Tag Archives: dairy free

Easy Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables

Simple Roasted chicken with root vegetables.

Simple Roasted chicken with root vegetables.

One of my favorite cold weather go-to dinners is a whole roasted chicken.  You just need a couple of minutes to get it ready for the oven and then you can sit back and relax while it cooks!  Cook it with some veggies all in the same pan and all you’ll have to do when it comes out of the oven is slice it without burning yourself! Plus, if you use an organic, pasture-raised (and hopefully local) bird, you can also save the carcass to make homemade chicken broth afterwards. Probably the best thing ever for keeping us healthy in the winter!

I used to be really intimidated by cooking whole chickens (or any other roast).  All the recipes I’d see on TV or online all seemed so complicated.  They all had me believing you had to truss it up with kitchen twine, stuff it or don’t stuff it, put herbs under the skin and aromatics in the cavity, and rub various fats and seasonings on the skin.  Jeez! Can’t I just cook the darn thing?? It seemed like way too many ways for things to go wrong and too many steps that may not matter all that much in the end result.

This is a simple recipe.  No fuss. No truss!!  Does trussing and all that junk make for a more flavorful or tender bird? Probably. But I’ve never had anyone turn up their nose or say that the meat from my bird was too dry or that it was not flavorful.  There are some things in life I can’t be bothered with and tying up a dead bird before I cook it’s carcass for an hour and half is one of them.  It’s not like it’s going to try to escape. Maybe for a special occasion you want to go the extra mile and make a fancy bird, but some of us just want to get dinner on the table on a Wednesday night without wrestling with poultry.

Cook it with some veggies all in the same pan and all you’ll have to do when it comes out of the oven is slice it without burning yourself! Plus, if you use an organic, pasture-raised (and hopefully local) bird, you can also save the carcass to make homemade chicken broth afterwards. Probably the best thing ever for keeping us healthy in the winter!

This recipe takes 90 minutes to cook.  I realize that is an asinine amount of time to make dinner for the average day of the week so there are a few options for this:
1. Make it on the weekend.
2. Make it AFTER dinner one night and eat it the next evening. It reheats beautifully.
3. Chop the veggies & prepare the chicken etc the night before, store in the fridge and pop in the oven as soon as you get home.  It’s hands free for 90 minutes so you can get lots of other things done, like your work out, laundry or helping kids out with homework.

Feel free to swap out these particular root veggies for other winter vegetables that you may have on hand or prefer.  Parsnips, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and winter squashes all work well too!

This makes 4 servings.

Ingredients
5 lb whole organic chicken, giblets removed
optional: 1 head of garlic, top sliced off (to expose cloves)
2 medium beets, peeled, cut into 1.5 inch chunks
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 2 inch chunks
1 onion, peeled, cut in half and each half cut into thirds
2 large carrots, peeled, sliced into 2 inch lengths
1 turnip or rutabaga, peeled, cut into 2 inch or so chunks
1.5 cups roughly chopped dandelion greens, tatsoi, mizuna or baby spinach
1 tbsps olive oil, melted coconut oil or pasture butter
sea salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Toss the beets, potatoes, onion, carrots and turnip/rutabaga with the olive oil or coconut oil in a large roasting pan (if you care about presentation, you may want to toss the beets separately as they will coat everything red!).  The pan needs to be large enough to accommodate both a 5lb bird and all the vegetables at the same time.  I use one that is large enough for roasting a 20 lb turkey.  Sprinkle sea salt and black pepper on the vegetables.

Salt and pepper the inside cavity of the bird and if using the garlic, insert inside.  The garlic will add some flavor to the veggies and to the chicken but not so much that it’s absolutely necessary.  It WILL make your house smell amazing and make you hungry. Just a warning.

Make a bit of a well in the center of the roasting pan by moving the veggies towards the sides of the pan and insert the chicken in to the well. Liberally salt the skin of the bird (especially if you plan to eat it).  There is no need to add oil or butter to the skin (for this recipe anyway!).

Cook the chicken and vegetables for 90 minutes or until the juices in the thigh run clear when you insert a knife into the thickest part of the thigh.  Normally, I don’t need to do anything at all while this meal cooks (except maybe enjoy a glass of wine) but once in awhile you get a bird that doesn’t seem to release much liquid.  If that happens, you’ll start to smell burning (usually from the most sugary of veggies in your roast).  To fix that, give the veggies a gentle stir and add a few tablespoons of water or stock to the pan and continue cooking as normal.  A little browning adds delicious flavor – no one wants burnt vegetables though.

