Monthly Archives: December, 2015

Nutty Mocha Almond Fudge Pear Smoothie

chocolate pear mocha almond fudge peanut butter smoothie

Today is New Year’s Eve, a sleepless night of lavish parties, overconsumption of hors-dœuvres, and potential substance abuse, for many celebrants.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Day, the first day of many people’s new health regimes for 2016. Far too many of us are unsatisfied with our physical bodies and resolve to alter them, often using drastic measures that compromise our personal qualities such as compassion and patience. (Anyone who has ever had a family member or friend go a week on only spinach and grapefruit can attest that they aren’t very fun to converse with at the breakfast table during that time.)

Far too many of these so-called health resolutions will fall by the wayside within a few months, as people slip back into old routines that may not provide optimal nourishment for their bodies. Rather than making a resolution I can’t keep, this year I hope to explore more ways to nourish all levels of my being while also treating myself to something that’s going to put me in a good mood for conversation! (Especially as one of my other hopes for the year is to make some new friends). With recipes such as this fueling, decadent smoothie, I can get the best balance of physical, emotional, mental, and gustatory health.

This satisfying smoothie is perfect for breakfast, an afternoon pick-me-up, or a secretly healthy dessert. A sophisticated blend of subtle mocha, rich chocolate, salty nut butter, juicy pear, and sweet banana, serve cold and savor (that is, if you happen to live in a place that’s warm enough for cold drinks in January!)

Nutty Mocha Almond Fudge Pear Smoothie

serves one

chocolate mocha almond pear peanut butter smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk
  • 1 single-serving container of dark chocolate pudding (I used Jell-O sugar free)
  • 1 whole fresh pear, washed and cut into large chunks
  • 1 frozen banana (or use a fresh banana and add more ice)
  • 1 small ice cube
  • 1 So Delicious brand Mocha Almond Fudge frozen almond milk bar
  • 1 tbs nut butter (I only had crunchy peanut butter, but almond butter would match the theme of the smoothie better if you prefer.)

Directions:

Place almond milk, pudding, pear, banana, and ice cubes in blender.

Carefully break off some of the chocolate coating on the frozen almond milk bar using a spoon. Reserve in a cool place for topping.

Spoon the rest of the frozen almond milk bar into the blender with the other ingredients.

Blend until completely smooth.

Pour into a tall glass. Top with a dollop of nut butter and a gaggle of chocolate-almond pieces. Go nuts over this addictive treat any time of day!

Note: this smoothie can easily be made vegan by using vegan pudding and making sure all other ingredients are certified vegan.

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Good Morning Smoothie Featuring Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds

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I come from a cereal breakfast family. Every morning when I was in elementary school, I took for granted that cereal with milk would be breakfast. It wasn’t until high school that I began to branch out with toast, eggs, and other more interesting creations. But I can’t say I’ve never looked back.

Over the years, various brands and flavors of cereal have taken on certain characters for me based on the memories I associate with them.

For instance, one of the Spiderman movies came out when my brother and I were both in a Froot-Loops phase. The cereal began advertising Spiderman trinket bobbleheads inside each box, so every time we opened a new box we’d discover a new plastic treasure to end up forgotten on the floor a few minutes later. Now every time I see a picture of Spiderman I smell the sugar and food coloring of Froot-Loops.

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Image copyright Marvel Comics, found on https://craytoncomicblog.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/review-157-carnage-1-oktober-2010-marvel-comics/

When I was around twelve, in that awkward stage between unhealthy child muncher and unhealthy dieting tween, my family was on vacation in some So-Cal town. Because everyone was picky about breakfast, Dad took us kids to the local grocery store to get whatever we were willing to eat. I actually wanted to try something different, so I picked out Cinnabon cereal: basically tiny stale cinnamon buns in milk.

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Image found on http://forthemommas.com/store-deals/weis-markets/weis-kelloggs-cereal-low-87

I was disappointed that the cereal wasn’t as amazing as a real cinnamon bun. My mom also noted that it was lower in nutritional value than the cereals I would usually eat at home (Special K, Honey Bunches of Oats, Post Selects, etc.) I renounced the cereal, teary-eyed and embarrassed.

The lowest calorie cereal I could find in the grocery store back home was Fiber One 80 calorie cardboard squares. My first year of high school, I would pour a few squares into a bowl that had once overflowed with Froot-Loops, add a few drops of skim milk, and slice up two strawberries to match the picture on the box.

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Image found on http://www.mrbreakfast.com/cereal_detail.asp?id=1462

One time my mom was trying to convince me I wasn’t eating enough and insisted upon measuring my cereal. I was terrified I would discover I had poured more than a serving size into the bowl, but actually it was less than the stated 3/4 cup. My mom and I looked each other in the eye, both knowing I had a problem, both unsure whether to laugh or cry. I’ll always remember that moment as one of the painful sunbeams that has illuminated my long and ongoing path to healing.

