Spiced Apricot-Cashew Smoothie

Two days before we had scheduled for a week-long vacation, my CSA delivered with the motherload. Figures. Not that I am complaining, but finding ways to use up bags of fragile greens in two days is no easy feat. And then there were the apricots. 5 lbs of Blenheims and Pattersons quickly nearing their peak of perfection. And then, when we returned, they gave us 5 lbs more!

With dozens (and dozens) of these little gems on hand, I thought they must make their way into my breakfast (and snack, and dessert (see my last post for apricot crumble bars), and …), so of course, a smoothie it was.

dairy-free apricot-cashew smoothie

Since I was having it for breakfast, I didn’t opt for a super-sweet treat, but feel free to up the sweetener or play around with one of the sub options listed. Also, I see no reason why you couldn’t sub in another stone fruit if you don’t have ripe apricots available. Try peaches, cherries, or even nectarines!

dairy-free apricot-cashew smoothie

Spiced Apricot-Cashew Smoothie

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, and optionally Sugar-Free.

  • 3 Ripe Apricots
  • 1 Small to Medium Frozen, Ripe Banana (see sub options below)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Milk Alternative (I used Silk Almond Original)
  • 1/2 Ounce Cashews, Ground in Spice Grinder
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Flaxseed (optional)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • Pinch Salt
  • Sweetener to Taste (see below)
  • Ice (optional)

Place the apricots through salt in your blender, give it a few pulses to break things up, and whiz away until smooth (start with just 1/2 cup of the milk alternative and add more if desired once the mixture is smooth). Taste test and blend in sweetener to taste. If a frostier treat is in order, blend in ice to desired consistency.

Sweetener – This really is a matter of taste and depends on how ripe / sweet your fruit is and if your milk alternative is sweet at all. I added 1 teaspoon of honey, because I love honey with stone fruit. You could add your sweetener of choice (perhaps 1 to 3 teaspoons) or for an all-fruit vibe, add a soft pitted date.

Tired of Bananas? – Try subbing the banana with your favorite dairy-free yogurt or two soft pitted dates. Or for a more indulgent shake, stick with just the apricots, double the cashews, add in ice, and extra sweetener to taste.

Go Green – Toss in one or two fistfuls of baby spinach. It changes the color, but not the taste.

Yields 1 summer smoothie

dairy-free apricot-cashew smoothie

If you like this one, you might also like these recipes:

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I submitted this recipe / post to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays on Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free.

Apricot-Raspberry Crumble Bars

My home is still overflowing with apricots from our CSA, so I knew they would make their way into some sort of dish for our “neighborhood” 4th of July BBQ.

Last year we moved into a small group of tall condos that share a very nice common backyard. Since it is a tourist town, we only have a few permanent neighbors, while the rest are vacation homes. But almost everyone is in town for the 4th of July to enjoy the mountain air and the beaches … so it seems they have started an annual barbecue tradition as a way for everyone to meet up … even past owners of the condos! Yep, even those who have moved onto new places showed up to visit old friends and neighbors. We were honored to have been invited.

Perhaps we will receive a repeat invite next year, since these apricot-raspberry crumble bars seemed to go over quite well …

apricot-raspberry crumble bars

 

Fruity Crumble Bars

Feel free to use the fruit and/or berries of your choice (peaches, blueberries, cherries, apples, blackberries, etc.). You can vary the sugar in the fruit filling based on the fruit you use and how ripe it is. I only used 3/4 cup for the apricots and raspberries, but the filling came out a bit too tart – I would use a full 1 cup for those next time.

This recipe is Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, and Soy-Free.

  • 3 Cups All-Purpose or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Dairy-Free Margarine (I used Earth Balance Soy-Free)
  • 2 Tablespoons Orange Juice or Milk Alternative
  • 4 Cups Berries and/or Finely Diced Fruit (I used 3 cups diced apricots, very well packed and one 6-ounce pint of raspberries (about 1-1/3 cups))
  • 2 Tablespoons Orange Juice or other Citrus Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Orange Zest (optional)
  • 3/4 to 1 Cup White Sugar (see notes above)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch

Preheat your oven to 375ºF and grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

In a mixing bowl, or in your food processor, combine the flour, sugars, baking powder and salt.

In a small dish, whip together the egg and vanilla.

Add the margarine and egg mixture to the flour mixture, and cut it in with a fork or pastry blender (this can also be done in a food processor). Thick crumbs should form.

Remove 2 full cups of the crumb mixture (about half) to another bowl and set aside.

Add the juice or milk alternative to the remaining crumbs and combine. It should make a thick dough. Press the dough evenly into your prepared baking dish.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the fruit, juice, zest (if using), sugar, and cornstarch. Spread the fruit mixture over top of the dough in your baking dish, and sprinkle it all with the reserved crumbles.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until it is slightly browned on top.

Optional: If you want to ensure the flavor of your fruit filling, go ahead and cook the fruit / berries over medium-low heat, along with the juice and zest, sweetening to taste. Thicken with the cornstarch. 

