Tag Archives: smoothie

Happy Halloween and Pumpkin Smoothie

inktober 31
I’ve been doing an ink sketch every day for the month of October and posting on Instagram.  This is the last one!  I’ll be doing a give away next month of some of my original sketches, so stay tuned…  See the Top 5 Favorites and which art tools I used here.

 

Here’s my Pumpkin Smoothie recipe– in keeping with the autumnal spirit of the day!

(I often freeze pumpkin puree in ice cube trays and remove and store in a ziploc bag for these…one cube equals 2 tablespoons of puree)

WIth some pumpkin granola sprinkled on top!

With some pumpkin granola sprinkled on top!

Pumpkin Smoothie

2-3 ice cubes

1/4 frozen banana 

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

3/4 cup almond milk

dash of vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice

pinch of guar gum and xanthan gum if you want it extra creamy (optional)

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Makes one serving.

pumpkin-smoothie

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Green Recipe Fail and Success: Perfect Green Coconut Chocolate Protein Ice Cream

My attempt at a green dosa

My attempt at a green dosa

I’m sharing with you a recipe (semi) fail today.  Sometimes life is not perfect.

I ate my first dosa from Dosa Royale eaten at the Brooklyn Smorgasburg.  I wish I had a photo to show it — it was huge and delicious!   A dosa is a savory crepe made from a fermented batter of rice flour and black lentils.  I was inspired to try making a savory zucchini one at home

zucchini batter

Zucchini batter

I don’t have a crepe pan — but that shouldn’t be the cause of my fail because I’ve made many crepes on a regular non-stick skillet.  Bu this time, nothing stayed together when I tried to flip it. 😦   Maybe I need a new skillet?  Or perhaps there wasn’t enough oil?   Wanting the salvage the remaining batter, I decided to try baking it in the toaster oven.  I had better luck with this, but who bakes a crepe!?  Anyway, here is the result.  It is crepe-like and similar to the dosa I had, but with a nice tea green shade:

zucchini crepe

I used it to make a breakfast burrito (with beans, egg, cheese, salsa, and onions).  The flavor is wonderful, even though it is not very “pretty”.

burrito

These days, I am so busy with my artwork, I don’t have as much time to noodle around experimenting in the kitchen, but it is a nice way to procrastinate!  For breakfast, I’m sticking with my perfected Green Coconut Chocolate Protein Ice Cream.  It is similar to my Green Coconut Chocolate Spinach Smoothie, but instead of psyllium husk (I know, I’m losing out on the extra fiber…!), I use a pinch of xanthum gum which I picked up at the health food store.  It gives it a really nice smooth and creamy ice cream feel.

AH... dessert for breakfast! I garnish it with toasted unsweetened coconut and sliced almonds and chia seeds.

AH… dessert for breakfast! I garnish it with toasted unsweetened coconut and sliced almonds and chia seeds.

This is the perfect light breakfast on a hot summer day.  If you can find xanthum gum, try it out — a little goes a lo..o.o…o..ng way!

 

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In other news, my son, Jamie and his friend have recently started blogging.  For a peek at what ten year old boys and girls are writing, check out their blogs at:

http://storiesonclouds.wordpress.com/ and his friend, P’s http://hefordandmelly.wordpress.com/ blogs.  Both are creative writing blogs. It is pretty obvious which one is written by the boy and which is written by the girl!

Perfect Green Coconut Chocolate Protein Ice Cream

2-3 ice cubes

1/4 frozen banana (I slice them and freeze, so this is about 4 slices)

1 cube of frozen coconut milk (or 2 tablespoons)

About 1/2 cup frozen fruit — I use blueberries and strawberries often

1 pinch of xanthum gum

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

a little less than 1/4 cup milk

teaspoon of toasted coconut and almond for garnish (optional)

1.  Crush ice cubes and coconut milk in blender.

2.  Pour in remaining ingredients and blend. Use a tamper to press everything down — I use a Vitamix.  If you don’t have a tamper, I would just keep stirring it every now and then by hand to remove clumps, and blend again.

3.  Pour into a  bowl and top with crunchy toasted coconut and almond topping if you desire!

Here is my semi-fail recipe if you are interested — still needs work!

Zucchini “Dosa”

1 medium sized zucchini

1 egg

2 tablespoons pancake mix (I used TJ’s multigrain)

1 tablespoons grated parmesan

salt to taste

about 2 tablespoons water to thin batter

non-stick spray

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut eight  5 x 5 inch squares out of parchment paper and lay four of them on top on baking sheet.  Spray paper with nonstick spray. Set aside.

2.  Blend ingredients in a blender.

3.   Spoon batter onto parchment and spread into circles or squares.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes.  Cover each square with paper then flip pancake so that the cooked side is down.  Bake for another 5-7 minutes until pancake is done.  Cool and store in refrigerator or eat immediately.

