Friday, August 31, 2012

Strawberry-Banana-Mango Smoothie

I am a master at finding excuses for having to purchase things: some new burnt orange for the start of UT football this weekend; an outfit for a party; a corn zipper for corn and tomato salad; a blender for smoothies.  Carol is equally as masterful.  She too purchased a new blender (she went with Cuisinart; I bought an Oster) and sent me this variation for a smoothie.  This quantity makes a single, 8oz serving.

Drink up and to your health!

(yep - same pic as the Strawberry-Banana smoothie - - the mango won't make that big of an impact on color, just taste)
1.      5-6 frozen strawberries
2.      ¼ c strawberry yogurt
3.      ¼ c orange juice
4.      4 fresh mango slices
5.      ½ frozen banana

Place all ingredients in a blender.  Puree until smooth. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

I am in pain.  My head hurts; my body hurts.  You might ask, “with the kids in school, are you exercising again?”  My reply “No.  Getting up and moving quickly so early in the morning is painful.”  I appreciate the schedule, order and routine that school brings and the release of daily Camp Mommy creativity but oh, it’s so early.

School means a different kind of creativity to me – breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinners with minimal prep and cook time.  I started searching the web for ideas and a variation of this smoothie sounded good – 2 out of 3 kids concurred.  I cut up the strawberries and bananas the night before and placed them in the freezer in a Tupperware container. 

What are some of your best ideas for breakfast, lunch, snacks and quick and easy dinners?  Email me and let’s benefit from each other.  Today I sent chips and guacamole in the kids’ lunchboxes.

Strawberry-Banana Smoothie
1.      1 cup vanilla or strawberry yogurt 
2.      1 cup frozen strawberries, stems removed
3.      1 frozen banana, cut into bite size pieces
4.      ½ cup orange juice

Place all ingredients in a blender.  Puree until smooth. 

Tips: Use more or less orange juice to vary thickness.  Try strawberry yogurt for added fruitiness.  Some recipes used pineapple juice instead of orange or blueberries or raspberries as fruit alternatives or additions. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Travis' Trail Mix

We return from Colorado just in time for the second aerial spraying of mosquito pesticide.  David is monitoring Twitter with a play by play from the company performing the spraying; Travis is no doubt still awake and will jump out of bed the instant that he hears the crop duster fly overhead.  I have no idea if it will be that obvious.  This kind of reminds me of Christmas Eve when the 10 o’clock news tracks Santa’s progress on Doppler.

While in Colorado, we went on a hike and for a snack, I pulled out some Craisin’s trail mix.  Travis ate around the Craisins but said that he liked the rest of it.  David has challenged – or more politely – encouraged me to improve the snacks that I send to school (just the thought of going back to school next week makes me start to hyperventilate – getting to school on time, completing the required forms x3, soccer-piano­-baseball-etc., 3 sets of homework…)  Similar to a previous recipe for trail mix, we reverse engineered this and replaced the Craisins (dried cranberries) with dried cherries.  Maybe we should name this trail mix in Travis’ honor – Traisins.

Travis' Trail Mix
1.      Peanuts, roasted and unsalted
2.      Cashews, not salted
3.      Almonds, roasted and unsalted
4.      Semi-sweet chocolate morsels (we used Toll house)
5.      Dried cherries (or Craisins or another dried fruit)

Measure equal quantities, mix and enjoy.  Try out additional ingredients like banana chips or dried blueberries.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Homemade, Flavored Lemonade

We have an abundance of lemons due to recent visits to the fish market (and there is a recipe from one of those visits that was not deemed blog-worthy.  Pasta, sundried tomatoes and jumbo lump crabmeat – the combination seemed so promising!).  Travis, our little chemist, tried to make lemonade with some of those lemons.  He took about a sip (further advancing my theory that recipes are written for a reason). 

My usual lemonade preparation is rather pedestrian: open container of Country Time, pour into pitcher, add water and ice, stir and enjoy.  We decided to branch out together, made 4 different lemonades, and had a taste test with coded Dixie cups and all (and what do you do when it’s 102 outside?) 

Our 2 favorites were made in a blender.  Perhaps it was the fun of using heavy machinery that swayed the vote? 

Pink Lemonade (left)
Strawberry Lemonade (right)
1.      2 cups water
2.      1 cup sugar
3.      1 cup fresh lemon juice (or bottled)
4.      1 pint (1 cup) fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
5.      2 cups cold sparkling water or club soda
6.      Ice

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon juice, stir, and remove from the heat. Let cool completely.

In a blender, puree the pint of strawberries and add to the pitcher with the lemon juice. Stir well to combine and refrigerate until well chilled.

Add the sparkling water (I used club soda) just prior to serving and stir well. Pour over glasses filled with ice and serve. Optional: garnish with mint and strawberries.

1.      1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (5 to 6 lemons) - (or bottled)
2.      1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, to taste
3.      1 cup crushed ice
4.      4 cups water
5.      2 teaspoons grenadine
6.      6 maraschino cherries

Place the lemon juice, sugar, ice, water and grenadine in a blender and process until completely smooth.  Place a cherry in the bottom of 6 glasses and pour the lemon juice mixture in the glass.  Serve.  (For another treat, use the leftover grenadine to make Shirley Temples.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chocolate Praline Cake

26.2.  It is a choice and a commitment.  It takes hours of preparation and an investment on many fronts.  It creates moments of uncertainty and builds confidence.  You hit the wall.  The cheer of the crowd gives you extra motivation.  And then you cross the finish line – exhausted, exhilarated and accomplished.

About a year and a half ago, David set out and started his own private equity firm.  He had a passion and a vision.  TEAM Partners has completed its first deal!  As if David needs a sugar high to go on top of his natural high, I made this cake to celebrate his accomplishment.

