Drinks & Smoothies · 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.

Holidays · Recipes

5 Great Pies for Pi Day!

It’s Pi Day (in the U.S., anyway) and what better way to celebrate 3.14.15(92653…) than with a roundup of my favorite PIE recipes, starting with one I just saw yesterday that I haven’t made yet but cannot WAIT to try, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen:

Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie from Smitten Kitchen

That’s zooming to the top of my must-make list!

Next up comes my Key Lime Pie, which I often make for Easter. Either that, or Strawberry Shortcake, which is also inside that key lime post, because one year I made both and my lucky relatives got to eat it all up.

Then there’s the classic Raw Pecan Love Pie from Kimberly Snyder, which I just love.

And who can resist this go-to Chocolate Pie by Pioneer Woman, so easy and so good. Mark just eats this up.

Next is something a little bit different: a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie!

Which can’t hold a candle to my Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp filling, which can be used just as easily to make a pie, as I have done and will continue to do every year.

And what’s a post about pie without some savory options?

Like Shepherd’s Pie, or Roasted Zucchini & Tomato Ricotta Pie, just to name a couple of examples.

But here’s the embarrassing part.

My favorite pies — pumpkin and apple — are two that, believe it or not, I DON’T have recipes for on this blog yet! So I am hereby setting a goal to rectify that this year.

Maybe I can get my mom to guest blog about her famous lemon meringue pie, and then eventually I’ll have to share my family’s recipe for Swedish Apple Pie, too. And come to think of it, what about Ricotta Pie??

Clearly, I have a lot of catching up to do! Stay tuned, and hopefully there will be some new desserts coming your way in short order.

***

What about you? What are YOUR favorite pies? Tell me in the comments 🙂 And have a great weekend.

Baby & Toddler · Drinks & Smoothies · Recipes

We’re back (+2 Vitamix recipes)

Do you ever feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? Ever since having a baby, I sure do. I think it’s frowned upon to say that, but traveling with a child is down-to-the-bone exhausting! 

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I’m so glad we got away from this snow. And it never feels like we spend enough time with our family by just seeing them every six months, especially since they used to live up north full time. But I always come back feeling that we should have stayed longer, and like I need to still take a few days off before going back to work so that I can get my life back together and recover from flying with a toddler. Our return flight was delayed, and Georgia did NOT cope well — she threw a water bottle and poured milk on our seat mate, who turned out to be a very understanding grandpa, and kicked the guy in front of us for three hours straight. She head-butted me so hard at one point that I thought she’d broken my nose. Oh, and did I mention that Mark got food poisoning and spent the entire day with a barf bag? Not fun. We actually talked about driving next time even though it takes three full days.

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On the plus side, I think we might be only house in the entire Greater Boston area that doesn’t have horrific ice dams right now. We didn’t have a single leak when we got home, and our next-door neighbors snow-blowed us out so we could get in the driveway upon returning from the airport. We really are so lucky.

where did our house go?
where did our house go?

On our last day in Florida, Mark and I took Georgia to Nokomis Groves for her first citrus swirl. Well, technically she had the lime-vanilla cone in utero, but she very rudely made me throw up the entire thing an hour later, so we had to go back! It only took her one attempt at biting the ice cream before she figured out to lick it and protect her front teeth.

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P.S., can we talk about the fact that mom has never owned a pair of Topsiders, and this kid already has a hot pink pair?? Someone’s daddy sure spoils her.

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She’s in a major daddy phase right now, which is kind of a relief after 18 months of mom-clinging!  

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Georgia also tried her first smoothie while in Florida. My aunt just got a Vitamix (jealous!!) so we made Georgia a smoothie with blueberries, plain Greek yogurt and banana. She loved it! She only just started using sippy cups with a straw a couple weeks ago, so I’m hoping this is the start of her finally giving up her bottle for good. She is SO attached to it.

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If I had a Vitamix, the main thing I’d use it for would be green smoothies, followed by soups. Why green smoothies? Because the Vitamix can puree vegetables, even rough ones like kale, in a way that standard blenders just cannot. If you like to add greens into your fruit smoothies, the only way to make them drinkable instead of gritty is to go with a high-end blender like the Vitamix. Plus, it’s self-cleaning, and has an automatic off sensor when purees are done.