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts, Uncategorized

Microwave Pumpkin Breakfast Cake

This cake can be made in 2 minutes!

This cake can be made in 2 minutes

I’m traveling and visiting family at the moment, so this will be short and sweet!  As some of you might have already seen, there are a ton of cake in the mug recipes all over the web.  They are wonderful for college kids whose only cooking appliance is a microwave.  But I have been having fun making versions of this cake for my breakfasts.  Now that it’s so cold, I haven’t been having my protein smoothie as often.  I was also inspired by fellow blogger Wild Blue Wonder’s yummy pumpkin oats and sometimes make the cake with oats.

You can improvise with the recipe, substituting almond meal, rice flour, or other flour in place of the flour or oats and make it gluten free.  Here is a Paleo gluten free chocolate one that sounds good.

I used pumpkin puree, some almond meal, and a bit of TJ’s multigrain pancake mix.  I cook mine in a large ramekin.  Because I use so little flour, it has a real moist texture that is close to a bread pudding.  It’s so warm and comforting and delicious.

pumpkin cake

Hope everyone (in the U.S.)  has a wonderful Thanksgiving Thursday!  If you don’t celebrate, you can still enjoy some whipped cream with a piece of pumpkin pie. 🙂

Thanksgiving_Melissa2

Microwave Pumpkin Breakfast Cake

pumpkin cake close 2

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon plain yogurt

1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, other oil, or melted butter

2 tablespoons liquid egg white (or just use an egg)

cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to taste

sprinkle of stevia or 2 teaspoons sugar

couple drops of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon almond meal

1 tablespoon pancake mix

(alternatively, use 2 tablespoons flour, GF flour, or other flour or combination)

1.  Mix all ingredients in a mug and microwave for about 1 minute and 30 seconds, checking after a minute.  Depends on the strength of your microwave.

Another way to do it is to mix everything in a bowl and transfer to a ramekin sprayed with nonstick spray and then microwave.

Makes one small single serving.  It’s so yummy with pumpkin butter smeared on top! 🙂

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Green as a Coconut, Spinach, Chocolate Smoothie

Topped with toasted coconut and sliced almonds

Topped with toasted coconut and sliced almonds


So this is only day 2 of my weaning myself off of caffeine, and I feel like this:

Copyright Melissa Iwai 2005

Copyright Melissa Iwai 2005

All I want to do is sleep.  Which probably means I am sleep deprived.  Which is why I decided to stop drinking coffee in the first place.  I have been struggling with insomnia and stress, and hopefully this will help with that.  Unfortunately, I have a lot of work to do, and my daily coffee seemed to help make me so much more productive!  Have any of you dealt with this issue?  Any advice or tips you can give?

In the meantime, I’m still trying to keep a healthy lifestyle.  I’m still drinking my smoothies.  Jamie too.  Remember this one?  It’s his favorite Chocolate Banana Smoothie (with Secret Ingredient).

These days, I drink one daily and it’s a riff on Jamie’s Chocolate Banana Smoothie and my Strawberry Bliss Smoothie.

Strawberry Banana High Fiber Smoothie

Strawberry Banana High Fiber Smoothie

It has the frozen fruit, spinach (whoops! there goes the secret!), and pysllium husk that those have, but I’ve also added protein powder and coconut milk as well.  I often try to make it as thick as possible so I can eat it with a spoon.  I top it with a little toasted coconut and almonds, and it makes me feel like I’m eating a soft serve ice cream for breakfast.  This is especially nice in these hot summer months!

I toast unsweetened coconut and sliced almonds on foil in the toaster oven.

I toast unsweetened coconut and sliced almonds on foil in the toaster oven.

I keep frozen banana, various fruits, frozen spinach in a bag, and frozen coconut milk in the freezer at all times.

One can of Trader Joe's Light Coconut Milk fills one ice cube tray. How convenient!

One can of Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk fills one ice cube tray. How convenient!

I freeze the coconut milk in an ice cube tray.  One cube equals 2 tablespoons, if you are curious.  When it hardens, I transfer the cubes to a ziploc freezer bag and store for future use –i.e. almost every morning.

This is what I put in the blender:

ingredients

The fruit I used this time was nectarine, but that varies.

Frozen Coconut Milk, Banana, Nectarine, and Spinach

Frozen Coconut Milk, Banana, Nectarine, and Spinach–pretty!

I know it looks green and icky, but it is SOOO good!

I know it looks green and icky, but it is SOOO good!

Here's a more Martha Stewart photo for ya!

Here’s a more Martha Stewart photo for ya!

