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Carrot Cake Smoothie

19 May

It’s no secret that a great deal if us have what we lovingly refer to as a sweet tooth. We crave sugar, which is a carbohydrate that our bodies convert into energy. The most beneficial forms of sugar to consume are unrefined sugars that occur naturally, such as in fruits, sweet vegetables, and liquid sweeteners such as raw maple syrup.

Cake happens to be one of my favorite desserts. With its sweet flavor and moist, soft texture, I find myself craving it…and often. When I want cake but not the guilt, I typically choose something like carrot cake; this way I am getting a serving of vegetables. One medium-size carrot contains approximately 2.9g sugar, which is a little over 1/2 teaspoon (source). With their low glycemic index, carrots are excellent for those who are watching their blood sugar levels. For more information on the health benefits of carrots, check out my Whole Wheat Carrot Zucchini Muffins post.

Below is a recipe for a healthier carrot cake in smoothie form. Made with pecans for a hearty texture and sweetened with maple syrup, this smoothie can be enjoyed any time of day, especially as an after-dinner treat. Enjoy!

Carrot Cake Smoothie

Carrot Cake Smoothie
Yields approximately 2 servings

1-1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup, or to taste
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) bag carrots, peeled and sliced with ends discarded
2/3 cup whole pecans
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender* and puree until smooth.

*If you do not own a high-speed blender (i.e. Blendtec or Vitamix), first process carrots and pecans in the bowl of a food processor until finely chopped. Pour mixture into a blender and add remaining ingredients, pureeing until smooth. Add extra almond milk for a more liquid consistency.


Good Morning Pineapple Smoothie

18 Jan

Nothing says “good morning” like a fresh smoothie to kick-start your day. Many of us are not big breakfast people, so why not enjoy a drink rather than trying to prepare and consume an entire meal? This will help you get the nutrients needed to get going in the morning, in addition to filling you up.

One of the best nutrients to consume in the morning is protein. One serving of this healthy and satisfying morning smoothie provides over 18 grams protein, which is about 1/3 of the recommended daily value (source). Also featured in this smoothie is a healthy amount of fiber and potassium. Enjoy!

Good Morning Pineapple Smoothie
Yields 1-2 servings

1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/4 fresh pineapple, skinned and cored, and cut into chunks
1 banana, peeled
1/2 cup quick-cooking or rolled oats
2-3 tablespoons unsweetened protein powder (i.e. pea protein)

Place ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, approximately 1-2 minutes.

Cashew and Pumpkin Spice Horchata

29 Oct

To me, Horchata is like liquid heaven. This sweet beverage is traditionally made with ground almonds, barley, rice, sesame seeds or tigernuts, and is popular in Latin America, Spain, and increasingly, the United States. Depending on the country of origin, horchata is prepared with different ingredients: some add milk, spices or vanilla while others don’t (source).

This fall-inspired version is not only made with cashews, it is enhanced with pumpkin and various spices.

Cashew and Pumpkin Spice Horchata

Cashew Pumpkin Spice Horchata
Yields approximately 5 cups

1-1/2 cups dry-roasted, unsalted cashew pieces
5 cups filtered water
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup agave nectar
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Place cashew pieces and water in a blender and puree for 2 minutes. Set aside and allow to soak for 8-10 hours.

After soaking, blend mixture a second time for 2 minutes.

Using a fine mesh strainer or nut milk bag, strain mixture into a large bowl, discarding any solid pieces.

Stir in remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Serve over ice.

Mint-Infused Watermelon Fizzer

27 Jul

Watermelon contains approximately 91% water by weight and is a very good source of Vitamins A and C, as well as a good source of Potassium (source). These vitamins and minerals assist with various ailments including anxiety, stress, and heart and kidney disorders, in addition to helping blood pressure and eye health, boosting immunity, preventing cell damage, helping promote healthy teeth and gums, and aiding metabolism and the nervous system (source).

Also having a higher concentration of lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable, watermelon can help fight heart disease and various types of cancer (source).

Whether you are relaxing at the beach, by the pool, or simply hanging out at home, this healthy and refreshing Mint-Infused Watermelon Fizzer is perfect for a hot summer day.

Mint-Infused Watermelon Fizzer

Mint-Infused Watermelon Fizzer
Yields 6-8 servings

1 cup water
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 (1-ounce) package fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
1 small seedless watermelon, approximately 6-7 inches in diameter
1 (1-liter) bottle club soda

Combine water and maple syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once mixture boils, turn off heat and add mint. Place in the refrigerator for 25-30 minutes, or until cool.

