Category Archives: recipes

Hemp Milk

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 3 minutes
  • Difficulty: Very Easy
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Hemp milk is by far the easiest dairy milk substitute.  There is no cooking and, with the Vitamix, there is no need to run it through a filtration bag.  It is very calorie dense with lots of protein.  It tastes great as is but I’ve added a couple of ingredients for folks who like their milk substitutes a little sweeter.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hemp hearts
  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla

Directions

  1. Place hemp hearts, dates and 2 1/2 cups of water into the Vitamix into the container and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  4. Blend for 1 minute.
  5. Turn machine off and remove lid.
  6. Add the remaining cup of water and the vanilla and secure lid.
  7. Select Variable 1.
  8. Turn machine on and blend for 30 seconds.

 

Food Tips:

  • It is a good idea to slice the dried pitted dates lengthwise before putting them in the Vitamix.  This will ensure that no part of the pit was left inside during processing at the plant.  I have yet to find any literature that says they are dangerous but the pieces can clog g-tubes.  Even if a piece gets through it could cause problems in the GI tract of someone who already has difficulty processing solid food.
  • If you have time, soak the dates and hemp seed for 30 minutes before blending.  This reduces the amount of sediment and completely removes the need for straining or filtering.
  • One cup of fresh hemp seed milk has about  194 calories.  It has 10 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat so, unless you have a high caloric need, I suggest sticking to the 1/2 cup serving size.  Hemp milk will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.  Drink it straight or add it to smoothies.  It is also a great base for blenderized meals.
  • As with all “Super Foods” take the time to research and steer clear of the idea that “if less is good, more is better.”  This is very important if you are dealing with specialized or restricted diets, on medications or have various health conditions.

 

Time Tip:  Freeze any portion of the milk that will not be used in 3-4 days in ice cube trays.  Store the cubes in labeled and dated freezer bags for up to 6 months.  Since each cube is about an ounce, you can quickly grab what you need without wasting any.

 

Money tip:  Shop around before buying hemp hearts.  They can run as high as 12 dollars a pound in some stores and on line.  Winco has the lowest price at $7.02 a pound.  They can be found in the bulk food section for much less than the prepackaged bags.  It is good to alternate seed/nut milks.  If you are on a tight budget, alternate the types of nut/seed/bean milks you make to save money.  This is also important especially for individuals on blenderized diets to insure balanced nutrition.

 

Homemade “Ripple Milk”

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: about 1hour 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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The first time I had ever heard of this was on a Facebook group called blenderize RN. Having a teenage boy on a blenderized/pureed diet can be difficult at times. Because of his complicated GI tract and minimal oral experience, it’s hard finding things he can and will eat without slowing his digestion down. Since Matthew drinks his formula, I wanted to increase his calories and protein without adding more formula but do it in such a way as to not upset his very restricted palate. Enter “Ripple” (aka split pea milk). Since everything I blend for him is homemade, I thought I would try making it myself. I added 1 cup to his normal formula recipe and he didn’t even notice. It was so easy and inexpensive, I just had to share.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked yellow split peas
  • 3 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 4 pitted dates

Directions

  1. In a medium size sauce pan, bring 1 cup of dry yellow split peas and 4 cups of water to a boil.  Boil for 10 minutes on high then reduce temperature to simmer and cook until peas are soft (about hour).
  2. In the large Vitamix container, add ingredients in the order listed and secure lid.
  3. Select Variable 1.
  4. Turn machine on and increase speed to Variable 10, then High.
  5. Blend for 1 minute or until completely smooth.
  6. Remove milk from blender and repeat steps 2-5 with remaining peas.

Food Tip: This recipe makes a total of 10 cups of milk.  It is thick so if you plan on drinking it, you may want to thin it out a bit.  With 75 calories per cup and 8 grams of protein, it makes an excellent addition to a blended diet.  It can also easily replace cows milk in baking for those who have a dairy free diet.  Milk will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 4 days.

Time Tip:  Make the full batch and freeze extra milk in ice cube trays then store in labeled and dated freezer bags.  Each cube is about 1 once making measuring a  breeze.

Money Tip: One pound of dry split peas cost around 70 cents a pound at bulk food stores like Winco.  Ripple milk runs about $4.29 for 48oz.  Since I only used 1 cup of dried beans, I made 80oz for only 33 cents!

