Sunday, August 26, 2012

Strawberry-Pineapple-Banana Smoothie

If you can believe it, I am sometimes not too great at time management, especially when it comes to making breakfast. I spend all of my time making my lunch and only have about 3 or 4 minutes left to make a good breakfast. What I've come to love are smoothies. Not like Jamba Juice with their sherbet and ICE (*GASP!!!*) in their smoothies. No no, my friends. Mine is ALL fruit and juice. Never anything to concentrate it. My signature one which my brother, boyfriend, and everyone else around absolutely love is strawberry and banana. And, as I told you guys before, my sisters are getting their wisdom teeth out this weekend. Only one is here in LA so I knew I'd be making a few batches. Now, listen to me: there is NOTHING wrong with using frozen fruit!!! I actually chop my bananas up the day after I buy them and freeze them specifically for these smoothies. When fruit is frozen, it is as it's peak of freshness. If you want, you can buy all of your fruit fresh and freeze it. I'm a bit too lazy so I just buy the strawberries and pineapple frozen. Either way, this way of making smoothies is dimply delicious. Oh, and a straw makes any drink that much better :).

What you'll need (to make 2 full 8 oz. cups of smoothes):
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen bananas
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1 cup FRESH fruit juice

1. Place all of your ingredients in a blender. Cover, and blend until perfectly smooth. ***IF YOUR BLENDER GETS STUCK, IT MEANS IT NEEDS MORE LIQUID! SO, ADD MORE JUICE.***
2. Pour into a glass with a fun straw and serve immediately.

enjoy :)

Tips in the Kitchen: KitchenAid Hand Mixer

I bet you didn't know hoe versatile some of your kitchen appliances really are, huh? Well, prepare to be amazed!
I have always loved mashed potatoes. There is something so decadent and comforting about them. This weekend, two of my four sisters had their wisdom teeth out (I know, right?!). Unfortunately, one sister lives in Denver so I couldn't take care of her. However, one of my sisters decided to move back in with us for the weekend so we could nurse her back to health.
As per usual, I had to make a fabulous Shabbat dinner on Friday night, and I didn't want her to feel left out. I knew mashed potatoes would fit in perfectly (with rack of lamb), but I was worried that they'd be difficult for her to swallow because they are usually pretty chunky. The key to PERFECTLY smooth mashed potatoes is to use a hand mixer to mash them instead of a regular masher. Not only is is super super quick, but you just pop all of the ingredients in the pot after the potatoes are nice and cooked, turn the mixer on, and in seconds you have wonderfully smooth mashed potatoes!

Naughty Mashed Potatoes

Very few things are as yummy as mashed potatoes. I am usually known for my roasted garlic mashed potatoes but this week I wanted to be a bit naughty. When my dad makes twice baked potatoes, he usually mixes some cream cheese in there. It makes them so deliciously thick and decadent, I thought I'd take a page out of his book and make these mashed potatoes a bit naughty. Cream cheese, sour cream, and you've got a FABULOUS side dish that EVERYONE (including the kids!!!) will absolutely LOVE!!! P.S., I made them vegan for my mom and she just about passed out because they were so good! SO believe me, these are just as good as they look!!!

What you'll need:
1 bag gold potatoes, peeled
1 8oz. package light cream cheese
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
Kosher salt & pepper

1. Peel, chop, and boil your potatoes. Once they're fork tender, strain and return to pot.
2. Use and electric hand mixer to mash the potatoes. When they're JUST ABOUT ready, add the sour cream, salt, pepper, and cream cheese and finish mixing. Top with some chopped green onions and you're ready to serve!

enjoy :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Slow Cooker Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

Ok so you all know my obsession with Soy Vey marinade. Well, I am also a little obsessed with my slow cooker. As I've stated before, I definitely used to judge people that used them. However, it is the greatest appliance in my kitchen. What's so great about it is that, unlike the oven, it will not heat up the room as it cooks! So, you can DEFINITELY use it during the summer! One great dish I came up with was Hawaiian BBQ chicken in the slow cooker. Chicken breasts, pineapple, and the marinade. Low for 8 hours. Boom, there you go! I served it over some brown rice and it was simply delicious!!!

