The “Orange Not Orange” Smoothie Recipe

Orange not ORANGE Smoothie Recipe||stillplayinghouse.com|| carrot juice, cashew chai nut milk, ginger, maca powder, frozen banana

If you’re into blended drinks and you like to spice up your life a bit, this drink is for you!  It’s a fantastic way to introduce fresh carrot juice into your diet.  You won’t even taste it.  Trust me.  You’ll reap the healthy benefits of King Carrot without triggering the gag reflex.  Your husband will hand you his glass for a refill and since you slipped an extra dose of maca powder into the blender…well, enough mornings like this and things will take a spicy turn.

This recipe is inspired by the lovely Kris Carr. I highly recommend her book, Crazy Sexy Juice  (LOVE it!).  I’ve altered two of her recipes to fit my taste.  Here’s what you do to give it a try.

First, you’ll need to make a batch of Cashew Chai Milk.  I like to keep fresh nut milk on hand and always at the ready.  IT’S EASY.  Remember, ANYTHING Jessie can do, you can do.  It’s easy!  YOU CAN DO IT!

Cashews are a great nut to start with on your home milking journey because you don’t have to soak them as long as other nuts and they taste mild and slightly sweet.

Watch this quick video as Kris shows you how to make Cashew Chai Milk.  In my version of the milk, I replaced the maple syrup with two dates.

For this smoothie you will also need some carrot juice on hand.  (Organic please)  You can purchase carrot juice already bottled at most supermarkets BUT they lack the enzymes that make our bodies rev up AND the bottled juices taste nasty.  Sorry.  There is just not a nice way to put it.  If you haven’t tried fresh pressed carrot juice please don’t think it tastes anything like the bottled stuff.  It doesn’t.  Not even close.

I know what you are thinking.  Oh. This chick is CRAZY if she thinks I have time to lug out the juicer, haul my tail to the supermarket for a bag of juicing carrots, soak and squeeze my own nuts, and NOOOOOOOO!!!!!  

I know.  Really I feel your pain.  Here’s what I do: I choose one day a week to make juice and then I freeze it.  I pour it all in mason jars and load my freezer up.  When I know I’m going to want to make a smoothie soon, I defrost a jar in the fridge for a couple of days and then it’s all ready for my upcoming smoothies.  I catch up on my podcasts while I juice.  And when the kids are in an especially foul mood, I pretend I’m on my own little island of tranquility and run the juicer just a hour or two bit longer to drown them all out.  I can’t hear you…

Now that you have your hard-won carrot juice and nut milk in place you are ready to begin!

“Orange Not Orange” Smoothie:

Ingredients:

8 ounces Carrot Juice

8 ounces Cashew Chai Milk

1 large frozen Banana

1/4- 1/2 inch piece of Ginger

1 TB Maca powder (We like a lot of maca in this house.  I use 1-2 TB a day for 3 week intervals to help with hormones and it REALLY works!!  If you are new to maca or not having hormone issues….lower that dose.  1-2 teaspoons is fine.)

Directions:

Blend it, baby!!!

What do you think?

We like things spicy around here.  If the spice is not working for you, substitute the chai milk for a plain milk or coconut water (Kris uses coconut water, but adds cashew nuts to her smoothie).  Also remove the extra ginger.

If you are really new to the nutrition scene and want to know why carrot juice and maca might be worth working into your diet, click on the links within the text.  They’ll lead you to offsite sources (not affiliated) where you can learn more.

Electoral College SIMPLIFIED. Humorous. Quick & Easy Lesson

electoral college

Today’s video courtesy of my teenage son who may have been a bit frustrated by his Mom’s constant questions regarding the electoral college and the state of elections in America.  This is an enjoyable and brief description of how the electoral college works.

I still think it’s time for election reform in America.  Who’s with me?

photo credit: Morehead Planetarium via photopin (license)

EASY Beef Stroganoff Your KIDS Will Love

3 ingredient beef stroganoff your kids will LOVE. Super FAST and easy to make.

Tired from an overscheduled holiday?  Have hungry kids?  Add this recipe to your emergency meal plan.  It’s here to help.

