Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nutritious Yet Delicious - Sunny and Julie - June 2011

Last night was our last Gourmet club for the summer. We start back up again in September after a nice little break.

Sunny and Julie hosted at Sunny's parent house in Lehi. This was also our last night with Julie. She has only been part of the group for a short time, but she is going to be moving to Europe to pursue a business venture soon and we will miss her, but wish her the best!!!

They gave us our invites at a previous Gourmet club night and I forgot to take a picture, but it was a little 100 calorie cottage cheese and fruit pack with a tag attached that read,
"Swimsuit season is almost here, And we don't want no cottage cheese hangin' off our rear!!
So join us for a super Nutritious, yet Delicious meal."

The theme of the night, Delicious Yet Nutritious!

We started out with appetizers inside.

All very fresh and super simple. A lot of theme were purchased from Costco and just needed assembling.

Watermelon Squares with Greek Yogurt

Caprese Salad

Hot Pink Smoothie - aka "Green Smoothie"

Vegetable Slivers with Jalapeno Yogurt Dip

and Grapefruit Water

Holly and Luke (9 days!) & Michelle and Jackson (4 1/2 weeks)
It should technically be Spring because we had 3 brand new babies born! Judith came but left her little one at home.

After appetizers we moved outside to the back yard for dinner.

Place settings were simple and cute. The plates were a fun leafy-vine pattern and were perfect for an outdoor setting.

Onto soup: Spiced Chilly Blueberry Soup
Really different, but fun. Just don't spill it on you!

A Fresh Mango Sorbet with Pineapple

As we were eating our soup I noticed Sunny walk by with tongs and a large garbage sack. I turned to Holly and Michelle and said, "I swear Sunny is pulling our salad out of a trash bag!" We all started laughing and then made her show us, she said she was hoping we hadn't noticed. Good trick to use when tossing a salad though!

Salad: Orange-Spinach salad with Caper Vinaigrette

Oh My Gosh, this was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!!
Main Dish: Stuffed Poblano Pepper on a bed of Garlic Quinoa
You will die when you see what is in it and how healthy it is for you, but seriously it is DELICIOUS!

Dessert: Fresh Mango Sorbet with Pineapple
Chocolate-Peppermint Brownies with Walnuts
I forgot to get a shot of the brownie but they were so good and they had doTerra Peppermint Essential Oil in them! Definitely worth trying.

And the gang! We missed Shelly, she had family in town so she couldn't make it. But Sunny invite a friend, Ann Marie to join us for the night which was fun.

Back Row: Kristi, Kim, Michelle (and Jackson), Ann Marie, Judith, Lindsay, Holly (and Luke), and Amber
Front Row: Heather, Sunny, Julie, and Annika

Take homes were really creative and fun as well. We each got to make our own scented essential oil lotion.

Plus Julie had made us her own Home-Made Granola, and our recipes of course! It was a beautiful night, the weather surprised us all and ended up being perfect and so pleasant!

Hot Pink Smoothie

By / The Green Smoothie Girl

(Can be stored in jars up to four days in refrigerator. This recipe is for a large Vita-Mix or Blend Tec container, if you have a regular blender, cut recipe in 1/2 and do two batches.)

2 c. water
1 can coconut juice or coconut milk (the milk has more fat, but makes it creamier. The juice is the healthiest option, but choose which one works for you. The GSG uses a fresh thai coconut each day)
7 prunes
3/4 c. raw cashew pieces
2 medium carrots (cut up if using a smaller blender)
1 medium beet (cut up into fourths)
2 T. vanilla extract
2 T. hemp protein powder (I like vanilla flavored)
12 strawberries, frozen (or 16 oz. bag)
Agave (to taste, I usually use about 3-4 T.)

Put the first 6 ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Once the nuts are smooth and there are no more chunks, you can add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth and add as much Agave as you would like to sweeten it. Make sure to peel your carrots and beets so you don't have an odd taste from the skin.

I like to buy a couple of bunches of beets and peel, cut into quarters, and freeze them. If your beets come with stems and leaves on them, you can use them in your green smoothies.

These are two types of coconut liquid you can use. The health food stores should have the coconut liquid. If you want to use the coconut milk, you could always use the lite version for less fat.

