Green smoothies are a somewhat new thing for me. I’ve mentioned before that BL gave me my BlendTec for our 1st anniversary together and I was less than pleased.
Meh. I wasn’t into smoothies then and I would have much preferred a piece of jewlery or a vacation at that point. Just another example of how well he knows me… my BlendTec and I have been inseparable ever since. I prefer my Green Smoothies over most breakfasts (except avocado toasts, of course) and I recommend them to my clients as well.
Don’t you love getting a serving of vegetables in before 7AM?
The beauty of these smoothies is that you can customize them to your taste and needs. Enjoying before a workout? Choose water or juice over milk/yogurt. Post-run smoothie? Add a scoop of protein power (Vega Vanilla is my favorite). If you’re just starting out with green smoothies, start light: lettuce & spinach have a lighter flavor than kale and broccoli. If you have extra herbs in the drawer- add in! Parsley and basil taste great in green smoothies, especially paired with berries.
For a thicker smoothie, I love a frozen banana. Just peel when ripe, break in 1/2 and add to a freezer-bag. My usual combo: spinach, frozen mixed berries, 1/2 banana, 1 scoop vega, unsweetened almond milk.
What’s your favorite combo?
So this past weekend was the Stockton Asparagus Festival. Did you go?
When I first moved to Stockton, 6 years (!) ago, I remember googling the city from the East Coast trying to decide if this was the job move from me.
The claim to fame in lil old Stockton? (Besides #1 in auto thefts & a crumbling housing market?)
…An annual Asparagus Festival! Ah, if only I wasn’t so blinded by food.
While I have since high-tailed it out of Stockton, I am happy that I ended up making the decision to live there for a period of time. Besides being able to meet my darling, BL, I also enjoy eating my body weight in Asparagus every April.
Thank goodness Sacramento isn’t that far away.
While I’ve never actually been to the Asparagus festival, I like to imagine that this is the kind of dish I would make there.
Lightly steamed, dressed in a light lemon-tarragon dressing. I’ll skip the festivities and enjoy this in the comfort of my own home. Perfect as a side, or as a light lunch or dinner. The below photo is about how many spears were left after I finished taking my photos. A bite here, a bite there… whoops. Thank goodness for the rule of thirds
What’s your favorite way of eating Asparagus? Looking for a a little more indulgent way to enjoy this green vegetable? Why not try my Spring Asparagus tart?
Lemon Tarragon Asparagus
1 lb. asparagus
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
2 tsp. chopped tarragon
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
Steam the asparagus until just tender. You want a little bite left.
Whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, dijon mustard. Add the olive oil and whisk until smooth. Stir in the tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle over the steamed asparagus.
So remember last week when I mentioned how I have been theming our dinners to prepare for our upcoming travels?
I wasn’t kidding.
It just didn’t seem right to be daydreaming about the beaches of Barcelona without sipping Sangria and feasting on paella.
I know that paella is technically not from Barcelona, but it was one of the few spanish dishes I knew how to re-create and it totally worked for my tastebud-traveling purposes.
I don’t know if this is authentic, but’s it’s pretty darn tasty. My sister worked in a Spanish restaurant for years, so I consider myself an unofficial coinsossor of tapas, tempernillo, and vegetarian paella. As someone who used to consume this dish on an almost weekly basis, this is about as good as it gets.
Isn’t it just the most beautiful looking thing?
Rice, vegetables, saffron broth, and tomatoes. Mmmm… I had to hide the rest of the pan so BL and I didn’t accidentally consume the whole thing.
A word on the rice: I used Arborrio rice in this, not Bomba. Before you throw a shoe at me, here’s my excuse. Sacramento is not ready for paella making. After heading to three different grocery stores to find this special short-grained white rice, I was 0 for 3.
And you know what? I really couldn’t tell a difference. I’ve heard of people using sushi rice and rinsing it a few times before hand, but I wasn’t in the mood for that kind of patience.
Another important consideration in paella making is a proper pan. A wide, shallow dish is best for this so break out your biggest sauté or frying pan and don’t overload it. I actually used my large grill pan and it worked perfectly. Next time I think I am going to try it on the grill as an alternative to our veggie burger outside dinners.
DK’s Vegetarian Paella
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 8 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini, chopped
3 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 pinch saffron threads
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne papper
1 1/2 cups short-grain white rice (see above)
3 cups vegetable broth
pinch salt (will depend on how salty your broth is)
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 lemon, sliced
In a paella pan or large, shallow sauté’ pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, red pepper, and roasted red pepper to the pan and let brown and reduce, about 10 minutes. Add the zucchini, garlic, tomato, saffron, paprika, cayenne pepper and let cook over medium heat another 10 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add the rice, vegetable broth and stir once. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Don’t touch! Once your stir it all together, trust that it will come together. Stirring is for risotto, not paella.
Top with chopped parsley and sliced lemons!
There are brownies, and then there are brownies.
These are the later. Spicy, adult brownies perfect for Cinco de Mayo or a random Tuesday night.
Have you ever had Mexican hot chocolate before? A few winters ago I bought a canister of hot chocolate that ended up being Mexican hot chocolate. A happy accident that I only realized after the first few sips. It took a little getting used to but now it is one of my favorite cold-weather treats. Since we are months from 50 below, brownies were the next logical step.
Cinnamon & a hint of cayenne pepper take these brownies from boring-lunch-box-favorite to I-might-eat-the-entire-pan-fantastic.
Thank goodness I served them to friends so I wouldn’t be tempted. Because really, aren’t baked goods infinitely better when shared with others? The base of these brownies comes from Chef Chloe’s newest book, Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. Since pretty much everything Chloe touches turns to delicious heaven, I highly recommend this purchase if you haven’t already bought it. It’s not for the faint of heart, lot’s of EB butter and sugar to go around, but sometimes you just need a brownie.
Cook these for the recommended 45-50 minutes. They will still be slightly gooey, that’s OK. They will set up after resting. Resist the urge to slice until they are completely cooled. Better yet- make them in the morning to come home to after work! Red wine and Mexican hot chocolate brownies make a surprisingly incredible combination.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (try Ghiradelli brand, they are the best)
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup Earth Balance buttery sticks
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
Melt together the butter and chocolate chips, using a double boiler or in the microwave. Whisk until completely melted and smooth.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa, cayenne powder, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Whisk until combined. Add the melted chocolate and mix until combined. Add the soy milk and vanilla extract and stir until a batter forms.
Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until done. Let cool completely and then slice into squares.
Recipe adapted from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts