Booze & Beverages · kid-friendly · Recipes

Blueberry Super Smoothie

Inspired by the Blueberry Bliss Smoothie at Mother Juice in the Boston Public Market, I set out this week to create a smoothie recipe that had more complex flavors than the results I’ve gotten with just frozen berries and coconut milk alone. While there’s nothing wrong with tossing frozen fruit and milk into the blender, I always suspected there had to be a way of packing even more nutritional clout into something built on antioxidant-rich blueberries. I also wanted to give this smoothie some heft, to make it a real meal replacement possibility and filling enough to satisfy that afternoon sugar craving. I really love how this turned out, and I think you’ll be surprised at the secret ingredient that gives it that extra edge!

Blueberry Power Smoothie (3).png

Blueberry Super Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup juice (I chose cranberry)
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1 ripe or frozen banana
  • 1 container vanilla yogurt (Greek or regular; about 4 oz.)
  • a small palm full of pistachios
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • a dash of pumpkin pie spice*

DIRECTIONS

In a high speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, add all the ingredients, placing juice on the bottom and spices/seeds on top. Blend until smooth and enjoy cold!

33484557434_3289d6556f_o

*Did that last ingredient surprise you?? That’s one of the things that made the Mother Juice smoothie so good! You couldn’t put your finger on it, but it tasted SO GOOD. If you want to really amp up the spice factor, add in some cinnamon! And if you want even more protein, make the yogurt Greek (I like Trader Joe’s vanilla bean) and add a tablespoon of almond butter, too.

33515971983_a80d1658a6_o

You can also swap out the nuts if you don’t like pistachios — I think almonds would be good. And if you don’t use frozen berries or banana, then throw in a couple ice cubes. I make this at night and put it into to-go containers so I can grab them the next morning. With chia seeds, letting them sit in the smoothie overnight lets them plump up and give your drink a wonderful, thick texture! They also add lots of fiber, too.

Read more about chia seeds and find my recipe for chia pudding right here.

***

Have a great weekend everyone!

***

kid-friendly · Recipes

Fire Roasted Tomato Mac n’ Cheese

Mark is back working nights (in addition to tourist season picking up in Boston), which means every night is #girlsnight in our house, and Georgia and I can cook whatever we want. This week, that meant gooey mac n’ cheese with the subtle heat of pepper jack and fire-roasted tomatoes.

Fire Roasted Tomato Mac n Cheese

I love Muir Glen canned organic diced tomatoes and got this recipe from their website, adapting it a bit to our cheese preferences. We served it with steamed green beans and pink lemonade. (I did mention I dined with a three-year-old, right?) This is a simple weeknight dinner that makes plenty of tasty leftovers for the week. Adjust the mixture of cheeses to give it more or less kick, however you like it. We like it a little bit hot!

34145415125_fc994ca84f_o.jpg

In this recipe, I used almond milk and whole wheat flour. You could, of course, use regular dairy milk or another non-dairy substitute, and regular flour. I also used a ratio of 8 ounces cheddar cheese to 8 ounces hot pepper jack cheese; you can adjust this however you like as long as the total equals 16 ounces (8 oz = 2 cups). Other good cheese options would be White Cheddar and Monterey Jack, or if you don’t want any kick whatsoever from the cheese, havarti or gouda. You just need a good melter.

Fire Roasted Tomato Mac n’ Cheese

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box uncooked penne pasta (16 oz, or 5 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (I used almond)
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese (12 oz)
  • 1 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 eggs, beaten

For the topping:

  • 2 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1 cup panko crispy bread crumbs

 

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350°F and spray 9×13 inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Cook and drain the pasta. In a large measuring cup, mix the milk and the cream.

In a large pot such as a Dutch oven, melt the 1/4 cup of butter over low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently. With a whisk, stir in the flour and salt until smooth. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and bubbling.

Gradually stir in the milk mixture and heat until boiling, again stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute, still stirring, then reduce the heat and stir in the cheeses. Cook until melted, stirring occasionally.

