Green Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

This past weekend the boy and I crossed the border to visit with the Grandparents. While in the States I saw some awesome State Trooper hats, a robbed bank, and the biggest supermarket that I’ve ever seen, but most importantly, I bought and tried Biscoff spread!

Along with all the awesomeness, the Grandparents made sure that Paul and I were well fed and had cookies and sweets at every meal (very important). I had the best time, but am now feeling like I need a day off “bad stuff”. So, this morning I blended together this beauty. A peanut butter and banana smoothie that tastes delicious, but is super healthy to boot!

To make this, place all ingredients into a blender with the heavy stuff on the bottom.

Blend on high until very smooth.

Enjoy! You’ll love it.

Green Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie
Makes 1 smoothie
Recipe taken from Healthy Food For Living
5 weight watchers points plus per smoothie

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk of choice (I used 1%)
1 medium-sized ripe frozen banana
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (I used 0%)
2 Tbsp quick oats
1 Tbsp unnatural smooth peanut butter
2 big handfuls washed and dried baby spinach
a few dashes ground cinnamon, optional

Directions:
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until very smooth.

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Banana Bread Green Monster Smoothie for Smoothie Week {and an Amazon Giveaway}!

Giveaway Closed

I hate to point out the obvious, but summer totally came early. It’s completely acceptable to wear a bathing suit under your dress and it’s totally acceptable to avoid your black kitty on these crazy hot days. My evil feline has become even more of a cuddle bug when the weather is hot out…yeah, she has a sense of humour.

So naturally, I’ve been making a lot of smoothies and thought I’d share a bunch of wicked awesome blended (and healthy) treats with you this week. This is big for me. Since I started this blog I have never (ever ever) posted for five days straight – but baby, I’m all yours from today until Friday! And I’m giving away a gift card. Awesome.

To make this smoothie combine the ingredients in your blender, with the light stuff on bottom (spinach, oats, cinnamon, walnuts). Then add your frozen banana and pour the milk over the top.

Blend until everything is nice and smooth.

Enjoy!

Banana Bread Green Monster Smoothie
Serves one (or two small servings)
Recipe lightly adapted from Full Measure of Happiness
7 Weight Watchers Points plus per recipe

Ingredients:
1 ripe banana, frozen
1 cup milk (I used vanilla almond milk)
2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves
1/8 C walnuts
1/4 C oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
Combine the ingredients in your blender, with the light stuff on bottom (spinach, oats, cinnamon, walnuts). Then add your banana (and ice, if your banana isn’t frozen), and pour the milk over the top.

Blend until everything is nice and smooth.

Amazon Giveaway Details:
Now that we’ve made this delicious treat, I thought I would ask YOU! Yes, you, to tell me your favorite smoothie recipe! That’s all you have to do to be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

For three EXTRA entries:

Just let me know you did the following (and if you follow me on Facebook and Pinterest already, let me know!)

1. Twitter Follow Warm Vanilla Sugar and then tweet the following:
“I entered to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card from @katrinadingle! Check it! http://bit.ly/NF2Nvb #smoothietime”

2. Like Warm Vanilla Sugar on Facebook

3. Follow Warm Vanilla Sugar on Pinterest

NOTES:
-Contest ends Saturday, June 23, 2012 and winner will be chosen randomly.
-Open to everyone world wide!

Parmesan Spinach in Puff Pastry

Dear 12 year old me,

One day you will grow to like spinach. I’m serious. So much in fact that you will spend hours on end scrolling through your Google reader (don’t worry about what that is hunny) to find fun ways to use it. Who knew steamed spinach wasn’t the only way to eat this wonderful vegetable. Trust me. You’ll love it.

Also,
Stop wearing overalls, pay attention in French class and know that you will still be listening to the Spice Girls at 25….a concert may be in your near future.

Uhh….anyway, 13 year old me would like this puff pastry, I like this puff pastry, and you will like it too! Who doesn’t like cheesy goodness in a buttery crust? Like, come on!

To begin, place the pine nuts in a dry sauté pan over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, and cook for about 5 minutes (until tender). Add the garlic, and cook for 1 more minute.

In the meantime, squeeze the water out of the spinach, and place it into a large bowl. Add the scallions, Gruyere, Parmesan, eggs, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the pine nuts. Add the onion mixture. Mix well. Set aside.

Unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Cut the pastry in half.

Place one half of pastry on your lined baking sheet.

Spread the spinach mixture in the middle of the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border. Brush the border with the egg wash.

Lightly flour your counter or a board, and roll out the second piece of puff pastry until it’s an inch larger in each direction.

Place the second sheet of pastry over the spinach, and seal the edges, crimping them with a fork.

Brush the top only with egg wash. (Don’t let it drip down the sides, or the pastry won’t rise.) Make three slits in the pastry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the pastry is lightly browned.

Transfer to a cutting board, and serve hot.

Spinach in Puff Pastry
Recipe lightly adapted from Ezra Pound Cake
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1/8 cup pine nuts
2 tbsp (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup onions, chopped (1 onion)
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
1 chopped scallion, white and green parts
1/2 cup gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
2 large eggs
1/2 tbsp dry plain bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 sheet (1/2 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp of water

Directions:
Place the pine nuts in a dry sauté pan over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, and cook for about 5 minutes (until tender).

Add the garlic, and cook for 1 more minute.

In the meantime, squeeze the water out of the spinach, and place it into a large bowl. Add the scallions, Gruyere, Parmesan, eggs, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the pine nuts. Add the onion mixture. Mix well. Set aside.

Unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Cut the pastry in half and place one half on your lined baking sheet.

Spread the spinach mixture in the middle of the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border.

Brush the border with the egg wash.

Lightly flour your counter or a board, and roll out the second piece of puff pastry until it’s an inch larger in each direction.

