Favorite New Smoothie with Secret Ingredient

So I’ve been absent from writing, I know.  I spent Valentine’s recipe testing for a cookbook for the State of California’s Snap program.  This was interesting as our Leah’s Pantry team of 4 made 44 recipes in two days.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed the tasters enjoyed and will accept the recipes.  They seemed to be enjoying themselves and eating well.  Most of these recipes I’ve made quite a few times, however there was one I tried for the first time and was so surprised by how good it was, I thought I’d share.

 

I think the name was just banana berry smoothie, which sounds pretty ordinary.  But the surprise ingredient is the addition of kale in there.  I figured I’d be upfront here.  But it’s surprising how you don’t notice the kale.  Any way to eat more kale is good for our bodies right?  My son had teeth extracted yesterday and the dentist gave him a Jamba Juice card – apparently the cold helps with the numbness.  Today when he comes home from school I’m making this one and see how he thinks it stacks up to yesterday’s.

Banana Berry Kale Smoothie

Makes 2 servings

12 ounces per serving

Prep time: 5 minute

Cook time: 0

 

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (if you use frozen berries, you may not need ice cubes)

4 oz. vanilla low fat yogurt

1/2 cup 100% apple juice

1 banana, cut into chunks

1 cup kale, roughly chopped

4 ice cubes

Place the apple juice, yogurt, berries, kale and banana in a blender.  Cover and process until smooth.

 

 

 

 

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International Potluck with Falafel Recipe

Growing up I remember visiting my grandmother in Rhode Island and she would spend all day in the kitchen making Syrian food.  Everything from grapeleaves (she even grew and picked her own leaves), lamb kibbeh, tabouli, stuffed squash, etc.  She never followed a recipe.  Just did it from memory of watching her mother and grandmother.  I’ve made her recipes (from an old cookbook my aunt gave me), but they’re so labor intensive I usually only make one item at a meal.

My son has been making a family tree and studying hertitage at school.  The studies culminated in an International Potlcuk at the school.  Each family was supposed to bring a dish from your family heritage.  Originally my son asked me to make grapeleaves, but I just didn’t have the time to do that mid-week.   Instead we selected falafel.  Funny I don’t remember a lot of falafel at my grandmothers, but my family likes them and it’s quick.  It also serves my vegetarian daughter well.  This recipe is from Real Simple (I’m sure my grandmother would never use canned chickpeas).  I did make her cucumber yogurt dip though.  It too works with lamb or grapeleaves.

The event was really fun and I was amazed by the variety of foods.  Everything from pot pies from England, samosas from Africa, pasta from Italy, sushi from Japan, to sausages from Germany and more.   It would be a fun theme for any large gathering.  And it was great to see kids, and adults trying foods they’ve never seen before.

Crispy Falafel

2, 15 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 shallot, finely diced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoons kosher salt

3 tablespoons fresh parseley, chopped

1 1/2 cups panko or dried breadcrumbs

2 eggs, whisked

1/4 cup canola oil

Yogurt Sauce

1 1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

(add a pinch of brown sugar if too sour)

 

In a food processor, processor chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water until almost smooth.

Add the shallot, cumin, red pepper, garlic, salt and parsley and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs.  Pulse to add together.

Remove from processor.  Roll unto 2 inch diameter balls and flatten slightly to form patties.

Place remaining breadcrumbs on a flat dish.  Dip patties in eggs then roll in breadcrumbs to coat

For cucumber yogurt sauce combine all ingredients.  Cover and let sit in refrigerator at lease 30 minutes.

Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook half patties (do not crowd) until golden brown, about 3 – 4 minutes per side.  Drain on paper towels.

Add remaining oil if necessary and cook remaining patties.

Serve with yogurt cucumber dip, pita bread and spinach.

 

 

 

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Smooth and Soothing – The PB&B Shake

Not, my son

My son started orthodontic treatment last week.  Boy we were all in for a shock.  Not only was his mouth sore, but the poor guy is really having a tough time eating.  Besides feeling like he’s going to choke on everything there’s the list of no’s from the doctor – nothing sticky, chewy, hard.  He asked “what’s left?”  Well, I’ll tell you – creamy, smooth and watery.  At least at first it’s been soups, smoothies, and shakes.  Even pasta was a chore.  He’s getting better at eating.  I’m getting better at packing a thermos for lunches, steaming and cutting things in small pieces and trying to keep him nourished and interested when sometimes it’s just too tiring and frustrating to eat.  Here’s a new shake we’ve created which makes him smile…

 

The PB&B

Peanut butter and banana is always a classic combo.  Whether it’s a sandwich (my childhood favorite), a muffin or this cool shake.  Feel free to substitute any type of milk.  The almond milk gave some added nutrients, vitamins and good (monounsaturated) fats here.

1/4 cup plain organic yogurt

1/2 cup vanilla almond milk

1 frozen organic banana

1 heaping tablespoon organic creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon honey

 

Cut frozen banana in same size chunks.  Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth and combined.

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