Ginger Lemon Tea

My sons were “kind” enough to share their cold bug with me.  One of them hates taking any remedies of any sort and the other one doesn’t mind them, but rarely remembers to take what I tell him he should.  I, on the other hand, start dosing wildly right and left with all manner of healthy things trying to knock the stuffing out of the virus!  Vitamin C in massive doses, oregano oil, echinacea…and now this tea.  I’m not sure which thing did the trick, but I’m almost well with far fewer symptoms than either of the boys who got sick days before me. Continue reading

Ripe Peach Blueberry Smoothie

Now that it’s fall and recipes are leaning toward pumpkin and apples, I’m going to bring you a blast from the heat of August!  So put on your sunglasses and flip flops and pretend it’s still hot outside.

Our friends brought back a huge basket of ripe South Carolina peaches for us twice this year.  They were so juicy and amazing!  This was one of the things I made with them.  They were so ripe that you could just cut them in half (across the equator of the peach), twist them apart, and scoop them out with a spoon (the skin was very thick and didn’t do well in the blender.)  I threw them in granola, smoothies, fruit salads, cobblers, crisps, and ice cream.

I thought I had posted this during the summer so you could make it with ripe peaches, but apparently I was wrong.  However, if you froze some of the fruit of your summer bounty, you can thaw them now and go from there, remembering the sweet tastes of summer.

Ripe Peach Blueberry Smoothie

Ripe Peach Smoothie

  • 2-3 very ripe peaches, halved, pitted, and scooped out of the peel
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 2 kale leaves, stems removed OR 1/4 c. of loose flat parsley leaves (this gives a peppery taste)
  • 1/2 c. (approximately) frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 c. (approximately) frozen pineapple (optional)
  • 3-4″ piece of celery, roughly cut into a few pieces to help the blender
  • 2 T. ground chia seeds (or flaxseeds)
  • stevia or other sweetener, to taste (I use a few sprinkles)
  • non-dairy milk as needed (I prefer coconut) ~ I rarely needed any with the ripe peaches

Place the peaches in the bottom of the blender, because they will become the liquid for the rest of the smoothie.  Throw in everything else and blend thoroughly.

This makes one very large smoothie, or 2 smaller ones.

Blueberry Lemon Kale Smoothie

Some of my favorite recipes have come together because of what I did or did not have on hand.  This morning I had no more fresh spinach left due to my forgetfulness to stop at the store yesterday, but there was a slice of honeydew.  My typical morning smoothie contains kale and spinach along with fruit ~ usually frozen.  After tossing in just the kale and the honeydew, I stared at the blender trying to imagine what would go well with them.  I love blueberries and honeydew together.  And of course everyone knows that blueberry and lemon pairing is classic, but would it translate into the smoothie?  I’ve failed before with lemon juice in a smoothie….

…But not this time!!  This smoothie has a bright, summery flavor that makes you want to jump right into your favorite warm weather fun.  The flavor lasts hauntingly in the background of your taste buds teasing you long after the smoothie is a memory.  I have a new favorite now!

Blueberry Lemon Kale SmoothieBlueberry Lemon Kale Smoothie

  • 3 red curly kale leaves, stem removed (if fairly large, just use 2)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 c. honeydew melon (about 1/8 of a melon)
  • 1/2 – 1 c. frozen blueberries (honestly, I didn’t measure – just tossed)
  • 2″ piece of frozen banana
  • 2-4 T. ground chia seed **
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • sweetener, to taste – I used a few sprinkles of pure stevia powder
  • coconut milk (not canned) – I used Silk coconut vanilla flavor, but use the brand you prefer.

Whiz all ingredients up in a blender, using just enough coconut milk to get the blender going at first.  You can always add more as you go, but the honeydew typically will release a lot of juiciness so that you won’t need very much else.

This makes enough for 1 person’s stand-alone breakfast or 2 people’s smaller servings.  Mine made about 3 cups and though I offered sips to other family members, I wasn’t sad when they turned me down and I got it all.  😉  (They are not green smoothie enthusiasts.)

**Not only is this little seed a powerhouse of omega-3’s, but it has loads of protein and fiber, too!  It will give your smoothie staying power so that you aren’t hungry for hours.  If you aren’t a fan of chia seed or haven’t used it much, only use a small amount to begin with until you get acclimated to it.  It will thicken the smoothie, especially if you don’t drink it right away.  If you plan to take it with you as you commute, you might use more liquid or less chia seed.

Non-Alcoholic Pina Colada Fizz

While I was trying to make a pina colada pudding of some sort, I was doing some tasting as I went.  (Hey, I had to make sure everything was good, right?)  At one point, the creamy stuff in the blender began to taste so yummy that I kept tasting and knew I needed to stop!  Finally, a light bulb went off and I poured a smidge into a small cup and started to play with that, too, in order to make a virgin pina colada.  (I figured at least one recipe was bound to turn out well.)  Just in case it was all in my imagination that my creation tasted amazing, I fixed a similar smidge for one of my willing taste-testers.  When he gave it the thumbs-up, I was content.

