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My Cocoa Smoothie Addiction - Revealed!

Angela and I have NOT abandoned you.  I swear.  We have simply been tending gardens, and freezing food, and figuring out how to cook with all the new food-allergy-related restrictions.  But, never fear, I am finding my footing and have several recipes in the works right now!

For my part, I have frozen six quarts of blueberries and four gallons of broccoli, as well as about three gallons of cauliflower.  I also made  up about a quart of turkey stock (without garlic...I have had to resort to making my own, because I cannot find a brand without it!).

As for my plans for THIS weekend, I hope to freeze a few strawberries this weekend, and also freeze some shredded zucchini for zucchini bread.  (Hmm, I may have to go ahead and make a nice batch of vegan/gluten free zucchini bread, while I am at it.)  Oh, and most likely I will make more turkey stock.

I have also been freezing (and then promptly using) between one and two gallon bags worth of bananas every week.  I use them in my smoothies, but if I just leave the bananas on the counter they tend to get eaten (or half eaten) by the kiddos.  However, I have found that if I peel the bananas and cut them into rounds, then put them in a single layer on a cookie tray in the freezer, I can bag them up for future use.  Then, just like magic, there they are, right where I left them, uneaten!  Go figure!  I have now decided that I should hide all of my favorite foods in the freezer to keep them safe from little fingers!

I have also developed an addiction to Cocoa Smoothies, which does not really have a recipe, but it basically goes like this:

(First, and apology:  I keep finishig off the addictive little beauties smoothies before I have a chance to take a photo, but I will make another batch tonight and post a photo then.)

Cocoa Smoothies

1 large banana
1 heaping tablespoon of cocoa
Approx. 2 tbsp. agave (or honey, if you prefer)
2 c. flax milk (or other milk, milk-type, milk-ish product of your choice)
If you want, you can also add a tablespoon of some sort of nut butter
Two big handfuls of ice

Whirl it all around in your blender, and drink up!  If it seems a bit thick, add more milk, if you like it sweeter add more agave.  You get the gist!  This makes two of those conservative "that's what they allege are servings" or one nice "over-sized glass serving"...your choice.

I have to confess, I am addicted to the stuff.  Especially with the summer heat that seems to have a firm hold around these parts.  I like mine straight up (no nut butter)...it reminds me of a slightly melted chocolate milkshake (without all the allery issues)...just creamy, chocolaty goodness.  This makes me happy.  The kids loved it, too!  We also made several fruity versions, too, but that is a post for another day.  For now though, it is Friday, and my fridge is full, and I have another Cocoa Smoothie to make (and photograph).



Simple Succulent Blueberry Sauce

This is sort of a drive-by blog, but I made the most glorious blueberry sauce yesterday and I had to tell you about it.  Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take photos.  So, thank you, Creative Commons, for bailing me out yet again, and to the_girl for taking this lovely image and sharing it with the world.  

Now, onto that blueberry sauce!  It's berry time, and Terri and I have found ourselves with a veritable cornucopia of blueberries lately.  We will be freezing most of these to be used in future baked goods and smoothies, and potentially making a whole lot more blueberry sauce after yesterday's experiment.  

It was Father's Day, so I wanted to do something special for breakfast.  With our glut of blueberries on hand, I thought I'd try my hand at French toast with blueberry sauce.  The sauce turned out to be so simple, it almost makes itself.  

Simple Blueberry Sauce

11 oz. (approx.) of fresh blueberries (I'm sure frozen would work just as well)
1/4 c. sugar (I used evaporated cane juice, but regular white sugar would work)

* If you're making this sauce to go with pancakes, French toast, or the like, start the sauce first.  It can simmer while you prepare the rest of your breakfast.

Rinse the berries (if they're fresh) and put into a small sauce pan.  Sprinkle with sugar and stir, smashing a bit as you go, with a wooden spoon (preferably).  You want the berries to release their juices, but you'll want some of them to remain whole for that oh-so-desirable burst-in-your-mouth effect later.  After you've smashed them up, let them sit a few minutes (10-ish), then cook them over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to simmer.  Turn the heat down and keep them at a low simmer, still stirring occasionally, until the sauce is a rich, deep purple and is as thick as you want it.  Mine took about twenty minutes.  The longer it cooks, the thicker it gets, so for all you control freaks out there, the power is all yours.

When it's all said and done, it should look a lot like this:

Blueberry Sauce by wentongg
Another brilliant save via Creative Commons

A few short notes on this:  

First, many recipes call for a tablespoon or so of lemon juice.  I didn't see the point, so I left it out.  We didn't miss it in the least.  But, I imagine, if you were not going to eat the sauce right away, and attempt to jar and refrigerate it for future use, the lemon juice might keep it fresh longer or keep it from discoloring?  I can't imagine blueberry sauce discoloring, but I haven't tried storing it yet, either, so if you have ever had your blueberry sauce/jam/syrup turn weird colors, let us all know in the comments.  

Second, I would definitely double or triple this recipe if you're feeding several people.  This made enough sauce for my husband and I, so I'd say, what with his going back for seconds and thirds, it makes enough for three people.  My son bowed out of the blueberry sauce (his loss!) and went for the maple syrup instead.  There's just no accounting for taste.

Third, if your gastro-imagination is lacking, I would like to suggest that this sauce would be fantastic on pancakes, ice cream, waffles, cheese cake, or any other thing you can think of to top with saucy, sweet blueberry goodness.  Also, this could be a straight syrup if you strained it through cheesecloth to remove the blueberry bits.  I see absolutely no reason why this would ever be necessary (why on earth would you miss out on that bursting blueberry sensation?), but... to each her own.  

Happy saucing!

~ Angela


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