Smart Mamas

Tag: Recipe

Healthy Mango Milkshake

This is one of our favorite fruit shakes.  Sure to be a hit with it’s light and refreshing taste and a snap to make.

Ingredients

1 mango, peeled and seeded

1 large pear

2 cups of your favorite milk.  We love it with almond or soy milk.

ice

Directions

Cut the mango and pear into large pieces and place in your blender.  Add 2 cups of milk.  You may want to adjust this according to the size of your fruit.  Add ice, we use around 6-8 pieces. Blend till smooth.  Pour into glasses and enjoy.

Mangoes are packed with vitamin A and other antioxidant vitamins like E and C.  They are also high in iron.  This fruit can even help with acne by unclogging pores.  You can slice a few pieces and place them on the affected area for about 10 minutes.  Mangoes have a wonderful anti-inflammatory property, which can reduce pain from arthritis and ease symptoms of asthma.

Cheers!

Note to self, clean spots off blender and glasses before taking pictures:)

Kale and Orzo

Today I am busy with schoolwork so I made a quick, light dinner.  Can’t beat a nice, healthy meal in 30 minutes.

I found this recipe on allrecipe.com and added a few extra ingredients.

Orzo with Kale

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 cups uncooked orzo pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves of garlic

1 bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves chopped

1 large lemon, juiced

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of lightly-salted water to a boil: Sprinkle the turmeric over the boiling water and stir in the orzo; return to a boil.  Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes; drain. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook the garlic in the hot oil for a few seconds until it begins to bubble.  Stir the kale into the garlic, cover the skillet with a lid, and cook for 10 mins.  Remove the cover and continue cooking and stirring until the kale is tender, about 10 mins more.  Stir the kale mixture into the orzo along with lemon juice, nutmeg, and Parmesan cheese.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

The flavor is mild and refreshing.  I can’t wait to make it again.

A few minor modifications ~I tossed mushrooms and red bell peppers in with the kale and added more olive oil.  I only used 1 1/2 cups of uncooked orzo and it turned out great.  I omitted the Parmesan cheese.

Verdict
Christian (6) devoured two plates and said it was, “delicious,” except for the peppers.  He also wanted to know if kale had more vitamin A than carrots so he could see better tomorrow.
Roman (3) said, “It doesn’t smell very good,” while I was cooking.  He made sure I saw his pinched nose and exaggerated mouth breathing.  After a few minutes of asking he finally tasted the orzo and said it didn’t taste good.  I have to say he can’t stand orzo pasta because “the shape is weird for a noodle.”
Husband loved it.
Plate scrapped clean = good dish.
This recipe was submitted to allrecipes.com by Sunaina. You can find it here.

#1 Snack in our House

My kids could eat apples and peanut butter everyday. Keep fruits fun by changing up the way you cut them.  All I did was core and slice, simple and quick.   A nice bonus is the peanut butter stays on the apple and not all over your kid.

I love the fresh roasted, organic peanut butter at Sprouts.  It is half the price of other stores in my area and there is only one ingredient…peanuts.

Carrot/Grapefruit Juice

Today our morning juice was packed with antioxidants and vitamin C.  Perfect for cold and flu season.

Carrot/Grapefruit Juice

8 carrots

2 stalks of celery

1 cucumber

1 ruby red grapefruit (sweet)

I like to add a chunk of frozen acai to our cups.  My boys call it the purple ice cube.  My favorite brand is Amazon Planet because they do not add any additives, colors, flavors or preservatives of any kind.  Just acai and acerola, which is an amazon cherry loaded with vitamin C.  Thirty times more than oranges.  I highly recommend stashing a bag in the freezer.  Provides a nice energy boost, too.

A bit of info about acai:

Contains 80 mg of anthocyanins (a powerful antioxidant)

3g of omega 6 & 9 fatty acids

2g of dietary fibers and over 10 vitamins and minerals

Grapefruit contains a ton of good stuff.  packed with potassium, vitamin C, folic acid, and pectin ( soluble fiber).  Ruby reds are especially loaded with antioxidants and lycopene (chemical that prevents bad cholesterol from damaging artery walls).  Drinking grapefruit juice also slows the activity of an enzyme that activates cancer causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke.

A lot of people associate grapefruit with weight loss.  That is because it contains naringin, a flavanoid compound that blocks the uptake of fatty acids into cells to prevent our bodies from effectively using carbohydrates.  Naringin is what gives it a bitter taste.

In other words, a lot of punch in one little cup.

Cheers!

 

 

 

Good Morning Chunky Monkey Milkshakes

My boys love this quick morning breakfast and it is loaded with potassium, iron, and protein.  When I introduce new foods to my children I start with something fail-proof.  The first time they tried this shake it had these ingredients:

1 cup of unsweetened almond milk

2 bananas (I like to use my freezer bananas)

2 teaspoons of blackstrap molasses or 1 tablespoon of maple syrup

3 ice cubes

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth.

