If you are not redirected automatically, follow the link to Gretchen, In-Between smoothie | Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted on Oct 30, 2013 in Recipes | 11 comments

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Oh, Autumn. How I love thee so. With you comes crisp weather, apple-based desserts, and, perhaps my favorite thing of all, pumpkin EVERYTHING.

Seriously, you can’t walk three steps through the mall come Fall without bumping into something pumpkin-related. Pumpkin scones, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin scented candles, pumpkin perfume (don’t laugh, I’ve seen it!). Of course, it’s not really like I’m complaining. I looooove pumpkin! Especially when it comes in the pie variety (something I’m very much looking forward to, come Thanksgiving).

Unfortunately, my impatient nature doesn’t really bode well for the whole “wait until Turkey Day” thing when it comes to pumpkin pie. But, then again, it’s not like I can just eat a slice of pumpkin pie every day. Or, well, I mean, I could, but I really shouldn’t. Enter: the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie.

332A0049.jpg

Now, I know what you’re thinking. There are TONS of pumpkin pie smoothie recipes out there! I’m sure that September and October bring nothing BUT pumpkin smoothie recipes to the healthy living blogosphere. But. Let me tell you something. All those other smoothies? They usually have a whoooooole lotta stuff in them. Stuff like frozen bananas and almond butter and QUINOA FLOUR. Things that, my friends, you simply would never find in a pumpkin pie.

332A0047.jpg

My solution? A true, simple, minimal-ingredient recipe that will give your tastebuds a treat without A) packing on the pie-induced pounds, and B) actually tastes like pumpkin pie. And hey, bonus! It’s vegan! #winning

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
(Makes 1 very large serving or 2 smaller ones — it’s quite filling so I definitely recommend sharing with a friend!)

Ingredients:

1 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix — I use Libby’s)
1 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze almond milk (or milk of choice)
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tbsp sugar or sweetener of choice

Instructions:

As with all smoothies, the instructions are:

1. Put ingredients into a blender.
2. Blend.
3. Enjoy!

332A0051.jpg

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

Read More

Posted on Jul 29, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 11 comments

Homemade Bubble Milk Tea

So, I throw the word “Whasian” around here a lot. And yes, I know it’s partly because I have a bit of a complex about people not knowing that I’m half-Chinese… since I don’t look particularly Asian (except for maybe a handful of times of year, which usually coincide with things like Chinese New Year or my brother’s Chinese Banquet-style rehearsal dinner). Though, to be fair, I went on a cruise with my family the summer after my Freshman year in college, and the ship’s photographer thought that I was Ben’s girlfriend (gross) rather than an actual part of my family. So I think said complex is at least somewhat understandable.

IMG_3950

ANYWAY. For as much as I mention my ethnicity on this blog, I don’t really highlight too many Chinese recipes. Mostly, this is because my mom is such an amazing cook that I don’t dare try to copy her recipes for fear of ruining the dishes for myself. But that’s not to say I don’t prepare my fair share of Chinese cuisine. I love whipping up a batch of frozen xiao long bao at home (steamed soup dumplings), I adore going out to dim sum, and I am absolutely OBSESSED with bubble milk tea.

IMG_5443

Bubble milk tea, boba, pearl milk tea, zhen zhu nai cha — whatever you call it, I love it. I was first introduced to this most magic of beverages during the three years I spent living in Taiwan, and to this day it is one of the surest ways to make me a happy, happy girl. Unfortunately, all the most authentic bubble milk tea places around here seem to be up in Rockville, and I don’t enjoy braving Seven Corners traffic enough to frequent the Eden Center on a regular basis. So, I’ve had to figure out ways to satisfy my total obsession occasional craving on my own.

332A7354.jpg

Now, admittedly, I cheat and use a milk tea powder more often than not. But! For you folks, who have probably come here to read at least a somewhat healthy-ish recipe, I decided to brew up a batch from scratch. You’re very welcome. 😉

332A7351.jpg

Introducing my very own taste-tested and Whasian-approved recipe for bubble milk tea. And because I love you guys so much, I even made it dairy-free, don’tcha know! I used regular ol’ black tea bags, but if you really want to go authentic, head for your nearest Asian grocery store and pick up a can of looseleaf Hong Kong-style black tea. Also, since I imagine most of you don’t keep the pearls in your pantry, you can zip right over to Amazon.com and pick up a pack of tapioca pearls, along with some of those nifty fat bubble tea straws.

