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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Mango Lassis, Twirling Puppets and Bollywood Dancing {an Indian-inspired playdate}

Lassis are a popular yogurt-based drink enjoyed throughout India. In the US we are probably most familiar with the sweet mango version but there are all kinds of lassis, both sweet and savory,  flavored with everything from fruit, rosewater, honey, mint, ginger, cardamom, saffron, cumin, tumeric, salt and even butter!

We made mango lassis with our campers at our cooking around the world summer camp a few months ago and it was a mega hit. Even the pickiest kids were all smiles and the room was filled with lots of happy slurping. My kids are crazy about them too, so when we go through our periodic smoothie obsessions, this is always a favorite at our house. Since making  lassis is easy easy easy, it’s a fantastic beginning cooking project that kids can learn to do themselves from start to finish. With this project they get to practice reading a recipe, measuring, tasting/seasoning and safely operating a blender.

Combine lassi-making with an India-inspired craft, turn on some Bollywood tunes and you have all you need for a totally rockin’ playdate.

Mango Lassi
(makes 2 8oz servings)

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup mango pulp (available at Indian grocery stores) or substitute pureed fresh or frozen mango
  • pinch salt
  • pinch ground cardamom
  • 4 teaspoons of sugar or adjust to your taste (if using sweetened mango pulp, omit sugar)

[variation: substitute ground ginger for cardamom, garnish with mint or ground pistachios]

  1. Combine all ingredients except sugar in blender and pulse to mix well.
  2. Taste and add sugar a teaspoon at a time, blending with each addition until you reach your preferred sweetness.
  3. If lassi is too thick add additional milk or water to thin.

Twirling Indian Puppet Craft (adapted from Kids’ Multicultural Art Book: Art and Craft Experiences from Around the World” by Alexanra Terzian)

India is said to be the birth place of puppets. Here’s a simple twirling, paper version that will delight kids and adults alike. Older kids will be able to cut out the puppets, work with the glue dots and attach the arms and legs. Younger kids can just focus on decorating with their favorite art materials. Supplies needed for each puppet:

  • 1 piece of cardstock weight paper
  • 4 brads
  • 1 plastic drinking straw
  • hole punch
  • glue dots (you can use tape or glue, but glue dots are recommended because they are strong and don’t require drying time)
  • markers, glitter glue or paint
  1. Copy the puppet pattern onto the cardstock.
  2. Cut out the puppet body (1 piece, folded), arms (2 pieces) and legs (2 pieces). Fold at the fold line along the top of the puppet’s head. Punch holes where indicated on the pattern.
  3. Open the body piece and place 2 glue dots along the center line, place the drinking straw on top of the glue dots and fold the body piece closed again to secure the straw in place.
  4. One at a time, insert each arm and leg in between the front and back body pieces, lining up the holes and attach using a brad. The arms and legs should rotate freely.
  5. Decorate your puppet.

Bollywood Dance Party – Crank up some tunes and try some Bollywood moves.

Bollywood Dance Party Playlist:

Simran’s Mango Coconut Pancakes

I had to try the mango coconut pancake recipe that Simran posted a few weeks back. What better motivation to host an impromptu pancake party over the weekend? They were a great change from the usual ones we usually make around here. These are moist and the mango really comes through. Sweet but not overly so. One of our guest pancake eaters said the flavor reminded him of a “lassi turned into a pancake” which should give you a good idea of the flavor. I think I’ll be using the leftover mango pulp to make some mango margaritas…  or maybe, just maybe, Simran will share her super yummy lassi recipe with me.

This recipe also gave us a good excuse to stop by Jai Ho, San Francisco’s newest Indian market (in the same mall as the Safeway on Webster Street). It was fun to browse around and the owner  Rakesh and his son gladly offer tips and advice to novices of indian cooking like Luca and me. Best yet, they have a blog where they have been posting weekly recipes.  I see some Aloo Gobi in my future.