Archive for April, 2010

Vanilla Milkshake Smoothie

I love fruit smoothies; they are so quick to make and totally versatile.  I think this recipe is delicious on its own, especially at this time of year when there isn’t any fruit in season here in Colorado, but I also use it as a base and vary the fruit or flavorings based on what is in season.  It’s full of potassium, fiber, and is sweetened only with natural sugars.  To me, it’s as satisfying as any milkshake and I get to feel great afterwards too. 

Smoothies are a great use of fruit that is slightly past its prime.  When you have bananas going brown and aren’t up for baking banana bread, break them into chunks and store them in the freezer.  Same for berries, peaches, or any other fruit that is starting to look a little sad.  Keep them in separate bags if you want to make specific creations, or just throw them all in one bag and you’ll get a different smoothie every time.  Personally, I eat my veggies on a plate and not in my smoothies, but if you are into veggie smoothies, by all means, go for it. 

I am the proud owner of a Magic Bullet, yes, as seen on tv, and that’s what I like to use for a smoothie for one, because it’s a quick cleanup.  To serve more people, just use double, triple, etc. the amount of ingredients and use your blender.  Any extra can be poured into ice cube trays or popsicle makers and frozen for a future pick-me-up. 

  • 1/4-1/3 cup hempseeds
  • 3/4 cup water (can vary depending on how thick you want it to be; just make sure you have enough to allow all of the frozen fruit to process smoothly)
  • One banana (cut into chunks if you didn’t freeze it that way)
  • 1 date, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder (I happen to have vanilla powder and like to use it when no cooking is involved, but you can use vanilla extract or a high quality vanilla flavor instead)

Other Flavor/Nutrition options:

  • Add a Tablespoon (or to taste) cocoa or carob powder
  • Add frozen berries instead of about 1/3 to 1/2 the banana
  • Add frozen peaches or nectarines instead of 1/3 the banana
  • Add powdered calcium, omega three oils, or superfood powder
  • Add fresh vegetables with the hemp seeds
  • Add whatever your heart, and your body, desires

Put the hemp seeds and water in your blender and blend on high until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients and start by pulsing to break them up.  Blend on high quickly to create a uniform mixture.  Remove the cover and stir, then blend again if necessary.  Enjoy!

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Five-Spice Carrot Cashew Butter

THIS is the beauty of sharing food with our communities!  I never would have tried this recipe had a friend and fellow food-lover not brought me a little sampling of this delicious spread.  I wouldn’t have tried it because, other than in soup, I am not a huge fan of cooked carrots.  I also had to get rid of my five spice powder because I couldn’t stand smelling it everytime I opened my spice cabinet.  Despite these two seemingly major hurdles, I absolutely loved this spread.  My friend had paired it up with a millet bread that I make; again, a combo I wouldn’t have gravitated toward on my own, but it was fabulous.  It had all the cakey, creamy satisfaction of cake with frosting, without the cloying sweetness.  It would also be great on any bread, crackers, etc.  I am so looking forward to buying fresh carrots from my local farmers, as I know I’ll be making this throughout the Summer.  I think I’ll just buy my five-spice powder a quarter teaspoon at a time:)

This recipe is from the Real Food Daily Cookbook, which is written by Ann Gentry, the owner of Real Food Daily restaurants in California.  All of the recipes in the cookbook are vegan and, even if they aren’t your style for one reason or another, there are enough delicious-sounding condiments and sauces and such that it’s worth your time just for the inspiration it might provide for your own creations. 

  • 1 Tablespoon oil (recipe recommends canola, but I will use olive oil)
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped (I would just wash them)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow miso (check ingredients if you need it to be gluten free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the carrots and onion and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add the water, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are very tender, about 10 minutes.  Uncover and simmer until the liquid has absorbed, about 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and cool completely. 

Transfer the cooled carrot mixture to a food processor.  Add the cashews, maple syrup, miso, five-spice powder, and salt.  Blend until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the spread to a small bowl.  Serve cold or at room temperature.  Enjoy! 