332A7347.jpg

Bubble Milk Tea
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

4 black tea bags, or equivalent looseleaf black tea
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup uncooked tapioca pearls
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1.5 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze almond milk
Ice (optional)

Instructions:

1. Steep tea in boiling water. You are aiming for a very strong brew, so let steep for a good 8 – 10 minutes. It is also best to allow the tea to cool somewhat before mixing your milk tea.
2. While tea is steeping, heat water on stove in a small or medium sauce pot until boiling. Add tapioca pearls and cook until all pearls float to the top, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add sugar to pot and stir just until dissolved. Cover and let sit for an additional 5 minutes. Reserve about half of the tapioca pearls and sugar water for each serving of bubble tea.
3A. For frozen bubble milk tea, add tea, milk, sugar water from the pearls, and ice cubes to a blender, and blend until ice is fully incorporated. Add tapioca pearls and enjoy!
3B. For regular bubble milk tea, simply combine tea, milk, and sugar water in a pitcher or glass, then add pearls. If the mixture is not cool enough, you may add ice cubes or refrigerate* the tea first. Enjoy!

*Do not refrigerate the pearls in the tea — store them in the sugar water separately. The pearls become hard when cold, and will need to be reheated in the microwave to become soft again.

332A7355.jpg

So there you have it. You can add as much or as little additional sweetener as necessary to achieve the desired taste of your milk tea, but I tried to keep it fairly light. As mentioned, you can store any leftover pearls in the sugar water mixture (a mixture of water and honey is also a great preserver, and gives good flavor to the pearls). Just reheat the pearls for about 30 seconds in the microwave if you decide to use them later! Easy peasy.

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

Read More

Posted on Apr 29, 2013 in Giveaway, Recipes | 5 comments

Melon Refresher Smoothie

I know you guys are strewn all throughout the country… and the continent… and the world! So I’m not sure exactly what the weather situation has been like in your individual areas over the past few weeks, but let me tell you: In the DC area, weather has been crazy this spring. We have gone from winter to summer to winter to spring  (oh, please, PLEASE let it finally be spring!), all within the timespan of a few days! A couple weeks back, I swear, it was 38 degrees one day and 90 the next. That hot (hot, hot, hot!) summer weather stuck around for a few days, and boy, did I feel it.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever explained that summer is actually my least favorite season. I know, blasphemous, right? Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot the things that summer brings: pool parties, beach trips, ice cream trucks, and tons of general feel-goodery. But summer also brings with it lots of things that I don’t love: Mosquitos, humidity, and—oh yeah—the heat.

I am not a slight woman. This much has been, and will always be, true. Whether I’m 250 pounds or 150 pounds, I will always have big ol’ bones and this 5’9” frame and I will always, always be the sweaty beast that I become when it’s 90+ degrees outside. I know that paints an extremely attractive picture of me, but seriously. Is there anyone in the world who gets as sweaty as me when the weather is hot? I doubt it.

Given my proclivity for transforming into the aforementioned Sweaty Mess Formerly Known as Gretchen, I’m constantly on the lookout for ways to cool me down, inside and out. The out usually means I exist solely in sundresses and flipflops from May – September, while the inside means I’m eating lots and lots of cooooool foods. So when the weather unexpectedly spiked, what do you think I did? Yep, I immediately sought out a light and refreshing new smoothie recipe to cool my sweaty soul.

IMG_1483.jpg

Plus, I won’t lie, I really, really wanted a reason to use my new Vitamix. Hehehe.

IMG_1479.jpg IMG_1481.jpg

Enter: the cantaloupe smoothie.

