Low Carb Pumpkin Smoothie

I dabble in eating low carb occasionally so when I was invited to participate in a recipe challenge with Steviva, I was excited to create something that would be satisfying and be delicious. Steviva has all natural sweeteners that are terrific options for clean label cooking and baking. All of their sweeteners are low glycemic and free of chemicals and can be used to replace table sugar and powdered sugar in recipes.

Low Carb Pumpkin Smoothie | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

Smoothies are my go-to breakfast meal so when I received my products, I decided to go with erysweet as the sweetener in my smoothie. Erysweet is 70% sweet as sugar, doesn’t have an aftertaste and is perfect for beverages and smoothies. It is a great replacement for table sugar and a near 1:1 sugar replacement.

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Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca

I can’t believe it’s already July – where has the year gone?! This summer has been a little cool, but it’s feeling hot and humid to celebrate the 4th of July tomorrow. We’re having a low-key day at home, lots of swimming and hanging out. I plan on making another batch of these drinks – they were so refreshing and so simple to make! I loved the addition of lime and mint. It really enhanced the watermelon and was delicious. If you want to make it adult friendly, add a shot of rum or vodka for a fun summertime cocktail!

Aqua fresca translates to “cool water” and they’re popular in the US and Mexico. They’re a delicious way to enjoy fresh fruit in the summer. I’m planning to experiment and try more flavors this summer. What type of agua fresca would you like to try?

Watermelon Lime Aqua Fresca | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

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Blood Orange Cooler

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I’ve been doing a little experimenting in the kitchen lately to create a cocktail for the Stirrings “Stir It Up Holiday Blogger Mixology Challenge.” I hadn’t heard of Stirrings before this challenge and I’m sad I missed out on knowing about them this long. I love the four products I was able to sample and can’t wait to try more! I really like that their mixers are made with real fruit juice and cane sugar. Continue reading

Dark Chocolate Cherry Smoothie #Choctoberfest

Another one of my favorite flavor combinations is cherry and chocolate and this smoothie definitely delivered that! I’m really enjoying participating in #Choctoberfest and getting to try a bunch of new recipes and my family is sure enjoying all the treats we’ve had this week. I have two more recipes that I’ll be sharing next week – it’s been a busy week! Today’s recipe features a product from one of our sponsors, Barlean’s. Barlean’s is focused on paving a “Pathway to a Better Life,” which resolves around creating prosperity for people in a variety of meaningful ways. Not only are they creating nutritional supplements, they help support many outreach programs throughout the world. I love being able to support companies that give back and I know I’ll be adding more of Barlean’s products in my life.

This smoothie was the perfect way to start my day. It was a little sweet and full of chocolate flavor. Plus, it was packed full of antioxidants from pure cocoa and a variety of fruits and veggies from the Barlean’s Chocolate Silk Greens I used.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Smoothie #Choctoberfest | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

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Holiday Pomegranate Lime Spritzer – Secret Recipe Club

Welcome to December’s Secret Recipe Club! I can’t believe this is the last reveal for my group this year. 2014 has flown by! This month my assignment was Learning Patience. I’ve been following Corey’s adventures for some time since we’ve been in the same group for SRC. One thing I love about Corey’s blog is I live vicariously through her travels around Trinidad and now London – it gives me a little sneak peek into life in another country. London is one of the places I want to visit one day.

Today’s a big day for me. I start my new job! I’m a little nervous leaving a more than 12 year career in electrical engineer, but I’m excited to take my marketing experience to help build a local company’s brand. To celebrate this weekend, I decided to make Corey’s recipe for holiday pomegrante lime spritzer. It was easy to make and so light and refreshing. I also wanted to test the recipe for a holiday open house I’m hosting for my business next Sunday. I think all my guests will love it!

4 oz white wine (I used Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio)
lime wedge
2 Tbsp pomegrante arils
2 oz sparkling water
In a glass, muddle the pomegranate ariles with the back of a wooden spoon. Add in the wine, sparkling water and squeeze in the lemon. Add a few ice cubes and drink up! 

