Archive for the ‘Fruit’ Category

Almond Joy Smoothie – Vegan and Healthy!

What better way to wake up in the morning than knowing that, taste-wise, you will be eating the equivalent of a candy bar for breakfast while getting all the nutrition needed to supercharge your day?

That’s exactly how I felt this morning, knowing that yesterday I had experimented with creating an Almond Joy-type smoothie and today I had some ideas to perfect it!

This smoothie replicates the flavors in an Almond Joy bar.  The chocolate flavor comes from cacao, the almond flavor from almond butter and almond extract, and the coconut flavor from coconut milk and unsweetened coconut flakes.  What about the fruits and veggies?  Those come with the addition of a handful of spinach and a frozen banana, while calcium comes from the coconut or coconut-almond milk.  And I also like to add some hemp protein powder for some extra protein, but that’s optional.

Almond Joy Smoothie

All the goodness of the candy bar, replicated with healthy ingredients!

All the goodness of the candy bar, replicated with healthy ingredients!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large handful baby spinach
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk (the kind from the carton, not the thick canned kind) or almond-coconut milk blend
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (peanut butter also works)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon cacao power
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1 tablespoon hemp protein, optional
  • 1-2 dates, pitted (optional – include if you like extra sweetness)

Combine in blender and enjoy your smoothie!  Sprinkle with extra coconut flakes if desired.  Makes one tall glass (about 2 cups).

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Vitamin-A Packed Mango-Goji-Carrot Smoothie

Smoothies have turned out to be the neatest trick to getting more veggies into my diet.  Today I decided to experiment with a new vegetable (and a new color): carrots.

I’ve been pretty successful when matching the same color fruit and vegetable, so I opted for a mango-carrot smoothie.  To amp up the nutritional value and to make it more filling, I added goji berries, avocado, and chia seeds.

This smoothie is packed with Vitamin A.  So what’s the big deal about this vitamin?  Vitamin A helps maintain healthy skin, teeth, mucus membranes, and skeletal tissue, and it promotes good vision.  This smoothie delivers about 300% of your daily vitamin A needs – 1 cup of mango has 25% of your daily need for vitamin A, while 1/2 cup chopped carrots has over 200% and goji berries contain about 68% in 2 tablespoons.  Although Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and thus can be toxic if ingested in large amounts, this is highly unlikely to happen from consuming foods (only from vitamins), as your body only converts the amount of Vitamin A that it needs.  That’s just another reason that, when possible, we should get our nutrients from whole foods, not vitamins!

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They key ingredients for the mango-goji smoothie.

Mango-Goji Smoothie

  • 1 large mango, peeled and cubed
  • 3 small or 1 large carrot, peeled (about 1/2 cup, chopped)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons goji berries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond or coconut (or almond-coconut) milk
  • 2-3 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in blender.  Enjoy!

Healthy Chili-Mango Lassi Popsicles

What better way to improve the best-tasting food out there than by combining the best of two culinary traditions?  I learned this when eating Mexican-inspired sushi at a Japanese-Mexican fusion restaurant in San Antonio.  And I decided to apply this lesson when creating my chili-mango lassi popsicles.

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These pops were  first inspired by the popsicles featured on Joe Cross’ site.  I tried this recipe, but did not enjoy the banana taste mixed in with my mango.  I also wanted to spice things up a bit, and since living in south Texas I have loved adding chili to my fruit.  I did, however, like the combination of mango and coconut milk, which tasted like the Indian lassi drink.  So the combination of these wonderful Indian and Mexican-inspired flavors resulted in these great popsicles.

I’m proud to say that these popsicles are raw.  They are also dairy free, sugar-free (free of added sugars, at least), gluten-free, and soy-free.  They are also really delicious.  Start light on the chili if you are not used to  heavy chili flavor with your sweets.

Ingredients (makes 4 popsicles):

  • 2 ataulfo mangos, pit removed and scored, plus extra mango pieces (optional)
  • 1/2 cup coconut or light coconut milk (I like to make my own light coconut milk by combining equal parts coconut milk and water)
  • 2-3 ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powser, optional (or quantity to taste)

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Directions:

1.) Place some of the extra mango pieces (if using) in the bottoms of the popsicle molds.  Scoop out the scored mango flesh and place in blender.

