I’m going to go ahead and assume you all know what Jamba Juice is. Is that a safe assumption? No? Well, it’s a smoothie joint. My little brother happens to work there, actually. Anyway, they make smoothies. Dang good ones, if I do say so myself. But honestly, five bucks for some berries in a blender? No thanks. I’d rather make it myself. And I’m not gonna lie to you guys, I make really good smoothies. But they have this one smoothie there that is ridiculous. It shouldn’t be called a smoothie, it should be called a shake, really. It’s ri-donk-ulous. It’s called the Peanut Butter Moo’d. They have it in chocolate, too. But I’m still not willing to fork out the dough for it. Not to mention it’s like five zillion calories. Seriously. Not that I even care. But. Still.
Enter: Bullet. Also: frozen bananas. I’ve already told you guys how these suckers can make freakin ice cream, yo, and now I’m here to tell you they are clearly the secret to a creamy peanut butter shake. Which you are more than welcome to add chocolate to. I added nutella. Because, why wouldn’t you?
- 1 frozen banana, 1 non-frozen banana cut into chunks. (Here we have these little mini bananas called apple bananas. They’re the best things ever. But if you don’t have those, and are using regular ol’ cavendash which are ginormous, you could just use half one of each frozen and non frozen)
- 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter (ps this is one serving size. score for portion control!)
- a few glugs of milk
- Nutella, like, however much you want.
- I also threw in a couple chunks of frozen papaya because a) they were severely freezer burned and needed to go and b) I thought they’d add a bit of sweet that would be nice. you could throw in whatever frozen fruit you have on hand: peaches, mango, whatevs. Maybe not berries because they are a) tart and b) red which means you’d have a nasty color smoothie. Just sayin’.
Wait! Don’t click away! Don’t be afraid! Don’t run in fear of the word ‘pea’ or the dreaded combination of ‘pea’ and ‘soup’ in the *gasp* same! Sentence! Because I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking you hate peas. You’re thinking peas are those nasty still-half-frozen-rewarmed-in-the-microwave slimy green balls your parents made you eat before you could have dessert. Those dreaded vegetables that exploded green taste into your mouth when you accidentally bit on one instead of just swallowing them whole. Believe me, I know. Or maybe you’re more like my boyfriend, who, despite the fact that he ate basically only meat and rice for twenty-five years of his life, and eschewed essentially all vegetables and fruits in existence for the majority of his life, still ate peas…because he liked them. I shudder just to think of it.
But wherever you stand on the great Pea Debacle of 2012, let me tell you this: you’ll like this soup. Really! I promise. It doesn’t even taste like peas. It tastes like.. springtime. And it looks like springtime, too, even though I took these pictures at night so they really don’t do the color justice. (Argh, artificial lighting!) So, do me a teeny favor. Grab a bag of frozen peas and a bunch of basil. Chances are you probably already have peas in your freezer, y’know, for those times when you need to ice your cuts and bruises. Lord knows that’s what I use them for most of the time. And make this soup. It takes so little time, and you’ll be so glad you did.
Pea and Basil Soup (this is actually adapted from a recipe posted on Gwenyth Paltrow’s blog, GOOP. It is one of a series of ‘detox’ recipes, but don’t let that scare you off either!)
- 1 bag frozen peas (16 oz? or 10? However big a bag you get will work just fine)
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped. (We didn’t have any onion on hand last time we made this, so I just used the tops and bottoms of green onions from our garden. Use whatever kind of onionish-thing you like; shallots, red or yellow or white or green onions, leeks, no matter!)
- 1 large handful basil, plus whatever other herbs you have on hand if you feel like it… (The more the merrier here! If you buy a bunch, use the whole thing! If you have it in your garden use as much as your plants can spare!)
