Basic Green Smoothie Bowl

by Susan on August 23, 2017

I used to scoff at the notion of a smoothie bowl, as to be honest it’s simply an extra thick smoothie you eat with a spoon. I follow so many food accounts on Instagram and Facebook, however, and have to admit that a smoothie bowl is MUCH prettier to look at than its drinkable counterpart. This is particularly true with *my* kind of smoothie, which can best be described as swamp green in color.

If you have a favorite smoothie recipe and want to spoon rather than slurp it, simply add a little less liquid or up the ratio of frozen elements. I decided to share this one as it’s a really good basic green smoothie bowl that can be tweaked in many different ways. Added bonus that it’s dairy-free and has no added sugar.

The key to getting a creamy, scoopable consistency is to use both frozen banana and avocado. They not only add nutrition but a great texture. I use almond milk because it’s what I have on hand, but any unsweetened non-dairy milk will work.

The possibilities are endless for toppings. I personally like to add a little crunch, so usually opt for some seeds and/or cacao nibs or a little chopped dark chocolate. Berries add both color and sweetness, so when you have some on hand I say go for it! I have also seen a lot of other food bloggers who fancy things up with a nut butter drizzle or a little shredded coconut.

Basic Green Smoothie Bowl

1 frozen banana, in chunks or sliced
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 large peeled and pitted avocado
1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
toppings of choice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. The mixture should be thick enough to eat with a spoon. If it’s too runny you can add a little more banana. Top as desired and enjoy!

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Instant Pot “Baked” Potato Soup

by Susan on August 22, 2017

instant pot "baked" potato soup

My kids haven’t started school yet, so we’re desperately trying to cling to that fleeting summer feeling. In the meantime, however, I have to accept that it’s that time of year so have committed to trying out at least one new meal in my instant pot each week.

I’m going to have one in middle and one in high school this year, so I foresee many car rides and practices and running around. While my instant pot intimidated me at first, our entire family is now sold on how useful it can be to create easy but delicious meals. If you haven’t already picked one up, I can’t recommend it enough!

Baked potato soup is definitely a favorite dish here, and I’ve made it a ton of different ways in the past. To truly “bake” the potatoes obviously takes a long time; I made a shortcut version in the crock pot with frozen hash browns, but it just wasn’t the same. Instant pot for the win!

It only took me ten minutes to get tender potatoes, and they were easy to mash right in the pot (if you have a stick blender). Since this was my first attempt at making this dish, I stuck to basic ingredients such as butter and cheese. Using cream cheese and yogurt gave the soup an amazing creamy texture with a little bit of tang.

While the soup is naturally gluten-free, it would also be easy to create a dairy-free version. I’m a big fan of Daiya cream cheese and there are so many alternative yogurts on the market these days. I had already used dairy-free milk as that’s what I always have on hand, and the soup would be just as delicious with a dairy-free cheese (or none at all).

For me baked potato soup is naked without some crispy bacon and minced green onion for a garnish. I’m also a huge fan of sprinkling a few drops of tabasco on top. The toppings, however, are totally up to you.

This recipe yielded enough soup for our family of four to have a filling dinner (with two people having second helpings) with plenty leftover for lunch the next day.

Instant Pot “Baked” Potato Soup

5 lbs. of organic russet potatoes, peeled and diced
5 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
1 medium diced onion or two small peeled and diced shallots
salt, pepper & garlic powder
1/4 cup butter (or Earth Balance spread)
1/3 cup softened cream cheese (use Daiya for dairy-free)
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (or dairy-free alternative)
2 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese (or dairy-free)
1 cup unsweetened milk of choice

optional toppings:
crumbled, crispy nitrite-free bacon
minced green onions
hot sauce
chopped tomatoes

Place potatoes, broth and onion or shallot into instant pot. Season with a little salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cover, seal the steam release and set for 10 minutes on either “soup” setting or manual. Release steam.

Once the pot is cool enough to handle, mash potatoes using either a potato masher or stick blender. While mashing, begin add remaining ingredients. I found this particularly helpful while using a stick blender, as it mixed things up well and really helped achieve a creamy consistency.

Taste soup for seasoning. I added a little bit more salt and pepper. Serve garnished with toppings of choice.

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Pork Tacos with Spicy Plum Salsa

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Gluten-Free Tomato, Basil & Corn Pizza

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Foiled-Packed Sweet & Spicy Wings

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Grain-Free “PB&J” Mug Muffin

August 11, 2017

After two weeks on the Cape and then a quick overnight to Long Island wine country, I am getting settled and starting to accept the fact that summer vacation is coming to a close. I bought my son a new lunchbox, have finally taken my new instant pot out of the box and have begun […]

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Warm Bacon Potato Salad

July 19, 2017

True or false? Potato salad has to be cold. and smothered in mayonnaise. The fair answer, I must insist, is FALSE. I’m not a huge fan of mayo, nor do I love boiled potatoes. On the flip side, though, I adore roasted potatoes in any way, shape or form. Why not just dress them up […]

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Creole Shrimp & Creamed Corn

July 18, 2017

If you’re like my children and don’t eat shrimp, you might be inclined to skip over this one. Truth be told, I made it one a night that they weren’t home due to their fear of seafood. Before you click off the post, however, I have three words for you: homemade creamed corn. There’s pretty […]

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Dairy-Free Cherry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

July 14, 2017

When I first starting making this ice cream I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going to go with it. I knew I was going to make a dairy-free vanilla base, but didn’t know how I wanted to customize it. I found inspiration in the fresh bing cherries we stocked up on during our last […]

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