Monday, January 24, 2011


I just got a new blender, y'all!!! Yes, it's pink. No, that was not my preferred color. But we all know that I'm a huge giant sucker for a good sale.

Due to a lovely spout with reeeeeally bad TMJ lately, it came at a great time. Soups and smoothies are about to rule my life! I made a smoothie for dinner tonight, out of pure excitement. Might whip up some carrot soup a little later.

My take on smoothies:

-Fruit+fruit juice=a TON of sugar.

-Smoothies need not be huge Jamba Juiced sized. Seriously. Yes, fruit has a ton of vitamins and even though it's "natural" sugar, it also has a ton of sugar and SUGAR IS SUGAR. Your smoothie really shouldn't be more than about a cup. Edit: not more than a cup of fruit, I should say. I just added a bunch of extra almond milk and a hand full of spinach to my regular small smoothie and it got HUGE!

-instead of juice, try kefir, almond/soy milk, milk, or sub half the juice with yogurt. Really try to cut the sugar out by not using juice. If you're going to use juice at all (like, at all IN YOUR LIFE), try to get it as close to it's natural state as possible. Apple juice from concentrate? Pretty much just straight sugar.

-Add stuff!! I like adding almonds. Little protein and makes it more filling. Maybe add some dry oatmeal for fiber, or protein powder, or "green" powder, tofu for protein. You can disguise the taste of all kinds of good-for-you crap in smoothies.

-My trick I picked up working at a cafe place that had smoothies: take a cup the size of the smoothie you want. Fill it with the frozen fruit. THEN fill it with whatever liquid you're using until it just tops the fruit. The fruit/liquid ratio is pretty spot on that way. Not too thick, not too runny.

I'm considering playing with veggie drinks at some point next...sounds like it has the potential of being gross, though...we'll see.

Edit: I came across this last night. Almond butter! Of COURSE!! I love almond butter. It's a little pricey but SO good and totally better for you than peanut butter. I made that recipe with almond milk (super low calorie and nice nutty flavor) and mixed berries (on sale for $7 for a giant bag at Target). KEEPER. I could totally taste the almond butter. I usually just put whole almond in it. I like the crunchiness of that, but the almond butter flavor is a lot stronger. I'm sure my neighbors love hearing my blender scream at 6am every day now. Sorry for partying.

Edit pt2: Added a big handfull of fresh spinach to the smoothie just above. Can't even taste it! At all! Killer way to sneak in greens. For big people AND little people!

Edit pt 3: To mix things up (I love trying to fix things that aren't broken, apparently), I bought a carton of the SoDelicious non-sweetened coconut milk (like a milk carton, got it at Target). It's low calorie and I thought maybe it would add a naturally sweet coconut-y flair. IT DOESN'T. It's gross. It's almost...bitter. And yucks up the taste of the whole smoothie. Stick to almond milk, people. Trust.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Quinoa with Green Olives and Red Onions

This is from, shocking, the Isabel's Cantina cookbook (link to the right). I gave that cookbook to 4 different people for Christmas. Should have given it to everyone! Love it.

(Serves 4 to 6)
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 med red onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (omg never go grocery shopping on Sunday night. Bare shelves! Couldnt find red, so I used yellow. Seems to have worked out pretty well).
3/4 cup green olives, halved and pitted (blech. Do not like, so I left them out)
3 tablespoons lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons, I used 1)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Place the quinoa in a medium sauce pan and cover with 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat so that the mixture simmers. Cover and cook until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 10 to 15 mins. Remove from the heat, stir in the salt and pepper, and set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 4 mins, then add the bell pepper. Continue cooking until the bell pepper has softened, about 3 mins. Add the aolives, stirring well to combine, and cook for 1 more min.

Stir the sauteed vegetables into the quinoa. Add the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the cumin, and cilantro. Toss well to combine. Serve the quinoa warm, at room temperature, or cold. The quinoa can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Pretty simple! I love the cumin and lemon flavors. Quinoa is uber healthy, so dish up!