Going back to inserting a knife into a thigh to see if juices run clear . . .if you are wary of this as a gage of “doneness”, insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh for a reading of 160 degrees.  Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes before cutting.  The temperature gage will continue to rise and letting the bird sit before cutting will help it to retain juices.

After 15 minutes, remove the bird from the pan and carve for serving.  Stir the greens (mizuna, tatsoi, baby spinach etc) into the roasted root vegetables (in all the delicious chicken juices, fat and gelatin – don’t be grossed out, that’s good stuff!). They will wilt somewhat but should remain vibrantly green. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve the chicken and veggies with a dollop of dijon mustard on the side for the chicken (at least that’s how I like it lately!).

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Mix and Match Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie (topped with Butternut Squash!)

Shepherd’s Pie (topped with Butternut Squash!)

Growing up, we had Shepherd’s Pie quite a bit! In our house, it was essentially leftover mashed potatoes, frozen or canned corn and ground beef all baked in a dish together.  To be honest, I did not love it.

But now as an adult, I realize that was my mom’s way of using up leftovers and she didn’t get fancy with ingredients because she had 5 kids and at least one of us at any given time was a picky eater.

While I didn’t love the combo of plain beef and corn, I do see the appeal of a one pot dish and a form of Shepherd’s Pie appears in our house at least a couple times a month.  I like to call it Mix and Match Shepherd’s Pie.  It’s essentially one part protein, one part assorted cooked vegetables, a little tomato paste, worcestershire and appropriate spices, topped with mashed root vegetable or starch of your choice. This is not really a recipe, but more a loose formula, so go crazy if you like.  It’s a phenomenal way to use up leftovers, it’s full of comfort food, and it’s comprised of whole foods . . .what’s not to like?

The options are endless – almost anything you’ve got in your fridge can work here! I’ve made some really crazy combinations and so far neither John or I have turned up our noses at the result.  When you can’t think of anything to make – make this! The amount of nutrients you can pack into it are endless!

sausage, bell peppers, spinach, celery, onions and who the heck remembers what else! Filling for Shepherd's Pie!

sausage, bell peppers, spinach and who the heck remembers what else! Filling for Shepherd’s Pie!

Ingredients
16 – 20 oz protein of choice: try ground turkey, beef, lamb or pork, or sausages (casings removed), thinly sliced chicken breasts or canned beans.

3-4 cups leftover mashed root or starch: try potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash, celeriac, turnip, rutabaga, kabocha squash or cooked polenta.  (If I don’t have leftovers, I boil and mash and then stir in 2 tbsp pasture butter or coconut oil to my starch/roots, plus salt and pepper. I usually will leave potato & sweet potato skins on)

3 cups chopped mixed vegetables of your choice: try mushrooms, broccoli, kale, dandelion greens, bell peppers, carrots, peas, zucchini, mizuna, cabbage etc.

1 cup diced onion or thinly sliced leeks
1 tbsp pasture butter, olive oil or coconut oil
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried herbs (one or two): try ground sage, savory, basil, oregano, thyme, tarragon, marjoram, dill
optional: 1/2 tsp garlic powder, onion powder or smoked paprika
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of coconut or olive oil (or butter) and saute 3 cups of chopped mixed vegetables and 1 cup of diced onions/leeks until they begin to soften and the onions are almost translucent. Remove the vegetables from the pan and cook your meat (you don’t need to cook canned beans if you are using them), stirring occasionally until cooked through.  Stir the vegetables back into the pan, add the worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, herbs and any optional spices until everything is well blended.  Most meats will yield a small amount of liquid during the cooking process, if you use something that doesn’t and the pan seems dry, feel free to add a couple tbsp of water while working in the tomato paste and other flavorings.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Pour the meat / bean & vegetable mixture into the bottom of a large casserole dish or 9X13 pan.  Top with mashed root or starch and bake for 30 minutes or until warmed through.  Some toppings will brown better than others, if your top doesn’t brown, turn on the broiler and broil for 1-2 minutes (keeping an eye on it as roots brown quickly).

Remove from oven and let cool briefly before serving.  Makes 4 generous delicious, comfort food servings.

Note: If your mash topping seems soupy (as the case might be with things like butternut squash) stir in a beaten egg before cooking and it will firm right up during cooking!

My favorite combos:
Topping: Colcannon (mashed potatoes with kale, leeks & cabbage stirred in)
Filling: Ground Turkey, broccolini & carrots (photo below)

Colcannon/Butternut Squash shepherd's Pie with ground turkey, carrots and broccolini!

