Peanut Butter + Jelly Smoothie

IMG_3768There are two reasons this peanut butter and jelly smoothie is a current favorite of mine.

#1- It transports me straight back to my elementary school days. Remember the good old days when all that mattered was how well you played in the tether ball game at recess? Yea, those days were the best. So were the PB&J sandwiches my mom would pack in my lunch every so often. She mastered the perfect ratio of peanut butter and jelly, which is essential for a good sandwich. Too much jelly results in it squirting out the sides of the bread causing a big sticky mess. No good. So, thanks mom for keeping my lunches mess free.
#2- It looks like cupid’s heart exploded in my cup. Valentine’s Day doesn’t top my list of favorite holidays, but I am a sucker for the pink hearts and lovey dovey decor. It screams happiness and makes you instantly feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Who doesn’t love that? A bright pink smoothie goes perfectly with the love that is in the air this week.

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Peppermint + Ginger + Lemon Tea

IMG_3746Flu season is in full swing and it isn’t pretty. I know this first hand because earlier this week it hit me like a wrecking ball. Let me tell you, Miley Cyrus is right…wrecking balls hurt.  One minute I was fine the next I was hugging the toilet. Ok, enough details. You don’t need to picture me embracing the porcelain god. I couldn’t keep anything down, not even water, but knew I needed liquids with electrolytes and needed to steer clear of straight water, because of the hard minerals. I had my husband pick up some watermelon juice from my favorite juice bar on his way home from work. He transformed into a nurse and fed me drops of watermelon juice every 5 minutes the rest of the night.  I felt and looked like a little baby bird.

Thankfully, the bug only lasted 24 hours and by the next morning I was able to keep my stomach in check. I went straight to the kitchen and made one of my immune boosting teas to help bring my system back up to speed. I made a Peppermint Ginger Lemon Tea. The list of health benefits goes on and on (and on and on). If I listed all of them this blog post would go on for days, which is a big no-no in the blogging world. Below is a run down of the health benefits of peppermint, ginger and lemon.

Please drink this tea to help ward off a stomach bug, flu, cold or just because it taste good. At one point during my 24 hour battle with the bug I am pretty sure I asked to die. It sounds dramatic, but the thought definitely went through my mind. I don’t want any one else to go through it.

 

Peppermint– aids in digestions, cold and flu remedy, protects against cancer, helps skin conditions, aids in IBS.

Ginger– cold and flu treatment, helps with nausea, migraine relief, heartburn relief, reduces menstrual cycle cramps.

Lemon– high in vitamin C, helps soothe sore throats, immune boosting, fights bacteria.

 

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Lemon + Basil + Pasta

IMG_3736Today is a big day. Possibly one of the most exciting Sundays of the entire year. When I tell you why it’s a big day you may judge me a little, but I am ok with that. Today marks the day  The Bachelor wedding is on TV. It’s a big day not only because The Bachelor is one of my favorite shows, but also because Catherine and Sean are one of the few bachelor couples that’s actually made it down the aisle. Most of the couples break-up when reality sets in and their dates consist of dinner and a movie rather than fantasy suites on private islands.   See what I mean, big day. By the way, I am fully aware I’m one of the few who still watches the Bachelor. In college my friends and I would gather every Monday night to watch the trainwrecks women compete for those valuable red roses. As time went on my friends slowly started to drop out of the viewing party until I was left with just myself. I can’t tear myself away from the show. It is one of my guilty pleasures and I am sticking to it.

In celebration of the big show tonight I had Taber choose what we had for dinner. Staying true to his pasta loving self, he chose one of his favorite dishes, Lemon Basil Pasta. I usually serve this pasta in the summer, but since today felt like summer here in Austin, I went ahead and made it. I am glad I did and so is he.

Disclaimer- Taber does not share my love of The Bachelor, so he isn’t looking forward to the show tonight, but he is happy he gets a good meal out of it.

In the recipe I posted 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice for the creamy pasta sauce. I originally used four tablespoons which Taber thought was a bit on the strong side. I would suggest starting with three and adding more if you prefer. Personally, I like a stronger lemony taste. Adding some prosciutto would taste great in this pasta. Cook the prosciutto with a bit of olive oil and garlic in a small sauté pan and add it to the pasta after adding the lemon sauce.

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Veggie Spring Rolls + Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

IMG_3728Now that the Seattle Seahawks are officially in the Super Bowl (we all saw it coming), it’s time to start menu planning for the big party.  First on my list- Veggie Spring Rolls. They are the perfect balance to the typical heavy game day appetizers. Light enough to keep you out of a food coma yet fulfilling enough to keep you satisfied.

Speaking of the Seahawks…unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past week there is a very good chance you have heard about Richard Sherman’s interview declaring he is the best corner back in the NFL. Well if you haven’t, let me fill you in. He proclaimed his amazingness in an interview with Erin Andrews seconds  after he tipped the ball out of a 49er’s hand to secure the win for the Seahawks. His adrenaline was still pumping and he may have let his mouth run a bit too much. At the time I thought he should have kept his confidence on the hush hush, but after making these veggie spring rolls I can relate to him.   Had Erin Andrews been in my kitchen the moment I finished folding my 12th spring roll I would have proclaimed (with certainty) that they are the best appetizer of all football appetizers. Just like Sherman I wouldn’t have been able to control my words or my confidence. Unlike Sherman, my declaration that veggie rolls are the best super bowl appetizer would not have made it on national news or in every single facebook post.

On a side note- This may be the only time in my life I will be able to relate to a NFL football player. Actually check back in a few months when I am 9 months pregnant. There is a slight chance I will feel as big as a line backer.

