Green smoothies have been a “thing” for quite a while now, but I didn’t get it for the longest time because every recipe I tried tasted just too, well, green. But, I finally found one that tastes like a proper smoothie – cold, creamy and delicious. Your first thought will be “tropical” not “green”.
There’s a lot going on in this smoothie to make it just right. The banana, avocado and yogurt keep it creamy, the ice cubes keep it cold and refreshing, the orange juice gives it a tropical flavour, and the honey sweetens it up. I don’t normally put this much honey in a smoothie but I feel like it’s necessary to take away the “green” flavour that tends to make these types of smoothies taste like a blended salad. *shudder* I like to eat my salad with a fork, thank you very much.
This smoothie gets it’s green from two veggies, avocado and spinach. But, I don’t think that either are distinctly noticeable. In fact, Max doesn’t like avocados one bit “except for in smoothies” he now proudly proclaims, because he loves this smoothie so much. Mommy win!
Creamy Tropical Green Smoothies
- 1 avocado, peel and pit removed
- 1 large banana, peeled (or 1.5 small)
- 1 large handful baby spinach
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups pure unsweetened orange juice
- 1/4 cup honey
- 12 ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a blender, process until smooth. Serve.
Makes: 4 large servings
Adapted from Everyday Food.
I’ve tried many mac ‘n cheese recipes in my time. Back in the day we used to live off the boxed stuff but I stopped buying them long ago. Which meant that we stopped having mac and cheese all together because none of them ever held up to our expectations. They never seemed as creamy or as flavourful as the stuff from the store.
I’m happy to say I’ve finally found our perfect recipe (obviously because I’m sharing it!). It’s super creamy, cheesy and flavourful, and as a bonus it’s very easy to throw together. It would make a great side for any ham you have leftover from Easter. Or, make it a one dish by throwing in some diced ham and veggies. We also love it alongside barbecued chicken drumsticks (or really any barbecued meat) with a hefty serving of veggies alongside. Barbecue season is coming up quick and I think this is a great side to have in your back pocket. It’s a definite crowd pleaser.
One time I accidentally browned the butter for the roux and it added an extra depth of flavour that we loved. Now I brown the butter purposely to add that extra nutty and rich flavour, but it’s definitely not a necessity if you prefer to skip that step.
Creamy Baked Mac & Cheese
I’ve had great success making this gluten free by substituting gluten-free brown rice pasta and gluten-free all purpose flour, so feel free to experiment with this recipe if gluten is an issue for you.
- 2.5 cups elbow macaroni
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
Cook macaroni in a medium-sized pot, according to package directions, until tender but firm (al dente). Drain and set aside. In the same pot melt the butter over medium heat (allow it to brown if desired). Add flour; cook and stir for one minute. Stir in salt, pepper and mustard. Slowly stir in milk, a bit at a time, whisking between each addition to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil, cook until thickened, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in 1.5 cups cheese. Add macaroni, stirring to evenly coat. Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 375ºF for 20 minutes or until filling is bubbly and cheese is browned. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.
Makes: 6 servings (as a side dish)
I’m majorly in the mood for spring and flavours that are bright and fresh. And, since grapefruit is in season right now and so much sweeter, me and the kids haven’t been able to stay away from it. It’s a great fruit to bridge the gap before all the wonderful spring fruits and veggies come into season. Which is officially less then a month away. I could not be more excited about this fact!
We’ve been slurping up this gem of a smoothie for a couple of weeks now. I’ve got it all down by memory and can be seen throwing things into the blender on autopilot. It is our new favourite.
For this smoothie we use the real deal – one whole (peeled) grapefruit sliced up and thrown in the blender with plenty of other sweet and creamy things – this means you get the full nutritional value of the grapefruit rather then just drinking the juice. Grapefruit is definitely the dominant flavour but the strawberries and banana help round it out and sweeten it up, while the vanilla and yogurt give it a creamy, rich flavour. The result is a refreshing smoothie that tastes like a grapefruit in creamsicle form. Yum!
If your grapefruit is on the tart side feel free to add more sweetener, to taste.
- 1 ruby red grapefruit
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 ripe banana, peeled
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon honey
Cut the ends off the grapefruit so you can see the pink flesh. Using that as a guide trim away the skin and the white pith until you have a naked grapefruit (see visual of how to do this here). Slice the grapefruit into thick rounds and remove any seeds. Place the rounds of grapefruit into a blender along with remaining ingredients. Process until smooth.