Place the second sheet of pastry over the spinach, and seal the edges, crimping them with a fork.

Brush the top only with egg wash. (Don’t let it drip down the sides, or the pastry won’t rise.)

Make three slits in the pastry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the pastry is lightly browned.

Transfer to a cutting board, and serve hot. (Slice with a long serrated knife, if possible.)

Note: This can be assembled and refrigerated a day in advance and baked before serving.

Swiss Cheese Spinach and Mushroom Quiche with Crispy Potato Crust

With winter fading into the background, I have been eager to whip up as many comfort foods as I can. I still eat a few casseroles here and there in summer, but I tend to eat on the lighter side when it’s hot out. So, with the still chilly air, I feel like I need to stock up on warm, yummy, comforting food that I won’t be enjoying again for a few months.

Today I have decided to share one of my favorite comforting dishes. This quiche has a crispy potato crust and is filled with Swiss cheese, mushrooms, spinach, and eggs. I love having this with a big, full-bodied glass of wine and a light soup or salad to start. Hope you enjoy!

To begin, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch pie plate with 1 tablespoon (or less) of butter. Using the large holes on a box grater, shred the potatoes.

In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, onion, cornstarch, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Transfer the potato mixture to the skillet and pat into a 10-inch disk. Cook about 10 minutes until the bottom is golden brown.

Loosen potatoes and place pie plate top side down onto crust. Flip over, browned side up, onto the pie plate. Using your palm, move crust so edges are even around rim of plate. Bake about 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking, heat the skillet over high heat. Add the spinach and ¼ cup water. Keep turning with a tongs until completely wilted. When cool enough to touch, squeeze out as much water as possible by hand, then wrap in paper towels and squeeze again. Chop in small pieces. Reserve.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until brown and liquid has evaporated, stirring several times, about 10 minutes. Add the spinach to the mushrooms and season with salt. Put half of the spinach mushroom mixture in the crust, sprinkle the Swiss cheese evenly over, then the parmesan. Put the remaining spinach mixture on top.

In a bowl, mix together the eggs, egg whites, milk, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoons pepper and nutmeg.

Pour over the filling in the pie plate. Elevate the top mushrooms that are submerged so they will show when finished – you want it to be pretty! Bake 20-25 minutes until set. Let cool about 20 minutes before cutting.

Swiss Cheese Spinach and Mushroom Quiche with Potato Crust
Serves 4
Recipe taken from Cook and Be Merry

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter
4 Idaho Yukon Gold Potatoes (about 12 ounces), peeled
½ cup finely minced onion
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Two 5-ounce containers fresh baby spinach, stems removed
¼ cup water
8 ounces mushrooms, ¼-inch slices
3 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded (I used mostly Gruyère)
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2/3 cup milk
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch glass pie plate with 1 tablespoon (or less) butter.

2. Using the large holes on a box grater, shred the potatoes. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, onion, cornstarch, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

3. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Transfer the potato mixture to the skillet and pat into a 10-inch disk. Cook about 10 minutes until the bottom is golden brown.

4. Loosen potatoes and place pie plate top side down onto crust. Flip over, browned side up, onto the pie plate. Using your palm, move crust so edges are even around rim of plate. Bake about 20 minutes.

5. While the crust is baking, heat the skillet over high heat. Add the spinach and ¼ cup water. Keep turning with a tongs until completely wilted. When cool enough to touch, squeeze out as much water as possible by hand, then wrap in paper towels and squeeze again. Chop in small pieces. Reserve.

6. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until brown and liquid has evaporated, stirring several times, about 10 minutes.

7. Add the spinach to the mushrooms and season with salt. Put half of the spinach mushroom mixture in the crust, sprinkle the Swiss cheese evenly over, then the parmesan. Put the remaining spinach mixture on top.

8. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, egg whites, milk, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoons pepper and nutmeg. Pour over the filling in the pie plate. Elevate the top mushrooms that are submerged so they will show when finished. Think presentation.

9. Bake 20-25 minutes until set. Let cool about 20 minutes before cutting.

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

It’s raining here in Switzerland. Hard. I can’t say I enjoy that, but it’s nice to have an excuse to turn on the oven.

When it’s raining I like to use whatever ingredients I have laying around to feed myself. Going outside is not an option. No way. Not a chance. Never….unless you have chocolate to give me.

I decided to make this hot spinach artichoke dip with the ingredients I had on hand. It’s super scrumptious. The bubbly cheese, artichoke, garlic and spinach go perfect with tortillas or toasted pitas. I devoured this…fast.

To begin, preheat your oven to 400˚ F. Then, in a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, parmesan, sour cream and mayonnaise.

Chop up some artichokes…

and some spinach…

and add chopped spinach, chopped artichokes, roasted garlic, salt and red pepper flakes to cream cheese mixture.

Mix well with a rubber spatula until all ingredients are evenly blended.

Spread into a small baking dish (I used a french onion soup bowl). Sprinkle additional grated Parmesan over the top for more awesomeness and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is slightly browned. Serve warm with tortilla chips, pita chips, or crackers. Drool.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Recipe taken from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup coarsely chopped canned artichoke hearts
4 cloves roasted garlic*, smashed
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. roasted red pepper flakes

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, Parmesan, sour cream, mayonnaise, spinach, artichokes, roasted garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Mix well with a rubber spatula until all ingredients are evenly blended.

Spread into a small baking dish (I used a gratin dish). Sprinkle additional grated Parmesan over the top if desired. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is slightly browned. Serve warm with baguette slices, pita chips, crackers, etc.

*To roast individual cloves of garlic, I just throw the unpeeled cloves into a baking dish or pan and bake at 350˚ F for 25-30 minutes. Let cool before squeezing the cloves from the peels.