Healthy Green Peanut Butter Smoothie

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I am a smoothie fiend. I have an arsenal of frozen bananas and yogurt in my kitchen at all times. I particularly like smoothies that kill two birds with one stone. Like this Green Peanut Butter Smoothie which boasts two heaping cups of spinach. Huzzah for vegetable consumption.

Along with the spinach, the protein from almond milk, plain Greek Yogurt, and peanut butter will keep you full for hours. This is a perfect breakfast smoothie or post-workout snack. You can change it up, as I normally do, replacing unsweetened almond milk with skim milk, or Greek yogurt with regular yogurt.

As far as the peanut butter goes, I’m all for it, except that I have no self control. PB2 is a great, lower calorie and lower fat alternative to regular peanut butter. A jar full of the dehydrated peanut butter is pricey, yet it works incredibly well in smoothies. I am in no way endorsed by PB2, and I will be the first to admit that I do not like it plain, however it gives this smoothie the familiar taste of peanut butter without weighing it down.

Green Peanut Butter Smoothie

Makes one tall glass

1 frozen banana

2 cups baby spinach

6 oz. yogurt [plain or vanilla]

1/2 cup milk or almond milk

1-2 tbs. peanut butter or PB2

Blend all ingredients together, adding ice if needed.

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Small Yield Blueberry Muffins

The end of the summertime means goodbyes to friends, house-rattling thunderstorms, packing boxes, and the best local produce of the year. An impromptu brunch for two people called for a quick, small batch of muffins. Blueberry muffins, that is. 

These muffins are dense, and can be lightened by substituting cake flour for some of the all-purpose flour. While the yield ended up bigger than I expected with one dozen muffins, each and every muffin was devoured by the end of the day.

Small Yield Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from: Chef Mommy

1 1/2 cup AP Flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup canola oil

1 egg

1/3 cup + 2 tbsp. milk

1 cup blueberries, washed and dried

For streusel topping:

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup AP flour

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Add wet mix to flour mix. Fold in blueberries. 

In small dish, mash together sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon. Sprinkle on muffins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Blueberry Peach Muffins

I love peach crumble: buttery, cinnamon-sugary, fruity bites. Add blueberries to that, put the batter in a muffin tin and sprinkle with a little more cinnamon-sugar and these babies are born. I added a simple streusel topping (combine 1/4 cup of brown sugar with 1 tablespoon of soft butter and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon), which is added on top of the muffin batter right before baking.

Blueberry Peach Muffins


3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbs baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)

1/2 cup peaches, fresh or frozen (thawed) and chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix milk and lemon in a small bowl. 

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and sugar.

Add egg and oil to milk mixture. Mix well. Gently fold this mixture into the flour mixture. Fold in fruit.

Bake in greased or lined tin for 22-24 minutes.

Smooth Start to Summer

You will feel healthy when you drink (or slurp, or scoop) this smoothie.

You will feel your skin glow.

You will be proud of the fact that you ate spinach for breakfast.

You will be satisfied.

Whenever I eat a healthy breakfast, I feel like I’ve given my body good karma for the day. This is one of those breakfasts. What an awesome way to jump start your day with a full serving of vegetables, as well as a boost of sugar and filling fiber.

All you need to do is cut up a banana, grab some frozen mangoes and peaches, a handful of spinach,  2-4 ice cubes, and a glass of water. Start by placing the fruit and vegetables into a blender. Process for a few seconds and then pour in a bit of water (a few tablespoons). Add ice, if needed or preferred. Essentially, keep adding water and/or ice until you get your perfect consistency. Additional fruit can be used depending on the flavor you want, and of course, other fruits work well too. I ended up using two small bananas for a creamier consistency.

 

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

One morning when I was little, I awoke with hives from an allergic reaction. This occurred right before a trip to the dentist to get several molars pulled. I desperately wanted to jump out of the chair in the dental office in order to scratch my skin, but instead I got injected with novocaine, temporarily blind-siding me from my intense itch. My binge drink the day before of ten boxes of Minute Maid Very Berry juice, which contained raspberry juice, was the only potential culprit of my allergy. To this day, I enjoy raspberries but in moderation.