Coconut, Spinach, Chocolate Protein Smoothie

2-3 ice cubes

1/4 frozen banana (I slice them and freeze, so this is about 4 slices)

1 cube of frozen coconut milk (or 2 tablespoons)

a handful of other frozen fruit — I use nectarines and strawberries often

1 teaspoon psyllium husk (if you want more fiber — also it acts as a thickening agent.  You could also use Chia Seeds)

a little less than 1/4 cup milk (or almond milk if you want to keep it vegan), depending on how liquid you want the final to be

teaspoon of toasted coconut and almond for garnish (optional)

1.  Crush ice cubes in blender.

2.  Pour in remaining ingredients and blend. If you make it thick, like mine, you need a tamper to press everything down — I use a Vitamix.  If you don’t have a tamper, I would just keep stirring it every now and then by hand to remove clumps, and blend again.

3.  Pour into a wide rimmed glass or bowl and top with crunchy toasted coconut and almond topping if you desire!

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Filed under Beverages, Breakfast, Vegetarian

Healthy Desserts for Kids

Chocolate, banana, spinach smoothie!

Awhile ago, during the summer (those days seem far away!), I had the opportunity to join Katherine Lee of about.com in her kitchen for a fun afternoon of cooking and filming!

Katherine has a wonderful parenting blog on about.com, and she invited me to contribute some healthy dessert ideas for kids.  We made everything in her kitchen and the lovely Meredith filmed us.  It was a blast and such a different experience from what I am usually doing during the day in my studio!  She treated us to a fabulous sushi lunch, and we munched on the desserts we made throughout the day.  🙂

My favorite Double Chocolate Zucchini, Banana Bread with Secret Ingredient is one of the recipes featured.

Can you guess what the secret ingredient is?

Check out the video on how to make it here.
Other super easy, practically-not-cooking recipes are:
Peanut Butter Truffles!  Remember this post?
Video is here.
Frozen Yogurt Grapes:
I never did a post about it, but the recipe is in the video.
Banana Soft Serve (minus the Magic Shell!):

All natural goodness — just bananas and a splash of milk!

Chocolate version seen here in the video.

And last, but not least:  Chocolate, Banana, Spinach Smoothie  

This the one video I never want Jamie to see, because he drinks this all the time!  It is a great after school snack.  The spinach has absolutely no flavor in the smoothie, and he has no idea I sneak it in. I sometimes use frozen spinach which adds to the creaminess of the smoothie along with the frozen banana!

Video and recipe are here.

Hope you enjoy these recipes — they are all really easy to make and are pretty healthy considering they are desserts!

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Filed under Breakfast, Children, Desserts, Snack, Vegetarian

Abuelita Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream


While travelling in Mexico during my college years,  I always enjoyed having Mexican hot chocolate at breakfast.  It’s tastier than its American counterpart and has subtle notes of cinnamon.  Then, many years later after moving to NYC, I discovered that the little bodega on our corner had the Abuelita chocolate disks, so I happily started making Mexican hot chocolate at home.

Nowadays, you can find these disks (the other common brand is Ibarra) in the international foods section of large grocery stores.

In fact, my sister-in-law in Gurnee, IL who didn’t know we could get it here sent us about 10 boxes after we commented how much we loved it while visiting during Thanksgiving!

So good on a cold day…

Since it’s been so hot these days, we’ve been enjoying lots of yummy home made cold treats like smoothies, soft serve “ice cream”, and rocket pops.  Hot chocolate hasn’t made the cut!  I decided to make ice cream instead because I had some heavy cream I needed to use up (I mixed it with milk to make half and half).

This recipe is based on one in Gourmet magazine (Feb. 2003).  It’s an egg based ice cream, but since it requires whole eggs, instead of just the yolks,  it’s not as heavy as your usual custard based ice creams.  It’s closer to a gelato.  The flavor is wonderful too.

Abuelita Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

3 3/4 cups half and half

3  1/2 disks Abuelita (or Ibarra) chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Heat half and half, chocolate, and cinnamon in a large saucepan over moderate heat.  Whisk until chocolate dissolves.  Bring to a boil; remove from heat.

2.  Whisk eggs with a pinch of salt in a large heat proof bowl.  Add a few cups of  the hot chocolate* slowly* to the egg mixture while whisking.  Add the rest of the chocolate and continue to whisk.  Add vanilla. Stir to incorporate.

3.  Transfer to a clean saucepan and heat over low to moderate heat for about 5 minutes, or until mixture is 175 (F) degrees.  It will thicken and coat the spoon.

4.  Immediately strain into a large bowl set over another larger bowl of ice water.  Don’t skip this step!

5.  Chill mixture until cool and then churn  according to ice cream maker instructions. (The original recipe calls for churning right after, but I find that the heat impedes the ice cream making process which results in “soupy” ice cream.)

Makes about 4 cups.

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