more veg, please

I love finding creative ways to get more vegetables, especially of the leafy green variety, into my diet. This summer I got into green smoothies. The problem I have with smoothies, is you pretty much have to have one every day because they take so many fresh ingredients that need to be used quickly before they go bad. Of course, Pinterest pointed me to a perfect solution to this problem- make up a whole bunch of smoothie batter, pour it into muffin tins (you could also use ice cube trays), put them in the freezer and then voila, you have an instant smoothie on hand whenever you need your fix.

After discovering this solution and purchasing a gigantic pack of spinach at Costco, I decided my green smoothies are back  in rotation. The recipe I used this morning was from Two Peas and Their Pod. It is my favorite green smoothie recipe so far. I love that it skips the fruit juice and uses full fruits, for that extra fiber-y punch.

  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 cups spinach
  • small handful frozen strawberries
  • 1/3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

Stick it all in the blender. Blend. I poured in about 1/2 cup water to get things going. If you have a crazy strong blender you might not need the water. Make sure you garnish with a cute straw.

Another of my favorite combinations:

  • half a cucumber
  • a few handfuls of spinach
  • 1/4 mango or peach
  • 2 slices cantaloupe
  • 1/2 cup apple juice

Add your spinach and apple juice first, blend just a bit and then add the rest of your ingredients. Again, don’t forget to garnish with a cute straw.

I don’t like a lot of ice in my smoothies, especially this time of year, so feel free to add what you like. You could also add flax seeds for some Omega-3s, nuts or peanut butter for a bit more protein- with smoothies the possibilities are endless!

Do you have any favorite combinations I should try?

Side note: for those of you who asked for the cinnamon roll recipe, it’s coming, I haven’t forgotten about you! 🙂

 

our weekend: friends and treats

Our weekend was full of dinner with friends and fun yummy treats. And there was also the miracle of snow…which is still here and more is coming!

We had a Progressive Dinner with our church small group on Saturday night. It was a lot of fun to get together with everyone without our kiddos. We made 3 stops for 3 different courses- appetizers, main course and dessert. We hosted the last portion of the evening with a small ice cream parlour and games. More on that later this week.

We had a bunch of egg yolks from the dessert I made so BJ decided to make us Eggs Benedict on Sunday morning. Yum! (whenever I see photos of my kitchen it makes me cringe, I cannot WAIT to start the remodel!)

Then on Sunday afternoon I made these Buffalo Chicken Bites as we watched the Packers lose. This recipe was yummy. You can’t go wrong with Buffalo chicken filling in my book, but the dough was especially delicious.

The little one is practicing all kinds of new tricks pulling up on various objects at her level and even letting go. She thinks she’s pretty cool.

We’re snowed in here for the next couple days. We’ll have to think of some creative ideas so we don’t go crazy!

fall favorites

I love summer and warm weather, but for some reason my love for Fall has really grown this year. I love the changing leaves, trips to apple orchards and pumpkin patches, Honeycrisp apples, Honey Roasted Peanut Butter, chunky knits and boots…so much coziness I can’t even handle it!

I’ve fully embraced the season this year by making applesauce, (I think we have enough to last us until next Fall)

Baking an Apple Galette

Glitterizing pumpkins (when glitterizing ALWAYS use Martha Stewart glitter, you won’t be disappointed)

Making homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes using my trusty milk frother. (don’t leave home without it) This tasted just like a PSL at Starbucks…no joke.

And my latest adventure of making Pumpkin Butter solely so I could make these paninis. (recipe found via Tastespotting…again)

Although my heart has been loving Fall I’m starting to churn some Christmas ideas around in my head. Is this the end to dear Fall? I’ll keep you updated.

What are some of your favorite activities this season?

veggie harvest

BJ just pulled our carrot harvest last night. I can’t wait to roast these up sometime this weekend. I love roasted carrots and all of the different colors will make them even more fun to eat.

Our garden flourished this year. We had peas, cucumbers, LOTS of tomatoes, beets, onions, garlic, lettuces, carrots and zucchini. Beyond watering, we don’t spend a lot of time in our garden. I think the key to our successful harvest has been raised beds filled with good dirt and good compost. We also have an abundance of sun in our backyard.

Another thing I’m proud of this year was that we actually used (and are still using) all of the produce we grew. We made refrigerator pickles with our cucumbers, fresh tomatoes for marinara sauce and canned salsa, a double recipe of zucchini bread- one loaf to eat and one to freeze- and dried the garlic and onions for use throughout the year.

We had so much zucchini and I knew I could only eat so many zucchini fries, grilled zucchini and zucchini bread, so I was on the hunt for a good zucchini recipe. Once again, I used Tastespotting for inspiration and found Zucchini Cakes. You guys, they were SO good! The recipe is fairly basic and can be easily spruced up. They key is to squeeze as much water as possible out of the zucchini before you mix in the rest of the ingredients. They were delicious with marinara sauce, Trader Joe’s Cilantro salad dressing and a homemade cool Ranch dressing.

Here’s the basic recipe (inspired by many recipes around the interwebs):

1 large zucchini, grated and water squeezed out

1/2 cup bread crumbs or panko

1 large egg

A couple cloves of garlic

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

You could also add Tony Cachere’s Seasoning or Red Pepper Flakes for a little zing

Salt and Pepper

Olive Oil

Grate the zucchini and use a towel to squeeze as much of the moisture as possible from the zucchini. Place in large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl. Give a few shakes of salt and pepper over the whole mixture. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Make sure there is enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Form the zucchini mixture into patties. Once your oil is hot add your patties into the pan. Fry them up for a couple minutes per side. You want them golden brown. Serve with marinara, Ranch, goddess dressing, the possibilities are endless.

I realize this recipe is a little late as you’re probably through  your zucchini harvest, but I hope you’ll save it for next year or when you have a hankering for zucchini!

 

berry picking

Whatcom County is one of the largest producers of berries in the country and every year I have intentions to pick berries until my hearts content. In three years of living here I haven’t done it yet, until this year! I hit up strawberry picking with one of my besties, Jessica, when she came to visit at the end of June and then earlier this week Isla and I hit up the raspberries.

Isla and I in the strawberry fields in late June.

Raspberry picking!

Our loot. We collected 3-1/2 lbs. total.

I brought those 3-1/2 lbs. of berries home and froze some for a little taste of summer in the middle of the winter.  I also used this recipe to make raspberry jam. I downloaded some labels from Jones Design Company to dress up the jars, aren’t they cute?

My mom’s going to be here next week, maybe we’ll hit up the blueberry harvest!

 

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