Tag Archives: smoothie

Shake it up Baby!

20 Jul

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Weather forecast: it is HOT! Sun…. just in case you didn’t know (I’m sure you all needed me to tell you that). According to CBC radio and my guy Nick Czerncovich (I googled him just so I would spell his name right on the blog, okay? Leave me alone), it is officially a heat wave when the temperature is at or above 32 degrees Celsius (I learned that last week).  Yesterday, Nick told me that Thursday’s temperature in Toronto (surprisingly, he wasn’t commenting on Simcoe’s weather) could break an all-time record for the city…as in, not just for that specific month, or day, but ALL TIME! If it’s above 38.3, we have ourselves a record. Nick also told me that more likely than not, we’ll be in that heat wave territory by the end of the week. Now aren’t you glad I listen to CBC radio (only in the car) so I could pass this information on to you all?

Anyway, other than locking yourself in an air-conditioned building and/or mooching off of your friends and family who have pools (that’s what I do)…how can you beat the heat? Nice, cold milkshakes and smoothies, of course. So I’m here to share a couple cold drinks that have come our of the HHH kitchen lately.

The first one, pictured at top, is a berry lemonade smoothie. To make it, I used:

  • 2 individual containers of Source strawberry yogurt (any brand/berry yogurt flavour would do)
  • Sugar-Free Cranberry lemonade crystals (any lemonade-type mix would do here…the one I used was from the US…in Canada, your best best would be to use a single-serving package of Crystal Light Pink Lemonade)
  • Cold water (I didn’t measure…probably about 1/2 or 3/4 cup – use more or less, depending on how thick you want your drink)
  • About 6 ice cubes

To make it, just put everything in a blender and blend until smooth – you’re good to go!IMG_2219

The second recipe I’m going to share with you is definitely more of a shake than a smoothie – it was Monday night’s dessert.

Cherry Mocha Shake

Serves 2

  • 1 cup black forest ice cream (don’t have a batch of homemade ice cream in your freezer? Just use your favourite chocolate fro yo and add in a few pitted cherries…honestly, you couldn’t even really taste them)
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • Between 1/2 and 1 cup cold brewed coffee (I didn’t measure….sorry!)
  • 1/4 cup sugar-free chocolate syrup
  • Ice cubes (about 6)
  • A fresh cherry and fat-free Reddi-Whip for garnish, optional

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Combine all ingredients (other than garnishes) in blender. Blend until smooth.

Pour into two tall glasses. If desired, top with a squirt of Reddi-Whip and a cherry (cut through on one side with a knife first so it will sit on the glass).

….you couldn’t really taste the cherries from the ice cream, but this was still good! Basically just a chocolate shake…nothing wrong with that though!

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The last recipe I’m sharing with you isn’t a shake or a smoothie, but it’s a cold, sweet drink, so it works, right? (and it’s my blog, so I’m the boss)….I’m talking my basic iced coffee recipe (side note: isn’t it cute in my Target cup?). And although it hasn’t made it on here much (I don’t want to bore you with the same thing over and over again), I’ve been drinking these A LOT this summer…they’re so easy, I figured it was time for a quick tutorial. And at less than 50 calories for the whole thing, this is WAY better than what you’ll get at Starbucks and the Golden Arches, for a fraction of the price. Let’s get going!

Basic Iced Coffee for One

  • 1 cup unsweetened original Almond Breeze (or use a flavoured one, I just have lots of unsweetened original since I bought it at Costco)
  • Cold brewed coffee (I just steal my mom’s leftovers, make it from instant/water or brew a pot then refrigerate it in a jar)to taste (use more for a stronger coffee flavour, less if you like it weaker)
  • Splenda to taste (or if you have sugar-free flavoured syrups, those are awesome. I sometimes use caramel and it’s delish!)
  • A splash of vanilla (omit if using flavoured syrup)
  • LOTS of ice

Combine all ingredients except ice in a tall glass. Stir, add more coffee or Splenda if needed. IMG_2221

Load that cup up with lots of ice.

Enjoy!

If you’ve got a travel mug (like mine? It was free from the Teacher’s Credit Union at an orientation last fall…and I don’t even bank with them), any of these drinks can be enjoyed to-go!

2 more things before I go:

1. Speaking of cool things, I really want to try a Starbucks Bistro Box! Have you heard of them? They’re little portion-controlled cold meal boxes that come in tasty-sounding flavours like chipotle chicken wraps, sesame noodles and more. And they’re all less than 500 calories, and most come with chocolate…sweet! If you try one, let me know (and I will do the same).

