Favorite Smoothies

Once upon a time, I thought that smoothies were too much work for our busy weekday mornings. I’m wiser now. 😎 

Pink Smoothie

These days, I make a smoothie almost every morning for my kids and truth be told, often it’s all they want (and need) for breakfast. 

My general rule of thumb for smoothies is this: they contain whole fruits, usually a combination of fresh and frozen, they use plain, unsweetened kefir or yogurt (whole milk), they typically have an added kick of vanilla extract and cinnamon, which reduces the need for sweeteners, and they're sweetened with either dates or occasionally honey. For all smoothies, I pop everything into the blender and that's it. Easy peasy. Exactly what busy weekday mornings need! 

This Pink Smoothie is an instant smile maker — and really, how can you look at this gorgeous color and not smile? The Pink is courtesy of pink pitaya, or dragon fruit. I buy it in frozen packets so I always have some on hand. 

Pink Smoothie:
1 packet of frozen pink pitaya
2 bananas
3 dates
2 cups plain kefir
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon hemp hearts

green smoothie

My Green Smoothie is also a family favorite. My kids are not loving spinach these days, except if I use it in smoothies or muffins. So this smoothie adds that nutritional powerhouse, which makes me happy. I don't sneak veggies with my kids, so while they may complain about spinach in other dishes, they're fully aware that it's included in our Green Smoothie. My hope is that because they enjoy it there, they'll be more open minded to trying it elsewhere. At some point. Parenting requires patience, right? 

Green Smoothie: 
1 avocado
2 bananas
5 oz chopped frozen spinach
1/2 mango
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups yogurt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey

Cocoa Banana.jpg

The third smoothie in constant rotation here is a Cocoa Banana Smoothie. I discovered this combo on a trip to Chicago last year, and when I recreated it at home, it was an instant hit. It tastes luxurious and sweet, but the sweetness comes from dates and banana, with no added sweeteners. My kids realize that it's not hot cocoa, but to them it feels like a breakfast treat! 

Cocoa Banana Smoothie:
2 bananas
4 dates, soaked in water to soften
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups plain kefir
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
 

Do your kids love smoothies too? Drop me a line, I'd love to hear what you put in yours! 

Quick Pickled Red Onions

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I am not a big fan of condiments.

There, I said it. You’ll never find me adding ketchup to anything, including French fries (that role is reserved for beloved hot sauce in my opinion and only on occasion). My kids think this is crazy, but what can I say? I don't see the appeal. Mustard is wonderful on some things, and mayo is essential on a BLT, but other than that, these items don’t feature prominently in my life. 

I am, however, a giant fan of pickled red onions. They’re perfect with breakfast (oh, hi, eggs!), they’re great for lunch (best sandwich or toast accessory, ever), and they’re marvelous for dinner (tacos and Buddha bowls topped with pickled red onions are next level!).  

My favorite part about this whole pickled red onion obsession is that they’re easy to make. I have a jar in my fridge at all times, and I highly encourage you to do the same.  A refrigerated jar will last about 3 weeks (if you don’t eat them before then!).

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Here’s how to make those pickled onions:

  • Thinly slice a red onion and place the rings in a strainer.
  • Boil 2-3 cups of water, and pour slowly over the onions. This takes the edge off a little.  
  • In a jar big enough to fit all of the onions, add 1 teaspoon of salt + 1 teaspoon of sugar + 1 cup of white wine vinegar. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
  • Add the onions.
  • Give the jar a little shake and let it sit for at least an hour. The flavor only gets better with time.

Enjoy with absolutely everything! 😎

Get in my belly!

Get in my belly!

Current obsession: warm naan with avocado, pickled red onion and micro greens

Current obsession: warm naan with avocado, pickled red onion and micro greens

Here’s a similar idea, and a fun snack that’s definitely elevated by the tang of pickled red onions: roasted sweet potato chips with avocado, pickled red onion and micro greens. 

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Green Powerhouse Muffins

green powerhouse muffins

Dark winter mornings have the power to shift our whole weekday morning routine. Those extra minutes that the kids linger in bed  underneath their cozy comforters make it necessary for us to have fast, easy breakfasts on the ready. Freezer stash muffins have become winter essentials.

These Green Powerhouse Muffins are what we are digging lately (recipe below). They’re nut free, gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free. You can make them vegan by substituting flax or chia eggs for the eggs, and by using maple syrup instead of honey. 🌱 Beyond being an excellent breakfast choice, these are great for the lunchbox or as an after school snack.  

Sure, I’d love to enjoy a leisurely breakfast with my family of five on a school day. It just doesn't seem to happen these days. If it’s a similar situation in your house, give these a go!

