Tag Archives: recipe

Beet Smoothie and Why Beets Are Good For You

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I realize that this is a recipe many of you may not be too excited about…but you should be. Because beets are really good for you, and this is a great-tasting way to have them! I’m not super-crazy about beets myself, but I liked this smoothie. Not only does it taste good, but you also reap the many benefits of beets…

  • Beets are know to help prevent and fight against cancer, especially colon cancer–high in fiber, they increase the production of special immune cells that destroy cancer cells in the colon. Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beets their red color, is what helps fight the cancer.
  • Eating beets regularly can lower LDL cholesterol by up to 30 percent.
  • Beets have antiinflammatory benefits because they contain betaine, which can reduce inflammation in joints, bones, the throat, and blood vessels by 20 percent, which is helpful for people with osteoporosis and asthma.
  • Beets contain antioxidants and help your liver produce even more natural antioxidants.
  • Beets contain folic acid, necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells, which is important for pregnant women and anyone who is going through physical healing from an injury.
  • Beets help protect your body against heart disease.
  • Beets help cleanse your blood, your colon, and strengthen your gall bladder and liver.
  • Beets help fight against tumors  and are beneficial in helping people who have blood diseases and leukemia.
Sources: 15 Health Benefits of Beets and Health Benefits of Beets.

Are you a little more interested in trying out this beet smoothie now? Here’s the recipe if you decide to make it…

BEET SMOOTHIE by NancyCreative

Makes 2 servings

  • 1/2 cup vanilla soymilk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed is best!)
  • 1/2 cup shredded or finely chopped raw beets
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries or raspberries (or 1/2 cup of each)
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 banana
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon flax seeds

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth and well-blended. Serve immediately.

Do you like beets? What’s your favorite way to make them?

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Cranberry-Raspberry Smoothie

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I’ve been eating way too many sweets these past few weeks! So I just had to have something healthy for breakfast  a few days ago. You know, to sort of balance things out. 😉  The weather had warmed up to an unseasonably balmy 50 degrees, so I thought a smoothie sounded good. I wanted to make one with cranberries, since this is cranberry season, so I came up with this healthy little recipe. It’s a thick, creamy smoothie that also has frozen raspberries, yogurt, honey and a banana in it to help make it nice and thick. It’s not super-sweet, just sweet enough. Drinking this honey-sweetened smoothie helped me from overdoing it on sweets later in the day. Now today was a different story. I probably should have made this smoothie for breakfast again!

This recipe makes 1 large serving (12 to 14 ounces) or 2 smaller servings.

CRANBERRY-RASPBERRY SMOOTHIE

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk or soymilk
  • 1/2 cup plain, vanilla, or raspberry yogurt (I like to use plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Makes 1 large or 2 small servings. If you want to make this smoothie extra healthy, sprinkle in some flax seed–about 1/2 Tablespoon–before blending mixture. You won’t even be able to taste it, and you’ll get some extra fiber!

Frosty Vanilla Cupcakes

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Who doesn’t love cupcakes? Especially if they’re frosted with rich, swirly buttercream…now that’s pretty hard to resist! If you’ve heard of the famous Magnolia Bakery in New York City, well, this is the recipe for their most popular cupcake. They call it the Vanilla Vanilla–a yummy vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream (pink is their most popular-selling frosting color). I found the recipe at FoodNetwork.com. If you’re a cupcake-lover you will want to try this! Or, according to the Food Network site, if you’d rather make a cake, you can divide the batter between two 9″ round cake pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Even though I haven’t tried making the cake version, I would recommend checking the cake at 30 minutes, because when I made the cupcakes, they were done at the lower baking time. They would have been too dry had I let them bake any longer.

These cupcakes look really festive, wintry, and Christmasy with the white buttercream and pearly sprinkles I used. You could also tint the frosting green or red if you wanted it to be more colorful for Christmas. The white frosting would work great for New Year’s Eve or Day, too. These cupcakes would also be fun with silver or gold sprinkles. I also thought the white frosting with white pearl sprinkles would be nice for a wedding shower or wedding…so you see, these delicious cupcakes are really versatile!

There is a chance you might need to make extra frosting, depending on how heavily you frost these cupcakes…just wanted to point that out. I frosted some heavy and some not-so-heavy because not everyone likes lots of frosting on their cupcakes (being a frosting-lover, I do find that hard to believe 🙂 ). So, I had enough frosting for my cupcakes. But had I frosted all of them heavily, I think I would have needed to make more frosting.

Enough talk about the cupcakes…here’s the recipe!

MAGNOLIA’S VANILLA CUPCAKE  very slightly adapted from FoodNetwork.com

Makes 24 cupcakes

CUPCAKES

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over-beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean (Note: mine were done at 20 minutes, so be sure to check your cupcakes then to avoid over-baking!).

Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM

(A note from the bakery: “The vanilla buttercream we use at the bakery is technically not a buttercream but actually an old-fashioned confectioners’ sugar and butter frosting. Be sure to beat the icing for the amount of time called for in the recipe to achieve the desired creamy texture.”)

