Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tangleberry Avocado Smoothie

Let me just set the stage for you you here.  I recently received a case of avocados straight to my door.  They were part of a prize.  I should back up.  Several weeks ago, I entered this Great American Recipe Contest put on by the California Avocado Commission.  My recipe for Fire Roasted Corn Guacamole ended up winning the Grand Championship in the guacamole and salsa division of the contest, and now for three months straight, I will be receiving a case of avocados.  I also won a little charcoal Weber grill.  Pretty sweet, huh?  Well anyway, I have been pawning off these gorgeous avocados on my friends and neighbors left and right, because there are only so many one family can eat, right?  And gosh, they are expensive! 

I'm sure you already know that avocados are an excellent source of healthy fats and potassium.  So let me offer you something other than guacamole to make out of them.  Keep an open mind, okay?  I'm definitely not against guacamole (don't even think that)... but along with guacamole, let's face it - you gotta have the chips and stuff!  I'm just trying to lean a bit healthier here as we start off a new school year.  Let's do this thing right!  You have faith in me, right?!  Avocados have been called "nature's butter for a reason.  They are are very mild and creamy, and will give our smoothies a ton of richness.  And NO - the smoothies will not taste like avocados, if you are scared of that.  And NO - they won't be green, if you are scared of that.


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Ingredients:
(I doubled this recipe for a total yield of 4 cups because I had several for breakfast this day.)
  • 1 cup frozen berries of your choice
    • I used raspberries
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 ripe (slightly speckled) banana, peeled and frozen into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 individual container of fat free vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 1/2 - 1 cup of milk product of your choice
    • I used Very Vanilla Silk soy milk
  • Sweetener of your choice
    • I used 1 tsp agave syrup.  It has a very low glycemic index.
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Step-by-Step:
Night before prep -  The night before, peel and slice the bananas and put them into a zip top bag.  Pop them into the freezer.  The frozen bananas will allow you have a thicker smoothie with less ice.  Make sure you use bananas that are ripe, with some brown speckles.  This will mean they have less starch and more sugar - meaning you will have a sweeter smoothie and need less extra sweetener.  As a bonus, many grocery stores deeply discount the ripe bananas.  As the produce manager!  :)
1 large banana, cut into 1" pieces
And ready for a night in the freezer!
Just before, prep -  The only other thing to do is to get your avocado out of it's jacket.  Other than that, everything else just gets dumped in. 
1/2 avocado regular recipe (around 2 servings).
For the other half, consider rubbing it with lime juice to prevent oxidation.  Then check out my Fire Roasted Guacamole recipe!
*Tip - You could also consider freezing the other half of your avocado in cubes if you will be making more of these.  That way you will be ready for round 2 with even less prep time.
 
Now let's get it started!
I will give you amounts listed in the ingredient list even though I doubled them for what I made.

 1 cup frozen berries  +  1 large frozen banana in 1/2" pieces

1/2 ripe avocado  +  1 container nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt

1 tsp agave syrup  +  1/2 tsp vanilla.
The amount of sweetener you use will depend on the type of sweetener you choose as well as how sweet your bananas are.  Agave is a lot sweeter than sugar, so you can use a lot less.  Agave is lower on the glycemic index which means it is less likely to spike your blood sugar.

We aren't done yet, but I wanted to just give it a little whirl to get it going.

1/2 cup - 1 cup of milk product of your choice  + 1/2 cup ice.
I am using Very Vanilla Silk Soy Milk.  It comes in these great individual containers that are shelf stable.  They are lactose free and have 50% more calcium than dairy milk.   (And it tastes GREAT!)


Here's another tip. 
I had enough for 4 smoothies, but only needed 3, so I froze the rest into a silicone ice cube tray.  That gave me frozen "smoothie cubes" that were ready to throw into the Vitamix!
 

I hope you enjoyed this healthy, simple and delicious recipe!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

The Menu Musings cookbook is sure to be a hit at your house, and will make great gifts!  For more information, here is a link!
Order your copy of the Menu Musings Cookbook! 
Connect with me.    
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.

Also, Please be sure to visit my YouTube Channel for short video tutorials on selected videos.  Watch me explain the steps of the recipes in just a few minutes!  Just one more way that I'm giving you the tools to get in that kitchen!!! Aren't you curious?  Click and see how many there are!  :)

Here's just one exampleSkinny Mexican Pizza.   Yum!!!

Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Korean BBQ Shish-K-Bobs 

Greek Tortellini Chicken Salad 

Thai Chicken Salad Cones 

Tiramisu 

Easy Meatball Sub Casserole 

Vietnamese Style Lettuce Cups 
Grilled Zucchini Rolls
Written Instructions:
Night before prep -  The night before, peel and slice the bananas and put them into a zip top bag.  Pop them into the freezer.  The frozen bananas will allow you have a thicker smoothie with less ice.  Make sure you use bananas that are ripe, with some brown speckles.  This will mean they have less starch and more sugar - meaning you will have a sweeter smoothie and need less extra sweetener.  As a bonus, many grocery stores deeply discount the ripe bananas.  As the produce manager!  :)

Just before, prep -  The only other thing to do is to get your avocado out of it's jacket.  Other than that, everything else just gets dumped in.  The amount of sweetener you use will depend on the type of sweetener you choose as well as how sweet your bananas are.  Agave is a lot sweeter than sugar, so you can use a lot less.  Agave is lower on the glycemic index which means it is less likely to spike your blood sugar.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Strawberry Basil Martini

Recently my sweet neighbor brought over some of the prettiest basil (and some awesome garlic chives) in exchange for some beautiful avocados that I gave him.  Within minutes my whole kitchen was perfumed with the smell of that basil!  If you've ever grown basil, you know that there is just something different about the smell of "real" basil that comes out of the garden verses the one that you purchase at the grocery, as the smell of it can complete fill your kitchen!  Now you may not know this about me, but I really enjoy drinks made with a combination of fruit and herbs.  The balance of the two is nothing short of magical.  

Want to know something else that is magical?  I had NOTHING to do with this!  Ha!!!  I was super busy working on cookbook edits, or perhaps getting a post up or something.... and all of a sudden, my husband comes into my office with this AMAZING drink!  "Here, taste this."    WHAAATT?!!!  He had seen (and smelled) the basil, gone off to the store for some fresh strawberries, come home and whipped up this phenomenal drink... for ME!!!!  YAY! Okay.. well.. for him, too.  So I suppose this whole post belongs to my foxy husband who makes a killer strawberry basil martini... and followed it up with some grilled lamb chops, a spinach salad, and some herbed couscous!  How's that for being pampered?!   

Ingredients:  
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped fairly fine
  • 5 medium strawberries, diced
  • 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz sweet and sour mix
  • 1 oz Hershey's strawberry syrup
  • 4 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • garnishes
    • strawberries
    • fresh basil leaves

Step-by-Step:
As usual slice and dice before you begin.  That makes everything go so quickly.  
Basil leaves, limes, and strawberries.  All ready to go!
5 medium strawberries, chopped + 6 large basil leaves, cut or chopped into ribbons.
Add them to your martini shaker and then muddle them together.  The broad back end of a wooden spoon handle works well to muddle the berries together with the basil.  It may take a few minutes to get them all broken down.
Add in the rest of the drink ingredients.

1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice. 
I couldn't resist putting this first photo in, as the drop of lime juice is perfectly spherical.  :)  Please choose limes that grew on a tree, not something that came in plastic!  

1 oz sweet and sour mix  +  1 oz Hershey's strawberry syrup.  Yep, the kind you put in milk.  Haha!

4 oz vodka  +  1/2 oz simple syrup.

Add ice and shake for a minute or two until very cold. 

Strain out into martini glasses.  Garnish with a strawberry. 
Summer in a glass... Please enjoy responsibly!
I just love the tiny bits of basil floating in here.  Feel free to put them through a finer strainer if you prefer a totally "clean" drink... but I loved that about these.  
You may be wondering how I got all the shots of my husband making these since he just "whipped them up" for me.  Well.... I was SO impressed by these, that I insisted that he start ALL over again from scratch just so I could capture the magic... for YOU, readers!  You're welcome. 



I hope you enjoyed this simple and delicious cocktail recipe!
There are hundreds more recipes in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.



Connect with me.    
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.







The Menu Musings cookbook is sure to be a hit at your house, and will make great gifts!  For more information, here is a link!
Order your copy of the Menu Musings Cookbook! 

Also, Please be sure to visit my YouTube Channel for short video tutorials on selected videos.  Watch me explain the steps of the recipes in just a few minutes!  Just one more way that I'm giving you the tools to get in that kitchen!!! Aren't you curious?  Click and see how many there are!  :)

Here's just one example - Fire Roasted Corn Guacamole.  Yum!


Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Korean BBQ Shish Kabobs

Happy Hour Pizza Rolls

Thai Chicken Salad Cones

Grilled Chicken Southwestern Chopped Salad with Creamy Cilantro Dressing

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Chocolate Covered Cherries Cake

Written Method: 
As usual slice and dice before you begin.  That makes everything go so quickly.  Add strawberries and basil to your martini shaker and then muddle them together.  The broad back end of a wooden spoon handle works well to muddle the berries together with the basil.  It may take a few minutes to get them all broken down.  Add in the rest of the drink ingredients. Add ice and shake for a minute or two until very cold.   Strain out into martini glasses.  Garnish with a strawberry.  Summer in a glass... Please enjoy responsibly!

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