Valentine’s day is approaching, and inspiring me to favor anything that’s pink or red or leaning towards one of these two colors.
I added some beautiful frozen red raspberries to my morning smoothie, combining them with frozen blueberries, tangy lime juice, and refreshing green mint leaves. The result was a beautiful maroon concoction full of antioxidants.
This drink is delicious and energizing; in other words, it’s the perfect smoothie to blend up before stepping out the door for a busy day.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and happy cooking!
It's Almost Valentine's Day Maroon Antioxidant Smoothie
After you blend the smoothie, adjust the lime and sweetener of your choice to taste. Try a teaspoon or two of regular sugar or honey or agave if you don’t like stevia. Honey will add another element of flavor to the smoothie; I haven’t tried this variation yet, but I can see it being delicious!
– 1 1/2 cups frozen mango chunks
-3 or 4 fresh mint leaves. Since mint leaves vary in size, I would just have a small bunch on hand, so that you can adjust the mint to your taste
-1/2 to 1/3 of a cup of water
-Stevia or sweetener of choice
Put one and a half cups of frozen mango chunks into a blender with 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of water, depending upon how thick you like you smoothies.
Squeeze the juice of 1/4 of a lime into the blender and 1 packet of stevia. Then add 3 to four mint leaves.
Blend and adjust the lime juice and the sweetness to liking. Add more mint if you want even more kick!
I always tell myself that I’m not going to indulge in the bread basket when I’m dining out; this way, I won’t fill myself up with empty calories before my main meal arrives.
More often than not though, I eat my words, especially when warm, sweet, buttery cornbread is placed on the table. Who can resist?
I decided to create a recipe for this delicious quick bread that adds some nutrition to the mix, without sacrificing flavor; in other words, a cornbread that I would feel good about eating from a bread basket.
My honey wheat chia cornbread recipe uses wheat flour instead of white and I swap out traditional white sugar for honey. I use unsweetened almond milk instead of regular milk to make this recipe lactose free, and I replace an egg with “a chia egg.”
When chia seeds are soaked in water, a gelatinous mixture forms that mimics the texture of raw egg. This means that chia seeds can form an egg substitute for baking in addition to providing all of their amazing health benefits.
Usually, the ratio for one chia egg will be one tablespoon of chia seeds to three tablespoons of water. I actually used six tablespoons of water, and my egg substitute turned out fantastically.
To get an idea of the ratios of fats and liquids and flours I would need while creating the recipe, I referenced an article called “The complete guide to making Quick Breads” by Cara Eisenpress, which was quite helpful. It might help you too, if you decide to formulate your own bread basket friendly quick bread recipe!
This entry has a double purpose: the first is to provide a recipe that is friendly to lactose intolerant individuals (that anyone will enjoy!), and the second is to mention that it is important to show people that you love and care about them, even before Valentine’s day has come. If you have a friend or relative that you sense needs some good cheer, make them a batch of these hearts! You don’t have to wait until Valentine’s day to pass out the love.
I’m lactose intolerant, and I’m sure my fellow sufferers can sympathize when I say my pantry is packed with dairy free desserts; restaurant menus are usually crammed with lactose heavy items like ice cream, tiramisu, and Crème Brûlée– so when I get home, it’s usually time to raid the kitchen for a little something sweet.
My quick go-to dessert items? Dark chocolate and dried fruits (unsulfured): apricots, Medjool dates (if I want to eat like royalty), apples, raisins, pineapple, ginger, pears… you name it, I’ve likely got it in my pantry.
My methods of consuming these items varies: sometimes I put dried fruit (like an apricot) in between two small squares of dark chocolate and eat it like a petite sandwich; sometimes, I eat a bite of fruit, and then a bite of chocolate; and, sometimes, I melt the chocolate via bain-marie, and dip the fruit into the chocolate (fondue style).
I recently experimented with a new method of eating this fruit and chocolate combination: chocolate bark with dried fruit sounded like a good plan, but then I saw some heart molds, and the idea formed to make dark chocolate hearts with beautiful, fiery red goji berries pressed into them.
But, of course, the store was out of goji berries.
Plan B went into action:
I recently discovered freeze dried berries, and the raspberries and strawberries looked festive in their gorgeous red and pink hues. I used these in place of the goji berries.
The consistency of freeze dried berries is so delicate that they can easily be crumbled into dust. Intrigued by this, I separated the berries into small plastic bags and crushed them by hand into two separate rough powders (strawberry and raspberry). I then melted dark chocolate by placing it in a bowl over a pot of boiling water (bain-marie style, just as one would for chocolate bark).
I sprinkled the dried fruit powders into my molds and then poured my smooth, melted chocolate over the berry dust and into the molds, before topping off the chocolate with more dust.
The chocolates then sat at room temperature for around forty minutes, until they were solid enough to pop out their molds.
There are a few things to note:
Read the labels on dark chocolate bars or chips that you buy, it’s surprising how many have dairy in them!
If you are not lactose intolerant, you can easily make the hearts with milk chocolate or a chocolate of your choice.
Some alternative ideas for the toppings: goji berries, cranberries, cherries, regular dried strawberries (if you are not a fan of freeze dried). You could also use coconut, apricot, dried bananas, even mix in some nuts! Try a sweet and salty approach by adding salted peanuts, cashews or almonds.
If you don’t have molds (I used silicone ones), not to worry! You can easily make this into festive chocolate bark by pouring the chocolate onto parchment paper using the same method you would with the molds.