Makes: 2 large servings or 4 small (about 3 cups total)
I’ve been camping this week, which also means I’ve been out of touch this week. And, I’m ok with that. Having a break from real life, enjoying family and nature without any distractions, is one of my favourite things to do. I’m sure we’ll come back tired and smokey but hopefully also refreshed and ready to settle back into some sort of routine (yeah, probably not). ;)
This mousse has been a long time favourite of ours, ever since I created it for Smithfield many moons ago. The recipe is no longer available on their site and since I’m gone this week, and this is still one of my favourite preparations for mousse, I thought I’d share the recipe on here and make it available to you once again.
Mousse is a great dessert to make during the summer because it creates no heat in the house and is cool yet comforting to eat. And with this chocolate version it’s just made that much better with a sprinkling of fresh berries.
This mousse literally take 10 minutes to make and then all you have to do is wait for it to chill and set in the fridge. It’s so luscious, smooth and rich, and yet so easy. I’ve never had the desire to look for another mousse recipe since making this one. For me, it’s perfect.
Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse
- 1 (8 ounce) tub spreadable cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup cold whipping cream
Cream together cream cheese and melted chocolate chips. Add icing sugar and vanilla. Beat until well blended. Pour in cream and beat with electric mixer just until peaks form and hold their shape when beaters are lifted. Spoon into serving dishes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
My mom is visiting this week. Wee Hoo! I haven’t seen her since the beginning of last summer so I was beyond excited for her to come. And, now she’s here and I’m enjoying every single moment. The kids are eating up their Grandma time and soaking up every bit of attention. As I’m sure you can imagine, I want to take advantage of these precious moments I have with her, so I thought I’d share an oldie but goodie with you today.
This recipe isn’t completely new, if you’ve been following me for a couple of years you may recognize it. I created the recipe about two years ago when I was writing for Smithfield, but I’ve never actually posted the recipe on this blog. We make it so often I thought it deserved a proper post here. It’s my absolute favourite way to eat pork chops and it comes together so quickly but looks so special. The chops are covered in a homemade cajun spice mix, grilled until smoky, succulent and spicy. Then they get draped with a quick and flavourful creamy mushroom pan sauce. Every time I think of them my mouth just starts to water. My hubby isn’t a fan of mushrooms but he loves this pairing just as much as I do.
I prefer the bone-in pork chops because they have more flavour but feel free to use boneless if that’s what you prefer. Also, when I don’t have access to a grill I have done them on the stove top. They are still absolutely delicious this way so if you don’t have a grill don’t let that stop you from making them.
Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go give my Mom another hug. :)
Cajun Grilled Pork Chops with Creamy Mushroom Pan Sauce
Cajun Grilled Pork Chops
Rub pork chops liberally with Cajun seasoning and grill over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
Creamy Mushroom Pan Sauce
- 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
- 1/2 cup cream cheese spread
Saute mushrooms, onions, garlic and Cajun seasoning in oil over medium heat until softened. Add chicken broth and cream cheese. Stir until smooth. Serve immediately spooned over pork chops.
I know. I know. Rice pudding? It”s not really something that gets people clambering up walls and banging on doors. When I was growing up rice pudding was our go-to when we had leftover rice hanging around. We”d heat it up with some sugar, milk and raisins mixed in. I always looked forward to it. I realize that, that rice pudding, although good, is nothing to write home about. Let me reassure you, this is not that rice pudding – this is post-worthy rice pudding. If rice pudding could be considered gourmet, this would be it.
I always love little flecks of vanilla seeds in white desserts and they make this pudding look like something special (or like dirt if you”re unfamiliar with vanilla beans). Since vanilla beans are so expensive I like to use them in recipes where they really shine. And, that”s just what they do in this recipe. The cream and vanilla give this such a creamy-dreamy-vanilla flavour and consistency. I love it warm but you can also serve it cold with a little bit of extra milk mixed in to get the consistency you like. It”s hard to describe just how delicious and comforting rice pudding can be, I guess you”ll just have to try it out for yourself to know what I”m talking about. ;)
P.S. If you don”t access to vanilla beans you can substitute it with 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding
1 cup arborio rice (or other short grain rice)
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split open and seeded
1/2 cup sugar
Place rice in a medium-sized saucepan, cover with cold water. Bring just to a boil then strain in a fine mesh sieve, rinsing with cold water (this is to remove some of the starch). Place drained rice back in the saucepan along with milk, cream, vanilla bean and seeds. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sugar and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until rice is cooked and mixture is thick and creamy (it will thicken more as it cools). Let cool slightly and serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold with a bit of milk stirred in to loosen the consistency.
Adapted from Tartelette.