Matcha Date and Almond Smoothie

Matcha-Date-and-Almond-Smoothie,-Yes,-more-please!

Loong time no see my friends! We apologize for the post delay, we have been dealing with some household chaos. I’ve been out of order for about 10 days, rough times I’ll tell you Back issues can be really painful I heart for people who have chronic pain. Thanks to Ian and his caring I’m feeling much better these days. In the meantime I hope you had time to make all the soup and all those recipes that you wanted to make last year , but you didn’t, because you can’t, but you want to, and you will and today is a good day to start. I hear you…. all this time in bed and I wanted to cook so bad, and I couldn’t. I made an awesome 3 1/2 minute soup that tasted just like it 3 1/2 minutes of big effort and glory! For me it tasted like if it had been simmering for hours. I guess when you are sick you just want some warm comfort. Any way this smoothie made my morning one of these sicky days it just put a smile on my face it felt like I was having a healthy dessert in a glass.

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Let me tell you all about this green creamy smoothie. The matcha and dates are a combination made in heaven; the sweet caramel dates play so well with the bright intense green tea flavor. The supporting cast: the almond milk, a couple of tablespoons of almonds and of course for texture and body a frozen banana. A small squeeze of lemon to brighten all those flavors, all goes to the blender….bleeeehhtzzz, blitzzzz, a little more blitzzz blitzzz …then pour it in a chilled glass and add a straw or two if you are willing to share… Enjoy!

Matcha-Date-and-Almond-Smoothie_ingredients

 

Matcha Date and Almond Smoothie

Makes 1 large non-sharable smoothie or two skinny glasses for a little afternoon snack.

1 cup almond milk
1 medium frozen banana peeled.
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder cooking grade
2-3 medjool dates / remove the pits. Start with 2 dates and from there decide if you want it more sweet, add another date.
1 small squeeze of lemon
4-5 ice cubes

Directions:

Place all ingredients on a blender, bleeeeeeeeehhtzzz.
Pause then pulse Blitzzzz, blitzzzz just to make sure the dates are completely blend in.

Serve on chilled glasses with a straw.

Enjoy!

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Matcha-Date-and-Almond-Smoothie_Yes,-more-please!

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Blueberry Lemon Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Oatmeal-Bluberry-Lemon-Breakfast-Cookies_Bite,-smile,-inhale-blueberry-goodness,-share-and-enjoy!

Cookies for breakfast? Hell yes! That is the concept behind these cookies, because… YES.
This oatmeal cookie its a little break after all that holiday cooking, prepping, and wrapping. These Blueberry Lemon Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies are just for you to indulge a morning craving, to power up your day.
Why?, because these good-hearted creatures are made with whole grain flour, oats flakes, wheat of germ, fresh blueberries, and a good punch of lemon zest…Something to lift up your morning. Lots of energy, antioxidants, fiber, and all those things that are as important as having a big smile on your face!…right?

Can you eat this cookie instead of breakfast? Perhaps, but I recommend some protein to go along with them, like a cup of yogurt, nuts, and a cup of coffee or tea. Bake them regular size for breakfast or in a smaller bites for an afternoon snack.

Bake a batch over the weekend and power up your breakfast, whether you are preparing to take a hike, go to the park, or take down the holiday decorations…Please save some time to snuggle under a blanket, or sit on your porch with a good friend and enjoy a cookie and great cup ot tea.

Have a great weekend!Oatmeal-Blueberry-Lemon-Breakfast-Cookies_cookie-talk

Oatmeal-Bluberry-Lemon-Breakfast-Cookies_ingredients

Oatmeal Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Cookies

Makes 12-14 / 3” breackfast cookies or 18-20 / 1 ½” snack little cookies

Dry:

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
¼ wheat of germ
2 cups of old fashion oats
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 pinches of fine salt
2 pinches ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (optional)

Wet:

½ cup butter room temperature /or sunflower oil or coconut butter
½ cup well packed brown sugar /or date sugar.
¼ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
The zest of one large lemon
¼ cup whole milk /or almond milk, soy milk will work too.

Fold and top with:

1 cup fresh blueberries… or a little more.

