Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

A while back I just couldn’t stop myself from buying some blueberries at the store.  They just looked so good!  I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but I knew I had to get them.  One of the ways I decided to use them was in a smoothie.  I love blueberries in smoothies because I never find the taste overwhelming.  For this smoothie you will need:

  • Blueberries
  • Oats
  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Banana

Check out the full recipe here, or my pin on my Drinks on Me board.

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

Review

As usual, I love smoothies, so you’d be hard pressed to find me saying it wasn’t good and I would never make it again.  This one is no exception.  The banana helped with the grittiness that I sometimes get when using oats in smoothies, and the flavors were well balanced.  I won’t say that it reminded me too much of a blueberry muffin, but that’s okay because I can see how the ingredient list would lead to that name.  Most of the items in this smoothie can be found in my kitchen on a regular basis, so this is an easy go-to for me.  I think you could substitute just about any fruit for the blueberries and still have a winner.

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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

It happened again.  I got suckered in by some good looking produce at the grocery store, and I bought it without having any idea what I was going to do with it.  Luckily, strawberries are a great smoothie ingredient, so my path was pretty clear.  For this smoothie you will need:

  • 1/2 a banana
  • 8-10 strawberries
  • a handful of spinach
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • ice cubes

You might have noticed that this time I gave you all the measurements.  That’s because this is my recipe, so no links to sources!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

Process

Peel the half banana.  If you have a frozen one, awesome!  I didn’t and it turned out fine.  Chunk the banana and throw it in the blender.  Cut the stems off the strawberries and add them to the blender.  Add the yogurt and chocolate chips to the blender.  Throw in as much spinach as you feel like.  I put in about 1/4-1/2 cup, but more or less is totally fine.  Finally, add your ice cubes.  I have one of those ice cube trays that comes with your refrigerator and used 8 of those cubes.  I think that’s equal to a cup or a cup and a half of ice.  Put as much in as you feel like.  Keep in mind that the less ice you add the warmer the final product will be.  Blend everything until smooth.

I really enjoyed this smoothie because it was quick and simple.  It really did taste like chocolate covered strawberries, and I felt fine about the chocolate chips because I also had spinach in there.  I’d love for you to give this a try and tell me what you think!

Vanilla Mint Smoothie

I’ve mentioned before that sometimes things are super expensive out here, more so than I would expect.  Mint is one of those items.  I love mint, both in food and as a plant (even if it does sort of take over wherever it is planted).  So, I decided I needed to grow my own mint so I could have it whenever I wanted.  I put it in a planter all by itself in hopes it would spread out and take over.  Now it’s time to use it!  For this smoothie you will need:

  • Mint
  • Spinach
  • Coconut milk
  • Vanilla
  • Banana

Get the full recipe here, or check out my pin on my Drinks on Me board.

Vanilla Mint Smoothie

Review

This smoothie is made in two parts to give it a layered look, also, one part is vanilla and the other part is mint.  I tried the pour over method to get the green to settle on top of the white, but it just didn’t happen for me.  After I took the picture and my first few sips, I just mixed it all together.  The drink itself was easy enough, though it was annoying to have to mix two sets of ingredients.  I did the white part first so I wouldn’t need to clean in between blends.

Overall this recipe was just okay.  It wasn’t anything special, and you will have coconut milk left over that needs to be stored.  Not a big deal if you decide to make this again tomorrow, but something to be aware of.  I probably won’t make this recipe again (not when that thin mint smoothie exists), but I do think that it has an audience that just isn’t me.  Maybe it’s you?  I think that this recipe is perfect for someone that regularly buys chia seeds.  I didn’t put them in mine because I simply couldn’t find them and didn’t want to order them online.  If that’s you, give this one a try!

Sausage Stuffed Shells in Butternut Squash Sauce

Some days I don’t want quick or simple when I cook.  Instead I want interesting flavors and wow.  When I saw this stuffed shell recipe that used butternut squash as the basis for a sauce, I was sold.  It had an interesting flavor combination and the pictures were stunning.  I had to try it!  For this recipe you will need:

  • Butternut squash
  • Onion
  • Vegetable broth
  • Milk
  • Sausage
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Shells

Check out the full recipe here, or my pin on my Yum board.

