Nut Butter Banana Hemp Shake (Vegan, High-Protein, Kid-Friendly)

When your kid begs you for a drink of your high-protein, high-fiber shake full of essential aminos and omegas, you call it quits on your food blog photo shoot and hand over the shake.

(Rachel, the daughter)

I just wrote a long boring post about how exhausting this week has been. Then I hit delete. #boringsnoring #toughenup #writersblock #speakinginhashtagsiswayeasierthanwritingblogsandbooks

I think Instagram and Twitter are ruining my ability to write in full sentences. I mean, do you really need a full explanation when a hashtag and a picture say it all?

#badidea #meltdownonaisletwo #tinycartsarethedevil

#lifewithatoddler #enoughsaid

#joy #bubbles #lovehim

In the spirit of quick and easy, here’s a recipe that has saved me on many an exhausted morning or afternoon this week. High in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, it’s the perfect breakfast or post-park snack for adults and little ones.

#simple #healthy #kid-friendly #10gramsofprotein #6gramsoffiber

Nut Butter Banana Hemp Shake

Makes one 1-cup serving

Ingredients

1 banana (Frozen or thawed)
2 T. nut butter (Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Sunflower Seed Butter, or mix of any combination)
1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk (or your preferred milk)
1/2 T. hemp seeds
1/2 c. ice

Directions

Blend first four ingredients together for 60 seconds. Add ice and blend until ice chunks are gone. That’s it. Enjoy!

Almond milk + nut butter + banana + hemp seed = #mynewfavshake

I did some quick pen and paper calculations on the one I made today (not pictured). I used half sunflower seed butter and half organic peanut butter. It had about 19 grams of fat, 300 calories, 10 grams of protein, and 6.5 grams of fiber. Remember the fat comes from seeds and nuts, which are good healthy fats.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Nut Butter Banana Hemp Skake (Vegan, High-Protein, Kid-Friendly)
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-Kg
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved

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Super Food Hemp Chocolate Treats (Candy & Mocha Frappuccino)

I have recently been singing the praises of hemp seeds (“the new flax”), and telling everyone about their health benefits. Of course, every time I mention the word “hemp” someone jokingly asks if I get high from eating hemp seeds.  I say, “No, the Getting High part of the plant is not in the Hemp Seed part.  Really, this is just the way I am normally, organically, without any psychotropic help.”

Which is true.  And probably why I’ve never understood the need or desire to smoke pot or even nibble on a THC-laced brownie. Life in my own natural born head is all the “high” I can handle, and certainly Life with “Normal Becky” is challenging enough for my family without any
“special enhancing.”

I spent a few days in a hotel room with my daughter Rachel last week at a food blogging convention. She was trying so hard to be patient but one morning, in exasperation, she said, “Mom, I know you are somehow trying to be organized, but there are six Ziploc bags on the bathroom counter and all of them are filled with miscellaneous stuff that doesn’t go together in any logical way. Here’s a bag with lipstick, a hair clip, a pen, and a bottle of aspirin. And even the aspirin bottle is filled with everything but aspirin!”

My mind is a place you probably would not want to go into alone, but somehow I’ve managed to get by in this world, probably through the kindness of strangers and an overworked, stressed-out team of angels.

So I don’t touch “recreational drugs,” but I am fascinated by Super Foods that may help  boost brain function.  When researchers found that dark chocolate was full of antioxidants and flavonoids — beneficial for the heart and brain –it was a happy day.  When creamy  coconut oil proved beneficial for digestion, healing and possibly even weight loss;  and crunchy almonds were touted for their anti-inflammatory properties, Vitamin E and minerals — things got even happier. And then, hemp seeds were found to be a Super Food. They taste like slightly green sesame seeds and are full of protein (11 grams in 3 Tablespoons) with 10 amino acids, chock full of Omega 3’s and 6’s in perfect balance. A vegan’s dream.

