Sunday, September 26, 2010

S is for Spinach

Oh my goodness, I am so excited about these two recipes. For real. I had a bag of spinach that I had neglected throughout the week and needed to use it asap. Spinach is, for me, one of those ingredients I could usually do without. I like spinach salads, but unless it's cooked with lots of other fatty goodness, I'm not a huge fan. I don't know how Popeye did it.

Anyway, these two recipes are amazing because they are super healthy, but super flavorful. They are both made in the blender/food processor. The pesto is so delicious, almost buttery. I didn't have any pine nuts, so I used raw almonds. You could also use this pesto over other foods, ie chicken, eggs, and whatever your little culinary heart desires.

The smoothie is a wonderful surprise. I honestly was a little hesitant to try it. I mean, spinach with a fruit smoothie? I had read about others making it, and I was curious. The result? It tasted like a frozen dark chocolate bar with blueberries. It's an amazing smoothie, because it has NO EXTRA SUGAR (que Hallelujah chorus!). It doesn't need it! You're not making a milkshake, you're making a healthy smoothie. The spinach is not noticeable at all. If I didn't know it was in there, I wouldn't have guessed it.


RECIPE 1: Spinach pesto

-pasta (I just used whatever I had left in the box...)
-4 cups fresh spinach
-1/4 cup raw almonds (no pine nuts? gasp! I had to use what was in my pantry!)
-2 cloves garlic
-1/3 cup olive oil
-1/2 cup parmesan
-salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta as directed.

2. In a blender or food processor, blend together the rest of the ingredients until smooth and all of the almonds have been chopped.

3. Pour pesto over hot pasta, top with a dab of extra Parmesan and enjoy.

RECIPE 2: power "green" smoothie.

1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup almond milk (you can also use soy or cow milk if you would like)
2 cups fresh spinach
1 heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Do you fondant?

Alright, so this picture is sub-par, but it was late and I was too tired to care!
This was my first experience with fondant, and it was a lot easier than I expected! If you can play with play-doe, you can work with fondant. It takes some time, especially to color it evenly, but the outcome was really fun. I made this cake for my sister's baby shower, and it went over pretty darn well! I did a cream cheese icing, with the rubber ducky fondant and polka dots on the side (not visible here). Anyway, if I can do it (as a not very artistic person...) so can you!


16 ounces white mini-marshmallows
3 tablespoons water
2 pounds confectioners sugar

1. In a microwavable bowl, combine the marshmallows and water. Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir. Continue the microwave and stir action until the texture has turned soupy.
2. Being careful (because it's HOT), add the powdered/confectioners 1/2 cup at a time. Fold in the sugar until the fondant turns into a play-dough texture. Roll out with a rolling pin. If you need to add color, just add in the coloring and knead until the color evens out.
3. Have fun!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Curried Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Can we say "helloooo falll!" The weather is cooling down, football and holidays are in the air, and those wonderful orange foods are coming out! Carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and squash. It's the most wonderful time of the year!

I wanted to make a really flavorful, healthy dish that would incorporate these new flavors of fall. This was mostly a "make up as you go" recipe, but it turned out quite well! It's warm, filling, and comforting, without the typical fattiness of "comfort foods". Overall a delightful bowl of autumnal happiness. : )


INGREDIENTS (makes 4 servings):
1 lb carrots, diced
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp curry powder
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until fragrant.

2. Add in the broth, potatoes, carrots, and curry powder. Let simmer until carrots and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Remove ingredients from pot, and blend in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into bowls and serve with croutons.