Booze & Beverages · kid-friendly · Recipes

Banana Date Smoothie

Does anyone else love dates? Like a lot? I sure do! They’re considered a super food for a reason, and are easy to work into your repertoire.

So delicious and full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, they are a great source of energy and have been a satisfying component to many Mediterranean diets for centuries. Eaten in moderation, which is always a good idea with dried fruits, dates can boost digestion and keep you fuller longer, and lend a special flavor to any appetizer spread, smoothie, or even dessert. In fact, I did just that on Christmas Day with Sticky Toffee Pudding, and it turned out so well that I made a batch to share with my co-workers a week later. I’ll be sharing it with you in just a few days! Sticky Toffee Pudding uses blended dates as the basis for a delicious, dense little cake topped with butterscotch sauce, and it would be simply perfect for Easter Sunday, too.

You know what? If you make that Sticky Toffee Pudding, you’ll have just enough dates left over to toss in this smoothie. How perfect! If you are interested in learning how to make a healthy smoothie using dates, bananas, nut milk and oats, read on.

BANANA DATE SMOOTHIE

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen bananas (or add a couple ice cubes if using fresh bananas)
  • a handful of dates, about 10 (I buy them by the box at Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

Directions

In a blender, add the almond milk then the dates. Blend at medium speed until the dates are mostly broken down.

Add the bananas and blend again. Then, add the oats and let them sit for a minute to soak and soften. You can probably skip this step if you have a high-end blender such as a Vitamix or BlendTec.

Puree the entire mixture on medium-high until smooth. Makes two servings.

Enjoy!

So we had a huge snow storm last week (and it’s freezing this week…spring, WTF are you hiding from??) which meant I was trapped at home for two days with no school and barely-plowed roads. I love getting in extra time with my G, but we definitely ran out of things to do after a little while. Often when that happens, we start cooking or baking together. She loves making smoothies, and this is one I’ve been wanting to try for a long time because it is so filling and fiber-rich that it really qualifies as a meal replacement. It’s delicious and good for you, and boy was I glad I’d made it a few days later when I had some early mornings and evening meetings that otherwise would have forced me toward the drive-thru for sustenance. The only thing I’d change next time is to make sure I have two smaller frozen bananas, because the ones we got at Costco last time around were so gigantic that the flavor *almost* took over the dates in my smoothie. If you find that you can only get larger bananas too, then I’d just use one or one-and-a-half.

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I thought you’d all appreciate a glamorous behind-the-scenes shot of my life testing recipes and staging food photos while home with a mischievous toddler and elderly cat. Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

Booze & Beverages · Grow Your Own Way · Recipes

Mojito Mocktail

First off: here’s a real Mojito recipe if that’s what you’re about! My friend Terri brought this to Mark’s birthday BBQ this year and they were outstanding. If you just want the refreshing, minty, limey, sugary taste without the booze, though, here’s how I do: 

In a large glass, like this mason jar, muddle (crush) 10 fresh mint leaves,  1 tsp sweetener (regular sugar, or stevia, etc.), and half a lime, cut into wedges. Add a large handful of ice cubes and pour ginger ale, seltzer water (plain or flavored) or club soda into the glass, topping with more lime wedges and sweetener to taste. You can also cut the fizz by using half plain water, half sparkling water. Stir to combine — don’t strain! — and enjoy without the hangover 🙂

Reasons I Love Mint

It grows easily. Ask anyone who’s put it in their garden outside a container!!

It’s a great digestive aid. Caffeine-free peppermint tea is fabulous for soothing an upset stomach, especially around the holidays when heavy food may be dragging you down.

It may relieve nausea. I did not find it helpful while pregnant (and some doctors caution that mint can cause contractions or discomfort, especially during your third trimester)… but at other times, it does seem to do the trick.

Mint can help inflamed, aggravated skin to calm down — especially if you tend to get hormonal breakouts. A few sprigs of mint in your water can soothe you inside and out! And some people swear by masks made of crushed mint. You can DIY, or try Freeman’s Feeling Beautiful Clay Mask with Mint and Lemon.

