When green smoothies resurface…

I intended to blog about the counterproductive era of Low-fat foods but was otherwise inspired this morning while driving my son to school.  My husband flew out of town at dawn so it was up to me to get lunches made and my kids up, fed, and dressed before taking my son to school and my daughter to dance class.  Things were going so well.  In light of the pouring rain and chill in the air I mixed up a “fall” smoothie for the kids this morning.  Apple cider, bananas and spinach pureed to perfection.  They sipped it down,  yum yum yumming all the way.  Shoes and socks were slipped on with ease and we were off to school without a hitch.

I was so proud of my single parenting skills and timely departure that I handed my kids Kung Fu Panda on the iPod and let them share a movie as we drove so I could reward myself with NPR and I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt.  Twenty minutes later we pulled up at school and Finn said that she had a stomach ache.  I forgot that recently she had been experiencing car-sickness, taking after her mother.  I swiped the iPod and ran Parker into school.  About 3 1/2 minutes into our drive back home to let the dog out Finn started to look a little piqued. As I swerved into the 7-Eleven parking lot the first batch of pea green smoothie resurfaced spewing across the backseat.  Finn is a notoriously good puker and does not get melodramatic about it so I began to laugh as I jumped out of the car and opened the back door.  Spew “numero dos” all over my Banana Republic jacket.  Wait, one more spew for good measure and then we just stared at each other.  Bright green puke as far as the eye could see.  We agreed there was nothing to do at that point so we just drove home covered in puke, smiling at the insanity of it all.  Once we were home we made a mad dash for the bathtub and laundry room and the incident was washed away (ok, well I did make her pose for a picture first….it was just too priceless).

So, that fall-flavored concoction was a bit of a disaster but I need to share a few more recipes that have made their way into our hearts and stomachs this fall.  Delicious and easy meals that do not come from a can, box or plastic container.  Remember this month that pumpkins are not just for the front step, they are a wonderful addition to many meals…I will share some of my favorites in the next blog.

Veggie chili with kale and quinoa (Recipe adapted from Robin Miller, Food Network)

2 large tomatoes diced

4 cups water

2 cubes of vegan bullion

4 cups of mix of red, black, white beans (dry beans but soaked overnight in filtered water and strained)

1 cup chopped onion

1 green bell pepper chopped

2 cups finely chopped kale (washed with stem removed)

2 minced garlic cloves

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tsp coriander

2 tbsp oregano

1 cup quinoa

salt and pepper to taste

Put in a slow cooker on high for 8-12 hours

I love sour cream on my chili but I don’t eat dairy any more so last week a made up a batch of vegan sour cream….this is not my recipe, it is all over the internet, but I think it is a great replacement.

Cashew Sour Cream (Vegan)
Soak 1 cup of cashews about 8 hours. Strain, rinse in fresh water &
strain again.
Add to the food processor of blender with:
1 to 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 to 4 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp sea salt
Puree till creamy and smooth.
You can add spices like basil, dill, onion powder or garlic to this for a tasty dip too.
Pumpkin Spice Latte At Home!
A few days ago my foodie friend Alicia passed this awesome fall drink onto me.  I avoid coffee except for the occasional decaf treat so this is a great alternative that can involve coffee or not.  Note that I keep pureed pumpkin as well as homemade nut milks on hand which makes this one really simple.  I am going to add in that info as well but if you try to do this all at one time it will take you two hours to make your Pumpkin Spice Latte which is hardly the instant gratification that we all seek in the early hours of the day.
1 1/2 cup almond or hemp milk heat up in pan
then in blender blend together the almond milk and the following.
2 heaping tablespoons of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie puree)
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp maple syrup (you can use a dash of stevia instead but it does add a bitter aftertaste)
* You can replace 1/2 c almond milk with coffee.
Nut Milk
Making your own Nut Milk….this is soooooo worth it! Here is a great link. http://www.sense-serendipity.com/2009/09/creamy-homemade-nut-milk.html Nut milk is as easy as blending nuts with water and maybe some vanilla bean or other sweetening agent and then straining this mixture but this website will give you a little more info that will make you more knowledgable about your nut milk. (You can also use hemp seed which is amazing).
Roast Pumpkin
Lastly, Roasting Pumpkins for sauces, lattes, pies, pancakes etc.  You can of course get canned roast pumpkin but it won’t come close to the real thing. This is the perfect time of year to buy Cinderella Pumpkins also called Pie pumpkins at the store.  Put your whole pumpkin in the oven on 400 degrees for about 90 minutes. Check your pumpkin buy sticking a fork through the skin..if it enters easily, it is done.  Let your pumpkin cool until it can be handled.  Slice your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy middle.  Re-roast your seeds with salt and pepper for a great snack).  Scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin into the food processor and process for about 3 minutes adding filtered water to desired consistency.  Adding a few tablespoons of pumpkin to mac and cheese, pancakes, spaghetti etc. is a great way to add some extra value to your food.
More on Pumpkin next week!  From my kitchen to yours!  Cheers!

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