Raw Coconut Milk

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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coconut-milk-2

When I was a little girl growing up in Massachusetts, one of my favorite memories was making coconut beans and rice with my grandma. It was an old family recipe from Jamaica that was made during the holidays. When we were making it, the wonderfully sweet smell of fresh coconut filled the house. I can remember sitting at the kitchen table with a cheese grater grating the coconut meat by hand and placing it on cheese cloth. I can also remember the stern look I got from her when she caught me sneaking a piece to nibble on. It was my dad’s job to “milk” the coconut. The cheese cloth containing the shredded coconut was tied and placed in a pot of boiling water for 20 minutes then squeezed and measured. My dad was the only one tough enough to handle the job. All of this took lots of time but the final dish was like no other. It was a labor of love so we didn’t mind.

Fast forward to the present. Because of the Vitamix, I can make fresh coconut milk in a fraction of the time, no scraped knuckles from the grater, with less mess and nary a burn from scalding water.

Ingredients

Prepare fresh coconut

6oz fresh coconut meat

4 cups of water (total)


Directions

  1. Place coconut meat into the container and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then High.
  4. Blend for 30 seconds or until a fine mash is formed using the tamper to press the coconut meat into the blades.
  5. Turn machine off, remove lid, scrape container with a Vitamix spatula, add 2 cups of the water and replace the lid.
  6. Select Variable 1.
  7. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  8. Blend for 1 minute then pour contents into a Vitamix filtration bag to extract the milk.
  9. Return the mash in the filtration bag to the Vitamix container and add the remaining 2 cups of water.
  10. Repeat steps 6-8.

Food Tip: Save the coconut water extracted prior to removing the meat from the shell to drink separately.  Coconut milk is VERY high in fat calories so watch how much you drink (about 256 calories per 4oz serving). It is an excellent way to boost the calories in a blenderized or pureed diet for people with volume intolerance. Raw coconut milk will only stay fresh in the refrigerator for 4-5 days so freeze any unused milk and/or coconut water in ice-cube trays and store in dated labeled freezer bags. Always test for allergies by giving a small amount (1-2 tsp) over the course of 4-7 days.

Time Tip: Coconuts typically contain 12-14 oz of meat. Freeze any unused meat in a dated and labeled freezer bag for future use.

Money tip: Coconuts are less expensive during the holidays so stock up, process and save.

For more information on picking and processing fresh coconuts, please see my blog post on that topic.

Basic Blend

This is one of those “what we had for dinner” blends.  The picture and the recipe are spoon thick because it can just as easy be used for someone on a pureed diet.  To make it thinner for bolus or pump feeding, just add more turkey stock or bone broth if you happen to have some.  You may notice that the stock is green.  That’s because I blended the meal right after I had made a green smoothie.  By not washing out the container, I saved time and water.  Plus all of the extra nutrients from the green smoothie are now in the dinner blend!

1/2 cup of turkey or chicken stock

2 cups steamed or raw broccoli

1/2 cup brown rice

6oz (approx. 1 cup) cooked turkey or chicken

  1. Place all ingredients in the container in the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to variable 10, then to High.
  4. Blend for 1 minute, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.

Food tip: This recipe is great for starting out.  None of the ingredients are commonly associated with food allergies.  Raw broccoli is a little harder to digest so, if the blend causes gas, steam the broccoli first.

Time Tip: If you are blending for a little one, freeze the blend in ice cube trays for quick easy 1 oz portions.  Depending on the caloric need, use batch blending and store in feeding specific quantities.

Money Tip:  Buying meat on sale is the best way to save money. For example, I buy an extra turkey during Thanksgiving and keep it in the freezer.  I cook it up some time later as a Sunday dinner, turn some of the leftovers into turkey enchiladas and setting aside at least a cup for blending.  Then I boil the carcass to make a a quick turkey stock or, if I have time, turkey bone broth.  Also, buy broccoli in bulk at a club store.  Use as much fresh as you can eat in 4 days and steam the remainder before freezing in 1-2 cup portions for later use.

 

 

Pureed Fresh Ginger

  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Time to toss the grater, folks!  This is the fastest and easiest way to process ginger.

Ingredients


3 cups of fresh ginger root

Directions

  1. Wash (no need to peel) and cut 2-3 cups of fresh ginger root.
  2. Place into Vitamix container and secure lid.
  3. Select Variable 1 and turn machine on.
  4. Quickly increase speed to variable 10, then High.
  5. Using the tamper, press the ginger into the blades and blend for 1-2 minutes or until completely smooth.

