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Friday, September 9, 2011

On smoothies and other goodness

I love smoothies. I often fantasize all day about smoothies (and oatmeal). I love smoothies like a fat boy loves cake (that was my 7th graders' favorite analogy last year).

Most of the summer I made my smoothies with plain Greek yogurt (Fage is my favorite brand), whatever fruit (fresh or frozen) I was in the mood for, a splash of lemon juice, and a little sweetener. Simple, protein-packed, and delicious.

But as we've moved into fall, I've been experimenting a little. (If you haven't tried the gingerbread smoothie yet, step away from the computer and go make it now.) The last couple of days I've been making what Kath calls a dough-boy smoothie and what Angela calls a cake batter smoothie. They are decadently thick and filling; I can have one for breakfast and not need a mid-morning snack. (By the way, you should also check out Kath's post on snack smoothies vs. entree smoothies. I typically make entree smoothies.)

Here's what you do:

  1. Soak some oats in milk overnight. (Kath calls for more than I use. I don't measure, but I probably use 1/3 cup oats to 2/3 cup milk. Kath also does this in her blender, but if you've ever been attacked by items in my fridge, you know that won't work for me.)
  2. In the morning, add a frozen banana, a spoonful of natural peanut butter, and whatever else you want.
  3. Blend and enjoy with a spoon.
Here's a few combos I've tried:

Oats, milk, PB, banana, cocoa powder, and agave nectar--chocolatey and delicious. Almost dessert-like, even.

Oats, milk, PB, banana, vanilla, blueberries, and agave nectar--that was breakfast this morning. I still wasn't hungry at 12:30!

And one more thing: if you love pumpkin like I love pumpkin, try these Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats. It's like fall in a bowl.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In my kitchen

Here are some recipes I've been groovin' on lately.

On the healthy end of the spectrum, Overnight Oats have been saving my rear in the mornings now that school has started. I put them together the night before mornings that I plan to run, and they're ready and waiting for me in the a.m. I don't think it takes me too long to make regular oatmeal in the morning, but when you're in a hurry (as we always are), every minute helps. At first I didn't think I liked overnight oats, but it just took me a while to figure out how I like them. I combine about 1/3 cup oatmeal and about 3/4 cup milk (I don't measure anything) in a bowl with a lid. I add a sprinkle of chia seeds, a generous dollop of Greek yogurt, a spoonful of natural peanut butter or walnuts, a dash of cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, and some fruit (blueberries usually). Delicious! I can't to start including some pumpkin this fall!

It's no secret I love smoothies. Here's a recipe for an amazing gingerbread smoothie (which I found via Lil Runner) that makes a nutritious treat. It's also something totally different from my usual berry-based smoothie.

On the less nutritious end of the spectrum, I have discovered baked donuts. I got a donut pan when Ryan and I got married, but I'm a little embarrassed to admit, it took me 12 years to figure out what it was. While baked donuts are certainly healthier than their fried counterpart, they're not exactly a health food. One thing I like about them is that the pan only makes 6, which is just about the right number for us. So far we've enjoyed Baked Spiced Donuts and Baked Vanilla Donuts.

And on the completely decadent end of the spectrum, I discovered a recipe for Douglas County Pie, which is like a cross between pecan pie and a chocolate chip cookie. This pie was served at the Paradise Cafe in Lawrence (before it closed). I fell in love with it in high school (before the days of online recipes), and my mom and I experimented heartily trying to replicate it. We came up with some yummy recipes, but none of them were similar to the real thing. The key, I think, is the flour and lack of corn syrup, which contribute to the cookie aspect of the pie. It's super rich and best enjoyed rarely and with whipped cream.

And one more super decadent treat--Peanut Butter Cup Blondies. The recipe calls for 9 peanut butter cups in an 8 x 8 pan; I went ahead and bumped it up to 10 just for the heck of it. Then Ryan and I proceeded to eat the whole pan in one day. Oops!