Category Archives: Drinks and Cocktails

Like a Ninja! : Homemade Cashew Butter, and a Smoothie to try out my new Ninja Kitchen System!

Please note, I am in no way affiliated with Ninja, or any of the brands mentioned in my blog posts. I also do not get any money from you going and buying their products. I’m just sharing my own personal experience.

How have I gone this long without a blender/food processor? I have no idea. I’ve been using a hand blender for select things up until now, all while looking enviously at high powered Über blenders like the Vitamix, while sobbing at the price tag, and waiting for the day that I could bring one home. Then yesterday my parents decide to get me the Ninja Ultra Kitchen System 1200 for a gift, to congratulate me on another successful challenge completed, and for all my healthy efforts and success. Best – Parents – Ever! It’s not a Vitamix, but it’s seriously an awesome and waaaaay more affordable option. I couldn’t wait to try it out! It comes with a 72 oz Blender, a 64 oz Food Processor/Dough Mixer cup, and 3 single serve containers. My brain was racing with possibilities all the way home. Here’s a link to the Ultra Kitchen System on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Ninja-Ultra-Kitchen-System-1200/dp/B00FROKCI4

If you are a member at Costco, it’s also available there for considerably cheaper.

http://www.costco.com/Ninja%C2%AE-Ultra-Kitchen-System%E2%84%A2-.product.100056570.html

The first thing I wanted to try, was making my own nut butter. In my house we LOVE Artisana’s Cashew Butter, but it’s definitely a luxury at $15-$19 a jar. We picked up some Raw Cashews at Trader Joe’s and decided to start with that! Then, being that I’ve never made nut butter from scratch, I did some research on the inter-webs.

In the end, I soaked the cashews for 3-4 hours, drained the water, and put them in the processor still a little wet. I didn’t dehydrate them or roast them first like some of the blogs. I also decided not to add any extra oil. The only ingredient I added was a little sea salt at the end. It wasn’t as sweet and creamy as Artisana, but I think it was pretty awesome for a first attempt! It definitely has a creamy smooth texture, and a nice flavor. I think it came out lovely, especially considering how EASY it was.

Raw Cashew Butter

  • 2 cups Trader Joe’s raw cashews (Soaked)
  • A few shakes of sea salt

The first link I listed outlines the process pretty well. You really just have to keep processing until it gets creamy. It takes longer than you might expect, and it definitely goes through different stages. It’s the same process for making nut meal and nut flour, but you leave it in longer to get nut butter.

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This morning, I decided to try the single serve containers, and make smoothies.The containers are built well, and have a clear “Max Fill” line. The top with the blade screws on securely, and when you’re done, they also have tops with a hole to drink out of, so you don’t even have to take it out of the container. They are also super easy to clean.

Nutty Cocoa Berry Smoothie:

  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cashew butter
  • 1 pitted medjool date
  • 3-4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries (approx.)
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries (approx.)

I put everything into the containers, starting with the coconut milk.

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Then I hit the “Single Serve” button until everything was blended.

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That’s it, super easy! I am so psyched to try more things in this. It’s a really solid machine and performs wonderfully.  It’s new, so time will tell how long it lasts, and how it handles in the long run, but I definitely am prepared to keep testing it!

While I was making the smoothies, I also got the rest of breakfast ready. I cooked some Portabella Mushrooms on the griddle, and topped them with heated Applegate Herb Turkey, Applegate Roast Beef, and Two Eggs. YUM! (Note, I know the Applegate roast beef is compliant for the WLC, but the Herb Turkey has Carageenan so it is NOT compliant)

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Paleo Peppermint Mocha

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It’s getting cold out, and as much as I like to curl up with a cup of tea, or a black coffee, sometimes I miss the indulgent feeling of a cafe drink. You know mochafrappachinolatte type things. Well anyway, this one is relatively unsweetened, so with the exception of it not being WLC compliant (Alcohol in the peppermint extract), I don’t think it’s really a “cheat” or unhealthy. It’s super duper comforting though, and should prove to be a great addition to holiday cheer! If you do want to make it more indulgent, some peppermint schnapps or brandy would probably go nicely….

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk
  • 4-5 Tablespoons Organic Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • Coffee
  • 1/4 teaspoon (a couple of drops) Peppermint Extract
  • up to 1 teaspoon Coconut Butter (Optional)

In a saucepan, heat the light coconut milk. If you don’t have light coconut milk, you can use regular coconut milk, which is probably thicker. When it heats up, use a hand mixer to mix in 3-5 tablespoons of organic unsweetened cocoa powder until totally combined. Then add a couple of drops of peppermint extract and mix that in as well. USE PEPPERMINT EXTRACT SPARINGLY! I also mixed in 1/2 a teaspoon of coconut butter, just to sweeten it ever so slightly. Pour it into a mug, until it’s 3/4 of the way full, and then fill the rest with coffee.


I’ve Been Absent – Have a Cocktail!

So I’ve been crazy busy, and trying to balance and juggle more things into my life (like getting back to practicing guitar and writing music consistently). I’ve been cooking really simple during the past week or so, or going back to old recipes, so unfortunately I’ve neglected you hungry healthy foodies out there. For this I apologize. I also just didn’t have the time to go through and upload the photos, as I was dealing with house maintenance and a lot of cleaning. Tomorrow, I should be putting up TWO recipes to try to make up for lost time and ask for the internet’s forgiveness.

To take the edge off your frustrations, here is a nice, simple, cocktail I made the other night. It has a nice savory note, and free of gluten and added sugars, so if you are allowing yourself an occasional drink this summer – give this one a try.

Lemon Berry Sage Fizzy

Lemon Berry Sage Fizzy

  • 1/2 cup Frozen blueberries
  • 3  Sage leaves (ripped or chopped)
  • 1/8 cup Lemon juice
  • 2 oz Bacardi
  • Fill rest with Seltzer

And if your hungry in the meantime, I’m going to link you back in time to a recipe I made the other night, to feed some hungry boy’s who were over during the week. My boyfriend’s brothers were vistiting (13 and 16 years old), and if there’s anything I’ve learned over the years being around boys, it’s that they can EAT. I picked up some chicken breasts from Raleigh’s Poultry Farm in Kings Park. The chicken is super fresh, free range, organic, and delicious. I’m really loving supporting local as much as I can, and the difference in quality, to me, is just instantly noticeable. The only difference this time, was omitting the olive oil in the marinade.

Click The Image to Go To The Chili Lime Chicken Recipe

Click The Image to Go To The Chili Lime Chicken Recipe

I served it with one of my favorite easy sides for the summer – Grilled Zucchini. Just slice zucchini lengthwise, and in a ziplock with a little duck fat, salt, pepper, and oregano. Then throw them on the George Foreman or grill until cooked through. After I took them off the grill, I drizzled them with some sesame oil and roasted sesame seeds. You could use olive oil as well, but the important thing is to drizzle it on AFTER you cook them.


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