Kale + Blackberry + Beet + Almond Milk Smoothies

Kale + Blackberry + Beet + Almond Milk Smoothies

What’s in your morning routine?  I make my bed, splash my face with cold water, drink a giant glass of lemon water, and try to forget about the giant bag of dark chocolate chips I’ve been meaning (and failing) to hide from myself.  I try my best to start things off well, with some clarity and conscious eating… that’s because it’s easy to reason with my relaxed morning brain.  By the time dinner rolls around it’s nearly impossible to talk my brain out of popcorn, wine, and handfuls of chocolate chips.  

Continue reading Kale + Blackberry + Beet + Almond Milk Smoothies at Joy the Baker.

Chocolate Beet Cake with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting

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Hey Dude (that I’m currently dating),

We need to talk.  It’s about your mother.

Mostly… it’s about how I need to meet your mother.  We’ve been carrying on for a while now… and I need to meet the lady that birthed you, clothed you, slapped you upside the head, and made you the awesome man you are now.  If I don’t meet her soon, she will surely think me some sort of hussy harlot who was born in a barn and doesn’t much care for other people’s mothers.  This is not the case.  I care about most mothers, often.

It’s a lady thing that perhaps you don’t understand.  I need to be nervous.  I need to bite off all my nails.  I need to agonize over the perfect outfit that will make me look sophisticated, but sweet and approachable, womanly without being more womanly that her.  I need the outfit that says I can damn well take care of myself, and keep her dear and darling son in line for the rest of his life.  It’s a fine fine fiiiine line.

I need to let your mother look me up and down in examination.  I need to stand there and let her envision me as her daughter-in-law.  I need to eat her casserole, express my desire for the recipe… then I need to do her dishes.

I need to let her tell me how to do things that I already know how to do, like make a pie, and pluck my eyebrows.  We need to watch 60 Minutes together.  She in her recliner, me sitting on the floor.  I need to offer to bring dessert.  She’ll make a face when it’s being served, and enjoy it despite herself.  It’s all a dance.  Every moment of it.  It’s all a test… because mothers do not let their sons go quietly… they let them go passive aggressively.

Lastly, she needs to see that I make you happy.  That’s where you come in.  Don’t act weird.  Well, don’t act weirder than you usually act.  Be natural… and put your arm around me once in a while.  It’s your job to make sure that no one gets a third glass of wine.  That’s when things get weird.

It’s also your job NOT to tell your mother that there are beets in the cake I’m serving for dessert.  That will be our little secret.  Unless she loves it… then I’m taking all the glory.

Cool.

Love,

Joy

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Quite right.  This chocolate cake is chocked full of roasted beets.

Beets are trimmed of their greens (which are delicious sauteed) and roasted whole in foil and just a touch of oil.  You know… like you’re making a beet salad, but you’re totally making cake.

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Besides beets, this cake also has the usual cake- y suspects:  flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, powder, and salt.

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I love preparing cake pans for baking.  Something about the ritual just calms me.

Parchment paper rounds (that are cut by hand) totally ensure that the cake will come out of the pan in one piece.  It’s an extra bit of work, but I love the insurance.

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Roasted beets are cooled and peeled (which is easy… not to worry), and grated on the fine side of a box grater.

If you’re wondering about beet stained hands… yes, I had two.  They eventually wash clean.

Beets add moisture and sweetness to the cake.  Beets do not make the cake taste like a salad.  That’s an important thing to know.

The cake batter will be a purple color, but will bake into a moist chocolate cake with no trace of beets.

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Let’s talk about frosting.  Butter and cream cheese are left at room temperature until soft.  They’re beaten with powdered sugar, vanilla, and a squeeze of lemon.

Beets, too!  Beets, shredded and mashed add a slight sweetness and intense color to the frosting.  It’s all you need for food coloring.  It’s delightful and delicious.  And again… it does not taste like salad.

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You may have a few beet strands in your frosting as you decorate the cake.  Think of it as nature’s sprinkles.

… I can’t believe I just typed that.

I’m sorry.

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I want you to fall in love with this cake.  I did.

The cake itself is moist and chocolate-y.  It’s not too sweet either!  Bonus.  The frosting is bright pink, speckled with beet bits, and creamy sweet.

No one would ever know this cake is chocked full of vegetables.  We can just keep that little bit of information between us.  Secret ingredient power!

Pssst… Valentine’s Day Cake!  I’m just sayin…

Chocolate Beet Cake with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes one 8 or 9-inch layer cake

adapted from Fine Cooking November 2001

Print this Recipe!

