Phew! The holidays kicked my butt this year. How did my parents do this? Better yet, WHY did they do it??
Although I try to post only the best of my kitchen attempts, here are some of my absolute favorites from last year. I mean the ones I crave & want to make again & again.
Happy New Year to you!!
1. Gardener’s Pie (vegetarian version of Shepherd’s Pie): This is always a huge hit. I took it to a Christmas pot luck this year and got so many compliments from vegetarian & non vegetarians alike.
2. Best Coffee Cake in the World There are no surprising ingredients in this but it’s simply delicious. Perfect for a special brunch or to warm up a chilly Sunday morning.
3. Kermit Smoothie (green smoothie) Want to sneak a handful of spinach into your family’s gullets? Try this! So yummy, easy & fun.
4. Blueberry Lara Bars. A healthy, yummy & portable snack. Perfect for hiking or just to carry in your purse (or man purse) to keep the munchies at bay.
5. No Knead Bread. If you’ve never made bread before I strongly encourage you try this one! It takes less than 5 minutes to prep and is so rewarding! There’s something wonderful about the smell of bread baking in your home.
6. Glory Bowl. After the holidays many people (ahem, THIS person) feel compelled to eat a little, shall we say, “lighter?” Although this dish contains many light elements the rice & dressing make it so satisfying. I had serious doubts about it when my dear friend Kinga recommended it but now it’s one of my favorites. Try it!! I mean it, really! I wouldn’t put it up here if it weren’t super yummy.
7. Red Velvet Cupcakes. Make these for Valentine’s Day! Or use green food coloring and make them for St. Patrick’s Day.
8. Simple Caesar Salad. This is a cheater’s version of caesar salad. Oh garsh sometimes I crave caesar salad so much but don’t want to get involved with raw eggs & anchovies etc. This is a satisfying remedy when you’re short on time. Now that I make this I find most restaurant salads disappointing. Totally reminds me of an ex boyfriend’s mom (who happened to be an excellent cook) answering the waiter’s “How is everything?” with a tragic look followed by her New York accented, “Mine’s bettah.”
9. Chocolate & Butterscotch Chip Cookies. After trying many recipes, I have to say that these are my favorites for both simplicity & results. Because of the cornstarch they end up a bit pale and can trick you into thinking they aren’t done but they are soooooo sooooooo sooooooo (sooooo) good. Every time I make them I have to double the recipe b/c of all the greedy hands snitching them off the cooling racks (G!!!).
10. Vegetable Pot Pie. I just realized I have a few “best _____ in the WORLD” recipes. Do I exaggerate? Or am I just hungry? Anyway, this pot pie was a sleeper hit! I always loved pot pies. From the nastiest to the high end restaurant ones. But I was tired of paying $5.00 for a tiny Amy’s vegetable pot pie, plus I thought I could feed more than 1 person with a lot less packaging. This recipe takes almost 3 hours to make but is TOTALLY worth it! YUM.
11. Broccoli Gribiche. Last year I started making some dishes from Heidi Swanson’s “Super Natural Every Day” and this was one of the hits. I seriously didn’t make ONE bad dish from that cookbook and still use it every week. This is a surprisingly hearty, satisfying yet tasty meal that can be a main or side. The simple ingredients make it a no-brainer!
12. Moscow Mule. Alcohol is a good way to end a list/night/year so here is a simple, tasty drink that we enjoyed time & again mostly during the summer. Our friend Trish introduced us to them last June when we stayed at her house in Denver. We drank them all summer. Not all day but you know what I mean.
I hope you enjoy these recipes & for all the best to you in 2013!
Here’s a variation on the Kermit smoothie I posted a week or so ago.
I tried a strawberry banana smoothie. Kids did not like it. I tried a creamy pineapple smoothie with coconut milk & honey. FAIL.
So I changed up the Green (Kermit) smoothie a bit and the kids loved it! They want GREEN and I’m happy to oblige…
I don’t really measure ingredients when I make smoothies but here’s a list of the ingredients with the amounts roughly estimated:
1 c frozen pineapple
1 c frozen mango
1-2 c apple juice (I used Santa Cruz Organic which is supposedly made only of apples & water.)
1 large handful spinach
3 heaping spoonfuls of plain yogurt (I used Greek non-fat)
ground flax seed
Blend & blend! I use just as much juice as I need to get the thickness that will flow through a wide straw.
Serve with a little granola. I made the granola the day prior after a roasted artichokes with lemon thyme butter sauce FAIL. I am going to work on that artichoke recipe & post when it works out because the butter sauce is excellent!! Anyway, the granola is really easy but I did another dunderhead move with that which I’ll share in the next post.
Some call this the “Shrek” smoothie. Since my kids don’t know Shrek as well as Kermit I called it a Kermit smoothie.
They LOVE it!
1 frozen banana
1 c frozen peaches
1 c frozen mango chunks
2-3 c cold almond milk
2-3 ice cubes
2 handfuls spinach
OPTIONAL: splash lemon or orange juice
Honestly, I don’t measure this stuff! I put about half the frozen fruit into the blender & 1 c of the almond milk & blend. Then add the ice cubes. Blend. (Add as much more almond milk as you may need.) Add the rest of the fruit. Blend. Then add the spinach. Blend. As you can probably tell, I don’t have a powerful blender. If you have a Vita Mix or whatever you can probably toss it all in at once!
Start out using less almond milk until you get used to it. It’s easier to thin the smoothie out than it is to make it thicker.
I love to add a few ice cubes and 2-3 TBSP lemon juice since it’s a sweet drink and needs a little acid.
You can’t taste the spinach at all! My kids LOVE this! They have had variations on this one for the past three days. What’s the spinach for? Spinach is SOOOOOOO full of vitamins!! And it makes a crazy bright Kermit green smoothie! (Unless you add blueberries & strawberries, in which case it makes a gnarly brown smoothie that is still delicious.)
There’s my other “smoothie” on the left. A STRONG coffee.
The kids drink it from those plastic cups you get at restaurants.This one is from Benihana’s. And the beer cozy (koozie?) is courtesy of a pre-kid weekend up at the Tuolumne River. Classy!
Maddie wants to call it “Frog Pillow Smoothie” after a particularly filthy little someone special to her.
Maddie, like most toddlers, has ever-changing breakfast desires. This is her latest though today could be the last time she’ll eat it! I use full fat yoghurt but obviously you can change that out for low fat or fat free.
- yoghurt (or you can use yogurt)
- frozen fruits
(that’s a banana in the aluminum foil)
You can also add Flax Seed meal or wheat germ etc. I just forgot to!
Notice I don’t have any amounts listed. That’s because I just eyeball it. If you’re making enough for one toddler, you probably need about 1.5 cups of yogurt. Put that in blender.
Now add a handful of fresh or frozen berries. Fresh is always better but frozen keeps your smoothie cold AND they keep longer. You can freeze fresh berries as well.
Now add whatever fruit you have on hand. I keep a few bananas in the freezer because they add a lot of sweetness to the smoothie. Mango is good too.
Finally, taste it and add honey to taste. I think I used about 1 or 2 tbsp this time. Don’t make it oversweet! Unless that’s how you like it.
Taste, taste, taste before serving. And now for the judging…