I have a great Cuisinart that we received for our wedding, and it’s still going strong after 7 years — maybe when it dies, I’ll think about investing in a Vitamix! My favorite green smoothie is Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie, the original classic:

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I leave out the herbs and substitute some ice for the water because I prefer green smoothies very cold.

My aunt made a great soup with her Vitamix this trip, and she showed me how. It’s a Sweet Potato Soup that you start on the stovetop and finish in the Vitamix, adding a dash of cream if you want to make it more rich. It has all kinds of spices and some peanut butter in it — yum! We ate it topped with salted cashews.

Sweet Potato Soup

Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven or heavy-duty pot with oil and heat over medium. Add in one large diced onion, 3-4 minced garlic cloves, and 1 TBSP minced fresh ginger, and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add in two good-sized peeled and chopped sweet potatoes. Cover with 4 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth (the contents of one cardboard box). Pour in 1 cup of water and add in 4 -5 cups of unsalted or low-sodium diced tomatoes (she uses fire roasted).  Add in a 1/2 cup of unsalted peanut butter (smooth), then the following spice mixture: cinnamon (1/4 tsp) cumin (2 tsp) coriander (2 tsp) sea salt (1/4 tsp) and cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp). Bring to a boil. Let cook for about 12 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add in 4 cups of fresh Swiss Chard; she uses the entire bunch from the store, stems and leaves chopped. Cover the pot and let the chard wilt about 2 minutes.
It’s ready to eat as-is at this point, but she let it cool and then blended in the Vitamix until pureed. If desired, add in some half & half or veggie stock. Serve with some nice crusty bread or croutons, and salted peanuts, cashews or asiago cheese on top.

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Well, tomorrow it’s back to braving the snow and the MBTA commute again for me. Don’t I wish I was still eating well and enjoying nice weather down south! Alas, reality comes crashing back down eventually. I hope you all stay safe and warm if you’re in this snow vortex gripping the northeast! And if you use your Vitamix for something really creative that I didn’t mention, or you have great smoothie recipes to share, call ’em out in the comments.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Baby & Toddler · Drinks & Smoothies · Pregnancy · Recipes

Summer Drinks

Are you hosting a cookout for the Fourth of July this year? If so, these tasty summer drinks from Kimberly Snyder are just the thing you need to keep cool and hydrated. I threw in a couple of my own recipes, too!

As she says in her blog post, staying hydrated is really important for both health and beauty in the summer. I personally love drinking water with lemon year round, but am always looking for ways to jazz things up a bit without piling on tons of extra sugar.

Sometimes I make this refreshing basil lemonade for myself:

(Click the picture for the recipe)

It’s simple — you just fill a mason jar with water and ice cubes, squeeze in the juice of one lemon, add a teaspoon of stevia, stir until dissolved and then toss in as many fresh basil leaves as you like. Kimberly had two or three other tasty ideas that I wanted to share by re-posting here. My favorites from her post:

AGUA FRESCA

This popular Mexican drink infuses water with your favorite fresh fruit.

  • 4 cups pure, cold water
  • 2 cups of your favorite fresh fruit (such as berries or papaya)
  • Stevia, to taste
  • 2 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Lime wedges

Place fruit and water in a blender and puree. Place a small sieve over a pitcher and pour mixture into it, straining the liquid into the pitcher. Discard solids. Add lime juice and stevia. Garnish with lime wedges.

CILANTRO & JALAPENO LIMEADE

Cilantro is loaded with antioxidants and aids in detoxification, while jalapeno can help rev up your metabolism. Lime is high in Vitamin C.

  • 4-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup organic cilantro, washed & chopped
  • 2 large jalapenos, seeds & ribs removed, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh lime juice
  • Stevia, to taste
  • Lime slices, for garnish

Pour water over cilantro and jalapenos. Steep for 30 minutes at room temperature, and then cover and chill for 3-4 hours. Strain the mixture into a pitcher and stir in lime juice. Add stevia to taste. Serve over ice garnished with lime slices.

ICED ROOIBOS MINT TEA

Rooibos tea is high in antioxidants and flavonoids, so it promotes youthfulness and great skin. Over a little ice with mint and lemon, it’s a refreshing and detoxifying summer beverage.