Colcannon/Butternut Squash shepherd’s Pie with ground turkey, carrots and broccolini!

photo 1 copy 5

Topping:  Butternut squash
Filling: Sweet Italian Sausage, Kale, Bell peppers, peas

Topping: Smashed Parm Potatoes
Filling: Ground Beef, mushrooms & carrots

Do you make Shepherd’s Pie? What are your favorite filling and toppings? Are you a traditionalist or do you like to veer off and clean out your fridge like me? Share in the comments below, I’d love to hear your side of things!

Healthy Crockpot Apple Butter

Healthier Apple Butter - no refined sugar! Sweetened with just a few dates!

Healthier Apple Butter – no refined sugar! Sweetened with just a few dates!

Last fall I made apple butter for the first time in my crock pot and it was delicious but it required something crazy like a cup and a half of sugar.  As tasty as it was (and as good as it made the house smell), I really didn’t want to use all that sugar this year so I decided to try to make some using nothing but medjool dates as sweetener.  I also left the peel on the apples to increase the amount of fiber and polyphenols and other good stuff in my apple butter.  It worked out really well!  This for sure is a bit more tart and less sweet than last year’s batch but I’m ok with that!  I used 4 dates in mine and I found it plenty sweet (but John tells me my sweet tooth is overly sensitive) but feel free to use a couple more if you are tentative about going the no refined sugar route.  Also, I used Macintosh apples (because that’s all the Orchard had the day we went apple picking) but using sweeter apples like Fuji, Gala or Honeycrisp could result in a much sweeter butter.

Apple butter is good stuff! It’s great on toast or rice cakes, stirred into oatmeal, dolloped into smoothies or onto vanilla ice cream and it’s even good in savory dishes (try mixing it with dijon mustard & chives as a sauce for chicken or pork) and if you store it in mason jars it freezes really well.

Throw all ingredients in crock pot, cook for 5-8 hours and then puree in a blender.

Throw all ingredients in crock pot, cook for 5-8 hours and then puree in a blender.

Ingredients
10 – 12 medium sized apples, peel left on, cut into chunks
4 – 8 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup water (optional)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Put all ingredients in a 6 qt crock pot, cover and turn heat to low.  Cook for 5-8 hours, stirring occasionally until the apples and dates are completely broken down and start to take on a thick consistency and a caramel color.  Let cool and carefully pour into a blender and blend just for a minute or two to ensure the apple skins are finely pulverized (you’ll be amazed how broken down they get just by cooking in the crock pot for hours).  If for some reason the apple butter seems too liquidy after blending, you can put it back in the crock pot and cook until it reaches a consistency you are happy with – the longer you cook it will reduce more liquid, concentrating the sweetness and flavor. I’m kind of a lazy cook and I don’t want to cook twice so I’m more likely to just keep cooking until it’s as thick as I like – but your call!

Pour into mason jars and refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve.

My batch filled two 16 oz mason jars to the top!

So delicious!

So delicious!

Spiced Haddock Tacos with Cilantro Lime Cream on Fresh Corn Tortillas

Fish Tacos! Excuse the sloppy pic - they taste better than they look!

Fish Tacos! Excuse the sloppy pics – they taste better than they look!

When John and I first got together, and I was learning to cook, if I ever asked what he wanted for dinner, his response was always “tacos!”.  This was fine with me because my cooking skills at the time were exactly on par with just cooking some beef in a pan and stirring in a store bought packet of “taco seasoning”. It was easy and convenient.  But over time, as I started to amass more spices in my cabinet and learned how to use them, I started to question why I was wasting money buying spices in a packet and why I wanted to feed us something that had a ton of unnecessary ingredients like MSG and excess sodium so I started to experiment with making my own spice blends.   Then, I started to get bored with the standard taco (ground beef, hard corn shell, lettuce, salsa etc) and began to experiment with what could go into a taco.  The options really are endless if you think about it! A taco really just a vehicle for getting spiced things into your mouth and it doesn’t matter if it’s beef, fish, beans or tofu.  Add some raw veggies and a sauce of some sort and you’ve got yourself a taco!

I love fish tacos in the summer.  They come together really quickly and they’re great for hot weather.  It’s not a meal that will weigh you down.

At first glance, this recipe will seem complicated because you need to make fish, a slaw, a cilantro cream and homemade corn tortillas.  In all honesty, none of them take much time to make.  Other than soaking the cashews for the cream, the thing that takes the longest is making the tortillas and even that can be done quickly if you have more than one cast iron skillet or a very large skillet that you can cook more than one at a time on.

