Purple Smoothie

Purple SmoothieDid you know that foods that are naturally purple (like blueberries or acai berries) are exceptionally high in antioxidants are therefore are super good for you? It’s true. Back in 2010 when I first began my weight loss journey, before I discovered juicing, I would have a purple smoothie every morning with a slice of cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread. It is such a good breakfast. In fact I may just have to start doing it again.

Blend all of the ingredients below in a magic bullet or whatever blender system you have. I specify the Sambazon variety of acai berry juice because this is the brand they carry at Costco – it’s 2 bottles for $10, whereas one bottle will run you around $7 at Whole Foods. I also get all my frozen berries at Costco. Usually I buy one of their huge bags of frozen strawberries and either frozen blackberries or whatever berry blend they have available. It lasts for weeks and is such a good bang for your buck. As far as bananas go, the more ripe the better. If you like your smoothies extra thick and cold you can freeze the bananas once they’re ripe and add them to  your smoothie that way. At the end of the day, it’s your smoothie, so put in whatever you like – I’d love to hear your variations!

The Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup Sambazon acai berry juice
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 fresh or frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries or blueberries
  • 1 large frozen strawberry
  • 1 generous squeeze of honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground flaxseed
  • pinch of old fashioned rolled oats
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Greek yogurt (optional)

Now I am not an advocate of protein powders and the like because at the end of the day they are super processed products that your body will have trouble digesting. However, if you must, this smoothie will be a perfect vehicle for that or any kind of powdered or liquid supplement you take.

Maple Bacon Cornbread

I definitely have an unhealthy obsession with cornbread. There’s something about the sweet, crumbly, yellow bread, warm and covered in melting butter that just hits all the right buttons. But not all cornbread is created equal, oh no. I’ve had many a disappointing pieces of cornbread: dry, not sweet enough, grainy texture, too dense, etc, etc.  Not long ago I went on a mission to create a cornbread recipe that makes cornbread just the way I like it: sweet, buttery, a bit of crunch on the outside, and a little crumbly. After numerous tests, variations, and overeating, I’m proud to say that not only did I get the recipe perfect, I took it one step further: to breakfast. I love cornbread with fried eggs – dipped in runny yolk, it is heaven. Since I already sweeten it with cornbread, I thought, why not put bacon in it as well. Friends, I’m not gonna lie – it’s a home run. The salty chew of the bacon mixed with the buttery sweet of the cornbread is nothing short of miraculous… but I really had to make sure. When I want to seriously test a recipe, I give it to my roommate. More than once I have made a dish that my roommate normally doesn’t like eating, but when she tastes my version, she freaks out about it. I call it the roommate test. Clever, I know. This cornbread passed the test with flying colors – she is a believer, and I promise you will be too.

As a heads up, you should know that the only way to make cornbread is in a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one, I can’t recommend getting one more highly. I get such use out of mine – it fries and browns like nothing else. Honestly, even if you only use it to make cornbread, it’s still worth it – nothing else will give you that light crisp on the exterior. The recipe may seem a little involved, but once you get into it, you’ll see it’s really a cinch to put together. Decadent? Yes. Starving artist? Absolutely.

Maple Bacon Cornbread (Recipe PDF)

Gingerbread Waffles

I know very few people who don’t love a good waffle. I love the classic, but, you know me: traditional is rarely good enough for the starving artist. I am obsessed with gingerbread, so I had the idea to combine it with my waffle batter – quite the good idea if I do say so myself. And my guest Tim, who had his birthday yesterday, heartily agreed that it made for a fantastic birthday breakfast. This one is easy to pull off for me since I always have baking basics (flour, sugar, powder, soda, butter) in my kitchen, not to mention all the spices. All I need to buy is buttermilk and eggs and I have breakfast for three (or as many as five). I also had some sausage leftover from my Impromptu Comfort Food recipe I posted a few days ago, so I just fried those up in a skillet and added some maple syrup in at the end for a quick and easy breakfast sausage. So delicious – a must-try.

Now I have to tell you that this batch of waffles has a special ingredient: Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter. My roommate bought a jar for her parents. I saw it sitting on the table while I was assembling the waffle batter and thought… yeah, this needs to happen. If you haven’t tried cookie butter yet, run, don’t walk, to your nearest Trader Joe’s and pick some up. It’s the most divine combination of gingerbread and cookie, melded into this spread that still has a light crunch to it. I warn you it is VERY dangerous stuff – I have mindlessly housed half a jar on more than one occasion. At 90 calories per tablespoon, it is no small indulgence. Yikes. You will likely be getting many more recipes that employ this heavenly concoction. For this one, not only can you put it in the batter, but if you’re feeling exceptionally decadent, you can even put it on top. Gasp! Personally, I stick to the tradition whipped butter and syrup. If you read my post “Griddled Amazingness“, you’ll know all about my feelings on both of those toppings.

What’s that? You thought waffles were too involved for the starving artist? Oh sweetie, just you wait – I do it all. Whether I’m whipping together waffles for friends or baking a decadent treat for a party, I’m always looking for the same traits: simple, resourceful, affordable (mostly), and a little out of the ordinary. And honestly, the joy and warmth that comes with serving fresh hot waffles (or any warm baked good) to your loved ones is always worth it, regardless of price.

I am going to continue the breakfast theme for the rest of the week, so check back in to see what I get up to. What do you put in your waffles?

Gingerbread Waffles (Recipe PDF)