This past summer, my mother, 14-year-old brother and I were on snack break at the Natural History Museum. I chose to grab a single-serving convenience cup of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, an old favorite, and some Greek yogurt to mix into it.

640px-NaturalHistoryMuseumOfLosAngelesCounty

Image credit: “NaturalHistoryMuseumOfLosAngelesCounty” by David Leigh Ellis – Self-photographed. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NaturalHistoryMuseumOfLosAngelesCounty.jpg#/media/File:NaturalHistoryMuseumOfLosAngelesCounty.jpg

My brother eyed my purchase suspiciously and remarked, “You know those cereal cups are for college students, right?” Since I was shipping off to my first year of college at the end of the month, I felt entitled to eat college convenience food. My brother just shook his head as I mixed the yogurt into the sweet granola clusters and flakes. Clearly I was a precocious one.

I haven’t seen any convenience cups of Honey Bunches of Oats at the 7-11 near my college. I’ve missed them, and I feel like I’m not getting the real college experience my brother promised. So now while home for winter break, I decided recently to pick up a full box at the grocery store, a better value than those individual cups anyway. As soon as I brought it home, my mind was whirring with ideas of recipes to use it in.

This one is pretty simple: a fueling, invigorating blueberry orange smoothie with a full serving of Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds for added crunch and a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter for added energy. Feel free to use almond butter or any other nut butter of your choosing.

Blueberry Orange Peanut Butter Crunch Smoothie

serves 1-2

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Ingredients:

  • one single-serving container Greek blueberry yogurt (I used Yoplait Greek 100)
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk
  • 1 whole large navel orange
  • 1 frozen banana (or use a fresh banana and add more ice)
  • a couple ice cubes
  • 3/4 cup Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds cereal
  • 1 tbs crunchy peanut butter

Directions:

Peel orange and separate segments for easier blending. Place most of the orange segments in the blender, but reserve one or two for garnish.

Pour almond milk into blender. Add yogurt, frozen banana, and ice cubes.

Blend until smooth

Add cereal and blend for about five seconds, just to mix it in.

Pour smoothie into serving glass. Garnish with reserved orange slice(s) and a scoop of your favorite nut butter. Enjoy cold.

Up and at ’em!

Davey Scones’ Locker!

 

DaveySconesLocker

I lied in my last post when I said I’d been away at college the past few months. Actually, I’ve been traipsing the Coral Sea on a bedraggled schooner with several diverse characters including Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson, Michael Crichton’s Lazue (hawk-eyed female, raised as a man), and the obligatory Jack Sparrow. Our mission? Capture all shark-finning boats, train the fishermen onboard to be marine biologists, perform emergency surgery on the sharks, and of course, take all the fishermen’s treasure for ourselves.

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We managed to overtake one ship just as its captain was about to slice off the dorsal fin of a reef shark. Madame Ching the pirate queen shocked him with a spontaneous performance of “Call Me Maybe,” which made him drop the thrashing fish to the deck.

Noticing the peculiar shape of the shark’s stomach, I came over and performed CPR until he coughed up none other than Auntie Teach’s Recipe Book. Allegedly handwritten by the aunt of Edward Teach (Blackbeard) in the Golden Age, this pudgy, homespun volume of recipes to fuel illegal activity on the high seas has been sought after for centuries by foodies and historians alike!

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I decided to sell it to a museum as an act of charity that also made me a lot of money. But before doing that, on our last day on the pirate ship, I flipped to a random shark-bile-soaked page and made the recipe lovingly scrawled (and personalized with drips of rum) for “Anti-Scurvy Scones.”

When traveling at sea for weeks, particularly before refrigerators were invented, getting fresh fruits and vegetables was a serious problem. Sailors used to drink lime juice to avoid nasty diseases resulting from a lack of certain vitamins.

640px-Wreck_of_the_Dart_(Sketched_on_the_Morning_after_the_Storm_of_the_25th_Octr_1842)_at_Madeira

Auntie Teach’s recipe includes flavorful limeade, as well as coconut flakes that could have been harvested from local islands, dried cranberries that would have been brought onboard to replace fresh fruit, and white chocolate chips to sweeten the deal. She packs even more nutrient-rich fruit into these breakfast delights with the surprise inner filling: passionately tart red raspberry compote made from frozen raspberries. As our formerly shark-finning friends loved smoothies, they had a freezer full of the berries for me to mush to pulp.

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Over a breakfast of hot scones oozing gooey raspberry filling, we discussed the state of sharks in today’s changing world, as well as practical matters such as the leeches in Jack’s boots and how terrible the internet service was in the middle of the ocean.

By the time we got back to the states to drop me off at college, everyone was begging me for this recipe. I promised to publish it on my blog. And a pirate always keeps her word, especially if she doesn’t want to be troubled with revenge while trying to finish school. So here it is.