Make sure your nuts are RAW. You don't want them roasted or salted. You can find them at the health food store in bulk, or in bags like this one. If you buy them as pieces and not whole, then they are cheaper. Just make sure they are RAW.

After I am done, I pour them into my four jars and I'm ready for breakfast for the week! The GSG recommends drinking 4 c. of smoothie a day for breakfast but I only drink 2 c. (1 jar). You can do what is best for you. Bon Appétit!

Spiced Chilly Blueberry Soup


Delightful and refreshing, this chilled soup works as an appetizer, dessert or snack. If using frozen blueberries, cover the pan in Step 1 to bring the cold blueberry mixture to a boil more quickly.

Recipe Ingredients

4 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries , plus more for garnish

2 cups water

1 whole cinnamon stick

2 tablespoons honey , or more to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

2 cardamom pods (optional)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/3 cup low-fat milk

1 cup 4 teaspoons reduced-fat sour cream , divided

Recipe Directions

  1. Combine blueberries, water, cinnamon stick, honey, ginger and cardamom pods (if using) in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, until most of the blueberries have burst, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. Puree the soup in 2 batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when pureeing hot liquids). Place a fine sieve over the pan and pour the soup through it back into the pan, straining out any solids. (Discard the solids.)
  2. Whisk cornstarch and milk in a measuring cup until smooth. Whisk into the blueberry mixture. Bring the soup to a boil over medium heat, stirring. Boil, stirring constantly, until the soup thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, loosely cover and chill until cold, at least 5 hours or up to 2 days.
  3. Just before serving, whisk 1 cup sour cream into the soup and ladle into bowls; top each serving with 1/2 teaspoon sour cream and swirl decoratively into the soup. Garnish with additional blueberries, if desired.

Prepare through Step 2 and chill for up to 1 day. The finished soup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Health Advantages: healthy weight, low calorie, low carb, low sat fat, low cholesterol, low sodium, heart healthy, diabetes appropriate.

Orange-Spinach Salad

with caper vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette-

2 ½ Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp minced capers

1 tsp. minced lemon zest

¼ tsp. kosher slat

¼ tsp ground black pepper

For the salad-

4 cups packed fresh spinach leaves

2 oranges, peeled and cut crosswise into ½-inch slices

½ cup thinly sliced red onion

4 Tbsp. slivered almonds, toasted

Whisk together vinegar, oil, capers, and zest; add salt and pepper. Divide spinach, orange slices, and onion between two plates. Drizzle with vinaigrette; top with almonds.

Serves 4

Stuffed Pablano Peppers

4 Pablano Peppers

1 Apple, chopped

2 cloves Garlic

1/2 C. Raisins

3/4 Onion

1/2 C. Prunes, sliced

1/2 C. Almonds, chopped

Queso Fresco cheese

Jalapeno Greek Yogut

Cook pepper on high heat in a skillet till the skin turns black, turning as they cook. You'll hear them crackle. Once all the skin is black place the peppers in a Ziploc bag and put a dish towel over the top to let them sweat. Wait 30 minutes or can be done a day in advance. Peel skin off, cut around stem and take seeds out.

Add a few tablespoons of Olive Oil to the skillet along with onion, garlic, raisins, apple and prunes. Sauté just until the apple is translucent. Add almonds and chunks of cheese. Scoop into peppers, top with Jalapeno Greek Yogurt. Sprinkle with cheese. Enjoy!

Garlic Quinoa

3 C. Chicken Broth

1 1/2 C. Quinoa, rinsed

1/2 C. Onion, chopped

3 cloves Garlic, minced

Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil chicken broth, add quinoa. Cook per instructions. In the meantime, add 2 T. olive oil to skillet along with garlic and onion. When Quinoa is ready, combine with onion and garlic.

Fresh Mango Sorbet with Pineapple


You want to make sure you use mangoes that are ripe, or even a little over-ripe, because they’ll be extra soft and sweet. Perfect for dessert! Under-ripe mangoes will be a bit tart and you won’t get as good of a puree.