Stir the drained cooked pasta and the canned tomatoes into the cheese sauce. Remove from the heat. Add the whisked eggs to the pasta mixture, stirring constantly until all blended. Pour the mixture into your glass baking dish

In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients (panko and melted butter); sprinkle over the pasta mixture.

Bake 20 – 25 minutes, or until the pasta is bubbly and the bread crumbs are lightly browned. Serve warm with the salad or vegetable side of your choice.

***

33760360760_3f91fa10bf_o.jpg

***

TIPS

Panko are Japanese-style breadcrumbs. They have a lighter texture that I love atop macaroni and cheese recipes. Regular breadcrumbs of any seasoning would also work just fine here.

This recipe also called for heavy whipping cream, but I chose to lighten it up a bit by using light cream instead, and it came out just as creamy as I’d hoped.

I also chose salted butter; either that or unsalted butter is fine. I minced my garlic to make it less intense. If you mince it, the flavor will be stronger than slicing or chopping, which you could also do here. I love the flavor of garlic, but minced is easier for Georgia and Mark to digest, as they share a genetic disposition to reflux, and raw garlic is a top trigger for anyone with acid.

33334019753_8fd7757993_o.jpg

I hope your taxes are done (!) and you’re able to enjoy some beautiful spring weather like we finally have in Boston these days. We spent the last weekend doing some touristy stuff with family to celebrate the end of winter, and I’ll be sharing about that soon. Boston on a gorgeous spring day like we had this past weekend and on Marathon Monday is simply amazing. This city will suck you in on a day like that if you aren’t careful, and before you know it you’ve decided to move here and winter is rolling up to show you what you’re really in for! Like a baby that sleeps through the night early and tricks you into having more kids, haha. Enjoy the rest of your week everyone, especially if you’re off for school vacation, and I’ll be back again soon. xoxo

 

dessert · kid-friendly · Recipes

Strawberry Peach Nice Cream

You guys, it’s finally WARM IN BOSTON today! In the spirit of spring, Georgia and I broke out the blender this weekend to whip up some sweet-tart nice cream. All we needed was a bag of frozen berries and some yogurt to make this healthy, homemade treat. We had frozen peaches and strawberry yogurt on hand, so that’s what we used. We are pretty careful about the sugar content of the yogurt we buy, since Georgia eats most of it; if you do the same, you can keep the guilt factor in check here. At its most basic, “nice cream” consists of frozen bananas blended until smooth, but there are tons of variations and this one was perfect for solving our craving for rich strawberry ice cream on the cusp of summer.

HARVESTING SINCE 1892.jpg

I got zero elegant pictures of this, mostly because we ate it all. But that’s a good thing, right? It was so delicious I didn’t even have time to photo style it? Yes??

Strawberry Peach ‘Nice Cream’

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of yogurt (I used organic strawberry yogurt from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 pound of frozen fruit (I used sliced peaches from Trader Joe’s)

Directions

In a high-speed blender like a Vitamix, add the yogurt then the berries. Turn the machine on and slowly increase the speed to high. Use the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades. In about one minute, the sound of the motor will change and four mounds of ice cream will form. Stop! If you over-mix the machine could overheat and cause the ice cream to melt.

This can be eaten immediately topped with fresh berries, or frozen in a plastic container for a couple of months. Enjoy!

strawberries-frisch-ripe-sweet-89778

Want to try more flavors of nice cream? Try…

frozen bananas + peanut butter

frozen bananas + coconut milk

frozen pineapples or mangoes + banana + almond milk

acai berries (buy frozen packets @ Trader Joe’s) + almond milk + chocolate chips

frozen cherry + banana + vanilla almond milk

frozen banana + almond butter + almond milktopped with raspberries

frozen blueberries + vanilla Greek yogurt + graham cracker crumbled on top

…the combinations are endless!

