Fresh Herbs

A fresh and fun recipe catalog by a girl who likes to play in the kitchen the "from scratch" way.

|MAMARITAS!| 07/09/2012

Filed under: Cocktails,fruit — |FreshHerbs| @ 5:54 pm

Ok, so it’s summer…and I’m preggo. That means no Blue Moons and no frozen margaritas. {sad face} …but that doesn’t mean I can’t liven up my beverages, I just need to make them without alcohol. Honestly, after trying this mamarita, I didn’t really miss the tequila (and tequila is my FAVORITE!). I did add extra lime to give it a kick and served it in a margarita glass (so it felt real). Even if you’re not preggo it’s a great way to use up a leftover watermelon from those summer picnics.

Meg’s Frozen Watermelon Mamarita
serves about 4-5 depending on serving size

1/2 to 2/3 of a watermelon quarter – cubed and frozen!! (if you’re not using a frozen watermelon you’ll need to add ice)
1 12 oz can of lime aid concentrate (frozen)
8 oz cranberry juice
4 oz orange juice

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend. You may need to add the watermelon cubes in stages. This will make a full blender carafe so cut recipe in half is you only want 2 servings or if you have a small blender. The amount of watermelon is just a personal choice and helps with the consistency by eliminating the need to ice cubes which will water down the finished beverage.

FOR A SINGLE SERVING: Add 1/4 of a cubed, frozen watermelon quarter; 5 oz cranberry juice, 2 oz orange juice, juice of 1/2 fresh squeezed lime. Blend and enjoy!

 

|SMOOTHIE…FOR LIFE| 01/08/2012

Filed under: Breakfast,fruit,Smoothie — |FreshHerbs| @ 2:01 pm

Santa brought me a new “cook”book…Smoothies for Life! (ok, well actually it was my Brother and SIL). I say “cook” because there’s nothing you actually have to cook, but it’ll give your blender some great exercise. I love how the book is organized into recipes that support specific physical and emotional needs…like stress reduction, weight loss support, balance, energy, healing, etc. It also gives some great tips and tricks for creating your own smoothie combos and details the plethora of ingredients that are available to make your smoothie healthier and more nutritious. And while I don’t really to the new year’s resolution thing, it’s always a good idea to use the dawn of a new year to renew my commitment to trying to eat well and take care of myself. A smoothie is a great way to cover some nutritional ground and enjoy the process. I’m sold.

I’ve just started to work my way through the recipes, and I’ve already gone “off script.” Using some of the tips and a few other recipes in the book I came up with this delicious breakfast smoothie using what I had in my pantry. Its got unsweetened cocoa (for caffeine and antioxidants), wheat germ (for folic acid, fiber, and Vitamin E), flaxseed (for omega-3 and fiber), and stevia (for a little sweetness). Certainly not rocket science, but so easy that this one really should have already been in my breakfast recipe arsenal.

And speaking of having things in your arsenal…Hubs and I go through a lot of soy milk and I typically buy it cold in 3-packs so there’s always some in the fridge. But I’ve definitely been caught a few times fresh out of soy with a naked bowl of cereal (and sad hubs). Here’s a tip I learned from the authors of this fantastic book (that’s another no-brainer): Buy a box of rice, soy, or almond milk in aseptic packaging that’ll be stable unrefrigerated in your pantry. Duh! There’s something about keeping a box of milk in my pantry that doesn’t really sit well with me, but in a pinch it’s better than nothing and it’s certainly better than having to drive to the grocery store when you’ve just gotten out of bed! It’ll keep for up to a year unopened…and while we’re on the subject of pantry milk, I’ll make a note to extol the virtues of dry milk in an upcoming post. I’m learning to really love that stuff for baking and homemade cocoa mix.

A delicious, and healthy, way to start your day!

Chocolate Nanner Smoothie
Inspired by Smoothies for Life

Serves: 1 (can easily be doubled or tripled if your blender is big enough)

2 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 Tb wheat germ
1/2 Tb ground flax
1 packet stevia (.035 oz or 1g)
9-10 oz plain soy milk
1 frozen banana

I freeze my nanner in their skins, so in order to peel, I defrost in the microwave (on defrost setting) about a minute. Just enough to make the banana peelable without warming it. So, pop your nanner in the micro while you assemble the rest of your ingredients. If you haven’t frozen your banana, don’t let that stop you…just throw some ice cubes in the blender.

