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Posts tagged ‘Fruit’

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

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

Grown & Sexy Ice

The subzero weather here in Chicago increases my anticipation for warmer temperatures. With that said, I decided to go into the kitchen and whip up some adult freeze pops (made with liquor). After two days in the freezer, the mixtures failed to freeze hard into freeze pops. I couldn’t waste good alcohol (and fruit) so I decided to pour the mixtures into storage containers and place them in the freezer.

By day three, it hit me. I created my 21 and over version of Italian ice. I combined alcohol, fruit, agave nectar, and spices to stumble upon the perfect warm weather treat, Grown & Sexy Ice.

Ginger Peach Buzz (l) & Piña Colada (r)

Ginger Peach Buzz (l) & Piña Colada (r)

Ginger Peach Buzz
1 16 ounce can Peaches in light syrup
1 tablespoon Candied Ginger
1 cup Peachello

Piña Colada
1 fresh pineapple, pealed & cut into cubes
1/4 cup Agave Nectar
1/2 cup Guava Nectar
1 cup Coconut flavored Rum

ONEAdd agave nectar, fruit & spices to the blender. Pulse about 3 to 5 times to not purée the fruit.
TWOPour fruit into a freeze safe storage bowl.
THREEStir in alcohol & fruit juice.
FOURFreeze bowl for at least 4 hours.
FIVERemove from the freezer. Scoop out with an ice cream scooper and place in your favor bowl, cup, or glass.
SIXENJOY!!

You may ask, Why do you use fresh fruit in one recipe and canned fruit in another? Due to the season, I am able to find fresh juicy pineapple; but I am not able to find fresh juicy peaches. NOTE: When using with fruit in a recipe, it is best to use fruits that are in season. Also, Buying specific fruits that are in season is cheaper than buying the same fruit out of season.

My mind is spinning with the possibilities: Mango Mojito, Key Lime Martini, Lavender Lemonade, Orange Crush, Watermelon Mint, Corn Ball, Hard Rock Apple Cider, and the list goes on and on.

Trust me Spring is coming and Summer is around the corner. Drink and eat happy!!

Please drink responsibly.

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.

When You Don’t Need a Whole Cheesecake: Individual No-Bake Cheesecakes

I am amazed by and in awe of people who love to bake.  Baking is an exacting science that I have not mastered.  With that said, I choose to stay in my lane and bake on occasion only when I have a recipe.  I will buy cookies, cakes, and pies.  If I assemble any dessert on a reguIar basis, it is banana pudding, yogurt parfaits, no bake cheesecakes, or some type of doctored up fruit.

One Saturday, while watching a movie that didn’t hold my interest, my mind drifted to how was I going to satisfy my sweet tooth.  It didn’t help that an orange juice commercial came on showing different uses for mason jars.  Before the commercial break was over, I looked in the refrigerator to see one package of cream cheese, whole strawberries, and sweet potatoes. The wheels began to spin.   I sliced the strawberries up, added a tad bit of key lime juice, and some agave nectar.

cheesecakeraw

The next day I turned on package of cream cheese into two different no bake cheesecakes.

cheesecakefinal

The one thing I would change is the simulated graham cracker crust layer in the bottom of the jars.  I would either use mini vanilla wafers, crumbled graham cracker pieces, or simply not add the layer to the bottom of the jar.

 

Cheesecake Mixture:
1  8oz container Cream Cheese
2 Vanilla Beans (or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract)—I prefer Vanilla Beans
2 tablespoons Agave Nectar (or Pure Cane Sugar)—I prefer Agave Nectar
1 pint Heavy Cream (or 1 cup)

ONEAdd Cream Cheese to bowl.

TWOSlice each bean in half & scrape its contents into the bowl (discard outer pod unless you want to use it to infuse your favorite oil or liquor).

THREEAdd Agave Nectar. 

FOURMix well.

FIVEAdd Heavy Cream and mix until smooth.

Sweet Potato:
2 medium Sweet Potatoes
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Agave Nectar
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Stars of Anise

ONEBake sweet potatoes for 30 minutes or until done (Wrap each sweet potato in aluminum and poke holes in each potato with a fork).

TWORoast the Star of Anise in a sauce pan on low heat for 5 minutes.

THREEAdd butter to sauce pan.
 
FOURRemove star of anise from butter.

FIVEWhen sweet potatoes are fully cooked, allow to cool (I removed the foil and ran under cold water for a quick second.

SIXMash sweet potatoes in a bowl.

SEVENAdd nutmeg, cinnamon, agave nectar, and seasoned butter.

EIGHTMix well.

NOTEIf you would like a smoother texture to the sweet potato mixture, add a ¼ cup of milk of choice.  Add mixture to food processor.  Mix until smooth.

Strawberries:
1 pound of fresh Strawberries
1 teaspoons of Key Lime juice (lemon or regular Lemon Juice will work.  I ran out of both.)
1 teaspoon Agave Nectar

ONEClean and slice strawberries (Remember to discard the green tops).

TWOAdd Key Lime juice and Agave Nectar.

THREECover strawberries and place in refrigerator until chill (I prefer to let the juicy goodness of all fruits to sit overnight.)

Graham Cracker Layer:
2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 tablespoon Butter
¼ Sugar

ONEMelt Butter in microwavable bowl.

TWOAdd Graham Cracker crumbs and sugar.

NOTEClean 4 pint size mason jars.  Ensure the mason jars have tops.

Assemble Cheesecakes:
ONELayer the bottom of each jar with Graham Cracker mixture.

TWOPress until firm (mixture will still be somewhat loose).

THREEAdd Cream Cheese mixture and then add Strawberries to 2 of the jars.

FOURContinue to layer Cream Cheese and Strawberries.

FIVEComplete the layer process with the Cream Cheese mixture and Sweet Potato mixture to the remaining 2 jars.

SIXPlace jars in refrigerator and allow to chill of at least 3 hours.