Peanut Butter Triple Berry Smoothie Recipe

This Peanut Butter Triple Berry Smoothie recipe reminds me of a PB&J sandwich with a glass of cold milk. Minus the bread. Great breakfast or snack!

My friend Dawn Rae just published a review of her new NutriBullet Pro 900. I read the review this morning and promptly started having hunger pangs that quickly grew into cravings for a fruit smoothie. So I went looking for a recipe.

Since an unopened bag of Schwan's Triple Berry Blend was residing in my freezer (alongside a zipper bag of frozen banana halves, my favorite smoothie sweetener), I turned to the Schwan's website for inspiration.

Their Triple Berry Smoothie recipe caught my eye and held my interest. In fact, I was rather fascinated that peanut butter was one of the ingredients. Hmm. Berries and peanut butter. Sounds good. Plus banana. Sounds even better. Their recipe called for almond milk, which I didn't have on hand, but I made an executive decision to use regular milk. My future smoothie was sounding better and better.

After blending then promptly consuming the results (after snapping a few pictures, of course), both my taste buds and my tummy were satisfied. The peanut butter taste really stood out, so I decided to call my concoction a Peanut Butter Triple Berry Smoothie. Here's my version of the recipe, for you to try:

Peanut Butter Triple Berry Smoothie 

1 cup milk (I used regular 2% milk; feel free to use almond milk)
3/4 cup Schwan's frozen Triple Berry Blend (contains raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries) 
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1/2 frozen banana 

Combine the ingredients in your blender or smoothie maker. Pulse or blend until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Pop in a straw and enjoy!

Makes one serving. 

If Schwan's products aren't available in your area, feel free to substitute your own combination of frozen berries.

Note that you might come across some tiny raspberry seeds as you consume your smoothie. That wasn't a problem for me, but just wanted to let you know in case it's a problem for you.

This smoothie reminded me of a PB & J sandwich with a glass of cold milk. Minus the bread. Made a pretty good breakfast for me!

So, what do you think. Sound good to you?

Delicious Hamburgers on the Grill

May 28th is National Hamburger Day. Even if you missed it, any day is a good day to enjoy a delicious hamburger on the grill. Here's my recipe.

Happy Hamburger Day!

May 28th is National Hamburger Day. Ready to enjoy it? Even if you missed it, any day is a good day to enjoy a delicious, home-grilled hamburger. Here's my recipe.

Delicious Hamburgers on the Grill

1/3 pound lean ground beef per burger (see tip below)
Garlic and Herb Seasoning (I use this seasoning on everything from meat to soup to rice!)
Slices of your favorite cheese (optional)
Hamburger buns of your choice (better buns make better hamburgers)
Romaine lettuce leaves, sliced tomato, mayonnaise or your favorite hamburger fixin's

Divide ground beef into 1/3-pound mounds. Shake a generous amount of Garlic and Herb Seasoning onto each mound. Shape the mounds into patties, distributing the seasoning throughout. I make the patties slightly bigger than my palm, a little on the thick side, then press the center third or so of the patty to make it a bit thinner so it will cook faster in the middle.

Heat the grill for 10 or 15 minutes to 400 degrees. (We use a gas grill with a temperature gauge. If you use charcoal, use the hand test to estimate the temperature.)

If you're using extra-lean ground beef, be sure to oil your grill just before adding the hamburger patties so the meat doesn't stick. Place the patties on the grill, leaving some space in between. Close the cover of the grill and set a timer for 3 minutes. When the timer goes off, open the lid and turn the partially cooked burgers. Close the cover again and set the timer for 2 or 3 minutes depending on the thickness of the burgers. Check when the timer goes off and look to see that the liquid/grease on top of each burger is getting brown and is no longer red. I use the edge of the spatula or tongs to press slightly on the burger to "feel" if it's done. (Or use an instant-read thermometer. With a little experience, the "feel" method works better for me.)

Remove the burgers to a plate when they're done and let rest for a few minutes. To serve, place a burger on a bun and dress it as you like it. In the picture above, I used sliced grape tomatoes since that's what I had on hand, a romaine lettuce leaf, and mayonnaise on my American cheese-topped burger.