Yields dozens of cakey, crumble-topped bars

apricot-raspberry crumble bars

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I had (have) a tone of apricots, but I threw in the raspberries just so these bars would qualify for this week’s Blogger Secret Ingredient (BSI) Event!

Economical Whole-Grain Spelt Tortillas

Usually, I only post recipes that are “my own” in the sense that I made them up in my little head (not to say someone else out there couldn’t have made up a similar one in their own head – really, how many original recipe ideas are truly left?!) or I have significantly altered a recipe. Seriously, I have a hard time leaving those ingredients and directions alone. But once in a while I find a simple gem … one that I just know I shouldn’t mess with … at least not right away.

I actually made this tortilla recipe for the first time last year, and have made it twice since. The first time I did the sandwich roll-ups you see below with some homemade slaw, the second time we used them for fajitas, and the third time I used them for making roll-up snacks, vegan/vegetarian style (sweet and savory). Sorry no pics on the last two, but they were equally good … better even, since my rolling skills improved.

Whole Grain Spelt Tortillas - Vegan

True, I will be fooling around with this wholesome tortilla recipe in the future, it just seems to have so much potential. But, it is also awesome as is, so I really wanted to share it with you here. Plus, I love, love, love that they use so few ingredients (no additives!), are totally whole grain, and quite economical (have you seen the price of good tortillas these days?). Oh yes, and they are tasty too … husband approved.

 

Whole Grain Spelt Tortilla

Rolling out the tortilla dough is more of an art than I expected, and does take some practice. If you happen to have a tortilla press, this recipe will be insanely fast. If not, allow a little extra time for rolling and cooking … you will speed up with practice. Also, I like my tortillas burrito-sized, so I just make 6. Eight makes them a generous taco-size in my opinion.

Recipe from Recipezaar. This recipe is Vegan / Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, and Sugar-Free.

  • 2 Cups Spelt Flour (whole grain)
  • 1/2 to 1 Teaspoon Salt (I like to use half the amount, but your call)
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Hot Water

In a bowl, mix all ingredients well. Cover and let sit in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Divide into 8 equal parts [6 for larger tortillas] and let sit, covered, another 20 minutes.

Roll each ball out to a 6- or 7-inch circle shape. I’ve found it helps to flatten each ball with your hand. Then take the rolling pin and roll from the center outwards, back and forth a few times as you go around the circle. When it starts to get thinner, take your left hand (if you’re right handed) and turn the tortilla a couple inches. Use your right hand to use the rolling pin (holding in the middle) and roll from the center outwards. Keep turning and rolling until it is paper thin.

Preheat a skillet on medium high heat. Place a tortilla into the skillet and watch until bubbles form. This won’t take long [about 30 to 60 seconds].

After bubbles form, and the bottom is lightly brown (or there are darker spots), flip over, press down once or twice [I prefer not to press down, this is an option], and cook for about 30-45 seconds, or if smoke appears.

Cook remaining tortillas, watching carefully, and place in a plastic bag, with wet paper towels in between them (or at least on top and bottom of stack) to keep them soft and moist.

These are best if used fresh, but you can refrigerate them if needed [careful as they can dry out], or remove the paper towels and freeze. 

Yields 6 to 8 whole grain tortillas

Whole Grain Spelt Tortillas - Vegan

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Submitted this recipe to Family Food Fridays

Soft Serve-Style Peanut Butter Cravings

I just noticed that most of the smoothies on my blog include banana. Believe it or not, I do take the occasional banana break using mango, avocado, or other fruits for thickening power, but I am not going to apologize for my love of this sweet and highly accessible fruit. In fact, I am going to share my current favorite breakfast today that features, you guessed it, one big, sweet banana.

Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, and Vegan Peanut Butter Shake / Smoothie

Why the obsession with bananas? Of course, the taste is awesome … and nothing naturally thickens and sweetens a healthy dairy-free smoothie/shake like frozen, ripe banana chunks. But my love runs deeper than mere aesthetics.

My whole life I have had a problem with severe calf cramps. Mid-stride during soccer matches (as a child and adult) they would suddenly seize leaving me frozen and writhing in pain. I frequently awoke in the middle of the night with extreme cramping (yes, my poor husband has been startled awake by my sudden outbursts on many occasions). But about five years ago I started my smoothie habit, eating at least one large banana every day. And what do you know, those calf cramps vanished. I mean *poof* – for good. The only time they have returned is mid-winter one year when I took a banana hiatus. Never again.

Many people argue that bananas aren’t actually the best source of potassium (a known cramp fighter). They are a “good” source, though in reality not a true top contender. But perhaps it is something more than just potassium … perhaps it is the whole nutrient banana package that somehow works.

Though one might think consistent change would be needed to keep things interesting with the old banana, to me it is a comfort food and I have comfort smoothies. I used to be completely loyal to the True Blue Smoothie, but the past year has brought on an intense love of peanut butter. You may have spotted my addiction via the Uber-Rich Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Peanut Butter Chunks (definitely a good recipe for this time of year), my PB & J Thumbprints (yes, no bake!), or the Nutty Oatmeal Blender Waffles (I couldn’t resist tossing PB in my favorite waffles).

