Raspberry Orange Smoothie

raspberry smoothieI was looking for a recipe to use up some raspberries in my freezer. I ran across this recipe which also used the one banana laying on my counter. Jeremiah and I decided it wasn’t too bad. No flavors were overwhelming and it’s a pretty healthy drinks.

Raspberry-Orange Immunity Smoothie by Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen
1 c. nonfat milk or soy milk
1 c. frozen raspberries
1 medium banana
1/3 c. of orange juice & one ice cube or 1 T. frozen orange juice concentrate

Blend together and serve.

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Gluten/Dairy Free Chex Mix

Since my college finals days, I’ve been a holiday baker. One of my signature dishes is Chex Mix. This year, I set out to make a dairy free/gluten free version so that Jeremiah’s oldest nephew could enjoy it.

The gluten free cereal part was easy since Rice Chex and Corn Chex are both Gluten Free. We also knew we could get a fake butter – Smart Balance is the brand his family uses. It’s pretty much just a mix of different oils.

The gluten free pretzels was the hardest ingredient to find. We ended up going to Sprouts to get a bag of Glutino – gluten free pretzels. I love Sprouts – they make buying foods for people with specific dietary needs easy. It’s where we picked up the fake butter. Plus, we were able to buy about 1 1/2 cups of peanuts from the bulk area for about $.70. This is way cheaper than the grocery store packaged bags. We couldn’t use mixed nut because Jeremiah has a pretty serious allergy to cashews.

Here’s hoping you and your Gluten Free/Dairy Free family & friends enjoy this recipe.

Gluten Free ChexGluten & Dairy Free Chex Mix by Amber Bourek
3 c. Rice Chex
3 c. Corn Chex
3 T. Smart Balance Non-dairy Butter
2 c. Glutino (Gluten Free) Pretzels
1 c. Peanuts
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder

Melt fake butter and stir in seasoning. Mix with dry ingredients. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour – stirring every 15 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used a the Chex seasoning packet. It is the same ingredients as the seasoning listed above.

Purple Resolution Smoothie

A few weeks ago, Jeremiah and I decided to make shrimp tacos. I found a recipe that included a slaw complete with red cabbage. Unfortunately we didn’t need very much of it so we went searching for recipes to make with the rest of it. I told Jeremiah that the Pioneer Woman had a smoothie recipe I’d tried before and it wasn’t bad. I’m not sure Jeremiah believed me. Red cabbage is really healthy and their aren’t a lot of recipes out there to make with it. We added it to Jeremiah’s green beans with bacon. It was ok but we didn’t like it as well as when he usually makes it with bacon, shallots, and garlic. So I made the smoothie for him. It’s super healthy and fills you up until lunch. Make it yourself and see what you think.

Berry smoothiePurple Resolution Smoothie by Pioneer Woman
2 c. Greek yogurt
2 c. mixed berries
2 c. blueberries
1/4 head red cabbage
1/4 c. honey
1 banana
1 c. cranberry juice

Blend together and serve. Makes four cups.

Nutritional Information (Based on a two cup serving): 524 calories, 2 g. fat, 5 mg. cholesterol, 163 mg. sodium, 988 mg. potassium, 106 g. carbs, 13 g. fiber, 83 g. sugar, 28 g. protein, 30% Vitamin A, 145% Vitamin C, 78% calcium, and 11% iron.

Notes: 

  • You could probably use regular yogurt but it will decrease the protein in this recipe.
  • You could probably use berry flavored yogurt and decrease berry content.
  • I used frozen berries and banana.
  • I used lite cranberry juice. The original recipe also suggest grape juice. 

Cheerios Treats

Not exactly the healthiest way to eat Cheerios but definitely a tasty treat.

Cheerio TreatsCheerios Treats from Pinterest
1 c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
5 c. Cheerios

Bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil over a medium heat. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla and peanut butter. Add Cheerios. Drop spoonfuls on waxed paper.

Notes:

  • I used reduced fat peanut butter.
  • I used Honey Nut Cheerios but Multi-Grain contain 3 g. less of sugar per serving.

