Sunday, August 29, 2010

High Energy Refreshment


Lately I've been hearing voices.
These voices, they ask me to do things I don't want to do. Most recently these voices have been protesting the amount of time I spend blogging and they are also partially to blame for my delay in posting the reveal about that mystery fruit. I try but it's hard to ignore the voices. I swear, I can even hear them in my sleep!

Voice #1: " Mooooooom, may I have a snack?"
Voice #2: "Mummy, want milk?"
As yet, Voice #2 doesn't speak in complete sentences but punctuates by screaming.

Voice #1: "Moooooooom, he doesn't want to share. Make him share?"
Voice #2: SCREAMS.
Voice #1: "Mom, I want to look at Ben 10."
Voice #2: SCREAMS. ( He wants to look at Doki on Discovery Kids).

Voice #2's communication is more telepathic than verbal...

Voice #1:"OOOOW! Mom make him stop biting."

 ...and sometime physical.

Breakfast Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

Mom, sipping on her sanity saving smoothie, steps in to prevent a trip to the hospital.

Voice #1:"May I go outside?"

You've gotta know that I'm only pretending these voices are polite. Play along.
Voice #1: "Moooom! Make him stop following me!"
Voice #2: "Mine, bike!"
Voice #1: "Mom, why doesn't he share?"
Voice #2: "Mummy, naughty. Spank you."

Or maybe that was Voice #1 again. Heck, you know you're in trouble when you start mixing up the voices!
Voice #1: "Mom, I'm hungry."
Voice #2: "Mummy, foody!"
Listen. I'll be the first person to tell you that my children are insanely cute, super adorable and so very sweet. Such over the top sweetness can be described by the local phrase  "Sweet too bad". Yep, that's them. They are sweet to the point of badness.  As a matter of fact,  I think I have diabetes on account of all the sweetness or at the very least a toothache. 

The above conversation was only a sound bite of the before breakfast chatter so it's understandable that by mid-morning I am drained and looking for an atidepressant a pick me up. Smoothies are my favourite power breakfast or my  mid-morning energy boast.

Anyone can make smoothies from scratch. There is no need for the pre-mixed powdered stuff which is what you are served at a very popular and in my opinion over-priced, local coffee house. Smoothies are often marketed as a health food. However it never ceases to amaze me when people don't understand that there is nothing nutritious in a drink if your server is shoveling it out of a large plastic bucket. Even worse you're being charged a premium price for inferior ingredients. You might as well be drinking very expensive, milky Kool Aid. I have actually asked to see the ingredient list on the back of one of those buckets and could not pronounce or recognize most of the ingredients. Confused? Click here for an excellent guide to help you rate the quality of your favourite smoothie establishment.   

As long as the basic ingredients are ready to go, a smoothie can be prepared in minutes. Use plastic baggies and freeze fruit or even a mix of several fruit into individual portions. Ehow recommends that half a quart-sized plastic bag makes the perfect portion for one 16 ounce smoothie. I use full fat milk and yogurt in mine so one 8oz is good for me. Freezing fruit in season means that you can enjoy a smoothie even when the fruit is no longer available. Just remember to thaw frozen fruit slightly before putting it into your blender. 

I'm afraid my recipe isn't very original. In fact the idea to put oatmeal in my smoothie came from Food Blogga. Check out her Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie here. Yes strawberries are rather expensive but some people spend much more than this each week on those trashy coffee house drinks. I refuse to feel guilty about the one box of strawberries I buy each year. Have fun and make up your own smoothie combination. Feel like sharing? Take a picture with your mobile phone and post pictures of your own smoothies concoctions. I'd love to see. Share them on the Breakfast Lunch Dinner Punch Fan Page.


Strawberry-Banana Oatmeal - Breakfast Smoothie
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup yogurt
1 banana (cut up)
1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1-2 tablespoons honey
1 cup milk (or juice, soy or almond milk- whatever you prefer)
3-4 blocks ice


Purée everything in a blender or food processor until smooth and frothy. Add more milk to thin it out or more fruit and yogurt if it isn't thick enough.

Due to all the insanity on account of the kids being on vacation for the past two months, my post on the mystery fruit is not quite ready. Just one more week of vacation left.  In the meantime if you guessed that the mystery fruit fron the previous post was a Mammy apple, Hooray! You are  absolutely correct. More details on that and the delicious dessert still to come. 