Later that evening, my son-in-law was over who likes all things “fancy non-alcoholic drink” and I told him about it.  He burst my bubble.  He told me that pina coladas don’t have anything fizzy in them.  Well…bummer!

It was late that night when I got my next light-bulb moment.  Why not just change the name?  Who cares what it is “supposed” to be ~ this was good and I wanted to share it!  😀  So, here you have it….although, if you don’t want the fizz, just leave it out.  It is decadent and delicious without the sparkling water, too!

Pina Colada Fizz (non-alcoholic)

  • juice from 1 small organic lemon
  • 2 cans Thai organic coconut milk (I used the full-fat version), chilled
  • 1-2 cans pineapple chunks*, undrained, preferably chilled
  • 1/2 tsp. pure stevia
  • 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • Canada Dry sparkling seltzer water, raspberry flavor, chilled, optional

In a 56-oz blender, whiz the first 5 ingredients together until very smooth.  Serve in glasses mixed with the sparkling seltzer water to taste. You should probably run a taste test to see what proportion you like best.  Garnish with fresh pineapple wedges and little umbrellas, if desired.  (Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of these pretties on hand.)

The cream in the blender makes about 7 cups if you use 1 can of pineapple.

*If you wish to use fresh or frozen pineapple, you probably will want to decrease or omit the lemon juice, because it will be tangy enough without it.  In making a half recipe, I threw in 1 1/2 c. of fresh pineapple.  It was very good this way.

Coconut Milkshake

Here is a simple way to get a vegan milkshake without the expensive containers of vegan ice cream getting involved.

Coconut Milkshake (and variations)

  • 1 frozen peeled banana, broken into pieces
  • Silk vanilla coconut milk
  • a sprinkle of pure powdered stevia extract

Place the banana and stevia in a blender.  Add just enough coconut milk to allow the blender to work properly.  This will depend on the strength of your blender, honestly.  That is why there is no measurement given for the milk.  Add extra coconut milk to determine how thick or thin you prefer your shake.  Pour into a glass and serve.

Variations:

  • Use almond or soy vanilla flavored milk in place of the coconut.  Add 1-2 T. of peanut butter and a sprinkle of stevia.  You could also add a spoonful of cocoa powder and a little more sweetener ~ or just use chocolate milk!
  • Use a plain flavored milk and add a drop or two of peppermint oil or extract.  If you want it to be green, add a few baby spinach leaves.
  • Toss in some blueberries.
  • Add some frozen pineapple chunks for a pina colada shake

Green and Not-So-Green Smoothies

I’m sure by now that you’ve at least heard of green smoothies if you read very many healthy-eating blogs.  They are the easiest way to increase your leafy green consumption without spending all day chewing your “cud.”  🙂  They are a great way to get kids to eat their veggies, too…….or maybe not.  If your child is color blind, perhaps you can sneak it passed them.  I happen to have a child old enough to know better who flatly refused a green smoothie, even when his relatively-food-fussy father said they tasted good!  (Perhaps even you have dug in your heels against the thought of drinking “grass.”)  So, what is a mom, or a wife, in some instances, to do?

Camouflage, of course!

Remember that fussy child of mine?  He has one favorite smoothie – only one.  It contains a frozen banana, frozen strawberries, stevia, cocoa powder, and vanilla Silk soymilk.  He prefers it to be drinkable, rather than soft-serve-like.  After his staunch breakfast refusal of a green smoothie, he asked for his usual for lunch.  He left the kitchen as I got things out to make it.  I peeked to see if he was busy.  Ah, the coast was clear.  I whipped out the organic baby spinach, rinsed a few leaves, and threw it in.  Just to be on the safe side, I was liberal with the cocoa powder.  Ah…a safe deep brown color showed up as the blender whirred.  I ran it a little extra to make sure no tiny leaf particles remained – and snagged the only one I saw as I poured it into his cup.  When he was done I asked him how it had come out.  “Best ever mom – super creamy this time!”  LOL  Success!

The next time he asked for a smoothie, I put in a whole extra-large handful of the same spinach.  He still couldn’t tell.  The 3rd time I did the same.  I was wondering when to tell him.  That day his brother-in-law was over and pretended to take the smoothie from me for himself.  This man has an allergy to leafy greens!  I had to stop him from swigging some.  The jig was up.  R didn’t bat an eye when I told him what I had done.  He said as long as he couldn’t see it or taste it, he didn’t care what I put in the smoothie!

