I sometimes feel a little silly posting smoothie ‘recipes’ since they are so simple, but I know I am always looking for new ideas. The coconut flour in this makes it a little thicker and creamier. This trick works fairly well as a substitute for yogurt if you don’t eat dairy. I used a strong chai blend of black tea, cardamon, black pepper, cinnamon and other spices.The spiciness of the chai pairs well with the banana and adds just enough sweetness. You could always add a bit of honey if your banana is under ripe or you just prefer it a little sweeter.
Banana Chai Smoothie
1 very ripe banana
1 cup strongly brewed chai (2 teabags or equivalent per 1 cup of water)
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 cups ice
Brew the chai and allow to cool completely. Combine all the ingredients and pulse in a blender until completely smooth! This makes about 2-3 servings.
It may be July, but I already have Christmas gifts on my mind. I knew I wanted to give vanilla extract a try after seeing how easy it can be to make. I recruited my mother-in-law to help with the project. We pick up several liters of decent vodka. I had ordered these pretty bottles with airtight stoppers and Madagascar vanilla beans. Each vanilla bean was slit in half with two per bottle. Each 8.5 fl. oz. bottle were filled to the base of the neck with vodka and now they will sit for several months. The color will darken to a deep amber as the vanilla steeps. When I head back the west coast, my mother-in-law has generously agreed to shake them every few weeks so they will be ready for Christmas gifts in December.
1/4 pound Madagascar Vanilla Beans
12 8.5 fl. oz. airtight bottles (or any airtight bottle you have on hand)
4 1.75 liters of vodka
Split the vanilla beans, drop at least two pods into each bottle and fill with vodka and allow to sit for at least two months in a cool dark location shaking occasionally.
My weekend at the shore on the east coast had all the necessary elements for a great short vacation with family. We spent a day on the beach and the boardwalk. New Jersey beaches are one of the more entertaining spots for people watching.
My brother cooked us lobsters for dinner two nights in a row. He even pre-cracked the shells making it a fully indulgent experience.
In my family, no beach vacation is ever complete without a Scrabble tournament. My dad is somewhat of a master of the game. He only beat me by a point in our last game, and I am already ready for our rematch.
I hope you are having a great fourth of July! I am enjoying the possibility of a low-key day and maybe some evening fireworks over the Hudson River.
* The photo above is by Hendrickson Photography from our wedding, but I think it applies.