Breakfast Makeover: Smoothie Collection

Everyone loves smoothies! They’re super quick to make when you keep basics on hand, and they’re wonderfully portable for when you’re in a rush to get out the door (we’re always in rush on school mornings). Lately we’ve been making a big batch for breakfast and refrigerating the leftovers for an after school snack. I’ve also started adding smoothies to the lunch box this year (cleaned up, recycled small Odwalla containers work perfectly). As school lunch periods get shorter and shorter (don’t get me started!), this seems to be something my kids can successfully eat (along with a few other tidbits) in the teensy amount of time allotted for lunch.

If you start searching around for smoothies on the internet you’ll find tons of info– recipes, special containers, little tips and tricks. So…. to the collective oeuvre of smoothies out there I add our list of favorites with an international twist.

Mango Lassi_India Playdate

Mango lassis are by far the most requested smoothies in my house. We all love the creamy, sweet mango flavor, but that pinch of cardamom is what makes it special. For kids who insist they don’t like spices — this is a good place to start. Here’s our previous post with the recipe.

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Food Find: Arizmendi’s Coconut Croissants

File this one under: “Genius Ideas”, “I love Coconut”, and “Another reason to love Arizmendi Bakery”

If you’re in the Sunset in SF, and somewhere in the vicinity of 9th Avenue and Irving Street — on a Friday (because they only make them on Friday) — get yourself on over to Arizmendi for one of these flakey, shatteringly crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, coconut-y, buttery, do-I-detect-a-hint-of-sourdough? croissants. ‘Nuff said!

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A Snack for Your Next Epic Adventure: Hero Milk (aka Banana-Cashew Smoothie)

Fresh out of monkey skulls, the islanders sip their hero milk from the shell of a rare species of coconut which has been dried for exactly 17 days. The elusive gold-finned pyramid fish lurks out in the distance.

Did you ever find yourself canoeing rough seas amongst a horde of hungry sharks in search of gold-finned pyramidfish? Then you’ll certainly need this recipe for “Hero Milk”. Sometimes it’s the backstory that makes the dish, but in this case it’s also a healthy and super delicious snack — even for days when you’re not climbing a volcano. [Find the whole story by Eric Wolfinger & Mac Barnett on the blog, “The Daily Monster“.]

By the way…. experts say “one skull-full fuels three days of heavy paddling”. Good to know.

Hero Milk

Blend the following:

  • 1 Frozen Banana (if you don’t have time to fell a banana tree and drag it up the snowy peak of a volcano, your freezer will do)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 Spoon Flaked Coconut
  • 2 Pitted Dates
  • 1 Spoon Honey
  • A Handful of Salted Cashews
  • A Thimbleful of Vanilla Extract

Islanders bring bananas up the snowy peaks of the volcano using funicular carts. Down below, they guard their lava rock mortar and pestle.

Mythili’s Edamame With Coconut, Cumin and Chili

I love recipes that get me thinking of flavor combinations I’ve never tried. Turns out coconut, cumin and ginger go great together. Edamame are so healthy and snack-licious that it’s always great to have new ways to prepare them. And I think these flavors would be very nice on, say, green beans, too. I see lots of opportunity to play with the flavors to suit your taste (and that of your young ones). If your kids are sensitive to bold flavors you could certainly go light on the cumin and omit the chili altogether. I know my husband would love this loaded up with chili.

Many, many thanks to Sapna and her mom Mythili for sharing some home-cooking love with this recipe. It’s quite special to cook a recipe direct from someone’s mom vs. out of a cookbook. As I was making these for my family, I got to thinking about the many different forms that comfort food can take. My most cherished childhood food memories include everything from fried rice, to jook, steamed fish, christmas toffee, and blackberry pie. I can’t wait to teach my son all these…. and maybe one day, once he’s through this frustratingly picky phase, he’ll actually love them as much as I do!

Mythili’s Edamame with Cumin & Coconut

Simran suggests trying this as a side dish to curry.

  • Shelled Edamame (1 cup)
  • Grated Coconut (About 2 TBL)
  • Jeera (Cumin Seeds, to taste)
  • 1 Minced Green Chili (optional)
  • Minced Onion (optional)
  • Small Piece of Grated Ginger
  • Squeeze of Lemon Juice

Method:

  1. Add 1 spoon of butter or olive oil to pan.
  2. Saute cumin seed (all I had was gound, seeds would be better!) and minced chili for one minute. Add minced onion and saute three minutes.
  3. Add edamame and saute five minutes.
  4. Add grated coconut and fry one minute before taking the pan off the heat.
  5. Off heat, season with salt to taste and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Coconut Rice

Shopping List: Thai Jasmine rice, unsweetened coconut milk, shallots, oil for frying the shallots

Coconut rice would be super tasty with Simran’s “Seafood Curry in a Hurry” and it couldn’t be simpler to make. Here’s the key: many recipes have you add the coconut milk as you begin cooking your rice, but trust me on this one….. stir it in during the last few minutes of cooking instead.

This method comes direct from She Simmers, one of my favorite food blogs. In her post “Coconut Rice with Chives: How To Make Fluffy Coconut Rice“, she advises adding the coconut milk (unsweetened, and not the “light” variety) 5 minutes before the rice is done. The ratio is 2 cups uncooked rice, 2 3/4 cups water, and 1 cup coconut milk. I use my trusty “chime-o-matic” rice cooker, but this technique would work for the stovetop as well. Her post is chock full of other interesting insights about coconut rice, so if you have a minute, check it out.

If your child is crazy about rice like mine, this is worth a try for a little change of pace. I think it’s especially yummy with a  sprinkle of crispy fried shallots.