Looks Aren’t Everything

Sometimes, food doesn’t look pretty. And sometimes, it tastes better than it looks. We all know how we react better to pretty food, but this is an icky looking smoothie that tastes absolutely delicious!

It seems to me that a lot of people have an aversion to green colored foods when they aren’t supposed to be green. Spinach, peppers, green beans – that’s okay. But put in front of them a green smoothie and they get a little creeped out. Well, if you’re one of these people, I dare you to try this smoothie. Especially if you like bananas & strawberries – it covers up any green taste you might find!

Sneaky Kale Smoothie

1+1/2 frozen banana
1 cup frozen strawberries (doesn’t need to be packed full)
3 kale leaves
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup almond milk (or soy or rice)
1/4 cup COLD water

In your blender, place bananas, then half of strawberries, kale, and remaining strawberries on top. Squeeze lemon in, then add milk and put on lid. Blend at high speed – mixture will start getting sludgy so it’s not really mixing well, at this point, slowly pour in water through hole in lid (if you have that option – if not, just stop blending and take off lid to add water). Allow to blend for about 30 seconds after you think it’s done, just to make sure that it’s mixed up really well & the kale is chopped. You’ll want to taste the smoothie periodically and make any adjustments where you need – paying close attention to the liquid! Some folks like their smoothies thicker than others.

Enjoy in the morning for a jumpstart – fruit, fiber, vitamins, and greens!

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Filed under breakfast, frozen desserts

Raw Soups

The gas in our apartment complex was recently shut off for a week due to a leak the city found. Having no hot water or gas for our stove was not the best thing to happen in the middle of the summer (especially when it’s consistently over 100 degrees!) Fortunately, my job outside sends me home super hot & sweaty, so a cold/lukewarm shower worked for me. But as far as cooking went, well, there is no microwave and we got rid of 2 hotplates before moving. We did a lot of eating out, to say the least. When we did eat in, it was sandwiches and salads. I also made a couple of raw soups which I’m going to share with you.
Gazpacho is the essential summer soup that everyone knows and loves. People put together their own concoction based on the veggies they like, and no two really ever seem to taste the same. I used to hate tomatoes and cucumbers, but they are growing on me which is awesome because they are crucial for gazpacho. This time, I used:

4 vine-ripened tomatoes
1/2 large cucumber
1 orange pepper
2 small carrots
2 shallots
cold water (to create the right consistency for me)
1 hot dog bun (to add a little more texture/weight)
olive oil & balsamic vinegar

I mixed all the veggies & bread in the blender, then added the water to get it just right. I chilled the gazpacho for about 30 minutes, then topped with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The next soup I made was Corn Chowder. It was so delicious! You must adjust the amount of corn kernals and garlic to your liking, because the soup can turn out rather thin & the garlic is a very strong flavor with the corn. For this chowder, you need:

3 ears fresh corn
2 cups of Almond milk
1 garlic clove
Cayenne pepper & salt to taste

You want to mix the kernals of 1 ear of corn with your almond milk and garlic in a blender. Process it until it’s smooth. Add the rest of the kernals and spices to your mixture. Allow to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. I topped mine with a little black pepper. Yummy!

Share your raw soups with me, I’d love to make more! I’m thinking a carrot-ginger might be delightful.

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Filed under quick & easy, raw, soup

Blueberry Muffins

I love blueberry muffins. I love that berries are always on sale in the summer which means I can make muffins for much cheaper and not have to use frozen ones! Yay! Here is my favorite blueberry muffin recipe.

What you need:

1/2 cup Almond milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 smashed banana
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 +1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together your wet ingredients. Next, add in your dry ingredients. Stir everything together just until combined – batter with be a bit lumpy, but you don’t want to overwork or the muffins may not rise very much. Gently fold in your blueberries.

Spoon muffin mixture in 12 greased muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let muffins cool in pan. Voila!

I’d love to hear about your favorite summer muffin recipe, share it in the comments!

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Curried Tofu Salad

Everywhere I go I see curried chicken salad (sandwiches). In restaurants, at a deli, at the coffee shop, in grocery store cold cases. But, I never see curried tofu salad, or maybe I haven’t gone to the right place. Regardless, I decided it was high time I try out making my own. I have nothing to compare it to, since I’ve never had curried chicken or tofu salad, so I’m going to post what I did here, and ask YOU for your suggestions! I thought this turned out okay, but I want to try more recipes!

What you need:

1 package of firm tofu
olive oil for sauteing
1/3 yellow onion
4 – 5 tbsp vegenaise (use as much as you like to get the right consistency)
grated carrot (I used 1 – but use as much/little as you like)
salt & pepper to taste
1 – 1 + 1/2tbsp  curry powder
dash of cayenne pepper
1tbsp (or so) agave nectar

First off, you want to get as much water out of your tofu as possible. I didn’t press it this time, but more like took it out of the package and soaked up a bunch of water with paper towels – just to dry it up a bit. Next, I cut it up into little cubes. It’s good to do this before you start cooking anything because it might take a minute.

In medium to large skillet, heat oil of medium heat. Add the onions and cook for just 2 to 3 minutes. Then, add the tofu. You’ll want to saute the onion and tofu for about 15 minutes or so. If you like things like peppers or garlic, this would be a pretty good time to add them. (Actually, I think I need to try that!)

