Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Recipe

Other than boiling an egg - which is the world's easiest kitchen task, nothing else comes close to making a smoothie. After all, all that one needs to do is gather the necessary ingredients, put them in the blender and blend them till everything is smooth. But is that really what it takes to make a good, no, a perfect pumpkin spice smoothie? Before jumping into the recipe, here are a few things that will help improve the quality of your smoothies.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Tips and tricks

  1. a) Always use fresh and organic ingredients: This is because fresh ingredients give birth to a smoothie that's both nutritional and better tasting.
  2. b) Use natural sweeteners: Instead of using sugar to sweeten your smoothie, use the likes of stevia, honey, maple syrup or dates.
  3. c) Spice it up: Use of spices helps in enhancing the smoothie's flavor. Examples of spices that you can use include cayenne pepper, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon.
  4. d) Include seeds: Seeds such as hemp, chia and flax seeds play a key role in not only boosting the overall nutritional value of the smoothie but also giving it texture.
  5. e) Last but not least, remember that it's never about what you're blending but how you are blending. As such, you ought to use a high quality blender and, blend according; from the lowest to highest speed setting.

Going by this guide, here's a pumpkin spice smoothie recipe that will ensure that you get more than satisfactory results.

Ingredients

  1. a) Two tablespoon of pure maple syrup or honey
  2. b) One fresh banana
  3. c) A cup of ice cubes
  4. d) Two thirds cups of fresh pumpkin puree
  5. e) Half a cup of vanilla Greek yogurt
  6. f) Half a cup of almond or skim milk
  7. g) A quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  8. h) A quarter teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

Directions

Start by adding the almond milk into the blender. Only add the recommended amount as too much of it can make your smoothie runnier cum watery. Next, add the main base - a banana. This is what ends up giving texture to your smoothie. Then, add the fresh pumpkin puree and Greek yogurt. Following the pumpkin puree and yogurt should be other additional add-ons like sweeteners - maple syrup and spices - ground cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.

Once all the ingredients have been put in the blender, blend them up. The best way of blending a smoothie is by starting on a low setting before going up to the highest blending speed.

Just in case the smoothie ends up being too thick, add a little bit of milk and if too watery, add ice cubes. While milk makes the smoothie less thick, ice makes it thicker and frothier. All the same, too much ice can easily water down the smoothie.

Serving your smoothie:

Pumpkin spice smoothies are best enjoyed as soon as they are out of the blender. The reason behind all this is, if let to sit for a couple of more minutes, they may end up separating or thickening. And as earlier mentioned, fresh smoothies are a lot tastier than refrigerated ones.

[Image]

 

Easy Way to Make a Gourmet-Like Homemade Sushi

Easy Way to Make a Gourmet-Like Homemade Sushi

 

Sushi, a dish commonly featuring various fish, vegetables, and sauces rolled in a sheet of seaweed and sticky rice, is rarely homemade. Most people find making grommet style sushi at home intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Keep reading for essential sushi making terminology, ingredients, and tips.

 

ESSENTIALS

You’ll need a few key essentials to make homemade sushi. First a bamboo rolling mat or a Makisu. More experienced sushi makers can get by without the mat, but it’s helpful for beginners to maintain a tight roll. Look for bamboo mats that are rounded on one side and flat on the other. It’ll cost you a few extra dollars than the rounded on both side versions, but it’ll be easier to use.

Next you’ll need the right sticky rice, or shari, for your sushi. Remember to rinse the rice before cooking to get rid of excess starch,ensuring your don’t end up with a doughy mess.

Purchase some nori- thin sheets of seaweed that provide extra flavor, nutrition, and infrastructure to the sushi roll. Nori is typically sold in 10 and 50 packs, and must be kept very dry. We recommend purchasing the smaller packs for homemade sushi, avoiding the risk of spoiling the larger packs with moisture in between uses. When using the nori, you’ll notice one side is smoother than the other. The smooth side should always face the mat; imagine the rough side needs to grip the rice.

For sauces, like the creamy Japanese mayonnaise, sweet unagi sauce, and ponzu sauce, you can either make versions at home or purchase already made sauces at an Asian store or well-stocked supermarket. Don’t forget some pickled ginger and Wasabi!