For the Cake:

2 medium beets, unpeeled but trimmed of their greens

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pans

1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans

2/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

For the Frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

8 ounces (1 brick) cream cheese, softened

4 to 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons finely grated beets, mashed with a fork

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or scrapings of one vanilla bean pod

1-2 teaspoons milk, depending on desired consistency

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

pinch of salt

Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Thoroughly wash beets under running water, and trim their leaves, leaving about 1/2 inch of stem.  Place clean beets in a piece of foil.  Drizzle with just a bit of vegetable oil.  Seal up foil.  Place on a baking sheet in the oven.  Roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.

Remove the beets from the oven.  Open the foil and allow beets to cool completely.  Beets will be easy to peel (just using a paring knife) once completely cooled.

Using a box grater, grate the peeled beets on the finest grating plane.  Measure 3/4 cup of grated beets for the cake and 2 tablespoons for the frosting.  Set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.  Use butter to grease two 8 or 9-inch round baking pans.  Trace a piece of parchment paper so it is the same size as the bottom of the cake pan.  Cut it out and place inside the cake pan.  Butter the parchment paper.  Add a dusting of flour to coat the pan.  Set pans aside while you prepare the cake.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars.  Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, for one minute after each addition.   Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Once eggs are incorporated, beat in beets and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture.  Beating on low speed , slowly add the buttermilk.  Once just incorporated, add the other half of the dry ingredients.  Beat on medium speed until milk and dry ingredients are just incorporated.  Try not to overmix the batter.  Bowl can be removed from the mixer and mixture folded with a spatula to finish incorporating ingredients.  Cake batter will be on the thick side… not pourable.

Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans.  Bake for 23 to 25 minutes (for a 9-inch pan) or 30-32 minutes (for an 8-inch pan).  Cake is done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove cakes from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Invert cakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting and assembling the cake.

To make the Frosting:

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese for 30 seconds, until pliable and smooth.  Add the butter and beat for another 30 seconds, until well combined.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl as necessary.  Beat in the beets.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, milk, lemon juice, and salt.  Beat on medium speed until smooth and silky.  Refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes before frosting the cooled cakes.

To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a cake stand or cake plate.  Top with a generous amount of pink frosting.  Spread evenly.  Place the other cake on top of the frosting.  Top with frosting.  Work frosting onto the sides of the cake.  You will have extra frosting left over.  Refrigerate for an hour before serving (it will make the cake easier to slice).  Cake will last, well wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.

Roasted Cauliflower, Beet, and Farro Winter Salad

Roasted Cauliflower, Beet, and Farro Salad

I don’t seem to have a brain for meal-prep.  I’m guilty of wandering the grocery store aisles picking up cold cereal, crackers, a really expensive bar of soap and… little else.   I’m notoriously horrible at actually making myself dinner and, as it turns out, scrambled eggs with hot sauce make a tremendously fine dinner meal.  

Understanding my shortcomings, and being entirely tired of scrambled eggs for dinner, I’ve discovered that if I have a big bowl of something in the refrigerator, I’m saved.  

Something could be a big bowl of Carrot Jalapeño Soup, a big bowl of Apple and Fennel Salad, or something like this… with hearty roasted cauliflower and sweet earthy beets.  Farro makes the salad filling and solid.  

A big bowl of something.  Good, hearty, real food that isn’t scrambled eggs that you can eat straight from the fridge… if you’re into that sort of thing (and we’re all into that sort of thing).  

Roasted Cauliflower, Beet, and Farro Salad

Farro!  

Are you into farro!?  It’s a wheat berry that, when boiled, becomes puffed and hearty.  It’s full of fiber and hearty carbs that break down slowly and give you sustained energy.  I like farro because it’s sturdy enough to live in soups and salad in a big bowl in the refrigerator.  It sustains.  

Also in our salad:  roasted beets, soft and smoky cauliflower, greens, and salty feta.  

Roasted Cauliflower, Beet, and Farro Salad

I love roasted cauliflower.  I just really love it. 

Roasted Cauliflower, Beet, and Farro Salad

Roasted beets are cooled and peeled and then it’s bowl time.  

All in.  All of it IN.  

Roasted Cauliflower, Beet, and Farro Salad

 Spinach is a good green for this salad because it can be coated with dressing and still live in the fridge for a few days.  

Roasted Cauliflower, Beet, and Farro Salad

Let’s just accept the fact that beets make everything pink.  

Fingers, farro, and everything in between.  

Roasted Cauliflower, Beet, and Farro Salad

Well well well.  Look at us not eating just scrambled eggs and hot sauce for dinner.  We’re salty, sweet, hearty, and whole.  Get yourself a big bowl of something.  It’s life-sustaining.    