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar (I used 8 cups because I wanted a thicker frosting)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I substituted half and half for the milk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk (or half and half) and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly (use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled). Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. NOTE: if you like to frost your cupcakes with lots of frosting, you may want to double the frosting recipe so you have enough!

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The recipe makes 2 dozen cupcakes or one 9″ layer cake. Enjoy trying this out!

Linked to Sweets for a Saturday, Sweet Indulgences Sunday, Foodie Friday.

Maple-Pecan Sweet Potatoes from Vegan Holiday Kitchen

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It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is coming up so soon! And who doesn’t look forward to eating all that special holiday food? It’s always great when you can find delicious and healthy holiday recipes, which is why I was so interested in reviewing the new cookbook, Vegan Holiday Kitchen.

I’m not a vegan myself, but I do like to eat healthy and enjoy making vegan dishes. Author Nava Atlas has put together a collection of more than 200 tasty-sounding recipes you can whip up for different holidays year-round: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Jewish Holidays, Easter, and Independence Day/Summer Entertaining. There’s also a chapter devoted to Brunches, Appetizers, and Potluck Dinners.

This hardcover book is beautifully designed and has lots of great photography. It would make a wonderful holiday gift–or you may want to add it to your own “wish” list! 🙂

There are so many unique, great-sounding recipes in Vegan Holiday Kitchen. Here’s a few to give you an idea:  Coconut Butternut Squash Soup, Sweet Potato Biscuits, Green Chili Cornbread, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tortilla Casserole,  Smashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy, Cranberry-Carrot Cake with Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting…and these are just from the Thanksgiving recipe section! There’s so much more, you’ll have plenty of delicious recipes to choose from and make throughout the year!

I decided to try the Maple-Pecan Sweet Potatoes, because I love the flavor of pure maple syrup and the maple-sweet potato combination just sounded wonderful to me! You may want to try this yourself at Thanksgiving. It’s a great side dish, both yummy and healthy. I love the natural sweetness of the maple syrup baked into those tender sweet potatoes! The recipe says to make this in a shallow 2-quart casserole, but the closest thing I had on hand was my glass pie plate. That worked fine, although I couldn’t quite fit all the potato slices in.

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Here’s the recipe…hope you get a chance to try it over the holidays!

MAPLE-PECAN SWEET POTATOES (Gluten-Free, from Vegan Holiday Kitchen)

  • 4 large or 6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance or other non-hydrogenated margarine, melted
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, preferably fresh
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • Leaves from 2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Arrange the sweet potato slices in overlapping rows in an oiled shallow 2-quart casserole. In a small bowl, combine the syrup, margarine, juice, cinnamon, and salt. Pour evenly over the potatoes.

3. Cover with lid or foil and bake, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until readily pierced with a fork but still firm.

4. Scatter the pecans and rosemary leaves over the surface of the sweet potatoes. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer, uncovered, or until glazed and golden around the edges. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

What yummy side dishes are you making for Thanksgiving this year?

Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread

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I almost gave up on making Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread. I had tried several different recipes that sounded really good, but was disappointed with how they turned out. They were okay, but not nearly as good as I thought they would be. I decided to make one more attempt. I searched again and found this recipe at Canadian Living. I’m not sure why this particular recipe caught my attention, because I’m usually drawn to recipes that have photos–and there wasn’t a photo shown with this one. But for some reason, I decided I needed to try this out, and I am so glad I did!

I changed the recipe a little by doubling the streusel mixture…and then instead of just sprinkling the streusel on top of the bread before baking, I also sprinkled a layer of streusel in the batter itself–and that’s what made it so good! If you decide to try this, you may think, like I first did, that the amount of streusel you’re putting into and on top of this bread is way too much. But when you taste it after it’s done, you’ll be glad you used all that streusel! Some of the streusel on top of the bread will fall off when you remove the loaf from the pan, but there will still be plenty of streusel for you to enjoy.

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So if you’re a streusel-lover, I think you’ll really like this bread. As you can see in the photo above, there’s a yummy layer of streusel in the bread and a substantial amount on top of the loaf. Double the streusel yumminess! This recipe makes one 9×5″ loaf.

CINNAMON STREUSEL BANANA BREAD (adapted from Canadian Living)

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Streusel:

  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan; set aside.

Prepare the streusel: In small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts, then set aside.

Batter: In large bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; stir into banana mixture. Then stir in walnuts.

Spoon HALF the batter into greased-and-floured loaf pan. Sprinkle batter with HALF of the streusel mixture. Add the rest of the batter over the streusel mixture in the pan, then top with the remaining streusel.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (my baking time was 70 minutes). Let loaf cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.

You can wrap the loaf in plastic wrap and store for up to 2 days, or wrap in foil and freeze for up to a month.

Hope you enjoy this bread as much as I did! Are you a streusel-lover too?

Linked to Foodie Friday, Sweets for a Saturday.