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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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.

Peach Cobbler Muffin

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I have been staring at a counter full of peaches this week and trying to come up with uses for them before they start to attract fruit flies or get mushy.  We have enjoyed fresh peaches in our oatmeal, grilled peaches in our salad, peach sorbet, and we just ate some.  Plain and simple.  I set to work the other morning to freeze quite a few, using this method.  Besides enjoying the taste of a peach smoothie somewhere in the midst of late October or November, I have found several other reasons to freeze the peaches.  There are some great beverage recipes that use frozen peaches that I hope to enjoy in the next few weeks in addition to breakfast smoothies.

Knowing Little Miss Mixture has a sweet tooth, I offered to let her assist with baking a peach pie or cobbler, but she wasted muffins instead.  I really liked this idea as we are nearing the end of summer, which means earlier mornings and the need to have a quick breakfast before school.  Muffins, like pancakes and waffles freeze well and are a pleasant surprise on random mornings as we head out the door.

Yesterday afternoon we made blueberry muffins, using this recipe that I found a few months ago.  It is amazing the flavor that fresh blueberries provide.

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Next up was to make a batch of peach muffins.  I recall making a peach muffin several years ago that had a streusel type topping, but I could not find the recipe, so I took the basic blueberry recipe concept and made some changes.  I love cinnamon especially when it is paired with peaches.

 

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I used brown sugar rather than white sugar and added cinnamon and nutmeg.  The muffin batter was thinner than the blueberry batter as it was hard to avoid peach juice getting into it, but the muffins cooked up nicely and once cool they were perfect.  In fact if you closed your eyes you may not know if you were eating a muffin or some cobbler.

Peach Cobbler Muffins       Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 3/4 Cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 11/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • ¼ tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 Cups all – purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup peaches chopped, fresh or frozen (if frozen, don’t bother defrosting)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with 10 liners or spray each cup with a nonstick spray.
  2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add egg and beat well, then sour cream. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the wet ingredients. Mix until combined.
  3. In a small bowl mix chopped peaches with 2 Tbsp. brown sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon. Coat the peaches well and allow to sit for a minute for excess juice to drain.
  4. Gently fold in your peaches, trying not to allow all the drained juice to get into the batter. Spoon or scoop the dough into the muffin tin.  Filling each muffin cup about 3/4 full.  Don’t forget to fill the empty muffin cups about 1/2 full of water so your pan does not burn.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean. Let cool on rack and serve.  Be sure to enjoy at least a bite when they are warm as that is when they are definitely at their best.
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Homemade Cherry Sauce

Well I just keep playing around with the cherries.  I think I am doing this partly because I stocked up and as it seems Little Miss Mixture has been into other fruits this week.  I am not complaining, but remember I had three bags of cherries.  One of our staple breakfast items is a homemade yogurt parfait.  These parfaits are often as simple as yogurt in a bowl topped with a couple strawberry slices and granola.  Other times as they are more like this. Using a homemade fruit sauce, some fresh fruit, and granola nicely layered for all of us to enjoy.  This was our breakfast on the 4th of July.  It consisted of plain greek yogurt, layered with strawberry sauce, blueberries, and granola.  It was a perfectly balanced red, white, and blue meal. IMG_3312   I am the early riser in the house.  Well actually the earliest riser is the dog, who seems to have taken a liking to the six o’clock hour.  Regardless once I am up I am up, so it is just easier to oblige the dog and let her out to play than to listen to her whine.  Besides I have always enjoyed the quiet of the house as a way to start my day – coffee in hand of course.  Since it is summer this is when most of my best writing takes place as it is almost like I have the house to myself. I find I ponder things to make during this time as well, especially on the weekends when I am waiting on others to wake for breakfast.  This past Friday morning Little Miss Mixture was catching up on some much needed sleep and I had several hours to myself.  So, I began to create something with the cherries.  I was not sure when I started what I would use it for, but it occurred to me they would make a great sauce. I saw this recipe and thought about making it.  Until I realized I was missing enough almond butter or sun butter and I make enough things with peanut butter.  I have also wanted to try making an ice cream such as this or this as both sound really good. So being who I am I started tossing things together and came up with this. DSC_0362 Homemade Cherry Sauce/ Topping

1 1/2 Cup Cherries

1/3 cup Maple Syrup

2 Tbsp. Water

Please note the measurements are estimates and could be altered to fit personal flavor. In a small saucepan over medium high heat add all ingredients.  Stir and using a spoon cut the fruit (cherries) in to pieces so as to release the juice in the saucepan. Continue cooking until a rapid boil.  Lower temperature slightly and continue to boil at a slow rate, stirring frequently until the fruit (cherries) and sauce combine and the sauce thickens. * This is the basic recipe I use for making any fruit sauce.  It is simple and uses natural ingredients. Homemade Fruit Sauce has a number of uses such as in a yogurt parfait, in a milkshake, atop a bowl of ice cream, atop pancakes or waffles, or as part of a recipe such as this. IMG_3420IMG_3262DSC_0360

Sweet Cherry Smoothie

IMG_3219As I mentioned yesterday, it is the peak time to get cherries, so we stocked up.  I finally got some washed, pitted, and frozen so that we can use them in smoothies in a couple of weeks.  Talk about a mess.  I may rank pitting cherries up there with my least favorite kitchen task.  Boiling chicken is still # 1.  Regardless of how few or how many, I end up having to split some open because the pitter does not always work perfectly, so there is juice on my hands.  My fingers begin to look stained by the end of the process and the clean trash bag is now stained as if there was a horrible kitchen accident.  Luckily this time around I managed to not get the juice on my shorts.  As I complete this process, I keep picturing the episode of “I Love Lucy” where they crush grapes with their feet.  Okay I just dated myself some, but as a kid I loved to watch the “I Love Lucy” reruns that TBS aired.

Having made a really nice adult drink with the cherries, I decided to start our day on Monday with a family friendly drink.  Little Miss Mixture and I had somewhere to go, so it was a great morning for smoothies in the car.  Thank goodness the car is old enough I do not care about cherry juice and in a nicely topped cup the likelihood of a cherry juice mishap is slim.  I would never have fresh cherries consumed in the car in any other form.  Honestly I have often thought of serving them outside as I constantly fear the juice ending up on the upholstery or the walls.  I know too much information about how I may be a little too type A, but at least I can admit it.

We had fresh pineapple from Sunday’s dinner which gave me the idea for the smoothie; however I ended up using frozen to get the consistency I wanted.  This simple fruit smoothie had a bright and somewhat tropical flavor to it.

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Sweet Cherry Smoothie

20 Pitted Cherries

1/2 cup Skim Milk

3 Tbsp. Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1 cup Frozen Pineapple

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 about a 12 oz glass or split into two smaller servings and enjoy.

Printable Recipe & Nutrition Info

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