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Posts from the ‘Fruit’ Category

Jam on It: Fruity Greek Yogurt Pops

Congratulations on making to February!! I know it didn’t help that you had to go to that Super Bowl party that was a vision of temptation with all the cheesy dips, pizza, potato chips, fried buffalo wings, and greasy sandwiches sitting amongst a small veggie tray with wilted vegetables. Trust me, I feel your pain.

I hope this recipe will make it all better. Since I have been only allowing myself cheat moments and not cheat days, I have to get creative when I want something sweet. This one particular day I wanted some ice cream. And no, I didn’t want 2 scoops of ice cream, I wanted the entire half a gallon with a large spoon.

With a refrigerator full of yogurt and my homemade cranberry jam, I whipped up these yummy Greek yogurt popsicles with my favorite popsicle molds by Norpro. These popscicles give me the creamy texture of ice cream pops and are packed with tons of protein from the Greek yogurt.

Fruity Greek Yogurt Pops

17 ounces plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage 0% Greek yogurt)
1/2 cup your favorite flavored jam (I used my homemade cranberry jam)
1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons agave nectar

ONECombine all ingredients in a blender or bowl
TWOMix until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. TIP: Stirring in the jam will give the pops a marble look.
THREEPour mixture into your favorite popsicle mold. TIP: I found my favorite molds at Cost Plus World Market in the Summer. They are by Norpro 🙂 Norpro Popsicle Molds can be purchased at Target, Amazon, and other retailers.
FOURFreeze for at least 5 hours, overnight is preferable.

Fruity Greek Yogurt Pops

Fruity Greek Yogurt Pops

I Like It Raw: Raw Vegan Cheesecakes

Last year while I was on my journey to incorporate more raw foods into my meals, I came across a website the Savvy Vegetarian. I tried the recipe for Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake. I took the raw vegan cheesecake to work. Let’s just say that it was gone in less than 2 hours.

A few days ago, I thought of different desserts that I could make. Cheesecake was one of those options; but I didn’t want to make a whole cheesecake. Not to mention, I want to stay on track with my healthier eating goal. The raw vegan cheesecake from the Savvy Vegetarian came to mind. But again, I didn’t want to eat a whole cheesecake.

Instead of making one big raw vegan cheesecake, I decided to make 12 single serving cheesecakes. I used a standard muffin pan to make 2 different flavors: strawberry and key lime.

Raw Vegan Cheesecake

Crust

5 Medjool Dates, pits removed
1/2 cup unsalted pecans
1/2 cup unsalted almonds

ONESoak medjool dates for 10 to 20 minutes. Drain water from dates.
TWOAdd medjool dates, almonds, and cashews to food processor or blender.
THREEBlend thoroughly.
FOURSpoon mixture into lined muffin pan.
FIVEPress mixture down in the bottom of muffin sections to flatten. Set pan to the side.

The Yummy Crust

The Yummy Crust

Filling
1 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut creamer
2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
1/4 cup agave nectar

ONESoak cashews in a bowl of water for 6 hours or more.
TWOAdd cashews & remaining ingredients for the filling into a blender or food processor.
THREEBlend until smooth.
FOURAdd your favorite flavors. I added two flavors so I divided the filling.

Flavors
For key lime, stir in 1/4 cup fresh key lime juice into filling (makes 6 individual cheesecakes)
For strawberry, combine 5 strawberries with 1 tablespoon agave nectar (makes 6 individual cheesecakes. Stir mixture into filling.

Raw Vegan Cheesecake Assembly

ONEPour flavored filling into muffin cups.
TWOTop cheesecakes with lime zest or strawberries for added touch.
THREECover muffin pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
FOURPlace filled muffin pan in freezer for at least three hours.
FIVERemove from freezer 15 minutes before serving.

Assembled Raw Cheesecakes

Assembled Raw Cheesecakes

Raw Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake

Raw Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake

Raw Vegan Key Lime Cheesecake

Raw Vegan Key Lime Cheesecake

Beat the Heat with Sangria Pops

A few days ago, I kicked off my celebration a tad early with Beso Del Sol Sangria.

Beso Del Sol

Beso Del Sol

Usually, I can finish off a bottle of wine in one sitting. Keep in mind, Beso Del Sol comes in a box. The box equates to 4 bottles of wine. The foodie in me has to find ways to finish the box.