R’s older brother allows me to fix him daily “green” smoothies…but they must contain some kind of berry to mask the color.  The only trouble is that unless you put enough berry in there, the color leans toward brown or avocado green!  Much less appealing.  This morning I put raspberries in and when J sat down to eat, he was expecting mild chocolate flavor by the color and was startled to find coconut-raspberry.

Honestly, I’m the one in the family who can drink an intensely green smoothie without batting an eye.  As long as it has enough fruit and/or coconut flavor to balance it, I love it.  I feel so much more energy – and so fewer cravings – since I started making these!  (I’ve been known to have one for every meal.)  The only time I ever had trouble was when I put some golden beets in on suggestion of another great blog.  I don’t recommend using very much beet at a time if you choose to use that detoxifying veggie.

Here are my favorite things to use (not necessarily all at once, mind you!) in green smoothies (choose organic as much as possible) ~ baby spinach (the mildest taste effect), red curly kale (the organic version smells like flowers!), cucumber (make sure it’s not a bitter one), a celery stick, frozen blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, mango, and/or pineapple, cocoa powder, Silk coconut milk, and bananas.  I’m sure there are other things that work well, but this is what I have used to experiment thus far.  I also tend to throw some ground flax or chia seeds into mine.

It is fun to experiment with taste preferences.  Try blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, apples, pears, etc.  Let me know what your favorite is!  Or if you just aren’t brave enough to try.

Chocolate Green Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 6 oz. of frozen strawberries (I just toss in 1/2 of a 12 oz. bag)
  • 1-2 heaping spoonfuls of cocoa powder
  • a sprinkle of pure stevia powder (optional)
  • a handful of washed baby spinach
  • enough non-dairy milk to make the blender turn (this will depend on the texture you like your smoothies to be – soft-serve or drinkable, and on your blender power)

Whiz all in blender until smooth.  Serve in glass or bowl.

Truly Green Smoothie

  • 2 red curly kale leaves, stem end broken off
  • 1-2 handfuls of washed baby spinach
  • a 3-4″ cucumber spear
  • a 3-4″ celery stick
  • 1 c. (or more) frozen mango chunks
  • 1/2 c. (or more) fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
  • a sprinkle of pure stevia powder (optional)
  • 1-2 T. ground flax or chia seed (optional)
  • enough Silk coconut milk to make the blender turn (this will depend on your blender power – I like a thick green smoothie somewhere between solely drinkable and spoonable)

Whiz all in blender until smooth.  Serve in glass or bowl.

Once you are accustomed to the green smoothie look and taste, increase your greens and decrease the fruit for more of a veggie-packed whollop.  You can add a banana to the mix for extra creaminess and sweetness.

Cornbread (muffins or pan)

This recipe has been in my possession for so many years that I didn’t own a printer and it’s handwritten ~ probably didn’t even own a computer and if I did, I doubt it had a word processing program on it!  Yikes.  Some of you may wonder if the world existed then.  The notebook page it’s written on has bent edges, stains, and it needs its 3 holes repaired, causing it to fall out of the notebook regularly.  Originally, it was cut out of a woman’s magazine (who knows which one at this point?) complete with picture.  It was full fat, full milk and eggs, regular degerminated cornmeal, white flour – you name it.  It was pretty bad for you.  The recipe strongly called for cast-iron corn tins – but I didn’t own those, so I substituted the variation provided ~ muffin tins.

Because I wasn’t vegan at that time, I only changed one thing about the recipe – I used whole wheat flour in place of the white.  They were very tasty and everyone was happy when I served them.

Not long afterwards, I had to set the recipe aside.  My children and I were found to have allergies and we all became vegan overnight.  *gulp*  Since I didn’t have such a thing as internet yet to look for new recipes, I needed to learn how to take my much-loved ones and transform them.  (And while I was at it, one son had wheat and corn allergies, so I had to make something work for him, too.  I substituted millet flour for the cornmeal and barley or spelt flour for the wheat and made a small pan for him.  It had a stickier texture – you have to cut back on the liquid a bit – but it was worth it to him to eat something similar to our version.)  After a few attempts and substitutions, the recipe was deemed successful.  Update: I’ve learned that substituting oat flour for the wheat works very well.  It’s a little more fragile than the wheat version, but not terribly so.

This still is a favorite of mine.  I love it with chili, “chicken”-noodle soup, baked beans, and for breakfast with strawberry or raspberry jam and non-dairy milk over it  (Hey, don’t knock it until you try it!  Esp. if you use coconut milk.  Mmmmm….) – or warm for “dessert” with vegan “butter” and maple syrup drizzled over it.