Start with your powered ingredients (cocoa, wheat germ, flax, and stevia) at the bottom of the blender pitcher so that they don’t splatter everywhere when you turn your blender on. To that, add your soy milk (rice or almond milk would work too if you don’t do soy). If your blender has a “stir” function, give it a quick pulse to get your powders incorporated into the liquid.

Peel your nanner and break it into about 1 in pieces as you add it to the liquid. Give it a good blend so that the nanner gets pulverized (chunky smoothies are gross).

Pour it into a glass (or to-go cup), grab a straw, and start your day!

[Cook often and eat well!]

 

|MOUTH-WATERING MELON| 08/31/2011

Filed under: Cocktails,fruit — |FreshHerbs| @ 8:10 pm

I can’t even begin to describe how delicious and refreshing this was {licking my lips}! Mom had sent a huge watermelon because my Lily Belle loves watermelon…but when she left, I was left with half a melon…so what’s a girl to do but make…

Watermelon Margaritas

watermelon margaritas

Delightful frozen watermelon margaritas.

2 oz Tequila (I used silver)
2 oz Triple Sec (or other orange liqueur)
4 oz cranberry juice
1 fresh lime (about 3 Tb)
blender full of frozen cubes of watermelon

The ratios are to taste and strength, but I found this essentially 1:1 alcohol/non-alcohol mix to be just right. Make sure you throw your watermelon in well in advance so it’s nice and frozen, otherwise you’ll need to add ice cubes which I find just waters down the beverage (lots of recipes actually call for ice cubes, but you really don’t need them if you watermelon is nice and frozen). If the blend is too thick, just add splashes of cranberry juice until the mixture loosens up.

I stored the leftovers in the freezer and just thawed a bit before serving the next day…just as delicious!

(See Laura…I told you that there’d be cocktail recipes on this blog!)

 

|MANGO TANGO| 07/04/2011

Filed under: Apps,CILANTRO,CORIANDER,fruit,Savory,Sweet — |FreshHerbs| @ 5:40 pm

Ah… mangoes on sale at the market. They’re packed with vitamin C and fiber, and a welcome departure from the norm. Oh yeah, and paired with cilantro? Mango-riffic!

Cilantro is, hands down, my favorite |Fresh Herb|. It smells great and tastes, well, I don’t know. The words that keep popping into my mind are fresh, bright, cool. Hubs and I enjoy good Mexican cuisine and I tend to gravitate toward anything with cilantro in it. Salsa verde? I’m in. “Fresh cilantro on that miss?” Do you even have to ask? Pile it on!

In fact, cilantro is typically a staple ingredient in Mexican, Asian, and Caribbean cooking (it grows wild in South East Europe…can you imagine!?). It is actually the leaves and stems of the coriander plant. Now coriander is an herb that I don’t typically cook with and frankly know virtually nothing about (except that I can thank it for cilantro). So, here and now I will promise to bring you something featuring coriander at some point in the future.

But now, back to mangoes. I love fresh salsa and make all kinds.  Salsa is my favorite recipe for nice, ripe mangoes. It goes great with chips and as a topping for broiled salmon. Is your mouth watering? No? Then re-read this post.

Meg’s Mango Salsa

2 ripe mangoes, medium dice
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 jalepeño, finely diced
1 lime, juiced
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 splash of EVOO
pinch sea salt
a few shakes of fresh pepper

Mix all of this in a bowl and start eating!

Do you know the mango prep trick? It’s called hedgehogging [really]. I realize now that I should have taken a picture of this process {mental note}. But, dear reader, I’m not going to leave you hanging. I’ve gone and found a video for you!

Helpful Tool: I find that a mango corer is an insanely handy tool for prepping a mango. You won’t use it for anything else, but it takes up virtually no room so it is well worth having for just such an occasion [particularly if you plan to make mango salsa a lot, which you should]. Thanks to Laura for giving that to me many moons ago. The stone (seed/core) runs lengthwise and is rather flat. The corer gets around the stone without the waste you’d have if you just used a knife. But do what makes you happy.