Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce

Wondering what to do with one pound of sad strawberries and a bunch of basil that's seen better days? Don't throw it away! Make this jam. Of course, I'd prefer if you used, errrr, fresher ingredients. But hey, I do what I can with what I have...and what I have had was some less than stellar produce awaiting judgement day in the fridge. Except the basil. Never put fresh basil in the fridge.  Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce I love strawberry jam. However, we never have any on hand. I buy that Kirkland signature strawberry puree from Costco that's totally amazeballs. Yet, I eat it all up too quick.  Like freakishly quick, and it's a massive jar. Anyway, Costco is about an hour away so we don't go on a regular basis. In addition, I flat out refuse to buy any jam at the regular grocery store because, well, to put it lightly...I'm a jam snob.

Growing up, my grandparents had a hugely vast vegetable & fruit farm garden full of fresh currents, rows upon rows of an assortment of raspberries, and gobs of plump strawberries. Believe me when I tell you, and this is very important...there is nothing like the taste of a freshly picked strawberry from a real ass garden. You don't know life if you haven't had one, so if that's the case get yourself to a U-Pick farm. Right now! There's no time to waste! Anywho, we used to make oodles upon oodles upon oodles of perfect jam with these home grown berries. And that's why I'm a jam snob. I'm ruined, essentially. 

I tried to make chia seed jam not too long ago (while in a state of panic due to our lack of jam). I didn't post the recipe because...I did not enjoy it. It had an odd texture (surprise!) and it wasn't sweet enough and it was just a plain insult to jams everywhere. It's still in my fridge and is made with Alaskan-mountain blueberries picked by yours truly last fall. It's all yours. So gross. 

I've been talking a lot about jam. This is because I simply refuse to acknowledge the existence of jelly. OMG, don't even get me started on that crap. Preserves, yeah, they're okay but I don't like my jam chunky, you know? But, live and let live. So, jam it is for me. NEVER JELLY.

Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce

If you're try to impress someone or just up your jam game, this is the one for you. It's a delicious, no-canning necessary strawberry jam infused with fresh basil, vanilla and cinnamon. I couldn't stop licking the spoon. 

Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce

Makes about 8 oz. 

Notes: For more of a sauce, blend the strawberry mixture until smooth. If you'd like more of a jam, blend less. 

  • 1 lb. strawberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped and packed
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 

In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients over low heat. Produce On Parade - Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce Continuously stir until the sugar has dissolved and it looks like the strawberries are floating in water.  Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce   Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth for a sauce-like consistency or leave a bit chunky for a more jam-like texture. Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce Transfer back to the pan and over high heat, stir continuously until it reaches the mixture reaches 220 degrees (about 5 minutes). Once it's reached 220 degrees, stir continuously for another 5 minutes. Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce If you don't have a candy thermometer, that's okay. Once the mixture is transferred from the blender back to the pot, it should cook on high from start to finish for about 10 minutes total.  Pour into a jar and allow to rest at least 15 minutes before covering and placing in the fridge to chill. Chill overnight. Store in the fridge and consume within one week.  Strawberry Basil Jam or SauceOh, that's what I'm talking about.  Strawberry Basil Jam or SauceYes, I always match my nails to my jam. Also, there was a little bit that didn't fit in the jar...and...well, I ate it all. Straight up. Treat yo' self! Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce[soundcloud url="" params="color=73a89a&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

German Word of The Day: Jam --> Marmelade (pronounced: marma-lawd-eh) I know about orange marmalade, but who knew?!

Good Deed of The Day: All I have to say is WTF. Please sign this petition to stop a live bull from being set on fire for the entertainment of people. Grotesque animal cruelty shouldn't be tolerated, regardless of any culture it's involved in. Period. It only takes 5 seconds. You'll see my signature there! 

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Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk + Alaskan Ski Train Photos

Okay, so I know you're all wondering how The Ski Train that Todd and I went on this weekend was. I'll give synopsis.  It’s was an all-day train party ride (like a legit, real life train) that went over 130 miles one way from Anchorage (we boarded in Wasilla), past Talkeetna to Curry where it stopped and let a bunch of cool cats like myself out to ski to our hearts content, which coincidentally was about four hours. On the way up we played Apples to Apples and ate a questionably large amount of Twizzlers and Pringles. We skied and played about, took a break to eat homemade vegan breakfast burritos, then piled back on, ate a bunch of food, drank a few adult beverages (some people more than others), and enjoyed the scenery on the way back home.