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Preparation Method:

1. Preheat the oven at 350F/182C
2. In a small bowl Combine all dry ingredients, mix them and set aside.

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3. In a medium size bowl cream your butter until white and fluffy. Using a stand mixer, a hand mixer or a wood spatula.
4. Add the brown sugar, white sugar, and the vanilla extract. Mix for about 3 minutes.
5. Add the egg and the lemon zest mix for 2 minutes.

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6. Add half of the dry ingredients from step 2. Add milk and the rest of the dry ingredients, mix until well combined. Add blueberries, fold them in.

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7. Scoop rounded tablespoons onto a bake sheet lined with parchment paper or sil pad, add some extra blueberries on the top, and bake for 8-10 minutes until slighty golden brown on the edges and tops.

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8. Remove from oven let them rest on the cookie tray for 1-2 more minutes, transfer to a cooling rack…

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Oatmeal-Blueberry-Lemon-Breakfast-Cookies_cooling-rack

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Bite, smile, inhale blueberry goodness,

Share and enjoy!

 

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Chipotle Albondigas-Meatball Soup

Chipotle-Albondigas-Meatball-Soup_Yes,-more-pelase!

Praise the Lord for Albondigas and this 34F weather! I think this combination is a match made in heaven. Imagine a piping hot tomato smokey spicy broth with turkey-rice meatballs swimming among little pieces of carrot, sweet potatoes, potatoes, zucchini, kale and chayotes. Serve it with Sour Cream or Mexican crema, corn tortillas, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

This is the type of Mexican comfort soup dear to my heart. The classic albondigas are made with ground beef /ground chuck, which give the broth a richer flavor. I was craving a lighter comfort soup and I made them with ground turkey and chicken broth. The result is a soup which is light as a feather. Rice is added to the meatballs giving them a soft tender crumb along with egg and some finely chopped onions and spices. I used some of my favorite vegetable soup veggies and added some kale to win extra green points.

Feel free to use any vegetables of your affection. Not fan of kale? Spinach will work. The white rice can be interchanged with quinoa, farro, or brown rice to add extra nutrition and flavor. But beside the fantastic meatball action, I believe everything is about the broth in this soup. A combination of crushed tomatoes with chipotle and smokey paprika is the ticket to this fantastic soup recipe. It comes out mildly spicy; just enough to make your throat ticklish. Mmmm!

This one pot dinner soup would make you fall in love with wintery nights. If you like meatballs, vegetables and spicy broth you gonna love this Chipotle Albondigas-Meatball Soup.

Keep warm!

 

Chipotle-Albondigas-Soup_-main-ingredients

Chipotle-Albondigas-Meatball-Soup_ingredients_Yes,-more-please!

 

Chipotle Albondigas-Meatball Soup

Serves 1 mama bear, 1 papa bear and 2 cubs or 6 cold flamingos.

For the broth:

6 cups of water
1 quart chicken broth low sodium
2 bay leaf

1-1/2 cups crushed or whole tomatoes roasted
3 chipotles en adobo (one small can will do if not, freeze the rest)
1 garlic clove
¼ yellow onion
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dry Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4-5 cranks of fresh black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the Albondigas/Meatballs:

1 ¼ lbs. ground lean turkey 95% – 7% (Ground chuck or ground bison can be great substitutions.)
½ cup un-cooked white rice
¼ finely diced yellow onion
½ teaspoon dry Mexican oregano
1 large egg
1-2 spoonfuls of the Chipotle adobo juices.
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
4 cranks fresh black pepper

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Vegetables for the broth:

1 medium sweet potato
5 small carrots
2 small light green Mexican zucchini*
1 Chayote**
4-5 curly kale leafs

*If you have not tried this variety of zucchini, please do. They are sweeter and mild in flavor. This light green smaller zucchinis hold their texture better than the dark green or yellow zucchini when cooked. I call it Mexican zucchini because it is the most common variety in Mexico and It’s widely use in several dishes.
**Chayote in Latin American cuisine or Mirliton in French creole cuisine is a delicious fruit-vegetable, that taste between a potato and a cucumber. It is slightly sweet and starchy , very mild and juicy it holds it shape in soups and it has a great nutritional value. Easy to find now a days in many markets and supermarkets. Treat it like a potato, peel, wash and dice.

Chipotle-Albondigas-Meatball-soup_Chayotes-Mirliton

Preparation Method:

1. In a large pot add the water, chicken broth and the 2 bay leaves. Bring to a slow simmer.
2. Blend until pureed, the roasted tomatoes, chipotles, garlic clove, yellow onion, smoked paprika, mexican oregano, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and salt. Add this purée into the simmering broth and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. While the broth is simmering, prepare the albondigas/meatballs by combining all the meatball ingredients: ground turkey,un-cooked white rice, finely diced yellow onion, Mexican oregano, egg, chipotle juices, Worcestershire sauce, S&P on a medium size metal bowl, using your hands mix until well combined. Now, Wash your hands, dry them. Apply a little cooking oil on the palm of your hands and start forming the meatballs, by taking a small chunk of the mixture, about 2 tablespoonfuls and roll it with your hands.The size of the albondigas/meatballs should be 1 ½” to 2” round. The oil in your hands will help shaping them minimizing the sticky matter. This amount of ground turkey makes about 12-13 albondigas/meatballs. Place them onto a slightly oiled plate or metal tray as you roll them.

Chipotle-Albondigas-Soup_mixing-the-meatball-ingredients
4. Check on your broth, remove and discard any tomato foam. Turn up the heat to medium high and once is boiling , carefully add one meatball at the time, waiting about 30 seconds in between each meatball addition. I usually place the meatballs into the broth with my hand as I form them. A safer way to do this, is by using a soup ladle to place the meatball and then submerge it into the broth. Make sure your ladle has a bit of the broth so the meatball do not stick on the ladle, specially if you are using a metal ladle. (see picture below).

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5. Once all the meatballs are in the pot, bring it to a boil and then turn down the heat to a slow simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir gently, occasionally.
6. After 15 minutes, check on the albondigas/meatballs, the rice in them will start to look tender and cooked.  At this point, add the hard vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes and chayotes. These kind of vegetables have the same cooking time. Bring the soup to slow simmer and cook until desired doneness. I like to cook mine for 5-7 minutes, I like them firm and cooked through but not mushy. Last but not least, add the softer vegetables like zucchini, spinach or kale, bring to a slow simmer cover and turn off the pot. Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving so this delicate veggies wilt and the zucchinis cook and marry all flavors. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your taste.

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7. Serve piping hot maybe 2 to 3 meatballs per person, plenty of vegetables and broth. A dollop of Mexican crema, and squeeze of lime juice.

Chipotle-Albondigas-Meatball-Soup-Yes,-more-please!_ready-to-serve!

Eat, repeat and keep warm, Enjoy!

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p.s. As with any soup, Chipotle Albondigas-Meatball Soup taste specially better the next day the rice in the meatballs thickens the broth and all the flavors are talking to each other in the most delicious comfort way!…This recipe freeze well, it’s a keeper!

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Cauliflower Chowder

Cauliflower-Chowder_cauliflower-Yes,-more-please!

After enjoying these days of caloric ecstasy and extravagances, it’s hard to immediately switch to the light and healthier road. It feels like you are giving a kid a candy and 5 minutes later you change that to a cucumber… it is just plain hard. All my taste buds are still in frantic mode and my serotonin levels are a roll a coaster. But Nature is wise, and perhaps knows these facts by sprouting a great Winter abundance of greens, root vegetables, cabbages and cauliflowers among other vegetables.

These are my saviors for this caloric transitional period. I need soup to warm me up and fill up my belly with out the extra filling out of my pants.. ahem.

Last weekend at my farmers market I ran into these beauties, a warm yellow and a purple cauliflower, rainbow carrots, sweet potatoes and fresh dill. How can you not be inspired when you see all this colors? Soup it is, I was craving the creamy textures and luxurious caloric meals, but with no guilt. So I decided to make an all vegetable chowder using all these winter bounty.

