Strawberry plum smoothie

The darker variety of plums have been especially sweet this year, and I’ve been eating them as fast as I can get my hands on them.  I found a dozen, in a clamshell container, at Costco this week, for an excellent price, and they were ripe when I bought them.  It made perfect sense to add one of them to my smoothie this morning, and it was delicious!

A few days ago, I bought an ice tray — the first one I had owned in years! — for the purpose of freezing cubes of curry paste and, sometimes, fresh fruit to add to my cups of water during the day.  I had some large strawberry halves in four ice cubes this morning when I went to the freezer to take out some ice for my smoothie, so I added these as well.

plumsmoothie2Here is the list of ingredients:

1 large, ripe purple plum, sectioned with pit removed
2 large strawberries
1/2 cup of butternut squash chunks (see this post.)
1/2 cup of frozen mango chunks
1 handful of bean sprouts (I used my mung sprouts that were fresh and ready to be harvested.)
1 tbsp of ground nut blend
unsweetened coconut milk as needed for blending

The best season for plums is nearing an end for this year, so I’ll have a few more of these before this scorching hot summer in Texas is over.  You can take that to the bank!

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A sweet veggie addition to smoothies

butternut2I stumbled upon a perfect raw veggie to add to my breakfast smoothies, the butternut squash.

This winter squash has a tough, thick skin, and a mild sweet taste.  I was in the peeling and chopping mode last night, so I decided to peel a butternut squash that I had bought a couple of weeks ago that had been taking up much-needed space on my counter top.  I thought I would use it, most likely, in a purée, later in the week.  After peeling it, I diced it, and put half of it in the fridge and half in the freezer to be used later.

This morning, when I was putting my smoothie together, I noticed I didn’t have any leafy greens or other veggies that hadn’t already been turned into my salad mix or jarred with garlic, onions, or spices to be incorporated into other dishes later in the week.  But, I DID have the chunks of butternut squash available.  What the heck, throw them in, and try it.

Here it is:

1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 cup butternut squash chunks (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 banana, broken or sliced into chunks
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or other non-diary type)

Put all ingredients into a blender, and then serve yourself about a 20 oz smoothie to get you off to a great start for the day!

Roasted mango and tomato stacks

Excited about my mangoes since getting my new peelers, I’ve been working on some main course uses that would not taste so much like a dessert.  This is a sweet dish, but it’s delightful, light, and perfect for hot days.  We are at 101 F today in Dallas.  Have mercy!

Roasted Mango and Tomato StackWe had this tonight for dinner, along with fresh sweet corn off the cob, romaine and arugula salad, with raw red cabbage slices, sliced avocado, and my new favorite homemade Fig Balsamic Salad Dressing.

Ingredients:

1 mango, peeled and halved (See video on how to do this, if you need help.)
1 large beef-steak tomato, divided into 4 slices
2 half-inch thick fresh pineapple rings, cored
10-12 fresh blueberries
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw cashews, rough chopped
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

In a blade coffee grinder, grind cashews, sunflower seeds, grated nutmeg and cinnamon together, set aside.  Cut mango halves so that the round side is flat enough to sit on the roasting rack as the base.  Assemble the ingredients in this order, bottom to top: mango half, one tomato slice, 1/4 of the seed and spice mix on each half, pineapple slice, tomato slice, the remaining seed and spice mix on each half, and 5 or 6 blueberries on each stack.  Set each stack carefully on the roasting rack and roast for 60-70 minutes in 375 degree oven.

Makes two large servings

Peeling a mango without stress

Wow!  An interesting discussion on Facebook yesterday — nothing about politics or religion — led to my discovering a great new kitchen tool and how to use it to peel and prepare one of my favorite tropical fruits, the mango.

peeloldThe old supermarket rack special

I’d like to say, first, that I never thought these were any good, but I used them anyway, until I got so frustrated that I’d pull out a paring knife and get the dang potatoes and carrots peeled.  Then, I’d have some remorse about all the wasted good stuff that was thrown out with the peels.  I’ve also learned to eat many of these fruits and veggies with the peels still intact, and that’s a healthy thing to do in most cases.

But, my handy-dandy supermarket potato peeler, shown to the right, during most of its life, spent some very dark, depressing, unsued days at the back of my gadget drawer, until last week.  “I know I’ve got one of these dang peelers somewhere,” I said, while I was trying to prepare my Zucchini and Mixed Vegetable Sauté for breakfast.  I finally found it and made it work out, but I swore then that I was going to go to the supermarket and get a new one.

A fruitful discussion on Facebook…say whuh?

So, a vegan friend of mine, a high school acquaintance, who now lives in Costa Rica, was on Facebook asking for some new salad dressing recipes that did not have added oils or tofu.  peeltrioThe dialogue went back and forth, and she shared a salad dressing that she makes, using mango, all the time.  I mentioned that I love mangoes but that I get so frustrated trying to peel them and prepare them.

I learned, it’s all in the peeler you use.  She recommended this trio set from Messermeister.  And, thanks to Sunday deliveries, Amazon had them on my doorstep Sunday morning when I went to work in the kitchen.  In preparation for this new challenge, I had bought some fresh mangoes at Trader Joe’s the morning before.

After looking at the blades on these new peelers I was quite confident they would work perfectly, and wow, did they ever!

peelmango

The mango challenge

I chose the red peeler with the serrated edge, removed the protective cap — sorta reminded me of removing the protective cap off my new safety razor blades — and made a quick test run to see how deep I needed the cut to be to remove just the outer skin.  Oh wow!  I expected nothing this simple!  And, a mango I could actually use when I was done with the peeling and cutting!  A whole new world opened up!

peelthin

I gathered my thoughts and recovered from the explosion of this latest epiphany and began to trim, oh so lightly, the mango skin from the rest of the fruit.  When I was finished, it felt like I should smoke a cigarette, but I don’t have any, and haven’t in many years!

peelwhole

I love these new peelers and will use them several times a week.  Thanks to social media and connecting with like-minded people, I get to learn so much about a developing passion I have, to eat healthy, clean, and for a very, very long time!