Check Produce On Parade's FacebookTwitter, and/or Instagram to see some of the trip photos and a video of some Alaskan scenery. Also, there might be a video of Todd doing shotski

Here's a taste...

Highlights of the trip were:

  • The lady in the seat across from us dislocated her shoulder and exited the train in Talkeetna to seek medical care.
  • One of my coworkers was one of two people who were "confirmed missing". If you aren't on board at the appropriate time your ass gets left behind. Fo' real. A couple rescue team members stay behind with a tent and some food. Then, you pay one hefty fine for the train to come get you the next day. We were told the fee starts at $500...with an unknown limit. Yikes
  • Someone was lifeflighted. Seriously. A helicopter came and hovered right over the train all Black Hawk Down style, then landed beside the train and someone on a stretcher was boarded. Rumor has it this person broke their femur. Strongest bone in your body. I would know. Radiology and all. Bones are kinda my thing. And breasts. I can say that because I'm a Mammographer. 
  • There was a police car there too! In the middle of nowhere, because of the lifeflight thing I'm assuming. Apparently they can drive on the railroad tracks with this adjustment rail thing...omg, I had no idea. Did you know that?!

Anyways, it was a lot of fun and my first proper train ride. There were a few party cars (think passed out people in spandex), some quiet cars (I kind of wish we were on one of those) and a few middle-of-the-road cars, which we were in. If you really like being around people and that whole vibe, then I think the ski train would be outta this world amazing. I like most people in this world pretty much out of sight, hence, the blogging (it's kinda how I socialize, cue laughter). So, it was a little overwhelming for an anti-social, awkward, hermit grouch such as myself. I wish I wasn't that way, but I am. I just function better solo, or near solo.  

Honestly, I'd rather bring a picnic and ski out in the woods with just my pups, Todd and a few friends. However, I'm totally glad I did the ski train because it was a pretty incredible experience. See some trip photos at the end of the post! 

On Sunday after Todd and I recouped from our trip, I made him some delicious strawberry vanilla cashew milk. 

Produce On Parade - Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk

Creamy and delicious with absolutely no processed ingredients, you'll only find whole foods in this milk. No added sugar either! This beverage is sweetened only with dates and strawberries. What I really like about cashews is that you can just throw 'em in the blender and since they're so creamy, there's no need to strain them as you would with almonds or shredded coconut. I do this a lot for smoothies. I think it's better than using a storebought dairy-free milk and it's so quick and easy!

Produce On Parade - Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk

Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk

Serves 1 

Note: If you don't have a high speed blender like a Vitamix, I would suggest soaking the cashews for a few hours. 

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries (about 6 large), halved
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

In a blender combine all ingredients and blend on high until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Produce On Parade - Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk Produce On Parade - Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk

Serve cold.

Produce On Parade - Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk Produce On Parade - Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk

Listening to Evan McHugh – What Would You Do

"Oh and I'm takin' my time, I'm getting it right oh I try, but I'm into you still summer is over and winter is here I'm movin' so slow day's getting longer and on as we go I'm taking my time, I'm getting it right Lord knows, Lord knows I try"

German Word of The Day: Strawberry --> Erdbeere (pronounced: aired-beareh) I love this word, Erdbeere. 

Good Deed of The Day: Sign this petition to help stop fracking on national forests and wildlife refuges. Petition author is the National Resources Defense Council. 

And now, Ski Train photos! 

Produce On Parade - Ski Train

Produce On Parade - Ski Train


This was a totally non-staged photo of us decided which route we should take. Honestly! I told Todd everyone was going to think we were posing!

Produce On Parade - Ski Train

Produce On Parade - Ski Train

Produce On Parade - Ski Train

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Bananas Foster Crepes

So, disclaimer, I hate making crepes. This is probably due to the fact that I'm horrible at making them. So much so that the making of these particular crepes, if it were filmed and made into a movie (omg who would do that), would be rated R. There was a lot of cursing, I'm embarrassed to admit a bit some much crying, and a great deal of self-doubt. Crepe making has never been my thing. I love, love, love them, however...I can't make them. Truely. I've tried everything. Every tip, every trick, and I've researched them to death. It's my tragic flaw. 