 

TECHNIQUES

When rolling sushi, keep a bowl of water with a splash of rice vinegar and dry towels nearby. The sticky shari requires wet hands while you should only handle nori with dry fingers.

Don’t compress or overload the nori with shari, you just need a thin layer of rice. Keep about a 2 cm margin of nori uncovered. Lay a strip of the fish along a length then carefully place your vegetables. That margin of uncovered nori alongside the filling will help begin the first roll.

 

ROLLS

When it comes to making the actual sushi rolls the ingredient combinations are limitless. Just be sure to cut the vegetables thin enough to fit into the rolls easily, a very sharp knife ensures a smooth preparation.

If a recipe calls for raw fish, purchase high quality sushi grade fish. If you’re having trouble finding fish locally and would rather not order from online vendors, as a short cut, you can purchase the big pieces of sashimi in your grocery store, then simply cut the fish to size for your homemade sushi.

If dealing with raw fish at home makes you a bit uneasy, you can use smoked fish, quickly seared or steamed seafood like scallops, or tempura fried. Another option that borders on Japanese/Spanish fusion is making ceviche. Ceviche is a mixture of diced seafood drenched in citrus juice. The acid in the juice ‘cooks’ the small pieces of seafood. Just watch the liquid content when placing the ceviche on the sushi roll.

Start out by imitating rolls you’ve enjoyed at restaurants then consider making your own filling combinations. Home made sushi can be delicious, elegant, and rewarding.

 

Image Credit

Warm Up This Season With Lentil Soup: A Recipe You’ll Save in Your Cookbook

Lentil Soup

This is an easy recipe that will leave everyone wanting more! Lentils are a great source of fiber and have many other health benefits. The recipe below makes approximately 6 servings and includes meat products. If cooking for a vegetarian crowd, you do not need to include the ham and instead of chicken broth use vegetable broth. There are two sets of directions below:

1) slow-cooker directions

2) stove-top cooking instructions.

Please follow whichever suits your needs. Enjoy!

 

Here is a list of ingredients that you will need:

1 ½ cups dried lentils                ½ teaspoon dried thyme                 1 ½ cup chopped celery

3 cloves minced garlic               ½ teaspoon dried oregano              1 ½ cup chopped red onion

2 cups diced cooked ham         ½ teaspoon dried basil                    1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon black pepper         32 oz. chicken broth                         ½ teaspoon salt

1 Slow Cooker (at least 3 ½ quart)

 

Directions:

  1. Combine lentils, garlic, onion, ham, and celery, pepper, oregano, basil, thyme, and bay leaf into the slow cooker.
  2. Stir in the chicken broth.
  3. Put lid on slow cooker and set heat on low
  4. Let cook for 11 hours.
  5. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Prep Time: approximately 20 minutes

Cook Time: 11 hours

Total Amount of Time:  approximately 11 hours 20 minutes.

 

If you do not have a slow cooker, use a large deep pot.

Directions:

  1. Put 3 tablespoons in the pot over medium heat.
  2. When oil begins to sizzle, add in the onion. Stir frequently.
  3. When onion is soft (after cooking for approximately 2 minutes), add the celery, and let cook for another 2 minutes. Stir frequently.
  4. Next, add the garlic, pepper, thyme, oregano, basil, salt, lentils, and ham.
  5. Let cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  6. Stir in chicken broth.
  7. Add bay leaf
  8. Wait until it comes to a boil. Then, turn heat down to low and cover pot with lid. Let cook and stir occasionally for approximately 35 minutes, until lentils are tender.
  9. Add more chicken stock if soup is thicker than desired.
  10. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Prep Time: approximately 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Amount of Time: approximately 55 minutes

 

Other vegetables can be added for more flavor. Consider adding carrots, diced tomatoes, snap peas, and/or green beans.

 

[Image]

 

The Incredible Health Benefits of Collard Greens

Benefits of Collard Greens

Collard greens have long been a staple of Southern cooking. A cruciferous vegetable similar to kale and Brussels sprouts, collard greens are commonly placed on plates next to fried chicken, potatoes, and gravy. While other vegetables like kale and spinach have long held the limelight, new studies are indicating that collard greens are just as healthy.

Collard Greens Lower Cholesterol

Steamed collard greens easily bind to bile acids in the digestive tract, helping to excrete them from the body. Bile acids are formed from cholesterol, so collard greens essentially bind to and remove these acids. This effect was found primarily with steamed collard greens as opposed to raw, and had the greatest cholesterol-lowering benefit of any cruciferous vegetable.

