PB&J Super Smoothie

I have recently become obsessed with making my own smoothies.  I know, I know.  I’m kinda jumping on the “jucing”bandwagon a little late, but guess what.  Smoothies are delicious, FACT.  And, they’re a great way to get all your servings of fruits and vegetables in one meal.  You can make them in bulk, freeze them, and then drink them as needed.  It’s a pretty great thing, and this recipe is both tasty, filling and full of protein.  I would even recommend it as a great treat for kids, because of the name and the general yumminess.

You can put whatever you want in smoothies, it’s totally your call, but some smoothies are better than others.  This recipe has been tested and it has been confirmed as delicious.  So, feel free to try your own recipe, or this one.  I really have no way of knowing.

Ingredients:

2 cups mixed berries (I used blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)

1 banana

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

2 cups baby spinach

1/3 cup non fat greek yogurt

1/3 cup non fat milk

1 cup ice

Throw it all in a blender and blend it up!

See, there’s the blender.

One thing I’ve found that works, if you like the effect of crunchy iciness, is to blend all the ingredients except the ice together and refrigerate them.  Then later, blend that with ice when you’re ready to drink it.

So peanutty buttery.

This smoothie is filling and full of vitamins.  And this recipe makes 2 giant servings.  Perfect for breakfast.  Or like, whenever!  Buen provecho!

Soba Noodles and Spinach Sautee

Seriously, I sincerely suggest someone sample these sensational savory soba noodles and spinach sautee.  Alliteration!

Soba noodles are really good and as far as past go, they’re good for you.  See, soba noodles are make with buckwheat, instead of just regular white flour, which makes them healthy carbs.  They are kind of testy, though, and need to be cooked with care.  First, I’ll explain the soba noodle cooking process, then the rest of the recipe.

First, boil a large pot of water.  Like, as large as you have.  And pretty full of water.  Once the water has reached a rolling boil, then sprinkle 8 oz. of soba noodles into the water and reduce heat so the water is at about a simmer.  From there, they only need 7 or 8 minutes in the water.  If the pot starts to boil over, add a cup of cold water to it.  After 7 or 8 minutes, drain the noodles and then rinse them thoroughly with cold water.  Set aside.

Now for the sauce and spinach!

Sauce:

2tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 shallot, finely chopped (I’ve used some red onion when I forgot to buy the shallot, which is always.)

Combine the ingredients and let it sit, refrigerated.

Spinach:

6 cups baby spinach

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

2 tbsp EVOO

Pour the olive oil and sesame oil into a large sauce pan at medium heat.  Add garlic and sautee until fragrant.  Add spinach and cover for 5 to 6 minutes, depending on how wilted you want the spinach to be.

Finally, stir the spinach and sauce into the noodles, and you’re done!

Disclaimer:  the noodles in the picture aren’t soba noodles.  Soba noodles are kind of grey-ish.  So, if you have grey-ish noodles, you’re on the right track.  I made mine with regular noodles this time because that’s the kind of noodles that were purchased.  Less healthy but still yummy.

With the soba noodles this dish makes 4 servings at 7 Weight Watchers points each.

Enjoy!

Baked Maple Bacon with Acorn Squash and Wilted Spinach

Iiiiiiit’s….bacon time, it’s bacon time, it’s time for bacon, it’s bacon tiiime.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Fact: bacon makes everything better.  So does cooking with its delicious fat.  So does combining it with the sweet flavor of maple syrup.  Oh man, I’m too excited!  Let’s get to the recipe.

1 large squash (winter, acorn, whatever you prefer)

8 strips of thick cut, peppered bacon

4 tbsp (real) maple syrup

Kosher salt

Red chili flakes

1 bag of baby spinach

Okay, the squash needs to be peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes and then boiled for around 4 minutes, to soften it up.  After 4 minutes, drain the squash and transfer it to a large mixing bowl to let it cool slightly.  While this is going on, prepare the bacon.

everyone loves bacon preparation.

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  To prepare the bacon, line a 8×8 or 9×9 pan with tin foil.  Then lay the bacon out on the bottom.  Pour the maple syrup evenly over the bacon and spread it around so that it coats each strip.  Put the bacon in the oven and let it bake for 25-30 minutes.  When the bacon is cooked, remove the strips from the pan and pour the bacon fat/maple syrup elixir (oh the sweet elixir) over the squash (leave the oven on).  Add a pinch of kosher salt and some chili flakes, to your taste.  Mix it up to coat the squash.  Put the squash back in the bacon pan and stick it back in the oven.  Cook it for a total of about 30 minutes, stirring every 5-7 minutes.

Chop up your cooked bacon and dump it into the serving bowl.  Add the spinach on top of it.  When the squash is done, pour it and all its juices over the bacon and spinach.  Toss it and serve it as a warm salad.

Nom.

Aloo Palak

If I’m being totally honest with you, readers, I woke up this morning thinking that I would try to make Giada DeLaurentis’s Sausage, Peppers and Onions.  Then, I noticed that I had a giant bag of spinach in the fridge that I bought to make a salad.  I never made the salad.  Apparently, in Chile, spinach only comes in extreme bulk and looking at the spinach I realized that it was not long for this world so I thought “Well, I should use this spinach.”

this spinach.