Have a great week everyone!

Booze & Beverages · Recipes · Uncategorized

Healthy Green Smoothie

Happy almost weekend! I’ve come down with a summer cold, so I’m stepping up my eating habits to nourish myself back to health. Nothing helps kick an icky illness better than eating right and resting. The body needs real food to recover! Sunday night, when I felt this one coming on, Georgia and I grabbed the last lettuce from the garden and some fruit from our weekend grocery haul, and got down to business. This smoothie is refreshing, re-hydrating, energizing and nutritious. Sip happily!

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Green Smoothie

Makes enough for two servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 slices watermelon
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 apple, cored and quartered
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 head of romaine, rough chopped
  • optional: 1 celery stalk, chopped (I love adding celery to smoothies :))

Using a fresh banana is fine, too. You may want to add a couple ice cubes to keep it cold if you do that. Subbing a lime for the lemon is also OK; you can also swap the romaine for any kind of lettuce, and any type of apple will do. This is a flexible smoothie that tastes sweet, not super green. My only advice would be to keep water as the base or it will get too heavy and won’t have the same smooth drinkability.

DIRECTIONS

Adding the water, lemon juice and watermelon first, then the other ingredients, blend on high until smooth. Enjoy cold! Keeps well for up to a week in the fridge, or double and freeze extras to have throughout the week.

🎉 Happy Independence Day everyone! 🎉

 

 

Booze & Beverages · Recipes

Pineapple Mint Smoothie

New obsession alert: this is currently my most favorite smoothie in the world, which is saying a lot because I make a lot of smoothies (in fact, Georgia now asks me every night, “are we going to make smoothies with the Vitamix together?!”) This one stands out because it is so refreshing and hydrating. I’ve been battling the worst allergies this spring, and the fruit and coconut water in this drink do wonders for my raw throat. On a couple of those hot nights we just had, I swear I could’ve just had this smoothie for dinner. Enjoy! 

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Pineapple Mint Smoothie  

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1.5 cup cold unsweetened coconut water (~one 11.8 oz. can)
  • 1/2 cup cold filtered water
  • 2 apples, cored and quartered (green or red)
  • 2 kiwi, peeled
  • 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks (I used one bag from Trader Joe’s)
  • 20 fresh mint leaves

DIRECTIONS

Adding the liquids first and the frozen ingredients last, blend on high until smooth. Enjoy cold!

This made enough for two large smoothies so I set one aside and just gave it a good vigorous shake the next morning to re-mix it together. Or, you could freeze any extra, or halve the recipe and it will turn out the same.You can also adjust the coconut to regular water ratio: I happened to buy about a 12-ounce can, so I needed a half cup of regular water to give me 2 cups total. You could divide the water any way you’d like, as long as you end up with two cups of liquid for the full recipe or one cup for half.

Adapted from Kimberly Snyder’s blog.

Booze & Beverages · Grow Your Own Way · kid-friendly · Recipes

Carrot Cake Smoothie

After a month of staring down my new Vitamix in intimidation and fear, I finally asked Georgia to help me figure out how to use the darn thing this weekend. We were trapped at the house while Mark jetted down to New York for new headshots, and we had some pretty random things in the fridge to use up. I remembered seeing a recipe for a smoothie using carrots this winter, and going on memory, I tried to make something refreshing for all seasons. I swear, I’ve never had a smoothie come out this, well, SMOOTH before — I’m about to go get married to this Vitamix so I can keep it forever. It’s that good. Best combo birthday/Mother’s Day gift EVER.

Since it’s summer, you could definitely tone down the warming spices in the recipe to keep it tasting lighter and fruity.

