Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

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When it comes to exclusively fall foods, pumpkin is one that certainly comes to mind.  No other time of year do I want to ingest a Jack-o-lantern, let alone crave it.  There is something so indulgent but at the same time healthy.  Pumpkin is a type of squash full of vitamins (A,B,C, and K) and minerals.  The flavor is distinct but it is easily used in seasonal drinks, desserts, and now healthy smoothies.  I feel like I’m playing a trick on my body with this treat because it tastes so good but is really good for me.

I used my Vitamix blender to get the rich and velvety quality of the smoothie, in just 45 seconds of blend time you have guest pleasing dessert…or breakfast if you desire.

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup of pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
-1/2 cup of almond milk or coconut milk (I mixed the two 50/50)
-1 frozen banana
-1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
-1/4 heaping tsp of pumpkin pie spice
-1/2 Tbsp of vanilla extract
-1 Tbsp maple syrup (I used a grade B syrup with rich flavor, you can use agave or brown sugar here too)
-1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Directions:

Place all ingredients into the Vitamix blender and slowly increase speed to high, blend for 45 seconds.  Add more milk if needed for consistency.

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Note:

-If you don’t have your banana frozen, put it in fresh and add a small handful of ice, you may need more milk when doing this.

-To make this more of a breakfast treat, try adding 1/4 cup of rolled oats or sprinkle with flax seed.

-Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg if serving for dessert.

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Heirloom Tomato Simple Side

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Heirloom tomatoes are about to be finished for the season, but if you can get your hands on one I would highly recommend it.  A good tomato can stand alone on my plate, but sometimes it is nice to dress it up a little.  For a simple side we have been eating this summer I slice the tomato into big slices and dress it up a little.  It doesn’t get much easier or healthier.

I love the way basil matches with tomatoes, but don’t feel like you have to stop there.  I love chives when serving with a savory breakfast as pictured above or parsley when accompanying a sandwich.

Ingredients:

-1 heirloom tomato sliced thick
-1 Tbsp of good quality olive oil
-dash of Kosher salt
-1 Tbsp of fresh herbs roughly chopped or torn

Directions:

Arrange tomato slices on a plate and drizzle with olive oil.  Next sprinkle with herbs and kosher salt…done!

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Smoker Cooking the Summer Away.

I have had a lot of remarks lately about my drop in posts this summer.  I do apologize, I have been doing some very simple cooking that I either haven’t found the time for, or just haven’t found “post worthy”.  Another major factor is that my husband and I bought an electric smoker this summer.  We have been smoking a lot of meat and fish on Sunday that we then eat in various meals during the following week.  Most people are not smoking meats at home and I felt this would have really limited my readers ability to recreate these meals.  We went the electric route with our smoker given the limited space on our balcony.  Going electric with the Masterbuilt Smoker was also a great call for us personally as the temperature remains consistent and the smoke output is limited…great for condo living.

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We have fallen in love with this method of cooking for the summer.  I love how easy it is to make a protein that can last all week but still has the ability to make a new meal every night.  As the fall approaches I will be reverting to more traditional methods of cooking and will be increasing my posts.  The recipes I made with smoked protein this summer I am sure to be making and posting with traditionally cooked proteins through the Fall and Winter, so don’t feel like you missed out on much!

Here are just a few of the meals I did capture on camera this summer with smoked proteins:

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Smoked salmon on a bagel with cream cheese, tomato, and chives.

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Homemade Ramen with smoked pork (I will definitely be making this again to post).

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Fresh salad with smoked salmon filet and tangy herb vinaigrette.

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Smoked brisket with a side of red coleslaw.

If you are in fact interested in the marinades, rubs, or woods we utilized for smoking meats this summer please leave a comment and I can provide this for you.  Otherwise, get ready for Fall and all the delicious soups, roasts, and hearty sides that come with the season!

Pumpkin Spice Latte

SeasonsForCooking

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On the weekends we like to make the most of our Breville Barista Express, making what we consider a latte.  We bought it as a Christmas present for ourselves last year and have not been disappointed with the purchase.  It has even turned us into bean snobs, right now we only order in beans from Brooklyn.  You can taste the difference and the grind is so much better than any bean from Starbucks.

