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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Raw Smoothie

Every once in a while I have someone ask me for me smoothie recipe. I don't have a recipe, but I tried to pay attention the other day when I was making one, and I think I sort of came up with one. Once you get into making smoothies, you realize that it's all about personal taste. It's like trying to put cream and sugar in someone elses coffee, you just don't know what they are going to favor. So this is what I like, but you should experiment and find your own perfect smoothie.

The thing about starting out with smoothies is to taste it along the way. Sometimes in the beginning, I've even thought it was right, and poured it in a glass, only to dump it back in the blender and add something else. I like mine the consistency of ice cream almost, so I like to use all frozen fruit. I've realized that all dates are not created equal, and that the type of honey I use will definitely change the taste. I've come to splurge for the good Medjool dates, and I found two local honeys that I absolutely love.

I got the idea for making my own quick nut milk from someone's previous comment on here, and the sea salt idea from the book Raw Food, Real World. It's a surprising ingredient, but it helps bring out all of the flavors.

Kristine's Raw Smoothie :)

Add to blender the following for the
Homemade Raw Cashew Milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 TBSP Raw Cashew Butter (or you can use any other raw nut butter, like almond)
- 1 to 1 1/2 Medjool Dates
- dash of sea salt

Blend until most of the date is broken up, then add

- 1 frozen banana, sliced
- 1 cup any frozen fruit (i love any mix of strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, blackberries, mango....),
- dash of vanilla
- dash of sea salt
- 1 TBSP Raw Honey (sometimes I use Agave Nectar)
- 1 tsp flax seeds (no need to grind first, the blender will do that for you)
- 1 tsp Hemp seeds

Blend again!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Generous Servings




I had the best Indian food I have had in the Denver area on Tuesday night, and it was not at a restaurant. It was in a cooking class! My husband gave me the wonderful gift of a cooking class at Generous Servings
as one of my Christmas gifts this year, and I went to one on vegetarian Indian food. Wow.... The class was well organized, informative, and most of all, super fun! We made a wide range of dishes, and got to take all the recipes home with us. This class was completely hands on, and I loved it. I'm going to try to get back there really soon.


We made:


Curry with Potatoes, Cauliflower, Peas, and Chickpeas
Garam Masala
Basmati Rice Pilaf
Potato and Pea Samosas
Red Lentil Dal
Paneer
Palak Paneer
Cilantro-Mint Chutney
Tamarind Chutney
Naan
Mango Lassi



Everything turned out perfect. I feel pretty confident that I could make most of the things again at home. The ones I think I might need to practice on my own family with first are the Tamarind Chutney, and the Samosas. The Samosa dough seemed a little tricky, but at least I've played with it now, so I know what it's suppose to end up like. I just don't do as well with recipes that turn out a little different each time, as this dough I guess does.

The Tamarind was so interesting. It looks like this:


And there is this whole long process to getting out the fruit pulp that you want. You can buy it in blocks of pulp, and then you still strain it. However, that chutney was amazing. So if I do have some friends over and try to make all of this some night, it would be worth the effort.

If you live in the Denver area, check out Generous Servings. They have a lovely coffee shop, with fresh made from scratch pastries (hard to find these days), and then you can peek into the kitchen where they do cooking classes next door. The bar of the coffee shop looks into a long wall of windows into the kitchen, so you can watch them making pastries, teaching a class, or the owners of the cupcake shop next door (who rent kitchen space from them) making their cupcakes. Better yet, sign up for a class! You can take one on your own as I did, and meet some fabulous new people who are also foodies, or you can get a few friends together and they will teach a private class for you. They have everything from High Altitude Baking, to Knife Skills, to Ethiopian. You can't go wrong.

Mango Lassi
Serves 2
1 cup chopped mango
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt, preferably Greeek-style
1 Tablespoon lime juice, or to taste
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
Pinch of salt
3 ice cubes (optional, they drink them room temp. but us Americans tend to like it just a bit chilled)
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth

Friday, February 6, 2009

Flourless Chocolate Raspberry Cakes


When cooking for someone who is avoiding sugar and carbs, as I am tonight, WHAT do you make for dessert? Well, I have learned, not much. Ricotta seems to be used a lot in serveral of the recipes I have seen, but they are really high in fat (some up to 30g of fat for a dessert in a ramekin). I came across this recipe that is really yummy though, and I think anyone would like it even if you weren't avoiding flour and sugar! I "sampled" one fresh out of the oven this afternoon, and it was delicious!


I used 60% Ghiradelli chocolate chips, and I doubled the recipe to have some in the freezer. These were really simple to make, and look pretty with the raspberries on top.


Flourless Chocolate Raspberry Cakes

from The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook by Arthur Agatston, M.D.

(Phase 2 in the diet, if anyone follows that:)


PREP TIME: 15 minutes

COOK TIME: 15 minutes


Notes from author: "These adorable mini cakes are rich, moist, and very chocolately - and they freeze well, making it easy to get a head start on a party or to just enjoy a cake from time to time without having to bake a whole batch. You can replace half of the sugar substitute with granulated sugar if you like; baking time may increase by a few minutes."


3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup trans-fat-free margarine

1/2 cup granular sugar substitute

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (also used Ghiradelli)

3 large eggs

1/2 cup raspberries (I needed more)


Position rack in middle of oven and heat to 375 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper or foil liners.


Heat chocolate and margerine in a heavy saucepan over low heat until melted, about 4 minutes; stir to combine and remove from heat.


