Monday, May 30, 2011

Mango Pineapple Smoothie

Well, I have officially been a blogger for one month now! I seem to enjoy it just as much as day one, if not more. I love taking pictures and this gives me even more of an excuse... reason, to take pictures of everything. I love the extra practice it is giving me too! Thank you for reading my blog- it gives me even more motivation to take pictures that can be turned into a blog post later!

Here is today's new venture. I finally tried making a different kind of smoothie, and I must say, it turned out delightful! It reminds me of being on a tropical island.
My mango pineapple smoothie.
It was simple and refreshing!

3/4 sliced frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen mango cubes
1/2 cup frozen pineapple cubes
1 and 1/4 cup almond milk
1 scoop stevia (optional)

Blend until smooth. 

This smoothie is worthy of an umbrella straw (and some rum, if you so desire!)
I also took a few pictures of our blossoming "weeds". We don't know exactly what they are (we haven't really looked into it either), but they grow super fast and are impossible to get rid of, so we can only assume they are some type of weed. For a few weeks during the summer, they actually have pretty looking blossoms on them.
They are pretty now, right? I can see flowers in these weeds at least a few weeks out of the year.

On another note, I'd like to share something small that brought a smile to my face yesterday. I was browsing through one of my favorite photography blogs, Divas and Dreams, looking at some of her older posts and tips. As I was scrolling through one of her "photo assignments" from a few weeks ago, I suddenly recognized a picture she had posted on her blissful picnic assignment- it was mine! I had totally forgotten I even submitted a photo and only had submitted it for fun... and to practice using a flicker account. (In fact, when I first saw it, I thought to myself, how in the world did she get my photo?!) There were a lot of professional, beautiful picnic pictures submitted, so I never even thought about checking back on it.

It is funny how such a small thing put a bright spot my day... there was no prize, it wasn't a contest, it was just a place to share our interpretations of a blissful picnic. How nice of her to select an amateur photo to post on her blog, along with other professional ones, as her pics of the week. If you'd like to see the post it can be found here (it has my name under it mariah.moore1). I really like the second one down, with the dogs- of course! The last one with the picnic table looks like the perfect picnic spot to me!

Here's to one month of blissful blogging down, many more to go! Cheers to that, with a RUM mango pineapple smoothie sounds delicious right now!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Red, White, & Blue

Oh, how I love Memorial Day weekend. It feels like it is officially summer now. Today I decided to celebrate by making our favorite breakfast recipe. We are not really big breakfast people, so we don't make this too often. Actually, we probably have only eaten this 3 times, including today. But they are seriously the best pancakes you will ever eat.

We used strawberry banana soft serve, fresh strawberries, and fresh blueberries, as toppings. A fantastic combo!!
Here they are: Strawberry shortcake stacked pancakes (the blueberries were added to the original recipe for taste and aesthetics for a Memorial Day theme).
The recipe can be found on Oh She Glows- one of my favorite food blogs!
We ate these outside before it was ridiculously hot. The banana soft serve still melted fairly fast. It was a scrumptious, slightly melted, fruity concoction.
Everyone should have these at least once in their lives.
My next cooking venture this morning was to make Lilly some Memorial Day treats of her own. I have made these for her before and she went crazy for them. They are cute mini muffins for pups. Strawberry Blueberry Muttins!
The recipe has relatively few ingredients. And my gluten intolerant friends, you can TOTALLY eat these :)
Strawberry Blueberry Muttins

2 cups oat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup blueberries
3/4 cup chopped strawberries
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup safflower oil
3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds mixed with 9 tablespoons of water, stirred and set aside for a few minutes until thick

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients together, except berries, and mix thoroughly. Gently fold in berries. Place cupcake papers into a mini muffin pan. Spoon mixture evenly into the papers, to the top (the mix will not rise much). Bake 10-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Or freeze the extras in a plastic bag.