These are all nice treats, but on a daily basis, my cravings are quite simple. Very simple in fact. Below is my favorite smoothie “recipe” for the past year (and we are talking the whole year – notice the snow in the background of the photo below – that was actually May though). I hesitated on posting it because it is so basic and so loose, but I love it, I CRAVE it. I usually go for max PB and make the smoothie super-thick (almost soft-serve style), with as little milk alternative as possible.

Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, and Vegan Peanut Butter Shake / Smoothie

 

Peanut Butter and Banana Cravings Smoothie
This really isn’t a recipe in the strictest sense of the word, but rather a simple idea. I always vary the amount of banana and pb depending on my cravings, and sometimes a dash of stevia is in order. If I think I need something nutrition-wise, one or more of the add-ins listed may make their way in.

  • Frozen Ripe Banana Chunks (I use about two handfuls – at least one large banana, maybe a bit more sometimes)
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Creamy Natural Peanut Butter (I use unsalted and sometimes add a tiny, tiny pinch of salt, but salted could be good too)
  • 3/4 Cup to 1-1/2 Cups Unsweetened Vanilla or Plain Almond Milk or Coconut Milk Beverage (feel free to use your favorite milk alternative – regular sweetened versions will of course up the indulgence factor nicely and you can even use chocolate!)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • Sweetener to taste (optional – I use a dash of stevia or a little maple or honey if the banana is under-ripe, but otherwise, I go without)

Place the frozen banana, pb, and 3/4 cup of milk alternative in your blender. If you have a powerful blender, whiz away. Less powerful like mine? Pulse to break up the ingredients, and then blend. If it is too thick, add milk alternative a little at a time until it blends well and reaches your desired consistency.

If you have a wimpy blender, avoid the temptation to throw a bunch of liquid in too soon. Too much and the blades won’t catch all of the chunks – they will simply whiz around. You can always add more liquid once it is smooth. I prefer my smoothies spoonable, so I add as little as possible.

Blend in the cinnamon, sweetener if using, and any other add-ins you desire (see some of my suggestions below).

My Favorite PB & B Add-ins:

  • A Scoop of Chocolate Superfood Mix (Kidz or Adult) from Amazing Grass
  • A Big Fistful of Spinach
  • Some Ground Flaxseed
  • Cocoa or Carob Powder  (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon)
  • Protein Powder (we like pure egg white protein powder or vanilla hemp protein powder, but your favorite will do)

Yields 1 nutty serving

Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, and Vegan Peanut Butter Shake / Smoothie

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Thick Mexican Chocolate Smoothie

Do you ever associate things in your head that may or may not actually be related? I really have no idea what a classic “Mexican chocolate” type of recipe would entail, but when I think of cinnamon, almonds, and chocolate the label just fits. If your version of Mexican chocolate needs a kick, I suggest a little ginger (fresh, powdered, or crystalized), rather than cayenne, to keep with the sweet smoothie theme.

Dairy-Free Mexican Chocolate Smoothie / Shake

Since I make this beverage so thick, you could call it a shake. But for me, if it is virtuous enough to consume for breakfast, it gets a smoothie title. Shakes are dessert in that rule-oriented brain of mine. Regardless of how you classify it, this is my entry into this month’s …

 

Thick Mexican Chocolate Smoothie

Recipe adapted from Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living.

This is a very flexible recipe and the results will vary depending on the amount of fruit you use, how ripe your fruit is, and how thick you want it. If it comes out too thin, add some more frozen banana, too thick … thin with more milk alternative. Also, for a sweeter option from the get-go and more of  a dessert shake, feel free to use a regular chocolate milk alternative rather than the unsweetened.

This recipe is Vegan / Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Peanut-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, and Low in Fat.

  • 1 Very Large RIPE Banana (or 1.5 medium bananas), broken into chunks and frozen
  • 3/4 to 1-1/4 Cups Unsweetened Chocolate Almond Milk
  • 1/2 Ounce “Raw” Almonds, ground in a spice grinder (if your blender is really powerful, you may be able to skip the pre-grind)
  • 1 to 2 Teaspoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • Sweetener to taste (optional)

Combine the frozen banana and 3/4 cup of the almond milk in your blender, and pulse to combine. Add more milk alternative as needed to get the consistency you are looking for. I like mine really thick (and spoonable) so I use as little as I can get away with while still getting a smooth blend.

Blend in the ground almonds, cocoa powder to taste (I like just 1 teaspoon, but 2 will give it a richer flavor), and cinnamon.

Since I wait until my bananas are really ripe, I rarely need any added sweetener in this. But give it a taste test, and add in a little of the sweet stuff if desired. You can use stevia, maple syrup, agave nectar, brown sugar, white sugar, sucanat, palm sugar, etc. or for an all-fruit concoction, blend in a fresh date (pitted of course!).

Yields 1 cool and creamy serving

Dairy-Free Mexican Chocolate-Almond Shake