Seeing Green: Coconut Kale Smoothie

Coconut Kale Smoothie

Green.  It signals go. Americans spend greenbacks. Gardeners have green thumbs. Performers wait in green rooms. The green movement is changing the way we think about the environment. We turn green with envy. And why, oh why, is it that the grass is always greener on the other side?

It’s the eye-color of monsters. Those with superpowers, like the Green Hornet, the Green Lantern, the Green Giant, and the Incredible Hulk happen to prefer it. My favorite Powerpuff girl, Buttercup, wears green while she fights crime in Townsville. In my early years, I preferred green candies and green Slush Puppies. Today, I love fried green tomatoes!

Coconut Kale Smoothie

Green is the color of the heart Chakra, and I once had someone tell me, “under your heart is the prettiest shade of green.” That was interesting. Kermit told us It Ain’t Easy Being Green.

Do me a favor. Look around and count how many shades of green you see.  I recently counted 20 shades of green just from my viewpoint in the front yard! I then learned  the color green “occupies more space in the spectrum visible to the human eye” than any other color, hence “the human eye is most sensitive and able to discern the most shades in that color.”

Coconut Kale Smoothie

This Coconut-Kale smoothie gets the green light. Smoothies, particularly green smoothies, have been popular posts on the internet as of late. Jumping on the bandwagon, I turned to a recipe I have had hanging on my refrigerator for the past few months.

The smoothie’s green color is daunting. My grandfather refused to eat anything blue. This was not overwhelmingly problemeatic as aside from blue cornmealblueberries, and blue buttercream roses, one encounters blue in very few foods. Prior to trying this smoothie, I had an aversion to green drinks. Green vegetables, fine. Green drinks, not so much.

Coconut Kale Smoothie

Though I sometimes post my failed attempts recipes under the guise of learning experiences, I will never post a recipe that I would not feed to my family or share with my friends. So when I promise you this Coconut Kale smoothie is good, I promise that it really is good! I have enjoyed a few of these smoothies for breakfast, and as you can see here, I have also enjoyed one with a dollop of ice cream like a smoothie shake!

I used a banana more on the green (of course) than on the ripe side (I prefer bananas that are just barely yellow), and I was happy with the sweetness it provided. If you are like me and inevitably end up with bananas that turn from yellow to brown before you can enjoy them, you may save these ripe bananas for baking. Since it’s too hot to turn on the oven, throw one of those overly ripe bananas into a smoothie instead. Go for it!

Coconut Kale Smoothie

4.0 from 2 reviews
Coconut Kale Smoothie
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 large banana, frozen
  • 2-3 kale leaves (including stalks)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (or coconut water)
  • 6 ice cubes
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: agave syrup or honey for sweetness
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend for 35 seconds or until ice is blended smooth.
  3. If desired, sweeten with a bit of agave syrup or honey.
Notes
Top off with ice cream for a sweeter, dessert smoothie.
 

Monday Muffins: Zucchini-Coconut

Zucchini Coconut Muffins

It’s been quite a while since I posted any Monday Muffins, but I set out to change that as soon as I saw King Arthur Flour’s recipe for Zucchini-Coconut muffins. Perhaps it was my high expectations.

Perhaps it was my baking. Whatever the reason, the muffins lacked flavor. That is not to say I did not enjoy them topped with a sweet glaze, I just really missed something when I took a bite.

Perhaps it was the flavor cinnamon gives to zucchini quick breads. Perhaps it was the crunch walnuts add to soft muffins. Whatever the reason, I now have ideas to improve the muffins when I make them again.

Zucchini Coconut Muffins

For example, I simply do not like the earthy taste of whole wheat flour. Even though the recipe called for white whole wheat flour, I could really taste it’s gritty flavor in these muffins. So next time, I will use only all-purpose flour. I may also add vanilla extract in addition to the coconut extract, and I will likely add ground cinnamon in addition to the ground ginger.

Some of the muffin tops came out of the oven a bit disfigured. Instead of nice poufs, the disfigured muffin tops looked more like rolling hills. Regardless, they tasted just as good as the pretty muffins. Perhaps it is only what is on the inside that really does count.

If you are in the mood for muffins but are not a zucchini or a coconut lover, I have started a muffins board on Pinterest.  Perhaps I should spend less time on Pinterest and more time in the kitchen.

