Easy-Peasy-Smoothy

smoothy 2It’s a blustery-leaf-blowing brisk fall day in SoCal, and for whatever reason I’m in the mood for a good cold smoothy.  So sue me.

Recipes for smoothies kind of crack me up.  I mean really.  REALLY?  Throw some stuff you like in a blender and hit puree for heaven’s sake!  Sometimes my smoothies come out a bit too thick, so I add more water or juice.  Sometimes they are too runny, so I add another banana or just deal with it.  Sometimes they are not sweet enough, so I add a tablespoon of honey.  If it’s not cold enough I add some ice… I think you get the picture.

But for my friends who prefer to measure and, like, be organized about their smoothies, I recorded what I did today and now I will share it with you.  You’re welcome.

Michelle’s Go-To Smoothy

Ingredients: 1 can of fruit (pineapple, pears or peaches) including the juice, 2 bananas, 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup yogurt, 2/3 cup raw oats.

Directions: blend and drink.

Tips: Only buy canned fruit in juice.  Why in the world did people start putting “heavy syrup” on fruit.  Yuck.  I seriously think only bad people buy that stuff (OK, I may have overstated my case here but seriously–it’s sweet already!) I also avoid any canned fruit with artificial sweeteners.  Yipes man.

If I use plain yogurt I sometimes add I bit of honey to the mix as well.  I started adding raw oats to my smoothies years ago and I must say: YUM.  The oats are an easy way to bulk up the drink–especially for hungry kiddos and husbands, but you need to let them sit for a couple of minutes to soak up the juice so they break down nice and easy for ‘ya.

smoothy 1Like this, see?

Finally, (boy this is a lot of tips!) I do use fresh fruit for smoothies too, but only the ugly, too-soft pieces.  The good stuff gets eaten up w/out all this hassle!

 

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Glass ‘O Green Stuff

green juice 3

I’m a big drinker.  Yup.  I love to drink stuff of all kinds.  I’m a  fruit smoothy lover and have been poking fun at my girlfriend, Noeleen, for drinking what appears to be a daily thermos of blended grass for a long time.

To shut me up she brought me some to sample (finally took the hint!) and I thought I’d share her concoction with the world–or at least my little corner of it.   I know you can drink green leafy thingies, and have done so before.  I must admit, however, that it is a bit odd to look at some fresh greens and think…

green juice 1

..I am going to drink this.  Weird, I say.

This glass ‘o green stuff, my friends, is darn tasty I will attest.  And I don’t mean that in a “I eat so much healthy food that my taste buds have morphed into a state where even weird things taste good.”   I am not one of those “dark side” kinda folks.  Promise.   Really

Noeleen’s Glass ‘O Green Stuff (which I modified and still enjoyed–see my version, below)

Ingredients:
1 cup juiced pineapple (if that’s too intense trader joes has 100% pure pineapple juice;)
you can also substitute the juice for water…it still tastes great!)
1 Granny Smith
1 handful of spinach
1 handful of kale
1 handful of frozen pineapple.
Directions:
cube the apple and put in blender with water or juice.
blend the heck out of it;)
add the spinach & kale
add the frozen pineapple
enjoy:)
Michelle’s version (aka: I didn’t have exactly what Noeleen described so I took a few liberties… so unlike me.)
Ingredients:
handful spinach
1 handful kale
few big scoops of apple sauce (I had bought a Granny Smith apple for just this purpose, but Mike found it in the fruit bowl before I got to it!)
can of pineapple including juice
few ice cubes
Directions: (and here’s a pre-blending photo for your viewing pleasure)
green juice 2
Blend the heck out of it and drink!
Tips: I think the key is the pineapple in one form or another.  It has such a sweet and tangy flavor that it can work with, well, some green leafy stuff that you wouldn’t likely consider drinking in the first place!  The apple, whether fresh or as a sauce, provides some added sweetness of course.  I think strawberries would work well.  Wouldn’t go for melon, though, as I think it would be too mild.  I mean, we are drinking kale here; you need some power behind it!
While Noeleen’s kids love this beverage, mine were–surprisingly–not so enthused.  For me though, I like to make one of these a couple times a week and keep it in the fridge.  I can grab a glass here or there and know I’m getting some quick and good nutrition for a girl on the go.
Some final nutritional notes on kale (aka: the Queen of greens!)…
Kale is high in fiber and contains no fat.  Kale is high in iron, vitamin A, C and K, is loaded with calcium and is filled with powerful antioxidants.  It is an anti-inflamatory food that also supports good cardiovascular health.
That’s a lot of bang from a small little green guy.  Hope you enjoy this tasty and healthy recipe!

Easy-Tasty-Fancy Looking!

fruit pizza

OK.  So in the title I took out “healthy” and replaced with “Fancy Looking.”  Just work with me here.

Fruit Pizza is what we call this in my family.  You may or may not be able to tell that I was going for a “sun” theme with the fruit display.  I made this for Easter so it seemed appropriate.

Every time I make fruit pizza everybody gobbles it up and all the mommies ask for the recipe.  It looks beautiful and is so absurdly easy to make everyone should have this recipe in their back pocket.

