Peach-Basil Smoothie

peachbasilsmoothie2I am back on the regime of eating many of my midday meals, solo. Sad for less Brad time, yay for a smaller waistline 🙂 He’s an absolute horrible influence in the food department! He works on his feet constantly, so he could eat a gallon of ice cream, and 2o Butterfingers in one sitting and never gain a pound. *annoying*

I love our local Juice-Smoothie place here in town. However, after much research of trying to prove how it could be healthy, I just couldn’t. Smoothie stops are so delicious and easy, but they are loaded with bad carbs, and empty calories hidden behind a handful of fruit. Juice concentrates, ice cream, chocolate syrup, and excessive amount of yogurt and peanut butter in a 24oz serving is NOT healthy. 24oz? Eekk, that’s a huge serving size.

Unfortunately you can only order the smoothies in 24oz, the got rid of the 12oz option for some reason, which means you’re stuck with (on average) nearly 400+ calories, and 70-90 carbs. They don’t even bother to list the sugar, but given the carb and calorie count you can assume it’s bad. The do mention the WeightWatcher count, and most of them are around the 10pt range, which is crazy high….for a lunch. That average doesn’t even include the drinks that have protein powder, ice cream, or yogurt in them. Yikes.

I feel like every girl is trying to lose that last 5-10lbs, always. Like all the time. If I could have been born naturally slender without trying, that would have been great. But since I wasn’t… I start with a high protein breakfast of eggs with no oil, just salt/pepper, and a homemade healthy smoothie for lunch. Cutting out starches is so hard, it’s my comfort, but I can cut them out easier during breakfast and lunch (the meals I eat alone) than at dinner.

Fruit is expensive, it sucks. Even when your favorites are in season, they’re still expensive. Why is being healthy so costly?? You can go to any fast-food drive thru and find a dollar menu. Wish there was such a thing for fresh, healthy fruits and veggies. I guess that’s what gardens are for, and since I live in Nebraska, that’s sooo convenient year-round. (not!). I don’t shop a lot, I don’t get massages, facials, or my hair dyed/beached/ frazzled, and I do my own nails 80% of the time. That entitles to me to a more expensive grocery carts right? 🙂

OK, here it is- a CHEAP, healthy, fruit smoothie. I bought a GIANT bag of peaches at large box store (like Sam’s or Costco) for $7. That’s a steal. Then I snagged the cheapest apple I could find, which happened to be Gala’s at $0.87 a lb. today, win. I was looking for one more thing to really make the perfect final touch to my drink. Aimlessly looking thru my kitchen for inspiration for the final ingredient to bring it all together, my eyes fell on my wonderful herb corner. Three clips later I was delicately slicing my fresh basil and mixing it in. Perfect.

If someone would have told me they made a Peach and Basil smoothie I probably would have turned up my nose, but glad I stepped out of my normal comfort zone a bit on this one. This smoothie has definitely made its way into my regular rotation after a great workout, cheers!

Peach Basil Smoothie

1 cup of vanilla almond milk

1 small Gala apple, de-seeded and chopped

1 handful (about a cup) of frozen peaches

1 tsp Peanut Butter

3 leaves of fresh Basil, thinly sliced and diced

1. In a blender, add all your ingredients, in the listed order until desired consistency is achieved.PeachBasilSmoothie1

Cinnamon Swirl Bread- *Bread Maker*

cinnamonswirl3So it’s 8:30pm, and Brad comes up with this wonderful idea to get out the Bread Maker (this is what I use) I haven’t used in probably….2 years?
Out of left field he says to me,
“Did your parents ever buy that loaf of bread that had swirls in the middle as a kid? Mine did, we used to make French Toast with it”
To which I reply, “Um no, why have I not thought of this before?!”
“Don’t you have  a Bread Maker? You should try that, it sounds really good for breakfast”

And that’s, how this escapade started-

Sometimes I love him a little extra. What a great idea! After some recipe searching (sometimes those Bread-maker ones can be tricky to find) I finally just took a little piece from this and that, tossed out some of these ingredients, added in some others, and three hours later… bread was made. Totally forgot these recipes need to rise twice (once in the Bread-maker, and once with a covered towel at room temp), how did I forget that? Must have been the sweet roll smell that was clouding my brain, too much drooling, less thinking!
I wish I could truly communicate what this bread is like. It’s like a cross between a beautiful and delicate croissant made love with the most perfect giant sweet cinnamon roll. As you slice thru the crust, perfectly browned and glistening with sugar, you see the moist, fluffy inside with the gift of that cinnamon and brown sugar swirl you rolled up hours earlier. I can’t wait for you to try these.