Berry-Burst Yogurt

In September, I took a job as the Volunteer Services Manager at Harvesters – The Community Food Network. The position was the perfect match for me – volunteerism and food. Plus, as a donor and episodic volunteer I knew just how great an organization Harvesters was…or so I thought. I quickly learned that this organization was even better than I realized.

Harvesters is the Kansas City area’s only regional food bank. The difference between a food bank and a pantry is something most people don’t know. Each week, Harvesters processes enough food to feed 66,000 people in our 26 country service area. They work with a network of over 620 food pantries, kitchens, and shelters to get the food to where people live. From some of the rural counties we serve, this might even be a few hours from our Topeka facility. Harvesters operates like a business – quickly processing food orders placed online like Amazon might do. The high level accountability and relationship building with local businesses mean that 97% of the food and funds received go right back out to the people served by our community partners. I’ve worked for a lot of great nonprofits by nobody with that little of overhead expenses.

I, like so many of you may be, was shocked by just how many people are food insecure. One in six people in our country are hungry. That means, probably someone you know has or currently is struggling to eat. And for some reason, many people have this perception that if someone isn’t skinny or displaying a bloated stomach than they aren’t really hunger. In fact, major health issues like obesity and diabetes are often the result of food insecurity. When people are limited on funds, they purchase unhealthy, cheap foods that fill up their bellies. Since 1980, the cost of processed foods has decreased by 40% while the cost of healthy foods like fresh vegetables/fruits and lean meats has increase by 40%. Are you as surprised as I am by this? What is even sadder is that one in three kids born in the year 2000 will develop Type II Diabetes (the kind that is caused by what you eat and limited exercise).

One of the coolest things Harvesters does to help address these issues is that it provides nutrition education. We have a whole team of people who spend their days testing recipes and teaching nutrition classes. These dishes are selected for their healthy qualities, tantalizing taste, cost, and ease in preparation. I have to say, I haven’t tasted a recipe yet that I haven’t liked – and you know veggies aren’t my favorite. In addition to teaching classes for both children and adults, we also share these recipes at our Mobile Food Pantries. Each month, Harvesters distribute a ½ million pounds of fresh produce. Nutritious recipes help people utilize the healthy fruits and vegetables they receive.

Check out this Kids in the Kitchen recipe for a delicious breakfast/dessert favorite.

Berry-Burst YogurtBerry-Burst Yogurt with Granola by Harvesters Nutrition Services
1 c. uncooked oats (quick or old fashioned)
¼ c. honey
¼ c. canola oil
1 lemon, zested (2-3 T. juice, 1 T. zest)
1 (12 oz.) package frozen mixed berries (2 ½ c.)
2 bananas, ripe
¼ to ½ tsp. cinnamon
3 c. vanilla Greek yogurt

Combine oats, honey, and oil. Heat skillet to medium temp and add mixture. Stir frequently for 8-10 minutes until golden brown (but don’t burn). Immediately remove from skillet and cool on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet for 10 minutes. Then, break into clumps.

Zest lemon and add with cinnamon to yogurt. In a separate bowl, mash together bananas and berries. Dish up ¼ c. yogurt, ¼ c. fruit, and top with 1/8 c. granola.

Nutritional Information: (Serves 12) 178 calories, 6 g. protein, 27 g. carbs, 3 g. fiber, and 22mg sodium.

Notes:

  • Total cost is $8.31 or $.69 per serving
  • I made it with lemon juice and no zest.
  • I microwaved the berries for a few minutes to thaw. Leftover yogurts were refrigerated.
  • Greek yogurt is expensive so I used low fat vanilla yogurt. Greek yogurt is $1.15 per container. Each regular yogurt was $.40 per container. Just note it might change your nutritional information.

Zero Calorie Slushy

In the Weight Watchers world, fruit is zero points. This recipe with diet soda and fruit is considered 0 WW Points. It makes two serving so if you aren’t sharing, note the banana taste will be stronger after refrigerated. It made me think of my grandma because she always had Diet 7-UP in her house. You were always welcome to them but you had to drink a whole can or take it home with you.

