Tag Archives: bananas

I Have Blender Issues

11 Apr

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“Just think – this is the second blender I’ve bought for you!” Rob exuded knowing full-well what buttons he was pushing. I could even hear his smile on the other end of the phone line. “Have you blended anything yet?”

“No, not yet.” I responded quite flatly.

“Why not? I thought you’d be blending away!”

Again, “No, not yet.”

It got silent on the other end of the line. Opening the freezer, I realized that the frozen fruit section of Costco had found its home in our freezer and was eager to be used. Rob had gone to work for a night flight, and I was left alone in our kitchen, stocked with an assortment of smoothie accoutrements. Rob and I had taken the leap we have been discussing for a couple years now. But it took two very distinct moments to finally take the plunge: 1) I chucked my old, dilapidated, hardly-makes-a-whirring-let-alone-blend-anything blender across the kitchen (not really – I just put it down hard on the counter and probably emitted a choice word or two) and 2) Vitamix finally came out with a blender small enough to conspicuously keep on the counter.

Yes, we finally got a Vitamix. And really, it is that awesome.

But here’s the story.

It was our first Christmas together, and if you follow the blog (or have heard the stories), you know that Rob and I seem to have pretty epic moments around Christmastime. Tree spiders hatching babies, killer ladybugs, U-Cut (but not really) trees, hung-over Midnight Mass, rabid cats, kitchen fires… you know, the average holiday. This one was really what started it all with Rob buying a giant Oregon tree to decorate on Christmas Eve. It was the first time either of us had been away from our immediate families for Christmas, and we were only just engaged. So we made a point to not only incorporate our families’ traditions, but also start our own.

Months earlier, when I had been visiting Rob in Oregon, we walked through Wal-Mart and I saw a little $12 single-serving blender. Briefly commenting on how that would be great for little smoothies and dressings, we walked on and that was that.

Come Christmas day – our very first Christmas together – Rob and I exchanged gifts. It was a humble event, and we had put a lot of consideration into each other’s presents knowing that as this was our first special holiday just the two of us. We wanted to try to make it one to remember. When I got to opening this one present under the tree, Rob got so giddy; his smile stretched across his face and he looked like a little kid squirming with anticipation, wanting to rip off the wrapping himself. As I slowly removed the paper, there it was – the single serving blender.

Now generally, my reactions/responses to things are immediate, not thought provoked, and well, often blondish. My parents will attest to the fact that my whole life, the link between my brain and my mouth is about as short and fast as a duck’s sphincter. It just comes out. Usually followed with the inevitable, “Oooooooo, sorry,” (with scrunched up face to match).   Just revisit Rob’s marriage proposal to me if an example is needed.

So, when Rob gave me this blender for our first Christmas together – one that I wanted and loved and eventually used until it whirred its last whir of life – my reaction was not what he expected.

“You got me a blender?” My brain could not catch up – the words were out.

Rob’s face dropped. “Yeah, you like it, right?”

“Yeah, I love it!”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“There is no problem-“ Rob was still confused by the fact that my verbal reaction didn’t match my smile, “-you just got me a blender for Christmas!”

Rob caught on (poor guy to have to deal with me) and the conversation went on with laughs, dancing around how I was now to be a stereotypical 1950s housewife, make him all the smoothies he could ever want at any whim, only vacuum while wearing high heels and pearls, etc., etc. Needless to say, the Christmas appliance quickly became the talk of our holiday gifts.

In fact, each year the appliance-as-a-holiday-gift is joked about: one year it was a vacuum cleaner, another year copper pots! So, for the last couple of years when I’ve said I was thinking about getting a Vitamix, high-speed, fruity blended smoothies hit the fan just at the mere mention! I was quickly reminded that I already had a blender. Sigh.

We never did make the holiday blender splurge because of its price, its size, and the fact that I really don’t want to have a ton of kitchen appliances. But after Rob learned of its awesomeness (which then lead to much persuasion from him), the craving of healthier foods for the upcoming bathing suit season, the wonderful saleslady at Williams Sonoma, and the gift card I received from my aunt and uncle, we finally mixed ourselves into a frothy tizzy and bought the blender.

“So, when will you make something? I thought you’d be blending away tonight.” Rob sounded, again, confused on the other end of the line (what I do to the poor man!).

“I’ll wait for you, babe.” I turned on the sugary sweetness. “We can blend together.”

Rob’s familiar chuckle was muffled by the phone, but his smile was not. He gave a quick, “Ok,” and we moved on.

We did blend together and made a pretty amazing meal. The Vitamix does what it promises, and we created a dinner of Fresh Corn and Tomato Bisque and had Chocolate Banana Ice Cream for dessert. Lately for breakfasts, Rob’s been perfecting an Island Smoothie and I have been enjoying Almond Chai Tea Smoothies. Overall, it has been a great purchase, even if it is a blender.

