Because of St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve been seeing lots of green when it comes to recipes the last few weeks! A lot of them have pistachios as an ingredient, and I love pistachios! So I thought I’d try them in a smoothie. A green smoothie, of course, with a healthy blend of milk, yogurt, honey, frozen banana, baby spinach leaves, and pistachios. It’s a lightly sweet, creamy smoothie that doesn’t taste super-spinachy. If you’re put off by green smoothies, you might want to give this one a try–it has less of a veggie taste than others I’ve had. You do have to do a wee bit of planning ahead to make this by putting a banana (or half of a banana) in the freezer the night before you make it, but otherwise this is super quick and easy to make!
GREEN PISTACHIO SMOOTHIE by NancyCMakes 1 (10-ounce) serving
1/3 to 1/2 cup low-fat milk (or use soy milk; use 1/3 cup if you want a thicker smoothie)
1/3 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (or use soy yogurt)
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 medium frozen banana, broken into chunks
1/2 cup well-packed baby spinach leaves
2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachios (plus a little more for sprinkling on top)
In a high-speed blender or food processor, add all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass, top with a light sprinkling of pistachios, and serve. Makes about 10 ounces.
Have you made any green smoothies? Do you have a favorite recipe for one? Hope you are having a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I thought it would be the perfect time to make some Irish Stew. I don’t make stew very often, but I love a bowl of good, thick, chunky stew, and that’s exactly what this is! You might be wondering where those chunks of stew meat are–well, I improvised a little and used ground beef instead, since that’s what I had on hand. But you can use either–ground beef or chunks of beef. There are plenty of other chunky ingredients in this recipe too–onions, potatoes, and carrots. And it’s seasoned with a little dried thyme and basil. Comfort food in a bowl–that’s what this is!
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, plus a little more for garnish if desired
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine beef, beef broth, onions, and pepper. bring to boiling, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Skim off the fat. Add the potatoes, carrots, thyme, and basil. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes more or until vegetables are tender. Stir the cold water and flour together, blending well. Stir this mixture into the stew and cook and stir until stew is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with additional dried thyme, if desired, and serve.
If St. Patrick’s Day will be chilly where you live, this would be the perfect thing to make to warm everyone up! Are you planning on making any special Irish dishes that day?
I thought I’d try a flavored water with a green theme, since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up! But of course, this water is great any time of the year. You mostly taste the lime in this, but the kiwifruit and pear slices make the pitcher of water look so nice! 🙂 I think this water tastes best the same day you make it, but you’ll want to refrigerate it a few hours before serving so the water has more flavor. Use organic produce if you can when making this.
PEAR, LIME, KIWIFRUIT WATER by NancyCreative
Makes a large pitcher (half gallon) of flavored water
8 cups of water (I used 2 cups of sparkling water mixed in with 6 cups of regular water to give it a slight fizziness–see note below*)
1 large organic pear, cut into thin slices
2 limes, cut into thin slices
2 kiwifruit, cut into thin slices
Fill pitcher with 8 cups of water. Add slices of pear, lime, and kiwifruit, and stir all ingredients together in the pitcher. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving (the slices of kiwifruit tend to settle at the bottom, so you will need to stir before serving to mix all the fruit evenly). When ready to serve, add ice cubes to pitcher and stir or add ice to individual glasses and pour the flavored water over the ice.
*For a fizzy water drink, use Seltzer water or natural sparkling water (like Perrier) instead of regular water, or use some of each (do not use Club Soda or Tonic Water, as one is high in sodium and the other is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup).
Have you tried making any uniquely-flavored water lately?
Whenever St. Patrick’s Day comes around, I see different recipes for Irish Soda Bread and I finally decided to try making it this year. I found a recipe at Kraft that sounded good and it looked pretty easy, too. I modified it slightly and was happy with how it turned out! It has a lightly sweet taste that kind of reminds me of a scone. I think it’s great with butter and jam, although it’s also good without anything on it because the raisins in the bread and the sugar sprinkled on top give it a lightly sweet taste. If you don’t have time to make it for St. Patrick’s Day, it’s a great recipe to keep in mind for brunch any time of the year!
IRISH SODA BREAD by NancyC, slightly adapted from KraftRecipes.com
Makes 1 round loaf
3 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small chunks
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or spray a baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside.
Mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add buttermilk and raisins; stir just until moistened.
Place dough on lightly floured surface; knead 10 times. Shape dough into a 2 1/2″ thick slightly dome-shaped round; place on prepared baking sheet. Cut a 1/2″ deep “X” in top of dough and sprinkle with remaining sugar.
Bake at 350˚F for 47 to 52 minutes or until loaf is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (I baked mine for 52 minutes and probably could have baked it a few minutes less). Remove from baking sheet to wire rack; cool completely before cutting into wedges and serve (this tastes great warm, too, so go ahead and serve it warm if you want–it just may not slice as easily).
NOTE: You can store leftover bread in a resealable plastic bag at room temperature for up to 24 hours; for longer storage, wrap bread tightly and freeze up to 2 months–thaw at room temperature before serving.
Have you made any special Irish recipes this year?
If you like the Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s, then you may want to try this minty shake that’s a little healthier because it’s made with frozen yogurt and low-fat milk or soymilk. The peppermint flavoring is really refreshing in this shake, too. It’s a nice St. Patrick’s Day treat, especially if you live in an area where the temperature is in the 70’s on St. Patrick’s Day! It’s not this warm here every year–we’ve just had an unusually mild winter, which was a really nice change after the big snowstorms of last year.
Here’s the recipe, and hope you’re enjoying a warm, sunny day today, too! 🙂
MINTY FROZEN YOGURT SHAKE by NancyCreative
Makes 1 large serving
2 well-packed cups of slightly softened vanilla frozen yogurt (or low-fat or soy ice cream)
1/2 cup low-fat milk, soy milk, or almond milk
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
2-4 drops of green food coloring (or more, if you want the color greener!)
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until mixture is smooth and well-blended–you may need to stop the blender and stir with a spoon to help blend the ingredients if you don’t have a high-power blender.
That’s all there is to it–pour into a tall glass and enjoy!