Zero Point SlushyZero Calorie Slushy from Stiletto and Legos.com
1 c. banana (2 bananas)
1 c. strawberries
6 oz. Diet 7-UP
1 c. ice

Crush ice. Add fruit and 7-Up. Blend. Makes four cups – two serves.

Note: Strawberries are out of season I used frozen fruit. It worked just fine.

Chocolate Dump Cake

You may have started wondering if I was still writing this blog. The answer is yes but I’ve been busy. I recently started a new job – as a volunteer manager. It’s a crazy busy time of the year and I’m learning a new job so it’s been keeping me pretty busy. In addition to my new job, I am still working at the hotel. I also have some blogs I need to write for another nonprofit agency. Until my life settles into my “new normal”, this blog will have to hold you over for a little while til I have more time to bake than just throwing a frozen pizza in the oven. It’s times like this when I wonder how people juggle work, family, and still have the energy to do fun things.

I’m super excited to share this recipe with you because it is just four ingredients. It’s a super easy and very delicious dessert.

Chocolate Dump CakeChocolate Dump Cake from Pinterest
1 box of chocolate cake
1 box chocolate pudding
1 3/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Mix milk and pudding. Add box of cake mix and stir. Pour into 9 x 13 pan. Scatter with chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used sugar free pudding. I think you could also use a sugar free cake to make it healthier.
  • I used skim milk and it still turned out fluffy. I think I cooked it for 25 minutes to prevent it from burning.
  • I also cut the amount of chocolate chips to 3/4 c. and it still had a great chocolate flavor.

FrootLoops Bars

When I was a child, my Great Grandma Kingston used to always make Rice Krispies Treats for our birthday parties. My Great Grandma Reith would make homemade ice cream. I had party cool great grandmas, right?

I used to help my mom a lot in the kitchen. One treat that I always avoided helping with though was Rice Krispies bars. They were a hot gooey mess to stir and get to stick in the pan. As I got a little older, Kellogg’s started packaging and selling these treats in the grocery store. I tried making them once in college but I learned quickly it was easier to buy the pre-made ones. My rule is if someone can do it better than you for a cheap price, buy it. They are also great treats to ship to service men and women serving our country overseas.

A few weeks ago, I ran across this recipe in the Hy-Vee ad for Simple Cereal Bars. The ad featured FrootLoops, Frosted Flakes, and Apple Jacks bars. I decided if I wanted another treat flavor, I would have to give it a try. The directions suggested making it on the stovetop. My mother used to use the microwave so I thought this might be a bit easier. I selected my large oblong Rachael Ray pan. I also sprayed both the 13 x 9 pan and silicone spoon with non-stick spray. I really think both of these things helped. Recipe challenge accepted and achieved. Pick your favorite cereal and give it a try.

FrootLoops Cereal BarsFrootLoops Bars by Hy-Vee
1/4 c. of butter
6 c. mini-marshmallows
6 c. FrootLoops

Melt butter in a large saucepan on a low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and pour in cereal. Stir until completely melted. Press into greased 13 x 9 pan. This recipe serves 12.

Notes:

  • My mother likes to make them with Cheerios. I think Golden Grahams might also be good.
  • Look for coupons for your favorite cereal and buy them when they are on sale (about every 6-8 weeks). This recipe takes a whole bag of miniature marshmallows and almost a whole box of cereal. As you know, I’m a big believer in always having a variety of cereals on hand and I love to save $.
  • I put the cereal bars in the fridge to harden before cutting.

Orange Julius

My mother loves Orange Julius. You know, the orange fruit smoothie available in food courts everywhere as well as your local Dairy Queen.

One of my family’s favorite things to do is go shopping the day after Thanksgiving. For years, we have gotten up very early in the morning to catch the Black Friday sales and complete most of our holiday. As you know, many stores are now starting to open at Midnight to catch people before they go to bed.