Carrot Cake Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup almond milk (soy also works well)
  • 1 plain low/no-fat yogurt (about 5 oz.)
  • 2 TBSP rolled oats
  • 1 TBSP dry chai tea mix, such as Trader Joe’s*
  • 1 frozen chopped banana (or 1 fresh, plus two ice cubes)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (or at least 1 cup shredded/packaged)

* To approximate chai tea seasoning, use a dash of cinnamon, vanilla and 1 or 2 cloves. You can also omit the cloves, or use 1 TBSP pumpkin pie mix instead.

DIRECTIONS

Add the ingredients in order of liquidity: first the almond milk, then the yogurt, then the grains and spices, and finally the fruits and vegetables. If using a high-powered machine like a Vitamix, blend for less than one minute on low and increasing up to high. Makes enough for two days, or to share with a friend (like my G!) Enjoy 🙂

Booze & Beverages · Recipes

Banana Vanilla Milkshake for Everyone

I did not mean to disappear for seven days. We have had family in town from Florida, and thus I’ve been busy taking some day trips, eating some tasty food, and just generally enjoying these last weeks of summer. We’ve been too busy to cook! But oh man, have I been eating out. I need a junk food detox! I see lots of salad, yoga and Zumba in my future. In fact, since Mark is back working nights on top of the Freedom Trail season, I’ve switched my Blue Apron to all-vegetarian for the foreseeable future.


 We had Thai food, and ice cream for the birthday girl.


Then, I took a day off to go to Rockport with my mom and aunt, where we ate lobster rolls, fried haddock, clam chowder, and old fashioned candy, and even got to see a catch of lobsters and crabs come in at the dock.

                 
Before Georgia’s party and the invasion of the relatives I invented this milkshake for Georgia, for a few reasons. Number one: to use up a blackened banana. Number two: to get more calcium into my kid, since she stopped drinking milk when her baby bottles went bye-bye. And boy did it come out tasty!


  

It’s super simple to make. Just blend:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 banana-vanilla flavored yogurt (or just vanilla)
  • 1 frozen banana, or fresh (in which case add ice for texture)
  • a dash of vanilla extract
  • a dash of cinnamon

Process in a blender until smooth, adding ice if you didn’t use a frozen banana for consistency and temperature. Enjoy cold with cinnamon sprinkled on top!

This doesn’t taste overly banana-y but is very creamy and refreshing. Because it’s thinner than a smoothie, it can go right into a toddler’s sippy cup just as well as a drinking glass for mom and dad!

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Booze & Beverages · Recipes

Iced Coffee Shake

At the age of 33, I have to have my wisdom teeth out.

oh-bother

Guess I’d better fire up some soup and milkshake ideas.

Actually, I just made up a new milkshake last week: after getting aggravated again that Mark left a half-drunk iced coffee melting on our end table, I set out to turn an annoyance into something tasty and less wasteful.

Grrr!
Grrr!

You know how I always keep over-ripe bananas peeled and frozen in my fridge for spontaneous smoothie making? Well, I threw one of those into the blender with the rest of Mark’s iced coffee, including the ice for texture, and a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt (for deliciousness). Presto: an at-home Coffee Flavored Milkshake, which Georgia and I split while Mark was at work!

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Since I was literally making this from a leftover iced coffee that already had milk and sugar in it, this required no sweetener at all, nor further liquid and ice. You don’t even have to add the froyo/ice cream; I did so purely out of wanting to make it a special Saturday treat for me and my girl. If you are working from iced coffee concentrate, like they sell at Trader Joe’s, or a home brew, definitely add ice, milk and whatever type of sweetener you enjoy to achieve the same effect. All I used was one scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt and one frozen banana to the equivalent of one small size iced coffee drink, approximately 16 ounces.

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I am going to milk this upcoming dental experience for all it’s worth in the ice cream department. I’m thinking frappes from no less than my two favorite ice cream shops in Boston (actually, the world!) — here and here — both of which used to be within walking distance from my apartment. Gentrification, man! It prices me further and further out, and deprives me of fashionable gourmet ice cream to boot.

Any tips for healing up quick from a tooth extraction?? Send them (and lots of ice cream) my way!!