2. Thank you so so much for all the support and love via comments, texts, emails and facebook after I shared with you my gloomy mood in Sunday’s post. I know it was a bit of a pity party, and I debated sharing with you, but I really try to keep it real on here, and I wanted to be up front and honest with you all. I’m happy to report that I’m out of my funk, and I felt so loved after hearing from all of you…so once again…thank you!

Happy hump day all! SmileAny favourite shake ore smoothie recipes/tips to share?

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Fresh plus Frozen

29 Jun

Today marks the first day of my summer vacation….YAY! Hopefully, the IMG_1926weather will soon figure out that it is summer too and it will be sunny and warm rather than cool and cloudy.

Summertime means loads of delicious, fresh fruits and veggies. I love these fruits and veggies so much, that I freeze some every year. Typically, come May and June, I’m trying to clear out the rest of last year’s “stash” to make room for the new stuff. But at the same time, I’m wanting to eat the deliciously fresh fruit and vegetables that are available. The solution? Make dishes that use up the cache in my freezer and incorporate the fresh stuff.

The dessert in the top picture is another delicious soft serve sundae (basically the same as the one found here). Frozen stuff: strawberries (I’m almost done the last bag from last year), mango and banana (I don’t count those last 2 as stuff to “use up,” since neither one is every “locally available”). Fresh stuff: stewed rhubarb, sliced strawberries…and topped with cacao nibs of course. Winking smile

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Next up: dinner (sorry for the bad photo – the pasta was steaming hot and I was in a rush). Fresh stuff: basil from my garden, garlic scapes, asparagus, portabella mushroom, Vidalia onion and bell pepper. Frozen stuff: spicy tomato sauce that I made last year (I would post the recipe but I got it off a friend’s facebook and I don’t think I printed it out). Also topped with grilled feta/spinach chicken and turkey sausage from Costco.

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So you can see in the photos: frozen tomato sauce + fresh basil = one delicious pasta meal. All I did was saute the veggies in olive oil, add the sauce (partially thawed) and simmer for a bit, add the chopped fresh basil right at the end, a bit of the starchy cooking water from the pasta, and then the pasta right at the end. I did the sausage on the BBQ, and sliced it over the pasta and voila – ready to serve!

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The last fresh and frozen combo involved chocolate for breakfast – does life get any better than that? I made my usual smoothie in a bowl by combining 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries with 1 cup almond milk and some Splenda, but I added in a splash of vanilla and a heaping spoonful of cocoa powder. I topped it off with blobs of fat-free Greek yogurt and 1 and 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries (that’s right, my breakfast on Monday involved 3 cups of strawberries)! Mmm…this one was a winner! Imagine eating a big, cold, chocolate-covered strawberry…at breakfast time!!! How can you go wrong? The cocoa powder gave it a nice, deep, rich (but not-too-sweet) punch of chocolate flavour.

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And speaking of frozen….there’s one more frozen thing I enjoyed last night (no fresh fruit though Smile with tongue out)…the perfect way to kick off summer….ice cream at the Marble Slab! Last night, I was in Stratford to see a concert with my mom and some friends, and we went for ice cream after (the concert went later than expected, but thankfully the Slabs are open until 11 year-round). The ice cream was certainly an 80/20 splurge, but I ate healthfully all day, ordered the smallest size and enjoyed every bite! What was my indulgence of choice? A mix of peanut butter and praline ice creams with peanut butter brownie and Skor bits for my mixins….YUM!!!!!!! Open-mouthed smile Nothing says summer quite like ice cream!

Happy summer to all my teaching friends (I’m done a little earlier since no one gets a supply teacher on the last day of school)…and to everyone else, I don’t mean to brag, and I’ll try not to rub it in too much! What food screams summer to you?

Bowled Over

28 May

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So I promised you I’d share the low carb-ish desserts I came up with, and I am delivering (well, one of the things I’m going to share in this post is actually a breakfast, but it fits with my theme, you’ll see). While in Vegas, I bought 4 new bowls and napkins. Partially because I think my blog pics tend to look a little white (white plates, white counter), and partially inspired by slight jealousy for Katie’s beautiful bowls, I decided to invest in a few fun and funky new bowls, and stylish background napkins to go with them. You saw a sneak preview already in this post of the napkin. In today’s post, you’ll see all 4 colours/sizes of bowls and all 4 snazzy napkins.

I have always loved Fiesta Dinnerware and its simple, bright colours. I’ve even stayed at a hotel right near the factory where it’s made (that’s not why I stayed there, just a coincidence). So when I was shopping in Dillard’s in Vegas and saw that it was on sale (score!) and already had a hankering for new bowls, it was a no-brainer!

