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Mixed Berries with Balsamic, Basil and Mint

Happy Friday! A day of rain and thunderstorms has left behind a cool, crisp morning with lots of sunshine and everything looking bright and green.

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I mixed up my favorite green smoothie combo for breakfast. I just love this mix!

1/2 banana
1/2 cup frozen mango
1/2 cup frozen peaches
1 tablespoon almond butter
3 dates
1/2-1 cup milk of your choice (play around with amount to get consistency you want, start with less…add more as you need it)
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1-2 cups baby spinach or kale

Last night my book club met to discuss the book Wonder.

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I read this book while I was at the beach and flew through it in just a day. We spent about an hour discussing the book which led to other very thought provoking topics about children, inclusion, disabilities, etc. The overall consensus of the group was that we all loved the book.

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Book club was extra special last night because we had a mini bridal shower for one of our members. We usually just have light appetizers and drinks but in honor of her we all brought dishes and had a lovely little meal. These cupcakes were the highlight of my evening. They were cinnamon swirl flavored and so light and fluffy!

We stuck with a light but delicious spread that included a pear and avocado salad, grilled chicken and salmon, caprese salad, cheese and crackers, rolls and cupcakes. I decided the perfect addition to that would be some fresh berries so I whipped up a fruit salad that ended up being a hit so I want to share it with you here today.

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Berries are such a nice change from your traditional fruit salad. It’s refreshing to get a fruit salad with no cantaloupe and melon and now is the perfect time of year to take advantage of that since berries are in season. I was able to make this salad very affordably because all the berries were on sale.

This fruit went very quickly and several went back for seconds. I kicked it up a notch by adding balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs and orange zest. It was so simple to rinse all the berries, dump them in a bowl, sprinkle them with herbs, orange zest, sugar and balsamic and then mix it all up. The key here is to use a high quality balsamic vinegar. It makes all the difference in the world in flavor. If you’ve never tried a good aged balsamic I encourage you to do so soon! You will not believe the difference in flavor.

Don’t skip sprinkling the berries with sugar because it macerates the berries and draws out their natural moisture which creates a flavorful syrup. It’s a very important step for maximum flavor!

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The final product! Beautiful. I don’t think you can go wrong serving this to guests or taking this to spring get togethers.

Mixed Berries with Balsamic, Basil and Mint
(Recipe developed by Jen DeCurtins at Peanut Butter Runner)

Ingredients: 

16 ounces (1 lb) strawberries
16 ounces (1 lb) blueberries
6 ounces raspberries
6 ounces blackberries
Zest of half an orange
2 tablespoons good quality balsamic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil + a little more for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint + a little more for garnish
2 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

Rinse berries in a colander and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle the balsamic over the berries and then top with orange zest, herbs and sugar. Gently (very, very gently!) stir the mix until just combined and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours so that the berries can macerate. Remove from fridge when ready to serve and finish with a sprinkle of basil and mint. This is best served the day you make it.

Yield: 8 servings

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Have a great Friday!


{ 16 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Jojo @ RunFastEatLots May 16, 2014, 8:20 am

    What a beautiful and creative fruit salad! Mint and basil sounds so good with the berries.

  • 2
    Samantha @ The Faithful Runner May 16, 2014, 8:31 am

    I love berries on my salad and agree that it’s nice to have a fruit salad without the melons. I also love books that provoke you to do some deeper thinking rather than a book that you just read without discussion. I’ll have to check your book out! What’s your favorite berry to put on a salad?

    • 3
      Jen May 16, 2014, 8:51 pm

      strawberries, for sure!

  • 4
    Chicago Jogger May 16, 2014, 8:34 am

    I love the sound of that berry salad – will be recreating for my next get-together!

  • 5
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun May 16, 2014, 11:09 am

    The fruit salad looks delicious!

  • 6
    Brittany @ Proteinandpumps May 16, 2014, 1:17 pm

    I love incorporating fresh mint in my salads. it’s also very good in water!

  • 8
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine May 16, 2014, 4:21 pm

    O yum! Summer fresh berries are such a joy 😉

  • 9
    Jenni May 16, 2014, 6:07 pm

    Hello 🙂 i loved your post on women lifting weights, i started lifting heavy (for me :P) and regularly this year and i am LOVING it both mentally and the physical changes! You looked flipping gorgeous in the picture after a wod, so strong, definitely my armspiration! i wondered if like you mentioned in a previous post you could upload a before after picture from running to the balance you at at right now?

    • 10
      Jen May 16, 2014, 8:50 pm

      jenni – thanks so much for the comment and i’m happy to hear you enjoyed that post! i’m excited to hear that you’re lifting regularly and loving it! music to my ears! i will get that in the works. i know it’s overdue!

  • 11
    Gabby May 17, 2014, 9:31 pm

    From the title of this post, and the first picture, I thought it was going to be a new smoothie concoction!! But I just made this salad and am now obsessed! Thank you!!

    • 12
      Jen May 19, 2014, 10:04 pm

      yay! so glad you enjoyed it!

  • 13
    Amanda May 18, 2014, 5:40 pm

    Hi Jen!
    Your recipes always look so delicious, especially your smoothies! A few post back I noticed that you had made some freezer smoothie packs for your client–can you share what you put in the freezer packs/how you portion them? It sounds like a GREAT time saver!
    Thanks!

    • 14
      Jen May 19, 2014, 10:04 pm

      yes, all i did was slice a banana and put some frozen fruit in there directly with the spinach leaves. i gave him instructions to dump it in the blender with milk and whatever else he wanted to add. they work well!

  • 15
    Elizabeth May 18, 2014, 7:21 pm

    Looks good as always! Do you know what brand of balsamic you used? Thanks!

    • 16
      Jen May 19, 2014, 10:02 pm

      it was from a specialty shop here in town!

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