Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Try Something New!

I am very much a creature of habit. I suspect some of that has to do with my predisposition toward anxiety - I often get nervous in the face of unfamiliarity. However, I've been making great strides in trying to reduce my anxiety by forcing myself to try new things and shake up my routines. One area where my anxiety tends to manifest itself is in my cooking and eating habits. If I like something, I tend to stick with it...for weeks, months, even years! I tend to follow recipes to the letter, and if I like it, I'm often resistant to changing it or trying new variations. But since I'm trying to not be so rigid with my eats, I decided to change up a favorite recipe for yesterday's dinner. The result, I'm tickled to say, was a recipe that I like even better than the original!

Since it was Monday, I was in the mood for a raw soup and salad kind of dinner. However, I desperately needed to go grocery shopping first, as my produce bin yielded only a small head of romaine lettuce, a half-used bunch of cilantro, a shriveled up bunch of celery, and a knob of ginger. Yeah, that was it. Sad. I had to forgo my usual Monday morning fresh juice due to lack of supplies. Fortunately, there were some frozen cherries in my freezer, so I had a Chocolate-Cherry Smoothie to cheer myself up after yoga :)

But back to my soup and salad....

I thought I was going to make Gena's Carrot-Avocado Bisque for dinner. I'd made it before, and I certainly liked it. But after I got home from the store, I realized that I was craving more of a coconutty-flavor and less of a limey-flavor. I also had that cilantro and pathetic-looking celery in the fridge to use up. Could I improvise a little here? I thought so. I juiced my carrots and some ginger and then dumped the juice into my Vita-Mix along with an avocado, the celery, cilantro, and some Bragg Liquid Aminos. I blended it up until it was nice and smooth, then I poured it into my bowl and topped it with a sprinkle of cinnamon and some dried unsweetened coconut. The result? Pure, amazing, raw soup deliciousness. All because I dared to try something different! I was so worried that my tweaks would ruin an already tried-and-true recipe, but I was pleasantly surprised that it came out so well. Give it a try!

Raw Carrot-Avo-Coco Soup (inspired by this recipe)
Serves 4

4 cups fresh carrot-ginger juice (I use approximately 4 lbs of carrots and a 1/2 inch knob of ginger)
1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
2 tbs Bragg Liquid Aminos (can substitute tamari or soy sauce)
3 large celery stalks (including leaves), chopped
1/5 bunch of cilantro, stems and leaves
Cinnamon and dried, unsweetened coconut for topping

Blend juice, avocado, Bragg's, celery, and cilantro on high until smooth. Pour into serving bowls and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and some coconut.

It is sooooo good! I served my soup with side salads and we all had happy tummies. My son really liked the soup and even stole some extra from my hubby's bowl! :)

Inspired by last night's success, I decided to take another chance this morning with one of my favorite smoothies, my Chocolate Mint Smoothie. Now, creature of habit that I am, I am always very, very hesitant to tinker with my "established" smoothies. There are a certain few (Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Ginger, Carrot Ginger) that I love just.the.way.they.are. And yet, when I opened my freezer this morning, I caught a glance of some raw cacao nibs hanging out on my freezer door. Hmm, I thought...could I improve this already-awesome smoothie?

Turns out...yes. Yes, I could.

Thin Mint Smoothie
Makes 1 large serving / 2 small servings

1 1/2 cups water
1 heaping tablespoon carob powder
1 1/2 droppersful liquid peppermint stevia
1 heaping tablespoon raw almond butter
1 tablespoon raw hemp protein powder
1 very large frozen banana
1 large handful baby spinach (optional, but it gives it a pretty, green color!)
5-6 ice cubes
1-2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs, to taste

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth. Pour into a glass and top with another drop or two of peppermint stevia and more cacao nibs, if your heart so desires. It tastes like you're drinking a glass of Thin Mints, I kid you not. The cacao nibs give the smoothie that little bit of gritty texture that makes you think there are some cookies in there. Yum!

I loved the carob in this - and the raw cacao nibs made up for the lack of caffeine :)


Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

Ooh, that Thin Mint smoothie sounds fantastic! I don't know if I have ever seen peppermint stevia... I think I will try this with regular or vanilla stevia + peppermint extract! I looooove chocolate + mint.

And the soup! *drool*

Bethany said...

Yay! Jess, I use SweetLeaf's peppermint stevia: http://www.amazon.com/SweetLeaf-Liquid-Stevia-Peppermint-60/dp/B001AG9Z22/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306279473&sr=8-1

I love it!!

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

I made it! Drinking it right now, and it's the perfect start to my day! :) I used almond milk instead of water, added a frozen banana, and instead of carob, I used chocolate Amazing Grass powder. SO GOOD! Thanks for the great recipe, Bethany! <3

Bethany said...

Awesome - thanks for trying it, Jess!! I got in the habit of using water + almond butter (rather than almond/coconut milk, etc) because I find it makes a less "foamy" smoothie (if that makes sense??) Plus I always have almond butter in the fridge, but don't always have almond milk! I'm totally with you on adding the extra banana - I sometimes do, too! :)