It’s still a little chilly out to be eating ice cream, but a little wishful thinking never hurt anyone. Maybe this strawberry banana milkshake with a splash of rum will make some nice warm weather arrive a little faster. Confession: I whipped up this boozy shake twice in 3 days, first for a movie night with an old friend over the weekend, and then just because it was Monday. (Both reasonable occasions, IMO.) I did us a real service, though, because at least now there’s no more ice cream in the house…
Boozy Strawberry Banana Milkshake
Basically serves 2, but if you want a mega serving like you’d get when ordering a milkshake at a diner, feel free to drink the whole thing by yourself. I won’t judge. Much.
- 1/4 c. milk
- 1/2 pint strawberry ice cream or frozen yogurt
- 8-10 fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled
- 1 medium ripe banana
- *Optional* 2-3 oz rum (or more, ya lushes)
- Place all ingredients in blender.
- Blend for about 30 seconds.
- Imbibe, and then please leave me a tipsy comment about how much you loved this milkshake.
This weekend I realized that I’ve pretty much fallen off the wagon when it comes to eating healthy foods. I’ve been averaging about 0 to 0.5 servings of produce each day, which is not great, since I really enjoy being alive. Um. Anyway, in an effort to not be such a nutrition fail, we decided to cook up some leafy greens with our dinner tonight, in the form of roasted Brussels sprouts.
Like every other yuppie couple around, Boyfriend and I have recently discovered an ardent love for these cruciferous orbs of delight. We’ve made them a few times at home in the past with middling results– they’ve been edible but haven’t come close to being restaurant-caliber. However, that all changed tonight when I devised an extremely lazy version of this wonderful-sounding dish from TakePart. The original recipe looked great and all, but I had neither a shallot nor a fresh chile pepper, and I wasn’t about to go in search of either one. That would require grocery shopping!
Seriously though, don’t worry if you don’t have a shallot or a chile either. Who needs a classy recipe that uses fresh ingredients? Well, we all do. But whatever, because these Brussels sprouts, seasoned entirely with stuff that already happened to be in my pantry, were awesome. We tore through the whole pan’s worth in about 5 minutes; Boyfriend, ever the chivalrous gentleman, showed remarkable restraint and let me have the last one. (I tried to pretend like I didn’t really care about it that much, but OMG gimme.)
Spicy Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts for Lazy People
- Brussels sprouts, preferably fresh. Our supermarket sells ’em in a 10 oz package, or about 15 sprouts, which is perfect as a side dish for two or as the main course for a lonely vegetarian.
I can’t really give you quantities for the rest of the ingredients because I didn’t measure anything. I just poured what looked like the right amount of oil and seasoned it all to taste. So… happy guessing. Sorry!
- Extra virgin olive oil — I refuse to call it EVOO — enough to make a base to roll all y’alls brussels sprouts in
- Maple syrup — the real stuff, not Aunt Jemima! — to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Sea salt, to taste
- Garlic powder — and/or a minced clove of garlic, if you have it around — to taste
- Red chili pepper flakes, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Mix all non-Brussels sprout ingredients in a small bowl; I actually used a ramekin.
- Remove stems and outer leaves from each Brussels sprout. Cut sprout in half; cut the monster ones into quarters if so desired. We did.
- Roll each sprout piece in the olive oil/maple syrup/spices mix until it’s thoroughly coated with delicious oily goodness. You can coat stray leaves in the stuff, too.
- Arrange sprouts flat-side down on baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 mins (longer, if you’ve got a ton of sprouts), flipping halfway through.
- Put all of the brussels sprouts in your face.
- Try not to be too sad when it’s all over.
A spate of less-than-frigid weather, combined with our latest FreshDirect delivery of goodies, has made me more amenable to whipping up some smoothies this week.
Tonight I fully intended to make a blueberry-banana smoothie with some spinach thrown in for good measure, but I didn’t realize that the bananas were already eaten until I’d dumped half of the ingredients into the blender! I knew I still wanted to add a little sweetness and creaminess to the smoothie. My options were to either add some vanilla rice milk, or use half of an avocado. I opted for the former (since I know Boyfriend is itching to turn the avocados into guacamole sometime soon).