I offer you not just one, but two, recipes that make use of Super Foods and taste irresistibly indulgent.  The mocha hemp  frappuccino  makes mornings worth getting out of bed for.   And the Super Food Dark Chocolate Hemp Candy – let’s just say you are about to meet your new best recipe friend.  A couple of pieces of this sensuous dark chocolate treat  is especially delicious alongside a few fresh berries and a cup of  tea. (For health benefits it is hard to beat white tea.) The additional fiber in the candy makes it surprisingly filling, so as tasty as it is, I don’t find myself over-indulging.

Super Food Dark Chocolate Hemp Candy

Makes about 12 to 15 chocolate drops      

Ingredients

1 3.2 oz bar of 70% chocolate (My favorites are Newman’s Own and Chocolove brands, they are both rich and smooth without bitterness)

2 T. coconut oil

2/3 cup hemp seeds (found in any health store and most large grocery stores on “organic aisle”)

¼ chopped almonds (I love the roasted salted version in this recipe)

2 T. dried cranberries or other chopped dried fruit of your choice (coconut flakes would also be yummy)

Directions:

Slowly and carefully melt chocolate and coconut oil together in a microwave, stopping every 10 seconds to stir and stopping just as soon as chocolate has melted.  Stir in rest of the ingredients until well coated.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on a parchment lined plate or cookie sheet.

Put in fridge (or freezer if you are in a hurry) until firm.  Keep leftover pieces in a tightly covered container in the fridge.

Hemp Mocha Frappuccino

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

½ frozen banana

3 ice cubes

Instant Coffee granules (amount to your taste – I like an organic version that comes in individual sleeves)

1 T. organic corn-syrup free chocolate syrup (such as Ahlaska brand)

1 – 2 T. Hemp Seeds

Directions:

Blend until smooth, serve in a pretty glass cup and wake up happy!

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook

The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com

The Title: Super Food Hemp Chocolate Treats (Candy & Mocha Frappuccino)

The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-Fm

© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Mama’s Feel Good Blueberry Smoothie

Mama’s Feel Good Blueberry Smoothie

(Becky, the Butter Lovin’ Mama)

“Mom, my throat hurts, can you make me that blueberry smoothie for me?”

“Honey, I’m feeling tired, do you have time to make one of your  blueberry smoothies?”

“I feel a cold coming on, Becky, what is that recipe for the Feel Better Smoothie?”

“I’m in a hurry, can you whip up that blueberry smoothie for a breakfast-to- go?”

I have made or given my “Feel Good Blueberry Smoothie” out to more loved ones than I can remember over the past few  years.  The reason?  It seems to work wonders in helping you feel better if you are run down.  And if you feel good, it will help you feel great.  Not only is it good for you, but it tastes delicious, soothing the throat as it goes down.  Seriously,  I should probably bottle this stuff and sell it on QVC.

Dr. Daniel Amen is best-selling author, speaker, public TV teacher, psychiatrist, and brain researcher who is also a good friend.  He has done an incredible service encouraging people to pay attention to their brain health.  For as long as I’ve known Dr. Amen, he has called blueberries, “brain berries” and has recommended that people eat a cup a day to protect and nourish their brain.  Research continues to back this up. For example:

1)  Strong  scientific evidence exists that eating blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berry fruits has beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes.  (March 7, 2012, Science Daily)

2) New research shows that blueberries may inhibit fat cells (April 10, 2011 Science Daily)

3)  “The high concentration of antioxidants in blueberries strengthens your immune system, which may protect you from cancer cell growth, cardiovascular disease and urinary tract infections. Studies suggest that blueberries may also reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease,” says a report from Live Strong, March 7, 2012

I could go on and on!  (But that is just because I’m so energized by my smoothie.) One cup of fresh blueberries has only 83 calories but packs a lot of nutrition including 21 g of carbohydrates, 9 mg of calcium and magnesium, 17 mg of phosphorus, 112 mg of potassium, 14 mg of vitamin C, 78 IU of vitamin A and many other micronutrients.

This delicious smoothie also has protein from Greek yogurt, almond milk and walnuts; vitamin C from orange juice; sweetness and fiber from dates (or 1/2 banana), along with a super green food powder that is loaded with nutrients and probiotics.  To supercharge it, I also add two optional but tasty nutritious ingredients: liquid fish oil and L-carnitine.  The brands I use pack a big punch of nutrition for the buck and taste amazingly yummy, like sweet oranges. (No fishy taste at all!)