Have a wonderful week and enjoy the nice weather.

kid-friendly · Recipes

Sweet Potato Pot Pie

This is an all-purpose vegan recipe that can be made into a Meatless Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie, or turned into the filling for a Vegetarian  Sweet Potato Pot Pie. With crumbled veggie burgers instead of meat, and your choice of vegetables in a creamy non-dairy sauce topped with buttery mashed sweet potatoes, it’s versatile and hearty!

SWEET POTATO POT PIE.jpg

Even though this turned into a vegetarian shepherd’s pie — with “meat” on bottom, veggies and sauce on top, and potatoes spread in a thin layer, baked until browned and bubbly — I created this filling with the intent of putting it in a pot pie next time. To do that, I’d keep the sweet potatoes cubed instead of mashing them, thin out the creamy sauce on the stove top with a bit of nut milk, then use a puff pastry shell to cover it in a glass baking dish. Let me know if you try it that way! I really liked how this turned out.

22390222446_6b2400df28_o.jpg

Sweet Potato Pot Pie

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 veggie burger patties (I used frozen)
  • fresh or frozen vegetables of your choice; I used corn and carrots. You need about two 14-oz. cans worth, or two small bags of frozen vegetables.
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • cashew cream (eyeball the amount) & water to thin it out until spreadable
  • olive oil, for cooking the diced onion
  • butter, for stirring into the mashed sweet potatoes

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat the oven to 350 then prep the ingredients. Microwave the four patties briefly, following package directions, then cut into triangles and set aside. Boil water in a large pot; peel and cube the potatoes, then cook in the water once boiling until just soft. Drain and set aside. Once they’ve cooled a bit, mash by hand with a pat of butter. Dice an onion.

In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until warm, then saute the onion and add the veggie patties until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the onion-veggie burger mixture into the bottom of a glass baking dish — I used a round glass casserole dish, but a square 10×10 or 8-inch glass pan would also work well — and press down so it’s flat.

In a mixing bowl, combine the vegetables (thawing/draining first if frozen/canned) and the cashew cream, eyeballing the amount based on how creamy you’d like the filling of your pie to be. As I noted above, you should add some water to make the cashew cream more liquid-y if you’ll be baking it into a sweet potato pot pie with a pie crust instead of a shepherd’s pie. Pour over the veggie burger-onion mixture in the glass baking dish.

Top with the mashed sweet potatoes, patting down flat so they evenly cover the veggies. Bake uncovered for about half an hour, checking to make sure it isn’t burning, and let cool briefly once out of the oven. To reheat later, I like to put a pat of butter on top! (No surprise there — anyone in my family can tell you what a butter freak I am.)

22390267906_713c7e8e04_o21793473704_0d8aa8bbc8_o22390280546_0c163c9eec_o21795160723_4baea62270_o22228575518_87d604999e_o

This travels and reheats very well, too. I made this in single-serve, miniature ramekins for Mark’s grandfather when he was recovering from surgery a few years ago, and also for friends who’ve just had a baby in winter. It’s just the kind of comforting food that cold days call for, and at least in Boston, we are still having lots of cold, rainy days. Brrr! Hopefully we’ve had our last true deep freeze for the year and we can look forward to warmer weather ahead. It is officially spring now, after all 🙂

18883418730_1ca071da52_o

Cashew cream is really easy to make, and if you have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix (let this be yet another reason to justify buying one!) you can make it without even needing to soak the nuts overnight. Of course, you can also make this recipe with a conventional dairy-based white sauce from scratch or by using a can of “cream of” soup such as cream of celery or cream of mushroom or potato. But you don’t need to be vegan to enjoy cashew cream! It takes mere minutes to make, and seasoned with nothing more than a little salt and garlic it’s ready to dress pasta or any number of tasty dishes that would otherwise use dairy. Toss it with egg noodles, cooked spinach and diced butternut squash, or add nutritional yeast to create a “cheesy” sauce for baked macaroni. It can pinch-hit in any casserole you already make, or try it mixed with hot sauce or sriracha and baked with some shredded chicken for a tasty buffalo dip.

Have a great weekend everyone!