Forgive my fugly food photography, please! In person, the smoothie is a lovely dark amethyst hue and is tasting mighty good alongside leftover Thai curry and quinoa.
Anyway, I present to you…
The “Crap, I ran out of bananas!” Healthy Blueberry Smoothie
5 ice cubes
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup vanilla rice/hemp/almond milk (only after you realize the bananas are gone; otherwise, 1/2 or 1 banana)
1/4 cup orange juice
1. Put ingredients in blender.
2. Blend until smooth. (There will probably still be little pieces of spinach that won’t completely dissolve. I hope we can all be okay with that.)
3. Drink that bitch!
We got a giant hulking hokkaido squash in our farm box a while ago, and for weeks it sat on our countertop looking very fat, green, and intimidating. I wasn’t really sure what it was or what to do with it, what it would be good with, what it would taste like, etc. until I did a little research that said this kind of squash is even sweeter than butternut and works well in soups and pies. Pies! What! I’ve never had squash pie in my life so I was immediately intrigued. However, now that I’m trying to eat gluten-free, in order to make squash pie I would also need to either make or acquire a GF pie crust. And both of those options seemed like altogether too much effort last night.
Instead, I found a recipe for butternut squash pudding— “butternutscotch,” as the recipe I used calls it. The recipe is gluten-free, but definitely not dairy-free. I didn’t want to risk using soy milk with this recipe, either, since I’m not sure how one would replace heavy cream with a non-dairy substitute. Will have to do some research on that.
Of course, because I’m me, I didn’t quite cook the squash long enough, and I didn’t read the instructions correctly, so instead of mashing the roasted squash with a fork and then mixing it all up with the other ingredients I spooned the squash flesh (ew, flesh) into the blender and put it on pulse. It was really thick and after a few seconds it looked like nothing was happening. I was really afraid I broke the blender. That was not the case; the squash was just so plentiful and homogenous in the blender that I couldn’t see it mixing around. Everything else mixed up just fine with it. Phew.
Other stuff that I should have done differently: half of the squash was way more than 1 cup, so I added an extra egg, multiplied the dry ingredients by 1.5, and used 2 teaspoons of vanilla. I should’ve used just 1 teaspoon, though, since it’s so strong! I also messed up my sugar situation as the recipe called for brown sugar and I used half brown and half white, and I went a little overboard with upping the amount of sugar for my pseudo-doubling of the recipe. For all of you would be pudding-makers out there, BE YE NOT SO FOOLISH.
Anyway, although it’s a tad too sweet and the vanilla extract comes through a LOT, it’s still tasty enough that Boyfriend deemed it “delicious.” We’re psyched to eat this for dessert/snacks/really irresponsible breakfast(?) in the days to come.
Tonight I got home and wanted to eat anything BUT the delicious roasted root vegetable stew I made two nights ago (recipe forthcoming), so instead I made some breakfast for dinner– always a good thing! I paired cheesy, garlicky scrambled eggs with some leftover mashed sweet potatoes and a honeycrisp apple for a filling pre-yoga class meal.
Scrambled Eggs with Gorgonzola
- Extra-virgin olive oil, or your choice of pan-greaser
- 2 large eggs — I like brown, omega-3 fortified eggs, but that’s just me
- 2 tbsp gorgonzola cheese — although I probably used more…
- Splash of skim milk (optional)…wow, I was really giving the finger to my lactose-intolerant side tonight.
- Garlic powder, black pepper, and sea salt to taste
- Heat oil in pan.
- Whisk eggs in a bowl, then add milk (if desired) and seasonings.
- Add eggs to hot pan; stir/flip/scramble with spatula so you don’t end up with a weird omelette thing.
- When eggs are nearly cooked, add gorgonzola.
- When gorgonzola is nice and melty, remove from heat.