This was one of my favorite supper time dishes growing up in the south.  It’s now one of my children’s favorites and it’s so easy to make my teen daughter assures me that she’ll one day feed it to my grandchildren, or my granddogs since most of the time she claims she’ll never marry nor produce offspring.  BOTH of my teens swear they’ll never marry.  We may have ruined them.

I love this dish because it’s EASY.  Like super FAST easy.

I love this dish because it makes me all nostalgic.

I love this dish because ALL OF MY CHILDREN eat it without complaint.  In fact, they drop whatever they’re doing when I yell, “Food’s ready!” and make a quick plate.  Something they never do when it’s fish, curry, or pretty much anything else I make.

I love this dish because I can substitute gluten-free bread and no one ever complains.

Kids love it because there aren’t noodles in the way!

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef
1 (18 oz) can Progresso Creamy Mushroom Soup.  It’s gluten free!
1 16 oz. container sour cream (can use less and adjust to taste)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Toast  (I use Udi’s gluten free bread)

Instructions:

Brown the beef and drain off any fat.
Add mushroom soup, sour cream, salt and pepper.
Simmer until flavors are combined and heated through.
Serve on top of toast!  (Kids LOVE this!)

How easy is that?

So tell me, have you ever had beef stroganoff on toast before?  What’s your favorite childhood meal?

Encore: More for You

encore more you for ||stillplayinghouse.com

Find out why it’s getting harder to lose weight and not for the reasons you’d think. (Pam)

Why Sweden is sounds like a great place to live. (Pam)

Because it’s Chili weather, which means Chili Cook-0ffs will be springing up all over this month.  Also, I love to laugh until I cry. Who’s with me on that? (Pam)

Remember Your Old Graphing Calculator? It Still Costs a Fortune — Here’s Why  (Jessie)

Enjoy your weekend!!

Encore: More For You

encore more you for ||stillplayinghouse.com

On Fear

On Parenting

The thing that I agreed with in this post was how people go ridiculously over the top so many times where their kids are concerned – like being a normal parent with normal kids isn’t ok anymore.  (Pam)

COFFEE

On Change

  • Will They Stay If You Change?–  Shifting faith= yes!  Do not give up on the Spirit within us= yes!  kookoo pants people=yes! and hahahaha!  Do not give up on healthy friendships, do not give up on the church=yes!

To all of this, I can say yes.  Maybe you can too? (Jessie)

On Compassion

This is a long read, but well worth the time.   It holds the answer to Pam’s statement on the open letter post above.  See myth #3 for awesome parenting in action. Have I said how much I loved this link? (Jessie)

  • Dear FHP–  Even in the line of duty, there’s a place for a compassion.

This young blogger’s recent encounter with the local highway patrol struck a nerve and saddens me because I live in the same state.  My family has encountered the local highway patrol and various city police officers on many occasions in our 20 years of residency. (I could post stories that would make your skin crawl and like the blogger above, we aren’t criminals!)  I had hoped that over the years the police force had improved.  Maybe they have, but encounters like these don’t encourage me.  This blogger left the event shaken and understandably upset, but still in praise of our uniformed “protectors.”  I left mine in praise of the NRA, because it does this southern heart good to know that police officers aren’t the only armed men and women in this country.  Just keepin’ it real.  Yee-haw. (Jessie)

What I’m Lovin’ This Month – September Edition

Last month I started a new little feature about some of my current favorite things. Here’s what I’m lovin’ this month…

    • The Weather

      This is my favorite time of year. From now through the end of October – well, it just doesn’t get any better. The air takes on that “Fall” scent that can’t exactly be explained. It’s crisp and clean. You really must experience it to know what crisp and clean smell like. Soon we’ll also be getting whiffs of the leaves and bonfires. Heaven! The air is perfect. Cool mornings that give way to warm afternoons. Boots and sweaters make their way from the recesses of hidden drawers and the backs of closets. Since I live in Indiana, the fields are golden and awaiting harvest. And, Sunshine! We have lots of sunshine this time of year. It’s also perfect weather for visiting apple orchards and pumpkin patches. Did I mention I love this time of year?

