Sometimes I think my kitchen is the Bermuda Triangle, ingredients and equipment I buy for one recipe or another, somehow disappear. Or rather, I forget the reason why I bought said ingredient or equipment, and they end up wasting away in dark cabinets until next Pesach when I toss everything out or put everything away.
I decided it’s time to change that about my personality. It’s part of my new “feed my family healthy food” kick, and now is the perfect time since Baby J. is getting over two days of high fever and strep. She refused to eat for almost three days and I found myself trying to coax her into eating by offering cookies. Fortunately for me, she refused even the chocolate chip cookies, and so now I’m trying a whole new tactic. I’m going to make healthy, nutritious and delicious foods that she’ll want to eat, instead of asking me for ice cream for dinner.
First, I decided to take some inventory of the jars, cans, powders and liquids that are languishing in my pantry or refrigerator because I have no idea why I bought them. I’m pretty sure the ginger beer in my fridge is from a Jamie Geller recipe, but can’t remember which one. The can of refried beans and jar of marinated red peppers is from a Brigitte recipe, probably a quesadillas, but I’m not sure how come I never made it. I have agave nectar in my pantry and that’s when I was all about Bethenny Frankel and she’s all about agave nectar, but I’m not sure which one of her recipes I wanted to try. And I’m at a complete loss when it comes to the two large cans of pineapple chunks, the jar of marinated sour cherries, wasabi powder, and the plethora of cranberry sauce cans I’ve managed to accumulate since last Thanksgiving.
And I’m no better when it comes to kitchen equipment. I have gorgeous pillivuyt ramekins that are collecting dust under the sink. I used them once to make a recipe from Top Chef’s Steven Aspirino for flourless five-spice chocolate cake that my DH told me tasted like Havdalah (from the cloves in the five spice). So, away they went. There’s a gorgeous rolling pin that I wanted to use to make my own pie crust, but I’ve never actually done it, stored in the back of my pantry. I’m hoping Arielle will help me make pie crust and put my rolling pin to good use (hey, and maybe the ramekins too!)
And then, there’s the blender. This morning, when the idea came to mind to make DH and Baby J. healthy summer smoothies, some hazy memory of a blender came flooding back to me. I was pretty sure I had bought a blender, years ago, to puree soups and I probably used it to make one specific soup, and then washed it and put it away in the back of a cupboard, where I promptly forgot about it.
This morning, after taking Baby J.’s temperature (which was normal and had been for 24 hours), I shipped her and DH out of the house and went hunting in my kitchen. Fortunately, my kitchen is tiny, so it didn’t take long to find the blender. I reassembled, plugged it in, and watch with satisfaction as the blade whirrled around.
You see, last Thursday, I went a little summer fruit happy and placed a giant order at my green grocers. I now have a home bursting with delicious summer fruits: cherries, black seedless grapes, apricots, peaches, nectarines, mangoes and lemons! I asked my Grandmother for her fruit soup recipe and, in true Grandma fashion, she told me to throw everything in a pot, add water, add sugar, and cook until soft. Not my kind of recipe. When I told DH I was going to make fruit soup, he asked me if my teeth were bothering me. I got the hint that he felt fruit soup was for old people (I personally think, with a sprig of mint, it could be a delicious first course for Shabbat lunch) and so I moved on.
And that’s when the idea of summer smoothies just hit me! We have a huge gallon of milk that expires on the 14th, a newly opened box of soy milk, and tons of delicious fruit! So, I immediately put two ripe bananas into the freezer since my ice tray hasn’t been filled since before Pesach and the tray to catch the ice is full of Dr. Praeger’s broccoli pancakes. Next, I determined that last week’s watermelon is no longer good, and I made a mental note to toss it once DH gets home from work.
Today’s summer smoothie is going to be frozen bananas, milk (for Baby J.) and mangoes with maybe a little agave nectar for added sweetness! I’m going to experiment, maybe also pick up some dates since I know DH likes dates, and some flax seed (since that’s very healthy for you) and work on a variety of summer smoothies. I’m sure there will be some hits, and some misses. Check back at the end of the week for the winning smoothie flavors!
Do you make smoothies for your family? What flavor combinations are your favorites? Let me know in the comment section below!