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Fresh Corn and Tomato Bisque
(serves 2)

  • 2 ears corn, raw kernels cut off the cob.
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (they just started showing up in season here – gotta love the FL warm weather!) 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 c chicken stock, heated to a slow rolling boil over the stove
  • 2 bunches fresh basil
  • 1 large bunch fresh dill
  • s&p

**Special equipment: a high powered blender, such as a Vitamix.

Starting with the chicken stock, put all the ingredients into the blender. Start slow and gradually blend on high for 5-7 minutes. The heat from the force of the blender will cook the veg (I didn’t initially believe this. But tasting the soup and wickedly burning my tongue proved me wrong). Pour into a bowl and enjoy with a drizzle of good olive oil, or top with a rustic salsa made of roughly diced tomatoes, lemon juice, and s&p.  

Serve with a little green salad for a tasty meal.

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
(serves 2)

  • 2 bananas, sliced into ½- in slices, and frozen until solid.
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp Agave Syrup

**Special equipment: a high powered blender, such as a Vitamix.

Put all ingredients into the blender, and whir until the mixture is combined and resembles a soft-serve ice cream. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

An I Love Lucy Moment

16 Aug

Right here:

Yep, the bottom gave out on one of the 10-pound flat of blueberries we picked last week, leaving what could have been Sig’s dream come true.  After the spillage, in one quick motion, Rob scooped up the blueberry-loving pup in one arm (who was more then well-aware of what just happened, and quickly thought he could possibly “help”), grabbed the kitchen camera with the other, all the while giggling like a little school girl waking up Christmas morning.  Luckily, I was wearing black shorts.

There were berries under the couch, under the TV stand, not to mention on us.  Our hands and nails were stained a dark purple half-way through the clean-up, until Rob got the, dare I say brilliant, idea to use pancake spatulas to scoop up the massive amount of rogue fruit.  It worked, although, I’m sure it was quite a sight: two grown adults on hands and knees, butts in the air, scooping up everywhere-blueberries with black spatulas, doggie outside whining at having been demoted to a spectator behind the screen door.  We were able to clean up the blueberries without squishing too many (although the Lucy and Ethel grape-stomping scene was vividly on repeat in my head).  And those that did not survive the fall, or the feet, Sig happily partook.

While I do not recommend eating many fruits off the floor, I figure if you boil something long enough, all the germs are bound to die, right?  Luckily, I still had some frozen blueberries that needed a “preserved” home, so I quickly got to canning my blueberry sauce, making room in the freezer for the new batch of living-room-floor-berries.

The blueberry sauce can pair with everything.  Seriously.  It is the seen-on-tv-type sauce when it comes to versatility.  Because it is not sweet, just perfectly blueberry-y, oatmeal, ice cream, chicken, steak, and mixed into a vinaigrette have all been viable (and delicious) options.  But my new favorite was this morning’s meal: Rosemary Chia Banana Bread paired with the Blueberry Sauce.  Simple, summery, light, healthy, and delicious.  Chia seeds are similar to flax seeds, and are a huge staple in the supplemental health department.  The Rosemary combined with the banana gives the bread a very earthy taste.  It’s probably my new favorite breakfast bread.  Adding the rich, tangy, blueberry sauce make this morning a far cry from yesterday’s debacle (much to Sig’s dismay).  Nothing yet has spilled today, but, it’s still early – haven’t even begun preparing dinner!

Rosemary Chia Banana Bread (makes one loaf) 

  • 1 3/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1/8 c chia seeds (flax seeds are a good substitute) 
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 8 oz plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 overripe (black) bananas that have been frozen, then thawed, then peeled (keep any liquid) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Lightly butter and flour a loaf pan, and set aside. 

Mix all the dry ingredients (including the rosemary), minus the sugar, in a large bowl, and set aside.  In a stand (or hand) mixer, cream the yogurt, vanilla extract, and sugar together until creamy.  In three separate batches, mix the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing until dry ingredients are just incorporated each time.  Add the thawed bananas and all the liquid from thawing the frozen overripe fruit.  This will add a ton of flavor, as well as create moist bread.  

Once the bananas are incorporated, pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake in the middle of the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the bread is golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  

Cool, and enjoy with blueberry sauce! 

Blueberry Sauce (makes 3 pints) 

  • 1 gallon frozen blueberries (equals about 16 cups) 
  • zest of one lemon 
  • juice from two lemons 
  • 3 tbsp confectioners sugar 
  • 3-finger pinch of salt

Pour all ingredients into a large pot, and heat over med-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to bubble and starts to foam.  Spoon off the foamy top layer, and lower the heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes.  You will know the sauce is done when the bubbles become gloppy, and the mixture coats a spoon.  There will still be chunks of blueberries in the mixture, which gives the sauce a nice texture.  It should taste like true blueberries – not jammy, or overly sweet.  Just blue.    

Follow an approved canning/preserving method, or keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a few weeks.   

Enjoy!  

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