  • 6 Rooibos tea bags
  • One lemon, sliced
  • Several leaves of fresh mint
  • Stevia to taste
  • 1 gallon of boiling water

Pour water over lemon, teabags and mint leaves and steep, stirring occasionally, until liquid cools. Remove tea bags, pour into a pitcher, and refrigerate. Serve cool or over a little bit of ice.

I also think the Pioneer Woman has a good basic how-to on making macaroni salad, which isn’t too healthy but does pair well with refreshing drinks at a picnic or barbecue. Another nice cold salad: this one, posted by me, just a few weeks ago. Nice way to get your veggies in on a hot day.

What are you up to for the Fourth? We aren’t doing too much this year…probably taking advantage of the day off to finish our nursery and spend time together as a couple before Miss Bambina shows up some time in the next 7 weeks or so. 

Staying cool in the heat wave the Northeast just endured was no joke for this pregnant lady. I must have burned through three or four bottles of water a day! I’m ashamed to say that I’ve started buying bottled water while expecting, because — crazy hormonal symptom alert — the smell of anything that’s been through the dishwasher turns my stomach. On the plus side, drinking bottled water helps me to see how much I’m having, so I can stay on track to drink several bottles each day. Other good options? Cucumber-infused water, and coconut water.  I’ve also been enjoying this smoothie (and so has baby girl!)

And when I’m not pregnant, I love a good Pimm’s Cup in the summer heat. I’ve been pretty jealous watching the husband knock back ice-cold beers at the cookouts we’ve attended this summer. I’ve already placed my order for a chilled glass of white wine at the hospital! 

Recipes

Roasted Tomato & Zucchini Ricotta Pie

Ricotta is one of my favorite things, edible or otherwise. Light, fluffy and creamy, it never lets me down. Am I a walking stereotype with all the garlic, pasta and cheese on this blog? Probably. Do I care? Not in the slightest. (It’s not my fault Italian food fits naturally into the vegetarian diet).

This serves as an excellent side dish, or a standalone brunch/breakfast option. You can roast the vegetables ahead of time and then assemble & cook later on, or the next day, to save time. If you keep a home garden and are abounding in tomatoes and zucchini in later summer/early fall, then this comes together in a snap with only a few more ingredients: ricotta, 1 egg and fresh-grated parmesan cheese.

This is becoming a theme: Tasha photo bombs me just as I’m about to finally get the shot I need. This one’s actually a double-whammy if you count the whiskers coming in from the top left AND the reflection of her snout in the spoon. Appetizing?

To start, slice the zucchini into quarter-inch thick strips, discarding the ends. Slice the tomatoes into medum-thickness rounds, discarding the stems and ends. I mixed a couple varieties from my garden, including roma and beefsteak.

Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray; pre-heat the oven to 375. Adding zucchini to one tray and the tomatoes to the other, drizzle each with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Put in the zucchini first for 10 minutes, setting a timer; at 10 minutes, turn the zucchini and place the tray of tomatoes in the oven to roast as well. Cook both for 10 more minutes, or until the zucchini are really browning and the tomatoes are starting to sizzle at the edges. Depending on your oven and how thinly you sliced them, you may have to leave the zucchini in a tad longer. I kept my tomatoes in for 15 minutes total and my zucchini in for just over 20 minutes.

Let both cool for 10 minutes. Keep the oven at 375.

Meanwhile, mix together one egg, lightly beaten, with the ricotta and parmesan cheese, and stir by hand to blend. Season with pepper and torn fresh basil (half a dozen leaves).

Once the veggies are cool, spray a 9-inch pie plate with non-stick cooking spray and get ready to assemble the savory pie.

Add the zucchini in one layer on the bottom, then top with half the ricotta mixture and spread evenly.

Add the tomatoes next, layering the rest of the ricotta on top and spreading out so it covers completely. If you have a deep pie plate or you cooked an extra large quantity of zucchini and tomatoes, you can repeat these layers; just make sure you end on a ricotta layer.

Before popping in the oven, add the rest of the parmesan cheese plus one minced garlic clove to the top of the pie. Cook for 20 minutes or until it starts browning.

Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving, so the pie sets up.

Voila! Creamy-cheesy-veggie goodness. Enjoy, friends.