So the first shot, featuring the small eggplant bowl and the pink napkin is strawberry banana soft serve. Doesn’t it go beautifully with the colour of the napkin? A perfect light and refreshing dessert that fits with my low-carb plan (it might not be traditionally low carb, since I think bananas have a lot of carbs for fruit, but it works for me Winking smile).

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In the orange medium-sized bowl on the orange napkin, we have a simply divine peanut butter and banana concoction. To make the base, I mixed 3 tbsp light ricotta, 1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt, a splash of vanilla extract, a bit of Splenda and 2 tbsp PB2. To that, I added one chopped banana and gave it a good stir. Seriously: SO GOOD! Not even, “oh this is good for a healthy, low carb-ish dessert,” like, this is an insanely delicious peanut butter and banana dessert…TRY IT!

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Up next, in the medium-sized lime green bowl on the lime green napkin, is our one breakfast option (sorry for the bad photo, but I’ve said it before, I’m in a time crunch when it comes to breakfast photography). I made a smoothie in a bowl with 1.5 cups frozen strawberries, thawed ever-so-slightly for easier blending, 1 cup vanilla almond milk and Splenda. I swirled it with a mix of regular plain and Greek yogurts, and topped with 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks (to be low-carb, topped with the fruit instead of my usual cereal). Another beautiful bowl! The sweet smoothie, tangy yogurt, and fresh pineapple combined to make a seriously delicious bowl of breakfast.

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Last but not least, in the small blue bowl on the blue napkin, is a creamy apple cinnamon dessert. I did my usual sauté an apple with water, cinnamon and splenda on medium-high until tender routine (bought Pink Lady apples for the first time since they were what looked good at the grocery store…pickings are slim this time of year). I mixed 3 tbsp light ricotta and 1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt, a splash of vanilla and a touch of Splenda, then mixed it together and topped with a few shakes of cinnamon. Another winner!

So you see, dessert fits into any lifestyle, even when I’m cutting back on carbs. You just have to get a bit creative in the kitchen, and you can eat what you crave if you’re smart about it. So, after 3 days, low carb-ing it is still going okay. I actually enjoy the challenge in a way, because it forces me to think outside the box a bit, and I have to eat more “whole” foods, as opposed to stuff from a box. Not sure how many more days I’ll go, as I am feeling better already, but we’ll see. I have to admit, I did “cheat”  a bit last night, as I was making these brownies for a friend, and had a little taste (or two) of  the batter! Winking smile But that’s ok…they’re made with pumpkin, so a little batter won’t kill me!

What is your favourite “healthy” dessert?

Smooth Saturday

10 Apr

I decided to continue with my “days of the week alliterationIMG_0684post title theme Winking smile…but this one makes sense too, trust me! Inspired by the deliciousness over on RFKW,  (and Katie was inspired by some other delicious healthy-eating blogs like KERF, I believe) I decided to take the plunge and try the smoothie in a bowl trend for yesterday’s breakfast. That’s one thing I LOVE about blogs and blogging….there are always fresh ideas out there…other bloggers have new and different ideas for ingredients you may have never tried, or they just re-imagine things I have/use daily, but put them together in a way I never would have thought of. Case in point: the SIAB. Now of course I’ve made a smoothie before (haven’t we all?), but never would have thought to eat it from a bowl, with some delicious toppings mixed in.

Here’s how I made my SIAB. My fruit was some of my frozen berries (about 3/4 cup strawberries and 1/2 cup blueberries), thawed in the microwave for one minute. This is a trick I like when using frozen fruit….I find that if it is frozen solid, I have to add more liquid than I would like, but if you thaw it all the way, you have to add a ton of ice. Giving it a quick zap for a minute warms it up just enough that it blends easily, and I can add in a bit more ice if I need a thicker smoothie. I blended together the berries, one cup unsweetened almond milk, a splash of vanilla, a touch of Splenda (I need to cut back, I know!) and 2 or 3 ice cubes. I poured the smoothie into a bowl and got to topping. My add-ins were 1/3 cup yogurt (mostly Greek, but I was a bit short, so had to add in a bit of my mom’s blueberry yogurt) and 1/2 cup of my yummy Costco cereal.

The verdict on my first SIAB attempt? Success! I loved the mix of textures…the cereal gave it a nice crunch, and I loved the creamy, tart blobs of yogurt. I will definitely make more SIABs, particularly as the weather heats up. I definitely see them as more of a warm weather breakfast, but since we’re a few weeks into spring and summer’s around the corner, that’s no problem. I can’t wait to experiment with different fruit combos depending on what’s in season.

