Friday, September 27, 2013

SOTD: Pumpkin Pie

It's time for Smoothie of the Day! Do I even need to explain this one to you? It's fall. Obviously I'm hitting the pumpkin pretty hard already. Here's some proof:

First attempt at a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie.
That's the one I made yesterday. It was pretty good, but not quite good enough. So I made some changes this morning, and that's the recipe we're going to run with. Freezing the banana is always better, and the canned coconut milk adds some nice texture too. I'm not going to say it tastes just like pumpkin pie, because I don't generally drink pie. But it's pretty good and if you're like me and fall = PUMPKIN ALL THE THINGS, then it's probably worth your time. Obviously it's not as sweet since we're trying to be all healthy and crap, but you could always add some honey if you like. Or adding vanilla ice cream would probably turn this into a pretty great milkshake.

Take two, now with more ingredients!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (paleo, vegan)
(I didn't do much measuring other than the spices, so the amounts are -ish.)

1/2 c. pumpkin purée
2 T. canned coconut milk
1 T. almond butter (mine is maple/almond)
1 frozen banana
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. ground ginger
1/8 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 - 1 c. of your smoothie-thinner of choice (I used boxed coconut milk.)

Put everything into your blending device. The amount of smoothie-thinner is up to you. I maybe ended up using 1/2-3/4 of a cup. You can always add more if needed. All the other ingredients are pretty thick though, so might use more, especially if you prefer you smoothies thinner than I do. Blend away, captain. I also added a couple big chunks of ice to mine afterwards to keep it cold on my way to work. And I am slurping it as we speak.

Let me know in the comments if you try it! I'm also considering adding espresso powder or using cold coffee as thinner next time to PSL this business. I don't know how that will work with the banana, but we'll find out. Happy fall to you!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Food: Paleo Zuppa Toscana

I made soup for dinner last night. I spent the long, holiday weekend helping my parents move my baby brother across a few states for his new big-kid job. By the time I got home Monday afternoon, I was ready to crash, but knew I'd wake up at 3am and not be able to sleep anymore. So, I made soup. I have several easy soup recipes in my brain-storage because most soup is easy and also I love it. Here's one of my favorites, inspired by The Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana with some changes from yours truly. It's paleo if you're alright with dairy, but you could probably sub in coconut milk if you prefer. As long as you make it, because it's delicious. Warm, creamy, savory, a little spicy and a little sweet. So good.

Some soup I made. And Instagram'd.

Paleo Zuppa Toscana
1 lb Italian sausage
1 onion (Mine was white, but any onion will work.)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp of thyme
2 cups diced butternut squash (I got the pre-cut kind in the bag. [Lazy.])
1 bunch of kale
6 cups of broth (I used one carton chicken and one can of beef. It's what I had, don't judge.)
1/2 cup half-and-half (This is a guess; I didn't measure it. I also I usually use heavy cream instead.)

Put your soup pan on the stove. Turn heat to medium. Add your sausage, breaking it up as it cooks. I leave mine in larger pieces that seem like they'll fit on a spoon with some of their friends. (Or you could cook then dice links of sausage if that's what you like. I'm not the boss of you.) While your sausage is cooking, open a beer. (That's just for you, not the recipe.) Also, chop your onion in to similar friendly pieces and mince your garlic. Wash your hands if that smell bothers you, vampire. Check on the sausage. If the sausage is browned, add the onions and garlic. (If not, drink some more beer.) After the aromatics are in, add your seasonings. I guessed at those measurements, but obviously use as much or little as you like, especially of the red pepper flakes. When the onion starts getting transparent, add the squash. Let it cook for a few minutes while you remove the stems from your kale, chop it, wash it thoroughly, and let it drain (I use my salad spinner). When the squash starts to get soft, add the broth. Season it some more if it seems like it needs it. Add the kale. Bring it to a boil, then turn it down and let it cook until you like the texture of the kale. I like mine kind of crunchy still, so I pretty much turned it off after the boil. Stir in your half-and-half and nom away!