Tips for the best burgers:

  •  It's best to turn the meat just once to maintain juiciness. 
  •  If you're using cheese, add it when the burgers are just about ready; close grill cover for about 30 seconds to start the melting.
  • Choosing ground beef: The higher the fat content, the more flaring you'll have on the grill and you might actually burn the burger. The lower the fat content, the easier it is to overcook the burger, cooking off what fat there is, leaving the burger hard and, well, not very good. A good compromise is 85-15, though I make a mighty-good burger using 93-7 by using the quick-cooking method described above. Less fat, less guilt works for me!  

Have a happy Hamburger Day. Enjoy your flavorful, delicious burgers!

A Delicious Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

This delicious chicken enchiladas recipe uses green enchilada sauce, cream cheese, rice, and beans to make an easy to put together, filling meal.

Like me, my friend Cynthia enjoys cooking and sharing her family's favorite recipes. Lucky for me, she recently shared this easy recipe for delicious chicken enchiladas. As soon as I read the recipe, I added it to this week's menu plan. Yesterday was the day and, mmmmmm, it was as tasty as I knew it would be.

The recipe looks long, but it isn't complicated at all. The ingredient list is actually quite simple. In fact, you might already have the ingredients on hand. If not, I'd urge you to pick up what might be missing from your kitchen and give these enchiladas a try sooner rather than later.

What drew me to the recipe? The cream cheese in the enchilada filling and the green enchilada sauce. While I love Mexican food, sometimes red sauce gets, well, tiring. Green sauce has a great flavor and, when mixed with the cream cheese, chicken, rice, and beans, makes a fabulous filling for these enchiladas.

I'm going to send you to Cynthia's blog for the recipe. It's only a click away, all on one page, and you'll be very glad you made the side trip.

Tell her Susan sent you.

Resurrection Cookies

Make resurrection cookies Saturday night, before Easter, to demonstrate the empty tomb using this Easter devotional for children.

My long-time homeschool friend, Peggy, sent a link today to these very special cookies, perfect for teaching children the story of Easter. Make these with your children on Saturday night. Each ingredient and each step of the recipe is used to explain, simply, how Jesus suffered, died, and rose again, demonstrating God's love for us.

My friend also pointed out that if there is a nut allergy issue, you can substitute chocolate chips for the pecans in the recipe. I've made them this way and they taste great.

Be sure to read and review the recipe and instructions ahead of time.

Resurrection Cookies Recipe with Scripture Readings

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

You'll need:
1 cup whole pecans
Mixing bowl
3 egg whites

Wooden spoon
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vinegar
Zipper baggy
1 pinch of salt
Wax paper
Cookie sheet

Place pecans in the baggy and let the children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read - John 19:1-3 to them.

Let child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read - John 19:28-30

Add egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life for our life. Read - John 10:10-11

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand let them taste it then brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that represents the salty tears shed by Jesus followers,and the bitterness of our own sin. Read - Luke 23:27

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of this story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read - Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16

Beat with mixer on high speed for 11-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read - Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by tsp.onto waxed paper-covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus body was laid. Read - Matt. 27:65-66

Put cookies sheet in the oven. Close door and turn oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the door. Explain that Jesus tomb was sealed. Read - Matt. 27:65-66

Go to bed! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read - John 16:20 and 22

On Resurrection Morning open the oven and give everyone a cookie! Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow ! On the first Resurrection Day Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read - Matt. 28:1-9

He has Risen ! Hallelujah ! ! ! ! !

Note that the recipe makes delicious meringue cookies which you can make anytime, with or without the devotional. 

Meringue Cookies photo: Stu_Spivack via Creative Commons license

Originally posted April 5, 2007. Updated March 26, 2016

Banana-Pineapple Cake Recipe

Banana-Pineapple Cake Recipe

Yesterday I had a few ripe bananas but wasn't in the mood for banana bread, so I went looking for a banana cake recipe. Happily, I found the recipe below which uses fresh bananas and crushed pineapple. Yum for the tropical taste!

I chose to bake my cake in a bundt pan, but you could easily use a typical 13 x 9-inch cake pan instead and simply reduce the baking time (I'd start checking at 45-50 minutes or sooner if my nose told me to).

I had an extra package of cream cheese, so I chose to top the cake with cream cheese frosting (recipe included below). A sprinkle of powdered sugar or a glaze (I'm thinking rum glaze) would work well with this cake, too.

