Winter smoothie prep packs

It’s winter in Minnesota and the fresh local fruit options are sparse. It’s also hockey and swim season, meaning time is precious and calories in high demand.

What can I make ahead that’s fast and healthy? I pulled some miscellaneous greens and celery from the fridge, canned and frozen fruit. garbanzos, and various nutritional adds like oatmeal, desiccated coconut, flax and chia seeds, fresh mint, ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric.

Then I threw some combinations together into sandwich bags and tossed into the freezer so the boys could grab as needed, add liquid and a banana. Ironically we had all of the weird stuff but no bananas? Boys.

If you run into the same issue with an ingredient just know that everything except liquid freezes well and gives it a nice chill, but if you don’t happen to have celery you can always add it when you blend.

Smoothie recipes are loose and easy to experiment to find what you like. This is definitely more art than science in my book, meaning the amounts and exact fruit are really up to you. Here are some of the combos we like:

Tropical: mandarin oranges, pineapple, peaches, pears, 1/2 banana, desiccated coconut. Use whatever combo of fruit you like about 1 cup total plus 3 tbsp of the coconut (usually found in the bulk section, and you don’t generally want to use the sweetened stuff). Add 1 cup+ of almond, coconut milk or whatever milk you drink until you reach your preferred consistency.

Berry blast (fiber): 1 cup spinach, 1/2 total of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and 2 tbsp or so dried oatmeal, 1 tsp dried cinnamon, 1/2 banana. Add 1c+ milk. The oatmeal makes this very filling.

Toxin Cleanse: 1 cup chopped kale, 1/2c pineapple, 1 stalk chopped celery, 1 tsp ginger (I use the fresh ginger in the tube found near the fresh herbs). Add 1c+ water or coconut water if you’ve got it, which has awesome electrolytes. This smoothie is a great way to flush toxins, if you have overindulged or have an upset tummy.

Balance: 1c spinach, 1/4c garbanzo beans, 3 large strawberries, 1 tbsp fresh mint, 1 tbsp flax seeds, dash of cinnamon, 1/2 banana. Add 1c+ milk of choice. The boys don’t like this one, but it’s one of my favorites when I’m feeling run down as it brings me back into balance with all of the great protein and iron in it. Flax seeds add fiber and help absorb the other nutrients too.

A note about blending: Depending on how compact the bags are, you’ll have something close to a solid chunk. You’ll want to break it up a bit (smash it a couple times on the counter) before blending or your blender may make an angry noise šŸ˜‰

We found that filling a standard size sandwich bag about half full was a good size.

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Sparkling mint coldpress coffee


Summer Sunday mornings are one of life’s luxuries. We’re all together and while the boys sleep a little later, I get breakfast ready. We have a lovely little bakery down the street and so today I picked up some treats. 

My treat is caffeine šŸ˜‰

I have been spending a ridiculous amount of money on coldpress coffee lately. It’s far less bitter and acidic since it never touches heat, which means a lot of noncoffee drinkers even enjoy it. 

If you’re not familiar with coffee, just know that “cold press” or “cold brew” uses a steeping technique vs “iced coffee”, which is typically brewed normally (hot) and then poured over ice. In both cases, the strength of the coffee is usually doubled as it gets water and ice added after it cools.

I’ve been playing around with the ratio and this morning tried a couple tweaks based on reading about coffee trends.  The nice part is that if it’s too strong for one drinker, you can simply add more water. 

These flavors are a riff on mint juleps. I normally drink black coffee, but found this really was better with the muddled sugar/mint. Feel free to sneak in some bourbon šŸ™‚

Sparkling mint coldpress coffee

  • 8tbsp ground coffee
  • 3c still water
  • Sparkling water
  • Handful mint sprigs
  • Sugar
  • Milk, cream (as you enjoy)

Pour water over coffee grinds in french press. Steep for 12 hours in fridge. Press coffee. Muddle 2-3 mint sprigs with 1tsp sugar. Pour 4 oz of coffee over and stir to combine. Top with sparkling (2oz if you prefer strong coffee). Top with ice and milk, cream as desired. This is roughly 8 cups of coffee total.

Local bourbonĀ 

It’s bourbon month for our girls night out and we thought we’d try a new hot spot, Tattersall Distillery, in a converted industrial space in Northeast Minneapolis.

Their bourbon actually starts in Kentucky and is then aged in MN, but close enough! 

This Umeboshi Sour, which features bourbon, sour cherry liquer, simple syrup, lemon, Umeboshi vinegar and black walnut bitters was the highlight of the evening. Smoky yet tart and refreshingly complex.

Their barrel-aged gin and aquavit were quite tasty too. (I was told by the bartender at Spoon & Stable that it’s the topselling aquavit. BTW, add that to your 2016 must try list when in MInneapolis!)

  

Cheers to 2016!

As part of 2016 resolutions, my friend Robin and I are getting together monthly to make the featured drink from my fantastic artistic friend Gina’s CocktailĀ of the Month booklet (buy itĀ at her Lettergirl Etsy store).

This is a delightful, easy-to-make and easy-sipping celebratory drink. A great excuse to spendĀ timeĀ with a friend!

Bee Sting

  • Champagne
  • Honey liqueur
  • Orange bitters

Fill a champagne flute with 2 oz honey liqueur (more or less depending on your sweet tooth), top with champagne and a dash of bitters. Garnish with orange slice.

Cheers!!

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