Here they are before going into the oven.
Here they are after baking. Yes, they look the same.
You kind of want to try one, don't you? They are completely safe for human consumption... all top of the line ingredients! If you make these, try a piece! They are crumbly (I assume due to the lack of gluten) and only slightly sweetened. 
Very patriotic, right?
Look how well behaved our little dog was during this photo shoot. She knew they were for her too.
She actually came over and lay down there like that without being asked. She had been taught that she is more likely to get food if she lies down for it first.
She finally got a bite. TASTY! She gives her stamp of approval.
If you have a dog and you make these, your dog will love you even more. I'm sure of it. Give some as gifts. Your neighbor dogs will love you too.
I think I'm done plastering my blog in red, white, and blue... for now. The 4th of July isn't too far away though. Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Farmer's Market and Kale Chips

The farmer's market had a plethora of veggies, fruits, and flowers today. I brought my canvas shopping basket, my dog, and my camera. All essential items for farmer's market shopping.
I was excited they had October beans! I love succotash made with these fresh beans (in place of lima beans). You just shell them and boil them until tender before adding them to the recipe.
Lilly loves the market because she finds fruits and veggies on the ground... it is like free for all snacking for her! She had just eaten a whole strawberry right before this was taken. Notice the red stain under her bottom lip.
They had bright blossoming flowers there too.
Can you tell the pink one was my favorite?
After the market, I made a quick stop at Berrybrook Farm for some oat flour. The flour is for a recipe I am hoping to share soon. I love the quaint old building this natural foods store is located in. This is where I buy most of my vitamin and herb supplements from.
 The front porch is perfect for relaxing with one of their delicious smoothies.
When I was in there I noticed they were selling kale chips between 6 and 7 dollars for a little bag. I have really been wanting to make kale chips for awhile now. Surprisingly, Nate has too! It was my final push to go home and finally make them. For my first time, I just made them very basic! Remove the stems and chop a few handfuls of fresh kale. Drizzle it with safflower (or olive) oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. The edges should just be starting to turn brown when you take them out of the oven.
Update: Try 300 degrees for 15 minutes- they might come out more evenly crisped!
They are light, crispy, and salty. 
Now I'm eager to experiment with other recipes for kale chips! I have heard kale chips put in the dehydrator come out more evenly crispy than using the oven... another reason I would love a dehydrator. I think the next time I make these I will make sour cream and onion kale chips. At Berrybrook Farm I saw some cilantro and lime flavored kale chips that sounded delicious. If anyone has experimented with different flavors or recipes, I'd love to hear about it!

Happy 3 day weekend!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Failures and Fun

I suppose failed recipes come with the territory of cooking. Especially when you try new recipes weekly. Sometimes they don't necessarily fail, but they don't come out as good as you expected. One of this week's new recipes wasn't exactly a failure... but I will definitely not be making it again. There was just something about the flavors that didn't seem to meld together. It sounds delicious... and looks delicious, but Nate and I both agree: It is not delicious.

Take a look at our white bean salad with roasted tomatoes and arugula. Don't be fooled by the bright colors and fresh looking veggies.
It was a beautiful looking disappointment.

I actually had another disappointing recipe this week. However, I haven't written this one off yet. The recipe looked like a healthy no bake cookie... how exciting! I love no bakes and I love healthy. The problem was it TASTED like a healthy no bake cookie. I had high hopes that it would be healthy but still taste sugary, buttery, and chocolatey. I know... impossible. But I still hoped. These cookies were good as long as you expect a banana with mild chocolate flavor. I will possibly make these again.
You can find the recipe here if you are interested. I am sure you will all be rushing to make them, now that I have sung their praises. But really, they aren't bad.... Just not typical no bakes (Which you can tell when you read the list of ingredients.)

Last night we met up with some friends at the National Whitewater Center. This is where Lilly decided to ride on the way there. She climbed in her bag and was completely content there. I only had 58 minutes left on my camera battery, but I decided this moment was definitely worth sacrificing one of those minutes.
On Thursday nights the Whitewater Center has live local bands play. Nate especially wanted to go because he knows one of the guys in the band Leadville Social Club
I love the Whitewater Center because every time we go there seems to be a laid back, dog-loving, hippyish crowd there. It is a fun place just to go hang out, get a drink, or eat at The River's Edge Bar and Grill (which is very vegan and vegetarian friendly). 
The dogs loved it! Lilly loves any type of "happy hour" crowd... she has been raised going to weekly happy hours, so she feels as though she is in her element :) Perhaps that is why she is well adjusted around people, but not other dogs. And Lacey loves... well, Lacey loves everything.
Sitting near a river is always fun too... even if it is man made.
We are planning on spending more time there this summer.
You should go!! Enjoy a beer (or 2) while listening to a local band... bring your picnic blanket and dog, and watch the sunset.