Click here for the full recipe: “Pirate” Scones (Key Lime Coconut Surprise)

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Like reading about swashbuckling environmental pirates as much as you like healthy treats? Check out my free ebook People with Fishtails on Smashwords and Amazon, and my active author blog, aseaworthyfrigate.wordpress.com for more.

Image credits in order of appearance (excluding scone pictures which were taken and edited by me using iphoto and Ribbit):

“Nordsee”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nordsee.jpg#/media/File:Nordsee.jpg

“Wreck of the Dart (Sketched on the Morning after the Storm of the 25th Octr 1842) at Madeira” by Emily Geneviève Smith – National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wreck_of_the_Dart_(Sketched_on_the_Morning_after_the_Storm_of_the_25th_Octr_1842)_at_Madeira.jpg#/media/File:Wreck_of_the_Dart_(Sketched_on_the_Morning_after_the_Storm_of_the_25th_Octr_1842)_at_Madeira.jpg

 

Breaking the Silence with Mini Cheesecake Parfaits!

Ahoy there, Internet! Remember me?

I started this blog to aid my tumultuous transition to a nourishing, yet still highly restrictive diet towards the beginning of high school, when I realized starvation wasn’t as pretty as I had once thought. Now, four years later, I’ve just finished my first semester as a college freshman, and I have survived the dining hall!

flower with moth in McMinnville Oregon

Above: Flower and moth in McMinnville, OR residential neighborhood garden.

Over the years, my relationship with food has evolved, and not always in a positive way. There were years where I obsessed in anguish over differences of 5 calories; days where I abstained from eating on account of unrequited attraction to a crush who couldn’t care less about my numbers.

I’m not going to claim I have “made a full recovery” at this point; recovery is one of those things you don’t achieve in eating disorders; you just keep plodding along on the endless journey. With that said, though, I have made giant strides in leaving behind my food obsessions, thanks to my dedicated family, my expert support team, and my own conscious decisions. I can end the year thankful for all the people who continue to insist upon believing in me.

tree in park founded by graduating class at Linfield

Above: Tree in a McMinnville, OR park, founded by a graduating class of Linfield College (Go Wildcats!)

I made these mini cheesecakes when I came home from college for Thanksgiving break in November, so that shows you how connected I’ve been to the blogging world lately. Truth be told, I haven’t made anything blog-worthy since, though I’m now home for winter vacation so that could change soon!

My mom said she liked these, but they didn’t have any recognizable flavor she could put her finger on. I guess cookie dough cheesecake is already pretty innovative, and adding spiced apples makes it even weirder. So only make these for your party if your guests are willing to step outside their comfort zone!

chocolate chunk cookie dough cheesecake apple spice parfait

If unusual, the combination certainly works. The crisp, juicy apple is a nice break from gooey winter baked fruits, delivering all the unadulterated nutrients of fresh fruit. The cookie dough yogurt “cheesecake” is satisfying and protein-rich. The chocolate chunks are a must!

As a no-bake and easily gluten-free recipe, these cuties could spice up your holiday get-together or just make a nice anytime treat to have in the fridge.

Mini Apple Spiced Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough Cheesecake Parfaits

Makes 9 mini cheesecakes

apple spiced chocolate chunk cookie dough cheesecake parfait

Ingredients:

  • one whole, fresh Cripp’s Pink Apple (or your favorite apple variety)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • splash of nutmeg
  • pinch of ginger
  • 2 Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese triangles
  • one single-serving container (5.3 oz) of plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour – or use your favorite flour; almond for instance would make the whole thing gluten-free!
  • 2 tbs Truvia Baking Blend
  • 2 tbs creamy peanut butter
  • 9 Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate kisses

Directions:

Arrange 9 regular-sized aluminum muffin cups. Remove chocolate kisses from any freezing or refrigeration so they will be easier to chop later.

Place cheese triangles and plain yogurt in blender; puree until smooth. (Retrospectively, blending by hand may have yielded a faster and more effective result than the blender did.)

Blend in the flour, Truvia Baking Blend, and peanut butter. Mixture should be smooth and very thick.

Slice and dice the apple into bite-sized morsels. Toss to coat with the spices.

In each prepared muffin cup, layer apple pieces with a dollop of the yogurt-flour mixture on top.

Unwrap each chocolate kiss. One by one, chop them and sprinkle the chunks over the cheesecakes. You will use about one chocolate kiss per cheesecake.

Refrigerate cheesecakes for several hours (I did about 3.25). Serve cold.

My holiday wish for you is a perfect balance of sweet love from the warm hearts of those that count, savory labor serving whomever you are able to enjoy a better life, and whatever parts of life are dark chocolate to you, I hope they flurry to your window like snowflakes to warm your heart this season! Cheers.

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