Roasted Zucchini & Tomato Ricotta Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, ends discarded and sliced into quarter-inch wide strips
  • 3-4 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • a couple handfuls of parmesan  cheese (either bagged or fresh grated)
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced in a press
  • about half a dozen torn fresh basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Slice the zucchini and tomatoes, discarding any stems and ends. Set aside.

Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Pre-heat the oven to 375.

Adding zucchini to one tray and the tomatoes to the other, drizzle each with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Put in the zucchini first for 10 minutes, setting a timer; at 10 minutes, turn the zucchini and place the tray of tomatoes in the oven to roast as well. Cook both for 10 more minutes, or until the zucchini are really browning and the tomatoes are starting to sizzle at the edges.

Let both cool for 10 minutes. Keep the oven at 375.

Meanwhile, mix together one large egg, lightly beaten, with the ricotta and parmesan cheese, and stir by hand to blend. Season with pepper and torn fresh basil (half a dozen leaves).

Once the veggies are cool, spray a 9-inch pie plate with non-stick cooking spray and get ready to assemble the savory pie.

Add the zucchini in one layer on the bottom, topping with half the ricotta mixture and spreading out evenly.

Add the tomatoes next, layering the rest of the ricotta on top and spreading out so it covers completely. If you have a deep pie plate or you cooked an extra large quantity of zucchini and tomatoes, you can repeat these layers, taking care to end on a ricotta layer.

Before placing in the oven, add the rest of the parmesan cheese plus one minced garlic clove (quickly mix together in a small bowl) to the top of the pie.

Cook for 20 minutes or until it starts browning.

Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving, so the pie sets up and becomes firm for you to slice.

Between the zucchini, tomatoes and basil, this can really highlight the very last fruits of a summer garden before autumn begins and the frost claims the rest.

This recipe inspired by the Washington Post healthy recipe section.

And speaking of great zucchini recipes, have you ever heard of making hummus with a zucchini base instead of chickpeas? According to Kimberly Snyder, un-sprouted chickpeas can be difficult to digest because they are starchy & protein-laden. So instead of blending chickpeas into hummus, she starts with zucchini and adds tahini plus a few other organic raw ingredients to make a tasty dip. Here’s her raw hummus recipe, which makes 6-8 servings and lasts up to a week in the fridge (and yes, for those of you keeping track, I totally lied about not posting any more zucchini recipes).

Photo Credit: Kimberly Snyder (kimberlysnyder.net)

No-Chickpea Hummus

  • 2 organic zucchini, chopped
  • ¾ cup tahini (raw if you can find it)
  • 2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  •  2 medium or 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • High quality sea salt, to taste.

Process ingredients in blender until smooth. Enjoy as a dip or sandwich spread!

Tips and Tricks

Healthy Snack Ideas

I am getting ready to go on vacation, so today I am re-blogging a great post about healthy snack ideas by Kimberly Snyder.  I hope you are also fitting in some time to relax and get away this summer!

7 Healthy Snack Ideas

These are perfect for adults and kids of all ages. My favorites are the black bean burrito and the almond-banana smoothie. All these snacks are free of high fructose corn syrup, processed grains, peanuts and dairy, unless you choose to add those things. What’s your go-to healthy snack?

Black Bean Burritos

Wrap some black beans with a gluten-free, whole grain tortilla, and hold the cheese. You won’t even notice that cheese is missing, especially if you toss in some chopped tomatoes, avocados, and other tasty veggies.

Bugs on a Log

Talk about visual appeal! Make these kid-friendly celery boats with a little bit of  almond butter (you can buy it or make your own in a food processor) and some organic raisins. This is the fun, kid-friendly type of food your children while eat up, but it’s really quick and easy for you, as well.

Avocado Sandwich

If you’re following Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox Solution, then chances are you’ve already got some millet bread (or another gluten-free bread) around the house. Lightly mash an avocado and spread it on your bread for a delicious and easy sandwich. The smooth, buttery avocados make it so you don’t need mayo or margarine, and kids like their slight sweetness.

Banana “Milk”shake

Put a banana, some almond milk, and a little cinnamon in your blender and mix it up for a sweet shake. The cinnamon and banana add sweetness!

Hummus & Veggie Sandwich

Get out the millet bread and spread it with homemade hummus, which you can make from garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, and a little garlic. Top with some crunchy veggies. Or, you can serve the hummus as a dip with small veggies.

