Tag Archives: beverage

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.

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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
ice

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.

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.

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