Monday, August 16, 2010

Mystery Fruit


Don't be fooled by it's boring brown exterior. This fruit is amazing! Do you know what it is? Click here or on my fan page button to play along. The idea for this came from blogger Caribbean Pot. Check out his lovely blog here, then head on over to his fan page to see some other uncommon Caribbean fruits.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Black Bean and Corn Salad with Lime Vinaigrette


This versatile salad goes anywhere and holds up well in the heat unlike mayo based salads. It's great for picnics, backyard barbecues, the beach or wherever you choose to hang out with family and friends enjoying the outdoors. This is the salad that I am asked to make most often when friends get together for a barbecue.


Of course you can stay in and have this as well. You will want to make extra since leftovers make great next day sandwiches. Pop this salad into some whole wheat pita , add a  few cubes of pepper-jack cheese for an effortless, rocking vegetarian sandwich for lunch the next day. Just think of it as a free day from the kitchen. Whatever will you do with all that time not spent in the kitchen? Please don't say do the laundry!

black bean salad

I highly recommend letting this rest awhile. It tastes best the following day after the beans have soaked up all the flavours of the vinaigrette. If you can't make it overnight plan on making it and letting it sit at least 1 hour before serving.

1/3 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp cracked black pepper

1 can black beans (15 ounce) rinsed and drained
1 cup roasted corn kernels or one can corn, drained
3/4 cup red onions
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup sweet peppers, chopped
1/4 cup chardon bénit (shado benny) finely chopped( substitute cilantro)

1) In a large bowl combine salad ingredients
2) In a small bowl whisk together dressing ingredients
3) Pour over salad and toss until all ingredients are coated.

The above recipe is only a guide to get you started. This is one of those recipes that you will over time just develop an instinct for knowing how much of each ingredient to add. Taste this after you add the vinaigrette to the salad and adjust to suit your own preference. In time you will develop your own ratios for your own perfect version of this salad.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why I am not vegetarain.


It's true that I delight in eating a wonderful variety of foods. Fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and pulses, I adore them all. I have even been known to crave a salad on occasion. However, I cannot escape the fact that when I dream, it’s not about chunks of soya. My sleep has yet to be disturbed by a craving for lettuce, or spinach, or pumpkin. Folks this right here is why I am not a vegetarian.
When I dream about food this is what awakens my subconscious.
Doesn't everybody dream about this?
You don't.
Well you should!.


Imagine a sweet, slow-roasted, rack of pork ribs. Fork tender meat bathed in a classic, sticky brown-sugar glaze that is just right for a lazy Sunday afternoon with the family.

But it’s the rainy season you protest. Summer may be grilling season in the temperate world but here in the Caribbean it’s the rainy season with the odd hurricane thrown in for good measure. Hauling out the grill at this time of the year is dicey.

You’re new here aren’t ya?. Please read here to see my feelings on grilling. No really….I’ll wait.


Yeah I know those early pics were somethin’ awful. What can I say we all have to start somewhere. Have you read it? Are we now on the same page on the issue of grilling?

Alrighty then, so this recipe is brilliant on two counts.
1) It utilizes my favourite cooking implement – the significant other.
2) No grill required.

Isn’t he amazing? My husband not the meat I mean. Okay well that’s somethin' too but really it’s no match for a guy, who not only slow roasts you some ribs but is thoughtful enough to do sufficient to last you well into the week. But surely that’s too much meat? I’ll bet it is - for a normal person but didn’t we start this conversation with me telling you I dream about meat? How normal is that? I’m guessing not very.


Here is the recipe translated from husband’s a dash of this and a handful of that methodology.

Oven  BBQ  Ribs
4 racks pork ribs

1 cup green seasoning.
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce.
1 tbsp Angostura bitters
3 tsp salt.
2 tsp black pepper.

Classic Barbecue Sauce (makes 3 cups)
 2 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 cups ketchup
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
2 tbsp prepared mustard
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp Worcestershire sause
8 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
2 tbsp fresh thyme
8 Trinidad pimento peppers
½ tsp salt
5 leaves chadon beni (finely minced, substitute cilantro)
½ tsp coarse cracked black pepper

Season meat with green seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, Angostura bitters  salt. and black pepper. Marinate overnight.

Put a large bread pan with 3 cups water on bottom rack below meat in middle of oven. Cook meat bone side side up at 350 degrees F for one hour. Then flip and cook an additional  1 ½ hours. Check tenderness. Lift rack with tongs and it bends then it’s done. Alternatively tug at a piece of the meat with a fork and if it almost falls off easily then it's ready to be basted. Give it some love. I mean baste with barbecue sauce and leave for additional 20 mins -30mins.
Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Sauté onion in butter until softened, about 5 mins. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes over medium low heat. Store refrigerated, up to two weeks.