Since I had an almost full box of sangria and it has been hot outside, I decided to make some have fun. I made sangria pops with fresh fruit. Mangos & blueberries were used in this recipe. Feel free to experiment with any fruit you like.

Blueberries & Mango

Blueberries & Mango

Sangria Pops

2 1/2 cups of sangria
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup of blueberries & chopped mango combined

ONECombine sangria and orange juice in a small pitcher or cup.
TWOAdd fruit to each popsicle mold.
THREEPour sangria & orange juice mixture over fruit.
FOURPlace filled popsicle molds into the freezer until mixture is frozen solid.

Sangria Pops

Sangria Pops

NOTE: The mixture made 6 popsicles. Each mold holds 1/2 cup of liquid.

The Sangria Pop Experience

The Sangria Pop Experience

Smoothie Me Crazy: Tips for a Great Smoothie

Detoxing for a week was hard. I set out to detox for seven days but my mind broke down. I must say that I detoxed for 5 1/2 days which isn’t bad at all :-). During my detox, I ate a combination of raw or cooked fruit and vegetable dishes when I wanted pizza, burgers, and wings.

During my detox days, I decided to drink smoothies rather than drinking juices. I drank smoothies to ensure I received the maximum benefits of eating raw fruits and vegetables without having to eat each fruit and vegetable individually.

I learned a lot about making smoothies during my detox. Let me share some tips with you.

ONEBuy the freshest produce possible. When you use fresh ingredients, fresh is the difference between a good smoothie versus a great smoothie.

TWOMix fruits and vegetables. Adding green leafy vegetables increases the amount of essential vitamins and minerals in a glass.

THREEDo not shy away from fresh or dried seasonings. Fresh mint, fresh or ground ginger, and ground cayenne pepper are great additions to any smoothie for you to add extra flavor.

FOURIce is not essential to smoothie making. I didn’t use ice for not one smoothie. Instead of ice, juice, or water, I used coconut water.

FIVEThoroughly clean your produce. The worst thing that could ever happen while sipping on your smoothie is for you to crunch into a dirt ball of any size. YUCK!!

SIXIf you choose one tip to adhere to, pay close attention to this tip. An awesome blender is essential to making a great smoothie. My counter top blender failed to deliver a smooth drink that didn’t consist of rough bits of fruits and veggies. I had to pull out my immersion blender to get my smoothies to the texture I desired.

I used the following ingredients in various combinations to create a different smoothie each day:

Spinach
Cucumber
Mint
Ground Cayenne Pepper
Ground Ginger
Fresh Ginger
Pineapple
Apple
Banana
Kiwi
Flax Seed
Strawberries

Smoothie Me Crazy

Smoothie Me Crazy

Natural Remedy: Strawberry Green Tea Popsicles

Friday I didn’t have an appetite. I figured I ate so much in the previous days that my stomach needed a break. That was not the case. When Saturday rolled around, I didn’t want to get out of the bed; but I had a class project to complete.

I couldn’t go out into the cold air. I stayed home and rested. I made sure that I drank plenty of water & orange juice. I grew bored with the standard vitamin c. I decided to make some popsicles with green tea. I had a different plan for the strawberries; but I didn’t have the energy to make vegan white chocolate covered strawberries. I went ahead and put the strawberries into my feeling better plan.

Strawberry Green Tea Popsicles

Strawberry Green Tea Popsicles

Choose your favorite green tea. I have a number of green teas in the pantry. For this recipe, I used The Republic of Tea Double Green Matcha Tea.

4 Green Tea Tea Bags
3 or 4 cups of Water (in my opinion less is more)
1 pint of Strawberries (washed with tops cut off & cut each strawberry in 4 pieces)
1/4 cup of Agave Nectar

ONEAdd water to a medium size pot.
TWOBring water to a boil.
THREERemove water from the heat.
FOURAdd 4 tea bags to the pot and 1/4 cup of agave nectar. Stir and allow to cool.
FIVESet a cup of cut strawberries aside.
SIXRemove tea bags from the pot.
SIXAdd the remaining strawberries, and the cooled green tea to the blender. NOTE: Taste the mixture and add additional agave nectar for desired sweetness, if necessary.
SEVENPrepare your popsicle molds per molds’ instructions.
EIGHTAdd cut strawberries to the popsicle molds.
NINEPour in strawberry green tea blended mixture.
TENPlaced filled molds into freezer. It is best to freeze overnight.