Honey Vanilla Coffee Creamer

I’m slowly in the process of eliminating as much processed food as I can from our kitchen and this was a big step for me to replace my store-bought coffee creamer. I didn’t realize how simple and easy it was to make and I can’t wait to try out different flavors – almond, caramel, pumpkin spice…the possibilities are endless!

I love the light flavor of the honey and vanilla and I didn’t need as much creamer as I usually pour into my coffee. I used regular milk this time, but I’m going to try almond milk next time and I’m going to even attempt to make my own sweetened condensed milk! Plus I found this super cute carafe at Target and I knew it would be perfect to hold my creamer.
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 3/4 cup milk (your preference: whole, skim, almond, heavy cream, etc)
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
Heat the honey with a small amount of milk in the microwave to thin it out and for the sugars in the honey to completely dissolve. Add the remaining milk, condensed milk and vanilla extract. Stir to combine and then place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.
Check out recipes for other flavor combinations at Reclaiming Your Castle.

Thyme Infused Lemonade – The Secret Recipe Club

It’s time for July’s Secret Recipe Club! This month my assignment was Amy’s Cooking Adventures. Amy is a SAHM to two adorable little boys! We have a lot in common in our cooking and baking styles and we both save room for dessert! I had a really hard time narrowing down my selection this month. I was first thinking about making Cosmic Brownies but I’ve been trying hard to get these last five pounds of baby weight off and decided against those…LOL! I need a party to go to so they’re not tempting me all day long.

I decided to go with Amy’s recipe for thyme infused lemonade. I have an entire pot full of thyme – more than I know what to do with! This recipe was so simple and I loved the hint of thyme in the lemonade. It was perfect to enjoy during the heat and humidity we had over the July 4th holiday weekend.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 bunch of fresh thyme 
2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
7 cups cold water

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of water, the sugar and thyme. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved and a simple syrup is made, remove from the heat to cool. Add in the lemon juice and the remaining 6 cups of water.

Pour the mixture through a strainer to remove the thyme sprigs and any little pieces of lemon. Chill in the refrigerator until cold. Serve over ice with thyme springs as a garnish.

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Banana Sunflower Smoothie

We ran out of peanut butter the other day….I know tragedy! I threw together this smoothie and it was so good. You could easily substitute the sunflower butter with peanut butter but I love the taste it brings to it. I love making smoothies and they’re a great snack or for breakfast.

1 banana, frozen
2 Tbsp sunflower butter
1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt
1/3 cup or more skim milk

Blend all ingredients together. Add more or less milk depending on how thick or thin you want your smoothie.

The Secret Recipe Club: Orange-Pineapple Julius

It’s time for the monthly installment of The Secret Recipe Club.

This month my assignment was Angela’s Kitchen. Angela has been cooking and baking dairy and gluten free for many years and I was amazed at how she’s been able to transform everyday recipes to enjoy with her and her family’s dietary restrictions. I guess I’ve been blessed and the only real food allergy I need to worry about is my husband’s allergy to crab. It’s not good for me since I love crab, but I still enjoy it when I’m traveling for work.

After browsing through Angela’s recipes, I decided on a drink – mock Orange Julius. I’ve never had a real Orange Julius before so I can’t compare, but this was so tasty and perfect to cool down on a very warm spring day! I threw in some pineapple since I had just cut one up and the combination was perfect!

1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar
handful of ice cubes

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. I used a hand immersion blender and it worked perfectly. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Want to be part of the SRC? Join here!

Berry Banana Smoothie

I’ve been drinking green smoothie most mornings during the week after my workouts. It’s definitely helping keep me full and not to snack mindlessly, which is especially hard since I work at home. I’m playing around with flavors but this one has been my most favorite one so far. I have less spinach in this one than the other varieties I drink and I might even be able to get Madeline to drink it. She likes spinach but isn’t a fan of it in drinks. I guess that’s better than not liking it at all!

1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1 small banana
1/2 cup lowfat kefir (I’ve been drinking Lifeway Lowfat Blueberry)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 cup baby spinach.

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

It’s that simple and easy to make!