- 2 1/2 cups water
- salt and pepper to taste
- a few glugs of olive oil
- lemon wedge for serving (optional, but highly recommended)
*Before I begin, I want to emphasize that you will be blending hot foods. Whenever you are blending hot liquid, you really need to be careful, as pressure can build up and explode, sending scalding hot liquid all over you and your nice apron. Or white shirt. So, a few tips to remember: Never fill your blender or tall cup all the way full. Leave at least an inch to an inch and a half of room at the top. Pulse once, and then carefully unscrew the top to release pressure. Do this a couple of times before attempting to blend for longer than a couple seconds, as most of the pressure will be released the first few times you open the cap. You can make this either in the tall cup or in the bigger blender attachment; with the bigger blender attachment it is easier to release pressure from the lid. If you use the tall cup just be gentle when you unscrew the crossblade.*
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Toss in your onions and let cook for a few minutes or until softened and translucent.
- Add in your peas (totally cool if they are still frozen!) and cook until they are, well, no longer frozen. pour in all your water and heat until boiling. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, just to make sure everything is steamy hot. Rip up your basil and toss it in there. Inhale. It smells good already.
- Carefully, and I mean SUPER carefully, ladle a few scoops of your soup into the Magic Bullet tall cup. Top with the crossblade and pulse once. Then CAREFULLY untwist the crossblade to release the pressure. Re-cap and repeat this two or three times, then you can blend it for a few seconds longer, until it is smooth and creamy.
- Pour into a bowl or another pot (I pour it into the bowls I’ll eventually serve it in, so as to save on dishes. Score!) and repeat 3-4 times with the remaining soup. Once all has been pureed, pour everything back into the pot, re-heat over medium heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle into bowls, squeeze a lemon wedge on top, eat with a loaf of crusty bread, and enjoy!
I think avocados are probably one of the best green things ever. I mean. There are some really good green things, like, plants, and, lettuce. (Lettuce? That was all I could come up with? Seriously?) But avocados… they’re just so good! Do you agree? Or are you crazy like those crazy people who don’t dream of the creamy fruit and all the ways they can eat it? All the ways I can eat it are usually just smashed up with lime and salt. I’m not very creative. But it really never gets old. Plus, is there anything better than cutting into it, twisting it open, and seeing the two most perfect shades of green on the planet in the same neat little package, just waiting for you to scoop it out and shove it in your mouth?!?! I think not.
Anyways. I made this avocado dip. It’s basically the same way I always eat avocado, only with yogurt added. But here’s why I think you should try it (besides just, duh, it’s avocado): this dip has a lot of possibilities. Seriously! I could see it as a ridiculous salad dressing, thinned out with double the lime juice and maybe a bit more yogurt. Or mix in some Cholula or Tapatio or Valentina (whichever is your favorite. Mine’s Cholula, but Brett likes Valentina) and spread it in your quesadilla. Or be like me: Dip in your chips and shove it in your face. Just eat it.
Creamy Avocado Dip
- 1 medium, ripe avocado, scooped from skin and diced
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 3 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 tsp salt
- few grinds black pepper
I don’t know why I think olives are fancy. But I do. Also, you should know, you are speaking to a reformed olive-hater. Yep. I hated olives. Pretty hardcore, actually. Almost as much as I hated beans. Actually, maybe even more than I hated beans. I don’t know why. I don’t have a reason. I think it was because olives tend to be a bit vinegar-y… kind of like pickles, which I also hated. I kind of still don’t like pickles. They’re growing on me, though. But olives. I made it a point to learn to like them. Is that weird? We were out to dinner one night, and they gave us olives with our bread or something or other, and I took one and I looked at Brett and I said.. “I am going to make myself like olives.” So I ate a small bite. Then the next time I took a bigger bite. And bigger. And now, well I kind of like olives. I actually quite enjoy them. Even green ones, which took me longer just because they’re creepy-looking.
So there’s this olive spread. Our friend makes it. I’ve liked it since even before I liked olives. This isn’t that olive spread. I’ll get that recipe eventually. But I had leftover olives in my fridge and I wanted spread. So I forged ahead recipe-less. And came up with this. It’s pretty dang good, if I do say so myself. So if you happen to like olives, or even if you think you don’t, or if you’d like to like olives but you don’t quite yet, go ahead and try this. I like it.