Sausage Stuffed Shells in Butternut Squash Sauce

Review

This recipe is not quick, so make sure you read the whole thing and are prepared for that.  The squash and onions need to roast for an hour before you can puree them to make the sauce.  Now, on the plus side, you can literally cook everything else while this is happening.  However, everything else doesn’t take an hour, so you’ll still be waiting.  However, you could absolutely do the roasting over the weekend (or whenever you have time), and make the sauce ahead so it’s ready to go when you’re ready to use it.  (Once everything is roasted, the rest of the sauce process took me about 10 minutes.)  One thing that I noticed was that my sauce was super thick, like spoonable thick.  I’m not sure if that’s how it was intended to be, but mine was.  Adding more broth and milk could help thin it out if that’s a problem for you.  Also, I used my Vitamix to make the sauce and it worked like a charm.  Just make sure to put in all the liquid at the beginning since it’s so thick.  Don’t wait on adding the milk.

As for the rest of the process, it was a simple matter of cooking sausage and mixing it in with the ricotta cheese.  When it came time to stuff the shells, the thick sauce was pretty helpful.  I placed the shell into the sauce which held it in place, and then I spooned the filling into them.  I ended up making the full batch, but only half the shells.  The rest of the filling and sauce are in my refrigerator to use this week.

The flavors were GREAT.  I loved the combination of butternut squash with the sausage.  It made for a nice mix of just a little sweet with just a bit spicy.  While this recipe takes time to complete, it is absolutely worth it.  It would be a great dish to make for company because it looks great in the dish and has a fun flavor set.  I absolutely recommend trying this recipe out!

Thin Mint Smoothie

Like most people I know, I love Girl Scout cookies, especially thin mints.  Last year I bought something like 10 boxes of them, storing them in my freezer to carefully dole out over the year.  So when I saw a smoothie that claimed to taste like a thin mint, I ran to the store so I could give it a try!  You will need:

  • mint
  • spinach
  • dark chocolate chips
  • milk

For a full list of ingredients and directions, check out the recipe here, or my pin on my Drinks on Me board.

thin mint smoothie

Review

Let’s get straight to the point-does this taste like a thin mint?  No.  It does not.  However, it is fairly close, and it is an excellent chocolate and mint combo.  Honestly, even though it isn’t an exact, liquid replica, I would make this over and over again.  In fact, I am seriously considering putting in some mint in my herb garden this summer expressly for that reason.  It really is amazingly good.  I’ve only made it one more time, but that’s actually because my grocery store rarely carries mint (and then it’s kind of expensive).  Clearly this is another good reason to grow it myself.

This recipe calls for a LOT of spinach.  I was worried about that, but I shouldn’t have been.  Because you pack in so much mint, you cannot taste the spinach at all.  Would I make this again?  Absolutely!  I want to drink this every morning!  Time to put in that mint garden…..  If YOU have access to mint, what are you waiting for?  Make this today!

Caramel Frappuccino

I love coffee and am a real sucker for a good flavored coffee.  It’s probably best that there’s no where to get a coffee like that in town.  I’ve done lots of experiments with my own coffee syrups, but once you make those you start to realize just how much sugar is in them.  So, I’ve started to drink my coffee black and save flavored coffee for special occasions.  However, when I came across this skinny caramel frappuccino recipe, I knew I had to try it!  You will need:

  • Coffee (cold)
  • Ice cubes
  • Milk
  • Caramel Sauce

Check out the full recipe here, or my pin on my Drinks on Me board.

caramel frappuccino

Review

When I went to make this, I noticed that I only had about a cup worth of ice instead of three.  I only own one ice cube tray, and it only makes about two cups of ice, so I was never going to have 3 cups.  “No problem,” I thought to myself, “I’ll just add more coffee so there’s more liquid.”  I don’t think this was a bad idea, but it certainly didn’t end up with the slush mixture that it should have (which I knew).

That said, I still found this to just be okay.  Even though I had less ice than the recipe called for, it still tasted a bit watery to me.  That might have been because my coffee was still luke warm when I used it and it might have somewhat melted the few ice cubes I did have.  Also, my version is no where near as skinny as hers is.  She used almond milk, but I only have soy.  Turns out there is a HUGE calorie difference between the two.  According to the source, she’s only in for 15 calories over 24 ounces.  I, on the other hand, am in for 110 over just one cup.  I guess that means I need to start looking for almond milk because dang if that isn’t huge.  Because of this, she ends up with a 50 calorie frappuccino (which, I believe, is not accurately counted because you can’t just say 15 calories is basically the same as zero because it’s not), whereas I end up with 60 calories in just milk following the same recipe.