The original recipe was in our local Friends of the Library community cookbook. Here's my version:

Banana-Pineapple Bundt Cake

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups cooking oil
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, with juice (or measure out 1 cup from a larger can)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups diced bananas (3 medium bananas)

Frosting or glaze of your choice, as desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan (or 13 x 9 cake pan if you prefer). Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Gently stir the remaining ingredients (except for frosting/glaze) into the dry ingredients (do not beat). Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 60 to 80 minutes (or less for a rectangular pan), until cake tests done with a toothpick. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

When cake is completely cool, top with frosting or glaze as desired. Store the cake in the refrigerator, covered.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe (as shown in the picture)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
dash of salt
approx. 2 tablespoons cream or milk, added as needed
2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar a cup at a time. Beat well until desired consistency (add a bit of the cream or milk as needed). Beat in the salt and vanilla. Spread on a cooled cake.

If you're really into the tropical taste, add some coconut to the recipe. Chopped nuts would be good, too.

Do you like banana-pineapple cake? Would you choose frosting or a glaze? Let me know how you'd serve this easy, delicious dessert.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

You don't have to be Irish to enjoy a flavorful meal of Corned Beef and Cabbage. Here's my recipe for this traditional meal in a pot, just in time for St. Patrick's Day.
Click on the picture to pin and share.

At our house, we always look forward to St. Patrick’s Day. We’re not Irish, but we certainly enjoy the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage. Too bad St. Patrick’s Day only comes once a year.

I was grocery shopping a few days ago, though, when I saw packages of corned beef with a sale price; the after St. Patrick’s Day markdown sale, I guess. The price was certainly right, so I bought a package. As I type this, I can smell it cooking and, boy oh boy, does it smell good!

If you haven’t tried this flavorful dish, check the stores now and see if your grocer’s meat case still has packages of corned beef. Maybe you’ll find a markdown sale, too.

Here's the simple recipe:

St. Patrick’s Corned Beef and Cabbage

one package corned beef with seasoning packet
cabbage, cut in wedges
carrots (I like to use baby carrots)

Remove the meat from the package; rinse. Place it in a dutch oven and cover with water. Add the contents of the seasoning packet. Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer. Cook, covered, for about 2 ½ hours or until tender. Add washed and quartered potatoes and the carrots to the pot. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until almost done. Add the cabbage wedges to the pan; cover. Simmer another 5 to 10 minutes until cabbage is crisp-tender. Remove corned beef to a platter and slice across the grain. Serve with the vegetables.

Originally published April 19, 2007. Updated and re-published February 10, 2016.

Cherry Oatmeal Muffins Recipe

February is National Cherry Month. Celebrate with this Cherry Oatmeal Muffins recipe!

February is National Cherry Month, so why not bake a batch of cherry muffins to celebrate!

Why celebrate cherries? Besides the fact that they're delicious, they're good for you. Here are three reasons to include cherries as part of a healthy diet.

  1.   Cherries help our bodies produce melatonin, which allows us to sleep better. 
  2.   Cherries have anti-inflammatory properties, so they help ease pain. 
  3.   Cherries contain antioxidants which fight heart disease, cancer, and more. 

These muffins are loaded down with cherries, so you'll be getting plenty of good nutrition. The recipe includes oats, too, which is another power food that most of us don't eat as much of as we should. (January is Oatmeal Month, so keep this recipe in mind to celebrate that food holiday, too!)

The recipe calls for tart cherries; I had sweet cherries in the freezer so I used those and the muffins tasted great. The only other sweetener in the recipe is brown sugar (just a half cup), so the taste wasn't overly sweet at all. In fact, I thought they were perfect.

Serve these delicious cherry oatmeal muffins for breakfast on the run, enjoy for an afternoon snack, or stick one in your sweetheart's lunchbox.

Here's the recipe:

Cherry Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup old-fashioned or quick cooking oats, uncooked
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup buttermilk (or use 3 Tbsp buttermilk powder plus 3/4 cup water)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil (try coconut oil, another power food)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup frozen tart cherries, coarsely chopped

Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl; mix well. 

Combine buttermilk, egg, oil, and almond extract in a small bowl. (See note below if using buttermilk powder.)

Pour the wet ingredients into the oats mixture; stir just to moisten. Quickly stir in cherries (it is not necessary to thaw cherries before chopping and adding to batter.) 

Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray. Fill muffin-cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops with granulated sugar. 

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Makes 12 Muffins

NOTE: If using buttermilk powder, include the powder with the dry ingredients and the water with the wet ingredients.

What Are Cherries Good For?
Foods That Help Produce Melatonin

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