smoothie

Me Encanta Horchata

I'm back on the grid! Living in a little Mexican town, on a tropical lake, with a lovely fresh produce market, in a sweet little casa with wifi and a gear-laden kitchen. Soy muy afortunada. The jungle was awesome, but I was ready to move on. The rainy season is just starting, which means even more bugs, and I was getting eaten alive out there. Serves me right. ;)

There's so much that I've learned, and so much I want to share...

One amazing drink I discovered is an elixir of the gods called horchata. Every now and then, I'd see vendors at the side of the street selling it, and wonder what it was. Really, I wasn't that curious because the name didn't sound that appetizing. I even noticed it in the grocery stores, as a thick white substance sold in bottles. I ignored it, since to me it looked like mayonnaise or something creamy, yuk. One day, I noticed a bottle in an otherwise empty fridge of a kitchen palapa where we were staying. I picked it up and read the ingredients, which were: rice, sugar, water, almond, cinnamon, vanilla. What?! That sounds awesome... The directions said to mix some of this syrup with water, and enjoy over ice. I tried it. ¬°Fantastico!

I learned that Mexican horchata is basically a sweet aromatic rice milk, usually made with raw rice and flavoured with cinnamon and vanilla, served on ice. Originally from Spain, it's traditionally made with tigernuts (chufas), so Spanish horchata probably tastes quite different than Mexican horchata. It's also made with ground almonds, sesame seeds, rice, or barley. I'd love to try all the differnet kinds.

Mexican horchata makes a great drink on it's own, or spiked with rum. I like adding horchata syrup to coffee or black tea as a dairy-free creamer/sweetener - or mixed with hot fresh ginger tea. Adding a teaspoon or two of concentrate to an agua de fruta (fruit blended with water), or smoothie is awesome too. Here is one of my favourite combos:

Recipe: Papaya Horchata Smoothie

Generally, the commercial horchata concentrates you can find here are mega-sweet, so I recommend using a lot less than the directions call for. You can find the concentrate in most grocery stores down here, the quality varies and different brands have different ingredient ratios, and some are less sweet. Of course, it's best to make your own! This rice and almond Yucatecan horchata recipe sounds awesome.

I'd eventually like to concoct my own horchatas, like: almond honey horchata, sugar-free brown rice horchata, sesame ginger horchata, chocolate spice horhchata, maple walnut horchata, agave jicama horchata... and of course, a traditional Spanish horchata de chufa.

The little bit of reasearch I did revealed some fascinating history, and that people are very passionate about this drink. I'd love to learn more - please share your horchata info, recipes and links - gracias!

Thanks for the pic Crispin!

Avocado Shakes & Smoothies for St. Patty's Day

Happy St. Patrick's day! And now for some festive green fare :-) Here are some great sounding recipes for natural green shakes and smoothies made with avocados:

Avocado Smoothie - Great healthy all fruit recipe.
Avocado - Banana Shake - I love the sounds of this avocado-banana-yogurt combo.
Brazilian Avocado Shake - One could use milk and sugar substitutes in this delicious shake - I'm thinking almond milk and agave syrup, mmm...
Bravocado! Shake - This shake is sweetened with honey, and sounds absolutely divine. (Warning: loud music plays when you're on this page.)
Vietnamese Avocado Shake - Classic.
Avocado Shake with Boba - Similar to the classic Vietnamese shake, but with big tapioca pearls - fun!

Here are a couple of healthy green smoothies I enjoy regularly - sans avocado:

Magic Green Smoothie - Spirulina makes it stimulating, mineral-rich, and super-green.
Green Ginger Pineapple Smoothie - Super raw detox smoothie - great for alkalizing your system. Refreshing and delicious + packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and enzymes.

To cap things off, here's a strong vibrant-green antioxidant-rich cocktail: Matcha Martini

Enjoy :-)

Green Ginger Pineapple Smoothie

This is my new favorite uber-healthy morning smoothie:
Green Ginger Pineapple Smoothie

Here are the things I love about it:
- full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
- made with enzyme-rich pineapple and easy to digest
- great for detox, candida, and alkaline diets
- full of fiber
- quick and easy to make
- refreshing, revitalizing, and delicious!

Cinnamon Creamsicle Smoothie

Recipe: Cinnamon Creamsicle Smoothie

I love this smoothie. We drink them often in the fall and winter. It's like a festive creamsicle in a glass - without the cream, sugar, food coloring...
Carrot juice is what makes it extra tasty and extra healthy (note to people with kids: you can't taste the carrot juice!). I happen to LOVE carrots and the vitamin A boost they give :-)
 

favorite smoothie!

Rich Chocolate Smoothie
mmm...

My new favorite smoothie:
Rich Chocolate Smoothie

It tastes more like an awesome milkshake: rich, sweet, creamy...
- minus the ice cream and milk!

Super Spirulina...

Spirulina in the morning: a rich green spirulina smoothie for breakfast - mmm!

My cousin emails me this question: "What can you tell me about spirulina powder?"

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae (actually a microalgae!) which is known to be very nutritious: packed with protein, essential fatty acids, minerals (including iron), vitamins (including B vitamins), healthy pigments (including carotenoids and chlorophyll)... Though spirulina does have all these healthy nutrients, you'd have to eat a very large quantity to get a good dose. (Here's an in-depth review of spirulina.)

According to those who sell it, spirulina also is said to be a tonic helpful in dealing with all sorts of ailments: viruses, cancer, high cholesterol, anemia, arthritis, poor immune system, malnutrition, diabetes, weight-loss...

Bikes and Blenders

The Byerley Bicycle Blender, or B3

I'm obviously not the only one who loves both bikes and blenders.

The blender: indispensable for smoothie making and great for pureeing and combining ingredients for baking.

The bike: excellent mode of transport. Great for bringing home ingredients to put into the blender.

Some clever fun-loving folks down in Berkeley California have come up with a new way to enjoy both: The Bike Blender!

Yes, it's funny. Fun too!

St. Patty

Happy St.Patty's day! I love the fact that today millions of people wear green and have fun. In with spring and out with the snakes - isn't that how it goes?

Two hot pepper plants from my 2005 deck garden.

No plans to have a green beer today - but maybe a Magic Green Smoothie. I will contemplate green, and post an image of my little deck garden from last summer. Taking care of a few plants was more work than I anticipated: getting plants, pots, soil, rocks, utensils (all on foot and bike)... then planting, watering, monitoring, pruning, protecting (note the gun)... All a joy.

Little Deck Garden 2005