And if making all of these things from scratch is too much for you?  No big deal, we don’t do all or nothing here.  Do what works for your life and if you prefer to use store bought tortillas or regular sour cream, that’s fine but I insist you use full fat sour cream (preferably organic) – the low fat, no fat stuff has fillers and junk added to it. No good. Making my own tortillas is something I’ve only recently started to do and I haven’t looked back but I understand if you’re not there yet!

Ingredients

Spiced Haddock
1 lb wild caught haddock (or other white fish of your preference)
1 tbsp Chili Powder
2 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
Black Pepper & Seas Salt
olive oil or melted coconut oil

Directions
Put all spices, salt & pepper in a small bowl and mix. Rub fish with oil and then spices and lay out on a sheet pan. Let fish sit with the spices while you make the Slaw and Cilantro Cream. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes (will depend on how thick your fillets are) until fish flakes easily.

photo 2Cabbage & Arugula Slaw
2 cups shredded green or purple cabbage
2 cups baby arugula, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
4 medium carrots, peeled and then grated (cheese grater or in the food processor)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
juice from half a lime
sea salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Put all ingredients in a bowl, toss to coat.

photo 1Cilantro Lime Cream
1/2 cup soaked cashews (soaked in water for 4-8 hours, rinsed and drained)
half a lime, zested and juice reserved
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic or 1 small shallot
1/2 tsp cumin powder
sea salt to taste

Directions
Put all ingredients in the blender or food processor and blend away until smooth.  Add more water if needed.  You can also use cashew cream if you already have some made in place of the cashews and water.

photo 3Fresh Corn Tortillas
2 cups Masa Harina Flour (use a non-gmo brand Bob’s Red Mill & Purcell Mountain Farms are two that I know of)
1 cup warm water
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
Put corn flour and salt in a bowl, add warm water and mix with your hands until it forms a dough.  If it feels dry and grainy add a little more water a little at a time.  Take the dough and form it into 10-12 small balls.  Cover them with wet paper towels or a wet towel while you form them.  Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet over medium heat.  While the skillet is heating up, roll each dough ball (one at a time) between two pieces of plastic wrap with a rolling pin (or a tortilla press if you have one) until they are about 5-6 inches across.  If they start to get cracks at the edges, add a little more water to the remaining balls before rolling out.   Fry each tortilla in the skillet for 1 minute on each side.  Once you lay them in the pan, don’t touch them until it’s time to flip (they’ll stick at first but let go when they’re ready to flip).  If you are making a lot of tortillas and only have one skillet, this will take awhile.  Use a second skillet if you have one – it will speed up the process tremendously.

To serve, spread some cilantro cream on a tortilla, top with slaw and fish.  Add optional salsa if you like!  Makes 3-4 servings (3-4 tacos each).

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad - Light, tangy and crunchy!

German Potato Salad – Light, tangy and crunchy!

Potatoes have a bad reputation.  They’ll make you fat.  They’re a nightshade vegetable. They’ll raise your blood sugar.  They’re a white simple carbohydrate so we shouldn’t eat them.  I turn up my nose at all of that.  Potatoes are the bomb!!

They’re an amazing source of potassium, vitamin B6, copper, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B3 and fiber and these are all things we need more of.  Due to the high amount of processed food people in America eat, most don’t get enough potassium in their diet and this can lead to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. Sadly, when people eat potatoes the most common way they eat them is fried, as in french fries and potato chips.  It’s not the potatoes fault we choose these horrendous versions of them. Poor potatoes.

But if you keep the skin on (organic and well scrubbed), pair potatoes with protein and eat a moderate serving of them in a non-deep fried version, they can be part of a healthy diet.  Potatoes are a whole food. A single ingredient.  From the earth.  These are all good things.  I’d much rather see people eating potatoes they made at home, than purchasing processed white hamburger rolls, pasta, white rice etc.  Please don’t put the potato in the same category as these white simple carbs.  It’s really all about making good choices.  If you’re going to eat a huge helping of potato salad and have two hot dogs on white rolls – yeah, you’re going to have a massive blood sugar spike and feel like crap (especially after you top it all with a bowl of ice cream).  But if you have a moderate serving of potato salad, with some grilled chicken or a burger on a portobello mushroom cap (and with some veggies), you’re going going to fare much better (even if you do have a little ice cream later).  It’s actually pretty simple.  Just eat smartly and you can enjoy potatoes for a good dose of potassium and fiber.