Collard Greens Protect Against Cancer

There are four specific anti-cancer agents found in collard greens: glucosinolates called glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtian, and glucotropaeolin. These words may sound like science fiction characters, but they're actually agents that can support our anti-inflammatory systems. This can help prevent cancer through aiding the body in fighting off rogue cells.

Collard Greens Are High in Vitamin K

A cup of cooked, chopped collard greens has almost 400% of your daily recommended Vitamin K. Vitamin K is critical for blood clotting; a deficiency can lead to uncontrolled bleeding. It's also important to prevent osteoporosis and coronary artery disease. Certain populations, such as patients suffering from liver damage, bulimia, cystic fibrosis, or inflammatory bowel disease, can be prone to Vitamin K deficiency.

Collard Greens Contain A Whopping Amount of Vitamin C

Oranges, move over: a cup of cooked collard greens has half your daily recommended amount of Vitamin C. Though Vitamin C is frequently taken to ward off colds, there are additional benefits such as protection against cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and stroke.

Collard Greens Can Protect Your Eyesight

Collard greens are also high in Vitamin A, the same vitamin that's found in carrots. Vitamin A is a retinoid and is critically important in maintaining eye health. Vitamin C also helps protect your eyes as well. For healthy eyesight, eat a cup of steamed collard greens with dinner.

Collard Greens Are High in Fiber

There's a good reason to have a high-fiber diet: it helps excrete damaging LDL cholesterol out of the body and keeps your digestive tract regular. If you've been feeling a little blocked, try some collard greens to get everything going again. Fiber also provides protection against colon cancer and hemorrhoids.

Collard Greens Can Keep Your Immune System Healthy

The greens contain a phyto-nutrient called di-indolyl-methane, which has been found to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. If you're looking to stay healthy through cold and flu season, cook a batch of collard greens and serve them for dinner. Di-indolyl-methane also has anti-cancer properties as well, potentiating Interferon-gamma receptors.

Collard Greens Contain Valuable Minerals

The leaves and stems of this wondrous vegetable contain calcium, iron, zinc, and manganese- all minerals important for the bloodstream and bones. Considering this vegetable only has 30 calories per serving, it's a great side dish for dinner.

[Image 1] [Image 2]

 

Hearty, Healthy Hash

14-01-20 hash browns 900x600

One of the most delicious and easily prepared dishes for a busy lifestyle is a hearty, healthy hash. The best thing about hash is that you can make it ahead of time and then freeze it in individual packages. To make your hash browns both hearty and healthy, use vegetables instead of meat.

You will need the following ingredients:
– 5 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes
– 3 average-sized zucchinis
– 1 large onion
– 3 red bell peppers
– 1 pound of white bell mushrooms
– 3 stalks of celery
– 4 cups of chopped spinach
– 1/2 cup of olive oil
– 1/2 cup of butter
– Salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried parsley, to taste

Cut the potatoes up into bite-sized pieces, put them in a large pot of water, and bring them to a boil. Let the potatoes boil only for about five minutes, then remove them from the heat and drain. Next cut up the zucchini, peppers, and mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and dice the onion and the celery up into very small pieces. Mix all the vegetables together in a large bowl to even distribute everything. Of course, you can substitute other veggies, such as cauliflower and sweet potatoes.

In a large frying pan, heat up the olive oil and the butter. (If you do not have a frying pan large enough to cook everything at once, this can be done in multiple batches, just make sure to split the olive oil and butter up accordingly.) Once it is hot, pour all of the vegetables into the frying pan, mixing them around as you do so to evenly coat everything with the oil. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley. Allow this to cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes. About three minutes before you remove it from the heat, add the chopped spinach and stir it around. You do not want to overcook anything you make ahead to freeze, so remove it from the heat before the potatoes start to brown. Let it sit in the pan until it is cool.

This will make enough for eight meals serving four people, so have eight freezer-proof plastic containers ready. Evenly distribute the hash browns into the containers and seal them tightly before placing them into the freezer. When you are ready to use them, simply take one out and let it thaw on the counter for several hours, then heat up a frying pan and cook it until the potatoes are brown. Serve it as-is or with a sprinkling of cheese.