Will I make this again?  Maybe.  It didn’t wow me, but sometimes you’re desperate.  Besides, I think I owe it another chance with closer to the right amount of ice.

 

***UPDATE:  So, I wrote this post and saved it for a morning when I didn’t feel like writing.  Since then I have gone to the store to check out almond milk.  Now, I don’t have a fancy grocery store (I’ve written about how some days I can’t even buy normal items), but the lowest calorie almond milk I could find was 30 calories over 8 ounces.  Even when I looked online, I couldn’t find any almond milk (that told me the calories) that was under 30, so I don’t know where she gets her milk.  Furthermore, I’ve decided to stick with my soy for now because of all the nutrients that I get from it.  It might be more calories, but I am getting things for those calories, so I think it’s a worthwhile trade-off.***

Black Bean Soup

Last week my husband and I went to a nice dinner out.  I ordered black bean soup as part of my meal, and it was delicious.  As you know, I love soup, and I love my Vitamix.  (Seriously, this blender is amazing!) So, as soon as I got home from dinner, I had to find a black bean soup recipe to try!  Here’s what you will need:

  • Vegetable broth
  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Onion
  • Bell peppers
  • Jalapeno

Check out the full recipe here, or my pin on my Yum board.

Black Bean Soup

Review

Black bean soup is one of those things I am slightly picky about.  It’s not that I won’t eat it if I don’t think it’s “perfect,” it’s just that I think it can be hard to get the right flavor combination.  That was the case with this recipe.  It wasn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t “just right” either.

I liked the kick of the jalapeno, but I was also craving a bit more….something.  I ended up adding some paprika to the pot and that helped immensely.  I was originally drawn to this recipe because of the peppers and onions in it, but I felt like the red and yellow peppers got lost in everything else (and I even added more than the recipe called for).

Overall, this wasn’t a bad recipe, but it wasn’t the perfect black bean soup either.  However, it was a good start on the way to a better black bean soup, so I will probably make this again and continue trying to tweak it to make it just right.

Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie

I love a good smoothie.  It never ceases to amaze me just how much flavor can come out of mixing a few things together in a blender.  The majority of my Drinks on Me board is smoothies because I can’t get enough.  Chocolate and raspberry can be very hit or miss for me, so I was curious how this was going to turn out.  You will need:

  • Raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Milk
  • Cocoa powder

Check out the full recipe here, or my pin on my Drinks on Me board.

Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie

Review

The original recipe is vegan and calls for almond milk.  I used soy milk (because that’s what we have at our house).  I also halved the recipe as it makes two and I was only making this for myself.  I threw everything in the blender and hoped.  I tend to think that cocoa powder doesn’t give me a fabulous chocolate taste, and I feel like that continued to be the case here.  Sure it did have chocolate flavoring, but it was very powdery in my mouth.  I honestly had to force myself to finish it.  As is, I wouldn’t make it again.

But then I got to thinking.  I have dark chocolate chips in my house, so what if I switched them out?  So, the next day I set out to try again.  The results this time were much better.  I actually enjoyed sipping this smoothie.  The consistency was much better as was the overall taste.

Let’s talk numbers for a moment*.  I found this recipe inside another list of “healthy low calorie smoothies.”  So what are those numbers?  1 cup of soy milk is 110 calories, 5 oz of raspberries is around 47 calories.  So that means 157 calories before we add the chocolate.  1/4 cup of cocoa powder is 4 tablespoons, but I halved the recipe, so I only used 2 Tbsp.  Each Tbsp is 15 calories, so that’s 30 total.  So, for the original recipe, one serving would be 187 calories.  As for my modifications, I used 2 Tbsp of dark chocolate chips.  Each Tbsp is 70 calories, so that means an additional 140 calories get added.  This makes my modified recipe 297 calories.  Obviously that’s a big caloric difference, but I’d still rather drink my modified version.  Maybe I could compromise with myself and do one tablespoon of each?

 

*These numbers are all based on the calories listed on the packaging of my specific ingredients and any necessary math to get the serving size to match with my actual usage.

