Thursday, July 4, 2013

Your Kitchen’s Secret Weapon

Do you ever feel like you have this secret untapped resource of fun and enjoyment right at your fingertips? Perhaps you’re walking down the aisles of Wal-Mart and just as you were thinking you would love to nom on some Oreos, a huge display of multicolored 4th of July Oreos is in your field of vision whispering “EAT ME.” Maybe you wished for a pony one Christmas and actually got it. Sure, it was super aggressive and would buck you off every time you rode it, but it’s a pony!

Or maybe you’re just hanging out at your house, staring at your random assortment of food and thinking, “Is this really it?” Well, I’m glad you stumbled upon this post, because I have a solution for you- one that will probably change your life.

Your blender! Okay, I know what you're thinking. How anticlimactic. Seriously Julia, a blender? And for all that is beautiful, PLEASE HOLD THE SUSIE HOMEMAKER JOKES. But I'm telling you, find your blender, pull it out of that old forgotten moving box, and make sure that thing still works because I’m about to blow your mind with all the things you can do with one.

1) Hummus 

Recipe and photo via All Recipes

What you will need:

2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained
 1/3 cup tahini sauce (whatever that is)
 1/4 cup lemon juice
 1 teaspoon salt
 2 cloves garlic, halved
 1 tablespoon olive oil
 1 pinch paprika
 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

How to make it:

Place the garbanzo beans, tahini sauce, lemon juice, salt and garlic in blender. Blend until smooth.
Put the hummus in the appropriately sized bowl
Drizzle olive oil over the garbanzo bean mixture
Sprinkle with paprika and parsley and ENJOY.

2) Salsa 

Recipe via Mountain Man Cooks
Photo via Sacred Chef

What you will need:

1- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1- 10 oz can Rotel
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded or not (depends on how spicy you like it)
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
small handful of cilantro
juice of 1 lime

How to make it:

Put all the ingredients in blender
blend until all the ingredients are finely chopped

*Serve with chips or over tacos, like a boss.

3) Double Chocolate Chip Mocha Frappe

Recipe via Marie Xotoni
Photo via Starbucks

What you’ll need:

1/3 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
8 oz or 1 Cup Milk
3 Tablespoons Hershey's Chocolate Syrup
A Dash Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 & 1/2 Cups Ice

How to make it:

Blend the Ice first
Add chocolate chips and blend
Add milk, chocolate syrup, vanilla extract, sugar.
Blend until smooth.

*If you’re feeling fancy, put some Reddi-Whip on that chocolate monster.

4) Nut Spreads 

Recipe via Spark Recipes
Photo via All Good Provisions

What you’ll need:

1 cup raw or roasted almonds
¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon any oil

How to make it:

Finely grind almonds and salt
Add oil and blend until smooth
Want crunchy spread? Add ¼ cups chopped nuts
Store in the fridge

Note- While almond butter can be made from raw nuts (which will give you the most nutrients), roasting the nuts just prior to making the butter considerably enhances both flavor and aroma.

*To roast the almonds, spread them in a thin layer on a baking sheet at 300°F for about 20 minutes. Stir it a bit to make sure they roast evenly (or buy already roasted nuts).

*Want to mix it up? YOU CAN USE ANY KIND OF NUT YOU WANT. I know, it's madness.

5) Fruit smoothies! 

This is my favorite to make so I'm giving you guys my recipe :))

What you’ll need:

4 or 5 ice cubes
1 cup of your favorite fruit juice
2 heaping spoonfuls of your favorite yogurt
1 banana
1 handful of raw spinach or kale
3 handfuls of your favorite frozen fruits

How to make it:

Blend ice, juice, yogurt and bananas for your liquid base
Add spinach or kale to the mixture and blend thoroughly
Add frozen fruit and blend until smooth
Enjoy your smoothie! Makes 3 servings.

Okay! So now you have a better idea of all of the grade-A things a blender can make. Once you've mastered the art of pressing one button to make a meal, you'll never go back. Your blender will make the summer heat so much more bearable, not to mention delicious. 

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