Orange Cranberry Smoothie

IMG_6830I woke up Christmas morning this year feeling very excited! I felt like a kid all over again, the magic and anticipation of Santa and Christmas morning were very present. I didn’t sleep much, and by 5 am I was literally ready to get up and open presents. I seriously considered going and getting my parents up ‘for old times sake’ like when we were kids and getting up at 3 being told to go back to bed, then 4 then 5 and finally my parents would give up about 6.

I had the pleasure of sharing Christmas this year with both my parents and only me. No kids, no siblings, no in laws, just us, which is a rare and special occasion. It is not often that such an opportunity occurs and I felt that this in itself was a gift. Christmas Eve we watched a movie and my Mum and I sat up late talking and sipping gingerbread martinis. At midnight we toasted and wished each other Merry Christmas. We peeked outside, and experienced a calm beautiful evening. The snow gently falling and a peacefulness in the air, truly a unique energy that was not present earlier that day (or on Christmas morning when I popped outside either). It really was like in the movies, that magical energy, and presence there.

IMG_4491One of the things I love to do over the holidays is experiment with different festive recipes and on Christmas Eve I had already been thinking about trying a Cranberry smoothie of some kind Christmas morning. I googled a number of recipes and found some good ones, though undecided which one to try.

When I woke in the morning (or should I say finally got up around 8) I bounced out of the spare room wishing a Merry Christmas! Mum was at the sink, Dad dressing in red and I was moving towards the tree. Quickly with coffees or waters in hand we began a lovely ritual of opening gifts and sharing. After gifts Mum went to the kitchen to make brunch – a fabulous Impossible Quiche with Daiya smoked gouda, spinach and mushrooms and I proceeded to make the smoothies. I had decided to take the elements of some of the recipes I found that I liked and combine them, adding some of my own ingredients and creating my own. The result was fantastic! A smooth creamy, flavorful smoothie that we all socked back quickly, expressing how much we enjoyed it. I loved the added greens myself, which darkens the pink looking smoothie slightly but gets those greens in there without even tasting it! The added benefit is that cranberries themselves are considered a super food and are high in vitamin C, E, fiber as well as providing benefits such as improved immune system, antioxidant and decreased blood pressure.

When I arrived home after Christmas I made it again for the kids and they all loved it! Matthew who hasn’t been drinking many smoothies these days, tasted it said ‘Oh that’s good’ and drank the rest quickly. Chloe asks me every day since she tried it for one and has expressed that it’s her new favorite. Even my ex husband tried it the other day and said it was good (this is a big thing btw, as he is not really a smoothie guy and particular about tastes). I was quite pleased with the results and I think I drove my parents a little crazy that first day I made it when I kept saying throughout the day how good it was and how impressed with myself for creating it. Well it was good!

So if you’ve got a festive theme going over the holidays or simply want to try out a great new smoothie recipe, give this one a go! If you find it a little tart for your tastes just add more stevia when making it. Then come back here and comment telling me how you like it!

Orange Cranberry Smoothie

2 bananasIMG_6831

1 c. frozen cranberries

1 c. un sweetened almond-cashew yogurt

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. orange juice

1/2 of 1 g packet of stevia

handful of spinach* (optional)

Put all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Garnish with slice of orange and a few cranberries if desired. Pour into 8 oz glasses and serve.

*if you would like a bright pink smoothie do not add spinach as it will darken it. I love tossing in that bit of green as it is a great way to get those greens in a quick and easy way. And you don’t even notice it’s there!

Serves 3 (makes 3 – 8 oz servings)

Fantastic Easter Brunch Recipes

Breakfast is definitely one of my favorite meals as there are so many yummy options! Pancakes, eggs, omelettes, waffles, crepes, fruit… I like brunch even better and often enjoy those big brunch spreads that you can find where there is everything from crepes and omelettes made to order to carved roast beef and a chocolate fountain (my mouth is salivating at the thought). The selection is fabulous and there is something for everyone.

When I was growing up we did a big Easter dinner with the ham and scallop potatoes, but when I started my own family we moved to doing an Easter Brunch. This allowed the kids to get up and hunt for baskets and then to enjoy a nice meal later in the morning, leaving dinner to be a simple affair with no one stuck in the kitchen for the day or doing the big clean up in the evening!

I have found this to be a great shift, especially because brunch incorporates many of my favorite foods! Depending on how many people we have for brunch depends on how many different dishes I make, but traditional standard fare seems to be a quiche (which I love), waffles (which I also love but the kids do as well, they are not fans of quiche) and some fruit, usually consisting of cantalope, fresh strawberries and whatever else is in season.

The best quiche recipe I have found is a recipe I got from my Mum. Many people tend to avoid making quiche because of the crust, but this recipe for Impossible Quiche, is one where the crust ‘makes itself’. It’s true, by putting all the ingredients into the blender, the Bisquik sinks to the bottom while it bakes and creates a nice light crust. Simple, easy and takes no time at all. Of course I do enjoy quiche with a nice traditional crust as well but this recipe is quite satisfying and like I said easy to make!

Impossible Quiche

1 c. grated vegan cheese (mozza or swiss)Easter brunch recipes

1/3 c. finely chopped onion

sliced mushrooms

spinach

1/2 c. Bisquik

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

4 eggs

2 c. rice or almond milk

Lightly grease 10″ pie plate or quiche dish. Sprinkle cheese, onion, mushrooms and spinach (or other desired toppings) evenly over the bottom of the plate. Place remaining ingredients in the blender and blend at high speed for 1 minute. Pour into dish.

Bake at 350 F for 50-55 minutes, or until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand.

As I said, waffles are often part of our brunch spread and I have found some great recipes for plain, chocolate and orange waffles. The chocolate ones are to die for! While the plain ones are fantastic with maple syrup or adding some fruit and a little ice cream (Rice Dream is a yummy dairy and sugar free alternative to dairy ice cream if you’re looking for dairy free).

I am already looking forward to our Easter Brunch! and all the possible choices. Whatever you choose this year whether it be Easter brunch or Easter dinner, I hope you have a wonderful feast that you can share with family and friends! Happy Easter!