Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Chocolate Pudding Green Smoothie (Banana, Chocolate, Almond Green Smoothie)

So I've been drinking green smoothies for maybe maybe a month to six weeks now and I have to say when I skip my smoothie in the morning I really miss it! They make me feel energized (I've been referring to them as rocket fuel). I drink them on an empty stomach the first thing in the morning, then maybe an hour or hour and a half I will have my real breakfast (typically scrambled eggs+egg whites with various add-ins). I have found smoothies that incorporate some fat and usually a banana serve as a full meal smoothie. They keep me full, which surprises me because smoothies have never kept me full before. Maybe it's the greens too...all that fiber keeps me full. I haven't had that success with protein powder-based smoothies (and I haven't found a protein powder I have liked yet and/or didn't give me a stomach ache), which leads me to believe it's the fiber and healthy fat that keep me full till lunch time.

I don't like to play favorites with my recipes, but this has to be the tastiest smoothies I have ever made. It tastes like homemade chocolate pudding and the greens are very much hidden by the chocolate, banana, almond goodness. I have been using baby spinach and romaine for most of my smoothies, alternating every few days, and I finally took the plunge and tried kale (baby kale, to be exact) and found their flavor totally masked.

I have experimented with this recipe a lot, and instead of posting individual recipes, I wrote my favorite variations below.

Chocolate Pudding Green Smoothie (Banana, Chocolate, Almond Green Smoothie)
Printable Recipe

2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 small banana, broken or cut into chunks
1 tbsp almond butter (I like Justin's Maple Almond Butter)
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 1/4 cups baby kale (can substitute other greens)
a dash of cinnamon (optional)
a few ice cubes, if desired

1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately. 

Note: if you are not using a high speed blender, combine the milk and the greens together until smooth, then add all the other ingredients and again blend until smooth.
  • Servings per recipe: 1
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 301.1
  • Fat: 15.1 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 222.4
  • Carbohydrate: 44.1 g
  • Fiber: 11.8 g
  • Sugars: 15.4 g
  • Protein: 9.6 g


Chocolate Chip Green Smoothie: Substitute cacao nibs for the cocoa powder. Add them last, pulsing the blender until they are broken up to your liking.

Mint Chocolate Green Smoothie:  Omit cinnamon. Add the leaves from 4-6 sprigs of fresh mint to the smoothie.

Mint Chocolate Chip Green Smoothie: Omit cinnamon. Add the leaves from 4-6 sprigs of fresh mint to the smoothie. Substitute cacao nibs for the cocoa powder. Add the cacao nibs last, pulsing the blender until they are broken up to your liking.

Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip Green Smoothie (getting really crazy now): Omit cinnamon. Reduce the cocoa powder to 1 tbsp. Add the leaves from 4-6 sprigs of fresh mint to the smoothie. Add 1 tbsp cacao nibs last, pulsing the blender until they are broken up to your liking.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Green Smoothie: Omit cinnamon. Substitute 1 cup sliced strawberries (fresh or frozen---I use partially-thawed) for the banana. Works with other berries (raspberries especially) but I like strawberries the best because the seeds are so small.

Potential variation: I haven't tried this, but I think it would be delicious. Stir about 2 tbsp chia seeds to your smoothie and place it in the fridge for about 20 min so the chia seeds can gel--->"instant" pudding!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ham-Wrapped Eggs Columbian

Today is my last day of spring break. I did take some time off this week to go to Austin and various Texas locales. Getting away was what I needed. The only problem was my flight coming back home was very much delayed and I ended up feeling very tired the next day because of it. At least I have the weekend to recover from it. I ate some really good food and I am hoping to do a "Paleo eating around Texas" post because I have been logging places and pictures for nearly a year now, so I have a pretty good list compiled. Besides eating and traveling, (and if you know me well enough, you will know I was also working on writing!) I enjoyed reading the book "Warm Bodies" by Isaac Marion. I watched the movie last weekend with a friend after she suggested I would like it. I am sure I saw promos for it on YouTube, but I am not an avid movie or TV watcher so I missed out learning about it until it had been on the screen for about 5 weeks. I liked the movie so much I had to read the book. I think it's the first time in my life that I have liked a movie as much as the book it is based on. The plots are somewhat different but both still good.

Speaking of not watching much TV, I haven't watched Food Network in months but I recently managed to catch an episode of Barefoot Contessa. One of the recipes included was for Eggs Columbian, which was a really simple recipe of scrambled eggs with tomatoes and scallions wrapped in a tortilla. The egg part appealed to me because I am always looking for new breakfasts. Of course I needed to ditch the tortilla since it's neither low-carb nor Paleo. For my re-make of the recipe, I chose to use nitrite-free ham slices. The ham is not really for the sake of eating the eggs as a wrap; it's more for looks and to give a nice presentation (plus it tastes good). I think my version would be nice for breakfast, as part of brunch with maybe some fruit, or even lunch with a salad.

Ham-Wrapped Eggs Columbian
Printable Recipe

1 tsp olive oil
1 small or half a large roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 scallion, sliced
2 eggs, beaten and seasoned to taste with salt and pepper
2 slices nitrite-free ham (I used Applegate Farms)

1. In a small skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the tomato and scallion and stir-fry for a few minutes, or until the scallions softens.
2. Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the eggs and stir frequently to scramble.
3. Meanwhile, warm the ham slices in a separate skillet.
4. Scramble the eggs to your liking. Place the ham on a plate. Divide the eggs between the ham slices, roll up, and serve.
  • Servings per recipe: 1
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 267
  • Fat: 16.1 g
  • Saturated fat: 4.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 435.5 mg
  • Sodium: 480 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 8.2 g
  • Fiber: 1.1 g
  • Sugars: 2.7 g
  • Protein: 23.5 g

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chocolate-Covered Apricots

I've gotten behind on my cooking posts because I have been working a lot lately. This recipe is one of the treats I made for Valentine's day! After working so much, it was nice to do some assembly line work making these treats. I love the combination of dried fruit and chocolate and I particularly like apricots, so this recipe is a win for me. Plus, I mailed these and they arrived in fairly good condition. I am hesitant to mail Paleo or grain-free treats because they might crumble easily or not be very fresh when they arrive since they tend to have a shorter shelf life.

Since bridal season is coming up, I think these would be a great grain-free party favor or snack to have on the buffet table. You could arrange each one after it dries on mini muffin cup liners or place a few in cellophane favor bags.

I want to stress that the type of dried apricot you should use should be the firmer ones. You can usually find them in the bulk bin section in the supermarket. The ones that come in the zip-top bags on the canned and dried fruit aisle are a bit too soft to hold up to the chocolate. I think this method would be great with other dried fruits, like pieces of dried mango or pitted dates!

Chocolate-Covered Apricots
Printable Recipes

4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
4 tbsp toppings, such as finely-chopped nuts or unsweetened coconut threads
25 dried apricots (choose ones that are firmer)

1. In a double boiler or metal or glass bowl set over simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), melt the chocolate.
2. Meanwhile lay a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper on a baking tray or heat-tolerant cutting board.
3. Holding onto the edge of each apricot with your thumb and forefinger, dip both sides into the chocolate. Scrape what will be the bottom side of the apricot on the side of the bowl, then place on the waxed paper. Immediately sprinkle with a pinch of topping of your choice. Repeat with the rest of the apricots. Allow to dry until firm at room temperature.
  • Servings per recipe: 25
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 38.5
  • Fat: 1.9 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 2.4 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 5.3 g
  • Fiber: 0.9 g
  • Sugar: 4.2 g
  • Protein: 0.7 g
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