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Posted on Aug 27, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 3 comments

Creamy Gazpacho

Summers in our nation’s capital come in pretty much one flavor: humid. And though, granted, this summer has been slightly less sticky than most, I’m still just one big ball o’ sweat most of the time when I’m outside. So when it comes to foods that I’m craving in August, I’m almost always going to prefer something chilled over something hot. Duh.

Of course, one can’t live off of popsicles forever (I’ve tried, believe me), so upon occasion you might find me in the kitchen trying to whip up a nice no-heat meal. Don’t worry, I’m not going raw. I’m just hot — all the time. Which brings us to the following recipe — one that’ll make you forget you ever even liked hot soup to begin with.

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Whether eaten (er, drank?) straight from the blender or allowed to chill for a few in the fridge, I just know that this creamy (yet dairy-free!), zesty gazpacho will hit the spot. It’s light, it’s bright, and depending on how spicy you want to make it, you can take your tastebuds for a real ride, hehe. Reserve a bit of the tomato, cucumbers, and onions to chop and serve in the bowl for a bit of texture, or blend it all to your heart’s desire. There’s really no wrong way to make this, since all it takes is a handful of fresh, natural ingredients and a blender!

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Creamy Gazpacho
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup crushed tomato juice (about 3 medium to large ripe tomatoes)
1/4 large onion, or 1/2 small onion
1 small cucumber, cut into rough pieces
1 poblano pepper (or green bell pepper)
1 – 2 jalapeño peppers (optional)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lime (juice only)
1/2 cup unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk (vanilla or original — your choice!)
Salt & pepper to taste
Dash of green chile Tabasco sauce (optional)

Instructions:

1. Crush tomatoes until you yield ~1 cup of juice. Seeds and some pulp are okay.

2. Combine tomato juice, onion, cucumber, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, and jalapeño (if using) in blender. Reserve a tablespoon or so of the onion and cucumber if you want to dice and add to soup for texture. Blend on medium – high speed for 30 to 45 seconds, or until ingredients are all finely combined.

3. Add lime juice and almond milk, salt and pepper, and a few dashes of Tabasco (if using) to the soup and stir.

4. Pour over chopped tomato, onion, and cucumber, or serve ungarnished! Eat immediately, or keep it in the fridge to chill further before consuming.

5. Enjoy!

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

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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.

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

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Enter: the cantaloupe smoothie.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted on Jun 29, 2012 in Food, Recipes | 13 comments

Refreshing Summer Meals

So I have some thoroughly exciting news for you all: my car’s A/C is working again! My amazing mama, who simply couldn’t bear to see her beloved youngest child suffering in the heat any longer, offered to take it into the shop and get it checked out for me. They recharged it and put that dye in it to check where the leak is, so while the A/C isn’t technically FIXED, it is working again. At least until all the freon leaks out again. But that could be tomorrow, or it could be next summer. Here’s hoping it’ll be much closer to the latter!

The timing of this fix really couldn’t be better, considering that we’re in for another set of HOT days over the weekend.

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Eep. On the bright side, there is nothing that curbs my appetite more than having to peel my sticky thighs off of a chair. In fact, the very idea of eating anything warm on crazy hot days — let alone turning on the oven! — makes me actively (and dramatically) wretch. So hey! Maybe this summer I will actually stop making excuses and finally drop these last 20-ish pounds! Hey, a girl can dream, right?

In that vain, I thought it might be a fun Friday thing to offer up a few of my favorite light, summery, (mostly) no cook recipes. Usually, the biggest thing they require is boiling something on the stove, and you can always do that ahead of time (maybe in the dead of night? When the sun is gone? And the sweat is only pooling in the creases of your body rather than actively dripping down your extremities? Heh. Gross.).

Hokay!

 

Ha! As if I would start with anything other than my delicious, sweet & savory, tropically-twisted Mango Guacamole. This stuff will change your life, I swear it. And look! Not a stove nor a pan nor a baking dish required! Just a bowl, a spoon, and some sweet chopping skillz.

 

My girl Cassie has some banging recipes on her site, and one of the ones that caught my eye most recently was this Cold Greek Quinoa Salad. The only thing that requires heat is cooking the quinoa. Otherwise, it’s a refreshing, chilling salad that’s full of nutrition and flavor! Yum.

