For four sad years, I lived without a blender. Mine sat sad and broken in the cupboard. I won’t lie—it was pretty tough. Sure, I had my immersion blender, food processor, and food mill to fill the void, but it just wasn’t the same. Then Andy took stock of the situation. He sent away for a $6 part and a week or so later, I was blending up a storm again.
My blender. Or one that looks just like it.
The broken–now fixed–part!
Shortly after this, the peanut butter banana smoothie entered my life. It is now my preferred breakfast, keeping me full and satisfied until noon or even one o’clock. It’s full of calcium, potassium, and more than 20 grams of protein. You’d have to eat four eggs to get the same protein punch from an omelet.
Here’s the recipe. You don’t really have to measure it out:
Peanut Butter and Banana High-Protein Breakfast Smoothie
Fill your blender with the following ingredients:
½ cup milk (4 g protein)
1-2 bananas (1.5 g protein)
There are endless ways to modify the recipe. You may have noticed that it is naturally gluten-free. If you want to make it dairy-free, you could substitute almond or coconut milk for the regular milk and yogurt, though you’ll lose a lot of the protein. (Am I sounding obsessed with protein? I have been on a vegetarian diet for over twenty years and normally don’t feel too protein-deprived. I have found that this high-protein smoothie keeps me fuller longer than my lower-protein breakfasts with similar calorie counts.)
I have done a thorough analysis of Greek yogurt and regular yogurts to find the best one at the best price, but I’ll save that for another post.
What are your favorite smoothie recipes? Let me know in the comments!
I am too lazy to come up with my own Valentine’s Day recipes this year, so I have decided to outsource it. Check out Gluten-free Gourmand’s gluten-free heart shaped scones with raspberry jam:
Aren’t these adorable? If you aren’t on a gluten-free diet, you can just substitute regular flour for the gluten-free flour and leave out the xanthan gum.
Also, you can make these Valentine’s Day treats without a heart-shaped cookie cutter, which is convenient for some people. I happen to have at least four different heart-shaped cookie cutters in my collection. Would it really crowd the kitchen too much to splurge on a nesting cookie cutter set?
Or better yet, this 3 piece hearts cutter set:
I’m now convinced I need to round out my collection with that ruffled one.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Congratulations to Manda, Jasmine, and Kat for winning the gluten-free flours of their choice from our Gluten-free Gourmand Giveaway! Your flours should be arriving shortly.
flours from the Gluten Free Gourmand
When company founder Gina Kelley (my sister!) started eating a strict gluten-free diet six years ago, all she really wanted was a good scone. After a year of trial and error – and baking scones once a week or more – her No. 1 All-purpose Flour was born. She added more flours and baking mixes to her collection, and earlier this year she opened her flour production company: www.glutenfreegourmand.com.
Here we are in 2005. Why 2005? Because for some reason I could not find a more recent photo of the two of us. Back then, Gina (left) was contemplating joining the Gluten-free Lifestyle.
If you or your child can no longer eat wheat due to a diagnosis of celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you need to try these flours out. Everything is blended by hand and produced in small batches. I made my first attempt at gluten-free baking with Gina’s pastry flour for Thanksgiving: I whipped up my old standby, the all-American apple pie. I was nervous to try a wheatless flour, but I followed my favorite crust recipe and simply substituted Gina’s flour for the wheat flour.
It was a success! I had to add a little more water than usual to the recipe, but it rolled out just fine, browned up nicely in the oven, and–most importantly–tasted delicious.
New to gluten-free baking? Try the pancake mix.
Starting today on the Green Baby Guide, you can enter to win two flour mixes of your choice! You can enter up to three times. Here are the three ways to enter:
We’ll choose three winners on Friday, November 30th. U.S. addresses only, please. Good luck!
Lara Bars are my newest addiction. Unlike most granola bars or energy bars, most of the flavors contain nothing but dried fruit and nuts. However, they aren’t cheap. They usually cost more than a dollar a bar, even if you buy the family pack. (This Lara Bar fruit and nut food bar pack costs $25.21 for 16, which comes out to $1.58/bar.)
Soon I found myself searching for ways to make homemade Lara Bars. I really like the Hot Fudge Brownie Lara Bars from Chocolate-Covered Katie. She has a huge list of Lara bar recipes to try. And these homemade Lara Bars from Foodie with Family look much fancier than mine, which I prefer to simply roll into balls and store in a glass container.
I’ve now made my own no-bake date and nut bars, which are naturally gluten-free, quite a few times. Here’s my method:
Basic Homemade Lara Bar Recipe
1 cup (120 g) nuts—whatever kind you like
1 1/3 cup (230 g) pitted dates
Put everything in a food processor and process until everything is blended. Roll into little balls and store in a glass container in the fridge. If the mixture is too dry, add a little water; if it’s too sticky, add some more nuts. Enjoy!