My love for the potato grows strong this time of the year because it’s cookout season and that means lots of opportunities for it’s appearance in cold salads.  While a creamy, mayo or buttermilk drenched salad is delicious occasionally (especially if there are delicious herbs and veggies in there), sometimes my stomach churns at the thought of yet another overly mayonnaised potato salad.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of mayo (the homemade kind) but come on, sometimes it seems like some recipes are just potatoes and mayo.  That’s ridiculous.  That is not a recipe.  That is phoning it in.  Driving to the store and buying premade pasta salad would actually take more effort. When I feel mayo-ed out, I turn to German Potato Salad to change things up.

This isn’t a fancy recipe and you don’t need much to make it, some yukon or red potatoes, vinegar, oil and then some herbs or veggies.  Maybe some mustard (and bacon if you are feeling it).  You probably have all the ingredients already in your kitchen.  So for those times when you just might dump the whole bowl of mayo salads over the head of their maker, you can smile and hand them this instead.

Steam the potatoes in a colander for a less crumbly result.

Steam the potatoes in a colander for a less crumbly result.

Add lots of crunchy veggies and some vinegar, oil & mustard.

Add lots of crunchy veggies and some vinegar, oil & mustard.

Add some salt and pepper and give a good stir and you're ready to eat.

Add some salt and pepper and give a good stir and you’re ready to eat.

Ingredients
2 – 2.5 lbs Medium sized Organic Red Potatoes (or Yukon Gold)
3 scallions, sliced thinly
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
a big handful of fresh organic parsley, chopped (or 2 tbsp dried)
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp white vinegar*
1 tsp dijon or whole grain mustard
1 tsp salt
lots of freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Wash the potatoes well, cut them in half and boil in a pot of salted water for 15 minutes (until they give slightly with a fork). When they are mostly tender, drain the water and put the potatoes in a colander, then put the colander back over the pot you boiled them in and cover the potatoes with a clean dish towel.  Let them steam for 15 minutes.  Finishing them off this way instead of boiling for longer time prevents that overly mushy crumbly thing that happens to potatoes when you stir them a lot.

After the potatoes are done steaming, cut each potato half into quarters (depending on the size of your potatoes) and toss into a big bowl.  Add the scallions, parsley and celery to the bowl, then add the vinegars, oils, mustard, salt and pepper and give a good stir.  Serve at room temperature or chill for at least two hours to give the flavors time to develop.  If the salad seems too dry when you are ready to eat it (potatoes are thirsty buggers), add a couple tablespoons of water or chicken broth or a little more oil and vinegar. Serve with whatever amazing bbq you’ve got going on and don’t forget to invite me over!

Makes 4 – 6 good sized servings

*I didn’t put the gluten free tag on this because it contains white vinegar.  Most celiacs and gluten sensitive people tolerate white vinegar just fine but for the very sensitive, it could be an issue since it is made from grain, including rye or wheat.  The distillation process breaks down the gluten proteins so that the product is virtually “gluten free” from a testing standpoint (under 20 parts per million) but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe for everyone.  Complicated stuff!
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Red White and Blue Popsicles

Strawberry, Coconut & Blueberry Popsicles

My ugly but delicious dairy free popsicles!

My ugly but delicious dairy free popsicles!

No one is ever going to tell you I make pretty food.  I make tasty food that is usually pretty good for you but it usually looks like a train wreck.  But that’s ok with me if it’s ok with you.  Don’t judge my ugly 4th of July popsicles by their outer appearance.  It’s what’s on the inside that counts.  And if you make these yourself you won’t have to go dig up some change when you hear the ice cream man’s music come rolling through the neighborhood. The best part about these popsicles is that you don’t need to worry about gross ingredients like food coloring and high fructose corn syrup and since they contain real fruit you are giving your kids (and yourself) a treat that you can feel good about.  Have you ever looked at the ingredient list of most store popsicles?  They’re usually not even food. I’m looking forward to trying these with other fruits – I’m thinking mango & lime juice would be good too! This made 6 good sized popsicles out of small solo cups.  Despite using small solo cups they were still pretty large popsicles.  I think if you are using molds you’ll get a few more out of the mixture. It’s strawberry season right now in NH so by all means, use fresh if you can get them!