Now, let’s focus in on these babies: Raspberry Oatmeal Bars. They remind me of Nutri-Grain bars, which subsequently reminds me of recess in elementary school. These are twenty times more delicious than the processed bars. Use the best raspberry (or apricot, strawberry, etc.) preserves you can find. The seedless type is the best, but ultimately you can use any preserves, so long as it tastes good when you swipe a spoonful out of the jar. The only change I would make to these bars would be to prepare more dry, oatmeal mixture to crumble on top. But, I can’t complain: these were out-of-this-world amazing.

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup canola oil

3 tbs water

1 10oz. jar raspberry preserves (I used Bonne Maman”brand which worked out tremendously)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8″x12″ pan.

Mix together oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and baking soda in large bowl until no lumps of brown sugar remain. Pour oil and water over oats and mix with fingers or spatula until evenly moistened. Set aside 1/2 cup of mixture for topping. Press remainder in pan. Spread preserves on top. Sprinkle remaining oats on top. 

Bake until golden 30-40 minutes. 

Lost Packages (and a Peanut Butter Granola Recipe)

When I was abroad in Australia, I was surprised to learn that most Aussie students did not know their mail man. They were startled that I knew my mailman on a first-name basis (shout out to Bob!), and that I would always say hello when I passed him delivering mail. I appreciate the hard work that goes into shipping packages and letters, but when packages get lost in the mail, I find myself furious at the USPS. Of course, as it is typically with humans, when something goes wrong, we like to point fingers.

This Valentine’s Day, I sent a gift to my boyfriend who goes to school far away from me. It was supposed to take 2 to 3 days, and it was sent 10 days ago. He has yet to receive it.

I made my boyfriend this granola for Christmas, and apparently I should have included a note that he should eat it within a week or two. Six weeks after Christmas, he stuck his hand in the jar and managed to eat a handful of ants. I cannot explain in words how embarrassed I was; how my homemade, crafty, little gift ultimately failed.

I figured, I’ll be ironic and send him another batch of granola for Valentine’s Day. This time around, I made a card stating that if he doesn’t enjoy the granola fast enough, the ants would. I should have known that my granola projects are cursed, because he never received the granola. By now I’m sure there are ants gnawing away at it in the back storage room of some mail facility. Or perhaps a mailman brought it home and is munching on it. If this is the case, I hope it is Bob, my mailman, that is eating the granola.

And so, as promised, here is the recipe for the ill-fated granola. It was delicious (which is just another blow, since my boyfriend would never taste it). Peanut butter, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips, what better combination?

Peanut Butter Granola

2 cups Rolled Oats

1/2 cup sunflower seed kernels (if salted, omit salt in recipe)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

1 cup dried fruit (I used a tropical mix)

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine oats, seeds, nuts and cinnamon in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the peanut butter, oil, sugar, honey, vanilla and salt Pour over granola mixture and stir until fully coated.

Spread gently in a 9 x 13″ pan. Bake 20-30 minutes, until toasted. Stir gently every 10 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely in pan. Add fruit and chocolate.

And here’s what he sent me, which is infinitely cuter than ant-infested granola:

Back to School, Blueberry Lemon Bread

I have moved back to the land of college life, and at least this time around I have black beans, peanut butter and bagged lettuce. Upstate New York is diametrically opposite Sydney, Australia.

Before I headed back to school, I savored my last moments in a clean, uncrowded, fully-supplied kitchen. My cat decided to help out:

The other, much wiser cat just slept.

I sent my boyfriend a loaf of Lemon Blueberry Bread. You can find the recipe here. I didn’t get to taste this one, since the recipe only yielded one loaf (and it would be strange to send a loaf with a slice cut off, right?). But I particularly liked how this “bread” had a lemon glaze poured on top. Heavenly. I used frozen blueberries, since the current supply of fresh blueberries in New England come from Chile.