- NOM NOM NOM
After a decadent, spendy summer– full of exercise, mind you– Boyfriend and I found ourselves back in the kitchen with a new resolve to improve our cooking skills and preserve our bank accounts.On a chilly fall night a few weeks ago I realized we had some butternut squash and garnet yams on the verge of going bad, so I decided that the best thing to do was toss everything into a pot, then puree it all in the blender. (I have been loving my Breville Hemisphere Control ever since I got it this summer, and although it makes quick work of fruits and veggies for smoothies this was my first time using it for a creamy soup…luckily, it worked like a champ!)
This soup fed us for a whole week and never ceased to be delicious. And it couldn’t be easier!
Easy Fall Mélange Soup, aka Vegan, Gluten-Free, Butternut Squash-Yam-Apple Mashup
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup onion, chopped
- 2 cups butternut squash – peeled and cubed
- 3 garnet yams -peeled and cubed
- 1 large apple (I like honeycrisp) – cored, peeled, and quartered
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- To taste: Ground ginger, thyme, sea salt, and black pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a large pot or saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Let simmer until veggies are tender and soft, i.e. easily pierced/smashed with a fork– took about 45 minutes for us.
- Remove from heat and ladle pot contents into blender (in whatever size batches your blender can handle).
- Re-season, if necessary.
Score! Five more weeks until I hit the half-year mark of consistent weekly workouts.
My Foursquare-monitored exercise streak continued today as I checked into Dance New Amsterdam for 90 minutes of Mind Body Dancer Yoga. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this class, which is supposedly geared toward dancers (if the name didn’t make it obvious enough). Perhaps we’d spend half the class in Dancer’s Pose. Or get berated for not being sufficiently bendy. Thankfully, it was actually just a nice, flowing vinyasa class with a solid mix of Sun Salutations, standing poses, twists, etc. Because of the hot weather today, the last half hour of class included some cooling pranyama, restorative poses, and a generous savasana. Yum.
My favorite thing about the class was that the flow felt steady and safe, not frenetic– we weren’t throwing ourselves from plank-to-chaturanga-to-up dog-to down dog over and over again. Another observation: despite the crowd being young, fit, dancer-y, and 100% female, I picked up on none of the weirdly competitive vibe that is unique to the NYC yoga scene. Zero. Everyone was just very much in their own world, doing what they needed to do. Kind of like in a dance class…duh.
After class, Boyfriend and I met for tapas at La Oficina Latina in Nolita, where I enjoyed a split second of accidental awkward eye contact with Adrian Grenier. You know, from Entourage, and that Melissa Joan Hart movie Drive Me Crazy from way back in 1999. I’m pretty sure he’s been in other stuff, too, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what. Conclusion: he’s pretty mega handsome, in a scruffy way. And he belongs to my coworker’s food co-op!
We then went on a quest for vegan dessert, and having missed the window for visiting Babycakes, we ended up at a hippie-ish place called Whole Earth in the East Village. Now, they supposedly have amazing vegan pumpkin pie, but I decided to ignore everyone else’s rave pie reviews and ordered a vegan triple-chocolate brownie. BIG MISTAKE. I’m highly doubtful that three(!) kinds of chocolate actually made it into the brownie, because it tasted mostly like cardboard and despair. It was one of those vegan baked goods that really tasted, well… vegan. But really, I should never say that, because I’ve had amazeballs vegan cookies, cupcakes, muffins, etc. So using “vegan” as shorthand for “disgusto” is hereby outlawed from my vocabulary. It was a shitty brownie, end of story. Next time I’ll listen to everyone and get the damn pie.
Anyway, I was disappointed to have blown $4 on a crappy dessert, and then we tried to hit up Lula’s for some dairy-free ice cream but were shot down as they’re not open on Mondays. So we went home without any treats, and I cried. And then we watched Sunday’s Mad Men and I cried for real. If you’ve seen the episode, you’ll know what I mean, I think. Maybe. I also kinda cry a lot, so who knows?
But I digress!
Tomorrow I’m trying a new workout. I’ll be visiting Pure Barre up near Columbus Circle, because my Tuesday dance class was canceled, my favorite Pilates teacher is all booked up, and I didn’t want to play the waitlist game with Physique 57 after accidentally canceling my reservation and losing my spot. (I’m also still too scared of spinning to use that Flywheel credit I bought on a whim the other week. Will my “preemie lungs,” as Boyfriend puts it, explode from all of that cardio? Will my butt fall off after sitting on a hard, narrow bike seat for 45 mins? These are the things I worry about.) Wish me luck!