Zucchini Coconut Muffins

Zucchini-Coconut Muffins
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • For the muffins
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¼ teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 2 cups zucchini, shredded (about one medium zucchini)
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • For the glaze
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk (or coconut milk)
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flours, salt, ginger, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, honey, vegetable oil, brown sugar, and if using, the coconut extract.
  3. Mix until well combined, then slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  4. Mix until just combined, then fold in the shredded zucchini and the ½ cup coconut.
  5. Pour the batter about ¾ full into paper-lined muffin wells.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool completely before glazing.
  8. To make the glaze, sift (to remove lumps) the confectioners’ sugar over a small to medium bowl.
  9. Add the milk and whisk to combine. You may wish to add only two tablespoons of milk to begin to achieve the desired consistency. The glaze should be thick enough to stick to the tops of the muffins without completely dripping off (a few drips are normal).
  10. Sprinkle toasted coconut over the tops.
Notes
To toast coconut, place a thin layer of coconut on a baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees for just a few minutes until lightly browned. The coconut will turn from toasted to burnt very quickly, so keep an eye on it. When you begin to smell its aroma, it is done.
 

No-Bake Chocolate Crunchers

No Bake Chocolate Crunchers

A few of you have commented about how you like to beat the heat. No-cook meals are popular, and I too turn to no-bake desserts when I crave a cookie. This recipe for No-Bake Chocolate Crunchers was intended as a last-minute holiday cookie. Consider this Christmas in July!

Like Vacation Cookies, these cookies can be made with ingredients likely already found in your pantry. The filling is a combination of nuts, dried fruit and cereal held together with chocolate and sandwiched between vanilla wafers. I chose a  walnut, dried cranberry, corn flakes and semi-sweet chocolate mixture.

No-Bake Chocolate Crunchers

The recipe called for only 1/3 cup of (melted) chocolate chips to cover 48 vanilla wafers. I used all of the 1/3 cup for just 24 vanilla wafers, so I ended up using nearly an entire bag of chocolate chips to coat the filling and the wafers. I guess this proves when it comes to chocolate, I am my mother’s daughter. And despite filling the cookies with a slightly heaping teaspoon of the nut, fruit, and cereal mixture, I had enough filling left over to make 10 additional sandwich cookies.

The cookie was very chocolaty, which was great because just one sated my sweet tooth. The cranberries lent a tart bite here and there, but balanced the overall sweetness quite well. I anticipate I will make variations of these cookies quite often. I may also turn these no-bake cookies into partially baked cookies with homemade vanilla wafers or homemade chocolate wafers when the weather turns cool. Happily, for this summer-lover, that is still a long way off. Enjoy!

No-Bake Chocolate Crunchers

No-Bake Chocolate Crunchers
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: at least 24
Ingredients
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 cup corn flakes, coarsely crushed
  • at least 1⅓ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • at least 48 vanilla wafers
Instructions
  1. Combine the walnuts, dried cranberries, and corn flakes in a large bowl.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Heat on high power for 1-2 minutes as needed, stirring half-way through.
  3. Pour the melted chocolate over the nut, fruit and cereal mixture. Stir to evenly coat (a rubber spatula works well here).
  4. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt ⅓ cup of the chocolate chips. Heat just 30 seconds at a time, and stir until smooth.
  5. Cover the flat sides of two vanilla wafers with the second batch of melted chocolate.
  6. Place a slightly heaping teaspoon of the chocolate-covered nut, fruit and cereal mixture on the chocolate side of one of the vanilla wafers.
  7. Top the mixture with the other vanilla wafer, facing the chocolate side of the wafer towards the mixture.
  8. Repeat until all vanilla wafers have been turned into sandwich cookies.
  9. If desired, drizzle melted chocolate across the tops of the cookies (a wire whisk works well here).
  10. Allow to stand at room temperature to firm.
Notes
Suggested Combinations: 1) macadamia nuts, cranberries, and white chocolate chips 2) pecans, raisins, and butterscotch chips 3) peanuts, raisins, and milk chocolate chips Other Ideas: use puffed rice cereal in place of corn flakes, or substitute marshmallow pieces for the nuts or dried fruit.