3-4 mangoes, peeled and diced.
2/3 C sugar
3 T fresh
lime juice
1 C finely chopped fresh pineapple

In a food processor (or good blender), puree the mangoes until you have about 3 cups. Add the sugar and lime juice and process to combine. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the pineapple. Yup. It’s that easy.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker* and freeze let it go until it looks icy, yummy, and firm, about 30 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve. To serve the following day, set out on counter for about 15 minutes to soften.

*If you don’t have an ice cream maker, just place in an airtight container and put it in the freezer. Take it out and stir once an hour for 3 hours, or until it’s too hard to stir.

This recipe serves about 8 people, or 3 if you live with my husband . And if you’re wondering, the answer is yes. You can totally eat this for breakfast.

Chocolate-Peppermint Brownies

with Walnuts

1 C. Coconut Oil

4 Eggs

1 t. Salt

1 1/3 C. Whole Wheat Flour

2 C. Evaporated Cane Sugar

2 t. vanilla

1/2 C. Cocoa

1 C. Walnuts, chopped

4 drops Doterra Peppermint Essential Oil

Cream oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla, then add dry ingredients. Back at 250 for35 minutes in a 9x13 pan. Spray with nonstick spray first.

Coconut-Mango Refresher

Approximate amounts per 2 servings:

11.5 oz. coconut water

2 oz. Mango juice

2 oz. Pineapple Juice

Julie’s Home-Made Granola

6 C uncooked old fashioned Oats

1 C raw Almonds, chopped

1 C raw Walnuts, chopped

1 C raw Pecans, chopped

1 C unsweetened Coconut

1 C Olive Oil or Coconut Oil

2 T. Cinnamon

2 T. Pure Vanilla

1 C Honey

1 C dried Apricots, chopped (Optional)

1 C dried Prunes, chopped (Optional)

In a large bowl mix the oats, nuts and coconut. In a saucepan heal the oil and honey until blended. Pour the warm syrup over the dry ingredients and mix well. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, turning and stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and combine dry fruit. Store in an airtight container, can also be frozen. Side note: I dehydrate mine at 110 degrees, for 24 hours, to maintain the natural enzymes.

How to pick a good Mango:

Mangoes that you find in American grocery stores usually come from places like Mexico, Peru, Brazil, or The Philippines. Although they can be different varieties you’ll find most of them look alike and follow similar ripening patterns. The skins can be a mixture of greens, yellows, oranges and reds. For a lot of mango varieties, the rule applies: the greener the mango, the less ripe it is. As it ripens it turns shades of red and yellow, and gets softer. BUT, that is not always the case. Many mangoes have a natural yellow or green color, when both ripe and not ripe, so color shouldn’t be your best indicator ,it should be how it feels. You want to find one that’s firm, but still soft to the touch. It’s similar to how an avocado feels.

How to cut the darned thing:

Mangoes have a big seed in the middle, so you have to cut around it. They’re also super slippery when peeled, so you’ll find it easiest to cut first, peel second.

Mangoes are oval shaped, so you’re going to cut off 2 “wide” sides, and then 2 “narrow” sides. Hold the mango upright, it should be longer top to bottom than it is side to side, like in the left-hand side picture below. Start with a sharp paring knife at the top. Cut downward down one of the wide sides until you feel the seed. Just cut down the side, feeling the seed with your knife and cutting right around it.

Do the same with the opposite side. This is the majority of the fruit.

You’ll now be left with the two narrow sides, so just cut around the seed to get those off too.

You’ll now be left with these parts: 2 wide pieces, and 2 narrow ones, and the seed. Before you toss that seed, make sure to lean over the sink and slurp off all that juicy fruit. That’s the best part of this whole experience. Yes, it’s an experience.

You can actually slice the large pieces while still in the skin and scoop them out like you would an
avocado. Or you can dice them the same way, and just flip the skin inside-out so all the chunks pop out.

The majority of the time I prefer to slice the large halves into 3 or 4 strips, peel the skin off with a knife, and then chop into chunks.

How to use them:

Mangoes are a really versatile food because they’re good in both sweet and savory dishes. I love them on the grill, paired with chicken or steak, or in smoothies, on top of yogurt, chopped in a fruit salad, or even in salsa. They’re great in ice cream and sorbets, and in lots of other desserts. Of course one of the very best ways to eat a mango? Plain!