Drinks & Smoothies · 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!

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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!

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*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.

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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.

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Have a great weekend everyone!

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kid-friendly · Recipes

Cream Cheese Stuffed Strawberries

It’s strawberry season in New England! These berries have a very short window of availability each year, and this summer the crop is peaking late — like right now — so it’s time to pick up some fresh berries at the farmer’s market and get baking. My brother’s girlfriend Michelle, who you may remember from this popular Stuffed Mushroom recipe at Christmas, makes one of the best strawberry treats I’ve ever had: strawberries stuffed with sweetened cream cheese. Auntie Shelly, as Georgia calls her, brings these to every summer gathering and they are always the absolute most popular item on the potluck, including last weekend when we had a barbecue for Mark’s birthday at our house. They were gone in a flash and I felt lucky to grab a couple before they disappeared. In addition to being a crowd pleaser, they are very simple to make. Read on to find out how.

Cream Cheese Stuffed Strawberries

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 packages of fresh strawberries
  • 8 oz of regular cream cheese
  • ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Graham crackers (optional)

DIRECTIONS

First, take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator. It needs to be at room temperature in order for everything to blend well.

Wash the strawberries, and remove the stems. Cut the bottom off of each strawberry where the leaves are so they can stand up on their own.

Make an “X” cut on the pointed side of each strawberry and set them aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and start mixing on low speed. Start slow to make sure the confectioner’s sugar doesn’t splatter everywhere! Increase the speed to medium/high until the mixture is a light, fluffy texture. This usually takes about 3-5 minutes.

Put the cream cheese mixture into a piping bag with a small tip. An easy way of doing this is to use a tall, empty drinking glass, which holds the bag so you can have both hands free when pouring the mixture.

Insert the piping tip into the middle of the “X” cut on each berry, and squeeze the filling in until you can see it starting to peek out the sides.

Finally, an optional last step is to put some crushed graham crackers on top of the berries. This can make them look extra fancy!

{{ Serve at room temp and watch guests devour }}


If you really, really love strawberries — as Georgia does — try these Strawberry Mini Muffins, my Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, this Strawberry Yogurt Cake or my Creamy Strawberry Smoothie. We really love strawberries in our house!

Looking for places to pick your own strawberries this month? Here’s a great guide to you-pick spots and local strawberry festivals in and around Boston in June. Or, just follow the Facebook and Instagram posts from your family and friends for of-the-moment tips. Happy picking!


Tiny Prints - Flash Sale

Recipes

Pickled Watermelon

Just in time for the holiday weekend!! Let’s bust out the watermelons and swing into summer at last 🙂 The flesh of the watermelon provides a sweet topper for spicy arugula salad, and the pickled rinds make an unexpected side to grilled burgers, dogs, potato salad and a cold bottle of beer. Just like actual pickles, only cuter and niftier! 

pickled watermelon

I suggest trying those miniature melons you see at the supermarket starting this time of year. Buy a couple pounds at least; this recipe doubles easily from there.

Pickled Watermelon Rinds

INGREDIENTS

  • 2.5 (about) pounds of watermelons (use small ones to make cutting easier)
  • 2 TBPS red wine vinegar (or whatever kind you have/like)
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of water

DIRECTIONS

Halve the watermelons then slice into wedges. Cut off and set aside the pulp (the pink part) for use however you choose — particularly large-diced on a salad — leaving just the rind.

Using a knife, cut off the dark green outer layer and then slice the remaining rind into two-inch pieces.

In a small pot, combine the rinds, vinegar, sugar, a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup of water. Heat on the stove on high until boiling; once it boils, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, for 7-10 minutes or until the rinds are translucent and softened (test with a fork). Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. When they are at room temp, serve them without the extra liquid.

IF YOU ARE making a salad, whip up a nice vinaigrette from the leftover pickling liquid plus equal parts olive oil and mustard. Feta is also a worthy addition to a watermelon-arugula salad  🙂

YUM! Enjoy!!

**  Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, everyone **

Holidays · kid-friendly · Recipes

Pineapple Angel Food Cake

This past weekend, we went to a potluck with a loose Mexican food theme. Our friend Terri (hi, Terri!) made the most delicious and simple enchiladas, and our friend Seth brought an amazing guacamole with chopped mangoes (!) in it. We also had margaritas, chili, rice, and corn bread. I could eat a meal like that every day of the week!! I’d volunteered to do dessert, but as the day drew closer I realized I didn’t have enough rhubarb handy to make the crumble I’d envisioned for the 10-12 people expected, so I had to go to plan B. I racked my brain trying to think of something festive but light that could feed a good-sized crowd, including many toddlers. Then I remembered how well this orange creamsicle cake turned out a couple years ago, and in that vein made an even EASIER dessert with crushed pineapple and angel food cake. It has just two ingredients, not including any whipped cream you might want to add, and it came out so delicious! Perfect for summer and so easy, it’s definitely something I’m going to make again and again.

Pineapple Angel Food Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package angel food cake mix
  • 1 large (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple
  • whipped cream if you want it for topping!

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 and butter or Pam-spray a 9 x 13 baking dish (I used glass).

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry cake mix with the crushed pineapple, juice included. (Don’t add water per the box instructions!) Stir until evenly combined. Pour into your baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes (mine took closer to 30 — make sure it doesn’t burn!) It’s done for sure when a toothpick poked in the middle comes out clean. Let cool and serve!

