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Thanksgiving Left-Overs the Veggie Part

Cross section of celery stalk, showing vascula...

Cross section of celery stalk, showing vascular bundles, which include both phloem and xylem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Don’t forget to juice or blend yourself a healthy drink with any left-over veggies, fruits or herbs. Fresh produce is not a favorite for turkey day but they are the most important choice during every meal. Vegetables and fruit lose their flavor and important, unique anti-oxidants in 2-5 days if left to wither in the bottom bins (with the exception of apples which can do well for months in the fridge).

We are starting black Friday with a beet-blueberry-celery-spinach-dandelion green-apple smoothie…..maybe a banana or two as well. Your curiously cute  children will not turn down these delicious cool drinks especially if you add a little juice and/or a fancy curly straw served in a bright colored cup! Start your holidays off right with a nutritious adventure with your blender or juicer and those left-over goodies.  You will be ripe and ready to tackle all the seasons chaos ahead!

If your blender can crush ice it can also crush nuts so experiment if you want a creamier, heartier version. Cashews, pine nuts, and walnuts are excellent additions to a healthy breakfast or lunch smoothie in addition to strawberries, cranberries  and ripe bananas. Absolutely delicious and super filling!

 

 

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Herbalicous

Mountain Rose Herbs

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February 23, 2013 · 9:28 PM

CRANBERRY BLENDING & BALLING

The madness of being a  single mother, and acting as father, the teacher, the library, the cleaner, the laundry mat, the nurse, the electrician, the jungle gym, the plumber, the car mechanic and the maintenance man, I’ve managed to fit in my daily exotic recipes using my beloved blender. I was determined to get my holiday allowance of cranberries in regardless of working through the holidays just past. I love berries, but only when they are fresh or in a super potent vitamin formula.  I turned to my strong glass powered blender and threw in one fresh cranberry after another until it was just tart enough to tolerate yet still be banana-ice-creamy with bits of red speckles for color and some contrasting green flecks for the holiday post Christmas spirit!

Banana Guava Cranberry Spinach Smoothies Yum!

Handful of cranberries (rinse first and freeze the rest)

1/2 pack of Goya frozen guava pulp (about 1 cup)

Handful of spinach the more the merrier

1-2 Bananas (I use perfectly sweetened & ripened frozen bananas)

Water, soymilk, OR juice

BLEND~BLEND~BLEND

D-R-I-N-K

with a cute curly straw preferably

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How to Make the Most Bitter Leafy Greens Absolutely Delicious

Photo Red Dandelion Chef courtesy of FoodMayhem

So, I was recently blessed with good news from my doctor that could’ve given me two possible answers, benign or malignant. I heard the word benign and thought, “WOW,” I’m lucky and very thankful that I am going to live longer!  I began forcing myself to eat a bag of greens every week just to keep up this new found lease on life. With the help of an apple infused balsamic dressing so far, my plan is working.

I love salad, but I have been privy to picking out that bitter stuff like radicchio, and curly endive because it is just gross and way too bitter for my sweet- tooth- taste -bud- tongue. I’ve searched for recipes to un-do the bitter in bitter greens, made a few lovely variations and came up with an amazing creamy soup, and a wonderful, addicting salad dressing to get those healthy leaves down the hatch. I am not one for vinegary dressings but, somehow grated apples added to vinegar, and a bit of sugar did the trick to tame the pungent bunches.

Anyone in the Delray Beach area has heard or been to the chaotic, always packed, fresh market called “The BOYS.” I am happy to be so close to it, but amongst the masses just as happy to be done with my shopping there until next month when I will once again be run over (with baby in tow) by 85 year olds all in some odd hurry in their South Florida retirement and vicious in their shopping. I pick up most of my unique foods there and this week picked out a Hemi Melon (?), red dandelion greens, 2 packages of  blackberries (for under $4 total), more watercress, and two cheeses I haven’t dared try yet, and fresh made chunky cherry jam.

In an effort to eat even healthier and to continue getting great news from the docs, I have been making this killer cream soup with all available vegetables. Mostly, incorporating the bunches of greens I have and adding them during the last five to ten minutes to my stewed broth with some cream has also given me great results.  Even I, the chef, wouldn’t know I stuck a bunch of dandelion in the brew! Somehow, the most bitter of the bitter greens: watercress and dandelion leaves (in my edible opinion) taste heavenly when blended with a potato and some squash and my toddler LOVES it.