If you have ever known a marathoner, then you know that once you get the bug, you can’t stop.  Go David – keep running! 


Happy Birthday (yesterday) Travis!!!


This recipe came from a very old edition of Southern Living
Chocolate Praline Cake
1.      1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2.      ¼ c cocoa
3.      1 c water
4.      ½ c buttermilk
5.      2 large eggs
6.      1 t baking soda
7.      1 t vanilla extract
8.      2 c sugar
9.      2 c all-purpose flour
10.  ½ t salt
Before the celebration...

1.      12 oz package of semi-sweet chocolate morsels
2.      1/3 c whipping cream
3.      ¼ c (4 T) butter, cut into pieces

Praline Topping 
1.      ¼ c (4 T) butter
2.      1 c firmly packed brown sugar
3.      1/3 c whipping cream
4.      1 c powdered sugar
5.      1 t vanilla extract
6.      1 c chopped pecans, toasted

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350.

Combine butter, cocoa and water and cook in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts and mixture is smooth.  Remove butter mixture from heat.  In a separate bowl, beat ingredients buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla at medium speed until smooth.  Add butter mixture and beat until blended.  Slowly add in the sugar, flour and salt and beat until blended.

Coat 3 9-inch round cakepans (bottom and sides) with cooking spray and line with wax paper (easier yet, use a pre-cut parchment circles).  Pour cake batter evenly into pans.  There will not be a lot of batter in each pan.

Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes or until cake is set.  Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks (coat with cooking spray first).

For the icing:
Microwave chocolate morsels and whipping cream in a glass bowl at medium (50%) power for 2-3 minutes or until morsels are melted.  Whisk until smooth.  Gradually add butter, whisking until smooth.  Cool, whisking often, for 15 minutes or until spreading consistency.

Spread about ½ c icing in between the cake layers and spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.

For the praline topping:
Do not prepare in advance.  Cook only once the cake has been iced.

Bring butter, brown sugar and whipping cream to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, and boil 1 miunte.  Remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup of powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.  Stir in toasted pecans, stirring gently 3-5 minutes, or until mixture begins to cool and thicken slightly.  Pour immediately over cake. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pork Tenderloin with Two Honey-Based Marinades

What is the next wave in cooking?  Williams-Sonoma is betting that chicken coops and beehives in your backyard are the answers.  The W-S catalog arrived the other day.  I was almost to the end, wiping the drool off my chin and plotting my strategy for rationalizing all sorts of purchases, when I saw these 2 items.  Does W-S really believe that the pricey real estate to promote these items will pay off?  Obviously so.  Then I read the August edition of Southern Living and they had an article about people raising chickens in their backyard and one guy featured was from Dallas.  Baffling.  I seriously thought that only Temple Emanu-El's Early Childhood Education Center and The Lamplighter School were crazy (errr… advanced) enough to have them.  I don’t think Shelly Sender, Director at Temple's ECEC, has a beehive (yet) but it wouldn’t surprise me if she has that as part of her vision which currently includes a productive vegetable and herb garden, a teaching kitchen and now a chicken coop.

Since having a beehive will be commonplace within a few months, I wanted to be ready and started searching for honey recipes.  In addition to my brother sending a link to The Archies singing “Sugar, Sugar” (aww….honey, honey), he and my mother sent me the same link to The National Honey Board.  Helpful, no really. 

Thankfully, TBM readers came through with their favorite recipes including honey.  Stacey submitted a new variation to granola which I have added to the earlier post.  Check it out!  Carolyn sent me this marinade for pork tenderloin which is very similar to one that I have used from a 2002 Southern Living.   


Happy Birthday Wilbur!  Go USA!!


Carolyn’s Pork Tenderloin Marinade 
Pork Tenderloin with Carolyn's Marinade
1.      1/2 Cup soy sauce 
2.      1/4 Cup Worcestershire
3.      1/4 Cup Canola Oil
4.      1/3 Cup red wine vinegar
5.      1/4 Cup honey
6.      1 Tablespoon dry mustard
7.      2 cloves garlic, crushed
8.      1/3 Cup lemon juice
9.      4 Tablespoons brown sugar
10.  Grated fresh ginger
11.  Chopped parsley
12.  Orange zest from 1 fresh orange
13.  2 Pork tenderloins

Combine all ingredients.  Tie 2 pork tenderloins together and place in a Ziploc bag.  Reserve some marinade for basting.  Pour remainder of marinade into bag with tenders and place in refrigerator for several hours or preferably overnight.  Remove tenders from marinade (and discard marinade) and either bake in oven (375 degrees, 20-30 minutes) or grill, basting with the reserved marinade until done (pork should reach an internal temperature of 170). 

Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin
1.      ¾ c honey
2.      6 T light brown sugar
3.      6 T cider vinegar
4.      3 T Dijon mustard
5.      1 ½ t paprika
6.      2 (3/4 – 1 lb each) pork tenderloins
7.      1 t salt
8.      1 t pepper

Mix ingredients #1-5 together.  Place pork in a Pyrex dish and pour marinade over.  Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes until internal temperature reaches 170.  Remove pork and set aside.  Pour remaining marinade into a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until it thickens to become a glaze.  (I like to eat this with biscuits).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hey honey...

Call me Geppetto.  Yep, you remember him as the guy who carved the wooden puppets and one of them, Pinoccio, came to life.  I too have a bunch of inanimate recipe ideas and am seeking some special fairy dust to bring them to life.  This is no lie, no one’s nose will start to grow – if you have a favorite recipe that includes honey (yes, honey) please email it to me.  Let the magic begin!