Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Coconut Water Smoothie

We're smoothie fans!  Almost every day at this house is started with a smoothie....a great way to increase fruit and vegetable (but mostly fruit) intake first thing in the morning.  Sometimes I make them with yogurt or with soy milk or with orange juice; and sometimes they are green smoothies for that extra spinach intake; and sometimes instead of juice I use coconut water.  I buy Zico brand at Trader Joe's....a slightly expensive habit but it does make for a nice variety of liquid in the smoothie....a bit less sweet than when it is made with juice.  I have found that buying the individual servings works for us since we would just drink it if I bought the larger and seemingly more economical size.  I usually have a couple bottles of this on hand for those days when I run out of other liquids.

Our smoothies are usually the green monster type with the spinach, as I mentioned.  However, they do tend to change with the seasons.  For winter it is usually frozen strawberries, frozen mango, and frozen bananas along with liquid. 

A great way to start the day!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sweet Potato Soup

I have a great squash soup recipe....the one with apples, so I wasn't sure that I needed another one.  But, kinda like a new pair of shoes, I found that I could use this recipe too.

This one has a different taste...likely due to the chipotles and cinnamon.  I really liked this soup, and so did everyone in my house.  I really like to follow Nicole from, 
she often has recipes that look good and make a quick and healthy dinner.  I varied her recipe a bit since I didn't have the celery, a rarely add salt to anything, and used apple juice. 

Sweet Potato and Apple and Chipotle Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 1/2 cups sweet potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and chopped
 2 cups (about 1 1/2) apples, peeled and chopped
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
1 qt (4 cups) low-sodium vegetable broth
 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup apple juice
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions and stir frequently until onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the sweet potatoes, apples, chipotles, broth, apple juice, salt, cinnamon, and black pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a strong simmer, cover, and allow to cook about 20 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
Using an immersion blender, puree soup, or working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, venting the top. Serve hot.

Where I have I been?  I guess I'm just going through the cycle where blogging is at the bottom of this list.  It's been crazy busy at work the last few weeks, in a good way.  I've tried Y blitz, continued to spin and go to body pump.  It seems like weather is imposing a bit of a break from running due to cold and ice and varying conditions.  I'm still making good food; however, it tends to be repeated recipes.  I'm not sure of my future blogging commitment though.  I still enjoy it, but I wish I had a tiny bit more time to pump it up a bit.  I know, I know, you can make time for whatever is important; however, I really feel like that part is a bit lower on the list.  For now.  So, check back periodically.....I still plan to post...maybe just a bit more sporadically. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Bars

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars

Cheese and Packers and it's a Wisco thing!

Last week I had these at work....someone brought them in as a holiday treat.  I loved these.  The tart cranberry and sweet chocolate chip flavors worked well.  And the orange peel.  I had to have the recipe.  After receiving the recipe, I really needed a chance to make these.  Cindy from work used orange peel from the grocery store spice aisle; however, the girls made it with orange zest.  Otherwise there wasn't a difference.....follow the link above to the recipe.

Fortunately the opportunity came very soon, and the girls made these for our post Big Cheese party.  Perfect since I was making slightly cheese themed food and these contain cream cheese.  Big Cheese is a swim meet for the senior girls on our swim team where the winners each get a wedge/container of the state's famed product, cheese.  The meet is in the evening which just happened to be the night of the first football playoff game (Yep....Packer victory over Vikings), sounds like all the makings of a party to me.  At the meet we were wondering if this is the only meet where the winners get cheese....perhaps so since it's hard to imagine this being a big deal in another state. The meet ended about halftime so it was perfect timing to get together for a bit outside the pool area.

So, this morning I am sitting here blogging with a fresh container of cheese spread in my refrigerator as well as a few leftovers of these bars..  I think it's going to be another good day!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Black Bean Enchiladas

Last week Paul was off and I was working which was a nice change of pace.  He went to the grocery store...hooray.  The problem with that is the person writing the list has a better idea of quantities...the person shopping doesn't know the amount or the intent, so that's how I ended up with extra zucchini.  Just when I was thinking that I needed to figure out a use for the extra, posted a zucchini black bean and goat cheese enchilada recipe.  Hmm.....use the zucchini, eat goat cheese and try a new recipe?  I'm in.

This sounded similar to something I had at Bluephies in Madison, one of my favorite stops.
Black Bean, Roasted Zucchini and Goat Cheese Enchiladas

This may come as a surprise; however, I made it exactly like the recipe linked above.  I think I would make them again; however, I would like them a bit saucier, so I would make just a bit more sauce or add a bit of salsa.  Served with cilantro, lime, and avocado these were a bright spot on a winter evening!