Thursday, May 31, 2012

Recipe #53... Strawberry Vanilla Chai Smoothie... Greens in good form

Note: If you like Chai tea, you're in for a treat!  Vanilla Chai Amazing Meal has a serious dose of Yum-factor.  In my opinion, it's another success from the folks at Amazing Grass.  I think it's super mixed with a simple glass of milk, but I bought some bananas, and my honey-flavored greek yogurt was expiring soon, so here we go...

Strawberry Vanilla Chai Smoothie
Add the following to your mixer of choice...
Makes 2 servings

1 c coconut water
1/2 c milk or almond milk
1 6 oz honey or plain greek yogurt 
1 packet of Vanilla Chai Amazing Meal 
1 banana
2 tbsp ground flax
1 c frozen strawberries
1 c Ice (big cubes usually 5 or 6) 

I'm pretty content to sip my smoothie at the moment... (crickets chirping... if you could hear a smile, there'd be that too) ... -A

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fill up the shape that you now are... A lasting suggestion...

There is a phrase that is never strays far from the forefront of my mind... A gentle suggestion that has left a lasting impression on my person.  It originates from a VHS my mom bought when I was in middle school: Ali McGaw's Yoga Mind & Body.  During a sequence expansive standing poses, the teacher instructs Ali and her posse of yogis, which I like to think includes my mom and me, to "fill up the shape that you now are."  That simple suggestion has surfaced again and again on the shores of my mind.  At the conclusion of a recent yoga class, as I breathed into shavasana (corpse pose), I heard his familiar voice again and I listened. 

Flux is our certainty.  We are constantly being molded, changed, shifted... but not exactly in the manner white-hot liquid fills a mold; adopting the form of a predetermined shape...  It's more like a mountain, inevitably resurfaced by outside forces that can neither be predicted or controlled... eroded but not less, just different... and yet with it's shifting landscape, the mountain continues to rise to meet itself, proudly filling up each shape it becomes; it's present.  Namaste... -A

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Recipe #52... Strawberry Citrus Smoothie... Guest-starring Coromega

Note:  I read an interesting fact about fish oil supplements.  If you've never taken fish oil, or have avoided it for the obvious reason; refusal to purchase pills that advertise the addition of lemon to prevent "fishy burps"...  Don't turn away.  Please continue reading.   Fish oil is a wonderful source of those healthy fats; Omega 3's... but not all fish oils are absorbed efficiently... Enter Coromega.  It is a squeeze packet of orange-flavored gel - described as "a tasty burst of goodness with two essential fatty acids, DHA & EPA - clinically proven to have 300% better absorption than softgels"... Gotta like that stat...

Strawberry Citrus Smoothie
Add the following to your mixer of choice...
Makes 2 servings

1 c coconut water

1 6 oz lemon greek yogurt
1/2 avocado (Mom, you can sub in a banana, wink)
1/2 orange
2 packets of Coromega Orange Fish Oil
1 c frozen strawberries
1 c Ice (big cubes usually 5 or 6) 

If you are nervous about direct gel-to-tongue squeeze pack consumption, try this smoothie... It's a delicious way to ease you into your beautiful friendship with fish oil... Jump into the stream and don't fight the current... Omega 3 cheers to going with the flow... -A

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Recipe #51... Pineapple Matcha Blend... A tropical tea twist

Note:  In need of late-morning pick-me-up, Brett wandered into the kitchen, where - of course - I was lurking.  Because he wasn't craving coffee, we mixed up some Matcha Powder with findings from the fridge and the freezer and voila!  A coffee-free, icily refreshing glass of energy... 

Pineapple Matcha Blend
Add the following to your mixer of choice...
Makes 1-2 servings

3/4 c unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
3 tsp matcha green tea powder
1 orange
1 c frozen pineapple
1 c Ice (big cubes usually 5 or 6) 

Thank goodness for Brett's insistence that we write this stuff down.  This is one concoction that may have been lost in the shuffle because it was so spur of the moment and cobbled together.  We'll likely whip this one up again... and maybe, just maybe, Brett will attempt to blenderize it himself when the need for a jolt is great enough... -A

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cultivating positivity... A fresh hope...

Again, I depart from recipes to share a toes-in-the-sand good TED Talk given by Shawn Achorthe CEO of Good Think Inc., a Cambridge-based consulting firm that attempts to understand where human potential, success and happiness intersect.  I'm relieved someone is pursuing that work...

