Sunday, May 19, 2013

Summer treat

I was perusing Pinterest this afternoon, after coming inside from the heat, and I kept seeing all these posts about refreshing summer drinks. I decided I had enough in my kitchen to make one of my own!

Vanilla ice cream. Left over from Mother's Day when we had apple pie, which is never complete without vanilla ice cream on top. I used three scoops.

Agua de coco aka coconut water. Usually used in my green smoothies, figured it be great for my tropical smoothie. I used the whole can.

Crushed pineapple and a banana. I used about a cup of crushed pineapple and a large banana. It's canned pineapple. I've no doubt it would be divine with fresh but I went with what I had.

I threw it all in my blender with some ice (about 6 cubes from my tray) and it truly was perfect for this very warm, sunny afternoon.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Green Smoothies

About a month ago, I started a green smoothie challenge from simple green smoothies. I've tried store brand smoothies before, so I knew they could be good, but this was the first time I'd made some of my own. They will start another challenge July 1, so if you've ever thought about it sign up! It's free, they will email you a shopping list for each week and recipes. Here are some tips from my experience:
1. By big bags of your greens and freeze them. Then you will have the different kinds you need and will not have to worry about them going bad. I bough spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce the first week and the only one I've had to buy again is spinach (because I tend to use more of it).
2. Frozen fruit is expensive. Buy it fresh, chop it up (if necessary) and freeze it yourself. Make sure the bag isn't overly full, lay it flat for the first 24 hours in the freezer. This will keep you from getting one giant clump of fruit so you'll be able to use what you need rather than the whole bag. This works really well for grapes.
3. Try different liquids for your base. They used almond milk quite a bit. I found I don't really like almond milk unless it's really masked by a stronger flavor. However, coconut milk and coconut water are amazing. If you have a juicer, make your own juice and use that. Oranges also make a lot of their own juice and are great additions to the smoothie.
4. When you get a not so good flavor (and it will happen, trust me), add a banana. They are sweet and will almost always make the smoothie better.
5. Prep in advance. Sunday night I prep all my fruit in separate ziplock bags and write the additions I'll need on the bag. It makes getting the smoothie ready before week a breeze.

My favorite recipe to date is based off a recipe from simple green smoothies with some slight alterations:
2 c Kale
4 bananas
1 c coconut water
1 c pineapple juice

It's the picture posted here and it tastes like a pina colada. Delicious.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I should probably say this is semi-homemade. I sort of cheat in one of the steps. I love spaghetti. It's one of those foods I will eat until my stomach hurts it's so full. I started making my own sauce about two years ago when I started my first garden. I can't go back to the store bought kind. It's just not the same. Here's my process.

I usually start with some veggies. Whatever I have in the fridge is pretty much fair game. Today we have diced onions, green pepper, and mushrooms.

I let that saute in some olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes, and then I threw in 4 cloves of garlic chopped as fine as my kitchen aid knife is capable. Let it saute another minute, at least until it starts to smell wonderful.

Here's where that semi part comes in. When I grew tomatoes I canned them and used them in this step. Well, this past year we moved during the garden season and I didn't plant anything. So, I used some store bought tomatoes. Usually, I just use one 28oz can of diced tomatoes. My husband came home with this smaller 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano so I threw that one in there as well.

I transferred my cooked veggies to a larger soup pot.

Then dumped both cans of tomatoes on top. I drained both cans prior to combining.

Add some tomato paste.

Mix it up. I let it simmer a good while. Minimum of 30 minutes.

While the sauce simmers, I start on the meat. I vary what I use, sometimes ground beef or turkey. Sometimes sausage. This time I used some hot Italian turkey sausage. I cut the casing off.

And use my spatula to separate it out.

Now, we plate. Noodles first.