It’s a fabulous way to start your day, a great pick me up in the afternoon, and an immunity boost for anyone feeling under the weather.  Kids and teens also love this.

I totally need to do a Feel Good Blueberry Smoothie infomercial.  But for now, this post will have to do.

Feel Better Blueberry Smoothies

Mama Becky’s Feel Good Blueberry Smoothie

Makes 1 large or 2 smaller smoothies

Ingredients

1 c. frozen blueberries

1 c. orange juice

3 dates (or 1/2 banana, fresh or frozen)

1 T. walnuts (or any nuts you have on hand or Hemp Seeds )

1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk (or coconut or soy or dairy milk)

1 heaping Tablespoon plain Greek Yogurt (vegans may want to substitute a rice-based protein powder)

1/2 c. ice

1 t. to 1 T. super green food powder  (I like Green Vibrance which I get at Whole Foods. Expensive but lasts a long time!)

Ingredients for Becky’s Feel Better Smoothie: Blueberries, OJ, Almond milk, yogurt, dates (or sub 1/2 banana) walnuts

(Optional Ingredients: NOW brand  L-Carnitine Citrus Flavored Liquid and  Carlson’s Orange Flavored Fish Oil.  I find these at Vitamin Cottage but have linked to Amazon to give you more info.)

Citrus Flavored L-Carnitine (NOW) and Orange Flavored Fish Oil (Carlson) Nutritional supplements that are good for you and actually taste great. Perfect for adding to smoothies.

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a blender.  Start the blender low and move to high until it is smooth.  Top with an orange slice.  (More than for garnish, a little squeeze of fresh orange floating atop the smoothie is very tasty.)

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Mama’s Feel Better Blueberry Smoothie
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-sK
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Salted Caramel Banana Nut Shake (Healthy)

Salted Caramel Banana Nut Shake

I’ve always loved a perfectly ripe banana for a quick snack. On hectic mornings, I’d often grab a banana,  a spoonful of peanut butter, a swig of milk and call it breakfast.  Once,  when my four kids were young, we all headed in a crazed mass exit toward the car where I would drive them to school.  Realizing I’d forgotten to eat, I instructed my then-thirteen year old son, Zach, to “run back in the house and grab me a banana.”

I watched, perplexed. as he ran to the front door of the house then took an odd pose, his head slightly to the right, his arms to his side, and then ran back to the car in this weird position. “What are you doing?” I asked.  He answered in all seriousness, “I thought you told me to go to the house and then run like a banana.”

I swear, when puberty hits our children their hormones start eating their brain cells.   But I digress.

Back to bananas for breakfast.  As some of you know, I’m determined to eat my way to lower blood pressure.  One of the ways to do this is to eat more potassium rich foods.  And a banana is loaded with potassium.  In fact,  I read that a bite of a banana has more potassium than most potassium tablets.   Almonds, too, are praised for all sorts of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure.

Another new food craze I love is salted caramel anything.  So I combined a simple banana smoothie with almonds and unsweetened almond milk (only 35 calories a cup!) then added a touch of caramel and sea salt. (Sea salt does not raise blood pressure the way iodized chemically produced salt does, and you need less of it to flavor your food since it so rich in minerals.) There is only 2 teaspoons of caramel syrup (about 40 calories) in each shake, but because you use one of the teaspoons to rim the glass and as a decoration on top,  you get the feeling that it is much sweeter as you get a tiny taste of the pure caramel with each sip.

This new smoothie/shake is the breakfast of my dreams.  I’m hooked.  It also makes a wonderful mid-afternoon snack or a bedtime treat, since the ingredients also relax you for a good night sleep.  It could be a fluke, but I have noticed my blood pressure has lowered since having one of these banana and almond treats per day.

Served in a martini or margarita glass not only adds more elegance but allows you to rim the glass in a bit more caramel and sea salt, and gives you more surface area to garnish the top with the same.

