Orange Banana Protein Smoothie

Orange Banana Protein Smoothie

This is my favorite smoothie, and my go-to when I want something quick and fresh.  It's fast and easy, and I love knowing that it's got whole fruit and no added juice. I make this one for my kids a lot and they love it.  And it reminds me of an old fashioned Orange Julius.

Because you are starting with whole oranges, you don't need to add any extra juice or other liquid to this.  It's great because you get all the fiber and vitamins from the fruit, not just the juice. You can however add a splash of milk or cream (or almond milk) if you want it a little creamier. 

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Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Have you ever made something, and then immediately wish you hadn't done it, because there is just no going back?  This is one of those things. It's way too good, and I've already made myself a little sick with all my "tasting". 

First, backing up: Why did I do this to myself?

We've been buying this amazing locally made Greek yogurt.  It's a total treat for us because it is EXPENSIVE.  We're talking $12 for a quart of yogurt.  And you know my kids can polish that off in one sitting!  I guess if I put it in perspective, $12 for yogurt is certainly cheaper and healthier than taking them out for breakfast.  Or maybe I should compare it to going out for ice cream - because this stuff is so decadent that it's more like a desert. Only, yogurt!  Protein! So it's better than taking them out for ice cream. Still, expensive for yogurt.  We've tried every flavor and our very favorite is the lemon curd flavor. 

Since my kids keep asking for it, rather than break the bank buying more and more and more, I figured I'd better try to make my own. It's honey sweetened, creamy Greek yogurt, with lemon curd folded in.  I can do that. I make yogurt all the time, so that part is no big deal. Then it just comes down to making lemon curd. 

And that's the part I wish I hadn't done.  Because I can't stop 'tasting' it.  

I asked for suggestions, and I searched around a bit, and the recipe I came up with is a combination of a few things.  Ingredients and quantities mostly influenced by a recipe that a reader shared with me, some of the technique borrowed from an Ina Garten recipe, and some just made up because it seemed right to me.  That's how I cook. 

This is a big recipe.  It makes about 4 pints - the jars you see here plus a little more (I spilled a little).  You could certainly cut it in half if you don't think you'll use this up.  But my philosophy when you're making yummy things that take a bit of work, is that you might as well make more and share.  It's delicious and decadent and such a special thing to share.  So make a few jars and give one or two away, people will love you. 

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd

Ingredients: 

  • 12 eggs

  • 2 cups lemon juice

  • Peels from about 6 lemons (about 1/4 cup)

  • 3 cups sugar

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • pinch of salt

Directions: 

  1. Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of the lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith.

  2. Put the zest in a high powered blender (or food processor fitted with the steel blade). Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

  3. Add eggs, lemon juice, salt and vanilla and process until well blended.

  4. Pour through a strainer into a pot. (You could skip this step, but I thought my kids might not eat it if the texture of the lemon zest remained.)

  5. Add the butter, cut into chunks.

  6. Cook slowly over low heat, stirring constantly. The butter will melt and the mixture will slowly start to thicken. This should take about 10 minutes.

  7. When it is thickened, coating a spoon, remove from heat.

  8. Pour into containers and refrigerate to cool.

It's all really quite easy, and I think if you wanted to speed things up you could probably skip the separate step of pulsing the lemon zest and sugar first, and instead just put everything in the blend and whiz it up and then pour into the pan. 

I really want to try a version of this with just honey.  I did actually use a bit of honey in this one - I only had about 2 1/2 cups of sugar, so I used that plus 1/2 cup of honey.

We will be enjoying this mixed with yogurt for breakfast. I think it would be wonderful over vanilla ice cream, or spread between layers of a white cake, or even in the place of jam on a muffin or toast.  

Enjoy!

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Easy Homemade Meatballs

Easy Homemade Meatballs

Oh meatballs!  Who doesn't love them?  I think they have become a staple for busy American families.  A big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, I think we all grew up on that. I've got one who, at 4 years old, already begs me to make it for her. It's a classic melting pot thing, originally Italian, but now I'd say it's classic American food. But all too often meatballs are purchased in big bags at warehouse stores, with way too much filler and salt and who knows what other processed ingredients.  I get it, I used to buy those. But with a little bit time on a weekend afternoon, you can make something that is so much better!  They are not hard to make, and are yet another very flexible recipe, and you'll be so glad you did. 

To top it off here - I'm not only giving you a great meatball recipe, I'm going to tell you how to cook them so that you'll end up with the most amazing tasting sauce to serve them with!

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Dutch Baby (German Pancake)

This is my new favorite breakfast to make for the family!  It has all the qualities that I love in a recipe - it's easy, it's fast, it's versatile, and most of all, everybody loves it. 

It is a variation of a traditional German dish, called a German Pancake.  Some recipes call this kind of thing a Dutch baby, and my kids think that name is a crack up. Apparently the name came from a poor misspelling of the word Deutsch (which means German, in German). I read one source that said that smaller ones are called a Dutch Baby, and bigger ones are called a German Pancake.  I don't know.  My version is a combination of many different recipes I've tried over the years, I experimented with different variations and came up with a version that works well for us. 

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Simple Poached Chicken + Garlic Broth

Simple Poached Chicken + Garlic Broth

Poached chicken often gets a bad rap. A lot of people think it's bland and flavorless. But it doesn't have to be that way. I think poached chicken can be a kitchen lifesaver. You may have heard me say before that I always have cooked chicken in my fridge.  There are so many quick and delicious meals you can make in just a few minutes if you already have cooked chicken.  I often will roast chickens and pick the meat off, but if I haven't gotten around to doing that and I want some cooked chicken to use for a recipe (or just to eat!), then poaching is my next best go-to.

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