Fruit Pizza

Ingredients: (I’m embarrassed to say…) Pilsbury Sugar cookie Dough, 16 oz. cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar (or powdered sugar), tsp. vanilla, diced fresh fruit.

Directions: Set cream cheese out for about an hour to soften.  Spread the cookie dough (this is 1 1/2 tubes) out on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for approximately 17-20 minutes or until done.  Set out to cool.   Mix softened cream cheese with sugar and vanilla.  Spread on completely cooled sugar cookie crust.  Top with fruit.

Tips: I’ve made this with homemade sugar cookie dough and although it is certainly a less processed food choice, you really cannot taste the difference (short cuts are all the rage.)  Fruit can be arranged in a stunning display of some sort (not featured above, unfortunately) or just scattered.  The pineapple and orange chunks that I used were drained before placement.  Good fruits for this include strawberries, blueberries, grapes, sliced stone fruits… don’t use bananas though as they will brown and throw off the whole “impressive” statement you’re going for.  (I seem to be using an excessive amount of quotation marks today….  Don’t you think?)

I seriously dare you to take this to a potluck situation and not impress the masses.  Yes.  Maybe even double-dare.

Quest Pancakes, 2013

pina colada cakes

My continuous search for even more easy-tasty-healthy breakfast continues–and does this look like the next cover of Sunset Magazine or what?

So, our Saturday pancake adventure began because of a new friend  who is looking for a more protein packed pancake.  I remembered a recipe my girlfriend, Shandy (don’t you just love that name?), had given me and decided to give it a whirl.

Carlson’s/La Leche League Cottage Pancakes (not pictured above–but I’ll get to that in a moment)

Ingredients: 6 eggs, 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. baking powder

Directions: Beat eggs and cottage cheese with an electric mixer until almost smooth.  Add every else, mix, pour onto hot griddle and I hope you can take it from here.

Verdict: All five of us loved these pancakes!  They have an “eggier” taste than my regular cakes, kind of along the lines of a crepe.  I didn’t take a photo because they didn’t really look any different from any other pancakes.

What I did take a photo of, though, is the other pancake tangent we took Saturday morning.  I had three bowls of pancake mix going at one point and one of them turned into the fab photo you see today: Pina-colada Pancakes!

Basically I took my regular buttermilk recipe and, after pouring onto the griddle, added a few pieces of drained pineapple and a few pinches of sweetened coconut.  I had to cook the pancakes on a very low heat as the pineapple’s moisture would make them doughy.  I may try just mixing some crushed pineapple into the mix next time but in terms of presentation, I love the way the griddle seared the pineapple and coconut when the cakes were flipped.

Seriously.  Don’t they look amazing?  (Scroll back up.  Really.)

My oldest daughter proclaimed the pina-colada cakes “the best pancakes ever.”  Although only nine, she has likely tried more homemade pancakes than many adults alive today, so, you know, it’s a decent referral.

Classic Buttermilk Griddle Cakes (also posted on the breakfast recipe page)

Ingredients: 1 cup flour, 1 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. sugar, 1 egg, 1 cup buttermilk, 1/4 cup veg. oil

Directions: Mix, make!

Notes/tips: This mix should be thick, but still pour.  Sometimes I add a dash of milk to thin it.  Cook pancakes on a med. heat to cook through middle too.

The “Joye” of Cooking

teriyaki chicken

So I’ve been sorta-kinda posting on MWF (OK, technically this is only my second week with that schedule, but must we split hairs?)   Today, in case you’re not aware, is Thursday, but last night my girlfriend, Joye, found out about a chicken dish I was preparing.  She said it sound delicious and couldn’t wait to see the recipe.

Apparently flattery will get you everywhere with me ‘cuz here you go (Joye!)

Michelle’s  Very Own Hawaiian-Teriyaki Chicken

Ingredients:
Whole cut-up (organic if you like) chicken
1 can crushed pineapple in juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
tsp. garlic powder

Directions:
Set oven at 350 degrees.  Pour soy sauce and garlic powder in the bottom of a baking pan.  Place chicken upside down to coat with sauce/powder mixture and then flip over.  Pour pineapple over chicken.  Add a shake of garlic powder over top.  Crumble brown sugar over top of pineapple and then drizzle with vinegar.  Bake uncovered for one hour or until done.   Broil top for a couple of minutes to create a nice crusted glaze over top of chicken.

Tips: you can use whatever chicken you have around (thighs, breasts, whatever.)  Brown sugar, soy sauce and vinegar measurements can be adjusted for smaller quantities, in fact I don’t even measure, just sorta eye-ball and pour until it looks right.  You want about a quarter inch of liquid in the pan when it cooks.  Add a dash of orange (or pineapple) juice if there isn’t enough.  The sauce from the meat tastes super-yum over steamed brown rice…  Oh, and you can substitute cubed or round-cut pineapple, just drain some of the extra juice before pouring.

Bonus Tip: The best thing about this recipe is that I always have the ingredients on hand and can whip it up in a NY minute.  And, yes, the title of this post was a no-brainer. 🙂

p.s. (geeze, shut up already, Michelle!) this recipe is also posted on the “meat” section of my recipe page.  OK.  I’m done.  For real.