Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. I received a stipend to facilitate my purchase for my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
It’s blueberries! Did the photo at the top give it away? Whether it’s choosing yogurt flavors, or deciding which fruit to add to parfaits and cereal, blueberries are my enthusiastic go-to choice.
I love that there’s (usually) no stems to remove, no messy seeds, and they pack a powerful punch full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, Vitamin K and manganese which makes them a great choice for meeting nutrient needs. Not only that, they taste great and their flavor blends so well with many other foods.
I know blueberries are associated with summertime as far as fruits go, but thankfully South American imported blueberries are available in grocery stores during America’s off season (October-March) so we can have access to juicy plump blueberries all year round.
Even though I like my blueberries fresh, I occasionally pick them up from the frozen section for smoothies or even muffins. These are great alternatives if you can’t find them fresh.
One of my favorite ways to start my day off right is with a bowl of rice cereal, almond milk, and a handful or two of blueberries. I get just the energy I need without feeling overstuffed and full. I know, I know, the food blogger with all those recipes really just enjoys a bowl of cereal for breakfast? Yup, I do.
Sometimes those simple things make all the difference. I’ve committed to eating a bit healthier this year, so easy changes like snacking on some blueberries for some much needed extra Vitamin C during those winter months can make all the difference.
Another one of my bad habits is that I tend to not snack between meals. Sometimes I just get so busy that I’ll forget to munch on something to keep my body energized. However, one of my favorite healthy snacks is a bowl of fresh blueberries tossed with some pomegranate arils. The combination is delicious and those colors are so luscious. It’s also surprisingly filling!
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council website hosts a variety of tips on how to make eating blueberries a part of your lifestyle as well as a ton of recipes in which you can incorporate blueberries, which can be found here.
I decided with all that healthy snacking and simple breakfasts that I’d take it a step further by making a variation of a classic berry shortcake. Since I prefer blueberries over that other, more common berry – why not make a blueberry shortcake?
Of course, I had to get a little fancy and add some other flavors so I infused the homemade whipped cream with some lemon zest and extract, and then I created a fairly simple shortcake recipe and mixed it up by adding a bit of coconut to it. The result was a moist biscuit with tons of flavor that had just the right amount of strength to not get overly soggy by the sauce.
The blueberry coconut shortcake with lemon infused whipped cream – oh, it’s heaven. Now, this isn’t your typical spongecake shortcake. This is a classic shortcake that’s more similar to a biscuit.
And you know what? It’s got only a handful of ingredients. Of course, you can make it healthier by using unsweetened coconut, a sugar substitute or even honey or agave instead of sugar in the blueberry sauce.
Sometimes I feel like I’m making little changes just by making desserts like this from scratch, and having a small biscuit sized shortcake helps too. Those little changes are what makes the big difference in the long run, am I right?
Coconut Shortcake Ingredients:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1-2 teaspoons melted butter
- 1-2 teaspoons coarse sugar
Lemon Infused Whipped Cream Ingredients:
- 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
- 5 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Blueberry Sauce Ingredients:
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Lightly blend them all together, then slowly add the cream. Using a pastry cutter, mix the ingredients together just until mostly wet. Add the extract, then mix in the coconut. The mixture will be crumbly.
Using an ice cream scoop (for size) drop batter onto a lined cookie sheet. Lightly roll the dough into a ball shape, then lightly brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake in preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until tops of biscuits are golden.
While they are baking, make the blueberry sauce. Just combine the blueberries and sugar in a saucepan and mix lightly with a wooden spoon until the white sugar is gone and the blueberries have reduced in size a bit and have become a bit more saucy. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Combine the ingredients for the whipped cream, and mix on high for a few minutes, or until stiff peaks are formed.
How do you like your blueberries?
Speaking of little changes, I have another surprise for you. The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is hosting a sweepstakes where you can enter to win a trip for two to LA for the Little Changes Kitchen Challenge with actress,author and TV host Alison Sweeney.
Here’s more info:
- Runners up may win one of four $500 Whole Foods or Lululemon gift cards for a refreshed pantry or workout wardrobe! Choose little, win BIG. Hurry!
- Sweepstakes opens on January 1, 2015 and closes February 16, 2015!
- Enter here