When the tofu starts to brown and get a little hard, chewy, etc, remove from heat. Allow to cool for a minute while you  mix together the vegenaise, carrots, salt, pepper, curry powder, cayenne, and agave. Taste it before you add it to the tofu/onion mixture, and adjust seasonings as needed.

Once you get your flavors down, add it into the tofu/onion mixture. Serve it straight away, or put it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to marinate. I enjoyed my curried tofu salad on some bread with a side of my roasted garlic potato salad for a yummy lunch!


Alright, now it’s your turn! Spill it! How do you make curried tofu (or chicken) salad?

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Filed under homemade, salad

Roasted Garlic Potato Salad

Remember the garlic I roasted along with the slow roasted tomatoes? Well, I’m going to share with you what I did with it!

I love potato salad – as long as it’s made at home. That crap that’s pre-packaged in the grocery stores makes me want to, well, I’m not going to get into it. My favorite at-home-made potato salad consists simply of Follow Your Heart‘s Vegenaise, some spicy mustard, and a little salt & pepper. So simple. Since I had the roasted garlic and some fresh herbs, I went with something a little fancier this time.

What you need:

4 or so medium sized red potatoes, cut into small pieces
Vegenaise (about 3 tbsp, but as much as you like to get the creaminess you prefer)
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste
a few sprigs of rosemary (again, to taste)
a few basil leaves (see above)
Roasted garlic cloves (I used the 5 I had)

I hope you know how to make potato salad. If not, here’s the drill:

Bring enough water to cover potatoes to a boil. When boiling, add potatoes and boil til soft, about 20 minutes. (Keep your eye on the potatoes so the pot doesn’t boil over!) While potatoes are cooking, mix together the rest of your ingredients! I found it handy to put them in my mini-food processor. Adjust all your seasonings to taste. Once the potatoes are soft, drain, then add the mixture of delicious to your potatoes! Serve your potato salad warm or cold, it’s good either way.

Do you have any secret potato salad recipes to share? I would love to try any and all of them!

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Slow Roasted Tomatoes

There’s nothing like cranking your oven up to 400 degrees when it’s over 100 degrees outside – nothing better! Yea, I’m totally joking. Does 225 degrees sound a little better? I think so too. So that’s just what I did Saturday afternoon.

I had a few vine-ripened tomatoes sitting around and didn’t really feel like making pasta sauce, and I don’t like tomatoes UNLESS they’re cooked. They can be made into sauce, soup, sauteed, whatever – but they MUST be cooked. It’s a very weird relationship we have, the tomatoes and I. What I did feel like doing was making sun-dried tomatoes (because I LOVE them), but could not find my cheesecloth (hopefully, I can try out this experiment soon). I stumbled upon some recipes, okay, more like guidelines, for slow roasting tomatoes. (Thank you, smitten kitchen, for being a constant inspiration) I thought to myself  “close enough,” and began the 3 hour journey of the slow-roasted tomatoes.

This was one of the easiest things to do with the best results ever! I am so sad that I’ve never done it before. Everyone loves tomatoes, everyone but me! I think this delicious & simple “recipe” has brought me one step closer to a friendship with tomatoes. Let me share with you how we bonded.

What you need:

-your vine-ripened tomatoes, or whatever kind you have
-cloves of unpeeled garlic, as many as you want to roast alongside your tomatoes (tomorrow, I’ll share with you what I did with the delicious roasted garlic)
-good quality olive oil (the only kind you should have in your pantry)
-fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or basil (these are optional)
-salt & pepper to taste

Next, preheat your oven to 225°F. Cut your tomatoes into quarters. (If you have a smaller tomato such as a cherry or grape, halve those.) Arrange your tomatoes and garlic on a baking pan, and drizzle with olive oil. Not too much, but just enough (you’ll know). Sprinkle lightly with your herbs, salt, and pepper. Place your pan in your oven and leave them alone for 3 hours. Of course, check on them periodically! You want them to be a little dry on the outside, but to remain a bit juicy on the inside. Experiment with the time to get your tomatoes just right – you might like them a little more juicy while I like them a bit more dry.

Eat these delicious little buggers warm, on a salad or as a side to a sauce-less pizza. It’s a light and refreshing accompaniment to any summer meal & is sure to please most anyone who loves delicious things.

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Filed under homemade, vegetables

So Easy Strawberry Sorbet

It’s been over 100 degrees the past week or so in Austin. Before that, I don’t think there has been a day since we’ve been here that it’s been under 98 degrees. Frozen treats to the rescue! Here’s my first favorite (in a string of many, I am sure): So Easy Strawberry Sorbet.

What you need:

‎1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 pints strawberries
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 – 3 tbsp vanilla extract

1. Bring sugar + water to boil over high heat, stirring constantly. When it starts boiling, turn to low, and let cook 5 minutes (stirring occasionally). Remove from heat, cover for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, wash strawberries, dry, then cut into quarters. Put in blender (or food processor) & process with 1/4 cup of sugar/water mix. Process until you can hardly see the seeds anymore.3. Mix everything else together in a container that can be frozen.4. Let that mixture freeze overnight. In the morning, I let the sorbet sit out for about 5 – 10 minutes, then used a spoon to mash it and mix it up. Return to freezer. Eat after a couple hours!

(I suggest letting it sit out for a few minutes to soften up just a touch before eating. This recipe should make around 6 – 8 servings.)

This one goes delicious with Banana Soft Serve that my friend Lilly turned me onto from choosingraw.com.  Bananas + strawberries!?! How could it get any better?

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