Roasted Cauliflower, Beet, and Farro Salad
Serves 6


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Prep Time
20 min

Cook Time
40 min

Prep Time
20 min

Cook Time
40 min

For the Salad
  1. 2 cups farro
  2. 3 small beets
  3. 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small chunks
  4. coarse sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper, smoky paprika
  5. olive oil
  6. 2 handfuls of salad greens, coarsely chopped
  7. 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
For the Vinaigrette
  1. 1/3 cup olive oil
  2. 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  3. 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  4. 1 teaspoon honey
  5. splash red wine vinegar
  6. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Start by cooking the faro. Bring about 5 cups of water to a boil. Season the boiling water with salt. Add the farro and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer the farro until puffed and tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. Set aside.
  2. Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Scrub beets and remove the leafy green stems. Place beets in a large piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and seal up the foil. Set on a rimmed baking sheet and place on the center rack on the oven to roast until softened through, about 30 minutes depending on the size of your beets.
  4. On another rimmed baking sheet, scatter cauliflower chunks in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika. Place on the upper rack of the oven a roast until browned, sizzling, and softened through, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven once or twice during roasting to toss and stir the cauliflower.
  5. Remove both the roasted beets and roasted cauliflower from the oven and allow to rest until cool enough to handle.
  6. Peel the beets and slice into chunks.
  7. In a large bowl toss together cooked farro, roasted beets, roasted cauliflower, salad greens, and crumbled feta.
  8. In a small jar with a tight fitting lid, shake together all of the vinaigrette ingredients. Taste and season.
  9. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad. Toss and serve.

Kale + Blackberry + Beet + Almond Milk Smoothies

three almond milk smoothies

What’s in your morning routine?  I make my bed, splash my face with cold water, drink a giant glass of lemon water, and try to forget about the giant bag of dark chocolate chips I’ve been meaning (and failing) to hide from myself.  I try my best to start things off well, with some clarity and conscious eating… that’s because it’s easy to reason with my relaxed morning brain.  By the time dinner rolls around it’s nearly impossible to talk my brain out of popcorn, wine, and handfuls of chocolate chips.  Morning is my power hour.  Dinner looks like a breakup rom-com where a heartbroken girl eats her weight in everything ever.

It’s a new Monday.  It’s a new week.  Let’s start things off feeling great!  The morning is on our side in three major ways.

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I love that three completely different smoothies can come from this display of ingredients.

It’s all about color!  We’re talking about the deep green of kale, bright yellow of pineapple, pretty purple blackberries, and beets that are just dying to stain your fingertips magenta.  

Our constants, our rocks, our anchors in the storm will be frozen banana chunks and cold Almond Breeze Almond Milk.

almond milk smoothie: three ways

I’ve coaxed you into putting greens in your smoothie before, haven’t I?  This Kale, Spinach, and Pear Smoothie started this whole green smoothie kick in my kitchen.

Pairing pineapple with kale really brightens the flavors and makes the smoothie feel like a tropical kale vacation.  Wait.  That doesn’t tempt you?  Don’t worry. This smoothie doesn’t taste like a salad in a blender.  The kale flavor really mellows when pulverized in the company of pineapple and vanilla almond milk.

kale pineapple smoothie

Kale, Pineapple and Almond Milk Smoothie

makes 1 large or 2 small smoothies

Print this Recipe!

1 banana, sliced into chunks, frozen is ideal

1 heaping cup fresh pineapple chunks

1 giant handful of coarsely chopped kale leaves, center rib removed from the kale

1 cup cold Almond Breeze Almond Milk

1 tablespoon honey (optional, but nice for added sweetness)

Remove kale leaves from their rough center stalk and coarsely chop.  In a blender, combine banana, pineapple, chopped kale leaves, almond milk, and honey (if using).  Blend until smooth and no big kale bits remain.  Add more almond milk if the smoothie is too thick for your taste.  Enjoy immediately.

almond milk smoothie: three ways

We’ve gone down the green road, now let’s talk purple.

Blackberries are both tart and sweet.  They’re moody, and I respect that.  I paired blackberries with a vanilla goat’s milk yogurt, and oat flour.  Oat flour is made by placing old-fashioned oats in a small spice grinder until pulverized into a powder.  It helps make me feel full and totally eases any belly unrest.  An extra kick of vanilla from the almond milk, and pure vanilla extract really bring home the vanilla and berry theme.

blackberry oat almond smoothie

Vanilla, Blackberry, Oat and Almond Milk Smoothie

makes 1 large or 2 small smoothies

Print this Recipe!