This past year, we decided to swing by the mall in Norfolk on our way back to Columbus from dropping of my grandparents off at their home in Wayne. (For those of you not from northeast Nebraska, these towns are all about 30-45 minutes apart.)

Our first stop was at Target. Who doesn’t love a Target deal? And in our family, it also means our purchases are helping pay the salaries of two family members employed by the company. (I always encourage people to shop place that support your employer or others you know.) I love Target because their Black Friday deals last for two days. This usually means the store isn’t super crazy if you show up an hour or two after it opens. Our run through Target was quick and then it was time to split up.

Somehow, my mother and sister got stuck in a line at Herbergers (it’s like Dillards or Macy’s if you aren’t from a smaller community) for well over an hour. My nephew Brock and I had shopped the whole mall and were starving. What else would be open but the wonderful food court. We called my mother and she wanted a drink. My sister Stephanie wanted a soft pretzel. Brock and split up – one of taking Orange Julius and the other tackling The PretzelMaker. I hadn’t consumed an Orange Julius in years but it was quite refreshing. It gave us just the energy we needed to drive the last 45 minutes back to my sister and nephew’s home.

I ran across the copycat recipe in Pinterest fairly recently. I met it with a little skepticism since the recipe lacks fruit and contains sugar. However, I have to say this recipe taste just like an original Orange Julius. I think milk is the secret froth maker in this treat.

Orange Julius Copy Cat Orange Julius by Pinterest
1 can of frozen orange juice concentrate
1 c. milk
1 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
10-12 ice cubes

Blend ingredients together and serve. It makes approximately four – 10-12 oz. drinks.

Notes:

  • I used pulp free frozen orange juice concentrate and skim milk.
  • I halved the recipe crushing five ice cubes.
  • Since OJ is very high in sugar, I made one using a sugar substitute (Splenda) to decrease sugar in recipe. It tasted pretty similar.

Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

Everyone has a word they don’t like. One of my exs over used the word “audacity” so I avoid using the word at all cost. Others struggle to pronounce words. My ex who was bilingual in two languages really struggled with the word “Worcestershire Sauce”. It is a kind of hard word to say if you don’t slow down.

The first word that came to mind when I tasted this recipe was moist. It made me think of my friend and former co-worker Kelly. She detested the word “Moist”, perhaps even more that she hate people inappropriately using exclamation marks. (Can you tell we worked together as grant writers?) One time, a co-worker and myself called her office and said “moist” just to freak Kelly out. Of course she knew it was us by the internal caller id. But we were laughing so hard it still puts a smile on my face just thinking about it. It truly is a terrible word. When you thesaurus synonyms for moist, you get: humid, soggy, clammy, saturated, soaking, damp, wet, and tacky. Not exactly the words I was looking for to express my sentiments. Perhaps the best words for me to describe this cake are – soft, sweet, and delicious. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Yellow cake with sour cream chocolate frosting is my favorite birthday cake flavor.

Chocolate Chip CakeChocolate Chip Snack Cake by Betty Crocker website
1/2 box yellow cake mix
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. sour cream
3 T. butter, melted
1 egg
1 1/4 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. vegetable oil

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, sour cream, butter, and egg with a mixer. Stir in 1/2 c. chocolate chips. Pour in dish. Bake for 22-28 minutes. Cool completely – one hour. Then, melt 1/2 c. chocolate chips with 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil. Microwave it on high for 45 seconds, plus 15 seconds increments til completely melted. Pour into a Ziploc baggie, cut corner, and drizzle over cake. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.

Nutritional Information: (Makes nine servings) 270 calories (120 from fat), 14 g. fat (8 g. saturated fat) 35 mg. cholesterol, 210 mg. sodium, 35 g. carbs, 1 g. fiber, 23 g. sugar, and 2 g. protein

Notes:

  • I used half light and half fat free sour cream. Another great substitute is regular or Greek yogurt.
  • I also used sugar free cake mix. I also think you could have used a chocolate cake for an even richer dessert.
  • You could easily skip the extra chocolate chips on top and it would still be good.