From Shawn's TED Talk... 
I am inspired to test Shawn's science... 21 days is really a blink in steady gaze of a life.  At this moment, as my fingers depress and release, depress and release, the keys on my keyboard, I find I am grateful for all my extremities (fingers, toes, earlobes) that I nearly always take for granted... I am grateful for TED and the gift they have given society... and finally, I am grateful for the opportunity to re-train my stubborn brain.  One day down, 20 ahead... In gratitude... -A

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Recipe #50... Ginger Pear Muffins... Inspired by the Ginger People

Note:  Society has been blessed with Ginger Rogers, Geri Halliwell aka Ginger Spice, Ginger Ale, the Gingerbread Man, and more recently Gingerpedia; the newsletter about, you guessed it, ginger!  Brought to you by... suspenseful pause... the Ginger People.  Prepare to be educated about the perks of ginger in its edible form... 
Who doesn't adore a ginger person?

Ginger Pear Muffins

Makes 12 regular muffins 

Combine in your cute mixing bowl...
1 cup millet flour
2/3 cup gluten-free oat flour
2 tbsp Vanilla Spice Hemp Protein
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt 

Blend in your hard-workin' blender...
1 1/2 ripe, juicy pears
*Enjoy the other half while you blend and bake
1/4 c roasted almonds
2 eggs
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp fresh ginger (I used Ginger People's Quick & Easy Minced)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with baking cups.
2. Pour pear mixture into flour mixture and fold to combine.
3. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy these for breakfast or - fresh from the left brain - treat them as a healthier version of shortbread by slicing a warm muffin in half and topping with a scoop of vanilla ice cream... As one famous Ginger said... "My love of ice cream emerged at an early age, and has never left." We have that problem too Ms. Rogers... -A

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Recipe #49... Pizza with Spinach-Basil Pesto... Mama Mia!

Ready to bake!
Note:  Frozen Pizza Crust... Check!  Red Sauce... Check!  Mozzarella Cheese... Check!  Soft Cheese for Dolloping... Check!  Chicken... Check!  I'm still not super stoked about my pizza.  What to add?  Perhaps a pesto...

Pizza with Spinach-Basil Pesto

Pizza topper + extra
Blend & drizzle over the top of your finished pizza...

2 tbsp fresh basil (or Dorot Frozen Fresh)
1 clove of garlic
2 c mixed loose spinach
1/4 c loose shredded parmesan cheese

Ordinary sandwiches beware!
1/4 c sunflower seeds or pinenuts
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil - drizzle more to aide blending
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 inch of lemon zest
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt (you can adjust with more, but never less!)

Did you know that people in ancient Rome believed that eating basil would protect them from the dragon Bazilik, which is how basil gets its name?  Out of love and protection for my family, I pledge to eat more basil!  In health.. Salute!  Ciao... -A

Monday, May 14, 2012

Recipe #48... Proteins & Greens... A healthy marriage

Soldiers of health
Note:  Have powders, will blend... Without question I cobbled this together for a much too late, 8pm (how'd it get this late?) liquid dinner.  It was a Monday... I was suffering from Monday brain... and I wasn't as incredibly concerned about flavor as I was about avoiding a nachos-n-cheese 8pm dinner... To my delight the combination worked.  Now I am energized and unexpectedly typing this post.  I took a picture of the "pantry health brigade" because I drank the smoothie without documentation; having no intention of sharing my strange mixture... Surprises never cease... 

Proteins & Greens 
Add the following to your mixer of choice...
Makes 1 serving

1/2 c coconut water

1/4 c milk
1 tbsp shredded coconut
4 scoops protein powder (1 serving of tempt vanilla spice  )
1 scoop amazing grass original green superfood
2 c loose spinach 
1 c Ice (big cubes usually 5 or 6) 

Maybe I was too tired to accurately evaluate the tastiness of my creation, but you could recreate the optimal conditions for drink-likability... Step #1:  Come home tired from work.  Step #2: Demand a little physical activity of yourself because the weather is too beautiful for sleeping til sundown on the couch.  Step #3: Realize it is now 7:30 and you forgot about the minor detail of your dinner... Follow this procedure at the front end of the recipe and you are guaranteed to love this healthy marriage of proteins and greens.  From my belly to yours... -A

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Second incarnation of one-sentence wonders...