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With a little crisp of Fall in the air I wanted to make the ever famous Pumpkin Spice Latte.  I browsed a lot of recipes online before settling with these proportions below.  I tried to make it both healthy and light in flavor as I don’t enjoy feeling like I’m drinking the uncooked filling of a pumpkin pie.

Ingredients: 

– 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened

-1 cup of coconut milk (from a can, I like Trader Joe’s…

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Quick Pickled Corn on the Cob

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Pickled corn on the cob has become a summertime favorite at our house.  With corn in season it’s the best time to make this side.  I first made it from a recipe from Martha Stewart’s Real Simple magazine when we were eating fresh oysters at home.  I wanted to make something fresh and tangy that would stand up well and pair with the most delicious oysters in the world, Island Creek Oysters!

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This recipe is easy and I have added other vegetables to the mix over my times making it.  Some of my favorite additions are cauliflower, carrots, garlic, celery and fennel.

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You want to make this 2 days before you plan on serving it, and eat it within one week of making for the best results.  The chili peppers give a little kick, you can add more or less based on your preference.  I usually add an extra bay leaf or two as well for a little extra spice.  The vegetables are fantastic on their own, but I highly recommend adding the red onions to burgers, sandwiches, and fish tacos.  The sliced corn is great as well in the fish tacos, salads, or with fresh cilantro and tomatoes for a quick salsa.

Ingredients: 

4 ½ cups cider vinegar
6 cups water
¾ cups Sugar
¼ cup coarse salt
1 dried bay leaf
7 red Thai chilies, 3 split open
8 large ears of corn, shucked and cut into 1.5″ medallions
1 large red onion, thinly sliced

Directions:

1. Bring vinegar, water, sugar, salt and bay leaf to a boil making sure sugar dissolves.  Stir in chilies and let cool about 10 minutes until warm.

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2. Cut and prepare corn and onion (or whatever vegetables you want to use) and layer in jar or bowl.

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3. Pour warm vinegar mixture over corn and onion and cover completely leaving jar open for an hour or two to cool before closing and putting in refrigerator for at least 1-2 days.

Serve cold and enjoy!

 

 

Kohlrabi Salad

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If you have ventured through the farmers markets lately or joined a CSA, you are probably looking at a few bulbs of Kohlrabi to use up.  The first time I tried kohlrabi I grilled it with onions, garlic, salt and pepper.  It turned out good but nothing to rave over.  My friend suggested just eating the slices raw with olive oil and salt/pepper to taste.  She was right, raw is the way to go with this.  The flavor is similar to broccoli stem or cabbage, but more delicate.  This simple salad uses up these strange looking orbs in a fresh way.  I didn’t fully skin the bulbs before thinly slicing, but I did scale down some of the thicker portions of the skin to avoid any woody or tough pieces in the salad.  The leafy greens are edible too, I plan to pulverize those in my morning smoothie.

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Ingredients:

1-2 bulbs of kohlrabi cleaned and sliced thin
1/2 red onion, diced
1 handful of fresh herbs (I went with parsley and thyme)
1-2 Tbsp of good quality olive oil
Generous dashes of salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Slice the kohlrabi, onion, and herbs.  Mix in a large bowl with olive oil and salt/pepper until evenly coated.

Note: If you want to take it up a notch, some crumbled feta and bacon would be delicious mixed in as well.

Pork Rub

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A smoker is to summer as the crock pot is to winter.  Slow and low cooking of affordable meats yielding moist and delicious results.  Whether you choose to smoke over coals or go the electric route as we have, you are in for a treat.  Our outside setup has driven us the electric route, and we have not been disappointed over the ease and quality of results.  It is now part of our regular Sunday routine, making enough meat or fish to eat for lunch and dinner all week long.  Today we are smoking a pork shoulder-butt with a homemade rub.  I wanted to share this rub recipe as it is easy and flavorful for a summer of grilling or smoking.  Starting out a little spicy and salty there is a hint of sweet that is perfect for pork.

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Ingredients: 

2 Tbsp Paprika (hot or sweet based on preference, I used a mix of the two)
1 Tbsp ground Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Cayenne Powder
2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

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Directions: 

Mix all ingredients together and use liberally over meats 20-30 minutes before cooking.

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