I guess maybe we should call it a shake, but let’s not get into a lexicon debate about the chocolate pumpkin smoothie. I’ve been playing around with the fall pumpkin smoothie (original recipe here), and this is my new favorite version. Amounts are not precise, but the ingredients are right, so have at it and get back to me.
Chocolate Pumpkin Smoothie
Blend up in your favorite blending device…
- 1 13-ounce can coconut milk
- 1 15-ounce can pureed pumpkin
- 1/2 cup hazelnut milk (or almond milk or milk milk or water)
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 4–5 dates
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 3–4 tablespoons chocolate protein powder (This is the first time I’ve ever used protein powder. It’s a hail-Mary to get my breakfasts rebooted. My naturopath suggested PurePaleo Protein Chocolate by Designs for Health, so I’m going with that.)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
I put my smoothie in a big glass jar and pour servings out for a few days. After I have it in the fridge for a day, I like to add some more hazelnut milk to thin it out. I find this especially delicious if the kids are down and it’s time to veg out on the couch with my husband and I need a treat. It feels kind of like a chocolate malt, with a Mexican chocolate-style kick.
It’s coming to the end of asparagus season at the farmers markets. For a girl who loves local stuff, I’m generally not in the know about what’s “in-season.” Citrus is in winter right? Everything else is in summer?
Well I’m getting my education at the Oregon farmers markets this summer, and so far asparagus has been exploding out of farmers’ stalls in rubber-banded bunches.
Thank goodness summer vegetables are best prepared simple, because that’s all we can manage. So I’ve been making roasted asparagus with lemon and sea salt.
I’ve also been searching for new light and simple pasta dishes. So here’s a recipe for roasted pepper sauce that was delicious with fresh bay shrimp from the market and whole wheat spaghetti.
Please share your own recent favorite sauces or vegetable dishes!
- 1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
- a few tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon for juicing
- pinch of sea salt
- drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- Trim the ends of the asparagus.
- Toss the asparagus spears in a few tablespoons of olive oil and lay them out flat on a cookie sheet.
- Turn your oven to broil (I use 500 degrees), let it heat up for a minute or two, and pop in the asparagus on the top rack.
- Check after about 4-5 minutes. That’s usually all it takes. You want the asparagus to be a tiny bit browned in places, but not limp.
- Toss the asparagus in a bowl, throw in a pinch of sea salt, juice one lemon over them, and sprinkle with a bit of good balsamic vinegar. Yum!
Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce
- Two small-medium onions, chopped
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 jar roasted red peppers, liquid reserved
- Generous pinches of thyme, sage, ground black pepper, red pepper flakes
- Shrimp, chopped fresh tomato, & parmesan cheese for garnish
- Chop two small-medium sized onions and 4-5 cloves of garlic.
- Sauté the onion on the stove top in a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until onion is tender. Throw in the garlic midway through.
- Coarsely dice a jar of roasted peppers, reserving the liquid (see note).
- When the onions are tender, throw in the coarsely chopped peppers and the pepper liquid (or about a cup of water or chicken stock if you roasted the peppers yourself).
- Add your favorite spices. For this sauce I used generous pinches of thyme, sage, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Turn down the heat to medium low, and let simmer for about ten minutes, adding more water or stock if necessary so that the mixture doesn’t get too dry.
- Puree in a blender or food processor to desired consistency.
- Serve with generous helpings of shrimp, chopped fresh tomato, and parmesan cheese!
Note: I get my roasted peppers from Trader Joe’s. If you have a gas stove you can also easily roast your peppers over the gas flame, turning frequently until the skin is fairly charred (don’t leave unattended!). Or you can roast peppers in your oven on broil, also turning them a few times for even roasting, and watching carefully until skin is fairly charred. If you are doing it yourself, throw the hot roasted peppers in a paper bag for five minutes to steam—skin will peel off much easier. OR you can just buy them already jarred.
A few days ago my husband had a long day at work. So it was the perfect excuse to make some of his favorite things: crispy roasted potatoes, burgers, and grilled onions. Plus, I’d had burgers on the brain since my friend Kylan said she was busting out the grill.
Finally the grilling season is in full swing!
We don’t actually have a barbecue because you couldn’t fit a grill on our fire escape in the Bronx. Currently we’re waffling between buying a charcoal grill or a gas grill (your thoughts are appreciated).
For now I sear my burgers on the stove top, then add a little water to the pan, turn down the heat, and cover those bad boys to finish cooking with steam–perfectly moist!
These burgers were ground beef with the following seasonings: black pepper, red pepper flakes, oriental mustard powder, garlic, and a few tablespoons of olive oil to stick it all together. Pretty much your standard burger plus a spicy kick. We used kale, tomatoes, and grilled onions on a whole wheat bun to complete the package!
It was delicious, but there’s still a lot of grilling ahead, and I need inspiration. Please, tell me what you do! Share a great recipe or your favorite grilling tip…
PARDON THE INTERRUPTION: Allison over at Motherhood, WTF? is part of the good-people-who-happen-to-be-creative-and-down-to-earth-and-also-mommies vanguard and she gave Momsicle a Freakin’ Funny award today. Whoo hooooo! How cool is that? Go check her out. And if you are looking for funny here, try a taste of two classic posts: Mommy Magazines and The Child Rearing Books.
AND NOW BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING (which happens to be more food than funny, today).
Once December hits I’m ready for holiday comfort food. But I’m delusional. When am I going to make pork loin with roasted root vegetables…chicken with orange sauce and steamed winter squash…stuffed Cornish game hens with sweet potato purée? Unless I get all of my presents/cards/pictures/decorating done in November, it’s hard to sit down to a relaxing meal in December.
So here’s the simple stuff we’ve been eating that’s a cut above a frozen meal, in case you could also use some inspiration. (And please put your easy comfort food secrets in the comments! We will eat them.)
The dressed-up grilled cheese sandwich: when you want to add a little class to the living room that is covered in alphabet books, blankets, tennis balls, and rock ‘n’ roll walkers. Start with whole grain bread, add Dijon mustard, extra sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced red onion, and any herbs you want. Stick it in the toaster oven and eat open-faced.
Throw-everything-in-there roasted red pepper soup. This is a take-off on Giada de Laurentiis’s recipe. Don’t be fooled by Giada’s insistence that there’s an order to how to make this. All I do is sauté some onions and carrots, then thrown in every vegetable I can find with a lot of stock (or water) and let the stove top do the rest. Also, you don’t need ricotta. A little of whatever liquid dairy you have–milk, half-and-half–will work at the end. Voilà! Your house smells delicious while the stock pot does the work.
You have to have a real grilled cheese to dunk. Plus, it feeds the baby and gives you more time to get back to your holiday insanity.