If you haven't seen "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," surf the "interweb" to find the next showtime near you.  The movie overflows with stunning images, a hilarious and just-right cast, and of course many, many one-sentence wonders.  I had to share two of my absolute favorites... (no spoilers, I wouldn't dream of it)...

"Life here is like a waveif you resistyou will get knocked down... but if you dive right in, you'll come out on the other side." 
                - Dame Judy Dench's character, Evelyn, on India

"It will be alright in the end... and if it's not alright, then it is certainly not yet the end."

Both brief and elegant offerings of perspective... Wishing you a well and wonder-full Mother's Day... -A

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Recipe #47... Sesame Ginger Garlic Dressing... Chicken salad jumps continents

Note:  Why don't I make more chicken salad?  Especially when I am able to use a rotisserie chicken and someone else has done the raw meat handling for me!  As I ponder over my edible contribution to an upcoming baby shower, I settle on this variation of a classic for the mama and her baby on board.  It includes the gentle warmth of ginger to soothe a sometimes tender and beautifully blooming belly...

Sesame Ginger Garlic Dressing
Mix with 4+ Chicken Breasts

1/2 c olive oil 
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1/4 c cashews
2 c napa cabbage, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh ginger (try Ginger People Minced Organic)
2 tbsp roasted sesame seed oil
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/4 c water
Salt+Pepper to taste

Mix this recipe (or a portion of it) with your next chicken salad and give your mayo and vinegar/dijon mustard the weekend off.  Toss in some crunchy water chestnuts, celery, carrots (for color) or even whole cashews.  Then top with toasted sesame seeds.  Allow your traditional chicken salad to venture across the Pacific... In good fortune... -A

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Recipe #46... Gingery Nut Butter... A treat for your kiddos or the kiddo in you

Note:  Self sufficiency and trust are two qualities that the bulk section of the grocery store promotes in shoppers.  Bulk food foragers can weigh and thereby control their product, and they are trusted to enter the correct PLU... and print & affix a label.  Who doesn't appreciate being shown good faith in their person now and again?  In need of the feeling that I have control over my own destiny, I paid a visit to the bulk section.  I filled my bag with a mixture of roasted nuts; cashews, almonds, filberts, pecans, and hazelnuts.  I then chose to filter them into the Vitamix...

Gingery Nut Butter
Makes 8-10 servings
Add the following to the blender and blend on high speed... 
Use the "smushing tool" - technical term - to push the ingredients down into the blades

2 c roasted mixed nuts
**or buy the nuts raw and give them a tan in your oven
1 tbsp simple syrup (raw sugar and water)
1 tsp fresh ginger (try Ginger People Minced Organic)
1 pinch of salt

Vitamix warns not to process nut butters for more than a minute.  As with my last attempt, I felt my Vitamix heading toward burn-out and so I stopped it.  It took me two passes on high speed to arrive at a crunchy nut butter.   Instead of spreading my fresh creation on a piece of toast, I decided to treat my inner child to "ants on a log" and homemade nut butter -n'- crackers!  Play and have fun today... -A

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Recipe #45... Creamy Strawberry Smoothie... A luscious treat, indeed

Note: Maybe the last hour of playing "beauty shop" with Jules, complete with Dora hair dryer and brush set, has me thinking pink.  I came home to find the Vitamix resting on the counter; my reminder to blend up tomorrow's breakfast.  I decided to go decadent... a creamy strawberry and very-dairy smoothie!  I picture Miss Jules asleep in her crib... where visions of spotted cows in pale pink tutus (with expertly coiffed hair, of course) pirouette in her head...

Creamy Strawberry Smoothie
Add the following to your mixer of choice...
Makes 2 servings

1 c lactose-free milk or non-dairy option 

1 6 oz greek yogurt
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp flaxseed
Juice from 1/2 a lime
1 c frozen strawberries
1 c Ice (big cubes usually 5 or 6) 

No, no you say that isn't right, those cows don't twirl, not day or night... Moo, Baa, La la la and sweet dreams to you... -A

Gifts at the tips of your fingers...

I have a love-hate relationship with the Internet.  The hate part, and hate is a strong word, stems from the vast amount of information available that regularly overwhelms me.  In fact, I could go into "ostrich-mode" just thinking about the never-ending threads to follow.  For those unfamiliar with ostrich-mode, reference the picture on the right.  So just when I'm about to stick my head in the sand, something comes along like "Linchpin" by Seth Godin containing a simple idea that makes me pop back up.  