After fuelling with my SIAB, I headed off to the gym for military tone (since I got my long run done on Wednesday)….I was definitely feeling the burn! I guess since I haven’t been going much lately? Corry shows no mercy, so even though I’m tired after, I’m glad to push it to the limit and know I’ve worked my hardest.

Once class was over, I headed straight to the grocery store to pick up the few things we needed. I was greeted by a nice surprise in the produce section: $4.99 cases of mangoes! Smile SmileSmileIMG_0685

Since reading about Katie’s ban-ango soft serve, I’ve been having mango envy. I even thought of stopping by Costco when I was in London on Friday, because I thought my local Superstore wasn’t likely to have whole cases for cheap,  but I was too tired. So, needless to say, I was SO happy to see these babies for $4.99!

Open-mouthed smileIMG_0686Just look at them…there are 7 in the case….so if you ask me, that’s quite a steal for five dollars! The only downside is that none of them were ripe enough to use right away Sad smile….they’ll need minimum two days, I think. I’ve got big plans for them though. I plan to take some time at night (was going to be on the weekend, but I can’t since they’re not ripe yet) prepping the mangoes – peeling and chopping, so they’ll be ready to be thrown into meals (especially breakfasts) during the week. Expect to see these guys make SIAB appearances, mixed into my yogurt (will be nice to have a break from cooked apples/thawed frozen berries), in salads at lunch, OF COURSE ban-ango soft serve…I’m even thinking that slice mango would make a tasty panini with melted brie! Does that sound crazy? At the very least, I may try re-creating that pear/brie/chocolate dessert with mango.  And I think there’s a salad recipe with mango in my new HG cookbook, so I might give that a whirl too. What do you think? Any mango ideas/fav mango recipes for me? I’ve got 7 mangoes to experiment with.

The rest of my Saturday was spent doing (mostly) things I love: blogging, reading other blogs, a small bit of yardwork (that’s the part I don’t love so much), cooking (another new HG cookbook recipe for lunch and pizza for supper since I missed my usual Friday pizza night…posts to come on that), soaking in the tub while reading magazines, and catching up on a BUNCH of DVR’ed shows (Food Network Canada released several new shows this week, so of course I had to record them all to see if I like them, on top of the usual DVR suspects).

So stay tuned for HHH’s Mango Madness this week!

Sweet ‘n Spicy

24 Feb

Last week, I had another Costco date (I’m not going to bother with a summary of all my purchases, since I didn’t buy all that much, and lots was the same as last time) with two of my friends. Funny story…2 of us drove together (as we live and work in the same cities) and were meeting another friend there….well, we called when she didn’t show up on time and it turns out she was at a Costco in another city! So I only ended up going with one friend. Lesson learned: when meeting friends from out-of-town, ALWAYS confirm location! Anyways, my friend Heather is a die-hard Booster Juice fan, so that’s where she wanted to go for “supper” (plus the BLTs we consumed at Costco). The nutritional info for Booster Juice isn’t online, so I couldn’t figure out in advance what I wanted to order. I opted for a “snack” size raspberry rapture. Even though smoothies are made with “healthy” ingredients, the calories in them tend to add up pretty quickly, so I figured that the smaller option was best (and after checking out the stats in their nutritional binder, it turns out my choice had about 250 calories…not bad).

So the smoothie was tasty, and Costco was fun (only 2 samples)….but I was hungry when I got home at about 7:30. I needed a supper that would be quick, healthy, lower in calories than usual (since I had already had the smoothie and my samples) and would fill me up. What met all of these needs? The following (and that’s where the post title comes from) : collard greens, sauteed in a tsp of olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper (I never go wrong with any winter greens prepared in this way for a healthy, tasty filling side dish); a peanut butter sandwich (made with 1 tbsp Better ‘n Peanut Butter on 2 slices light bread); and sweet ‘n spicy squash.

To make the squash, I cooked some peeled, diced butternut squash in my micro-cooker in water until tender. Then I mashed with with a couple tbsp salsa, a pinch of cinnamon, salt and pepper (I may have added a touch of sweetener…I can’t remember). It was a great flavour combo! I love dessert, and anything sweet always hits the spot, but I also really love sweet things in savoury meals. I like the sweet and spicy combo, also a HUGE fan of sweet and salty. I eat fruit with savoury foods too – like apple or pear in a squash soup or a quick fruit relish or compote to top meat. What do you like to pair with sweet foods? Any unusual flavour combos that you enjoy?