Magic Mint Chocolate Smoothie

Magic Mint Green Smoothie

Ok. So I have officially changed my stance on smoothies in the morning. I know I said that I’d rather have a meal with all the smoothie ingredients, but that was until I discovered the magic of chocolate and mint.

The real magic here is that the smoothie is made up of all vegetables, except for one frozen banana. Yep, one banana, and the rest is straight veggie goodness. No more sugar head rush or instant hunger 10 minutes after drinking it. Normally, this would taste like a sweet salad in slime form (yuck!) but add some cocoa powder and peppermint oil and BAM, you have a mint chocolate milkshake.

The natural bitterness of the cocoa powder masks any bitterness from the vegetables (kale, I’m looking at you, here) and the peppermint really brings out the natural sweetness of the banana. You can use almost any vegetable that is mild in flavor and isn’t too stringy. I’ve used:

  • kale
  • spinach
  • beet greens
  • carrot
  • broccoli stalks
  • cauliflower (stalks and head)
  • mild mushrooms (these add a strong flavor, try only a tiny bit at a time)
  • turnip
  • asparagus

Pretty much anything goes except for the obvious like garlic or onions.

And my favorite way to eat them lately? Popsicles!

Magic Mint Fudgesicle

It’s finally been getting warm here in San Francisco, and there’s no better way to celebrate it than a icy cool  mint fudgesicle! My smoothie was about 300 calories, and made 6 popsicles. That means each one was only 50 calories! The molds I just bought are the best popcicle molds that I’ve ever used.

You can experiment as much as you want, to get the perfect combo of veggies.

Magic Mint Chocolate Smoothie

  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 1 cup mild leaves, such as spinach
  • 1 cup chopped vegetables
  • 1 frozen banana (very ripe)
  • 6-10 drop stevia extract (or sweetener to taste)
  • 10-15 drops peppermint extract (use less if using peppermint oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbs cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until well blended. If not using a high-speed blender, make sure to chop vegetables finely.

Pirate Mint Chocolate Smoothie

Arrr! Pirate Green Smoothie!

Advertisements

Cinnamon-Scented Coconut Almond Milk

Coconut Almond Milk

Oh my goodness! It’s been one of those weeks, where I haven’t had time to even make myself a decent meal. I did end up making mizuna and yams for the third time (yes, it’s that good!), but otherwise it’s been cereal, leftovers from lunches out, and eating out. I did manage to find a little time to make some almond milk, based off an amazing recipe at Square One Kitchen (a great blog!).

I like my almond milk thin, more like store-bought almond milk, so I cut the almond and coconut in half, and just used one date, since I’m not really big on sweet drinks. I also soaked the almonds separately so that I could rinse and drain the almonds to get rid of the excess tannins from the skins. Finally, I added a pinch of cinnamon, just for kicks. What I ended up with was a rich, coconutty, cinnamon scented milk that was simply divine. It was so good that I forbade my fiancé from using it on cereal, because that would be a “waste”!

Making it is so easy, just the same as regular almond milk. Cover the coconut, chia seeds, dates and cinnamon with 2 cups water in a covered container. If using extract, add it too, but if using the vanilla paste, add it after you strain the milk, so you don’t strain out the vanilla beans. Soak the almonds in a separate covered container. Soak overnight or about 8 hours. After soaking, pour coconut and water into a blender, adding another 2 cups of water to make 4 cups total. Drain and rinse the almonds, then add to the blender. Blend on high until frothy and the almonds are well blended.

Almonds and coconut soakingBlended Almond Milk.

Now here comes the fun part, or the hard part, depending on how you look at it. I have found that the best and easiest way to strain the almond milk is to use a nut milk bag. However, you can use a fine mesh strainer, cheese cloth, or any other method you can think of. Hold the nut milk bag or strainer over a large container, and pour the milk mixture in slowly. Now pick up the nut milk bag and gently squeeze it, straining the milk into the container below. Squeeze until you can’t squeeze anymore. Then squeeze some more. You should feel like you are trying to draw water from a rock. But the drier you get the almond pulp, the easier it is to turn it into almond flour (which I will make a post on tomorrow!)

Pouring Almond Milk into a Nut Milk BagSqueeeeeeeze that Nut Milk Bag!

After all that squeezing, you can reward yourself with a hand massage nice cool glass of ccinnamony, coconutty, almond milk!

