Monday, August 22, 2011

Mango Spinach Smoothie

This weekend I stood at the alter and watched my big sister walk down the aisle! It was a very exciting and stressful weekend that I was so proud to be a part of. I am so happy for her and her new husband. Good luck to them in their new marriage!

I actually made this way before the wedding, but I have been so caught up in planning that I have been slacking at getting posts up.

Look at that color!

Before you ask me if I went off the deep end, keep reading. I promise, it's not what you're thinking..

This delicious mix of sweet and.. spinach? -- I'm really not quite sure what category spinach fits into, or any greens fit into for that matter.. but anyway this combination is

If I hadn't made my self stop slurping this drink so fast, I probably would have gulped in down in under two minutes. 

It is a good thing that part of me has some sense of self-control though, because after that two minute gulp-down, I probably would have found myself bent over from all of the frothy bubbles in my stomach.. 

Oh and guess what? Green stuff can taste good, I promise.  

Well even if you don't like the look of that bright green liquid-filled mixer, you should definitely try this smoothie and prepare yourself to be pleasantly surprised. 

Mango Spinach Smoothie

1 packed cup spinach
1 mango
1/2 cup greek yogurt
5 chopped strawberries
1/2 cup ice
1/2 cup water

Add spinach, mango and water to blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add greek yogurt and blend some more.  Add the strawberries and ice and blend until smooth.  Pour into glass and enjoy.  
Garnish with strawberries if desired. 

This makes a nutritious afternoon snack or meal replacement.  

Friday, August 05, 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter

It's finally here!

Isn't she b-e-a-utiful?

I am so excited to have the first piece to my dream kitchen.
A girl can dream right? Here's to hoping Future Husband doesn't mind...

But, that's not what this post is about. This post is more about these:

Pretty much the only nuts that I will eat, but that might change since grinding some almonds up in here and making some almond peanut butter doesn't sound so bad... 

This is actually the main reason I bought a food processor: to make peanut butter!

White chocolate peanut butter, honey peanut butter, nutella, coconut peanut butter... I have so many to try...
I decided to start with white chocolate peanut butter that I saw on How Sweet It Is. 
So I added some of these:

I was a little disappointed with the result. I didn't follow the recipe exactly, so I think adding more chocolate would have helped, but adding honey at the end made it pretty good (obviously since I ate the rest of what I made).

And that folks is why I did not make very much because lately I do not have much in the way of self control surrounding food. 

I'm working on it I promise. 

The key is to convince yourself that there will be another meal in a few hours, Mom lied, you don't need to eat everything that you are served or that you make, save it for later...

 Homemade Peanut Butter:

1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp canola oil

1/4 cup melted white chocolate chips

Grind peanuts in a food processor until a paste forms. Be patient, the peanuts will let out their own oil and adding extra oil too soon may be unnecessary.  Add vanilla and oil through top with processor still running, keep grinding! Turn off processor and add white chocolate or honey if you prefer. Grind some more until smooth.

Can be refrigerated for up to a week.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Mom's Banana Bread

This recipe is classic in my family. 

The only banana bread we would think of making. 

Reading it makes me think of the delicious warm banana-y moist cake-like bread on my taste buds. 
Sure, banana-y is a word. 

Here's the recipe page that my mom sent me when I asked her for it. You can tell that it is loved. Those black spots in the corner? Probably butter, or bananas, or who knows what else.

This is one of those recipes that the book falls open to. 

I'm not sure what the book is, but since all of the recipes seem to be by nurses it is most likely from my grandmother or great grandmother, who both actually worked in hospitals. 

I never really knew my great grandmother, but my mom reminisces about her so frequently that I feel like I did. And, I feel oddly connected to this woman who is actually just a second-hand memory for me. 

That could be because my mom is always making connections between the two of us: she was a nurse, I'm going to be a nurse (along with hundreds of thousands of others..), we both cannot bake a thing in the kitchen without using every dish in the house, and the fact that we both love(d) to bake so much.  

My great grandmother surely baked with more butter than I do, but I am trying to overcome my mom's many years of forcing margarine down my throat. 

This recipe, though, is an exception. 
You must use shortening. 
I'm going to repeat that in case you missed it. 
You must use shortening!

I promise you will thank me. 

In case you can't make out the recipe here it is:

Mom's Banana Bread

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 bananas)
2 eggs

Cream shortening, add sugar, beat well. 
Blend in eggs, blend in dry ingredients.
Add mashed bananas. 
Bake in 9x5x3 pan at 300 F for 50-60 minutes. 

This is where preference plays in. See that beautiful split in the middle that doesn't look quite as brown?
My mom always thought that risking salmonella was worth the thin layer of dough that she left uncooked on the top of the loaf, and I have to say I wouldn't have it any other way. 

But whether you want to take this risk or not is completely up to you...