Olive Spread (inspired by this recipe, but I really just looked at the basic ingredients so I don’t think it ended up resembling it at all.)
- approx 15 oz black olives, pitted. (not gonna lie to you guys; I used 6.75 ounces because that’s how much I had leftover. But normal people don’t have that many olives. One can or one jar ranges from 12-15 oz, so the recipe I’m giving you is for one can or one jar; it’s double what I actually made. Make sense? Good.)
- 3 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley
- 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- Throw everything into your tall cup and fit with the crossblade. To blend this, because it’s very dry, you’ll want to pulse it several times, and then shake it down and pulse again, and then let it blend but shake the whole bullet apparatus, base and all, while it’s blending. Do this until it’s fairly smooth, but not baby food; you want a bit of texture in it.
- You can spread this on bread or toast; I ate it with tortilla chips because, well, they were closest to me and I’m lazy. It was delish. And it’s fancy. Because it’s olives.
I dunno if you guys are as bad as me, but I’m going to guess you are since you’re reading this. But blogs are addicting. Like, really, really addicting. It’s hard to do real work. I get so sidetracked. You know what has made it even worse? Pinterest. Ugh. It’s the bane of my existence, seriously. There are so many pretty pictures! I click them all. And then I’m stuck on these dang blogs that are captivating for whatever crazy reason and I. Can’t. Stop. Reading.
So, this pesto. I found it on a blog. Cupcakes and Cashmere; have you heard of it? If you don’t want to become obsessed, I’m warning you now, don’t click on the link. It’ll suck you in. You won’t be able to stop. People, I don’t even give a flip about fashion and I. Can’t. Stop. Reading. And I think part of it is that every once in awhile, (and let’s face it, when you’re stalking food blogs, which is what I normally stalk… it’s more than just once in a while. [Hey! If you’re looking for a new one to ogle… check out mine!.. shameless self promotion..]) you come across something like this pea pesto. And you try it because, well, why the heck not? You always have frozen peas in the freezer and you really don’t know what to do with them otherwise, and then you love it. And you know why you obsess over these things we call blogs. Because they’re awesome. They are a source of inspiration and a way to escape from your desk job and make yourself drool over fabulous looking food, and then maybe even go home and try it. Because hey, if they can do it, so can you, right? Right.
So let’s try this. Let’s try this pea pesto together. Tell me what you think. I think you’re gonna like it.
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, defrosted
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 cup parmesan, grated *(you know you can do this with your bullet, right? just use the flat blade!)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- A loaf or two of crusty bread; a baguette works best here, but you could really use any kind of crusty bread.
- olive oil for brushing
- A handful of cherry or grape (or other small) tomatoes; sliced into chunks
- In a tall cup, blend together peas, parmesean, salt, pepper, and 1/3 cup olive oil until smooth. Boom. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary (this will depend on how salty your cheese is). Set aside.
- Cut your crusty bread into slices; about 1/2 inch or so thick, maybe a little less. Brush on both sides with olive oil and grill or toast under the broiler on both sides. (if you do it under the broiler, watch them carefully! those suckers burn quick!)
- Spread your toast slices with a hefty portion of the pea pesto, top with a slice of tomato and dig right in there! You should probably share, but I won’t judge you if you eat two or three before you bring the plate around.
I’m going to tell you a story about chimichurri. Except I don’t know anything about it at all. Never even heard of it until my boyfriend, Brett, decided he wanted to see if the bullet could make it. It can. So. Let’s have wikipedia tell us a story about chimichurri. Well, apparently it is a sauce for meat, originating in Argentina, but also found in Uruguay, Nicaragua, Columbia, and Mexico. We ate it. Here in Hawaii. So now it’s come really far. And you know what, it was delicious. So I’m going to go ahead and insist that you try it, wherever you are, in which case the humble sauce of Argentina will travel the entire world. Wouldn’t that be thrilling? I have no idea if this is actually a humble sauce. But it’s a delicious one.