2.) Add the coconut milk and ice to blender and blend completely.

3.) Add chili powder to taste.  I recommend adding it little by little to ensure you like the taste.  If you do not enjoy the taste of the popsicle in liquid form, you won’t like it in popsicle form!  Blend.

4.) Pour liquid into the molds, leaving a bit of space at the top if you are planning on adding more mango pieces.  Add these pieces to the molds and push in with the end of the popsicle stick (so that the mango pieces are spread throughout the popsicle).

5.) Freeze and enjoy!

Grapefruit-Ginger Jam

After checking out a new farmer’s market yesterday I came home loaded with fruit, including grapefruit, lemons, and strawberries.  With the citrus season soon coming to an end, I could not resist the offer of purchasing just-picked grapefruit at a price of 8 grapefruit for a dollar.  Faced with the reality that my fridge looked more like a garden/orchard than a refrigerator, I realized I would not be able to consume all of this fruit.

So I set out to preserve the grapefruit, thinking it would be delicious paired with ginger.  At first unsure of the difference between preserves, jam, jelly, and marmalade, I soon learned that I would be making jam.  It turns out that preserves use whole pieces of fruit, jellies use the fruit juice, and marmalade is made using the rind of the fruit as well as the pulp.  Since I would be using pieces of grapefruit, but not exactly whole pieces of fruit, I decided my recipe would be a jam.

I tried to follow a recipe, but most of the ones online called for steeping the whole grapefruit overnight, or boiling it whole for several hours.  I had made strawberry preserves before by simply boiling the fruit with sugar, and decided to do the same with the grapefruit.  For this recipe, you need to peel and remove the pith from the grapefruit and lemons and collect all of the juice and pulp in a large bowl.  This may feel like a somewhat tedious process when you are doing it, but it is worth it for the simplification of the recipe and will cut down on a lot of wait time.

The grapefruit-ginger jam is delicious mixed with plain Greek yogurt or on crackers.  Enjoy!

Grapefruit-Ginger Jam

Ingredients include grapefruit, lemons, and crystallized ginger (as well as sugar, not shown).

Ingredients include grapefruit, lemons, and crystallized ginger (as well as sugar, not shown).

Ingredients:

  • 4 large red grapefruit, juice and pulp only (skins and pith removed)
  • 1 lemon, juice and pulp only (skins and pith removed)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced crystallized ginger
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer uncovered on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Follow canning instructions – wash jars with hot soapy water, fill with the preserves (leaving 1/4-1/2 inch space at the rim), and immerse in boiling water for about 5 minutes (making sure the water covers the jar).
  4. Remove jars from boiling water and let your preserves cool.

Spinach-Pineapple Juice With Cilantro

As a 6-year-old, I used to think that eating spinach would magically give me Popeye’s superhuman strength.  I disliked the taste of spinach, but remember loading up one evening for dinner knowing that later my athletic friend and I would race each other.

Unfortunately, the spinach did not turn me into a Popeye-style racing machine.  Nevertheless, according to Livestrong.com, it’s a nutritious food, containing plenty of calcium (for bones), beta-carotene and vitamin A (for healthy skin, eyes, and immune system), lutein (to prevent muscular degeneration), and folate (to prevent birth defects).  It also helps prevent cancer, making it a winner nutrition-wise.  Baby spinach, which I use in my juices, has the same benefits of other spinach varieties.

While the idea of “spinach juice” does not appeal to me even as an adult, blending it with sweet fruit is a whole new take on the concept.  And adding some herbs gives the combination a je ne sais quoi – sophistication, perhaps?  Below is my favorite recipe, which uses only three ingredients.

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Spinach-Pineapple Juice with Cilantro

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups firmly packed baby spinach
  • 2 cups cubed pineapple (about 1/2 medium pineapple)
  • 4 sprigs cilantro

Directions:

Combine ingredients in juicer according to juicer directions.  Best served chilled!

Yield: 1 1/2 cups