Meanwhile, slice watermelon and discard green rind. Cut red flesh of watermelon into pieces and place in a blender. Purée for approximately 60 seconds, yielding approximately 5 cups juice. Using a large mesh strainer, strain mixture over a large bowl, discarding any solid pieces.

Remove mint from cooled maple syrup mixture and discard. Combine maple syrup mixture and watermelon juice.

Fill 6-8 large glasses with ice. Split club soda and watermelon mixture evenly among each. Mix and serve.

Chunky Monkey Smoothie

3 Mar

Looking for a sweet and energizing start to your day? First and foremost, eat breakfast as it provides a boost of energy and gets your metabolism going. Secondly, there are many foods you can eat for energy, two of which are bananas and dark chocolate.

Raw bananas are a very good source of Vitamin B6, and a good source of Dietary Fiber, Manganese, Potassium and Vitamin C (source). There are three kinds of sugar in bananas, and both complex and simple carbohydrates, all of which are used as sources of energy (source).

Dark chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine as well as theobromine, a central nervous system stimulant (source).

For this quick and simple morning smoothie, the addition of cacao nibs provides little crunchy notes for a fun change in texture. A product of the chocolate industry, cacao nibs are created when cocoa beans are roasted and de-shelled, then broken into pieces (source).

Chunky Monkey Smoothie

Chunky Monkey Smoothie

1 ripe banana
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup vanilla almond milk (your choice of sweetened or unsweetened)
2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs

Combine the first three ingredients in a blender and process until smooth, approximately 15 seconds. Add cacao nibs and blend another 5 seconds, so as not to crush all of the nibs. Enjoy!

Holiday Chocolate Peppermint Martini

16 Dec

As we wrap up our holiday shopping (pun intended) and finalize our travel plans this holiday season, many of us can’t help but to think of what delicious food and drink we will be enjoying before the New Year. One particular ingredient that comes to mind when I think of the holidays is peppermint. This cool and refreshing herb is the star of many beverages and desserts during this time.

Fresh peppermint is a very good source of Calcium, Copper, Dietary Fiber, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Riboflavin, and Vitamins A and C. It is also a good source of Niacin, Phosphorus and Zinc (source). In addition, peppermint boasts various health benefits. Check them out in a previous post, here.

This easy and festive martini features chocolate and peppermint to satisfy your sweet tooth, with a candy cane dusted rim. Should you prefer, a virgin beverage can be made by either adding ½ to 1 teaspoon candy cane dust or ¼ to ½ teaspoon peppermint extract (depending on how flavorful you want your drink). Add an extra shot of almond milk in place of the peppermint schnapps.

Happy Holidays, my friends!

Chocolate Peppermint Martini

Holiday Chocolate Peppermint Martini

1 regular-size peppermint candy cane
2-1/2 shots regular unsweetened almond milk*
1/2 shot peppermint schnapps
1 tablespoon non-dairy chocolate syrup
1 ice cube

Chocolate Peppermint MartiniUsing a food processor or mortar and pestle, process/crush candy cane until it reaches a consistency similar to that of dust. Dip rim of martini glass into water and then dip into candy cane dust; set aside.

Combine almond milk, peppermint schnapps, chocolate syrup and ice cube in a martini shaker. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds and pour into martini glass. If desired, garnish with non-dairy whipped cream and a sprinkle of candy cane dust.

*Should you prefer an even creamier beverage, you can easily substitute your choice of non-dairy creamer in place of the almond milk.

Spiced Apple Orange Cider

15 Oct

Now that the weather is getting cooler and apple-picking season is upon us, I can’t think of a better time to enjoy some warm, festive beverages such as cider. Having originated in Western Asia, apples are a part of the rose family, and have over 7,500 known varieties (source). Apples boast various health benefits including but not limited to: lowered risk of asthma and lung cancer, reduction of cholesterol, lowered risk of heart issues and blood sugar regulation (source). Raw apples are a good source of Dietary Fiber and Vitamin C (source).

More appropriately referred to as “mulled cider” due to the addition of various spices, this apple cider recipe includes fresh oranges for added flavor.

Spiced Apple Orange Cider

Spiced Apple Orange Cider
Yields approximately 2 pints or 1 quart

2 whole oranges
8-10 medium red apples, quartered with seeds/stems discarded
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 whole cloves
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
8-10 cups water

Peel oranges and divide into pieces. Add both peel and slices to large pot along with apples.