Butternut Squash Soup

I love soups.  I especially love autumn flavors, so when I saw the butternut squash soup in my Vitamix recipe book, I knew I was definitely going to make it.  For this recipe you will need:

  • Butternut Squash
  • Broth
  • Apple

Check out the recipe here.  (This link will open a PDF.)

Butternut Squash Soup

Review

The first thing that needed to be done was roasting the squash.  I was worried about this process because I had never roasted squash before.  However, I followed the directions given, and it was super simple.  I found that after the squash had cooked and cooled, it was best to peel the squash and then cut it up.  I was trying to just scoop it out with a spoon at first, but the peel and cut method was way more effective.

I was surprised by just how simple this entire recipe was.  All I had to do was cut everything up and throw it in the Vitamix. That’s it!  The taste was awesome.  It was flavorful, being both savory and just a little bit sweet.  I made half a batch the first time, and saved the remaining squash for later.  I should have made it all at once because the soup was gone almost as soon as I made it!

If you like squash soups, you should definitely give this one a try!

Smoothies

A little over a month ago, I had finally saved up enough to purchase a Vitamix blender.  Our old blender had been a wedding gift, and it had died around the same time that my husband got his job here in Arizona, and I was stuck trying to sell our house.  Since then, I knew I wanted a new blender, but I wanted something with some power behind it that I could use every day to make smoothies.All of my research led me to my new Vitamix.

You guys, I love it.

So, today, I want to share with you three of the smoothies that I have tried out.  You can find these recipes and more on the Vitamix website.

Smoothie #1:  Autumn Sweet Potato

Now, before you try to tell me how odd a sweet potato smoothie sounds, let me tell you a little story.  Back when my brother lived in San Diego, my husband and I drove cross country to take some of his things to him.  While we were there, my brother took us to a sushi place and ordered a roll that had orange and sweet potato in it.  We all agreed it sounded weird and had to try it.  And wouldn’t you know, it was the best thing we ate that day.  We talked about it for days later.  So, when I saw a sweet potato smoothie, I knew I had to try it.  You will need:

  • Red grapes
  • Cooked sweet potato
  • Cranberries
  • An orange

There are several other ingredients, so check out the full recipe here.
Sweet Potato Smoothie

Review

I really liked this recipe.  My husband wasn’t as in love with it as I was, but he didn’t dislike it either.  I left out the dates because I simply forgot to pick them up at the store.  If you decide to use fresh ginger (like I did), I would suggest going even lighter than the recipe and adding more to taste.  We both thought the ginger was a little overpowering.

Smoothie #2:  Basic Smoothie

I started out adventurous, but then decided that maybe I should scale it back and try something simple.  Nothing says simple like the name “Basic Smoothie,” so off I went to try it.  For this smoothie you will need:

  • Milk
  • Banana
  • Pineapple

That’s it!  Check out all the proportions with the full recipe here.

basic smoothie

Review

My husband was not a fan of this one, as in, I will not be making it again.  He thought it smelled and tasted like sunscreen.  I will admit that it did smell like sunscreen, but I, personally, found the flavor to be nice and tropical.  This is something I would enjoy drinking on a beach in the summer.

Smoothie #3:  Vanilla Frappe

After the lack of success with the Basic Smoothie, I decided that I should try something I was confident he would like; something made with coffee.  After taking stock of what I had on hand and comparing that to the recipes I had, I only had one choice: the vanilla frappe.  This recipe calls for:

  • Coffee (brewed double strength or espresso)
  • Milk
  • Vanilla syrup
  • Ice

Unfortunately, the recipe doesn’t appear to be online, but it’s in the cookbook that came with my blender.  You’ll want 3/4 cup coffee, 1 cup milk, 3 Tablespoons of the vanilla syrup, and 1 cup of ice.

vanilla frappe

Review

I really liked this recipe, and have even made it more than once.  It’s definitely sweet, so it’s not really a morning smoothie or a smoothie I would drink often (there’s a lot of sugar in that syrup).  It also separated into a foamy top and a milky coffee bottom.  I think, though, that might be due to using soy milk?  I’m not really sure.  In any case, all I did was give it a quick stir, if I felt like it, and all was well.  This is something I might make a big batch of when I have friends over, especially in warmer weather.

 

Since I got my Vitamx, I have been making a new smoothie every day.  I love it!  You can be sure that I will be reviewing more smoothies in the near future!