From "Linchpin" -- "At first, gifts you can give live in a tiny realm. You do something for yourself, or for a friend or two.  Soon, though, the circle of the gift gets bigger...  The Internet has taken the idea of gifts, multiplied it, and then pushed it into a realm where gifts previously hadn't had much traction... There's no economy here, but there is an audience, a chance to share your gift.  And the audience continues to grow, each person enjoying the digital fruits of the labor that others donate to the ever-widening circle..."

I love that idea.  This blog is my gift to whomever stumbles across it.  I do hope you catch it before you go subterranean... -A

Friday, May 4, 2012

Recipe #44... Mint Chocolate Pistachio... A trifecta in a glass

Note:  This libation is much too good to be good for you... so if you are seeking greens, cleansing lemon, servings of fruit, or healthy fats, scroll away from this post; explore perhaps the "Digital Recipe Cards" to the right of the picture -->  However, if you need an excuse to imbibe a chocolate-minty refreshment, the 138th Kentucky Derby is your salvation... It's also an opportunity to rock a giant floppy hat (ladies) or key lime & fuchsia-striped khaki's (gentlemen)...

Mint Chocolate Pistachio Shake
Add the following to your mixer of choice...
Makes 2 servings

1 c vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)

1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 package of chocolate mix (Try CocoaVia Dark Chocolate Supplement - Bonus! Antioxidants)
1 c pistachio ice cream

1 c Ice (big cubes usually 5 or 6) 

I've posted the "G-Rated" version above.  If you're feeling festive, like the derby champ ready to receive the garland of roses and a handful of oats, then experiment with blending in a little bourbon... I know, it's a funky twist on the mint julep... but who can turn away from a trifecta that's a sure win... jockey up!  -A

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Recipe #43... Whipped Cream & Pear Smoothie... Inspired by a candle (what?)

Note: I have a delectable candle from Anthropologie - "Whipped Cream & Pear"... and I've never been so tempted to take a spoon to the melted wax... just see if it tastes as luscious as the aroma wafting from the wick.  Don't worry I didn't act on that impulse... but I did attempt to Vitamix an edible version.  I've gotta hand it to the sensory wizards at Anthro... they are brilliant with the art of ambiance.

Whipped Cream & Pear Smoothie
Add the following to your mixer of choice...
Makes 2 servings

1 c vanilla almond milk (sweetened will yield the best results)

1 6 oz vanilla greek yogurt
1 organic sweet, ripe pear
1/2 avocado
1/2 tsp lime juice
1 c frozen grapes (sweet ones)
1 teensy drop of almond extract
1 c Ice (big cubes usually 5 or 6) 

You kinda need to have the candle to measure my results... and what better excuse to visit Anthropologie, my dear.  As my own critic (and she's a tough one) I think I got pretty close save adding wax as an ingredient!  As Mother's Day approaches and the trees flower in soft hues, blessing us with the sweet scent of blossoms... when light and frilly is oh-so-appropriate, treat yourself to a whipped cream and pear blend and light up from the inside out... -A

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Recipe #42... Apple Vanilla Spice Smoothie... Tempted by hemp

Note: You don't have to wander the globe in Birkenstocks or regularly lose yourself in lengthy jam band sets to reap the benefits of hemp... Though there certainly is a benefit to un-tethering your inner free spirit and rocking out to a little Phish from time to time... If you're not a fan of whey, soy, pea, rice, or other vegetable variation on protein powder, give hemp a go.  For this recipe I used the tempt brand vanilla spice mix.  As you'll happily discover, hemp seeds are an easily digestible form of protein and quite delicious and nutritious... 

Apple Vanilla Spice Smoothie
Add the following to your mixer of choice...
Makes 2 servings

1/2 c coconut water

4 scoops (1 serving of Vanilla Spice Hemp Protein)
2 oranges, peeled
1 organic sweet apple
1/2 avocado
2 c frozen spinach or kale
1 c Ice (big cubes usually 5 or 6) 

Even though it's hemp, I can't promise that this drink will slay your inner dragon and leave you feeling mellow and content, but I can tell you it will satisfy your munchies and give you a sweet send-off into your day's adventure.  Peace and Hemp Seeds... -A