    • Trust Fund Beauty Nail Polish

       
      In all honesty, I just don’t wear nail polish. On my fingers anyway. I have working woman’s hands that are in and out of dishwater all day and nail polish just. won’t. stay. on. I don’t even care enough to go get acrylics. I did that once nearly 20 years ago and ended up with a bright green fungus under my nails. I wrecked my nail beds taking those fake fingernails off so that I could get that nasty fungus cleared up and they still bear the marks today. Granted, I felt like I had feminine hands for the first time in my life with those purty fingernails. But, I figured it was either man hands with “meh” fingernails or alien hands with no fingernails at all if I didn’t get rid of the fungus. Man hands won. I’ve learned to live with it and am scarred enough from the experience to avoid acrylics at all costs. But, my toes? Those are another story. Since I don’t wash dishes with my feet (that would be a sight to see), nail polish actually DOES stay on my toenails. And, since my feet look like Fred Flintstone’s anyway, and my pinky toe has only the faintest sliver of a toenail (it’s a family thing), I figure my feet need all the help they can get. So, I usually keep my toenails painted. The only thing that gnaws at me is the toxicity of nail polish. My vanity still wins out, though. Y’all! A miracle appeared in my Ipsy bag this month in the form of purple liquid from Heaven. This Trust Fund Beauty nail polish is non-toxic! And it stays on! And it comes in lots of colors! My feet are happy and my toenails are stylin’. Go check this polish out.  

      If you’re not familiar with Ipsy, for a $10 a month subscription you get a cute zipper bag filled with 5 different beauty products. Sometimes they’re sample sizes. Sometimes they’re full size. You fill out a questionaire when you sign up about your skin tone, eye color, et. and the kinds of products you’re interested in. If this sounds like it’s for you, you can sign up here. 

    • Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes

      bread and wine book

      I’m probably late to the party reading this because I actually heard about it a long time ago. Better late than never, right? This book is hard to put a label on. It has recipes, but it’s not a cookbook. It tells personal stories, but it’s not a memoir. What it is is an opportunity to step away from the hustle and bustle, the fast paced life and pressure to do, do, do, and focus on what is really important in life. Relationships. Relationships with God and with people. The common theme is how food unites us. We gather ’round the table and celebrate with food – birthdays, weddings, babies, promotions, holidays. We come together and mourn around food – the funeral dinner, a meal brought to a grieving family. In many ways it’s how we show love. Jesus knew the importance of a meal. He fed thousands a couple of times, celebrated Passover with those closest to him. The gospels are full of images of Jesus dining with others. His first miracle was turning water into wine. He is the bread of life. He even refers to bread as his body and wine as his blood. Then he gives us an invitation to partake of the miracle of himself with these two common items; bread- the poor man’s food, and wine – the drink of the rich. He is for us all. He longs for us to open our hearts to relationship – with himself and with those around us.

      I long to have the kind of relationships and community that Shauna illuminates in this book. I think the world would be a much better place if we would slow down, put our phones down, and make time to connect with each other face to face. This is a worthwhile read and as a bonus it has some really yummy recipes.

    • We Will Not Be Shaken

      This is my favorite CD right now. There isn’t a song on here I don’t like. And you know how rare that is, right? I have pretty eclectic taste in music. At different seasons of my life I’m drawn more towards certain types of music than others. This is scratching my itch right now. As a bonus the CD has a DVD with all the songs filmed in the most beautiful setting. Here is one of my favorite songs on the CD. 

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for you this month. What are you currently crushing on? Share with us in the comments.

Indian Spiced Dal

Scroll down to get to the recipe quicker.

I guess if I ever had a cooking show (enter raucous laughter from the peanut gallery) it would resemble Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee only on a smaller scale.  Recipes that are easy enough for me with an added homemade flair to them even though you know there’s a box or can of something off the supermarket’s shelf in that pot.  Do you remember Sandra’s show?  Is she still a popular cooking personality?

Granny and I would sometimes watch her show when I’d visit, because visiting Granny means watching the good stuff.  (Retirement is AWESOME.)  Inevitably, Granny would fasten her eyes on the screen and with a pointed glare say, “They match the set to her clothes.”

“Um hmm,” I’d reply.

