Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
CLICK ON THE RABBIT ( yes, those are cabinets) TO SEE MY PORTFOLIO, AND LEARN MORE ABOUT MY SERVICES...theartofthehome.com

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tall, cool, and oh, so smooth...

Breakfast on the go.  Faster tha a trip through the drive-through, and this actually has nutrition.  Join the boycott against UN-food. 

I've created a monster, or at least an addict. I didn't mean to. Had I been expecting company last Wednesday morning, I'd have brewed a fresh pot of coffee. However, not knowing my friend Cindy was about to arrive on my doorstep (she'd stayed the night before at her charming farm just outside of Belle Plaine, the Wedding Barn known as Rubies & Rust ~do click), I'd downed the last cup of reheated brew hours earlier, and was getting ready to make breakfast. I had to get ready to leave for a job site, but we visited while I puttered about the kitchen.  Cindy declined my offer of a smoothie of her own, but was finally convinced to try a taste of the bit that wouldn't fit in my glass.

That's all it took. "Oh wow! (uh-huh) That's good! (told ya) That's all you put in it? (yup) Is this a special blender? (nope) What else can you put in them? (anything)"  Hooked.

Nanapplenut Smoothie is my favorite breakfast, and the one that hooked Cindy:  One large apple (pink ladies are really good), one banana, a handful of walnuts, about a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a splash of buttermilk.  If you go light on the buttermilk, it comes out with an applesauce consistency, but a flavor worthy of company dessert, especially if you pop it in the freezer for a little while before serving.  This one is way more flavorful than you would think from the ingredients list.

Cindy was planning to come to a Saturday Studio gathering here, and immediately decided this would be her creative project, and potluck offering, in one. She would test smoothie recipes from the latest issue of Eating Well magazine. I'd seen them when the issue arrived, but hadn't had a chance to really look at them. They listed some strange ingredients, like a fermented tea, and used bottled juices, but sounded like a good place for her to start.

Pretty much anything in the fruit bowl(s) and vegetable crisper goes in a smoothie, and tea is a good liquid in place of juice or milk, if you prefer not to use those.

The ones she made on Saturday were very good, but I was a little bothered by the recipes. Part of the point of smoothies is to get lots of whole, fresh fruits and veggies, and though there are juice enthusiasts, the fiber in fruits and veggies is generally considered vital. Also, I'm fairly certain that bottled juices are heat processed to seal them, which would cook the micro nutrients. I know at least one of our mutual friends who will not even eat a cooked vegetable or fruit. I'm not nearly so rabid, but I've recently been looking into the science of food, and am convinced that (as mama advised all along) we would do well to get as raw and organic as possible, most of the time. I still love soups and stir fries, but at least part of the day's supply needs to be raw. Besides, bottled carrot juice is a heck of a lot pricier than a bag of carrots, and it creates a bigger carbon footprint in manufacture and transport, and a lot more waste.
Spa Lunch Smoothie:  This is a bright, tart, crisp smoothie, containing one chopped carrot, one orange, or a couple of mini tangerines, about a tablespoon of fresh chopped ginger, 1/2 to 1 peach (or the equivalent in frozen slices), and 1/2 cup tea.  If you want it a bit sweeter, add an apple.  If you want a little more substance, add a banana.  You can also add flax seed to this one.
My regular work schedule for the week completely rearranged by other contractors and designers, I found myself home today. Before settling down to work on book illustrations for an upcoming volume on the joys of correspondence, co-authored with Cat Isles of bridgingtheuniverse.com, I played around with the blender, and restyled a couple of the magazine's recipes.
Afternoon Pick-me-up-at-the-desk Smoothie:  1/2 cucumber, 2 kiwis, 1 very ripe pear, splash of buttermilk or dollop of yogurt.  Fresh mint would add a lot to this one, but in the dead of winter, it doesn't grow in my garden.  You can substitute an apple for the pear, of course, and strawberries would go well with the kiwis, or replace them nicely.

End-of-the-day Pint Smoothie:  blender filled with loose packed spinach, to which you add 1/2 cucumber, a couple of handfuls of blueberries, 1/2 large apple, a handful of walnuts, and 1/2 cup tea.  Spinach makes a very mild base for both sweet and savory smoothies.  Although the flavor of this one is mild, it has body, and is refreshing and satisfying at the same time...great taste that will fill you up, and won't make you too dopey and lazy to get back off of the couch and do something fun with the rest of your evening.
Smoothies are currently fashionable, but they aren't new.  I don't know if they were called smoothies in the 1970's, but my siblings and I made them for after school snacks, and called them "mucky slushes".  Ours usually featured some sort of nuts, and either fresh or home-canned fruit.  Our favorite was made by dumping a quart of mom's honey canned peaches into the blender with a generous handful of almonds, and sometimes yogurt.  If there was vanilla ice cream in the freezer, which was rare, we threw that in, instead.
Other times, we made similar concoctions for the salad course that always started dinner at our house, and called it fruit soup. If you're envisioning Martha Stewart formality, erase that picture, and substitute a tribe of denim clad, long-haired kids of both genders, bearded dad in logging boots, mama in her restaurant uniform, and a couple-three extra neighborhood kids, piled around a second (third? fourth?) hand table, in a half-remodeled farmhouse kitchen.  Sometimes instead of fruit blends, it was veggie.  Ever had gazpacho?  Taco smoothie.

Everything in moderation...
Now, one cannot exist on smoothies alone, of course.  At some point, chewing should come into the equation, both for the digestive benefits of saliva, the science of which you can track down, if you really want to read it, and the pleasure of experiencing the full beauty of well prepared food.  Personally, after all the vim and vigor of a smoothie powered day, I think a nice chewy brownie a most excellent way to end the evening.
...including moderation!

Author's note:  Please drink and drive responsibly.  If you make smoothies to go, please make them thin enough to slurp through a straw, as you cannot safely see the street ahead with your head tilted back, while you bang the cup against the bridge of your nose, trying to get the last delicious drop.  This will also prevent you from arriving at your destination with fruit puree between your eyes.

While enjoying your smoothies, you can be planning your next decorating project.  My portfolio of possibilities, and all the info on how to hire me, can be seen by clicking here:  theartofthehome.com.

If you have comments, do leave them below, or feel free to email me with creative questions at dawnmariedelara@gmail.com.  If I know any answers, I'm happy to share them.

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