We absolutely dominated this loaf, and we didn’t feel obligated whatsoever to share…maybe next time 🙂 Our next idea is to demolish the first half for breakfast and to turn the rest of the loaf into french toast….best idea ever, right?!cinnamonswirl1

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Loaf
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup softened butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1 package of active dry yeast

Filling
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1. Beat egg and milk with a fork in a liquid measuring cup.
*If your egg is not room temperature, microwave your milk for 10-15 seconds until room temp and then mix with egg, this will bring the temp of the egg up.*

2. Fill the rest of the measuring cup up with water until you hit the 1 cup mark. Pour mixture into Bread Maker.
3. Add softened butter, sugar, salt, flour, and yeast.
4. Set machine to bread cycle and hit start, the cycle usually takes around an hour depending on your machine.

5. Once kneading cycle is complete, roll out your dough to 10″ x 12″ rectangle (rolling mat with measurements on it is what I use!)
6. Brush egg white on the dough surface, then brush  melted butter over the dough.
7. Sprinkle your mixed cinnamon-sugar combo over the dough leaving about an inch around the edges.
8. Starting from the short side, roll up the dough, pinch ends where the ends meet and tuck ends under.
9. Place in loaf pan (mine is 8.5″ x 4.5″) and cover with a cloth for an hour.
10. After an hour of rising, preheat oven to 350.
11. Brush the top of the risen loaf with the rest of the egg white, and sprinkle with 2 tsp of sugar.
12. Bake for 30 minutes, then allow to cool on a cooling rack.cinnamonswirl2

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

peanutbutteroatmealbarsThis last weekend we wrapped up our last family gathering for Thanksgiving.  A place where traditional corn and green bean sides are shunned and sugary, yummy treats are glorified, I knew this would be the perfect location to try a new recipe. I started my morning by flipping thru my own Pinterest for ideas (this is legal right?), watching clock aware that I had to be out of bed, eaten breakfast, showered, and have some to walk out the door with in just over an hour. Ya, better get in gear as I clearly hadn’t thought this situation thru the night before like a normal person.
As I lay counting the last few restful moments before needing to get up and dash, I came across a Pin from one of my favorite bloggers I have followed for years, The Girl Who Ate Everything. Be sure to check out her enticing photos, because these went so fast all I had time for was to snap a quick photo on my phone! Her

simply laid out recipe was exactly what I was looking for. Did I mention the 12 minute baking time and peanut butter were involved?? No brainer.

I have to say, these bars may have taken 25 minutes from start to finish, but given how quickly they went at our family function, and the 3 recipe requests I got out of it, I think this one will definitely be returning for another holiday soon regardless of how effortless they were to put together! The base of the bars are like a chewy cookie but with a perfect flaky crisp at the end, topped with a sweet peanut butter frosting that you’ll be dying to frost your next chocolate cake with. Here is your next party saver….go for it!

Here is my slight adapted recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
For the Bars:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tbsp water

Peanut Butter Frosting:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350. With a mixer cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars. Add the egg and mix well.
2. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, water, and oatmeal and mix until well combined. Press into a 9×13 baking dish sprayed lightly with cooking spray.Make sure you press the mixture as evenly as you can, be sure not to go to heavy on the sides…the mixture will NOT move from where you press it.
3. Bake for 10-12, or until the edges are golden brown, they will resemble brownies. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack for 15 minutes, or until cool.

4. Frosting: Combine the butter, peanut butter, and vanilla in your mixer, beat until fluffy.
5. Add the powdered sugar and add the milk 1 tbsp at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
6. Frost your bars then slice into 2″ squares.