Sunday, May 26, 2013

Banana-Berry Smoothie

As promised, I have a new recipe to share with you--just in time for summer!

I've always been something of a smoothie nut--at least when I've had access to a good blender! I have fond memories of frequenting a smoothie place that opened up right near my house when I was in middle school. My sister and I fell in love with these smoothies, and we soon realized how easy it was to make our own delicious, refreshing drinks filled with all kinds of tasty stuff! Every summer we would pull out the blender in our kitchen and mix up all sorts of different concoctions.

When the warm weather came around this year, I was thrilled to start experimenting with my new blender. I've been mixing things up pretty much daily for the last week or so, and when my boyfriend claimed this smoothie as his favorite, I figured it would be a good pick for a post.

Banana-Berry Smoothie
Makes about 3 cups
What You'll Need:
1 1/2 cups strawberries, frozen (about 8 oz.)
1 6 oz. container almond, coconut, or soy yogurt (I use plain, but a fruit flavor would work, too!)
1/3 cup blueberries
1 banana, frozen, and broken into large chunks
1-2 medium sized carrots, peeled and roughly chopped*
3/4 cup orange juice
up to 1 cup almond, rice, or soy milk

What You'll Need to Do:
If using a high-powered blender, add ingredients in the order listed and secure the lid. Start off at a slow speed, and quickly increase to the highest speed for your blender. Blend until smooth.

*If using a less powerful blender, you will have to grate the carrots or omit them. You'll also need to add the ingredients in batches. Add about half of the strawberries and bananas in with the orange juice and yogurt and blend until smooth. Add in the remaining ingredients and continue to blend until desired consistency is reached.

If you like your smoothies really thick, you can omit the milk altogether. If you'd like to thin it out a bit, add 1/4 to 1 cup milk and blend until desired thickness is reached.

Tips and Tricks
If you like (or would like to start) making smoothies in the summertime, stock up on your favorite fruits and yogurts. Alternatively, you can use silken tofu to thicken up your smoothies as well (I have some smoothie recipes utilizing this ingredient coming soon!).

Bananas are a nutritious and inexpensive addition to any smoothie, and even if you're not a huge fan of their flavor, it is oftentimes masked by the other ingredients. You can even buy the day old bananas at the market to save even more--just be sure you get them into the freezer as soon as you can! Peel and freeze bananas in a plastic baggie or other container in your freezer. And no need to stop with frozen bananas--you can chop and freeze things like mangoes and other fruits as well.

Fruit-filled smoothies also offer an opportunity to slip in other healthy ingredients, such as the carrots in this recipe. The carrots have a bit of a sweetness to them which meshes well with the other ingredients. Their taste was virtually imperceptible in this particular recipe.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Springtime Recipes


What have I been up to lately? Still a whole lot of cooking...but somehow I've let nearly an entire month go by without a post! While I've been bursting with ideas over the last few weeks, I haven't had a chance to put any full posts together just yet.

In the meantime, here are some ideas for some great recipes you might consider trying. But keep your eyes peeled! I have some refreshing salad and smoothie recipes on the way very soon...

As always, I've enjoyed delving into Veganomicon for some great ideas. After making a beet and bulgur salad a while ago, I was ready to throw the last of my winter beets into something even lighter. I was intrigued by the shredded parsnip and beet salad with pineapple vinaigrette (pictured above). If those ingredients sound a bit crazy to you, I don't disagree, but I can say that this salad is sweet, tangy, crunchy, and absolutely delicious! I brought it to a dinner party, and it was quickly devoured.

Not too surprisingly, many of the other recipes that I followed over the last month or so can also be traced to Isa Chandra:
A delicious "Raspberry Blackout Cake with Ganache-y Frosting" (recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance)

Apple Pie Crumb-Cake muffins (from Vegan with a Vengeance)

The Cookies 'n Cream cupcakes (again! they're one of my favorites from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

And I tried a recipe from PPK (follow the link for the recipe), for a sunflower-seed based Mac!
Sunflower seed mac

I also made a raspberry swirl vegan cheesecake (with my favorite vegan cheesecake recipe, courtesy of Sinfully Vegan)
Vegan raspberry swirl cheesecake ready for some more raspberry topping...

That's all for now...I know this post is a bit of a tease, but hopefully it gives you some fun (and tasty!) ideas. And as I said earlier, expect more of my own recipes coming very soon!