So, my cooking style is like Sandra Lee’s but without the ever-changing set, the expertise or….Oh, heck!  My cooking’s nothing like Sandra Lee’s.

Indian Spiced Dal (with commentary)

We eat Indian Dal EVERY DAY in this house because our new daughter is a creature of habit.  For the last 8 1/2 years our daughter ate rice and dal at the orphanage in India where she grew up.  And still, it is all she wants.  We eat different combinations of it, but right now this is what we’re enjoying (she ate 3 big helpings the first night I made it!)and it began when my husband found this bag of organic lentil trio at Costco:

20150915_122334

Indian Spiced Dal Ingredients  stillplayinghouse.com

That box of Shan Dal Curry is the “semi” part of this recipe.  Although I have almost every Indian spice ever discovered sitting pretty in my pantry, I still grab the box.  Which is either pathetic or clever.

Indian Spiced Dal  Onions  stillplayinghouse.com

 

Heat up 1/4 cup of oil or ghee.  I use coconut oil when I don’t have ghee on hand.  Fry a large onion for just a few minutes.  Not long.  Maybe 2-3 minutes?  The traditional Indian way to cook onions is to slice them thinly.  My kids prefer chopped.

Indian Spiced Dal  garlic  stillplayinghouse.com

 

Add 10 cloves of crushed garlic.  I just eyeball it from my bottle of garlic paste.  I aim for about 5 tsp.  Cook 1 minute.

Indian Spiced Dal  Shan Dal Curry  stillplayinghouse.com

 

Add 1-2 TB of Shan Spice Mix for Dal Curry. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY make sure you grab the box that says Mild Lentil Mix.  Anything stronger will rocket you to the moon and we’ll never see your furry self again.

As a matter of fact, if you’re new to Indian food or maybe not so keen on heat, ONLY use 1 TB of mild spice mix.  We use 1  1/2 TB.  The first time we used this mix our daughter had just joined our family.  She couldn’t speak my language and I couldn’t speak hers, but one bite of her new Mommy’s dal and she began spinning pinwheels with her arms as she repeated one phrase.  I learned my first non-Rosetta Stone Hindi word that day.  What sounds like grr-ah-may when roughly translated means, “You’ve brought me here to poison me.  I knew it!”  Actually, a frantic phone call to my husband who does speak her language, revealed she was emphatically repeating, “HOT!”  I think I had used 3 TB or so that night…

Indian Spiced Dal  Tomatoes  stillplayinghouse.com

 

Add your tomato.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to hold a camera phone in one hand and snap a photo that’s worth a crap while trying to cook with the other hand and NOT burn the onions and garlic?

Indian Spiced Dal  Lentils  stillplayinghouse.com

 

Now add 1 cup lentil mix.  My Indian born husband is a lentil/rice Nazi.  As a young boy in India, his job consisted of painstakingly sorting through the food bags in search of worms and stones.  Dutiful husband that he is, he trained me to always rinse and sort though the lentils before using them.

So we do this little thing whenever I cook with lentils and rice where he asks if I picked the stones out and I assure him that yes I did, although I have NEVER found one stone in my bag of lentils in 21 years of marriage.  Of course, I never really opened a bag of lentils for the first 11 years.  And I never really do look for stones.  What he doesn’t know…  I said all of this to say, I have no idea if you need to rinse THESE lentils. I think probably not. They looked good and clean to me.

 

Indian Spiced Dal  Water  stillplayinghouse.com

 

Pour in 4 cups of water.  Yes, I know the box says to do something else, but trust me, if you’re using these lentils you need only 4 cups of water.  I promise.

When it begins to boil turn the heat down to LOW and simmer 20-25 minutes.  You want them soft, but not mushy.  I usually cook mine 20 minutes.

Indian Spiced Dal  Finished  stillplayinghouse.com

 

Now, here’s the part that’s for the brave soul because this is the part that gives your food just a hint of that Indian food smell.  If you don’t want to walk in Wal-Mart smelling slightly authentic after cooking, you might want to skip this part.  But seriously, it’s not THAT bad and Wal-Mart smells anyway.  Be a part of the smelly crowd, I say!