Cornbread

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour or oat flour (whiz rolled oats in blender until floury)
  • 1 c. stone-ground cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. Ener-G egg replacer
  • 1/4 c. honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 1/3 c. soy milk
  • 2 T. melted coconut oil (for best texture) or unsweetened applesauce or half and half of each

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray muffin tin or 8”x8” pan with oil.

Combine dry ingredients.  Whisk liquid ingredients in separate bowl; add to dry ingredients and whisk until batter is smooth and just begins to thicken – about 30 seconds.  Spoon into pan.  Bake muffins for 14 minutes or 8”x8” pan for 18-20 minutes, until edges are beginning to slightly brown and center is firm.  (If the edges begin to look too brown, the bottom will already be too dark.)

Variation:  Double and place in a 9”x13” cake pan and bake for 22-25 minutes.

Starbucks Be Gone!

I admit it.  Years ago I made a choice not to ingest caffeine ~ and I don’t trust whatever it is they do to take it out of innocent coffee beans.  I just skip the caffeinated products completely.  However, I am still drawn by the enticingly tasty idea and smell of coffee drinks.  (None of this straight black coffee of yesteryear that my parents used to sit and drink.  Bleck!  No draw there!)  And there is another issue beside avoiding the caffeine ~ how could I obtain the image in my mind of a yummy hot drink without paying the small fortune that the coffee shops charge?  How hard could it be to make my own?

Enter the coffee substitutes:  Roma, Cafix, Pero, and others.  I, personally, prefer Cafix in the canister.  It has a milder, mellower taste than some of the others.  There are actually 2 different Cafix types; one is sweeter.  And yes, you guessed it – I like the sweeter one!  Roma is my middle son’s favorite, because it has a much stronger flavor – probably more like regular coffee – and he likes it black, too!  (Must be a throw-back to my folks….)  I don’t mind drinking Roma, but I want it well drenched with creamer and plenty of sweetener.  Some of you might remember Postum from your childhood.  Sadly enough, the company no longer makes it.  I have only had Pero once and I recall it as being somewhere between Roma and Cafix.  There are others out there – some of which actually are brewed in a coffee maker.  I haven’t tried those, but have heard good things about them.

Below you will find some of my ideas for tasty coffee-like creations of your own.  If you are willing to use a microwave to heat them, some can be ready in less time than it would take to stand in line at Starbucks!

Note:  You may use whichever coffee substitute you have on hand, even if the name says differently.   You also may omit any creamer if you prefer a straight-up coffee flavor.

Mocha Roma

  • 1 1/2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 T. honey (more or less to taste)
  • 1- 1 1/2 tsp. coffee substitute (Roma, Caffix, etc.)
  • Hot or boiling water
  • Vanilla non-dairy creamer

Mix the cocoa powder and honey in a 1-1 1/2 c. mug.  Keep stirring patiently.  All of a sudden it will turn from a powdery mess into a smooth, creamy, chocolately wonder.  Add the coffee substitute – no need to mix.  Pour in the boiling water, leaving enough room to stir and add creamer.  Note ~ This is fabulous iced, as well!

If you are in a hurry and/or want a richer product, just make this with half Silk dark chocolate almond milk and half water, leaving out the honey.  Heat in a microwave.

Silky Chocolate Coconut Cafix

  • 1/4 c. vanilla soy Silk
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/2 c. dark chocolate almond Silk
  • 1/2 c. coconut Silk
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp. Cafix

Mix first 4 ingredients together and heat in microwave.  Stir in Cafix.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cafe

  • 1 1/2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 T. honey (more or less to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coffee substitute
  • 1 1/4 c. water, or non-dairy milk, or combination of the two
  • Silk hazelnut creamer

Mix the cocoa powder and honey in a 1 1/2 c. mug.  Keep stirring patiently.  All of a sudden it will turn from a powdery mess into a smooth, creamy, chocolately wonder.  If heating in the microwave, pour in the water/milk and heat to not-quite-boiling; add the coffee substitute and creamer.  If heating water/milk on stove, add the coffee substititue and then pour in the heating water/milk.  Add creamer and stir.

“Eggnog” Cafix*

  • Hot water enough to fill 3/4 of a mug
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tsp. Cafix
  • sweetener to taste
  • Silk Nog*

Pour hot water over Cafix in mug, or heat water in mug and add Cafix.  Stir in sweetener and Silk Nog.

Pumpkin Spice Latte*

  • 1/2-3/4 c. water
  • 1/2-3/4 c. non-dairy milk (plain or vanilla)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tsp. Cafix
  • sweetener to taste
  • Silk Pumpkin Spice*

Heat water and non-dairy milk.  Stir in Cafix, sweetener, and Silk Pumpkin Spice.

*Seasonally available.

Of course, you can create many more from your own imagination!  There are enough different flavored creamers and non-dairy milks that you can play a lot with it.  I’d love to hear your combinations, too, so that I can try them.  🙂