Meatless Monday: Cottage Peach Smoothie & What we Are Eating

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When it comes to making breakfast for the family, I really try and ensure it is balanced.  I know there are a lot of smoothie recipes and people who use their vitamix and juicers to make a nice beverage, but when I make a smoothie I want it to be of high nutritional content.  This is one reason you will never find a smoothie recipe I create that uses water.  As a dietitian in a nursing home you start to learn a lot about puree food.  One of the most important factors in serving puree is to ensure you give your customers the most bang for their buck.  Appetites vary so you want to make sure even the smallest appetite is getting an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.  Water is great at thinning food when you need to change the consistency but it also lessens the nutritional content.  I prefer to use juice, dairy, or dairy alternative beverage.  This was how I taught cooks and dietary aides to make puree, and I use the same concept when I feed my family a liquid meal.

In addition to a nutritional beverage I sometimes add some yogurt as well.  I love greek yogurt but I know it has a tanginess that is not always ideal in all smoothies.  The other day I found some of the peaches we picked this summer in the freezer and decided it had been a few weeks since we had that summer flavor.  When I think of peach smoothies, I tend to think sweet as they are a sweet fruit especially when perfectly ripe.  As I began to add ingredients to the Vitamix, I was torn between greek yogurt or just using fruit in addition to the almond milk.  Then it caught my eye – cottage cheese.  Recently we discussed that I have a new found love for ricotta cheese and you find it in a lot of recipes where it is made to be sweet, but cottage cheese, I was not sure.  Of course then I realized I have a great kugel recipe that calls for cottage cheese and one of Little Miss Mixtures favorite things is cottage cheese with applesauce and cinnamon, so I figured it could not be too bad.  It definitely was not bad in fact it was really good. The cottage cheese helped to thicken the smoothie slightly while of course increasing the protein and calcium content as well.

As I sit here writing about this I realize how nice these same flavors would be using apple or pumpkin instead of peaches.  A perfect Fall flavored smoothie.

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Cottage Peach Smoothie

1/4 cup Almond Milk, Vanilla

1/3 cup Cottage Cheese

1 fresh banana

1 cup Frozen Peach Slices

1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon

 

Place all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix. Remember liquid on the bottom and frozen on top when using a Vitamix. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy.

 

What we are eating (September 14 – September 20) 

Sunday – Leftovers

Monday – Roasted Mushroom & White Bean Puree (Cooking Light)

Tuesday – Ground Chicken Tacos with homemade Taco Seasoning

Wednesday – A version of this Chopped Salad 

Thursday – Patty Melt with Waldorf Salad

Friday – Ham & Swiss Sandwiches, Organic Trader Joe Corn Chips, Fruit

Saturday – Night Out

Thanks for reading and have a great week.  Looking for some more Smoothies that are packed with protein.  Check these out.

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Protein Packed Smoothie

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Waldorf Salad with Honey Yogurt Dressing

DSC_0606I decided that the perfect fall accompaniment to dinner one night would be waldorf salad. This is a salad that I remember from my childhood. It just made since with a drawer full of apples. The Waldorf Salad was first created by the Maitre’d at the Waldorf hotel in New York City.  So if I had any doubt that Little Miss Mixture would enjoy this I knew I could entice her with the fanciness of being from the Waldorf Hotel and being a New York City food.  Like many little girls she is taken by all things fancy and she absolutely loves the city.

Classic waldorf salad uses mayonnaise as the primary ingredient to bind the salad.  As a southern girl there are things that mayonnaise is definitely needed for and I do enjoy some mayonnaise, but Little Miss Mixture is not a big fan and it is not the healthiest of condiments.  So in an effort to lighten the salad and ensure everyone in the house would enjoy it, I decided to use greek yogurt.  The problem, which is not really a problem depending on your preferred taste is that greek yogurt can be tangy.  I love the tanginess of it but to create this salad and make it more traditional I needed to mask that.  I am happy to say in less than fifteen minutes I had created what I thought was a pretty good version of Waldorf Salad.  Give it a try and see for yourself.  Waldorf salad can be a light meal served atop a bed of lettuce or as a nice side salad.

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Waldorf Salad with Honey Yogurt Dressing

1 1/2 cups apples*
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cups walnuts ( chopped )
1/2 cup celery ( diced )
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt ( non-fat )
2-3 tablespoon honey
1-2 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix together the apples and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl or serving dish.  In a small bowl combine the yogurt, honey, and mayonnaise.  Combine to ensure the honey is evenly distributed in the mixture.  Pour over the apple mixture and stir.  Add lemon juice atop the bowl and stir once then refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Stir lightly before serving.

