A quiet morning. The sun is just beginning to rise. A deep red glow graces the horizon as the last flickering stars slowly disappear one by one into a tranquil blue sky. A few small birds greet their busy day with sweet songs, easing the transition from a mysterious dark night into a radiant warm morning filled with optimistic melodies. The pot of coffee that you started before you stepped outside to enjoy the fresh air is now ready, and the inviting aroma lures you back into the house. You pour a cup, take your first sip, and everything in the world feels exactly right at that very moment. Your significant other is still warm and comfy, fast asleep in the other room, and you feel inspired to surprise them with a special breakfast when they wake up. It is Saturday so you want to start your weekend off with something memorable. Something delicious. Well this week we hit the recipe jackpot with a creation that is all of those things and more. Please welcome your new favorite breakfast.
There’s nothing like a tall glass of ugly apple juice on a hot day. It is just as tasty and refreshing as “beautiful” apple juice made from “pretty” apples. In fact, if you did a blind taste test, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two. From childhood, it is instilled in us that outward appearances aren’t important; that true beauty comes from within. This also applies to fresh produce, but over time we have forgotten these universal rules. We have become discriminatory toward the fruits and vegetables we buy, ignoring the imperfect ones with spots and wrinkles, which end up being thrown in the garbage even though they taste exactly the same. Every year, nearly 3 trillion pounds of food is wasted—more than enough to feed all 800 million people worldwide who suffer from hunger. That means 40% of all the food in the US is going directly into the trash. So what can we do? Sarah Phillips created an informative website called UglyProduceIsBeautiful where you can learn more about these issues, and helpful solutions to fix them. When she contacted us last month asking if we would like to contribute a recipe to her site, we felt it was important to help spread this message and thought it would be fun to create something beautiful and delicious with ugly produce. So we rescued some ugly apples from our local market and with just a few simple ingredients and a couple easy steps, turned them into delicious apple roses. Flaky and buttery, rich with caramelized brown sugar, and swirled with delicate slices of sweet apples, these elegant pastries prove that even the most homely fruit can be the start of something beautiful.
We have a treat for you today! How many of you loved the chocolate chip pancakes at IHOP when you were a kid? You know who you are so please don’t pretend that you can’t remember that radiant whipped cream smiley face with those bright cherry eyes. You would look forward to it every time, and since it was a special treat for the weekend, your parents allowed you to order it. And as you enjoyed the fluffy pancakes dotted with melted chocolate, you would tell yourself, “When I’m a grownup, I’m going to have chocolate for breakfast every day!” Well today is a beautiful morning, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and we are feeling nostalgic. We decided to celebrate this gorgeous Spring day with something sweet. Something that would make our younger selves quite proud: crispy banana waffles drizzled with hot nutella syrup.
We have been looking forward to this week for a long time. Our ten-year old niece, Stella is flying down from Portland to stay with us! While one of the days will be spent at the happiest place on earth with thunderous mountains, Caribbean pirates and fantasy lands, we were also excited by her request to garden and cook with us, specifically matzo ball soup which she has never tried before. Now is the perfect time of year to be outdoors and to start planting seeds like tomatoes and basil, so we can’t wait to spend time gardening together in this pleasant sunshiny weather. When coming up with fun activities to do while she is here, we couldn’t help but also pick out a few delicious meals that we could prepare during her first solo California vacation. Pancakes quickly made the top of our list for breakfasts, and as we were looking up our favorite recipe in the Joy of Cooking, we noticed a lemon poppyseed version on the same page. Our impulsive curiosity led us to test these out for dinner the other night, and we were richly rewarded with a stack of hot golden pancakes—soft, fluffy, lush with lemon flavor, speckled with poppy seeds, and topped with a generous swirl of sweet honey butter. Breakfast for dinner never tasted so good.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! This is going to be a short post. We wanted to share something super quick and easy that you could whip up today in no time at all. This rich and creamy shake is dreamy and delicious and takes less than five minutes to prepare. It is cool, minty, and tastes like a decadent dessert, but in fact it is made without any ice cream, and the vibrant green comes from all-natural ingredients—not a drop of food coloring to be found! Made with frozen bananas, honey, vanilla, and almond milk, all the ingredients are mixed in a blender with fresh mint leaves and a splash of mint extract for an extra lift. The beautiful green color comes from matcha and spirulina which also give this smooth drink a slight pick-me-up as well as a boost of nutrients! This refreshing treat was inspired by today’s holiday, but this minty matcha made in heaven shake will be enjoyed throughout the year. Whipped cream is optional, but highly encouraged. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!
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Matcha Made in Heaven Shake
2 bananas, sliced and frozen (about 8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups almond milk
8 large mint leaves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon matcha powder (see note)
1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder (see note)
1/8 teaspoon mint extract
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
whipped cream (optional)
Combine the frozen bananas, milk, mint leaves, vanilla, matcha, spirulina, mint extract and 1 tablespoon of honey in a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for sweetness and add more honey as needed. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of matcha powder, if desired. Enjoy!
— To freeze the bananas, slice them and place the slices in a resealable plastic bag in a single layer, then lay the bag flat in the freezer until frozen.
— Matcha and spirulina powders can be found in natural food stores, and both are available online.
— To make this vegan, replace the honey with agave syrup or other vegan sweetener.