Mixed Berry Smoothie

It is getting very close to the Memorial Day weekend and that means the summer is just around the corner. Even though it is an unofficial start, the temperature here in Texas is giving us a feel of what is in store for the next 4 months or so. With the winter being mild, the experts are predicting hotter than usual summer, so let us see how that is going to be. The temperatures now have climbed to the upper 90’s (F) and it is hot and sultry both inside and outside.

Anyway on the brighter side, the days are getting longer and the sun does not set until after 8:00 PM. So that means that it is still bright after coming back from work. It is such a positive feeling to come back home to bright light to open the blinds, open the back yard and let the natural light in.

The other good thing is the availability of fresh bounty of fruits especially the berries in the grocery stores. We usually buy a bulk of it either to snack, add it on salads and in lemonade, some berry drinks.One recipe that you cannot go wrong with is Berry smoothie. This fruity beverage laden with milk and yogurt is quick fix and delicious too. It is guilt free, fills you up and healthy too. Since smoothies use whole fruit and not just the juice, you get the benefits of fibre, minerals and the vitamins.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup berries (fresh/frozen) ( such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries or combination)
  • 1 cup milk ( I used 2% milk)
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt ( I used fat free)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup/ sugar/honey
  • 5-10 ice cubes

Method

  • Put the berries in the blender and give it a quick zip, so that the berries are pureed.
  • Put the remaining ingredients including maple syrup/honey to this and blend.
  • Blend on high until it mixes and is smooth.
  • Add more milk if the smoothie is too thick.
  • Serve immediately.

Blueberry Yogurt Parfait

 

Blueberries are powerhouse of nutrition! They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and rate very high on antioxidants capability. You knew that already didn’t you? Now that summer is here, the groceries are flooded with varieties of fresh berries. There are different ways in which I use the berries including the regular whip cream based parfait.

This parfait turned out to be unexpected treat for us at home; an accidental oversight which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. While doing the regular grocery I picked up a tub of blueberry yogurt instead of the regular plain yogurt. I realized this only after coming back home and did not have the heart to waste it. So a good way was to turn this into a quick yogurt fruit dessert.

I love these small treats which are light yet leave you with a refreshed feeling. Plus it is guilt free, high in fiber, carbohydrates and protein.

This yogurt based parfait can be had for breakfast or as a yummy snack. Customize this based on your preference; for example skip nuts add other berries, banana etc. It is best enjoyed using fresh or frozen blueberries, but fresh is always are recommended.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 cups blueberry yogurt (low fat)
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts ( I used pecans)
  • 2 Tbsp flax seeds (optional)
  • 1/3 cup granola

Method

  • In a bowl/cup add ¼ cup of yogurt to the base and layer with 4-5 blueberries and 1 Tbsp of granola.
  • If you want continue to build the parfait layers by alternating the fruit and granola in the yogurt cup.
  • Top it off with nuts, flax seeds. Continue this process and make other parfait cups.
  • Serve parfaits immediately (else the granola will get soggy).

 

Mango Lemonade


Summer is at its peak here in Texas and with it the relentless heat wave continues to be in full swing. We are in the three digit temperatures (in Fahrenheit, of course) for the past month and half and it seems to be getting worse as days pass by.

But then, summer is also known for fresh, juicy mangos, so what better way to beat the heat than with cold refreshing fruity drink? Mangoes are a favorite in our house and I could not let the season of mango go by without preparing anything using of the King of fruits. Mango adds an exotic flavor and brings in that tropical feel to any summer drink. This drink recipe is a cool, fruity alternative to the traditional lemonade or mango drink.

We first tasted Mango Lemonade at an Indian restaurant Tarka in Austin. It was a hot muggy afternoon and we were tired, thirsty and hungry when we chanced onto this restaurant. We loved the food but above all enjoyed this fruity mango drink. This not only quenched our thirst but gave us a new recipe to try with mango and I have been making this many times since.

Mango Lemonade Recipe

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup thick mango pulp ( I use store bought) [you can use fresh mangoes]
  • ½ cup sugar (reduce if the mango pulp is sweet)
  • 2 cups cold water
  • Juice of 2 lemons

Method:

  • Heat a small pan and boil a cup of water. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Keep aside and bring it to room temperature.
  • In a big container now stir the sugar water, mango pulp and juice of lemons. Add cold water as required.
  • Serve cold by topping with ice. Don’t let it sit for long else the juice gets diluted because of the ice.

Note: You can mix up Mango juice + readymade lemonade if you are pressed for time.