1 banana, sliced into chunks, frozen is ideal

1 heaping cup frozen blackberries

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (I used goat’s milk yogurt)

1 cup Almond Breeze Almond Milk

2 tablespoons oat flour (old-fashioned oats ground in a spice grinder)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a blender, combine banana, blackberries, yogurt, almond milk, oat flour, and vanilla extract.  It’s easy.  Blend until smooth.  Add more almond milk if the smoothie is too thick for your taste.  Enjoy immediately.

almond milk smoothie: three ways

Did you think for a minute that I’d leave you a smoothie with strawberries and bananas and call it a day?  Noooo way.  Not around these parts.  I’ve added roasted, cooled, and peeled beets to this smoothie.  It’s added fiber, folate, and major magenta coloring.  I’ve also thrown in freshly ground flax seeds for some good omega action.

This smoothie is packed with good, but doesn’t taste like drinking a beet salad.  It’s sweet, pink, and filling.  It’s totally my new favorite.

strawberry beet flax almond smoothie

Strawberry Beet Smoothie

makes 1 large or 2 small smoothies

Print this Recipe!

1 banana, sliced into chunks, frozen is ideal

1 heaping cup sliced strawberries, frozen is awesome

about 1/3 cup steamed beets (I used two about half a large beet)

1 heaping tablespoon flax seed meal

1 cup Almond Breeze Almond Milk

In a blender, combine banana, strawberries, steamed and cooled beets, flax seed meal, and almond milk.  Blend until smooth. Add more almond milk if the smoothie is too thick for your taste.  Enjoy immediately.  

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Sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze.

Beet Lemonade

beet lemonade

I am the thirstiest person.   I’ve taken a city-wide poll, and yep… it’s me.  I win the prize for the thirstiest human.

I’m trying to get creative with the cold beverages that I take in this summer.  I’ve been brewing my own black tea which is remarkably easy, reasonably priced, and delicious.  Adding fresh mint (stems and leaves) into the brewing tea makes it fancy in a flash.  I’m also a huge fan of adding cucumber and lemon slices to water, smashed strawberries to sparkling water, and a splash of orange juice in my iced green tea.

None of it feels particularly genius though it is pretty dang refreshing.

This lemonade though… this neon magenta lemonade feels like a small stroke of genius.  Sweet, tart, and big bright pink!  Let’s drink.

If you’re feeling like you’d like to add a glug of vodka into this lemonade refresher… well, I get you.  Go on and get it!

Beet Lemonade

Let’s start with the basics:  fresh lemons juiced up just right, granulated sugar, filtered water, and raw, grated beet (about 1/4 cup). Yes, actual beet root!

Beet Lemonade

Lemons are juiced!  We’ll need about 3/4 cup of fresh lemon juice.

One small beet is grated on the small side of a box grater.  We’ll only need about 1/4 cup of raw beet.  The color and flavor is potent but not overpowering!

Beet Lemonade

Fresh lemon juice, shredded raw beets, sugar, and a bit of water are blended together in a food processor.  You might also use a blender.  Either works well!

The beets will never be perfectly smooth, but a good blending will infuse the lemonade with lots of beet color and flavor.

Beet Lemonade

Pass the beet lemonade through a fine mesh strainer.  That way we’ll get all of the bright pink beet lemonade without the actual beet pulp.

Beet Lemonade

Not strawberry.  Not raspberry.  Pfffttt..

Pretty pink beet!

Beet Lemonade

Lots of ice because it’s summer and I’m pretty sure that lemonade without ice is a crime.

Beet Lemonade

Sweet and tart with a hint of beet and a whole lot of pink.

No need for a fancy juicer.. just a citrus juicer, a blender, and a mega amount of ice.

Happy hot days to us!  Let’s drink to our thirst!

Beet Lemonade

makes about 8 cups

adapted slightly from Saveur

Print this Recipe!

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup finely grated raw beet*

6 cups filtered water, divided

*I used the fine grating side of a box grater to shred a small, raw, unpeeled beet.  You can also use a food processor with the shredder attachment, but I found the box grater to be much easier.

In a blender or a food processor (fitted with the blade attachment), blend together lemon juice, sugar, shredded beet, and 1 cup of water.  Blend for 1 minute until the mixture is bright pink and well combined.  The beets will never be fully smooth,  that’s ok!

Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer and into a medium bowl.  Use the back of a spoon to press any remaining juice out of the beets and into the lemonade.  Transfer strained mixture to a pitcher and discard the beets.  Add remaining 5 cups of water to the pitcher and stir.  Taste and add more lemon or sugar as necessary.  Store in the refrigerator and serve chilled.