Superberry Smoothie Bowl

How is everyone doing on New Year’s Resolutions?  Losing steam?  Me too.  I went out for all 3 meals yesterday (terrible!) and may have had 1 more glass of wine than was strictly necessary.

I truly do believe that life is about balance, though, and so rather than beat myself up over yesterday’s indulgences, I woke up excited to make a breakfast full of nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber.  Doesn’t hurt to make it easy on the eyes, either.

This breakfast was light and filling at the same time.  A sweet way to start the day.

Superberry Breakfast Bowl

Ingredients:
– 1 cup frozen blackberries
– 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
– 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
– 3 pineapple rings (from a can)
– a generous handful of parsley leaves
– 2 tsp potato starch (optional, a great prebiotic!)
– 2 tsp MCT oil
– 1 tsp greens powder (I use Vitamineral Green)
– a few pinches bee pollen, for sprinkling
– goji berries, for sprinkling

Blend up all but the last few ingredients and pour into a bowl.

Top your bowl with the bee pollen and goji berries.  Enjoy!

Fresh Blueberries with Honey-Ricotta Cream

Today I am going to share the simplest, dreamiest summer dessert with you.  It’s got a short ingredients list, won’t heat up your kitchen, and will take you all of 5 minutes to put together.  Sound good?

Behold: incredibly smooth honey-ricotta cream draped over seasonal blueberries.  You may use any other type of fruit that strikes your fancy.  A mix of berries or peaches would be perfect.  You can also dress it up in a variety of ways.  Consider adding lemon zest or vanilla paste to the ricotta.  Or sprinkle a few lavender flowers over your dessert bowls.  Personally, I’ve been enjoying as is for a cooling summer treat.

Fresh Blueberries with Honey-Ricotta Cream
makes 8 servings
adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients
– 16 oz ricotta cheese
– 1/4 cup sour cream
– 1/4 cup raw honey
– 3 cups fresh blueberries

Place ricotta, sour cream, and honey in the blender.  Blend until smooth and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  This can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.

Place a few tablespoons of the cream in the bottom of your dessert bowls.  Top with a generous handful of blueberries and another dollop of cream.  Serve while still cold.

I shared this post with this week’s Full Plate ThursdayMonday ManiaMelt in Your Mouth MondayMy Meatless Monday and Mix it Up Monday.

Strawberry Beet Smoothie

Lately, my kitchen creations have been much more off-the-cuff than usual.  I normally enjoy planning my cooking adventures for the week, making a grocery list, going to the store, and then coming home ready for my next round of experiments.  But being on night shift has made me completely lose my organization.  I’ve been making recipes based on what’s in the pantry, what’s on sale, and what won’t take too long.  Luckily, my new approach resulted in this amazing strawberry and beet smoothie.

Last week, I stumbled on the amazing deal of 5 pounds of beets for the price of 1.  I think the farmer had more than he could handle and was just trying to unload as much as he could.  The beets were enormous with the beautiful leafy greens still attached.  I baked them by wrapping them in tin foil (method here) and washed and spun the greens.  The next morning when I went to make my usual green smoothie, I added both the roots and the greens.  And the berry and beet smoothie was born.

Berry and Beet Smoothie
serves 1

Ingredients:
– 1 cup frozen strawberries
– 1 cup steamed or roasted beets
– 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
– 2 cups beet greens, washed
– 1 Tbsp honey, if more sweetness is desired

Blend all ingredients until smooth.  Drink immediately.
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I added this post to this week’s Wellness WeekendPennywise PlatterGluten Free Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Strawberry Matcha Smoothie

Rhetorical question: What’s a girl to do with a freezer full of strawberries?

Last week, a friend and I headed out to a strawberry farm about 30 minutes from home.  The weather was perfect and strawberries were in their prime.  In just a few hours, I picked 22 pounds (not including the ones I ate…I really think these u-pick farms should weigh me before and after I go out in their fields in order to charge me more accurately).  To be clear, these were not your run-of-the-mill grocery store strawberries imported from California.  These were a variety called Hood strawberries that are smaller, more flavorful, and rare treats given that their harvesting season lasts about a month or less.  I was determined to come home with enough to last me through the summer.

For all their good qualities, Hood strawberries can’t boast a long shelf life.  One they’re picked, they want to be eaten in a day or two.  Their thin skins quickly become too soft and, as I learned, piling more than a couple of layers in your picking box will yield a layer of strawberry mash at the bottom.  Which means that I had my work laid out for me when I got home from the farm.  There was not time to waste.  The rest of my day was spent washing, topping, and freezing strawberries.  It’s so satisfying to open my freezer door to see the “fruits” of my labor staring back at me.  🙂

Because it’s strawberry season, I’ve been seeing tons of tempting strawberry recipes around the web.  To name a few:

I want to make ALL of these.  But for now, I’ve been perfectly happy blending them into creamy smoothies.  Jeremy has been even less fancy…he eats them straight from the freezer!

Strawberry Matcha Smoothie
serves 1

Ingredients:
– 1/2 banana, the riper the better
– 1 cup frozen strawberries
– 1 cup milk
– 2 Tbsp cream (optional)
– 1 tsp matcha powder

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Enjoy right away.

* I shared this post with Seasonal Recipe RoundupGluten-Free WednesdayFat Tuesday, Hearth and Soul HopSlightly Indulgent TuesdayMy Meatless Mondays, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Monday Mania, and Mix it Up Monday.