If you do not have popsicle molds, fill ice trays, cover with plastic wrap, and place a toothpick in each ice cube mold.

NOTE: You do not have to restrict yourself to green tea or strawberries. Step out on a limb and use whatever fruit and tea combination you like. Have fun with the flavors and enjoy.

The Great Debate: Juicing vs. Blending or Blending vs. Juicing

Prince vs. Michael Jackson; Ford vs. GM; Honey vs. Agave Nectar; and the list goes on and on as to who or which one is the best. Added to the list of debates is Juicing vs. Blending. Yes, Juicing vs. Blending or Blending vs. Juicing has put healthy eating on the stage with a great debate.

Because I don’t have enough hours in my day, all I wanted to know was how to incorporate more raw vegetables into my day. Eating salads and naked raw veggies began to bore me. As a solution, I began with blending. I purchased a Ninja. Within days I was on the road to blending bliss.

Salads, naked raw vegetables, and smoothies put me on the road to exceeding the recommended vegetable intake per day. But of course, I was not satisfied. I wanted something more. I purchased a Breville juicer.

When I blend, my smoothies remain packed with fiber. Fruits and vegetables are not discarded. I can add fresh herbs to give the smoothies an extra punch of flavor. Sometimes the smoothies are not so smooth because bits of veggies are floating in the glass.

Below is my GREEN ME smoothie I made with 1 cup skim milk:

½ avocado
1 handful of spinach
½ cucumber
½ stalk celery

GreenME Smoothie

GreenME Smoothie

Green ME Ingredients

Green ME Ingredients

When I juice, I have a smooth drink with minimal pulp; but most of the fiber is extracted from the juice. Clean-up takes longer with the juicer than it does with blender. When I just carrots, I can save the carrot remnants for muffins and cakes. The leftovers from apples can be used for apple sauce. Also, I create a juice that is simply juice. It doesn’t contain sweeteners or chemicals.

Below is my WAKE ME UP, I created with the following:

2 apples
2 carrots
1 stalk celery

Wake ME Up

Wake ME Up

NOTE: For the best results, thoroughly wash the vegetables & fruits. Also, use the freshest produce.

Which one do I prefer? Why do I have to choose between juicing and blending? Why does anyone have to choose? Honestly, I do not favor one over the other. I choose a healthier lifestyle. Both, blending and juicing, gives me additional options to healthier eating.

I say do what is best for you when it comes to juicing and blending. Have your fruits/vegetables and drink them too.

Kind of Old Fashioned: Peach Cobbler

I don’t recall the post where I admitted that I am certainly not a baker. Today, I still stand by that statement. But of course, I had a taste for my kind of old fashioned peach cobbler. I say kind of old fashioned peach cobbler because I didn’t have the time or the ingredients to make peach cobbler from scratch. There weren’t any peaches to peel. There wasn’t any dough to roll out. With a few cans of peaches, a couple of frozen ready to bake pie shells, and some trusty kitchen staples, you can create a peach cobbler that you would be proud to call your own.

photo(2)

‘Kind of Old Fashioned’ Peach Cobbler

3 15-ounce cans Peaches in Light (or Light) Syrup
4 tablespoons of Butter cut in to 4 pieces (3 tablespoons for the cobbler & set 1 tablespoon aside)
2 frozen ready to bake Pie Shells
1 cup of Sugar (set aside a 1 tablespoon of Sugar)
1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
½ teaspoon Nutmeg
¼ teaspoon Cinnamon

ONEPreheat oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
TWOMelt 1 tablespoon Butter
THREEThaw Pie Shells.
FOURIn a small roaster pan, pour 2 cans of the Peaches in a small roaster pan.
FIVEDiscard the syrup from the third can and pour the peaches in the small roaster pan.
SIXAdd Sugar, Pure Vanilla Extract, Nutmeg, and Cinnamon to the Peaches. Stir mixture well.
SEVENCover Peaches with Pie Shells. Be careful to not overlap Pie Shells where layers are too thick.
EIGHTBrush top of cobbler with melted Butter.
NINESprinkle top of cobbler with 1 tablespoon of Sugar.
TENPoke holes in the top of the crust with a fork. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
ELEVENServe with whipped topping or vanilla ice cream.