Indian Spiced Dal  Look, Mom! Curry Leaves  stilplayinghouse.com

 

This little cutie is our new daughter and she’s holding a bag of curry leaves.  Sometimes your local Indian grocer will have some, but likely not.  All of the Indian people down here grow them in their yard.  So if you’re smart, you’ll find an Indian friend NOW.  They have all sorts of goodies.

Now I’m going to tell you a little somethin’, somethin’ you didn’t hear from me.

The Indian folks, they be BRAVE folks.  They smuggle the goods in their luggage whenever they’re returning from their native land.  You see, there are spices and such that one isn’t really allowed  to bring back from India.  But they do it, these brave souls.  Hidden in their luggage!!   Hidden in their children’s luggage!!  I’ve been to India twice and you better bet your bottom dollar that you ARE NOT going to smuggle your seedy weeds in my bags.  I WILL RAT YOUR BUTT OUT.  Ask my husband. Because you see, like a sane person, I have a healthy fear of jail and I’m NOT getting carted off to jail, by homeland security or whoever the heck has that job, over some nut or leaf or seed. But I will bum your hard-fought delicacies from you, because that’s the kind of friend I am.

Once you track down the curry leaves, pull 10 off the stem.

Indian Spiced Dal  Fry Curry Leaves  stilplayinghouse.com

 

A few minutes before your lentils are ready, heat up 1/8 cup of oil or ghee (I like to use a little less).  Add your bummed curry leaves and fry for a minute.  Just a minute or two.  Not long.  Then pour the curry/oil over the lentils and stir in.

Indian Spiced Dal  Rice Yogurt  stillplayinghouse.com

 

Now here’s how my husband SWEARS the Indian families do it.  You have the rice already made up.  You just pull it out of the fridge and add the hot lentils on top.  Then the cold rice combines with the hot lentils and you have ready to eat food.  The perfect temperature for all your little children.  If you don’t have leftover rice, make you some.  You will want to eat your Indian spiced dal over rice.

Now India is BIG on what we call condiments.  They give you dips for EVERYTHING and more than one.  It’s common to get 3 different types of dip for one little dish.  And let me tell you Jessie can NOT make those dips and spreads, chutneys and pickles they call them, because Jessie has tried and made mold.  Another reason Pinterest and I just don’t get along.

So this is cooking with Sandra Lee Jessie.  Grab the yogurt!   If the food is too spicy for your preference, add some more yogurt.

Indian Spiced Dal spicey tomatoes stillplayinghouse.com

 

See that bag of redlicious goodness.  That holds Indian spiced tomatoes that my husband’s cousin gave me because she knows how much I LOVE THEM.  When I learn how to make them I will come back and tell you.  Until then, you can just watch me mix them in my dal and enjoy.

Oh, oh, oh!  This is so good.  I really wish I could share…really.  I’ll eat a spoonful for you because I’m that kind of friend too.

Indian Spiced Dal  stillplayinghouse.com

Indian Spiced Dal

Ingredients:

1 cup Nature’s Nature’s Earthly Choice Organic Lentil Trio – Red Split, Green and Black Beluga (3 lbs)
.  We found ours at Costco.
1 large onion, chopped or thinly sliced
10 cloves chopped garlic
1 Tomato, chopped
4 cups water
1/4 cup oil or Purity Farms Clarified Butter Ghee, 7.5 oz
Shan Dal Curry Mix – 100 Gms X 6 Pcs  (Mix for mild lentil curry).  Found in Indian grocery store. (We use 1 1/2TB)
Optional:  10 Curry Leaves
Optional:  Yogurt

Instructions:

Fry onion in oil or ghee for just a few minutes.
Add garlic for a minute.
Add Shan Dal Curry Mix for another minute.
Add rinsed lentils, chopped tomato, and 4 cups of water.
Once water begins to boil lower the heat to LOW and boil for 20-25 minutes.  You just want the lentils soft, but not mushy.
!If Using Curry Leaves
When lentils are almost finished grab another small skillet or pan and heat up about 1/8 cup of oil or ghee.
Add curry leaves and fry for 1 minute.
Pour curry leaf mixture into cooked lentil mixture and mix in.
Serve over rice and adjust the heat by mixing in yogurt to taste.