato and orange oatmeal

Chai spice mixture:
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cardamom
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
¼ tsp fennel seeds
1/8 tsp salt

For the puree:
1 lb sweet potatoes (1 x-large or two small), peeled and cubed
2-3 large oranges, peeled
water (as needed)
1-1½  tsp chai spice mix

Cube potatoes and place in a medium saucepan. Add water until just covered or until the potatoes just start to float.

Bring to a boil over high flame. Once boiling, turn the flame down to medium. You want a strong simmer, but not a boil. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender, but not falling apart.

Drain and add to the blender. Peel and add oranges and 1 tsp of chai spice mixture. Blend until combined, pausing to scrape down the sides as needed. Hold off on adding water until the oranges are fully broken down because you won't likely need more liquid. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 Tbsp of water at a time until you've reached your desired consistency.

Yield: 2.5-3 cups or 22-25 oz

 

To eat with oatmeal:
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup water
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup chai spiced sweet potato and orange puree
2 Tbsp toasted coconut flakes (unsweetened)
1 Tbsp juice-sweetened dried cranberries
1 Tbsp maple syrup (optional)

 Yield: One serving

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Roasted pear and yellow squash puree

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Potty training has (haltingly) begun. And so I've renewed my commitment to vegetables and good fats in M's diet. To, ahem, keep things moving. 

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Even though he's well out of the puree stage, I still like to whip up some seasonal fruit and veggie purees when we have produce that's about to turn. Plopped into a pouch or mixed with some yogurt, they make a great snack and are sometimes the only way to get a largish amount of vegetables into M at once. ALSO, I like to use purees as dipping sauces for whole grain waffles and pancakes in lieu of syrup. It's a fun and sweet way to skip the concentrated sugar at breakfast and focus on the good stuff instead.

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A couple of notes: Roasting is always my preferred cooking method because I think it intensifies the flavor of fruits and vegetables more than steaming does. In this recipe, we're not looking for much color, so keep an eye on it. Also, powdered ginger works here, but fresh is best.

 

Roasted pear and yellow squash puree

4 medium pears
1 medium yellow squash
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
¼ tsp fresh ginger (or slightly less powdered ginger)

Preheat oven to 375. Wash and roughly chop the pears and squash. Toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil and roast for 15 minutes until the produce is soft and fragrant, but not yet browning.

Place the pears and squash into a blender or food processor. Add the remaining Tbsp of olive oil and the ginger. Puree until you've reached your desired consistency.

Yield: about 2 cups of puree.

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