You know what else is cool? It turns your meat green. Which, if you bring it to share at a BBQ, like we did, well it just might turn some people off with its hue. Which means you don’t have to share all that much at all. Not because you didn’t try or anything. Double win.
It also inspired me to try and make some kind of Green Eggs and Ham joke. But it’s green steak. So I kind of got stumped. Green steak and eggs? Eggs and green steak, I really like them.. Jake? Meh. Doesn’t work as well. But luckily, this sauce is delicious and I could easily see it used in other ways, too. Like over pasta. Or even over eggs with tortillas.. which would make for green eggs..which you could eat with ham. And tell your friend Sam how you’ve changed your mind, and really DO like green eggs and ham. Wow. I’ve gotten away from my point here. The point is: This is a meat marinade, and it will make your meat delicious. So try it.
Chimichurri (adapted from Bobby Flay of Food Network)
- 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves
- 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar (original calls for red; we didn’t have any, use whatever you got. except maybe balsamic I don’t think that would work out as well.)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 8 cloves garlic
- A big ol’ steak. I don’t know much about steak. Brett does the meat buying and most of the meat cooking in this house. Bobby Flay uses skirt steak. We used… Aw, crap. I can’t remember. Loin? Flank? Geez, who knows. Use whatever steak you like. Use chicken or pork if you like those better. It’s your mouth that’s gonna be eating this, after all. Sauce is enough for at least a pound and a half of meat, if not more.
- Stick everything except your steak (doy) into a magic bullet tall cup and fit with the crossblade. Pack it all in there; it’ll fit. Trust. Blend. Boom.
- Season your meat with salt and pepper and then place it in a plastic bag or a baking dish (however you prefer to marinade). Pour over your sauce and toss and turn the meat to coat. Let this marinate in the fridge for at least an hour or two, and up to overnight. (if you want, save some extra sauce on the side for dipping later..)
- Before grilling, let your meat come to room temperature. Never grill cold meat! Heat up your grill or grill pan and grill your steak until it’s as done as you like it. We usually like ours pretty rare, but went for more medium on this, as I think it’s nice to cook the sauce a bit more. So maybe shoot for medium to medium well. Cook your steak on a high heat to get the nice char marks; you can move it to a cooler part of the grill if you want it to cook through the middle more; or cover your grill.
- Let your meat rest for at least five minutes, then slice, eat and enjoy!
I have no idea why we decided to name this drink a Mojito-rito. But for some reason, it just happened. My first thought is maybe because it’s somewhere between a mojito and a blended margarita… but I’m not sure if that is really why we came up with it or not. Either way, this drink was a creation that was basically the result of bringing home a bottle of rum and realizing we had no mixers. At all.
I had bought a big ol’ bunch of mint at the farmer’s market and was dreaming of making mojitos with some of it. So, graciously, my boyfriend Brett went out and bought some white rum to bring back to me. Club soda, he forgot. So we improvised. It turned out to be the most delicious improvisation we’ve made yet.
Seriously, not only does blending mint turn your ‘mojito’ into the most fabulous shade of green, but it makes something so refreshing that it turns an ordinary Sunday afternoon into a mini vacation. It’s not too sweet, it’s just strong enough that you don’t forget what it is you’re drinking, and, people, look at how green it is! Brett even went so far as to say it was his favorite cocktail he’s ever had. So if that doesn’t convince you, well gee, I just don’t know what will.
Ingredients (for two drinks)
- 1 big handful fresh mint leaves
- 1 lime
- 3 oz white rum
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Get out two party cups (or tall cups), and fill each one about 2/3- 3/4 of the way full with ice. Pour 1 1/2 oz of rum into each cup, and then squeeze the juice of a half a lime into each. top with 1/2 handful of fresh mint and 1 tbsp of sugar.