To make matters worse, my best most normal looking crepes happen to be made on an actual crepe pan (that I love more than crepes themselves) that my grandmother gave me. It's the one that she used to use. My Grandma is my idol and so anything that has influenced her life, I of course, must have so I can be just like her. However, brace yourself, said crepe pan was misplaced several years ago during a move. And that's the story of how the light in my soul went dark with the loss of a very dear pan and one quick *pouf*. My lost, beloved, Grandmother's crepe pan. 

Anyways, for some reason or another I was feeling pretty full of myself Sunday morning when I decided to make these crepes. I had just bought a ton of bananas and wasn't really sure what to do with them all. In fact, I was going to make a savory crepe when there those bananas were, just staring me in the face. Unfortunately, we only had whisky on hand as opposed to rum. But really, who cares. Whisky worked like a dream.

Produce On Parade - Bananas Foster Crepes

Since I'm terribly honest and would never try to deceive crepes (even the above) looked like they were made by a T-Rex. Seriously. These crepes you see in the photographs? These were my were my All Stars. They were the Lebron James (sorry, Honey) of my crepes. If you're even remotely decent at making crepes, good for you, you've been blessed by some higher power. If you're a lowly, ordinary human being crepe maker like me, I've got a tip. When you put the batter in the pan, only roll the pan slightly. You'll have somewhat of a thicker crepe, but it'll be okay. Then, don't flip it. I know, it's heresy! Just don't. It'll be fine, let it cook for a minute longer then slip it out of the pan in (mostly) one piece. Voila!

I cannot explain to you how good these crepes were. Bananas bathed in a salted vanilla caramel sauce and tucked into fresh, buttery crepes. This dish is perfect for a decadent breakfast or a snazzy dessert! You'll have to try them for yourself. 

Bananas Foster Crepes

Bananas Foster Crepes

Serves 4

  • Crepes:
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4  cup vegan butter, chilled 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • Filling:
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 large pinches of salt
  • grating of nutmeg
  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. rum or whiskey 
  • cinnamon (for sprinkling)
  • powdered sugar (for sprinkling)

Notes: If you want a super hefty amount of filling in your crepes, then go ahead and double the filling recipe. I don't judge. 

To make the crepe batter, place all the crepe ingredients into a blender. Blend on high for a few minutes, until the butter is well incorporated. Cover and place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes. 

Produce On Parade - Bananas Foster CrepesWhen there's about 5 minutes left for the batter to chill, make the filling by melting the butter and the sugar together in a medium frying pan over low heat.

After a few minutes, once the sugars are caramelized add the vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Stir well to combine, then add the sliced bananas. Saute another few minutes, until the bananas are just a bit soft.Produce On Parade - Bananas Foster Crepes

Produce On Parade - Bananas Foster CrepesRemove from heat and stir in the rum. Return to a low heat and allow the alcohol vapors to cook off for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use. 

Coat a small frying pan with a nonstick cooking spray. Bring to heat over medium flame. 

Add 1/4 cup of the chilled crepe batter the pan. Tilt the pan slightly to widen the circle of the crepe. Allow to cook for about 1-2 minutes, until browned and somewhat crispy on the bottom. If you're feeling skillful, flip the crepe. If not, that's okay. Let it cook until the top is set then gently release the sides of the crepe with a spatula and slide it out of the pan. Stack the crepes on a plate.

Produce On Parade - Bananas Foster Crepes Produce On Parade - Bananas Foster CrepesPlace about 1-2 Tbsp. of the filling to one crepe and repeat with remaining crepes.

Produce On Parade - Bananas Foster CrepesServe hot with a sprinkle of cinnamon and powdered sugar. 

Produce On Parade - Bananas Foster Crepes Produce On Parade - Bananas Foster CrepesJammin' out to some classical music today: Aphex Twin – Avril 14th.

German Word of The Day: Breakfast --> Frühstück (pronounced: frou(rhymes with you)-schtuck

Good Deed of The Day: This is a big one! Sign this petition at the Humane Society of The United States to help put an end to cosmetics testing on animals in the United States. Please take a look at this exceptional infographic to learn more about animal testing. This is so very important!Recipe Card

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