 

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White Bean and Tomato Sauté

Today reminded me so much of Summer.  That’s partly because it was such a warm, sunny, beautiful day.  It’s also because it had that exhausting fullness of a Summer day; time spend outside with (and without) the whole family – gardening, hiking, biking, talking with friends and neighbors.  A lovely Sunday. 

Another reminder of Summer is fresh, local tomatoes.  Although we can’t pick them from our gardens yet, we can buy local, greenhouse-grown tomatoes at the Saturday Farmers’ Market.  Since I haven’t bought a fresh tomato all Winter, I’m thrilled to have them available now.  This is one of my favorite quick sautés and is perfect for a light meal on a Spring or Summer day.

The following recipe serves four.

  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic
  • 4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked white beans
  • a handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped (or a tablespoon or so of pesto)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large saucepan to medium, pour in the oil and add the garlic.  After a minute or so, when the garlic is fragrant, add the chopped tomatoes, sprinkle with salt, cover and cook for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are broken down.  Add the white beans and cook until heated through, then add the fresh basil and season to taste.  Serve alone, over quinoa, or over bread toasted with olive oil and salt.  Enjoy!

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Delicious Soaked Oatmeal

Oh, how I miss Mexico!  I miss my chair on the beach.  I miss my bed with the view of the ocean.  I miss the delicious mango and pineapple, fruits I just can’t bear to buy here  in Boulder.  I miss the days filled with lounging, reading and swimming in the ocean.  Frankly, I think I just miss vacation.  But, alas, we cannot be on vacation all the time, or we would start needing vacations from our vacation! 

Anyway, partly because of that and partly because we have now entered true Spring weather (yippee!), I’m finding myself in a bit of a conundrum with food.  While I”m usually a big veggies for breakfast eater, that just isn’t working for me right now and, in fact, I don’t wake up wanting much of anything except fresh mango:)  This oatmeal has saved me from being a breakfast skipper, which also doesn’t work for me in the long run.  It is sweetened with dates and I like to add coconut butter and nuts to keep it balanced, as well as plenty of cinnamon, which also helps to regulate blood sugar.  I often add frozen blueberries as well, for an extra antioxidant kick.  Experiment with the number of dates you like to use.  Dates are very sweet, but they are whole foods, loaded with fiber and potassium among other things, so I believe they are an excellent choice if you want to add a little sweetness (in moderation, of course).  

This recipe makes enough for 4 people.  I sometimes make extra oatmeal without the coconut butter or blueberries, then reheat it with some extra water and those or other additions when I need a quick breakfast or snack during a busy week.  For a fun weekend breakfast, you can set up a little oatmeal bar with a variety of nuts and fruits, then allow each person to come up with their own creation.    If you aren’t a sweet breakfast eater, this is also a nice mid-afternoon snack. 

  • 1 cup gluten free steel cut oats
  • water for soaking
  • 2 cups water for cooking
  • 2-4 medium-sized dates, pitted and chopped
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1-2 Tablespoons raw coconut butter
  • Frozen blueberries (or the fruit of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • chopped almonds (or the nut of your choice)
  • more cinnamon to sprinkle over individual bowls
  • Other options for toppings: sliced bananas, chopped figs (use lesser amount of dates), fresh fruit (when it FINALLY comes in season), other frozen fruits, etc, etc, or just enjoy it plain.

Pour the oats into a bowl large enough to fill with enough water to cover the oats by at least an inch.  Leave overnight.  When you are ready to cook the oats, pour them into a strainer and rinse and drain them.  Pour the drained oats into a medium-sized saucepan and add 2 cups water, chopped dates, and sea salt.  Bring to a boil, then cover pot and remove from heat and let sit for about 15-20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.  Alternatively, you can keep them simmering on low, but I find that they often boil over and/or stick to the pan and don’t really cook that much faster, all the while using more energy.  Once the oats are cooked, stir in the coconut butter, frozen blueberries, and cinnamon and cover to allow the coconut butter to melt into the oatmeal and the blueberries to heat up.  Give it another stir and serve with chopped nuts and additional cinnamon.  Enjoy!

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