Ingredients
3/4 can full fat Coconut Milk
8 – 10oz organic fresh or frozen strawberries
8 – 10oz organic fresh or frozen blueberries
4 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of sea salt

Directions
If your honey is very thick or crystallized, you’ll want to melt it first.  You can do this by heating it in the microwave but I prefer to put it in a glass measuring cup and then setting the measuring cup in a bowl of hot water for a couple of minutes.  Once the honey is melted, blend the strawberries with 1 tbsp + 1 tsp of honey, plus a dash of vanilla and a tiny bit of salt.  Once they are well blended, scrape the blender out and set the strawberry mixture aside.  Rinse the blender and then do the same with the blueberries (+ honey, vanilla and salt) and again with the coconut milk, setting each one aside in a separate container.   Once all have been blended, spoon a heaping tbsp of the strawberry mixture into each popsicle mold, then a couple of spoonfuls of coconut milk, then a heaping tbsp of the blueberry mixture and so on until you run out of the mixtures.  Freeze for at least 4 hours before eating.

Freaking out because you don’t have popsicle molds? If you don’t have popsicle molds (I certainly don’t!), you can use small plastic or paper cups instead!  The popsicles won’t look as fancy and they may be a little awkward shaped but it will do. You just pour the mixtures in then cover with plastic wrap and make a small hole for a popsicle stick or plastic fork/spoon, then insert one into each hole.  The plastic wrap will keep the stick in place.  Pop into the freezer and wait patiently.  When the popsicles are frozen you may need to run the sides of each cup under warm water for a few seconds to release the popsicle from the plastic cup.  If you use paper cups you can probably just peel them off.  We used plastic forks in ours in place of popsicle sticks (since we didn’t have those either) and the cool thing about that was as your popsicle starts to melt you can just stick it back in the cup and eat it with the fork that has been acting as your stick.  So fancy.

You don't need popsicle molds to make your own popsicles.  Look around your kitchen, you'll find something that you can use.

You don’t need popsicle molds to make your own popsicles. Take a good look around your kitchen and I’m sure you probably have stuff you can use in a pinch!

I will totally be having one of these tonight! Yum!

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Secret Green Chocolate Banana Smoothie

 

chocsmoothie

Green Smoothies!  They’re all the rage these days, aren’t they? They’re a great way to get some veggies in, especially if you are someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to prepare vegetables or you don’t really like them.  But, if you are really squeamish about veggies, the idea of a “green” smoothie is about as appealing as eating grass clippings as you mow the lawn.  That’s where sneaky secret green smoothies can help!

I published this one on social media before I even thought about putting it in a blog post.  My veggie hating clients really enjoyed it and that was a big win and I wanted to share.  I figured I should probably have it in a more permanent place too so up on the blog it goes!  This is a sneaky little bastard.  It doesn’t look or taste like there are any vegetables in it.  It tastes like Chocolate Banana pudding and it’s so thick (especially if you use chia seeds) that you can actually eat it with a spoon.  It’s so good!

This badboy has about 15 g fiber, 15 g protein and 15 g fat to get you through your day.  It is a meal replacement more than just a snack. I can drink one of these at 9 am and not need to eat anything else until at least 2pm, sometimes later. So filling!

It also has almost 100% of the Vitamin A you need each day, 30% of your Iron, 50% of your calcium and it’s also a great source of potassium and magnesium. To help absorb the iron, have a glass of water with lemon with your smoothie. And it has less sugar in it than most protein bars out there (the banana is the sole source).

Secret Green Chocolate Banana Smoothie
1/2 cup cooked oats (i like steel cut) or 1/3 cup raw rolled oats
1 heaping tbsp cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder
1 banana, peeled
1 tbsp unsweetened nut/seed butter of your choice
1 tbsp chia or hemp seeds
1 cup of unsweetened almond, rice or hemp milk
1/2 cup romaine lettuce
1/2 cup baby spinach

Directions
If using raw oats, blend them with the cocoa powder and chia seed first until ground finely, then add the rest of your ingredients blend, chill and enjoy! It also freezes well but be sure to stir well after defrosting (before drinking).

This recipe is gluten free (if you use gf certified oats), dairy free, soy free and vegan.

I prefer to use cooked oats in mine – I think it adds a creamier texture!  You can also use water in place of any of non-dairy milks.  It will change the color/texture slightly but the chocolate banana flavor will still dominate.  If the 1 cup of greens in this freaks you out as a first timer, start with just a few leaves.  If you feel ok with that, add a few more each time you make it.  And someday you’ll be amazed that you even needed your greens to be masked!

Do you hate your veggies? Try this and let me know what you think and please share with your friends if you think they would enjoy.