Serves 1

In time I added other ingredients:

1/4 cup of organic, fresh roasted peanut butter or 1/4 cup of tofu

1 teaspoon of ground flax seeds

Flax seed is a wonder grain. Stocked full of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, high in most B vitamins, and magnesium.  It’s easy to sneak into meals, just don’t overdo it.  I don’t use more than a tablespoon per kid a day.

They love this breakfast and think it’s a big treat.  Milkshakes for breakfast, what beats that?  I know it’s healthier than cereal or any other processed breakfast.  A good start of the day for all of us.

Easy Bread Machine Pita Bread

It is absolutely necessary that we have a quick and easy pita bread recipe on hand.  I am a Greek American.  We eat a lot of pita bread.  This is a solid recipe.  I have tasted better, but it takes much longer to make.  With this recipe you can dip fresh pita into hummus 30 mins after it mixes in the machine.

Recipe from, Bread Machine: How to Prepare and Bake the Perfect Loaf, by Jennie Shapter.  My bread machine works overtime, often the dough kneading around is from this book.  Very easy instructions and a wide variety of breads.  This is my bread machine bible.

Ingredients
scant 1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups unbleached white bread flour
plus extra for sprinkling
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon rapid-rise dry yeast

Makes 6-10

1.  Pour the water and oil into the bread machine pan.  If your instructions specify that the yeast is to be placed in the pan first, reverse the order in which you add the liquid and dry ingredients.  Add the flour, ensuring it covers the water.

2.  Add the salt and sugar in separate corners of the pan.  Make a shallow indentation in the center of the flour and add the yeast.  Set the bread machine to the dough setting; use basic or pizza dough setting (if available).  Press Start.

3.  When the dough cycle has finished remove the dough from the machine.  Place it on a lightly floured surface and punch in down gently.

4.  Divide the dough into six or ten equal size pieces, depending on whether you want large or small pita breads.  Shape each piece into a ball.

5.  Cover the balls of dough with oiled plastic wrap and let them rest for about 10 minutes.  Preheat he oven to 450 degrees F.  Then place three baking sheets in the oven to heat.

6.  Flatten each piece of dough slightly, and then roll out into an oval or round, about 1/4 inch thick.  

7.  Lightly sprinkle each pita with flour.  Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

8.  Place the pitas on the baking sheets and bake for 5-6 minutes, or until they are puffed up and lightly browned.  Transfer the pita breads on to wire racks to cool.

I like to make them small if we use them for dipping and large if we eat falafels.

I found this fantastic White Bean Dip on The Reluctant Vegetarian blog.  It is a recipe by Giada De Laurenentiis.

So tangy and zesty.  I made a batch prior without lemon and parsley and it was rich and creamy.  Fantastic both ways.

I also made hummus.

I haven’t measured and perfected my recipe, but I am working on it and will post ASAP.  I do like to add fresh basil and top with sundried tomatoes.

All recipes are vegan and kid approved.

Dairy Detox in December. Is it Feasible?

The week of Thanksgiving was such a lovely break.  March was the last time I had that many days off with my kids.  We spent Thanksgiving with good friends and had our first vegan/gluten-free Thanksgiving.  Well, minus the salted caramel pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes.  Those were the only dairy/flour culprits.  It was very enjoyable and I never had that overstuffed, sick feeling.  Rather blissful, actually.

I have been a vegetarian for almost nineteen years.  The last time I tried going completely vegan was in 2001.  In Texas.  No easy feat.  There wasn’t a vegan section in the local specialty grocery stores.  Soy was the only milk alternative.  Annie had just started making macaroni and cheese with her cute bunnies, no frozen options yet.  Basically, I shopped out of the produce section.  Somewhere along the line I lost my gusto.  I was lured back by feta, pita bread, and cupcakes.  I have only fallen off the meat wagon once and that lasted roughly five months.  I met my husband during that time.  Little did he know about his culinary future.

He is an omnivore so it can be challenging to balance our incompatible diets at home.  We have gone back and forth on what our kids’ should or should not eat.  Our oldest son did not eat meat until he was nearly four, nor did he drink cows’ milk.  His pediatrician worried about his iron intake and I was often scrutinized by dentists, teachers, and other moms.  I did have small victories.  One of my favorites was the day my son’s doctor gave him an iron test and returned scratching his head wondering how his iron tested higher than the average meat eating kid.  My son typically only sees him on wellness visits because he doesn’t get sick often.  His doctor doesn’t question me anymore.

The first time my kid ate meat was at a family gathering.  I did not receive a lot of support on the issue.  Family was concerned.  It was frustrating and I didn’t want him to be ostracized.  We would then return home to Texas.  I don’t have to tell you that Texas is a meat mecca.  Austin may be the only exception.  But, I don’t live there.

For the most part my husband and children eat very little meat, maybe twice a week.  There is never pork or ground beef in our house.  My kids don’t know that ribs or pork chops exist.  They are clueless that people eat pot roast, meatloaf, corned beef, or rump roast.  Do people still eat that?  I doubt they would recognize a steak.  However, they do know that fruit and veggies are seasonal.  They love edamame, zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes, and squash.  They eat carrots without ranch and devour apples, tangerines, and pineapple.  My point is that my husband is supportive and keeps meat consumption to a minimum.  It could be worse.  I hope it will get better.