Strawberries– sweet, tart, little red ovoids of joy– have been one of my very favorite fruits ever since I was a tiny kid, so I’m super-happy that they’re coming into season. Now that they’ve been marked as one of the EWG’s Dirty Dozen, I’m only trying to buy organic, but they’re so delicious that I’m more than willing to shell out the big bucks for them.
Boyfriend and I recently plowed our way through 16oz of organic strawberries that were so ripe and fresh that nearly every bite elicited some kind of yelp/exclamation/food-pleasure-noise from us. YES, THEY WERE THAT GOOD.
Fun fact: Strawberries are actually a “false fruit.” I know this because I wrote a research paper on the domestication of the strawberry for a college bio class. You see, a fruit is basically defined as the plant’s ovary (gross, and also a gross oversimplification, but deal with it). An in the case of the strawberry, the delicious squishy red part that we like to eat is actually just a carrier for the true fruit…which is what we see as the strawberry’s seeds. So the seeds are the real fruits. And inside each of the fake seeds/real fruits is a real seed. They’re like matryoshka dolls in fruit form. Damn, strawberries. Why so complicated?
If you don’t believe me, Wikipedia backs me up. Congratulations! Your mind has officially been blown.
And what can you do with this abundance of strawberry goodness? Hell, what can’t you do? Here are a few easy recipes I’m dying to try out this berry season:
- Two Peas & Their Pod’s Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
- Healthy Smoothie HQ’s Arugula Green Smoothie
- Confections of a Foodie Bride’s Strawberry Soup
- Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Cake
- Saveur’s Strawberry Rhurbarb Smash cocktail
Happy berry-eating (and drinking)!
Last Thursday I flew to Chicago with Boyfriend to attend his sister’s graduation from grad school at UIC. We stayed downtown, just north of the river, and in addition to the graduation the two of us enjoyed some amazing food, shopping, the Art Institute of Chicago, and a few high-stakes games of Yahtzee with Boyfriend’s family.
I bought new shoes, too.
The highlight of the trip, food-wise, was a dinner Boyfriend and I shared on Saturday at The Gage, a gastropub in the Loop. It was by no means healthy, but it was a delicious, special meal.
Our pre-dinner drinks (an Old Fashioned and a St. Germain cocktail) were excellent.
We started the meal with a Scotch egg, one of the restaurant’s most popular appetizers. For the uninitiated, a Scotch egg is a hardboiled egg wrapped in sausage, covered in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried. It unfortunately got demolished before I remembered to take a photo.
Next, we shared a green salad with cashews and dried cherries. The dried fruit added a nice chewy texture and sweetness to the salad to offset the greens.
Boyfriend’s and my entrées were a venison burger and house-made/local sausages, respectively. His came with a bucket of fries; mine came with crispy potatoes covered in Brie.
Oy, we were full afterward– so we took a much-needed walk and headed to a nearby Intelligentsia Coffee for some warm beverages. Boyfriend had manual pour-over, single-origin coffee, and I had a super-delicate sencha green tea.
After all of that food, I sure was glad to have worked out earlier that day. I had attended a Pilates mat class in the morning at The Yoga Boutique in Lakeview. This was actually my first mat class since the terrible one I took in college, and I had a fabulous time! The class had only 5 people in it and was taught by the lovely Dana, the studio’s owner and manager. I got a complete, deep workout and the 45 minutes flew by. It also reminded me that I’m super-tight in my hip flexors and that I cannot for the life of me do a Pilates rollup (sob). If I can find another class like this in the city, I’d potentially be willing to part ways with one of my weekly Reformer classes each month. Mat classes are typically far less expensive, after all…
I’ve been obsessed with pickles lately– namely, Ba’Tampte half-sours that Boyfriend and I keep ordering from FreshDirect. But I’ve been itching to try pickling my own vegetables. This guide may have pushed me over the edge toward actually doing so.