Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend! If you overindulged a bit (and don't we all?) I have the perfect recipe for you! This is another recipe that features my very favorite fruit: the avocado. Over the past few years I have developed a lower and lower tolerance to milk (and sadly, milkshakes), so I've been enjoying less and less smoothies and milkshakes. I had read many times that avocados are a great addition to shakes and smoothies to get the creaminess that is missing from non-dairy versions. I had never actively searched for a recipe but once I came across this recipe on Pinterest and knew this was one to try! Lots of smoothies look healthy but are secretly filled with tons of sugar and calories. What I like about this smoothie is that it is dairy-free (yaaay!), contains 1 1/2 servings of fruit, is sweetened with honey, not sugar and has tons of protein.
This drink totally disguised itself as a chocolate milkshake to my two princesses! JP liked it and Bean loved it. My little Bean definitely acquired Mommy's avocado obsession :) It's chocolate-y and creamy and sweet, but not too sweet. The avocado is there, but I swear you can barely taste it. It's a great way to sneak a lot of healthy things into your kids!
Chocolate Banana Avocado Smoothie
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup crushed ice
1 ripe banana
1 tablespoon honey (you can use dates if you want to make this vegan)
1/2 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
2 tablespoons almond butter (make your own here!)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground flax seed
Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Adapted from Against All Grain
Do you see the picture above? Do you know what that is a picture of? Freedom! Er...Iced Coffee! But, iced coffee that I made by myself, at home, for a fraction of what it costs at a coffee shop! To me, that is sweet coffee freedom! I am a coffee drinker in that I have to have a cup (sometimes 2) of coffee every day or else I end up with a dreaded caffeine-induced headache. I hate that I'm a slave to coffee, but I accept it. I've tried a few times to give coffee up over the summers because, quite honestly, who wants a hot cup of coffee when it's 80 degrees at 10:00 am? Giving up coffee never really worked for me. A few years ago I discovered iced coffees at the coffee shops around town. Genius! It's coffee. It's cold. It's refreshing. It's perfect for summer! This great find came with a few problems - 1) Buying an iced coffee every day is not budget-friendly 2) Getting to a coffee shop every day is not convenient AT ALL and 3) Doesn't it seem like they put way too much ice in those drinks and not enough coffee? So, why not make it at home???? And I tried....
My first attempt was making a full pot of coffee in the morning and only drinking what my hubby and I wanted for the day, then dumping the leftover into a pitcher in the fridge. Then, the next day, then the next day...eh. I was still drinking warm coffee from the initial brew and the stuff in the fridge just tasted stale and nasty. Fail #1!
My second attempt was to make espresso and get out the blender and make a sweet, frozen coffee concoction. Messy, too sweet, too many calories, too much work and just tasted off. Fail #2.
My third attempt came when I purchase my beloved Keurig. One of the reasons I bought the Keurig was because I read about how you could make iced coffee by using them. Intriguing. How this was achieved was by brewing a strong blend of K-Cup using only 6 ounces of water. Once you had this potent little concoction in your coffee mug, you simply dumped it over a FULL cup of ice in an insulated cold beverage tumbler. Ok, let's try it. It worked....sort of. The taste was ok, but since you are pouring piping hot coffee over ice the ice melted instantly and left you with almost-cold coffee. Probably my best attempt up to that point, so we went with it for a while. I'm still comfortable calling this Fail #3.
Then, along came this brand new technique I saw on Annie's Eats. I've never really heard of cold brewing coffee before. Looks complicated....or does it? The originally recipe makes quite a bit so I quartered the recipe down to yield just one pitcher and suddenly this was the easiest thing I'd ever done in the kitchen! It takes just a few minutes of planning and very minimal kitchen supplies (I think a kitchen scale is extremely helpful in this recipe). I usually throw a batch together at night and let it sit on the counter overnight. The next morning I strain it through a colander lined with a heavy-duty paper towel (I like Bounty) or a cheesecloth. Once it's strained I pop it in the fridge until I'm ready for it. You can add any kind of syrup or sweetener to your drink if you like, but I usually just add some almond milk to balance mine out. It keeps in the fridge for quite a while too - I've had my current batch in there for 3 weeks now (I'm blaming Mother Nature on her late arrival of spring here in PA). So, if you've been looking for a perfect recipe to make iced coffee at home, look no further - you have found it!
DIY Iced Coffee
Makes about 2 quarts
4 ounces bold/dark roast coffee, ground (this is where the kitchen scales comes in handy)
2 quarts cold, filtered water
Add coffee grounds to a 2 quart pitcher. Fill about halfway with cold water. Stir to moisten grounds. Continue filling pitcher with water until it is full (this may be slightly less than 2 quarts). Cover and let sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
After 8 hours, pour coffee and grounds through a fine mesh sieve lined with a strong paper towel or cheesecloth. Push gently on the coffee grounds to extract all the liquid. Discard coffee grounds. Place coffee in a pitcher and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Enjoy!
I’m back! What a crazy two weeks it’s been for me! I chaired the Book Fair at my daughter’s elementary school all last week. This is the third Book Fair for me in 11 months and each time I start the week out feeling pretty ok on Monday, but drag-my-feet-tired by Friday. Each time I have a Book Fair I start the week off so normally – keeping up with laundry & cleaning, staying on track with my running, keeping healthy and wholesome meals on the table. And each time I fail at each one of those things by Tuesday. This Book Fair was no different. I did manage to do my 4 ½ mile training run Tuesday night, but besides that, everything else fell to the wayside…including my beloved blog. In retrospect I would have loved to have shared something really cool with you yesterday to celebrate 3 years of being a stay-at-home-mom (hooray!) but it just didn’t happen. All that being said, I’m back! I’m excited to get back to my kitchen adventures and blogging!
When I first saw this recipe I thought it looked refreshing and healthy. I had planned on making it Sunday morning for a nice, relaxing brunch at home, but with no groceries in the house, it had to stand in for a refreshing dessert. For those of you who have never used basil in a sweet dish I really encourage you to give it a try. Basil in anything just screams summer to me. I’ve had much success pairing it with strawberries and in this smoothie it works really nicely with the lemon simple syrup. Even though we had this as a dessert, this would make a fantastic breakfast smoothie or brunch accompaniment. To save time you can make the lemon simple syrup the night before and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Lemon Zest Simple Syrup
Makes 1 1/2 cups
1 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup water
In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water and lemon zest over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve lined with a cheesecloth or durable paper towel to remove lemon zest. If not using the same day, store in the refrigerator.
Sweet Basil Smoothie
Makes 4 6-ounce servings
1 1/4 cups plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup packed basil leaves
Lemon Zest Simple Syrup (entire recipe)
1 cup crushed ice
Combine Greek yogurt, basil, Lemon Zest Simple Syrup and crushed ice in a blender. Puree until smooth and frothy. Pour into frosted glasses and serve immediately.
Slightly adapted from Giada at Home
Pittsburgh area mom striving to provide clean, healthy, REAL food for her family!