* I used Jonagold apple, as a sturdy apple holds up best in this dish.

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Other great recipes that include apples and fall flavors.

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Spinach, Apple, & Mushroom Salad in Maple Vinaigrette (Let’s Have Mixture)

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Baked Apple Yogurt Parfait (Let’s Have Mixture)

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Kale Waldorf Salad (The Fountain Avenue Kitchen)

Apple-Pie-Panini-Recipe

Apple Pie Panini (Just a Taste)

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 Acorn Squash with Red Quinoa, Almond and Apple Salad in Maple Vinaigrette (Caroline Kaufman)

Baked Apple Yogurt Parfait, What we are Eating

DSC_0608It is Monday again and once again I am pondering what to write, what to eat, and what needs to be done this week.  As I said in late August this is my busy season.  What does that mean exactly?  I am not sure, but I keep thinking it as it just seems that between all the back to school stuff, holidays, and family celebrations, I lose focus because I have so many things going on.  Whereas each year late winter, spring I find myself pining for things to do, such as this project: starting a blog.  Well my post may be more sporadic for the next few months, but I do not want to bore my readers so when I do post, I want it to be a recipe or something that I feel is worthwhile sharing.

Over the past few years, we have become parfait people.  I say we, but really it is Little Miss Mixture who can eat this daily.  There are recipes for beautiful yogurt parfaits all over the internet, but really a parfait does not need to be beautiful and you can make a single serving very easily.  A parfait by definition is a a dessert containing layers of ice cream, fruit, etc. served in a tall glass, so by definition maybe what we eat is not exactly a parfait, but yet a yogurt sundae.  A sundae is defined as a dish of ice cream with added ingredients.  Regardless of what you choose to call it a breakfast like this is simple, healthy, and balanced.  An excellent way to start your day.

IMG_33124th of July Breakfast Parfaits

With the burst of cool air and storms that were expected this weekend if finally started to feel like fall.  Fall to me is about apples.  In years past I have baked apples and I remembered Ihad a recipe for a simple microwaved apple dish.  Using the basis of this but making some changes so as to use honey rather than sugar, I came up with this healthy breakfast.

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Baked Apple Yogurt Parfait   ( Serves 4)

3 Apples, Chopped

1/4 cup Dried Cranberries

1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts

2 Tbsp. Ground Cinnamon

1/4 Cup Honey

1/4 cup Water

Combine all ingredients in a glass or ceramic baking dish.  Microwave for about 6-8 minutes or until apples are soft and water has evaporated.

Serve with yogurt of choice ( Vanilla, Plain, or Greek yogurt works best)

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What We Are Eating ( September 7 – September 13)

Sunday – Grilled Chicken and Biscuits, Grilled Okra, and Corn

Monday – Calypso

Tuesday – Pasta and Sausage Bake

Wednesday – Mexican Casserole

Thursday – BBQ Chicken Pizza

Friday – Sandwiches on the Go

Saturday – Night Out / My night off, but not really as I prepared a plate of desserts for a get together we attended.

Spinach, Apple & Mushroom Salad with Maple Vinaigrette & What we are Eating

DSC_0606 DSC_0604I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. It is officially time to put away the white pants and linen and begin to enjoy football, apples, and pumpkins. It may not be fall per the calendar as yet, but in the South we have rules.  I just love this that I found while perusing my social media last night. I guess I really am a southern girl as I do in fact live by most of these.  I will admit to continuing to wear strappy sandals and sundresses for another week or so, but really how can you not when the thermometer is inching up to the mid 90’s.  White however is a no and I completely agree with the author of this piece as I struggle with whether or not white jeans work.  Regardless of what the fashion industry said, us southern girls remember what our mom’s taught us.

So to kick our fall off, we went apple picking this weekend.  We had a great time, though I wish it had been a few degrees cooler.  It is hard to enjoy yourself and get ready for fall when you are sweating your way through the apple orchard.  Apple Cider YES please, just make it a cold one.  There is no way to enjoy hot apple cider when it is a blazing 88 on top of a mountain.  Regardless of the weather our family tradition still stands.  We had a picnic lunch, picked a bushel of apples, bought and enjoyed some apple cider, and indulged on apple cider doughnuts.  Not a bad way to enjoy the long weekend.  Now back at home the apples have been sorted and stored.  I prefer to refrigerate most of the apples as they keep for longer.

