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Food for Thought: Summer 2020 — Summer Fun with Fruit & Flowers

By Janet Verney.

Yay, it’s summer, so I’m keeping it light and keeping it fun! You already know that fruit is filled with lots of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals! So, without rambling on, here are some of my “Health’d-Up” summer favorites using fresh fruit and edible flowers from my garden.

All of the recipes below are plant-based and they are gluten-free! I use organic ingredients whenever possible as well. I hope you spend a bit of time playing in your kitchen and try a few of these fun recipes. Stay safe, stay well, and enjoy your summer!

Shortbread Flower Cookies

  • Assorted edible flowers
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 2 Tbs. pure maples syrup or maple cream
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup avocado oil
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 cups GF flour (my favorite is organic by Flour Farm)

Gently wash the edible flowers and dry them between paper towels. Place heavy books on top of the paper towels, over the flowers, and allow them to flatten on the counter for about an hour. Whisk the first six ingredients, stir in the cane sugar and then the flour. The batter will be crumbly. Use your hands to make a few grapefruit sized balls. Place one ball at a time between two pieces of parchment paper (below and above the dough). Using a rolling pin, press to flatten the dough to about 1/4” thick. Remove the top layer of the parchment paper and use a cookie cutter to make the desired shapes. Using a spatula, gently move the cut-out shapes to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350F degrees for about 13 minutes, or until lightly browned. As soon as they come out of the oven, gently press desired edible flowers into the center of the cookie. Allow the cookies to cool off the cookie sheet, but still on the parchment paper. Keep repeating the process until all the dough is used. A delightful cookie with a cup of tea! Makes approximately 32 cookies.

Special Note: Not all flowers are edible and even some of the edible ones have been sprayed or treated with pesticides, so know which ones are okay to eat and where they are coming from. Here is a great article that provides a list of edible flowers: https://practicalselfreliance.com/edible-flowers/

Watermelon Cake

  • 1 small watermelon, preferably seedless
  • Your favorite non-dairy whipped topping, spreadable
  • Toppings of choice:
    • Berries
    • Shredded, unsweetened coconut
    • Edible flowers
    • Melted dark chocolate to drizzle

Cut the top and bottom part of the rind off the watermelon so it sits flat on a plate. Carefully cut the side rinds off, all the way around the watermelon. Spread the non-dairy whipped topping all over the watermelon. Arrange the various toppings all over the cake and drizzle with dark chocolate. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve. It is great fun to keep it a secret and watch when someone cuts this refreshing cake, only to realize it is just a yummy slice of watermelon with lots of fixings on top!

Chocolate Chia Strawberries

  • 10 good sized strawberries
  • ½ of 3oz dark chocolate bar (I love Theo’s Sea Salt)
  • ½ of 3oz white chocolate bar (optional)
  • 1 Tbs. chia seeds

Wash and dry your strawberries well. Melt each chocolate in a small Pyrex or crock in a water bath on low-med heat. Keep stirring the chocolate until it is completely melted. Place the strawberries on a small cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. With a spoon, drizzle the chocolate back and forth across the strawberries. You can also dip them, but you will need more chocolate and it will be more calories… Immediately sprinkle the chocolate with chia seeds for a little extra nutrition and some yummy protein! Place in the fridge until the chocolate sets. Enjoy!

Summer Smoothie Bowl

  • ½ of a frozen banana
  • 5 frozen strawberries
  • 1 Tbs. organic almond butter
  • Almond milk, or your favorite dairy free milk
  • Assorted Toppings:
    • Berries
    • Chia seeds
    • Flax meal
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Shredded unsweetened coconut
    • Chopped cucumber
    • Chopped banana
    • Raw cacao nibs

Blend the first 4 ingredients in a highspeed blender. Start on low and add a wee drizzle of the milk, turn up the speed and use a blender plunger until it gets thick and creamy. Add more milk as needed, but try not to make it soupy. Top with your favorites!

Strawberry Banana Ice-cream

  • 2 bananas cut into chunks and frozen
  • 1 small bag of frozen strawberries
  • 1 can (BPA-free) coconut milk, refrigerated
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 large Tbs. of raw honey or pure maple syrup if vegan
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Place all ingredients in high-speed blender and start on low, then high until completely smooth. After blending you can add sliced fresh strawberries for texture if you like. Place all ingredients in an ice-cream maker and churn for 15-20 minutes, until thick and creamy. Serve immediately or transfer to a glass Pyrex container and freeze. Stir every couple of hours to keep smooth, or simply thaw for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Note – if you are using fresh ingredients that are not frozen, refrigerate after blending for 2 hours, before churning. If you do not have an ice-cream maker, it is a wonderful investment to make whole food, clean, delicious ice-cream!

Very Berry Crisp


  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. arrowroot powder
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 4 cups of your favorite berries


  • ¼ cup avocado oil
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of clove
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 2 cups organic almond flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the filling, whisk all ingredients in a large bowl, except the berries. Add the fruit and toss to coat. Pour into a 9” baking pan.

For the topping, using the same large bowl, whisk all the liquid ingredients, adding the spices and salt. Add in the almond flour and mix in with a wooden spoon until chunky bits form. Crumble it over the fruit mixture. Cover with parchment paper, bake for 30 minutes, remove parchment and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until bubbly and brown.

If you have a topic you’d like to learn more about, please email me at connect@roots2wellness.com. Until next time!

Janet E. Verney is an Author, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Wellness Designer, and Healthy Food Chef who resides in Higganum and loves helping others to “health-up” their lives! Also known as the Gut Guru, Janet oversees IIN’s advanced course in Gut Health. Have a burning health or nutrition question, write to Janet at connect@roots2wellness.com. To learn more, visit her website at roots2wellness.com.

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