Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Breakfast Smoothie

Alton Brown has inspired me to start the morning off with a smoothie again. I used to make myself a smoothie all the time but about a year and a half ago I stopped for some reason or another. He recently lost 50 pounds and stresses that eating breakfast is vital to sustained weight loss and health. We all know this, but for some reason when I heard him say it, something clicked. Back in the day, I used to blend my smoothie up with 2% milk, plain yogurt and various fruits. Nothing is wrong with that per se, but it's not exactly the most efficient fuel for your body. There's little protein in that concoction and lots of sugar (albeit natural) and sorry to say, the base, the liquid if you will, was just fattening with little nutritional value per calorie.

The smoothie Alton inspired me to make however is improved and I'm happy to report very good for you, with the protein I need to run until lunchtime. Here's the recipe for 1 smoothie: (4 oz is the equivalent to about a 1/2 cup)

Breakfast Smoothie

4oz plain soy milk (that's the protein)
4oz pure purple juice (either pomegranate, acai, or grape)
4oz frozen wild blueberries (or another berry, but blueberries are especially good)
4oz frozen yellow fruit (either mango, pineapple or peach)
1 banana (frozen or fresh)

Blend together, pour in a tall glass, sip through a straw and enjoy!

What's that? You think you hate soy milk, huh? Especially plain? I thought the same thing! But I promise you, you can't taste it. This smoothie tastes no different from my old go to one made with milk. Oh, and hey, one more thing...When you drink the smoothie, chew on it a bit. I do this naturally because of the seeds involved and you probably do too, but it is important because when you chew you make saliva and saliva is the stuff that helps to break down your food and absorb it into your body. I think that's how it works, so without the critical chew, if you were to just swallow it down, your body wouldn't use the nutrients as effectively. For added protein, add a handful of almonds into the blender, its good.

When it comes to ingredients in smoothies, I like to stay with fruits that go together. Although I have been known to just throw whatever I have into the blender, usually smoothies with purpose taste better. Some great combinations I have tried include

-pineapple, mango, banana with chunks of coconut (if they are available, just crack the husk away and put a few chunks of the flesh into the blender, it will have a brown outer layer and that's fine. It gives it a wonderful milky texture and I love the consistency, but I like to chew a bit)
-Strawberry, blueberry, peach and banana
-Peach, mango, banana, strawberry
-blueberry, banana, pineapple

I would blend all of the above with plain soy milk and a juice of your choosing as long as it's not a commercial sugar bomb of a juice (apple, pineapple) and also, don't use too much juice. Also, as a little side note: I absolutely LOVE raspberries, but only for eating and not necessarily in smoothies because the seeds get stuck in your teeth.

Some other out of the box idea's for smoothie's:

-Peanut Butter oatmeal smoothie

peanut butter
vanilla yogurt
chocolate whey protein powder
skim milk (or soy)
a bit of cooked oatmeal
(thanks Angie, for the idea!) Blend together until smooth

-Strawberry-Watermelon Smoothie with Ginger

1 1/2 cups cubes of seedless watermelon
1 cup frozen quartered strawberries
3/4 tsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Process all until smooth

-Honeydew-Kiwi Smoothie with Mint

1 cup cubed honeydew melon
3/4 cup peeled kiwi
5 large mint leaves
1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 cup crushed ice
Process until smooth

-Ultra Chocolate Smoothie

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk, or regular unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup chocolate low fat frozen yogurt
Process until smooth

This last one is more of a dessert smoothie in my opinion, but whatever floats your boat...