Ayurvedic Vata Apple Breakfast Bowl

When I was in high school, I was obsessed with personality quizzes.  You know the kind, they came every month in Seventeen magazine (or Cosmo, if you wanted to be more risqué).  There were entire websites dedicated to helping visitors learn what kind of friends they were, which Jane Austen characters they most closely resembled, and, of course, whether or not their crushes liked them back.  I remember losing hours immersed in these quizzes…talk about wasted youth.

Apparently, I still have a penchant for that kind of entertainment because when I stumbled on a site offering an Ayurvedic dosha quiz, I just couldn’t resist.  Basically, in Ayurveda (an ancient system of medicine originating in India) there are 3 basic body types, or doshas: Vata, Kapha, and Pitta.  I have to admit to knowing very little else and so I encourage you to do a web search if you want to learn more.  HeyMonicaB is a fun site for that.  From my quiz (ok, I took a few) I learned that I am a Vata type, which is wonderful news because Vatas are encouraged to eat plenty of butter or ghee and sweet things.  Woohoo!  On the flip side, a lot of raw produce is discouraged.  😦

This is the breakfast I devised based on what I learned about Vata diet recommendations. I can’t guarantee that it is faithful to Ayurvedic principles, but I can assure you that it is absolutely delicious!

Vata Apple Breakfast Bowl
serves 1

Ingredients:
– 3/4-1 cup water
– 1 apple, cubed
– 1/4 oats or 1/2 cup leftover cooked rice
– 1/2 tsp turmeric
– 1/2 tsp cardamom
– several dashes cinnamon
– a dash each of ground nutmeg and cloves
– 1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated
– 1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
– a generous pat of butter

Heat water over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add apples and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.  While the apples are cooking, add remaining ingredients to the skillet and stir occasionally.  The liquid that is not soaked up will form a delicious, flavorful syrup. Serve hot.

* I shared this post on this week’s Simple Lives Thursday, Real Food Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesday, Whole Foods WednesdayGluten Free WednesdayFat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Mango, Coconut, and Lime Pudding

Has anyone else struggled with trying to find the “right” diet?  I don’t mean diet in the weight loss sense; I mean just trying to make smart choices about what to put into one’s body 3 (or 4, or 5, or, oh heck, 6) times a day.  I’m not sure where my intense fascination with nutrition came from, but I’m sure it somehow stems from my feelings about food in general.  But things can get dangerous when you pair a mildly obsessive personality with the internet and an endlessly contentious topic of debate.  I can’t say I’m proud of how much time I’ve spent researching dietary advice…reading everything from books by experts in the field (often with opposing viewpoints!) to magazines and blogs.  Couldn’t I have been doing something more productive?  Then again, I’ve mostly enjoyed my research, though I’m not going to pretend that I have any final conclusions to share.

I’ve been convinced (and re-convinced) that a multitude of diets are right.  This is not to say I’ve really put any of them into practice.  I usually just spend a lot of time reading why I should be eating a certain way and then stick with the plan until something that looks tastier (hello grilled cheese?) comes along.  I’ve found myself delving into the depths of the vegan (I dated a vegan for a little while), raw vegan, nutritarian, paleo/primal, and the oh-what-the-heck-I-give-up diets.  I’m sure I’m missing some in that list.

While most of the time I spent obsessively learning about these different diets was probably wasted, I can at least say that I’ve learned some kitchen techniques that I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise.  Which leads me to today’s recipe…a raw, vegan, and oh-so-simple dessert that will have your tastebuds singing.  A good blender or food processor will yield the creamiest, most decadent texture and it becomes even thicker (and I think better) after spending some time chilling in the refrigerator.  Whether you chill it or not, this is a wonderful dessert for the warmer weather ahead of us.

Please share: Does my weird, endless dietary research strike a chord with anyone out there?  Are you set on one philosophy or do you cherry-pick, like me?

Mango, Coconut, and Lime Pudding
makes 2 servings
adapted from Raw Food Home Recipes

Ingredients
–  1/2 cup cashews, soaked at least 2 hours or overnight
– 1 ripe mango, flesh cut from the skin and pit
– juice of 1 lime
– 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and puree until perfectly smooth.  Serve immediately or chill.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

*I added this post to this week’s Whole Foods Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Raw Apple Chips

During the week, I usually feel like the length of my “to do” list and the amount of time I have available just don’t match up.  This week is no exception.  There’s a pile of reading and homework that somehow just didn’t quite get done over the long weekend, a bit of a mess happening in my apartment, and some added stress related to spending my first week on a pediatrics rotation at the hospital.  On the bright side, I’ve learned that I like working with kids! (I haven’t spent much time around the youngun’s and so I really had no idea of what to expect.)  It’s their parents that can be hard to handle.

Just kidding.

Not really.

What does this have to do with raw apple chips?  Well, I think they are a perfect snack food, whether I’m trying to give myself a reward for doing ALL of my reading for class or trying to calm my rumbling stomach during a busy day of patient care.  They’re also a great way to be able to buy lots of apples when they’re on sale and preserve them for later.  I was lucky enough to have gotten a dehydrator from Jeremy for Christmas and these are the treat I’ve used it for most often.  If I top them with cinnamon, they make the whole apartment smell warm and festive as they’re drying.

There isn’t so much a recipe as a method.  Cut your apples in half, remove the core and seeds, and cut into thin slices (probably about 1/8 inch thick).  Place slices close together on your dehydrator sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.  If you want them to be technically raw, you’ll have to keep the dehydration temperature at under 115 degrees F and you’ll let them go overnight.  You can speed up the process by starting at a higher temperature (145 degrees F or so) for an hour and then reducing to the “raw” temperature.    Store in an airtight container.

* I added this post to this week’s Fresh Bites Friday, Wellness Weekend, and Fight Back Friday.