Today I started reading, The China Study.  It has been sitting on my nightstand for a few months.  It is one of those books that will change your life for the better.  That I know without reading it. It will change your life.  That can be scary.  It debunks food myths and downright lies and it is well researched based on studies, statistics, and facts.  I know it’s a must read for anyone interested in health and quality of life.  I am sure it will stir things up in our kitchen and affect the way we eat.

The past few weeks I have considered detoxing from dairy for a full month.  I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to go completely vegan in December.  January would be the logical choice.  Not really too challenging, everyone is on some kind of special diet after six weeks of pure gluttony.  December is full of parties, cookies, and Christmas dinner.  There is no end to baked goods and potlucks.  How would I maneuver through all that?  Could I still bake cookies that taste good?  Do I have enough time to practice making an entire menu for Christmas dinner that is so good my husband won’t be disappointed?  Better yet, even notice.

I have a few days to make up my mind.  Until then I am gathering a reservoir of vegan recipes.  I’m also thinking about January.  How nice it would be to not gain any weight.  Who knows?  Maybe even lose a few pounds.  Imagine starting the year off completely guilt-free from December gorgefest.  It may be worth it.

Do you have any favorite vegan recipes?  Do you think it’s possible to succeed in December?

Peace and love,

Lisa

Miso Soup For the Soul

I do my best to include at least one nourishing dish with each meal.  Last night we had a hodge podge dinner.  I had finally found white miso in the refrigerated section of Whole Foods (by the tofu) and it had been sitting on the shelf in the refrigerator for a good two weeks.  Time to make soup.  I used this recipe:

Mellow White Miso Soup

5 cups of water

1/4 cup chopped scallions

1 Tbs. tamari sauce

1/4 cup white miso paste (I used Miso Master Organic)

*optional adds ~ 1/4 cup shredded carrot, 3 oz sliced mushrooms, wakame (seaweed -it will need to be boiled ~20 mins)

Boil water.  Add mushrooms, scallions, carrot, and tamari.  Reduce to medium heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 mins, or until veggies soften.  Reduce heat to low & pour some of the hot soup mixture into a bowl (~1/4-1/2 cup).  Add miso paste, blend well.  Add the miso mixture back to the pot of soup and simmer for 2 minutes.  Be careful not to boil.

I cut cubes of extra firm tofu and dropped them in the bottom of the individual serving bowls and poured the soup on top.  I omitted the carrots and mushrooms because we were out.  Viola!  Miso soup just like in a Japanese restaurant.

I plan to make a pot a few times a week, because it was so easy and a nice treat on a cold day.  Miso soup is the Asian version of chicken soup.  Actually, the nutritional benefits are not a fair comparison.  Here is what I discovered from my Google research:  It strengthens the immune system and reduces the risk of breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer.  It is high in antioxidants, which prevents the signs of aging.  It contains protein, vitamin B12, B2, E, K, tryptophan, choline, dietary fiber, linoleic acid, and lecithin.  It even helps reduce the symptoms of menopause.

The best part for me was that it just felt good to nourish my family.  I had high hopes for yesterday.  It was the first evening off I had in awhile.  I envisioned an evening full of books, cuddles, and laughter.  Instead my boys were loud and wild and a bit unruly.  I felt defeated before I headed to the kitchen.  Nothing turned out as I planned.  Once the kids were in bed, I thought about that miso soup.  It sounds silly, but, I felt better about the day knowing I made something nourishing.  I did one thing right.  Some days we are wonder mom.  Utterly and completely spectacular.  Other days, well, not so much.  It’s important that we do not compare our not so much days to our wonder woman days.  Find the one moment you did something right and then let it go and enjoy the rest of your quiet evening.

This recipe came from the cookbook, The Sacred Kitchen, by Robin Robertson and Jon Robertson.  I cannot recommend this cookbook enough.  I love it.   It was printed in 1999.  You can find it here.

Persimmon. My Newest Obsession.

Last weekend my husband brought home a box full of fruits and veggies from our local co-op.  A few days later, I found a little treasure inside the vegetable drawer.  Was it a fruit?  A vegetable?  I had no idea.  It was an orangish-red color and waxy to the touch.  The tiny sticker attached to the stem identified it as a fuyu persimmon.  Hmmm.  I sliced it open and took a bite.  Quickly, it became apparent that the skin is not edible, but the inside was sweet.  Very sweet.  I was expecting tomato, but it wasn’t anything like one.  I keep trying to place the taste.  Something like a pear, plum, papaya mixture.  The texture was smooth, like velvet.

I immediately googled it and this is what I learned -There are a couple of different types.  This one is the Asian variety.  It is used mostly in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cooking.  It is loaded with vitamins A & C,  fiber, antioxidants, folic acid, lycopene, and many minerals.  They can be eaten raw, dried or used in cookies, cakes, puddings, and salads.  I still can’t believe the persimmon and I have never crossed paths.  Now I have a new fall fruit to feed my family.  Oh, the little things.  Gotta love’m.

I can’t wait to bake something with it.  Do you have any persimmon recipes?  Please share.

%d bloggers like this: