Tag Archives: fresh fruit

For The Love of Smoothies

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in my senior year of college. I’m taking 18 credit hours and I also work part time. I’m really, really busy, to put it lightly. I don’t like to complain though, because I know there are plenty of people who have even more on their plate than I do. My brother who’s also a senior (no we’re not twins…it’s a long story) recently battled strep and mono for approximately a month, and he’s a pre-med student. My best friend once took 21 credit hours in one semester while working, and my mom has two kids, two dogs, four elderly parents, and a house to take care of. But let’s be honest, when you do homework every single night and you’re still barely keeping up, it gets discouraging. I’m muddling through though, because all this hard work now is going to allow me to pursue my passion (more on that at a later date). So how do I manage to keep up with everything, other than organization and self-discipline? Having a ton of energy is my secret.

Thankfully, all of my classes start at 11 a.m., so I don’t have to get up early. But when you’re not getting to bed until 1 a.m. or later because you didn’t even finish all your homework until midnight, even getting up at 9 a.m. is difficult. Of course, if you’re going to need plenty of energy to get through the day, breakfast is essential. But forget getting up in enough time to shower, get ready for school, make, and eat breakfast before I have to leave. I’ve tried meal-replacement bars and shakes because they’re fast and portable, but they usually don’t taste that great and I’m hungry again in an hour. Enter smoothies. They’re delicious, healthy, portable, and filling. Best of all, they give me tons of energy. I don’t find myself in a mid-day slump anymore and even though I’m tired when my alarm goes off, once I get up and moving, I’m good to go. I talked about smoothies briefly in my post about how I started making the transition to healthier eating. But I wanted to write a post specifically about smoothies. And I didn’t share any actual recipes in my other post.  So here are my three favorite smoothie recipes. Don’t judge them until you try them, they’re all healthy and they’re all delicious. I promise!

“Fuel your Day” Smoothies

Notes
– Frozen fruit makes smoothies cold and creamy but it isn’t very sweet. Letting bananas get a little over ripe before freezing them will make your smoothies much sweeter without added calories
– All of these measurements are approximations because I’m usually in a hurry in the morning and I never measure anything. They almost always taste pretty much the same despite not measuring the ingredients
– It should be self explanatory, but the only step in all of these recipes is to dump everything in a blender and blend well

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

8 frozen strawberries

1 cup milk

1 large handful spinach (you can’t taste it at all, so go crazy!)

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

1 small spoonful Nutella

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

1 frozen banana

1 cup milk

1 large handful spinach

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

1 spoonful peanut butter

Thin Mint Green Monster *

1 large handful spinach

1 cup milk

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

Dash of peppermint extract (go easy, this stuff is STRONG)

*This recipe is courtesy of Julie @ PB Fingers. Without any frozen fruit, it’s going to be much thinner than the others. Xanthan gum can help, but use it sparingly because it’s a tricky ingredient. If you use too much, it will take on a really weird texture that isn’t very appetizing

Question of the night: Do you like making smoothies at home? What’s your favorite recipe?

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Getting Creative With Bagels

One of the best things about being proficient in the kitchen is trying combinations that sound bizarre but are absolutely delicious. Case in point: My mom makes a fabulous dish that consists of risotto topped with scallops and a vanilla bean, cognac, and bacon sauce. It doesn’t necessarily sound like it would taste good, does it? But my God it’s delicious!

Now, I’m not yet talented enough to recreate that recipe, but I do have some favorite concoctions I can share with you. I get a lot of ideas from other blogs I follow, especially Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers. “Bagelwiches” are something she blogs about a lot. They’re bagelthins (which are usually only 90-110 calories each!) with various ingredients sandwiched between them.  One of the first variations I tried was a whole wheat bagel thin with melted provolone cheese and raspberry jelly

I LOVE these for breakfast, lunch or a snack. And when I finally found cinnamon raison bagel thins at the grocery store, I stopped using the whole wheat ones for this particular combo. The cinnamon raison adds an extra something to this already delicious treat.

After trying the above bagelwich, I created one that was all my own. And I might actually like this one even better. Apple slices, melted provolone cheese, and cinnamon create a party in your mouth.

Now, if you’re craving something a little more savory, I have one last tried and true combination for you. it requires a little more work, but its really good.

You’ll Need:

Cream cheese

Spinach

Garlic powder

1 bagel thin (I recommend an “everything” bagel thin)

1. In a food processor or blender, combine spinach, garlic, and cream cheese and blend well. I didn’t measure this at all, just eyeballed it and added more until I had enough. But go easy on the garlic, you can always add more later.

2. Spread the spinach mixture on the bagel thin (toasted if desired) and enjoy!

Helpful Hint: I’m sure these are easiest to make in a toaster oven. But it can still be done even if, like me, you don’t have a toaster oven. Just toast the bagel thin to desired texture and place a slice of cheese on one half of the bagel as soon as it comes out of the toaster. press both halves of the bagel together until cheese is melted. then gently peel both halves apart and add jelly, apple slices, or whatever it is you’re adding. So get in the kitchen and have some fun!

-Vanessa

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The Spoils of Summer

We live in an age of instant gratification: Facebook, smart phones, instant messanger, fast food, etc. Heck, these days it’s even rare for parents to wait until their child is born to find out the gender. Of course, the reason for this is because once the technology was available, human nature said gimme! Gimme! We’ve all been there. I love that I can buy a book on my Nook and be reading it in a few minutes. But sometimes waiting makes it even better. For example, Indiana sweet corn is the BEST. Seriously, you’ve never had corn so sweet (unless you happen to live in Indiana). But it doesn’t get flown in from warm weather climates in the dead of winter so you can eat it whenever you get a craving. You have to wait until mid August when the corn is harvested and at its peak.

Well, today is September 1st, which means that despite today’s 92 degree temperature, Fall is upon us. There are lots of produce items that are at their peak in the Fall, but summer fruits and veggies are some of my absolute favorite. So I’m on a mission to enjoy as much summer related food as possible while it’s still readily available. At the top of my list is a delicious salad I recently discovered:

That’s arugula, watermelon, and feta cheese. And it’s SO good. I didn’t come up with this salad on my own, I read about it on one of the blogs I follow, Peanut Butter Fingers. I thought it sounded intriguing and wanted to try it. Then I mentioned the combination to my mom and she immediately said she’d made it several times and really liked it. So then I knew I really had to try it. I just wish I’d tried it sooner! I plan to eat my body weight in watermelon and this salad until it disappears from the grocery store.

Did I mention it was 92 degrees here today? BLECH. So on the way home from class today, I decided to stop at a self-serve fro yo place because it was on the way home (okay, so I took a route that made it on the way home). This place opened while I was in DC and I’m guessing it will close for the winter, so I’ve been enjoying it (on a limited basis) while I can. they rotate certain flavors and I was disappointed to see that red velvet was gone, so I couldn’t have my favorite combo, red velvet + cake batter. But my back up option was pretty darn good. Cake batter and blueberry swirl with fresh blueberries on top. It was so good and refreshing. I don’t have a picture because I got it to go and I didn’t think to take a picture until I got home. By then it had melted quite a bit and was not very photogenic. Haha. You’ll just have to use your imagination.

The moral of the story is, instant gratification-like self serve fro-yo-is best in small quantities. So enjoy all the fresh fruits and veggies and soak up these last rays of summer.

XO,

V

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