In a quadruple layered piece of cheesecloth, place cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. Gather ends and tie with kitchen string. Place in pot.

Add sugars and water to pot and bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil for 1 hour, or until cider has boiled down.

Remove cider from heat and strain into a large bowl. Strain a second time with fine mesh strainer to remove any smaller remaining solids.

Allow to cool slightly before consuming.

Shamrock Shake

16 Mar

St. Patrick’s Day is named after Saint Patrick, a patron saint of Ireland. Now a celebration of the Irish culture in general, blue was originally the color of choice until green was adopted later on (source). In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’ve created a vegan version of the popular fast food dessert, the Shamrock Shake. Peppermint, a hybrid mint, is a cross between wintermint and spearmint (source). It has multiple health benefits, some of which include soothing an upset stomach, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and tumors, and most commonly, alleviating breathing problems associated with asthma and allergy-related colds (source).

Seamlessly combining the refreshing taste of peppermint and rich flavor of vanilla, this Shamrock Shake is the perfect accompaniment to your Irish-inspired meal. May the Luck O’ The Irish be with you!

Vegan Shamrock Shake

Shamrock Shake
Yields 2-3 servings

1 quart vegan vanilla ice cream (I use So Delicious)
1-1/3 cups regular unsweetened almond milk
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
8 drops green food color (optional)

Combine ice cream and almond milk in blender and puree until smooth. Add extract and food color, blending until incorporated.

An Update and Juice Detox

5 Dec

Hello friends,

First of all I would like to apologize for not posting as often. With the holidays here and me being on a juice detox for the past week, it has been difficult to have the ability/time to post new recipes and tips. Please know, however, that you are on my mind often and after the holidays I will try to keep on top of things!

I recently watched a documentary called Fat Sick & Nearly Dead and it motivated me to do a juice detox*. While I’m not doing a 60-day detox as was done in the documentary, I am currently on day 5 of a 5-7 day detox. I’ve been asked by friends and colleagues, “How do you do that?” Well, I consume nothing but juice from fruits and vegetables, and water for a few days. In the process, my body gets rid of toxins that it has been harboring (hence the 2nd and 3rd days giving me headaches and a grumpy stomach) and I feel better in the process. While days 2 and 3 were difficult, day 1 was easy and days 4 and 5 have been even better. I’ve found that I have more energy and I feel great. I haven’t yet decided how long I want to do it for as I’m running out of produce. Though I must say, I’ve been feeling pretty darn good!

It is said that most nutrients in fruits and vegetables are in their juice, which just so happens to be much easier to digest than solid food. So when juicing, it is important to drink a variety of produce. Below is a recipe my sister and I created that we love. I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

Strawberry Melon Juice
Yields approximately 4-5 cups

1/2 medium-size cantaloupe (about 6 inches in diameter)
1/4 medium-size watermelon (about 12 inches long)
1 (16-ounce) package strawberries

Prepare the fruit by scooping out the cantaloupe seeds and discarding. Next, cut away the rind from both the cantaloupe and watermelon and discard. Rinse strawberries and discard their green, leafy tops. Place each fruit individually into your juicer and process.

Have you ever done a juice detox? What did you think?

*Should you decide to do a juice detox, I highly recommend thoroughly researching it and possibly even consulting a health professional. It is vital that you obtain a variety of nutrients in order to remain healthy.

Pumpkin Spice Martini

15 Oct

October marks pumpkin season. It is the season where we prepare for our fall festivities, loading up on pumpkin with plans to carve them, roast their seeds and make pie. Providing dietary fiber, iron, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K (source), pumpkins are not only delicious but nutritious. Pumpkins are an awesome source of beta-carotene and may help prevent certain forms of cancer as well as heart disease (source).

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of pumpkin pie. I’m also a fan of martinis, so why not combine the two? The recipe below provides creamy, sweet, pumpkin spice goodness, perfect for any Fall gathering. Enjoy!

Creamy Pumpkin Spice Martini

Pumpkin Spice Martini
Yields 1 martini

2-3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
2 shots vanilla soy creamer (or 6 tablespoons)
1 shot regular vodka (or 3 tablespoons)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 ice cube
ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients except for the nutmeg in a martini shaker. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds, then pour into a martini glass and sprinkle with nutmeg.

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