IMG_1489.jpg

I know, sounds kinda weird, right? Well, let me assure you, if you are a melon lover of any kind, you will lo-o-ove this smoothie. It’s sweet but oh-so-light, cooling and very refreshing. I sucked down half my glass without even realizing it, that’s how wonderful it is. This can be made with any kind of melon, too. I happened to have a perfectly ripe cantaloupe on hand, but it would be awesome with honeydew, or even watermelon! Especially watermelon, actually. Mmm, watermelon… And with only five—count ‘em, FIVE!—ingredients on the list, you can be sure this is going to be a staple in my summer eats rotation.

IMG_1472.jpg

Melon Refresher Smoothie

Half a cantaloupe, seeded and cubed (~3 cups)
1 cup Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk Original (unsweetened or not, your preference)
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup ice
Drizzle of honey (add more or less to taste)

Regular blender instructions: Put ingredients in blender in order listed, blend on high for 30 seconds, or until smooth.

Vitamix instructions: Put ingredients in blender in order listed. Start on Variable speed 1 and quickly increase to 10, then high. Blend for 15 seconds.

IMG_1496.jpg

This recipe makes about three 12-ounce servings… or, if you’re me, two 18-ounce servings. Heh. You can store extras in the fridge for a couple days (you may need to shake or re-blend for a few seconds). Enjoy, and keep cool out there!

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

Read More

Posted on Jan 24, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 12 comments

Vacation in a Glass

Hi dee ho, friends! Guess what? We got SNOW here last night! Finally! I mean, technically it had snowed like twice before, but this time it really stuck and is pretty and causing traffic issues all over the metropolitan DC area. Hooray!

Now, as we recently learned (re-learned?) I spent a good deal of my life growing up in Canada. So, I really like snow. I actually like winter a lot. I’d rather be curled up in a warm blanket than sweating my buns off in the August humidity any day. Of course, that isn’t to say that I don’t get my fair share of the winter blues. I’ve actually been having a touch of the SADs lately (Seasonal Affective Disorder), truth be told. Which essentially means I’ve been even moodier and more emotional than normal. (The horror!) And also means I’ve been fantasizing about hopping on a flight to Miami pretty much every other day. (I think writing my second book by the poolside sounds kind of nice, don’t you?)

Unnnnfortunately, the reality is that I have no money and even less vacation time, and probably won’t be able to swing the weekend vacation of my winter dreams. So when I was tasked with creating a recipe for Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk (my favorite!!) I knew exactly the direction I wanted to go in.

IMG_0414.jpg

A smoothie that is meant for those mornings when I suck at eating breakfast, and also for when I come down with a bit of the winter blues. Two birds, one stone, that whole thing.

Oh yeah, and because it’s me, I made it all healthy and crap. 😉

IMG_0420.jpg

The concept is pretty darn simple. Throw the ingredients in a blender and go to town. If you have a really nice, high-speed blender like a Vitamix or Ninja or something, all the better!

IMG_0422.jpg

IMG_0424.jpg

Also, if you have a high-speed blender, you can use frozen fruit ingredients instead of fresh ones and give this smoothie more of a milkshake-like consistency. But that’s not quite as winter compatible, given that it’s already been below-freezing this week.

IMG_0425.jpg

Healthy Tropical Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk Blend (THIS IS MY FAVORITE THING EVER, BTW)
1/2 cup pineapple chunks + juice
1/2 a banana
5 – 8 strawberries
Generous handful of spinach
1 cup ice

Directions:

Dump into a blender. Blend.

IMG_0427.jpg

Pretty simple, huh? Of course, the addition of the spinach means that the smoothie turns into a terrible mucky color, but I promise you can’t taste anything spinach-y WHATSOEVER! Nutritional stats look like this:

Calories: 200, Fat: 3 grams, Carbohydrate: 40 grams, Fiber: 6 grams (!), Protein: 3 grams

A little high on the carb front (cause it’s got fruit, which equals sugar) but a surprisingly awesome amount of fiber and a little bit o’ protein to boot. Not too shabby for a delicious breakfast smoothie, IMO! And of course, there’s the part where it tastes really yummy, too.

IMG_0429.jpg

Also, I got bangs.

The above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but the photos, words, and, most importantly, opinions are all my own.

Read More