From there I Googled “spinach recipes” to be confronted mostly with spinach and artichoke dip recipes and as much as I love the stuff I was looking for something a little healthier and more along the lines of a meal.  I came across a recipe for Aloo Palak, an Indian dish with spinach and potatoes that I’ve enjoyed before and thought it sounded splendid.  So, I wrote out a grocery list with the ingredients for both the sausage and peppers and the aloo palak thinking that I would make one today and one tomorrow.

The thing about sausage and peppers is that it requires peppers, so naturally I put “2 red bell peppers” on my grocery list and then promptly and completely overlooked and forgot about that ingredient (this is while I’m actually thinking “I can’t wait to make sausage and peppers!) and didn’t manage to buy them.  There was even a fruit and veggie stand on my walk home but they were sadly lacking in peppers.

Here is the point.  Today, I made aloo palak.  I’ll make the sausage and peppers this weekend.

Wasn’t that interesting???

Okay, so the recipe I found actually contained some spices that I’ve never seen in Chile and that they definitely didn’t have at my local little grocery store.  So instead of turmeric, coriander and garam masala I used some other familiar Indian flavors, namely cardamom and curry powder.  It actually turned out really great, but I’ll post the real recipe as well as my replacements if you have access to those particular spices.

Here we go:

2 large handfuls of fresh spinach (this isn’t super exact but when the spinach cooks down it needs to measure a little more than a cup)

3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 inch fresh ginger, roughly chopped

2 onions, diced

1-2 green chiles, chopped with seeds

2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes

1 tsp turmeric (I used cardamom)

4 tbl butter

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp garam masala (I used curry powder)

1 tsp cumin

Sour cream to taste

Salt

Oil

First, cook the spinach, garlic, ginger, chiles and onion in a pan with a little water and a little oil for about 5-10 minutes until the spinach is a deep, bright green and the other ingredients are soft.  Remove all ingredients from the pan and puree until very smooth.  I used a hand mixer and it worked wonderfully with hardly any mess.  I have a hand mixer, who knew?  Set the puree aside.

Boil the potatoes with a pinch of salt and the cardamom until soft, about 10 minutes at a full boil.  Drain and set aside.

In a large frying pan heat up the butter, cumin seeds and puree.  Bring to a simmer and let it cook for a few minutes.  Add the potatoes, cumin and curry powder and stir.  Cook for about five more minutes, allowing the potatoes to soak up all the flavors.  You can add a little water if the mixture is too thick.

Serve with sour cream.

I served mine with some white rice steamed in water with a chicken bouillon cube.  The bouillon spices the rice up a little bit.  You can also serve it with naan, which is a flat Indian bread.  This dish is filling and totally vegetarian.  And super delicious.

aaaw yeah.

See you soon for sausage and peppers!

(Original recipe found here: http://www.food.com/recipe/aloo-palak-indian-potatoes-spinach-108787)

Spinach fettucine with seafood cream sauce

So, some of you might know that I’m an English teacher in Santiago, Chile and today was just the longest day everrr.  I finished a class at 2:30 and sat around until 5:30 for another class for administrators and guess what…  No one showed up. COOL.  So not only did I waste three hours of my life playing bubble spinner and following people on Twitter, I had to get home right in the middle of rush hour.  Rush hour in Chile on the metro is not so fun.

So I decided to alleviate some of my pain by making a stop at the gay BFF’s pad and we were talking and then one of them says “I’m gonna make pasta!”  And I was like “Great, I love pasta!”  And I got totally stoked for pasta.  And then he didn’t make it.

Which brings me to now, after a quick trip to the local grocery store, making this delicious pasta dish here in my own home and not sharing with anyone.

What I bought at the grocery store:

1 package of spinach fettucine

16 oz of choritos (okay, after some Googling it appears that these mollusks mostly only live in South America so I suggest you replace them with clams, or shrimp or if you don’t like seafood you can even use chopped mushrooms and if you don’t like any of those things I suggest you stop reading this recipe and order a pizza or something)

3 cloves of garlic, minced (I’ve said before that I like garlic more than I like most people.  If you don’t feel the same feel free to use less.)

2 tbs EVOO

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp powdered onion

Pinch of nutmeg

2 tbs flour

2 tbs chopped chives (in Spanish they’re called “cebollin”, which is a cool word)

Hokay.  Here we go.

That pink liquid is my strawberry juice

Add the garlic, oil and choritos (or shrimp, or clams, or what-have-you) to a heavy saucepan and turn the heat up to med-high.  Let it simmer a bit, maybe five minutes, stirring frequently.  Next, add the cream and allow it to heat up for about five more minutes, still stirring frequently.  Add the parmesan, powdered onion and nutmeg.  Next add flour and make sure you stir with vigor!  The flour will clump easily and it’s not a bad idea to sift the flour before.  The flour helps the sauce to thicken.  Now add the chives.  Turn the heat down low and cover the sauce, stirring every minute or so to keep it from burning.

Now boil a large pot of water and add just a dab of oil to the water.  Throw in the pasta and cook it.  If the water is boiling it should only need about seven minutes.  After seven minutes drain the pasta and run it once under cool water to keep it from sticking.  You may then mix in the sauce or serve the pasta individually and top it with the sauce.  This recipe easily feeds four.

Hey, you did it!  Good for you!  NOW EAT IT!