Archive for March, 2012

The Perfect Smoothie

Every year in March I take a good look at what I’ve been hiding under winter clothing and realize it’s time to get things back in order for the hot weather. For me, that means a lot of fruits and vegetables, and smoothies once or twice a day. For this blog, it means fewer recipes. There are a lot of salads and sautéed veggies happening in my house right now for me, and a lot of pasta and grilled chicken dinners. Not so interesting. It helps that I freeze pureed veggies in 2T portions to add to sauces and smoothies, etc. Last week I added spinach and cauliflower to turkey meatballs and it was a great way to lighten them up. Having it on hand means I am more likely to get creative and bring them into recipes.

But I do think the smoothie is interesting. I’ve played around with this smoothie over the years and like to think I have it down to a fruit and veg art.

Make it, drink it, let me know what you think! And if you are gluten-free (as is this recipe), the next post or two should be up your alley–Passover is coming and wheat is going out the door.

Julie’s Perfect (Vegan) Smoothie


1C almond milk

1 scoop Amazing Meal Amazing Grass Chocolate Organic Chocolate Infusion

½ banana

1t almond butter

3-4 slices frozen peaches

5-6 chunks frozen mango (or strawberries)

2T pureed spinach  


Blend it all (I am partial to an immersion blender for smoothies), and add some ice if it needs it, or if you used fresh produce. The Amazing Grass tends to stick to the cup, so wash it out ASAP.


The Purim Surprise

This year, for the first time ever, we were prepared for Purim. And by we, I mean I. Each year I say I’ll make Hamentaschen or that we’ll deliver Purim baskets, but every year we instead eat someone else’s Hamnentaschen and forget about the baskets until it is too late. Why is this year different from all other years? The Purim Surprise.

This book, a gift from the PJ Library, is a favorite of The Spitfire and puts heavy emphasis on the gift baskets, AKA “Shalach Manot” (and variations thereof).  Last month she started saving her candies from doctor visits, birthday parties and her wonderful piano teacher, for the shalach manot gifts she planned to give her friends. With that kind of advanced planning, I needed to be a little more on the ball, too. So, I bought some pastel chocolate rocks and went on a hunt for the perfect Hamentaschen recipe. I tried a few that literally fell flat until I remembered that several  year ago the PJ library had sent our family Joan Nathan’s Children’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen, a wonderful family cookbook with specific instructions on cooking and baking with kids. We put a few of the cookies in the gift bags, and took the rest to the Energizer Bunny’s pre-K class.

These are so easy, and so delicious. Don’t wait for next Purim to make them. These can be adapted to be kosher, as below.

Joan Nathan’s Hamentaschen


For the dough:

2/3C (1+1/3 sticks) pareve margarine or butter

½ C sugar

1 egg

3T milk or water

½ t vanilla

2 ½ -3 C sifted all-purpose unbleached flour

Filling options:

Any kind of fruit preserves

Peanut butter

Chocolate chips


Chopped apples



You can do each step by hand, but I use the food processor to make the dough.

  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add egg and continue creaming until smooth.
  3. Add milk or water and vanilla and mix.
  4. Sift flour and mix with rest of dough until a ball of dough is formed.
  5. Divide into 2 cylinders about 3 inches in diameter. Wrap each cylinder in cling wrap and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  7. Using one cylinder at a time (keeping the rest in the fridge until needed) cut 1/8-inch slices and roll them out with a rolling pin.
  8. Place 1t filling in the center of each circle.
  9. Draw the edges up at 3 points to form a triangle around the filling and pinch together carefully.
  10. Place triangles on ungreased baking sheets (I used parchment paper—the filing tends to run) and bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  11. Cool on a rack.