Salted Caramel Banana Nut Shake

Becky’s Salted Caramel Banana Nut Shake (Healthy)

Serves Two

Ingredients

1 rounded T.  roasted almonds (salted or unsalted both work)

1 banana, peeled and chopped into 2 inch slices   (preferably frozen)

1 ½ c. unsweetened almond milk

4 t.  caramel syrup, divided (There are several non-dairy alternatives for vegans, including caramel agave nectar,  or google recipes for vegan caramel. )

½ c. ice

Sea salt – couple of tiny pinches

almond milk, roasted almonds, a frozen banana, caramel syrup and sea salt makes an amazing and potassium rich treat

Directions:

Into a blender put almonds, banana, and almond milk,  2 t. caramel syrup,  ice and small pinch sea salt. Blend until smooth and almonds are just specks.

Pour about a teaspoon of caramel syrup around a plate, approximately the size of the rim of a martini glass. Sprinkle this circle with a tiny pinch of  sea salt, lightly.  Dip the rim of the glass into the syrup and salt, twisting and turning to coat evenly.  Do this twice to prepare two martini glasses.

Create a circle of caramel syrup, lightly sprinkled with sea salt, on a plate,  to rim the glasses

Pour half the smoothie/shake into each glass.   Squiggle a bit more of the syrup (about 1/2 t.) to garnish the top of the drink, and sprinkle with one more tiny pinch of sea salt.   Prepare to fall in love.

Variations:  Add protein powder to buff up the protein and drink the whole recipe to make a complete breakfast smoothie. 

Add liquor (rum, coconut or vanilla vodka) to turn this into a yummy frozen cocktail. 

Try it with coconut milk instead of almond milk.  

In a  hurry? Skip rimming the glass. 


White Tea Fruit Slushies: My New Summer “Coffee”

Becky’s White Tea Fruit Slushy

Nobody loves the first sip of morning coffee like I do! In fact, I used to use this moment as an inspirational speech illustration on how to capture “Eden moments” in our lives.

Obviously we aren’t living in Eden anymore, but that does not mean we don’t get glimpses of Eden.   “The way we catch ‘Eden moments’,” I would say, “is the same way we acknowledge that first sip of good coffee in the morning.  Many of us audibly say, ‘Ahh, that’s good.’  The same way God paused and said, ‘It is good’ after every phase of creation. We live more meaningful lives by noticing small blessings and pausing, even a second, to say, ‘Ah, that’s good.’ String enough of these small moments of gratitude together and you will find yourself happier.”

I still believe this is true.  But this week,  I had my favorite illustration taken from me!  Due to a spike in blood pressure, I’m cutting out foods that may raise BP, and adding in foods that may lower it. One of the toughest things to give up was that sacred, holy, blessed… Cup o’ Morning Joe.

Since I, like most people, am more motivated by pleasure than I want to admit, I had to find a substitute morning beverage that would be worth getting out of bed for.   I’ve experimented with several alternatives. There was a canned non-caffeinated health/energy drink.  It tastes like chilled, diluted cough syrup.  No go.

I tried various mugs of green and white teas, hot, with honey. They were nice, but hardly exciting enough to compel me to crawl from under the sheets.

Not a fan of de-caf coffee.

Then it hit me.  Our cute local tea shop offers “tea slushies” during the summer months.  I love them but they are a bit too sweet, full of sugar.  I also need to add more berries and fruit in my diet, so I wondered about making a white tea berry slushy.  A little of this, and a pinch of that went into the blender and in no time, out came The Winner.  (Insert angel voices singing here.)   Meet my new morning beverage of choice.  So perfect for back porch sitting and sipping, that I often enjoy an afternoon tea slushy, too.

You’ll find me under the shade tree with my new icey-brew tomorrow, savoring a first sip and saying,   “Ahh.. that is good.”

P.S. I like both green and white teas, but have found white tea has a milder flavor and even more nutritional benefits.  White tea has been shown to fight cancer, help with weight loss, improve and protect the skin and the heart in a myriad of ways among many other benefits.  I often mix it with decaf black tea and sip on this all day.  Here’s an informative link: White Tea Information.