Quinoa Pasta

Kids love pasta, but most contain wheat and gluten. You can find quinoa pasta in many natural health stores with no gluten, and kids like it just as much as they like the wheat-based products. Cook up a batch of quinoa pasta and serve it with a homemade tomato sauce or toss it with some lightly steamed or stir-fried veggies.

Healthy trail Mix

Mix up a batch of delicious, healthy trail mix using foods like almonds, walnuts, raisins, goji berries, pecans, and sunflower seeds. Avoid cashews and peanuts, which may have high levels of toxic molds and can be allergenic.

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You can read the full article here. I love Kimberly’s blog and I also follow her Beauty Detox diet when I need to hit the refresh button. Check her out!

Grow Your Own Way · Recipes

Kale Salad with Avocado-Lemon Dressing

If you have a CSA starting soon, I’m willing to bet you’re about to overflow with kale. And what a wonder green: bursting with nutrients and fiber, it cleans your whole system and leaves you full and nourished. Kale can be cooked into casseroles like my Cheesy Kale Pasta, baked into healthy “kale chips,” stirred into stews, set in a frittata with other veggies, blended into a green smoothie, or served raw in salad. I’ve never tried it on a pizza, but I bet you could do that, too!

Most recently I served this delicious salad with Lemon Pappardelle and Sweet Sausage. It complimented perfectly. If I had to change anything, I’d have added some fresh tomatoes. Shaved Parmesan would also be nice.

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To start, chop and rinse the kale and then either spin or pat dry.

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Toss the kale into a large bowl for mixing. Then, slice and pit two avocados (make sure they’re ripe and soft) and halve one organic lemon. Mash the avocado into the kale with your hands until it’s evenly coated, then squeeze the juice of your lemon on top and toss to mix.

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That’s it! Top with anything you are adding — tomatoes, cheese, watermelon, walnuts, you name it — then plate & serve.

Looking for more kale salad options? A great recipe is Kimberly Snyder’s “Dharma’s Kale Salad.” Check it out!

Drinks & Smoothies · Recipes

Two Green Smoothies

I have a new routine: “Smoothie Saturdays,” when I bust out the blender after I get home from grocery shopping to whip up some breakfast smoothies for the week. This week, I made three varieties: a tropical smoothie, which I’ll cover in another post; a spinach-banana smoothie, which is simple and refreshing; and an adaptation of Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie, which is super energizing and can help you kick your early-morning caffeine habit while sweeping toxins from your system.

I am in the process of trying to cut back on how much caffeine I drink — both for the benefit of my stomach, since coffee in particular is such an irritant, and because I don’t want to be so dependent on a stimulant to get alert in the morning. It starts to feel lame when you NEED coffee to function, or when you get a debilitating headache from lack of having it! In the past when I’ve needed to cut back, instead of going cold turkey I just reduce the number of cups per day and then eventually the size of my morning order. I’m down to one small coffee in the morning and no soda or tea for the rest of the day. Next, I’ll replace coffee with a green smoothie every other day until I can phase out caffeine as a kick-start altogether. Green Smoothies give you so much natural energy it’s actually amazing.

Spinach Banana Smoothie

Total time 5-7 minutes.

Makes enough for two large on-the-go beverages.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 chopped bananas, ideally frozen
  • a couple ice cubes (use more if your bananas aren’t frozen)

Blend all ingredients together, taking care to add liquids first so you don’t jam your blender. Keeps well in the fridge for up to a week. Or, freeze for up to one month and thaw overnight in the refrigerator the morning before you plan to drink it.

Glowing Green Smoothie

This is a simplified version of Kimberly Snyder’s classic green smoothie, because I didn’t have pears on hand. If you read her book, the Beauty Detox Solution, you’ll see that almost any greens will do — so feel free to throw in kale, romaine, or spinach like I did ~ you name it!

Total time: 5-7 minutes

Makes 3-4 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch greens (I used spinach since I had it on hand)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 organic apple, chopped
  • 2-3 frozen chopped bananas
  • juice of 1 lemon

Blend all ingredients together until smooth, adding liquids first so the blender doesn’t jam. Enjoy!

All set to go for the week ~ just thaw and sip!