Creamy Blueberry Smoothie

I currently have a shortage of ingredients in my house to make anything cool and sweet with. And today was so hot that it really called for something cool and sweet. So I took the few ingredients that I do have and came up with a refreshing and creamy snack!

about 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 container plain yogurt (personal size)
2 Tbsp whipping cream
a drizzle of maple syrup
1 tsp of white sugar (I would have used only maple syrup but I ran out)

Throw all ingredients into a blender or something similar and blend away! Serve immediately (although I suppose this could in the freezer for a while to keep it cold).

The whipping cream makes this smoothie wonderfully satisfying!


Plum BBQ Sauce

I had a bunch of plums to use up and I didn't really want to just make jam with them. My solution? BBQ Sauce! I made this recipe up as I went along and it needs a bit of tweaking - but here is the rough draft to start with.

In order to get the 12 cups of plum "juice" that I ended up using - I simply washed and de-stemmed the plums, piled them in a big pot with a couple of cups of water and then cooked and mashed them until I could strain the seeds, skins and the majority of the pulp out with a pasta strainer. I'm sure there is an easier, more sophisticated way to do this but it worked for me!

12 c. plum juice (very pulpy)
1 c. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. Apple Cider vinegar
3 c. white sugar
3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. plus 1/8 c. salt (even though it tasted fine when I pulled it off the stove, it got saltier as it sat so I would cut this amount back)
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp ground dry mustard
2 Tbsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp celery seed
3 fresh garlic cloves - finely chopped

Put everything in a big pot and cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally to reduce. Reduce to about 2/3 amount - or desired consistency. Taste as it is reducing and adjust flavoring accordingly. Bottle and refrigerate until needed.

Enjoy with chicken or pork or anything else you can come up with!



I miss this... oh well - at least I still have the hammock :-) and plans in my mind to go to Mexico with my brother sometime... woot!

Piquant Prawn Salad - or as I like to call it... the best salad ever!

I love this "salad"! This is another recipe from the previously mentioned Thai cook book. I normally leave a few ingredients out but I will put in parenthesis whatever adjustments I make so you can see all of the options! This recipe serves 4.

-7 oz rice vermicelli (or whatever rice noodles you happen to have on hand)
-(8 baby corn cobs, halved)
-5 oz snow peas
-1 Tbsp vegetable oil
-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
-1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
-1 fresh red or green chili, seeded and finely chopped
-1 lb raw peeled jumbo shrimp
-4 green onions, very thinly sliced
-1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
-1 lemon grass stalk, thinly shredded (when you can find it)

For the dressing:
-1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
-1 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
-1 tsp soy sauce
-3 Tbsp peanut oil
-1 tsp sesame oil (or if you love sesame oil as much as I do, use it instead of peanut oil!)
-2 Tbsp rice vinegar

-Put the rice noodles in a heat proof bowl, cover with boiling water, let sit for 10 minutes. Drain, refresh with could water, drain again and set aside.
-The dressing can also be made ahead by combining and either shaking or whisking all of the dressing ingredients together and then setting aside.
-Saute (or steam) the snow peas (and baby corn) and set aside.
-Heat the oil in a frying pan (or wok). Add the garlic, ginger and chili and cook for one minute. Add the shrimp and cook until just pink. Stir in the green onions, snow peas, (baby corn) and sesame seeds. Toss lightly to mix.
-Tip the contents of the pan over the rice noodles.
-Pour the dressing on top and toss well. Sprinkle with lemon grass and serve or chill for one hour before serving.

Enjoy this light flavorful salad!

Super Easy Hot-and-Sour Soup

The original recipe for this soup calls for prawns - I made it with chicken... I'm sure either would taste wonderful! Original recipe from "Thai - the essence of Asian cooking" from Hermes House.

This recipe serves 4 to 6

1 lb raw chicken (or jumbo prawns)
4 c. chicken stock
3 lemon grass stalks
10 kaffir lime leaves, torn in half
8 oz can straw mushrooms, drained
3 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
4 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp chopped green onions
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
4 fresh red chillies, seeded and thinly sliced
salt and ground black pepper

-Cut the chicken into bite size pieces (or if using prawns - peel and save the shells, then devein and set the prawns aside).
-Put the stock in a large pot and bring to a boil (if using prawns, rinse the shells and add to the stock).
-Slightly crush the lemon grass stalks and add them to the stock along with half of the lime leaves. Simmer gently for 5-6 minutes, until the stock is fragrant.
-Strain the stock, return it to the clean pan and reheat. Add the drained mushrooms and the chicken (or prawns), then cook until the chicken is cooked through (or the prawns turn pink).
-Stir the fish sauce, lime juice, green onion, cilantro, chillies, and remaining lime leaves into the soup. Salt and pepper to taste. The soup should be sour, salty, spicy and hot.

This is a great soup to make ahead of time and keep hot in a crock pot or on the back of the stove until time to serve.



Perfect summer dessert!

Ayla and I were graciously invited to the Tyler's home for lunch yesterday! Linda Tyler made a wonderful tasty meal and a fabulous dessert. I pressed her for as many details as she could give me so that I can attempt to duplicate it :-) Her instructions are as follows:

Make and bake and cool a buttery Graham Cracker Crust. For the filling take part of a block of cream cheese (for a 9x13 she used not quite a full thing), mix together with some whipped cream until well incorporated. Add whatever flavoring you want (she used a little almond, but says she has done lemon, orange, chocolate, etc. in the past) and add some powdered sugar to lightly sweeten. Fill crust with filling. Top with fresh blueberries and slightly press them into the filling to help them stay there. Maybe sprinkle some almond flakes. Cook and cool some more blueberries and poor over everything to kind of hold it in pace. Sprinkle a few more almond flakes. Serve and enjoy!

I realize these instructions are not specific at all - but I'm sure you can figure it out! The filling was a very light fluffy cheese cake type filling (although even Ayla liked it 'cause you couldn't taste the cream cheese). This desert was perfect for summer because it was cool, slightly rich, and the blueberries were allowed to shine!

Thank you Linda for your hospitality and wonderful dessert!


New House...

I'm in! Sort of...not really very much. But - I can begin moving in and unpacking! And if I ever find my camera in all this mess - I'll put pictures up :-) And some day I will feel clean again - the previous renter didn't clean very well before she left so I've been wiping out kitchen cabinets - and mice got into my storage unit and pooped all over everything - and it's hot and dusty. So a shower is definitely in order sometime soon!
On another note - my dad says he is going to buy me a gun :-) haha! woohoo! I guess there are benefits to my dad thinking we all need to be able to fight to the end and hole up in a bunker (I'm paraphrasing - a lot).

Moving Frustrations...and cookies!

I was going to write a post about how frustrated I am with the way our new land lords have been handling this whole moving situation... or about the fact that our move in date keeps getting pushed back because they are still painting... and then I decided that it isn't great to dwell on the negative...

Instead I am going to expound upon the virtues of these - Flour-less Peanut Butter Cookies - created by the Gluten-Free Girl.

After having my mom and roommate continually forget that I wasn't eating wheat or dairy during the last two weeks - it was a joy to discover one of my favorite cookies in a wheat and dairy free form! Plus - anything from Gluten-Free Girl is bound to be wonderful, including her writing and photography. I highly recommend her blog and book to anyone who enjoys food - whether or not you are trying to go gluten-free. They are both a joy and an inspiration to read! Check out her blog here.