Mix sugar substitute and cocoa powder in a medium mixing bowl; add eggs and whisk until combined. Whisk in chocolate mixture.


Scoop batter into the tin (about 2 1/2 tablespoons per muffin cup), gently press 3 raspberries halfway into each cake, and place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake, turning once halfway through, until a thin crust forms on top, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve.


Makes 12 servings (note: I doubled this recipe, and only got 15 out of the batter)


Nutrition:

Per serving:
140 calories, 11 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 3 g protein, 11 g carbs, 2 g dietary fiber, 80 mg sodium

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How to Make Love and Dinner at the Same Time



One of my favorite slow cooker cookbooks is called "How to Make Love and Dinner at the Same Time: 200 Slow Cooker Recipes to Heat Up the Bedroom Instead of the Kitchen" by Rebecca Field Jager.


Of course I picked it up in the little boutique I saw it in, because of the hilarious title, and found the book to have excellent recipes, and enough funny side notes to make you laugh out loud. An impulse buy for sure, but a good one. When I'm traveling like that, I always look through a cookbook and if there are at least 3 recipes that I definitely want to try, I consider it a good buy. If not, I write down the name and add it to my queue at the library. That system has worked pretty good so far.


For Super Bowl Sunday, I was going to make a really different Chili, because that's what I like to do, that had allspice, and cinnamon sticks, and you stir in chopped chocolate into it at the end. I usually also substitute Smart Round (imitation ground beef) in my recipes like this. Hubby was hesitant though, because we didn't know who would be there, and some people want traditional comfort food on such occasions. I thought he had a point, so I went with something more conservative, but was really yummy. The family that had us over supplied all the toppings, and it was wonderful.


I doubled it, and put half in the freezer for the future. When you want to use it, just defrost it 12-24 hours, and put in the crockpot the morning to simmer all day. I also used a high quality organic beef from Whole Foods, because if I'm going to eat beef, I want it to be good!


#41 Chili

PREP TIME: 33 minutes


Serves 6


2 pounds lean ground beef

1 teaspoon oil

2 cloves garlic, minced (or more if you love garlic, I think I added 3-4)

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1 (19-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes, broken up

1 (5.5 ounce) can tomato paste

3/4 cup beef broth
(Optional: any toppings you want, such as shredded cheese, sour cream or plain fat free yogurt, tomatoes, tortilla strips, avocado, diced onion....etc.)


1. In a large skillet, cook the beef over medium-high heat until no longer pink.

2. Drain off fat and transfer the meat to the slow cooker.

3. In a skillet, heat the oil on medium-high and cook the garlic, onion, green pepper, chili powder, cumin, pepper, and cayenne for 3 minutes.

4. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, and broth.

5. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.

6. Cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours, or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.
Serve with toppings.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Roasted Banana Bars with Brown Butter Pecan Frosting

It was such a CRAZY week! Kiddos were off of school, and husband was out of town traveling. Alas, I made it. I lived to see another week! One thing that I did have to look forward to was a fun night out with a friend Wednesday night for yummy Mexican food, and dessert at CA Cafe. I'm so grateful for good friendships, and Godly friends that encourage me, and are so much fun to be with. I feel very (or as Analise would say, as she is hooked on Strawberry Shortcake "berry") blessed. :)

I have a great blog to introduce to you! A friend started a blog for some of us *uh-hum* that might be traveling abroad for the first time. I love her quick tips, and also GIRLY tips that only other well traveled Divas could pass on. Go check out her new site at

The Traveling Diva

I went to a fun, and intimate Super Bowl Party this afternoon. My husband and I are not that into sports (we don't have cable, or an antenna, so how could we be really?:), but we do love a good Super Bowl. Especially the commercials, hanging out with people, and food (not in that order). Though we left before the game was even over, due to Rob needing to be somewhere to help with the church Food Ministry, we had a really great time. I brought chili that I made in the crockpot, Dark Chocolate Brownies with Triple Chocolate Frosting, and the bars that you get the recipe for below. They were delish! The kids liked them even better then the chocolate ones! AND they are "Cooking Light" baby.

My Note: I substituted Whole Wheat Pastry Flour for the Cake Flour, and it worked great. Haven't quite figured out the altitude thing yet, and the middle took longer to get done then the edges. But they were still good.

Yield
2 dozen (serving size: 1 bar)
Ingredients
Bars:
2 cups sliced ripe banana (about 3 medium)
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
9 ounces cake flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup nonfat buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
Baking spray with flour
Frosting:
1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. To prepare bars, combine banana, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon butter in an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes, stirring after 17 minutes. Cool slightly.
3. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°.
4. Weigh or lightly spoon cake flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 9 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) flour, soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Combine banana mixture, buttermilk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in another medium bowl. Place 1/2 cup butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs to granulated sugar mixture; mix well. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternating with banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
5. Pour batter into a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with baking spray. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
6. To prepare frosting, melt 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly. Combine browned butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer until smooth. Spread frosting over cooled bars. Sprinkle with pecans.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 221
Fat: 8.4g (sat 4.7g,mono 2.3g,poly 0.6g)
Protein: 2.3g
Carbohydrate: 35.1g
Fiber: 0.6g
Cholesterol: 39mg
Iron: 1mg
Sodium: 117mg
Calcium:23mg

(Lindsay Weiss, Overland Park, KS, Cooking Light, JANUARY 2009 )