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Mighty Matcha Morning Smoothie January 26, 2013

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Mighty Matcha Morning Smoothie
with banana & almond 

Ingredients

-1 large sliced frozen banana (peel, slice into 3-4 pieces, & freeze the night before)
-3/4 tsp matcha green tea powder
-1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-1 tsp soaked chia seeds (optional)
-5-6 slices raw, rinsed white mushrooms (just under 1/4 cup)
-1 tsp chopped frozen spinach (optional)

Method

Blend until smooth. Enjoy creamy & cold.

The consistency will change dramatically if you use a fresh unfrozen banana. I very highly recommend using a frozen one for this recipe to achieve the creamy texture. Buy a bunch of bananas, allow them to ripen (they should have “freckles” and smell sweet), peel them, break them into 2-3 inch pieces and freeze them for a creamy, delicious smoothie starter. I usually use about 1/2 to 3/4 of a banana in a given smoothie but in this recipe you’ll need the whole fruit since it is the star of the smoothie (along with the matcha of course).

Chia seeds can be a fun smoothie addition bringing extra nourishing protein & fiber. Just be sure to soak them overnight in water so they won’t be too crunchy and affect the smoothie’s texture. I just added a teaspoon of the soaked seeds here (so a portion of that teaspoon was water). I soak about 2 Tbsp. and keep this to use throughout the week in a sealed glass container in the fridge.

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Spicy Roasted Squash Seeds February 11, 2011

Spicy Roasted Squash Seeds

A unique blend of spaghetti squash seeds, unsweetened cocoa powder, cayenne pepper, olive oil, rosemary and a dash of brown sugar give these seeds a sweet and spicy flavor.

Try it at Home:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse seeds thoroughly (if you just removed them from your squash) and place in a bowl with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix in 1 tablespoon unsweetened (alkali-free) cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder. Shake it a small pinch of crushed rosemary leaves, a pinch of brown sugar, and just a small dash of salt.

Mix together and spread onto baking sheet. Set your timer for 10 minutes. Check the seeds often during that time and stir them with a spatula so that they don’t get baked on to the pan.  When you seeds start to appear crisp (after about 10 minutes) remove them from pan and enjoy!

Cocoa Note: Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is a gem to keep on hand. You can use it in dessert recipes to amp up the chocolate flavor without adding extra fat or sugar, like in my original hot banana with chocolate and cocoa recipe, or in small amounts to compliment spicy flavors as shown here.  Cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants, particularly flavanols which are good for the heart. For the best health punch, opt for the alkali-free or the non-dutch version. The dutching process mellows out the flavor but also destroys some of the naturally occurring flavanols.

 

Now in Season: Cranberries November 25, 2010

Fresh cranberries: most people would not eat fresh cranberries on their own (they have a naturally very tart flavor) but they can be delicious when thrown in smoothies, salads, breads, and in other tasty holiday dishes.

Now in Season: Cranberries

A tart, potent berry, cranberries pack a lot of flavor and nutritional oomph into their brightly colored skins. These berries are naturally low in calories and sugars, and high in fiber, antioxidants (particularly vitamin C), and phytochemicals (including Proanthocyanidin).

Proanthocyanidin, a phytochemical that helps prevent bacteria from sticking to certain body surfaces, gives the cranberry its reputation for aid in prevention of urinary tract infections, tooth decay, and some food-borne illnesses.

Cranberry Juices: 100% Juice not Always What it Seems
100% cranberry juice, in the unsweetened version, is very tart but most of the cranberry juices on the market are sweetened with other fruit juices or sugar. OceanSpray, for example, offers a “100% Juice Cranberry”  with “no sugar added.” This juice is still sweet because the company blends in other, much sweeter juices to give the juice a more palatable flavor. If you love cranberry juice, this kind would definitely be a much better choice than the cranberry juice “cocktail” variety, which is laden with added sugars, (and in my opinion doesn’t taste very good). Even the natural juice blend, however is still very high in sugar. To cut down on your calorie and sugar intake, mix the juice with sparkling water to make a tasty juice spritzer.

Cranberry Dishes
Try to find cranberry dishes and drinks that take advantage of the cranberry’s tart tangy flavor instead of masking it with tons of sugar. I like to add a handful of fresh or frozen berries to fruit smoothies, and I love Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. Instead of adding lots of sugar to your dish, try pairing cranberries with naturally sweet fruits like baked apples or pears. Here’s one delicious recipe that tastes tangy and sweet without piling on the sugar: pear cranberry sauce.