Oh yeah, one more thing...If you are feeling daring you could turn any average breakfast smoothie into a version of a "green smoothie" for added nutrition. Just add a big handful of baby spinach to everything else and blend. It sounds gross, but honestly you can't taste it that much. If you are oddly intrigued with the green smoothie, google it. I'm not a huge fan of the authentic ones, but a handful of spinach is OK.
Besides the smoothie, I haven't been cooking too much lately. Well, nothing worth noting anyway. We had "vegetarian tacos" last night. I flavored black beans with taco seasoning. It was kind of bland to be honest, but I didn't have much time to put into them because of cheer leading practice, so I can't complain. I can tell if I would have put some more effort into flavoring each ingredient and had better salsa they would have been killer. I also cooked dinner for 50 people last week. It took 2 days, but I got er done. It was for sk8 church. I made 2 huge sausage lasagnas (my Grandma Burgos' recipe because she makes the very best lasagna) and 2 portabello mushroom lasagnas made with bechemel sauce (white sauce). Then I rounded it out with multiple huge Cesar salads that I made with romaine, roasted cherry tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and pancetta wheels with homemade dressing. For dessert, coconut cupcakes. The mushroom lasagna, salad and the cupcakes were all Ina Garten's recipes. She is one of my fave's.
TTFN ta ta for now!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Hi! Here you will find the list of all my recipes categorized as follows:

Appetizers/Breakfast/Bread/Drinks/Lunch/Main Entrees/Seafood Entrees/Pasta/Pizza/Salad/Sides/Soup and Chili/Dessert/Cookies/Everyday Cakes/Celebration Cakes/Pie/Ice Cream/Icy Treats/Vegetarian/Vegan

I have a sweet tooth and maybe a slight case of OCD when it comes to categorizing desserts so that is why it is broken up into so many categories. As I grow and acquire more recipes, these categories might change and grow. My goal is that you might find what you are looking for easily. Some items might be redundant. Sorry. It's just that some vegetarian things are also vegan, ya know?



Quick Bread



Hot Drinks



Main Entrees:

Seafood Entrees:





Soup and Chili:



Everyday Cakes

Chocolate Bundt Cake (previously titled "Everyday Chocolate Cake")

Celebration Cakes:



Ice Cream/Icy Treats



Jams, Jellies and Sauces, Gifts from the Kitchen:


Non-Food Stuff

What I LOVE about cooking

I love cooking because food is everything, if you really think about it.

Food is memories. Food makes up tradition and ties generations together. Food evokes strong feelings. Food gathers the people you love around your table. Food promotes community and togetherness. Food gives sustenance. Food gives comfort. Food gives energy. Food is essential. Food can be whatever you want it to be. Food is art. Food is culture.

I just love that food has the ability to be powerful, exotic, sexy, and spicy without the judgment you would get if you were that way!

And in a nutshell, good food is the result of cooking.

Food is many things to many people, but mostly to me, food is love. It is how I express and show love. If I need to tell you thank you, chances are a big plate of peanut butter swirl brownies are in your future. If you just had a baby, I’ll probably show up with a big pot of tender, beef stew, baguette, brie and wine (because I happen to know that wine, especially more than one glass, does wonders for everything after pushing out a baby). Even if it’s just a casual Wednesday night at home with a run-of-the-mill potato soup bubbling on the stove…I have made it with love. I have said this before, but I feel honored to be the wife to my husband and the mother of my children. It is a privilege I have always wanted and so I try take care of my family with purpose and love. Luckily, that includes dinner. Not so luckily, it also includes laundry.

Call me crazy, but I truly love how a dish comes together. Chopping onions, celery and carrots is very methodical and calming to me. Sautéing, roasting, caramelizing, braising, baking…everything has it’s own science, rhyme and reason. I get a thrill out of uncovering secrets to getting great results out of food every time.

I tend to search for “the ultimate”. Like, for example, If I make the absolute, ultimate chicken and dumplings, at least in my mind, then the buck stops there. I’m not making it another way again unless there is some crazy hybrid variation with surprising and intriguing ingredients that I read about 5 years down the road. Then, in that overly dramatic scenario, I would of course have to try it out. I kid myself. Really, all it would take is the mention of adding dill and the promise of fluffier dumplings and I'd be all over it, trying it out asap. While I do tend to search for these ultimate finds, I also love trying new dishes, so I am always cooking something different.

I could sit here and try to explain exactly why food makes me tick all day long, but it wouldn’t do any good. I’ll never define it. I’ll never be able to put it in a box. It is an art, so it is always changing and so is my view of it. Maybe that is why it never loses it’s appeal.

Gosh, I just love that too.