Coconut Almond Milk

Cinnamon-Scented Coconut Almond Milk

Based off the recipe from Square One Kitchen

Cover the coconut, chia seeds, dates, vanilla (if using extract add at end) and cinnamon in two cups water. In a separate container, cover the almonds with water. Soak both coconut and almonds overnight or for at least 8 hours. Pour coconut and water into blender, adding another 2 cups. Drain and rinse almonds and add to blender. Blend on high, then strain using a strainer or nut milk bag.

Almond Joy Nut Butter

Almond Joy Nut Butter

Tied up pretty and ready to be gifted!

Growing up, each member of my family had their favorite candy bar. My brother liked Twix bars, I was a nerds loving fiend, my mom coveted Salted Nut Rolls, and my father inhaled Mounds bars, although he said he would prefer Almond Joy if they just used dark chocolate. My tastes have changed over the years, and while I still could eat a box of nerds in one sitting, I now usually prefer the much healthier dark chocolate.

After making a coconut butter and banana sandwich with cocoa powder sprinkled on it, I’ve had the idea for this nut butter floating around in my head. I wanted it to taste like my father’s dream version of Almond Joy, with lots of coconut and rich dark chocolate. When I got invited to a friend’s birthday party, I figured this was the perfect chance to try it out!

Almond Joy Nut Butter

Making this nut butter couldn’t be simpler. First, toast the almonds until they are hot and fragrant. Don’t cool the almonds, because their heat will help melt the chocolate and make everything blend smoothly. Place the almonds, coconut flakes and chocolate into the blender and blend on low. The mixture will first look like nut meal.

Almonds, Chocolate and Coconut

Chopped Almonds, Chocolate and Coconut

Scrape down the sides, packing the mixture down each time. Continue blending on low until it begins to liquify. Blend on high until smooth. Add brown sugar to taste. It was so difficult to part with this, but I only allowed myself a few bites. I will definitely be making this again to keep! And since I’m on a roll, I think I may need to try a nut butter version of the salted nut roll…

Almond Joy Nut Butter

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1.75 oz dark chocolate (about 1/2 of a Trader Joe’s 3.5oz chocolate bar) OR
    1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread almonds on baking sheet and bake almonds for 10-12 minutes, stirring halfway though. Roast until almonds become fragrant or begin to split. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Once almonds have cooled enough to touch but still hot, combine almonds, coconut flakes and chocolate into blender or food processor. Process on low until nut mix rides up onto the sides of the container. Scrape down the sides and pack the mixture down.

Continue alternating and blending and scraping until mixture begins to liquify. Blend on high until smooth.

Taste the mixture, then add sugar to taste.


Almond Joy Nut Butter Next to Dr. Nut

Hanging out with the Dr.

Warming Ginger-Turmeric Tea

Creamy Ginger Turmeric Tea

Ever since I discovered the amazing anti-inflammatory powers of turmeric (among other benefits), I have been trying to incorporate into my diet daily. I’ve been suffering from migraines and headaches for as long as I can remember, and I used to live on a steady stream of Advil and other prescription remedies. It wasn’t until I read this book that I started to listen to my body and realized that my diet was playing a huge role in triggering my pain. I now focus on not eating my trigger foods (such as dairy and meat) and adding in anti-inflammatory foods such as the amazing turmeric and ginger.

I came up with a mixture of turmeric, ginger and cinnamon, that I add to my tea each morning. On especially bad days where I wake up with a headache, I usually pack it in, using about 1 Tbs to 4oz of water. I call this my “morning sludge”, and I don’t think I could be productive without it, even if it isn’t the most appealing drink!

So when I found this recipe, I was excited to find a more delicious way to incorporate my favorite spices into a creamy, comforting drink.

Turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper

Creamy Ginger-Turmeric Tea
Based on the recipe by ezrandi and Mark’s Daily Apple

  • 1 cup almond milk, or milk of choice
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Heaping 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 good grating of fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger juice* or 1/2 tsp dried ginger
  • 1 tsp sweetener or choice or 2 drops Stevia**
  • 1/2 tsp coconut butter (optional, but add creaminess)

Heat the almond milk and coconut butter over the stove. Add the dry spices to your mug. Once the almond milk is hot, add about a tablespoon of milk to the spices, and mix until smooth. Add the remaining almond milk, ginger juice if using, and sweetener. Mix well and top with another fresh grating of black pepper or a pinch of cinnamon.

Sit back and relax as you sip this creamy, warming drink!

* Grate about 1.5 Tbs ginger, and squeeze the juice into your mug
** My favorite flavors are english toffee and vanilla creme. So good!