Check out below for the single serving size:

What a Wonderful Time of Year: Farmers Market Time

Saturday (May 11th), was opening day of the Experimental Station Farmer’s Market located at the corner of 61st Street and Dorchester Ave. I was more excited than a kid with a new bike. At this market, as with others around the United States, you can find flowers, fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese, and everything in between. You can also stumble across vendors who offer decadent baked goods, jams, and other tasty dishes. I look forward to my farmers market destinations. I will be sure to share the experience.

You will not find big businesses. Under the canopies are hard-working knowledgeable entrepreneurs who take care with the goods they bring to market. When you get an opportunity, make sure you support your local farmers markets. If you do not know how to find farmers markets in your area, simply search the Internet for ones in your area. You may not have one close to you and it may result in a long drive. Trust me, the drive will be worth it. Below, is a very short list of farmers markets in Michigan:

Detroit: http://www.detroiteasternmarket.com/
Saginaw: http://www.saginawfarmersmarket.org/
Frakenmuth: http://www.frankenmuthfarmersmarket.org/

For farmers markets around the city of Chicago, visit the following sites:
More information in General: http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/farmers_market.html
North: http://www.greencitymarket.org/index.asp
North: http://www.logansquarefarmersmarket.org/
South: http://www.experimentalstation.org/farmers-market

Yesterday, I purchased a number of items. Today, I enjoyed three of those items: the lemon curd from Ingram’s Bread & Jams and the croissant from Penny Bakery:

LemonCurdCroissant

I also cooked the red and green asparagus I purchased yesterday from Mick Klug Farms (I am now a fan of red asparagus). I paired the spears with wild caught lobster tails purchased from the grocery store.

RawAsparagusLobsterMeal

FinishedAsparagusLobstermeal

Grilled Asparagus

1 lb. Asparagus ( ½ Red & ½ Green)
1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cracked Black Pepper (according to taste)
Garlic Powder (according to taste)

ONEClean Asparagus and cut off the tips. Place in a covered bowl.
TWODrizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the Asparagus.
THREEAdd Cracked Black Pepper.
FOURAdd Garlic Powder.
FIVEPlace cover over bowl and shake until Asparagus is thoroughly seasoned.
SIXPlace on hot griddle pan or grill.
SEVENTurn Asparagus to cook on both sides.
EIGHTTotal cooking time is no more than 10 minutes for Asparagus spears that are tender with a crunch.

Steamed Lobster Tails

2 4ounce Wild Caught Lobster Tails
NOTEAsk the butcher to split the tails down the middle but not to the ends
½ cup Water
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red Pepper Flakes (according to taste)
Smoke Pepper Blend (according to taste)

ONEClean Lobster Tails by rinsing under cold water.
TWOCombine Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Red Pepper Flakes, and Smoke Pepper Blend in a small bowl.
THREESeason the Lobster Tails with the seasoned Extra Virgin Olive Oil by drizzling the oil down the back of the tail between slit.
FOURAdd Water to a steamer or saucepan with top.
NOTEEnsure the saucepan in large enough to lay the Lobster Tails flat on the bottom with top of the shell facing up.
NOTEIt is preferable to use a saucepan with a glass top.
FIVEBring Water to a slight boil.
SIXAdd Lobster Tails to Water.
SEVENPlace top on saucepan to allow steam to cook the Lobster Tails.
EIGHTCook until Lobster Tails turn pink and meat is opaque.

If you do not want plain and typical asparagus, drizzle this quick vinaigrette over the dish

Strawberry Vinaigrette

6 to 7 ripe Strawberries
¼ cup Water
¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar Glaze

ONEWash Strawberries and cut off green stems.
TWOPlace Strawberries in blender.
THREEAdd Water.
FOURBlend Strawberries and Water at high speed until mixture is smooth.
FIVEAdd blended Strawberries to a bowl.
SIXAdd Balsamic Vinegar Glaze.
SEVENMix well.
EIGHTRefrigerate vinaigrette. Serve with veggies or your favorite salad for a touch of sweet.