 

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Piña Colada Green Smoothie

IMG_3683The entire country seems to be jumping on the cold weather band wagon.  I think it is safe to say we could all use a break from the bone chilling weather. Lucky for you I have a way you can bring a tropical vacation into your kitchen, no airplane ticket or packing required. My Piña Colada Green Smoothie will take you from the numbing cold to white sandy beaches in seconds. It tastes like a vacation.

There are a few reasons this green smoothie has become a favorite of mine. Number 1- It tastes like a vacation. Number 2- it is the smoothie that turned my husband into a green smoothie lover. He is always a bit reluctant to drink my smoothies, but this smoothie was different. He smelled it, took a sip, took another sip and then finished it off in one big gulp. It was a proud moment of mine when he told me he could drink it everyday. I could too.

Swap kale for spinach or any other greens you have on hand. You’ll still achieve the full tropical vacation effect. If you don’t have any hemp seeds, feel free to use flax seed, chia seed or a mix of all three. They all blend well into this recipe

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Mint + Dark Chocolate Smoothie

IMG_3304Our house is officially ready for Christmas. This past weekend I bought Target, Hobby Lobby and Michaels out of all their Christmas décor and pasted it all over our house. Nothing makes me happier than walking through the door to a festive house. Actually, there is one thing that makes me happier than walking through the door to a festive house…that would be sitting on the couch, watching Home Alone while sipping on a holiday inspired smoothie. That is exactly how I spent my night last night. It was awesome. I put a festive holiday spin on my usual green smoothie by adding fresh mint leaves and dark chocolate. It tasted more like a milkshake than a smoothie. Very indulgent without being super heavy. A green mint smoothie is the perfect addition to a cozy night in or a great way to start a day of holiday shopping.

I used hempseeds in my smoothie. Flax seed or chia seed would also work well.

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Sesame Seared Ahi Salad

IMG_3294This recipe is a bit of a tease for me. I love love love seared ahi tuna but for the next 5 months it is off limits (one of the many perks of being pregnant…major sarcasm). Making this salad without taking a bite of the ahi was torture, but I managed to do it. Lucky for Taber he got double the amount of ahi while I enjoy the salad vegetarian style.

This salad is crisp and refreshing, which is a nice break from holiday comfort food. I tossed the cabbage, carrot, pepper and tomato mixture with a sesame dressing and then topped it with seared tuna. It is substantial enough for a main course salad.

With that I will leave you the recipe. The more I write about it the more I want seared ahi. So this post is done.

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Honey + Cinnamon + Vanilla Almond Milk

IMG_3290The other day I was roaming the grocery store when I passed an entire section dedicated to flavored milks. That’s right, an entire shelf!  Pumpkin, eggnog, peppermint, hazelnut…the list goes on. Those flavors sound great, especially for the holiday season, but it got me thinking…if I were to drink a flavored milk what would I choose? I settled on honey, cinnamon and vanilla almond milk. Once an idea is in my head I get a bit obsessive. It’s all I can think about until I make it. Thankfully this recipe idea conveniently came to me while in a grocery store. Which meant I could buy the ingredients, head home and have the almond milk made before sunset. Oh boy, was I wrong. I got so caught up in my excitement that I forgot almond milk takes time and patience. The almonds need to be soaked for 24 hours before transforming them into milk. I did have the almonds soaking in water by sunset, but would have to wait until the following day to turn them into honey, cinnamon and vanilla almond milk.

The wait was worth it. This milk is happy dance material. The kind of yumminess that automatically makes you shake your booty. You can drink it straight up, in tea/coffee, or blend with some ice and a banana to make a bomb milkshake. Using a vanilla bean made the milk taste (and look) extra special. Vanilla beans are pricey so feel free to substitute vanilla extract for the bean.

Using a nut bag is the easiest way to drain the almond milk from the almond pulp. They can be found at most grocery stores. You may also use a few layers of cheesecloth.

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Shredded Brussels Sprouts + Caramelized Onions + Sausage Sauté

IMG_3265Shredded Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad seems to be this years food version of twerking  (super trendy). It is all over the place. In magazines, on cooking shows and on seasonal restaurant menus.  I’m 100% ok with this, it is a tasty salad packed full of health supportive ingredients.  Hopefully it won’t fall off the trend wagon anytime soon. On the flip side, I hope twerking falls off the trend wagon very soon, like yesterday.

Today I set out to make my own version of Shredded Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad. I had my ingredients and I had a plan. Then my plan didn’t go as planned. What started out as a salad ended up as a sauté. Minus the Kale. I caramelized the onions and added the shaved brussels sprouts. My next plan of action was to toss it with kale, organic sausage, almonds and a dijon vinaigrette. I didn’t make it that far.  The caramelized onions and brussels sprouts looked delicious on their own. They were begging not to be made into a salad.  I complied and tossed the warm brussel sprouts and caramelized onions with a dijon vinegrette, almonds and organic sausage. The kale was left untouched on my cutting board.  My unplanned plan ended up being perfect. This recipe was warming and flavorful.

Now what to do with the bunch of Kale I have sitting in my fridge. I am thinking Cheesy Kale Chips… Stay tuned.

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Roasted Tomato Soup

IMG_3230My kitchen has looked like a bomb zone the past few weeks. Every night I clean it only to get it messy  the following day. I can’t stop recipe testing for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Through all my recipe testing I have learned that it’s vital to have a few prepared meals in the fridge I can slurp down between measuring, whipping, roasting and baking. My favorite go-to has been my Roasted Tomato Soup. It is simple and classic. I make a big batch on Sunday and enjoy it throughout the week.

Roasting the tomatoes with garlic and carrots is the secret to this soup.  The roasting takes a bit of extra time, but it is worth it. The depth of flavor is taken to the next level. This soup definitely falls into the comfort food zone. It is not only perfect for a quick meal while recipe testing, but also on a cold Fall day.

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