Becky's White Tea Fruit Slushy

Becky’s White Tea Fruit Slushy

Serves 2 large glasses, or 4 “wine” glasses

Ingredients

2 cups brewed white or green  tea, cooled  (made from 2 to 4 tea bags, depending on how strong you like it)

10 ounces (or a little over 1 cup) frozen berries, any kind

1/4 cup agave nectar or a tad of stevia or other sweetener of your choice

1/2 cup ice

Optional: citrus slices for garnish/flavor

Directions

Put all ingredients into a blender and whirl until slushy.  Serve immediately, garnishing with a slice of lime, lemon or orange if desired.

Variations: Try other teas. (A visit to a nice tea shop is like a visit to a cool wine bar these days!) Substitute other frozen fruits such as peaches, cherries, mangos or kiwis.   Even veggies like celery and cucumber would be refreshing.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: White Tea Fruit Slushies
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Not-Too-Sweet Banana Butternut Squash Smoothie

Banana Butternut Squash Smoothie

For those of us who don't like sweets before noon, this smoothie with butternut squash, walnuts and just a 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup is the perfect not-too-sweet morning treat.

Though most days, Jared and I adore and respect each other, not every day is marital bliss. Just like any other couple, we have our “moments.” Recently we had one of those “moments” on a lunch date. I was hungry and had hardly eaten breakfast. If you know me well, I am unpleasant to be around when I’m hungry. I try to never let myself reach hunger for this reason. The tiff was over something little and unfortunately left unresolved for the night as Jared had to head straight from lunch to scout a ballgame out of town. There is a good reason that we mostly aim to resolve arguments quickly. I’m not one of those people that “just needs time.” Jared is.

So a few hours after Jared left, the argument to him magically resolved itself. That magical dust must have passed over me though.  While waiting on the ballgame to start, he sent me a Words With Friends (basically a Scrabble app for iPhones) game request. My first thought was “Yeah, I’ve got some words for you, buddy.” But then I realized I might be dealt letters for words like “love” or “apology.” It wasn’t a risk I was willing to take. So I instead rejected his game request. That will get him. We are not friends right now and I don’t want to play with you. So there! 

This may be a new low for me.

The next morning before getting out of bed, Jared graciously apologized. I’m pretty sure that all of my maturity shifts to him during our arguments.

In an effort to keep from turning into a 4-year old again, I made myself sit down that morning with a healthy breakfast and a little quiet time.

I had cooked up some butternut squash for Jackson the previous day and used a cup of it to throw into a smoothie. I still wasn’t quite in the mood for being overly sweet or for an overly sweet breakfast. This smoothie paired with a little peanut butter and honey toast was the perfect not-too-sweet breakfast to start my day. Filled up in mind, spirit, and body, I was finally ready to be friends and play nice.

Banana Butternut Squash Smoothie

Rachel’s
Banana Butternut Squash Smoothie

Ingredients

1 c. Butternut Squash (I’ve used acorn squash too), cooked and cooled*
1 c. milk of your choice
1/4 c. walnuts or pecans
1 banana
1 t. cinnamon
A few grates of fresh nutmeg (optional)
1/2 t. maple syrup
A handful of ice

Directions

Put all the ingredients except for the ice in the blender, blend until smooth. Add a little more milk if needed. Add ice and blend again until it is finely crushed throughout. If you like a sweeter smoothie, you can add a little more maple syrup.

*The easiest way for me to cook squash is to cut it in half lengthwise and put both halves in a baking dish face down with about an inch of water in the bottom of the pan. Cook at 400 for about 30 – 40 minutes or until the flesh of the squash can easily be scooped out with a fork or spoon. For the smoothie, just scoop out the flesh when it cools down and store in tupperware in the refrigerator until ready to use (will keep for a few days). You can also freeze it in ice trays and then store the frozen cubes in a ziplock bag for at least a month. Just thaw a few whenever you need them. Steaming, roasting, or boiling the squash would work fine too if that’s your preferred method.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Not-Too-Sweet Banana Butternut Squash Smoothie
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/04/30/not-too-sweet-banana-butternut-squash-smoothie