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Cauliflower has a delicate flavor. When it is cooked and pureed it resembles potatoes. You would be surprised how close you can prepare it to mimic the potato. I’m sure you’ve heard of cauliflower mashed, cauliflower rice or cauliflower mac & cheese in which this humble Brassica acts like a carb-chameleon. With this premise I started my vegetable chowder by cooking and pureeing part of the cauliflower as the soup base to give that rich starchy like consistency that characterizes a chowder. I reserved some of the cauliflower into little florets which are added latter to the soup to add texture and enhance the cauliflower flavor. The extra creamy chowderiness comes from unsweetened coconut milk which gives this soup the luxurious velvety chowder texture and it adds lots of good healthy fats that are well needed at this point of the healthy road transition. Do not fear about the coconut over taking the flavor on the soup, you barely can tell is here. Carrots, sweet potatoes and onions add sweetness, texture and light flavor. Fresh dill adds a great herbal aroma to the soup and complements the cauliflower flavor in a very delicate way.

I recommend organically grown vegetables if possible. I know that’s not easy, but increasingly supermarkets are adding those options if you don’t have access to a farmer’s market. In my opinion the flavor is better and I think with a lightly seasoned dish like this one, those flavors are going to shine through.

This Cauliflower chowder will warm you up, fulfill your starchy desires, and settle down your taste buds. I would say this soup is the ticket to redemption road. Enjoy!
Time to tame the growling carb lions.

You also might like:

 Grilled Cauliflower with Garlic and Cumin rub or My favorite Cauliflower Ceviche …check them out!

Cauliflower-Chowder_how-to-cut-Florets

Cauliflower Chowder

Serves 4 or 2 hungry Vegans.

2 small or 1 medium Cauliflower heads
(any color is great about 6-7 cups of small cauliflower florets total)
6-7 small carrots, diced or sliced into rounds.
I used red, yellow, and orange, use what ever is freshest available at your market.
1 medium sweet potato peeled and diced.
¼ wedge of a large sweet onion
2 small garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cups water*
1 – 14oz can unsweetened coconut milk/cream
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1 pinch paprika
Salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with:

Fresh dill/not fan of dill?… Basil, Thyme, Chives, Tarragon are great substitutions.
smoked paprika
(Crostini or toast drizzled with olive oil and Parmesan cheese optional)

*I used water instead of vegetable stock, because I wanted the cauliflower flavor to come through. The first time I made this soup I used vegetable stock and I felt it masked the cauliflower flavor to much. Feel free to use what ever you prefer.

Preparation method:

1. Chop and diced your vegetables. With a small pairing knife cut the cauliflower into small florets. Reserve about 2 cups of the little florets to add to the soup at last. For this soup I used the yellow cauliflower for the soup base and the purple florets to add whole to the soup, it adds eye appeal.

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2. In a small pot, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Pre-cook the diced carrots and sweet potatoes for 4-5 minutes, until al-dente, rinse with cold water. Set aside.
3. Over medium low heat in a medium size pot, add the extra virgin olive oil, and sauté the chopped onions and garlic until translucent, season with salt and pepper.
4. Once the onions are translucent, add ¾ of the cauliflower florets. Toss and add 2 cups of water or just enough to cover the florets. Add salt and pepper, cover with a lid and let them cook for 7-8 minutes or until very soft and tender. Once cooked, purée them in a food processor, blender, or use an immersion blender until smooth.
5. Place this cauliflower purée back into the pot, add the coconut milk and stir well until blended. Season with celery salt, salt, paprika and black pepper. Add a bit more water if the consistency is to thick.
6. Add the reserved mini cauliflower florets, and the pre cooked carrots and sweet potatoes. Cover with a lid and bring to a slow simmer cook for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary. Check for doneness on the vegetables; I like my vegetables on the al-dente side, not hard but not mushy. Taste them and decide if you like them softer keep cooking them for another 2-3 minutes.

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Cauliflower-Chowder_serve-warm-with-fresh-dill

Serve immediately into warm bowls, sprinkle fresh dill, a little drizzle of olive oil, salt and fresh cracked pepper.

One or two crostinis won’t hurt right?… Enjoy!

Cauliflower-Chowder-Yes,-more-please!

Cauliflower-Chowder_Warm-up!-_Yes,-more-please!

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