- Pop on your cross blade and blend until you don’t hear big chunks of ice whirling around anymore. Pour into a glass (or just screw on the party cup lid if you prefer), top with a sprig of fresh mint, and enjoy!
Variation: We made these again and added a few big chunks of fresh coconut that our landlord had given us from his tree. It was delicious in flavor, but fresh coconut made the texture off. I think this would be absolutely awesome with a splash of coconut milk. You could also throw in a couple chunks of mango if you’re feeling crazy. Oooh, that sounds good.. Excuse me.. it seems I need to do some more… uh… ‘taste testing’…
Yaayy, it’s popsicle season! It’s also peach season (-ish? Right? All I know is they are everywhere and so delish!) Now, I haven’t ever made my own popsicles at home. I’m really more of an ice cream kind of girl. But I’ve seen so many pictures of delicious looking popsicles everywhere, especially floating around pinterest (biggest time waster of my life–I’m obsessed) and I just knew that this summer I’d have to give it a try.
One small issue: I don’t own a popsicle mold. And given the teeny tiny kitchen we have and the even smaller amount of storage space (and the fact that our kitchen storage already overflows into the rest of our itsy-bitsy studio) buying some is kind of not realistic. Even if they’re small. And they would stay in the freezer. Man I really want some. On my first attempt at making these, I rigged up a little something with parchment paper and a beaker. Um. Don’t try it at home, folks. Learn from my mistakes. Shot glasses + ice cube trays = perfectly awesome popsicle molds.
Peaches and Cream Popsicles
I made a half recipe of these, and I’m going to go ahead and assume that normal folks own more than one shot glass and therefore would like to make more than one larger size pop and 12 teensy-tiny ice cube size pops. The recipe I’m giving you below would make 6-8 shot glass sized popsicles (depending on how big your shot glass is) or 26-30 ice cube sized popsicles.
- 2 medium sized ripe peaches, cut up
- 1 cup plain yogurt (the thicker the better; greek would be fabulous here)
- 2-3 tbsp honey; divided.
- popsicle molds, ice cube trays, shot glasses… you get the idea.
- Sticks, such as popsicle sticks, toothpicks, or bamboo skewers, depending on size mold you choose.
- In the small cup, put both of the peaches and one tbsp of honey. As long as your peaches are ripe, they should blend right up using the cross blade. Blend until smooth and then set aside.
- In a tall cup, place one cup of yogurt and 1-2 tbsp of honey, depending on how sweet you like your yogurt. blend with the crossblade until honey is incorporated. No need to rinse the crossblade between the peaches and here. Woohoo! (P.S., you could totally use sweetened yogurt if you’d rather, we just always buy plain because it’s more delicious and you can regulate the amount and type of sweetener you use. But this would work well with vanilla yogurt, too if you like that, just skip adding honey and save yourself a cup! no need to blend!)
- In your popsicle-mold-of-choice, layer two spoonfuls of peaches, followed by a two spoonfuls of yogurt. The yogurt will be less dense than the peaches and will float on top. If you want to be adorable and make a cute pattern, stick this in the freezer for an hour or two and then repeat the layers again; peaches and then yogurt. (you could omit this and make only two layers; a bunch of peach on bottom followed by a bunch of yogurt on top, which is what you’ll do if you make ice cube size pops like me) Freeze for another hour and then stick in your sticks and freeze until solid. To unmold, run under warm water for a few seconds and pop out using the stick.
- Eat and Enjoy! P.S.: if you notice, these pops are made of basically just peaches and yogurt. Which, if you’re wondering, makes them perfectly acceptable to eat for breakfast.
Another bean post?! I really have come a long way, haven’t I Mom? This spread, though. Let me tell you. It’ll make you a believer. A bean believer. A bean-liever. Yeah I just went there.