Notes: I could only find pineapple chunks, so I buzzed them through the food processor quickly to pulverize them. The consistency you see there in my photos is what you want. I didn’t serve this with ice cream, but I think it would go well together! Because I was taking this to a potluck, I just bought a can of whipped cream, though I usually prefer to just make my own (especially ever since Mark got me a stand mixer). You could also make this in a cupcake tin with liners instead of a glass baking dish. Just be sure to cross-reference the cooking time on the side of the cake mix box if you drastically alter the pan size.

Pineapple Angel Food Cake

Enjoy! And have a wonderful weekend!

Tips and Tricks

The New Dirty Dozen & Clean 15

If you don’t already shop with this list of the most important produce items to buy organic, now you no longer have an excuse! In honor of Earth Day, here’s a handy dandy printable from the Environmental Working Group, just released last week. You can click the link below the image to download your own PDF to print and cut along the dotted line for your wallet, or just pin this picture for later 🙂  

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Click here to download the printable

The biggest news this year is probably the fact that strawberries skyrocketed to the top of the list, displacing apples as the #1 most pesticide-contaminated fresh produce item even after being rinsed in the field and washed again before eating.

I don’t know about you, but my family eats A LOT of strawberries, and buying these organic is a priority for us. The cost difference is usually $1 or $2 per 1-pound container, shopping at Target, Aldi or Trader Joe’s. And don’t forget that Costco has a large and impressive selection of organic produce, pantry, dairy and frozen items, if you have enough mouths to feed and enough storage to accommodate their package sizes (which we do, even with just a 1,100 sq. ft. house and a 20-year-old refrigerator. It might be more doable than you think!)

I’m also relieved to see that some items — namely avocado, mangoes and onions — are solidly on the clean 15 list, because those can get pricey when you buy organic, and there may not be a reason to. Studies have shown that the nutrition in organic- and non-organic foods is the same, so the real reason to invest in organic produce is to avoid pesticides, many of which can disrupt hormones and cause cancer, reproductive and developmental damage, and neurological problems.

red strawberries organic

Beyond following this list, the best way to avoid pesticide exposure is to buy in-season produce from local vendors such as the farmer’s market or a farm share/subscription box, especially those that are certified organic.

  • Looking for a Boston-area farmer’s market? Click here for an interactive map. You can sort by organic, you-pick, geographic location, you name it!
  • Don’t forget the Boston Public Market is open 7 days a week starting July 18! The new hours will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Here’s a vendor list.

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If you aren’t familiar with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), they are worth getting to know.  In addition to their produce guide, I rely on their Skin Deep cosmetic grading database and their annual sunscreen guide when I’m out in stores. Now, they’ve released an app that consolidates those consumer resources so you can simply scan items as you shop to evaluate their ingredients and effectiveness. I’ve already downloaded it! And that’s saying a lot, because I have 8,000 Georgia photos on my phone, so nobody gets new real estate without REALLY being worth it. 😉 

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Have a wonderful weekend and happy (non-toxic) shopping!!

Drinks & Smoothies · Recipes

Strawbanana Spinach Smoothie

If  you know me, you know I always throw greens into EVERY smoothie I make, because…well, why not? It tastes great and it adds critical nutrients. This one is simple but delicious and makes a great breakfast drink.

Strawbanana Spinach Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of frozen strawberries
  • 1 small coconut water
  • 1 banana, frozen (fresh is also OK)
  • handful of fresh spinach
  • 1 cup apple juice (add more or less to taste)

Directions

Adding liquids to the bottom of the blender first, blend all ingredients together until smooth. Enjoy cold.

This recipe makes enough for two good-sized smoothies that you can put in the fridge for the week. You can use more or less apple juice to your taste; it does add sugar, so you could leave it out and either add more coconut water to make up the difference, or just use plain old water. You won’t even be able to taste (or see) the spinach, but you WILL get all the benefits of this leafy green powerhouse: folic acid, protein, and calcium. It’s also iron-rich and packed with antioxidants and fiber.

Recipes · Uncategorized

Tropical Smoothie

This is so SIMPLE, and so refreshing, I’m going to be making it a lot.  All you need is a can of light coconut milk, a bag of frozen pineapple chunks and a splash of orange juice, and you’re in summertime heaven any time of year!

I made this on Smoothie Saturday, and boy was it a lifesaver when I came down with a nasty cold and just wanted something cold to soothe my throat this past week. It tastes like a virgin pina colada and with only 50 calories in the light version of coconut milk, it’s diet-friendly and delicious. Coconut milk is good for those who are lactose-intolerant, like me, and pineapple is loaded with vitamin C and manganese. Like all fruits, it’s packed with sugar but is low in fat and protein, and is cholesterol-free. The orange juice adds a hint of complexity to the flavor; I had oranges on hand, so I squeezed a few fresh, but you could use bottled OJ if that’s all you have handy. It’ll just mean there’s added sugars which are nice to avoid if you can.

Tropical Smoothie

Makes two servings

Time: 5-10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can of light coconut milk
  • 1 package frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of fresh squeezed OJ, tasting as you go (if you use bottled instead, add bit by bit so the concentrated taste of the store-bought juice doesn’t overwhelm the smoothie).
  • water and/or ice depending on the texture you desire

Blend all ingredients until smooth and enjoy!

Photo May 05, 1 19 14 PM