The DANDELION WATERCRESS LEAF BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP (The DWB soup)

1 small potato (I’ve always liked the pink ones)

1/2 sweet potato sliced or grated

A few large chunks of butternut squash (I suppose any squash would work here)

Generous handful (or bunch if you’re daring) of fresh washed greens: Dandelion, Arugula and/or Watercress

Adobo Spice  (the yellow one, get it, it’s cheap and I use it for almost any recipe and kids love it)

Medium yellow or Vidalia onion chopped

2-3 cloves garlic minced

3 TBSP olive oil

1/2 cup cream

salt, pepper, cayenne to taste, and/or basil

Sautee’ the onion and garlic in the oil in a large, deep saute pan. Add the chopped or sliced potatoes and the butternut squash. If you are short on time just use the grater and shred all the thick veggies (it’s all going into the blender anyway). Tonight I added small zucchini and did nothing but enhance an already decadent soup so play around with what you have. Once the onion is clearish and the home smells good of garlic add 2 cups of water and the Adobo spice. If you don’t have that you can substitute it with 2 tsp or more of salt, generous sprinkling of pepper and 1 tsp of tumeric. Chicken stock or broth will work just as well, I just don’t usually have that on hand or use it often. Add the greens, if it’s watercress make sure you’ve removed tough stems, same with endive ends. Cook lightly over medium heat for about 12 minutes. Add 1/2 cup half and half or cream.

Turn off heat and cover.  Set up blender. While it’s cooling add a few ice cubes to blender and make sure lid is ajar to let the steam out. Blend in small quantities, taste, add more spice, or enjoy as is! The pototoes blend up quickly and turn creamy, the greens are still al dente’ and give a nice crunch to an otherwise creamy, extremely healthy soup!!!!

After I get some more to eat, I will publish the dressing recipe that will surprise anyone and get all those picky adults to get down those greens!

Vanes =)

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Anti-Picky Toddler Soup

I devised this recipe after discovering my toddler loved some simple broth soups. I expanded on a few of my favorite cream soups and experimented with many different vegetables to see how “green” I could make her soups without her noticing a major taste difference.  This will make enough for 4 people or 2 dinners and 2 lunches!

 

Anti-Picky Soup for Toddlers

Ingredients

1 large potato, chopped and steamed

Small Vidalia onion chopped and sautéed

3-5 cloves of garlic, diced and sautéed

Spinach, handful of fresh or ½ package of frozen

1 zucchini, sliced

½-1 whole carrot, grated

½-1 small yellow squash

1 small rutabaga, sliced and lightly steamed or sautéed

1 cup Milk, soymilk or coconut milk

¼-1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream

Salt & pepper to taste

Herbs (optional) pinch of marjoram, basil and/or tumeric

Optional Ingredients include ½ butternut squash cooked, small sweet potato lightly steamed, small bouquet of broccoli lightly steamed, peas, green beans. It really depends on what you know your child while actively refuse or possibly ingest in soup form once blended. My daughter will not eat sweet potatoes, or white potatoes in any form so I use this as a base with the zucchini and she has no idea she ate it!

Now the easy part….

Preparation: Once you’ve chopped, steamed, or sautéed any of the above ingredients all you have to do is throw it all in a blender, add the salt and pepper and puree till smooth. I love thick, creamy soups that are hearty. If you opt for heavy cream this soup will fill you up, but if milk allergies are a problem you can substitute alternative milk or use silken tofu. I’ve done both depending on what I have on hand.  

Tips

I NEVER fully cook the vegetables, if I run out of time the carrots, zucchinis, yellow squash gets thrown in the blender RAW with milk, and cooked potato and I’m done after spices!  

I am big into saving nutrients especially for my child so the less cooking the better. If the vegetables seem slightly crunchy after blending, put into metal pot and simmer for an additional 20min. Here you can get creative with your spice cabinet or add some cheeses, again it’s all what you believe your child may like best.

The color is normally, a nice creamy white, with specks of fresh green and yellow goodness. I love the soup and luckily my daughter gobbles it up with a side of bread and butter.

Let me know if you try this and if your kid liked it too! Happy Cooking!

 

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Tamales Wrapped in Giant Banana Leaves

Colombianos tamale wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf.

Why I am attempting to make authentic tamales without the help of any authentic Spanish friend, or  Colombian Gramma’s is unbeknown to me at the moment, but here I am at 2 am with a kitchen on full steam, literally.

So far….I have 1 pot of saffron rice done, 1 humongous pot boiling where I place the wrapped wonders, along with 2 pans sauteed that contain onions, potatoes, garlic, coriander, sweet potatoes, and carrots and my chopped chives I had frozen for special nights like this.

Don’t have any bell peppers, I feel like I am committing a sin by not adding red or green peppers to this but a dash or two of my favorite Cayenne Pepper should do the trick. I do have Thai Peppers I dried myself, but I am scared to handle those hot fire breeders in any quantity after January’s “way too hot, I can’t believe 3 tiny seeds did that, soup.”

I am supposed to add the chives but where, I don’t know yet, the masa mash, the rice mix? Maybe I will just top each one with the chives, ok that sounds good. I mean it’s all cooking in the same leaf so what’s the difference.  I’ve mastered the masa flour mash (corn meal, precooked)  from my previous  years of making arepas so not to worry.

Now it’s 3.40 am, since I didn’t use any meats, my prep time went way down…like 12 hours down, though I did throw in some pieces of Gouda into that last tamale, I think I actually  made really good time. Speaking of time, before I get too cocky at my Spanish cooking must go check.

In a few hours it should look like the photo…..I hope!

Good night for now.

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