Food Tip:  As most of us know, ginger root makes an excellent tea and seasoning for a wide variety of dishes.  When using it in tea, make sure to stir occasionally.  Mixed in, the particles go unnoticed. But, if you leave it sitting and then drink it, you will find that the particles settle to the bottom making your last sip pretty grainy.

Time Tip: Freeze ginger puree in “mini cube” ice cube trays and store them in labeled freezer bags.  Each cube is about 1/2 teaspoon so there no guessing when it comes to measurements.  Don’t bother peeling it.  The Vitamix is powerful enough to blend the root and the skin so smooth that there are no fibrous strands in the puree.  Plan ahead and keep some on hand in the refrigerator for easy mixing.

Money Tip:  I looked up Ginger puree on line and it was going for $9 a pound.  Fresh ginger root runs about $6-7 .  Because of its strong flavor, only a small amount is needed.  Keeping it in the freezer means less waste in the refrigerator and the convenient cubes are ready when you are.

Sunrise Green Smoothie

This makes for a great eye opener but It’s refreshing any time of day.

Sunrise Green Smoothie
Sunrise Green Smoothie

1 cup water

1cup romaine lettuce

1 cup fresh spinach

thin slice of fresh lemon (including the peel)

4 frozen pineapple cubes (or 4oz frozen pineapple)

2 frozen mango cubes (or 2oz frozen mango)

1 Stevia packet (or more to taste)

  1. Placed all into the Vitamix container in  the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  4. Blend for 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached.  Use the tamper if needed to push the ingredients into the blades.

Food Tip:  Any of your favorite greens will work in this smoothie.  Spinach and romaine lettuce are good starters for the novice green smoothie drinker because the fruit masks the taste of the greens.  As you get more accustomed to the taste, try removing the Stevia and some of the fruit.  That will retrain your palate into not always needing food to be sweet to taste good.

Time Tip:  As with my other smoothie recipes, I save time by pureeing the fruit and freezing them in ice cube trays.  No need to separate large chunks of frozen fruit. Also, I can add exactly the desired amount of fruit keeping the flavor just like I like it or give me option to change it up a bit.

Money Tip:  Buy your greens at a food warehouse such as Costco or Sam’s Club.  As soon as you open the bags, fill  gallon-sized freezer bags, label and date them, then put them straight into the freezer.  Use up the fresh greens in the refrigerator then begin using the frozen greens.  No more tossing half of your greens in the trash 3 days after you bring the home and running out to by more.  No waste ALWAYS means more money in your pocket.

Hummus

Hummus

2 cups cooked chick peas (according to the package)
¼ -½ cup bean liquid
1/3 cup tahini (see recipe)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup of lemon juice or a 2oz peeled section of lemon
2-3 cloves of garlic
1-3 tsp garlic salt

Hummus prep

1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
2. Select Variable 1.
3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
4. Blend for 1 minute using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades (if necessary).

Food Tip: Hummus is an Arabic word meaning chickpeas or garbanzo beans. The complete name of the prepared spread in Arabic is hummus bi tahini. So can you make hummus without tahini? Yes but, in my opinion, the flavor is lacking. Tahini is roasted sesame seeds that are blended to the consistency of creamy peanut butter. Eaten by itself, it has a rich nutty flavor. If you buy it in the jar it tends to have a bitter aftertaste. Blended with the chick peas it gives life and body to the spread. Traditionally, hummus is the consistency of yogurt but add the liquid to make it as thin or thick as you desire. Serve with fresh veggies, pita chips or as a spread for a pita sandwich or wrap.
Time Tip: 2 cups of sesame seeds makes about 1 cup of tahini. Make it in advance and keep it the refrigerator for future fresh batches. Another time saving technique is to make 3 batches (1 pound of dry beans cooked). Blend each batch individually and freeze them in various size plastic containers. After they are frozen, pop them out into a large Ziploc Freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. That way you can defrost as little or as much as you need. Amazingly, it tastes as if it were just made after it’s been defrosted and warmed up a bit.
Money Tip: Buying dry beans is always less expensive (and tastes better) than canned beans. Making your own tahini in your Vitamix is way less expensive (and also tastes better) than buying it in a jar. Last but not least, freezing your hummus not only saves time but money. You only defrost what you plan to use in the next 3-4 days so there is none to throw away.

Tahini

Tahini

2 ½ cups of toasted raw sesame seeds
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Tahini prep

Toasted sesame seeds: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place sesame seeds on a cookie sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes stirring often. Cool for 15 minutes.

Toasted sesame seeds

1. Place sesame seeds into the Vitamix container and secure lid.
2. Select variable 1.
3. T urn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable10, then high.
4. Blend for 1 minute using the tamper to press the mixture into the blades.
5. Remove the lid plug and add olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is smooth and has the consistency of a thick liquid.

Food Tip: Be sure not to overcook the seeds because the tahini will taste burnt. They will not be brown when they are done. You will barely see a color change.

Time Tip: Use foil on your cookie sheet. Once the seeds are cooled you can lift the sides of the foil and form a tube. Lift the foil and pour directly into the Vitamix container. I have tried pouring the seeds into the container directly from the cookie sheet only to have lots of them all over my counter. Using a spoon takes a long time because the seeds are so small and smooth.

Money Tip: Sesame seeds bought in bulk costs about $1/lb. One 16oz jar of tahini can cost anywhere from $6 to $12!

Chopped Olives

GE

1 15oz can of whole olives (drained)

1. Select Variable 2.
2. Turn machine on, remove the lid plug and slowly pour the olive through the lid.
3. Blend 3-5 seconds or until all of the olives are evenly chopped.

Food tip: You can adjust the variable speed up or down 1 speed at a time to get the desired texture. This technique also works well for chopping whole Jalapeno peppers. Split them lengthwise and remove the seeds by scraping them off with a spoon then cut the peppers in thirds before dropping them through the lid.

Time Tip: Chopping a whole can of olives by hand can take up to 10 minutes (I know. I’ve done it). Using the Vitamix it takes about 10 seconds and that’s counting opening and draining the olives!

Money Tip: When I’m chopping large quantities for my Nine Layer Bean Dip (you’ll find the recipe in the dip category here in my blog), I buy a 33oz bag of sliced olives.

Nine Layer Bean Dip

Nine Layer Bean Dip
Nine Layer Bean Dip

This recipe has some serious history behind it.  It all started about 16 years ago.  We had been invited to join my husband’s best friends family for a Fourth of July barbeque/swim party.  It was a pot luck for a fairly large group so I thought the nine layer bean dip would work well as an appetizer.  The dip was a hit and so began a Barton Family Bean Dip legacy.  At first it was just 1 pan but then I found out a family member had an allergy to avocados so I added a small pan that had no guacamole in it.  Soon the dip was disappearing as fast as I brought it out.  Come to find out, people were skipping lunch just to eat the dip when we arrived.

9 layer dip dos

 

9 layer dip

 

 

Fast forward to the present.  We now bring 3 varieties of the dip all weighing between 5 and 7 pounds each to all of our Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day gatherings.  Three parties every year plus a couple of extra events thrown in by special request.  That’s a lot of dip!  One year we had to miss Memorial Day because Matthew was in the hospital.  One family member jokingly asked, “Well, can you at least bring the dip?”  Yeah.  It’s that good!

GE

Well, now it’s football season and the holiday season is quickly approaching.  The next time you are invited to a party bring “the dip”.  Word of caution, be prepared to be stopped at the door when you are invited back and you decide to bring something else!

3 cups of non-fried re-fried beans
2 cups diced green chiles
2 cups guacamole
1 cup taco seasoning
2 cups chopped olives
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups chopped green onion
2 cups sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese

Guacamole directions: Peel, pit and mash 4-5 avocados. Mix in ¼ cup sour cream and salt, Cayenne pepper and black pepper to taste.

Dip directions: Layer each ingredient into a large lasagna pan (13-1/2 in. L x 9-5/8 in. W x 2-3/4 in. H) in the order listed. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Food Tip: For those allergic to avocado, eliminate that layer. For those who like a spicier dip, use chopped jalapenos in place of green chiles. This size dip is excellent for parties. If you want a smaller dip, choose the desired size pan and evenly layer all of the ingredients. The beans should measure about ¾ inch deep and each successive layer should completely cover the one below it.

Time Tip: The beans puree and spread much easier if they are freshly cooked and blended. Spread the non-fried re-fried beans into the pan, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Also chop the olives, tomatoes, green chiles and/or jalapenos the night before and store in airtight containers. It is best to chop the onions and make the guacamole the day the dip is to prepared and eaten.

Money Tip: When making this dip for a large group it is best to buy the ingredients at club stores or stores that specialize in catering. Making the non-fried re-fried beans fresh from beans purchased at a bulk food store is always more nutritional, less expensive and better tasting than canned.