Spring is in full swing and the signs are all around. This past weekend, the climate seemed to suddenly transform from dormant to sun-filled within a matter of days. Trees burst into bloom and my formerly boring dog-walks turned in to streets lined with flowering cherry trees, each one showering me with tender white petals.
Marking a period of rebirth and renewed energy, Spring is one of my favorite seasons. Our senses are excited by the sweet smells in the air and we look ahead, already anticipating Summer. We begin to exercise more, we fear swimsuit season, we daydream of picnics and fireworks that we’ll have. We sometimes rush so quickly to the times ahead that we don’t enjoy the times at hand.
On the farm, our Springtime indicator came through witnessing our flock of sheep giving birth to the most adorable lambs (which seems rather Biblical in retrospect). Here in the city, I have not had the opportunity to witness any births. Instead, I’ve taken my Springtime queue from the overly excited dogs piggybacking other mildly confused dogs at the dog park.
And as if Mother Nature wished to add an exclamation point to express Spring is here!, I had to quickly sidestep a used condom. While I doubt any of these events led to Springtime procreation, at least the intent to reproduce was evident. Something was in the air.
We knew that we should take full advantage of the weather and ventured our for a leisurely 10K walk around the Stanly Park seawall. The seawall extends around the park and the entire downtown area. Everyone in the city, whether tourist or highrise dweller, seemed to be out walking, running, blading or biking. Everyone zipped around, I could almost hear people losing belt sizes from their activities.
The seawall is scenic and provides both pedestrian and bike paths, albeit dangerously close to one another. Posted signs and markings in each path note where you should be for your chosen activity. Yet no matter how well-intentioned the signs, there are select people who must learn through example. Stray children, dogs on long leashes, and an occasional distracted tourist made for many near misses and at least one direct hit.
While I navigated the chaos around me, it was clear there was indeed something different in the air. People were smiling and laughing loudly, some sitting on benches to catch a quick breath while the sounds of speeding bikes and giggly children became a light concerto in the background.
We continued our walk around the harbor and into the park, watching ships sail to port and sea planes taking off from water runways. It wasn’t until we approached an outcrop of benches that I was hit by a familiar smell. It reminded me college, late night study sessions turned impromtu parties, a smell that I’ve noticed many of my walks around Vancouver.
Whether it’s walking past an outdoor cafe or a stroll along the beach, at some point I come across the faintly sweet smell of marijuana in the air. Like my dog, Bobby, does when he smells me cooking, I usually stop in my tracks and lift my nose to the air. Joe is less-skilled in this and takes my word that I have stumbled upon another not-so-secret smoking session.
It made me smile. While I was so focused, like everyone else, on being out and speeding through the day there sat a young couple on the bench taking it at a more gentle pace. They overlooked the water, hands entwined, enjoying each others company – enjoying this Spring day, occasionally passing a small joint back and forth. In comparison to everyone around, they appeared to be in slow motion, as if to mock our frenzied movements.
I returned home from our walk feeling inspired by the weather and ready to take my recent homemade yogurt adventure on step further. Maybe you’re in need of a refreshing treat or want to plan ahead for the Summer. Either way, I enjoyed making this tart lemon frozen yogurt with a sweet cinnamon-blueberry swirl.
The frozen yogurt is made using a thick Greek-style yogurt. I made an 8 cup batch of homemade yogurt using whole milk. I then placed it into a sieve lined with paper towel for a few hours so the excess water drains out. The yogurt decreases in size by half, leaving only a thick sour-cream like yogurt.
Lemon Frozen Yogurt with Blueberry Swirl
Lemon Frozen Yogurt
4 cups strained yogurt (Greek-style yogurt)
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2 Tablespoons sugar
In a small bowl, add the lemon zest, juice, and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves and a light syrup forms. Stir syrup into the yogurt. At this point, you had a wonderfully flavored lemon yogurt. Add the mix to an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer directions. It took about 25 minutes for it to reach a soft-serve consistency.
While the yogurt is in the ice-cream maker, add the blueberries, sugar, cinnamon and water to a small saucepan. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until blueberries pop and the mix reduces to a semi-thick syrup. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
I’m not a pro when it comes to swirling things together. I added the frozen yogurt and blueberry sauce in alternating layers to a glass bowl. Then, I gave one or two stirs with a spoon to swirl them together. Place into the freezer and allow to firm up.
It will eventually freeze quite firm (i.e. difficult to scoop). Allow to set out for a few minutes before serving. On another attempt, I might consider adding a bit of limoncello which may deepen the lemon flavor and preclude it from freezing solid.
The flavor is on the tart side, which is exactly as I wanted. For those having had Pinkberry, it’s along this spectrum. Lightly lemony and with a sweet cinnamon-blueberry swirl. I loved it.
Each bite is a burst of Spring in your mouth — it will also make for an amazing Summer treat.
More yogurt ideas from other sites:
Agave Frozen Yogurt – Mighty Foods
Durian Frozen Yogurt – Steamy Kitchen
Chocolate Frozen Yogurt – Chocolate & Zucchini
Strawberry Frozen Yogurt – David Lebovitz
Blueberry Maple Pecan Frozen Yogurt – Closet Cooking
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