 

My Healthy Chicken Salad recipe is another one that requires just one cooked ingredient: the chicken! Why not take advantage of that summertime tradition and cook ’em up on the grill? Of course, if the thought of manning a hot grill on a hot day isn’t your ideal summer activity, you can always find pre-cooked chicken at the store. You could even tear up a rotisserie chicken for this! You have as many options as your laziness will allow. 😉

 

Finally, I recently saw this recipe for Summer Macaroni Salad on Gina’s fantastic blog. It looks absolutely delicious and is a rather low-calorie pasta option: only 115 calories per cup!

So tell me: what’s your favorite easy, breezy summertime recipe?

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Posted on Jun 22, 2012 in Dear Diary | 28 comments

Summertime

So in case you haven’t been subjected to my barrage of tweets regarding the weather situation in DC for the past few days (count yourself lucky), let me apprise you of the situation: it’s been a little dire.


And those really don’t even touch on the humidity. It’s been at anywhere between 50% and 70% humidity over the past week, and that hasn’t been pleasant. This weather, combined with the worst commute in all of history (because driving 9 miles should totally take an hour and a half) almost culminated in me fainting in my car on the way to work on Wednesday. Forrealz. Now, before you Texans and Arizonians and Floridians other warm-weather-dwellers get all up in arms about us Mid-Atlantians being whiner babies about a little bit of 100-degree weather, let me just say that this is not exactly the norm for us. DC is usually still a relatively temperate place in June. Sure, we get doused with the 98-degree (I dooooo cherish yoooou) weather come August, but we usually get a couple of months of nice, sunny, hot-but-not-so-hot-that-you-black-out weather before then.

I mean, for crying out loud, I was in the freakin’ Caribbean less than a month ago and it wasn’t this hot. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of the people who claims to hate summer with a burning (heh) passion. Sure, it’s not my favorite season (i’m an Autumn girl at heart), but it definitely has its benefits.

Summertime

There’s sunshine, all manner of festivals and events, and hopefully more than a few days spent hanging out by the pool or at the beach. Supposedly, there’s also less traffic in the summer though, due to this week’s near-miss with heat exhaustion, I remain skeptical. It’s just that, as you guys are probably all too aware at this point, I don’t handle heat particularly gracefully.

See, I’m the gal with the tomato-red face and bulging eyes. I’m the one sweating bullets from every pore and my makeup running down my face. I get hot really easily and it takes me a long time to cool down (seriously, Ben actually makes fun of me all the time because I get sweaty so easily, haha). Adding to my overall classiness is the red marks on the back of my legs from having to peel my thighs off the leather seats of my un-air-conditioned car. I had kinda hoped that when I lost a little weight, my proclivity for overheating might have been subdued slightly, but as that hasn’t really happened, I’ll just have to come to terms with the fact that it’s just a part of who I am. And who I am is apparently a super classy lady. Hahahahaha.

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60 pound difference, same red face.

One of my goals for the near future is get a new car but, unfortunately, there are a couple of factors that are preventing me from doing so just yet. Luckily, my wonderful, generous parents took pity on me after I had a breakdown about the heat wave, and offered to switch cars with me for a couple of days. This morning I rolled into the parking garage in my mom’s sweet Chevy Equinox (it still has that new car smell!), with the air conditioning on and the satellite radio blasting. Unfortunately, I think I could get used to this.

Alas, since I won’t be able to count on taking advantage of my parents forever, I do think I need to start being proactive about protecting myself against the summer heat. I had to revisit my post on hydration tips to remind myself of some ways to keep dehydration at bay, and am going to have to do some serious wardrobe shopping to make sure all my lightest, airiest (and yet still somehow work appropriate, I hope?) clothes are at arm’s length.

One bright side of this blistering summer heat? It definitely puts a damper on my appetite. Suddenly, the thought of ingesting anything too heavy, rich, or HOT is fairly repulsive. I actually WANT to eat nothing but salad and fruit! Go figure.

What are your most and least favorite things about summertime?

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Posted on May 29, 2011 in Dear Diary, Pup Posts | 7 comments

My Weekend So Far

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Yep. It happened. Jealous? 😉
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(I wish…!)
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Don’t be jealous. And don’t worry. Tomorrow will involve more human beings in the photos (I promise I’ve been hanging out with people, too!) Thank goodness for holiday weekends. 🙂

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