fruit smoothie with a secret

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I’m no beacon of health or anything, but it is a new year, and I know some of you may have health-related resolutions, or still have a bit of a sugar hangover from the holidays, and maybe you don’t want to stare at pictures of pie all day.  I understand that.  I get it.  I’m sensitive to your needs (for today, at least).  Besides, I’ve got resolutions too, ya know.

Well, probably more “goals” than “resolutions”.  I’ve never really been known for my strong will.

My main goal is pretty simple: eat more fruits and veggies.  I noticed that the majority of my vegetable-eating occurs at dinner, and is mostly just whatever side vegetable I have selected for our meal, or perhaps some sad, hastily assembled salad.  As for my fruit consumption, that can be described as abysmal at best.

That means not only more veggies at the dinner table, but packing (and remembering to grab) healthy snacks for work, and maybe even sneaking in a vegetarian meal or two (if I can find a way to do that without the BF noticing)… but the easiest way I could think of to get more fruits and veggies into my diet?  Putting a whole bunch into a blender and pulverizing them into oblivion.  Plus, I got this shiny new blender for Christmas and this seemed like the perfect excuse to use it.  At least until margarita season arrives (yes, there is such thing as a margarita season).

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The verdict?  Success!  Great success, even!

Not only did my blender perform beautifully, but I had a breakfast consisting of purely fruits and vegetables!  AND IT WAS FILLING!  I could drink these things all day long.  This particular smoothie tastes like your typical berry smoothie, but it has a secret ingredient:  Spinach!  It might sound weird putting spinach in a fruit smoothie, but you don’t even taste it.  Honest, I swear you wouldn’t even know the spinach was in there if you didn’t put it in there with your own two hands!

Oh, and remember guys and gals, this is a smoothie, not a chemistry experiment, so approximation and experimentation are OK here.  Use any fruit or leafy green you like!

Sneaky Fruit & Veggie Smoothie

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 cup water or fruit juice (apple or orange juice might be a good touch)
  • 1 cup pineapple, cut into even chunks
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach, about 2 cups loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup sliced banana (about 1/2 medium banana or 1 small banana)
  • 1/2 cup fresh berries (I used some blackberries and blueberries that I had in the freezer)
  • Bonus: 1 oz B12 liquid for an energy boost (since drinking this AND my morning coffee would be too much)

Put water or juice in the blender, and pile everything else on top of it.  Blend at low-speed (1 on my blender) for one minute, then at medium speed (3 on my blender) for another minute. 

Makes about two 10-oz servings

*Note – the smoothie had darkened significantly by day two, so I couldn’t bring myself to drink the rest of it.  I think I will try adding a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to it next time to see if that helps to keep the smoothie nice and bright.

simple chocolate loaf cake

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I will admit that when I was dreaming of cake on Friday, this is not what I had in mind.

I had visions of layers of cake and buttercream, perfectly frosted, beautifully adorning a cake pedestal, filling my belly with rich, sweet, decadent chocolate.

But then, life happened, as it tends to do. Next thing I knew it was Sunday afternoon and I found myself sitting at home, surrounded by piles of laundry, short one cake pan, knowing that my layer cake wasn’t going to happen. Not today, at least. Then, I remembered this recipe that I saw about a million years ago on Smitten Kitchen. A simple loaf cake.

One bowl, one pan, one hour.

Perfect.

It’s not really the texture of  “cake”, instead it is somewhere around that of most other loaf “cakes” – lemon poppy seed and the like – not quite dense but not really light either. The rich chocolate flavor and tender crumb “hit the spot” perfectly, so to speak. Simple, sweet, potentially elegant. Adorned with freshly-whipped cream and strawberries, it might not have been the one I was dreaming of Friday afternoon, but it was perfect in its own right.

Chocolate Loaf Cake

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (6 7/8 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (2 5/8 ounces) Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line with parchment and/or butter and lightly flour a 9×5×3-inch loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla.

3. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. (You can do this in advance, into another bowl, if you’re not in need of a “one bowl” recipe) Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

5. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, at which point you can cool it the rest of the way out of the pan. Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries or a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

*If you only have non-Dutch cocoa,  you’ll want to use 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and no baking powder