Celebrating the Win: Portable Peach Cobbler

Today, I set out on the journey to make Lavendar Lemonade along with some Peach Cobblers.  The Lavendar Lemonade was not exactly what I wanted.  I went to two grocery stores on Saturday before I was able to find dried lavender flowers.  I played and replayed the the steps in my head before I stepped into the kitchen.  I envisioned what was supposed to be Lavendar Lemonade turned into Vanilla Lemonade.  You win some and you lose some and the lemonade was a learning experience.

On a brighter note, I scored a smile when I reused the mason jars to create the Portable Peach Cobbler.  Living in Chicago, driving around on scavenger hunt for fresh peaches during this time of year is not ideal.  Don’t ever be ashamed that you cannot use ‘fresh’ ingredients.  When you cannot buy ‘fresh’, be sure to buy quality ingredients.

peachcobbleringredients

Because I couldn’t purchase ‘fresh’ peaches, I made homemade whipped cream.

whippedcream

Instead of using a shortbread cookie or pre-cooked pie crust, I took the time to whip up a nut & cookie crumble that provides a sweet crunchy texture.  I used ginger thin cookies which added a surprisingly bold flavor to the peach cobbler.

peachcobblercrumble

Despite the Lavender Lemonade not being everything I hoped it would, the peach cobbler was all of what my taste buds could desire and more  🙂

peachcobbler

Homemade Whipped Topping:
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
2 tablespoons Confectionery Sugar

ONECombine Heavy Whipping Cream and Confectionery Sugar in chilled glass mixing bowl.
TWOMix Heavy Whipping Cream and Confectionery Sugar for about fifteen minutes or until mixture is thickened.
THREECover bowl and place in the refrigerator until needed.

Nut & Cookie Crumble:
1 ½ cups unsalted Pecan Pieces
¼ cup pure Maple Syrup
12 Ginger Thin Cookies

ONECrumble Ginger Thin Cookies into medium pieces into a bow and set to the side.
TWOCook Pecan Pieces and pure Maple Syrup in a skillet over medium heat on the stove.
THREEStir mixture ensuring pecans are thoroughly coated for about 5 minutes.

Peach Filling:
3 14.75ounce cans of Peaches in extra light syrup
2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
¼ cup Agave Nectar
¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Cornstarch

ONEDrain liquid from the Peaches.
TWOCook first five ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat for about 10 minutes thoroughly stirring mixture.
THREEAfter the peaches are thoroughly cooked, remove from heat.
FOURStir in Cornstarch until mixture has thickened.

Assembling Portable Peach Cobblers:
ONEPrepare 2 mason jars ensuring they have lids.
TWOFill each mason jar with Peach Filling.
THREEAdd Nut & Cookie Crumble.
FOURTop with Whipped Topping.
FIVEPlace lids on the jars.

Breakfast is for Champions: Strawberry Pecan Oatmeal

There is nothing like a run on Chicago’s lakefront while the wind pushes you back (I type sarcastically.) When I made it home I was tired but I also was hungry out off my mind. I am not a big breakfast person. I don’t keep breakfast foods around. On any given day nuts, fruit, oatmeal, and eggs are stocked in my kitchen.

With limited breakfast options, I decided to eat some oatmeal. I pulled out the container of steel cut oats and to my dismay the cooking instructions said it would take 20 to 30 minutes to cook. I wanted to pass out at that moment; but as I kept reading, the microwave option said that my tummy would be smiling in less than ten minutes.

If you ever had steel cut oats, you know that when cooked alone, the dish does not send your taste buds soaring. I added brown sugar, fresh strawberries, chopped pecans, and ground hemp seeds (for added protein).

Oatmeal Ingredients

After the oatmeal was finish cooking in the microwave, I added brown sugar, chopped pecans, and topped it off with fresh strawberries. With one bite, my stomach was in a happy place.

Finished Oatmeal

Oatmeal:
NOTEMakes One Serving of Oatmeal

¼ cup uncooked Steel Oats
1 tablespoon ground Hemp Seeds

ONECook Steel Oats per package instructions.

TWOStir in ground Hemp Seeds fully cooked Steel Oats.

THREEAdd cooked Steel Oats and ground Hemp Seed mixture to a serving bowl.

Topping:
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
¼ cup chopped Pecans
¼ cup fresh Strawberries (substitute Strawberries with your favorite fruit)

ONETop Steel Oats and ground Hemp Seed mixture with the toppings in the order they are listed above.