(p.s.: here’s what else I’ve got in the freezer stash these days: banana muffins, breakfast cookies)

Here’s what you’ll need:

green powerhouse muffins setup

1 banana
4 dates
10 oz. frozen chopped kale (or spinach)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (unsweetened)
2 cups rolled oats (gluten free)
2 eggs
1/4 cup avocado oil
1/4 cup honey or maple
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Method: 

Preheat oven to 350. In a blender, first add the banana, dates and coconut milk. Blend until smooth. Next add the sunflower seed butter and half the oats. Blend again. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Pour into a lined muffin tin and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out dry. Freeze extras for up to 3 months. 

* This recipe was inspired by The Natural Nurturer, whose Green Oatmeal Smoothie muffins we have enjoyed immensely. 

green powerhouse muffins

Olive Oil Lemon Thyme Cookies!

Cookie season is here and I couldn't be happier! I've said this before, but this kind of important thing bears repeating. Cookies make the world go round, as far as I'm concerned. Sayonara candy, cake and pie. 

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olive oil lemon thyme 2.JPG

My youngest is dairy free, so over the years I've found some terrific recipes for dairy free cookies that satisfy my cookie craving and are also safe for all 5 of us to enjoy. These Lemon & Thyme Olive Oil Cookies have become some of our favorites! Beyond the flavor, which I can assure you as a cookie snob, is out of this world, the texture is fantastic. I'm making a triple batch of these to bring to a Christmas party.

Here's the recipe, courtesy of Une Gamine Dans La Cuisine. The original recipe calls for almond extract, but my family is nut free, so I've eliminated that. 

Lemon & Thyme Olive Oil Cookies
makes about 28-32 cookies

ingredients
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 regular-size lemons) {note: save the lemon}
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely minced thyme
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 egg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

topping
1/2 cup granulated sugar for rolling

method
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar (1 cup) and lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar until it's evenly moistened and aromatic; Set aside to marinate for a few minutes.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and thyme; Set aside. 

Add the olive oil, egg and lemon juice, to the lemon-sugar mixture. Mix either by hand or with a mixer until smooth. (About 3-5 minutes.) Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours - this part is key. 

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. 

Place the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar (for rolling) into a large, shallow bowl. 

For each cookie, measure out about 2 well-rounded teaspoonfuls. Roll into balls and roll the balls through the bowl of sugar until evenly coated. {Note: Don't worry if the dough is a bit crumbly. If you work the balls of dough long enough with your palms, it will come together.} Place the sugar-coated cookies onto prepared sheets and use your hand or the bottom of a cup to flatten slightly. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will have puffed up slightly but will still look pale. (Mine were just right after 8 minutes.) Remove the cookies sheets from the oven and let the cookies rest for about 3 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Recipe adapted from Mama's Gotta Bake

 

Clementine Cupcakes

Clementines are a thing of beauty. They're juicy, flavorful, high in vitamin C, perfectly transportable, easy to peel, easy to eat. The list goes on and on. Am I right? Plus, they've got to be one of the best accoutrements for a Halloween lunch. Just draw a pumpkin face on the peel and call it a day! 

Clementine Pumpkin

After buying two bags of clementines, I wanted to get creative with them. How about clementine cupcakes? My son was on board immediately. My older daughter and her friend bake together every Monday, so as it turned out, I didn't have any white sugar in the house. I used coconut sugar instead and am happy to report that the slight caramel taste it added worked out nicely for these cupcakes. These cupcakes have a bold citrus flavor, so if you're looking for more of a "hint" of citrus, reduce the amount of zest that you use. I paired it with a chocolate sour cream frosting, (because chocolate) and that recipe is also below. 

Clementine Cupcakes

Clementine Cupcakes

What you'll need: 

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1 cup of coconut sugar (or white sugar) 
2 large eggs
zest of 3 clementines (or one tightly packed tablespoon)
1/2 cup of orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Clementine segments for garnish

* Preheat the oven to 350. 
* In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar.  Slowly add in the eggs. Once thoroughly combined, add the zest, orange juice and vanilla extract. 
* In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. 
* Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and use a whisk to make sure there are no clumps. 
* Pour into a muffin tin lined with paper cups and bake for 20-24 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. 

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

What you'll need: 
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Once the chocolate chips are melted and slightly cooled, add the sour cream, vanilla and salt. Mix thoroughly. This recipe will make more than enough for your cupcakes, which is a good thing because it's kiiiiiiiiiind of irresistible! Garnish the cupcakes with clementine segments and enjoy!