Sunday, May 30, 2010

Monster Attack!

Green Monster, that is!
This is one of the best smoothies I've ever made.
1/2 frozen sliced banana
1/2 c. (70 g)  frozen pineapple
1 c. spinach
1/4 cup (good handful) blueberries
1/2 c. Almond Breeze (Unsweetened Vanilla rocks my socks!)
splash of vanilla
Blend, baby, blend!
I think the trick was lots of frozen fruit to eliminate the need for ice cubes, and only half a cup of milk. The texture was perfect - juuust thick enough to savor it but not so much that it couldn't move out of the glass. Fruity, creamy, and just sweet enough. I love drinking my greens!

Speaking of some of my best kitchen productions, I made some pretty kickin' oat bran this A.M. too:
26 g organic oat bran (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
1/2 c. almond milk + 1/4 c. water
~2 tsp cocoa powder
~1/2 tsp instant espresso
dash of salt
1/2 banana, sliced and slightly melted in the microwave
handful of blueberries

I say 26 g because I have no idea what this measurement is in cups - I use a food scale for my hot cereal experiments. Really, it's like a toy, and I'm just playing with my food. That, and I'm terrible at eyeballing portions, and the food scale has helped me get a lot better at it. Yes, I'm a geek. Don't hate! 

Ok, here's the process:
Once your oat bran is in the bowl, toss in your cocoa powder (or cinnamon or whatever dry spice you're feeling that day) and the salt. Then add the liquid - I usually use half milk/half water or more of a 3:1 milk-water ratio to make it nice and creamy. It makes an enormous difference.
Microwave it for about a minute and a half (or do it on the stove - your call!)
Slice up your banana and microwave it in a separate container for 10-20 seconds. I got this "melted banana" trick from this cool chick, and I've never looked back. It spreads the sweet banana goodness all throughout the bowl instead of just in chunks, and also acts as an emulsifier and thickens things up.
Here is when you want to add your espresso if you're using cocoa. I swear by this trick - coffee brings out the chocolate flavor in any dish, and it really makes the bowl richer and more chocolatey. Mmmm!
Add the nanner and keep cooking. WATCH your bowl if you're nuking it - it can very quickly boil over!
I also like to add blueberries for an extra fruity kick. I love microwaving them and then popping them to release the juice inside. It's the little kid inside me I guess :)

You might want to throw the bowl in the fridge or freezer for a minute or two to cool it down - it can get HOTTTT! But it's worth it in the end. Try that melted banana trick - it will change your life. Or at least your breakfast.

Sick of breakfast yet? I'm not. It is the one meal I could eat 3 (or more!) times a day! It's so fun. And usually involves my favorites - fresh fruit and carbs!
I'm a big fan of waffles as a snack, and I just tried a new brand:
I usually get the Kashi GoLean waffles, but they are suddenly nowhere to be found!! I almost cried when I couldn't find them at my grocery store OR beloved Whole Foods. Well, ok, maybe I didn't get that dramatic, but it was close. Time to find a new favorite! So I went with Nature's Path Flax Plus. Love me some Omega-3s!
For my first taste test, I went with a classic:
Peanut butter+banana. Soulmates if I've ever seen them.
The only thing that can improve this dish is maple syrup - enter: Peanut Butter & Co.'s Mighty Maple.
 Genius in a jar. I'm pretty sure whoever created this was eating a waffle with peanut butter and syrup and thought "hey, we should really get these two together?" So, I guess this is really a menage a trois of breakfast foods? How scandalous! And delicious.
 The verdict on the waffles? Well, I was a little distracted by the amazingness going on on top, but I think they will do as a Kashi replacement. They didn't get quite as crunchy as I like, and they're a little airier, but I have 5 more waffles left to confirm my opinion.

Anyone bar-crazy? No, I'm not referring to the smoke-filled, dimly-lit rooms where you go to watch the game. I'm talking about the edible kind. The best kind, obvz ;)

First up: Clif C Bar in Raspberry
This new line from Clif boasts only 9 ingredients. That usually means a clean, simple flavor that makes a nice little snack or dessert.
Unfortunately, the only flavor I got was cardboard. It looked good, it even smelled pretty good...but the taste was lacking. There was a vague tart-fruity flavor, but it definitely didn't scream raspberry, and the nuts on top might as well have not been there at all. The texture was actually pretty good, gooey but not crumbly, easy to eat. I know it's not the brand; I've had the cherry pomegranate flavor before and really enjoyed it; the raspberry just failed. I have yet to try the apple or blueberry, and I'm a believer in second chances, so maybe its just this flavor. But, I wouldn't recommend this one. Unless your mouth waters every time you see a UPS box on your doorstep.

In yummier news, I had a new Larabar that rocked my chocolate-loving socks off. Their Jocalat line is similar to the original Laras in that the ingredient list is short, sweet, and completely recognizable. And their organic and use fair-trade cocoa, which is always a plus.
I bought the German Chocolate Cake flavor on a whim:
I love it when my whims come through. This was fan-freakin-tastic! I was a little wary because I'm not big on coconut, but Lara knows how to wield this fruit. It adds the perfect amount of sweetness to complement the chocolate without making the bar all about the coconut. This was like a rich, dark brownie. I even liked the little chunks of almond and pecan, which surprised me because I am a hardcore anti-nut brownie girl. But here they just added to the flavor and texture. It's a little crumbly but not obnoxiously so.
I know the fat & calorie content in Larabars is scary for some people, considering how small the bar actually is. BUT this is only because they are made of real, nutrient-packed foods. Do not fear the fat here! Your body needs it. And the fat in these will make your body a LOT happier than the fat in your average brownie. (Not that classic brownies don't have their time and place - sometimes, they are simply necessary!) All this to say - this bar was GOOD. And healthy. And chocolatey. What more could ya ask for?

Peanut butter, oat bran, spinach smoothies and chocolate. I miss Florence...but I'm doing ok so far ;)



  1. I love those Nature's Path waffles! They also make a great "maple cinn" flavor. Soo jealous you have Mighty Maple. I can't find it for the life of me!

  2. ooh, maple cinn waffles? i'm all over that!!
    took me a while to pin down mighty maple too, grocery stores can be odd with what they stock.