The best part about this bruschetta though is that it is absolutely perfect for summertime BBQs. It’s simple and it’s quick and when you brush bread with olive oil and then put it on the grill, something magical happens. When you top that magical bread with a lemony, fresh, white bean spread, well, you’ll just be one happy camper. So finally, instead of giving you fall recipes in July here is something that I insist you take to your next BBQ. Which, let’s be honest, ought to be this weekend. The bean spread itself takes literally twenty seconds to make. Literally. It’s a beautiful thing. So beautiful that I was finally able to make it to a BBQ on time, people. This is a huge accomplishment for me. I’m constantly late. Usually it’s because I’m baking something last minute to bring with me, so no one really complains, but.. still. I’m always late. But this time, I just brought along a loaf of bread, a jar of olive oil, and this spread, and not only was I on time, but the bruschetta I made was a hit. Mission accomplished.
Tuscan White Bean Bruschetta (from the Good Housekeeping Cookbook)
- 1 can cannelini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and rained.
- juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tbsp)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp (or a few grinds of the pepper mill) ground black pepper
- 1 loaf crusty bread, such as a baguette, ciabatta or other loaf
- Put all ingredients, except for bread, in your tall cup and top with the cross blade. Pulse and shake, pulse and shake a few times. All of the beans will not get mashed up. That is OK. You don’t want this to be a paste, there should be some texture left to it. Once you’re satisfied, dump it all into a bowl and stir it around to incorporate the leftover whole beans, smooshing some if you feel there are too many left whole. Set aside. Or, set in a tupperware and bring it to your neighbor’s to assemble at the BBQ.
- Slice your bread on the diagonal to get a lot of surface area out of it if you are using a baguette, or just into large slices if you are using a bigger loaf such as ciabatta. Brush slices on both sides with olive oil and set on a grill to toast. (you could do this under the broiler or in a grill pan on the stove if you absolutely cannot find a BBQ to crash. but I bet you can find one. It’s summer.) Watch carefully as the bread toasts very quickly; flip it and cook the other side.
- Once toasted on both sides, top with about 1 tbsp (or as much as you want) of the white bean spread. Munch, munch, munch! I made a double batch of this I liked it so much! Eat and Enjoy!
Bet’cha didn’t see this one coming, huh? I told you I was gonna give you some good recipes to use up that butternut squash puree. But I bet you thought the muffins were all you were gonna get. Surprise! Here’s another! You ate all your puree already?! It’s okay. I’m sure they have more squash at the store. You’ll want to make some more. Because this pasta, it’s awesome.
You might think I’m crazy. “Erin. The puree has sugar in it. And cinnamon. And you’re telling me you’re going to make pasta sauce with it?! You’re crazy!” Fear not, my dear friends. I may be crazy, but this pasta is delicious. The sweetness of the puree is balanced out by the shallots and the parmesan and just enough black pepper. It makes something creamy and savory and warm and cheesy and oooh.. I might have to make some more, actually.
Butternut and Parmesan Pasta (adapted from goodlifeeats)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups butternut squash puree
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup shallots (about 1-2 shallots, depending on the size.)
- 1/2 cup packed, freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 of one of those wedges)
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- Water or broth (as needed)
- 1/2 box (80z) penne or other pasta
- Using your bullet small cup and the flat blade, pulse to grate the parmesan cheese. Dump cheese out and set aside. In the same cup, using the cross blade, chop up the shallots. Boom. No knife skillz needed.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Cook pasta according to package directions. I never know how long pasta takes.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with deep sides over medium heat. Add in the olive oil and shallots, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the butternut squash puree, and cook for a minute. Slowly add in the half and half, stirring while you pour it in to avoid lumps. Add in the cheese and stir to melt. Salt and pepper to taste, we liked it with a hefty pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper. Here, if needed, you can add water or chicken/vegetable broth to thin out the sauce if it’s a little thick. I like to add in some of the pasta water leftover after the pasta has cooked; I think we added about 1/4 cup of it.
- Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Drain pasta (if you haven’t already) and spoon the sauce all over the pasta to serve. Eat and Enjoy!!!