My search for organic or otherwise “green” Halloween treats did not get me far. Everything I found seemed to cost much more than your $2.50 bag of candy dripping in corn syrup. And, to make matters worse, some of organic candy I found came with too much plastic packaging. Still, there are a few options out there if you want a break from the regular Halloween fare:
YummyEarth Organic Lollipops, Assorted Flavors, 5-Pound Bag $26.92
EnviroKidz Organic Crispy Rice Bars Peanut Choco Drizzle Treat Size, 9-Ounce Packages (Pack of 12) $55.29
Tasty Brand Organic Fruit Snacks, Mixed Fruit Flavors, 2.75-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12) $27.38
Wikki Stix Trick or Treat Pak $21.50
These little crafts are an alternative to candy
Does anyone have any bright ideas for trick-or-treaters? If you’re against candy altogether, you could give out stickers, coins, or even toothbrushes. What are you giving trick-or-treaters this Halloween?
Waffle cravings on a gluten-free diet? No problem. With more and more pregnant and breastfeeding mothers swearing off gluten, we felt obligated to come to the rescue with this recipe from the Gluten-free Gourmand. Sure, you could buy a gluten-free waffle mix, but what makes all of the concoctions from this blogger special is the way she plays with flour combinations to get each recipe perfect. Once you have an array of gluten-free flours at your disposal, you’ll be able to whip up just about anything without wheat. Try it and let us know what you think!
Image from the Gluten-free Gourmand
Mix in a medium bowl:
1 cup white rice flour
2 Tbsp sorghum flour
1 Tbsp tapioca flour
1 Tbsp potato flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Heat your waffle iron.
In another medium bowl, beat thoroughly:
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. When the waffle iron is hot, lightly spray it with oil and spoon or pour a serving of batter onto the iron and cook until the waffle starts releasing less steam. Serve hot.
If you don’t already own a food mill, don’t necessarily rush out and buy one. In The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we warn against buying something that you’ll use just a few short months—and really, babies graduate from pureed mush to bite-sized chunks relatively quickly. However, if you think you might get some use out of a food mill once your baby food days are over, then now is the time to get one. It’s one of the best tools for baby food cookery you can find. Why? A food mill saves a lot of work. No peeling and seeding—just steam some apples or sweet potatoes or green beans and run them through the mill. All the seeds, peels, and stringy bits get filtered right out–and it doesn’t even need any electricity to work!
RSVP International food mill
What else can you use a food mill for? I needed one to make gnocchi several years ago. The recipe warned that any other contraption would render the potato dough gluey and unworkable. Now I use it all summer to make gazpacho. (Here’s a recipe from the Gluten-Free Gourmand. Notice I plug the food mill throughout the comments!) No need to seed and peel those tomatoes and cucumbers—just feed them through the mill and they come out silky smooth. Ever try to press berries through a strainer with a spatula to make a coulis? I use a food mill for this task now.
Cuisipro Deluxe food mill
I have something similar to this RSVP International Veg-3 Rotary food mill—though I remember paying just $12 instead of $25 for it! (Mine is a Moulinex, which I did not find online.) If you’d prefer a stainless steel device, try the Oxo Good Grips food mill ($44.99) or the RSVP Endurance Stainless Steel food mill for $34.95. There’s also the Cuisipro Deluxe food mill for $104.95, but I’m not sure what makes it so much more expensive than the other brands.
Some parents buy a mini food mill for making baby food on the go. Theoretically you could take it with you to restaurants and blend up what you’re having for baby. I think this would be a waste of money; you already know how I feel about limited-use baby gear. Of course, I’m really not one to talk considering the number of gizmos that reside in my kitchen.
I do not usually seek out low-fat cookie recipes (what’s the point?), but my favorite gingerbread cookie just so happens to contain just 3 grams of fat. We bake these year-round, but they’re especially delicious around the holidays.
Aww, how could you eat this little guy from Shrek? Well, he is full of sugar and spice and everything nice. . . .
(Modified from the Joy of Cooking)
Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
3 cups of flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 ¾ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Beat until well-blended:
6 tablespoons softened butter
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
Add and beat in:
½ cup molasses
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until smooth. Divide dough in half, wrap each in plastic, and let stand at room temperature for at least two hours. (I have skipped this step with no ill effects!)
Roll dough out on floured surface until ¼ inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Bake in a 375-degree oven 7 to 10 minutes. Cool on racks. Decorate with icing if desired. Then enjoy!
If you read my dejected post outlining my garden failures and my subsequent, more hopeful garden update, you’ll be pleased to know that I am now swimming in tomatoes! My wildest gardening dreams have come true, because I’ve always wanted to be someone who had more tomatoes than she knew what to do with. This year, I can’t claim I’ve saved any money by starting a garden, but in the following years I just may break even or even start saving a few dollars by planting my own produce.
Over 8 pounds in one day!
So what can I do with the eight to fourteen pounds of tomatoes I’m picking each week? Here’s what I’ve done so far:
I am also considering canning, but I’m a little intimidated by that. Any other ideas?