What you'll need:
2-4 chicken breasts (depending on how many you're serving
1 cup chopped pineapples (I used the frozen from Trader Joe's)
1/2 bottle Soy Vey (or any Hawaiian BBQ) marinade
Instant brown rice

1. Place chicken, pineapple, and marinade in the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on high for 8 hours.
2. Follow instructions on brown rice package, shred chicken, and spoon over the rice. Serve with a veggie stir fry.

enjoy :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Jewish Minestrone

As you may have noticed, I have an obsession with Italian food. When my sister and I were young, we would go to this little Italian restaurant called Barone's with our dad for dinner on Wednesday nights. He always started with a bowl of minestrone. There is something so comforting about chunks of veggies, noodles, and heaps of parmesan cheese and being able to call it soup! Well the other day I woke up with a strange craving for Minestrone. But, you know me, I had to totally tweak it and make it my own! AND, I did it in the slow cooker, which made it totally melt in my mouth and made the house smell like heaven!!! (Don't be afraid of the amount for each seasoning, they'll cook down and it's for a LOT of food!) What's even better is that you can freeze whatever you don't eat and pull it out in the winter when it's chilly out.

What you'll need:
1 32 oz. can low sodium tomato sauce
1 16 oz. can chopped tomatoes (again, low sodium)
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
5 gold potatoes, peeled, and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup french green beans, chopped (you may use frozen!)
1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs. kosher salt
1 tbs. pepper
1 tbs. dried oregano (and any other Italian seasonings you have on hand)
1 carton low sodium veggie broth
Any type of small whole wheat noodles
1 tbs. fresh basil, chopped

1. Start chopping your vegetables. When doing so, try to keep them all the same size so they cook at the same pace.
2. Begin with pouring the tomato sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker.Next, dump all of the veggies in, stirring slowly. 
3. Drain and rinse the kidney beans, chop the garlic, and add to the slow cooker. 
4. Top with the can of chopped tomatoes, veggie broth, salt, pepper, and dried seasonings. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours. At about the 6 hour mark, add the green beans, and at the 30 minute mark, add the nodles. After the 8 hours, turn off (or to the "keep warm" setting if your has one). 
5. Top with some fresh basil and grated parmesan. Serve with a good crunchy French bread and you're good to go!
enjoy :)
oh, and ALWAYS serve with white serving pieces. it looks very elegant :)

Blueberry Scones

While I love to bake, I get pretty annoyed that you need to follow recipes exactly as they're written. Sure a few things here and there can always be added or subtracted, but when it comes to the major dry ingredients, they need to stay consistent. But that won't stop me from making delicious treats. The other day, I woke up and didn't really feel like my usual morning breakfast staple, scrambled eggs with goat cheese, I had a craving for a baked good of some sort. Lucky for me, we had a beautiful container of blueberries. Immediately I knew blueberry scones were PERFECT! I used nondairy creamer in this recipe, which kept them pretty moist and delicious! I didn't quite follow the serving size recipe and made them pretty huge, but you can make them any size you want! Big, small, whatever, they're still a GREAT Sunday morning treat!

What you'll need:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 stick butter, COLD COLD COLD
3/4 cup nondairy creamer
1 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup blueberries

1. In a large bowl and sifter, sift together the first 5 ingredients (the dry ingredients). This will ensure that there are no lumps in the dough. 
2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the COLD butter (cut into cubes) and the dry ingredients. Pulse until the butter is about the size of peas.
3. Place the butter and dry ingredients back into the large bowl and create a little divot in the middle. In the divot, add the egg, vanilla, and creamer. Slowly mix together, breaking up the egg yolk and fully incorporating the vanilla. Finally, GENTLY fold the blueberries into the dough (use a rubber spatula. They won't break!).
4. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, place about 6-10 scones about 1-2 inches apart (they'll puff up and spread!). Bake for 18 minutes. Let cool.
5. If you're feeling REALLY scandalous, melt some butter and brush it over the top as the scones are cooling (about 5 minutes). Serve with a cold glass of milk or some fresh OJ.

enjoy :)