DSC_0608Tips for Storing Apples

1.  Sort apples by variety, as different varieties ripen at different rates

2.  Make sure to check apples for bruises and punctures as these apples need to be eaten first

3.  Apples will keep best if stored in a cool environment cellar or the refrigerator fruit drawer are good choices.  Most apples will keep 3-5 months when kept this way.

4.  Be sure to keep apples away from onions and potatoes as they hasten the ripening.

We have made apple picking a tradition for the past five years or so.  With about 30lbs of apples in the house  we have learned to enjoy them in a variety of ways.  Little Miss Mixtures lunch included fresh apple slices with peanut butter and honey for dipping.  Sometimes we eat them with a slice of cheese.  I baked them with cinnamon and raisins to enjoy with yogurt.  I mix them into salads, make cakes, and applesauce.  Aside from just biting into them, this is how we enjoyed our fresh Jonagold apples this weekend.

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Spinach & Apple Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

3 cups fresh spinach

2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/4 cup red onion, sautéed in the bacon fat

1/4 cup sliced mushrooms

1 small apple (jonagold, gala, or other sweet variety work best)

Maple Vinaigrette

1 oz Maple Syrup

1 Tbsp Shallots, minced

1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

1 tsp garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients for vinaigrette and whisk together.  Allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the salad.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until 3/4 of the way done.  Add the sliced red onion and continue sautéing together until bacon is crispy and onion is soft.  In a large salad bowl mix spinach, apple slices, and mushrooms.  Top with bacon and onion mixture.  Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss well.  Serve and enjoy.

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* adapted from Spinach Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette in Cooking Light Magazine

 

What we are Eating (August 24 – August 30)

Sunday – Italian Chicken Sausage Pepper & Onions,  Made from Scratch Sweet Potato Fries, Heirloom Tomatoes

Monday – Better than Take Out Pizza

Tuesday – Nachos with Black Bean Corn Salsa

Wednesday – Taco Salad

Thursday – Cilantro Serrano Pasta with Chicken

Friday – Anytime Salad with Chicken

Saturday – Date Night Out

Happy Trail Mix Day!

Today is my lucky day. It is the day to celebrate one of my most favorite foods. It is national trail mix day AKA Mixture. Woo Hoo!
I am celebrating with a big bowl of this

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 and we are enjoying a fun family tradition. 

The greatest part about mixture (trail mix) is how easy it is to prepare.  You really don’t need to measure and it does not matter if you never make it the same.  Whatever you have on hand can work, whether it be nuts, cereal, sesame sticks, raisins, dried apricots, banana chips, and chocolate chips.  It is quick, easy, portable, and can satisfy the sweet or salty tooth as well as providing a healthy dose of protein and fiber.  You can even boost your magnesium and vitamin C intake by including certain nuts and dried fruits.  

A great time saver and easy way to encourage healthier snacking is to make a big container and keep it on hand for those little hands whenever they get hungry.

What a great day it is, a holiday weekend, and we are taking advantage of it and heading to the mountains today. When Little Miss Mixture was two I got in my head I wanted to go apple picking. As a kid this was something we were able to do without trekking to far away from home. Mr. Mixture had never been apple picking so I was determined to find an orchard and begin a tradition.

I had no idea that my twenty minutes of research and finding what was one of the closer orchards though just over two hours away would be so awesome. We not only enjoyed ourselves but it took very little convincing to make this a new annual thing. Our dates keep changing as we have found varieties of apples were prefer, so now it is a matter of ensuring our schedule allows us the time to get to Skytop Orchard each year when those apples are ready to be picked. Sure you could drive to the orchard which sits beautifully atop a mountain in North Carolina and by some varieties from the store, but we really enjoy picking them ourselves. As Little Miss Mixture has gotten older she has taken to learning to climb the trees just as I did as a kid and still do to find the best apples.

So while we are picking apples and enjoying our picnic lunch ( Happy National Eat Outside Day!).  Why don’t you make some mixture and celebrate today as well.  You could also opt for celebrating with bacon today, as it is also National Bacon Day!  Uh Oh I better start figuring out how to incorporate that into our day as bacon is a true love of Little Miss Mixture.  I have seen her eat many unexpected things just because they included bacon.

Have a great day and you can be certain there will be some great ways to enjoy apples coming soon.