Kiwano Melon Sippers

If you need a good ice breaker, pick up a kiwano melon (also known as a horned melon). Their orange, spiked exterior is what really grabs people’s attention. It certainly did at my house. I had one sitting on the counter during one of the Sunday’s we hosted our church group. After a variety of sideway glances at my counter I finally heard, “what is that?!?”

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No one knew what it was, let alone had tasted it. It was the perfect excuse to wrap them into my foodie world. I cut the kiwano melon open, passed around spoons and everyone tried a bite of the emerald green flesh. Collectively, we decided that the flavor of the pulp has the essence of banana and kiwi, yet provides quite a different texture.

Not wanting to mask the flavor of the melon, I decided to go very simple for my Kiwano Melon Sippers. In fact, I kept it to only two ingredients and blended the kiwano melon pulp with some banana cream pie flavored yogurt. That’s it; Simple, right? You can serve it as-is for an easy way for you (or your kids) to slurp up some extra vitamins, or serve it in the kiwano melon shell, garnished with a few blueberries, as an intermezzo for a noteworthy dinner. Either way you are sure to have your guests singing your praises.

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Kiwano Melon Sipper

1 kiwano melon
Two, 6 ounce Banana Cream Pie flavored yogurts
Blueberries for garnish (optional)

 

Cut kiwano melon in half and scoop out the green pulp and seeds. Add the pulp and seeds to a food processor, and then add the yogurt. Blend until smooth. Pour into two serving dishes and garnish with blueberries, if desired. For extra plating sensation, the kiwano melon sipper can be served in the melon shell.

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Chocolate-Banana Trifle (a.k.a. Banana Swirl)

Last week my daughter proclaimed that we should have Banana Swirl for dessert. Typical of most preschooler conversations, I asked her what was in that dish. She then mentioned it was bananas and bread mixed together. Hmmm. It sounds like she just came up with another installment of what I’m going to call kid-inspired recipes.

Much like my Pretzel Soup recipe, I decided to take this as more of a suggestion/starting point. Instead of bread I used a chocolate-chocolate chip muffin to create a Chocolate-Banana Trifle or “Banana Swirl”. bananaSwirl2b

I layered muffin pieces with vanilla flavored Greek yogurt (I opted for a healthier layer rather than a more typical custard or whipped cream layer, though this dish still qualifies as an extra-special, sugar loaded treat), a bit of caramel topping, and slices of fresh banana.

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The result was an enticing trifle which in my mind straddles the breakfast and dessert categories.  I know, I know, caramel for breakfast? Nonetheless, I’m still going to let you decide when you want to eat it!

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Chocolate-Banana Trifle (a.k.a. Banana Swirl)

1 large chocolate-chocolate chip muffin

½ cup vanilla flavored Greek Yogurt, divided

1 banana, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons caramel topping, divided

Tear the muffin into chunks and place half at the bottom of a parfait glass or an 8 ounce juice glass. Add half of the yogurt, half of the banana slices, and then half of the caramel topping. Repeat layers with the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 1 serving.

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Tropical Turmeric Smoothies

Do you love smoothies but feel like you are in a rut? Why not trying an unexpected flavor to change things up?

A twist I tried this week is fresh turmeric.  Turmeric is a rhizome in the same family as ginger and is more typically used dried, though it is just as delicious fresh. To use it, simply shred a bit of the peeled turmeric and use accordingly.  For my smoothie, I made sure not to get too carried away since I didn’t want the slight bitterness of the spice to overpower my drink.

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My Tropical Turmeric Smoothie was heavily loaded with fresh pineapple and freshly squeezed orange juice, and rounded out with Greek style yogurt and  of course the turmeric.

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The pungent flavor of the turmeric provided a great balance to the pineapple so the drink wasn’t overly sweet and was enough of an exotic flavor to make all of my guinea pigs guests take notice.

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If this colorful beverage hasn’t won you over yet, would it change your mind if you knew that turmeric:

  • has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Is considered to help with indigestion, coughs, shoulder pain and colic according to Chinese medicine
  • May prevent cancer or slow cancer growth

Even without these extra perks, a Tropical Turmeric Smoothie is a fun and healthy way to start your day!


Tropical Turmeric Smoothie

4 cups fresh, chopped pineapple
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated turmeric
½ cup plain Greek style yogurt

blend all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pour into four glasses, garnish as desired, and serve immediately.

Note: Fresh turmeric stains clothes and skin easily (it is even used as a natural dye) – prepare with caution.

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Berry Good Finds – Triple Berry Parfait

Last week I was so excited when I received an email from the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF) that they were open for raspberry picking the next day (one day only!), which happened to fall on my Friday off from work.

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I had never picked raspberries and I thought it would be a fun excursion for my kids and I. We had a great time picking and eating berries right from the vine (with permission of course, and I’m sure you can guess that with two toddlers I did most of the picking and they did most of the eating), but I have to say that the most interesting part of the day was discovering YELLOW raspberries.  Not under-ripe, but actually yellow at maturity.

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Personally I think they taste a bit sweeter than the red variety, though my husband says they taste the same to him.

Yellow raspberries were just the first of this week’s discoveries. I found two other new (to me) berries at a local store – kiwi berries and dried mulberries.  A kiwi berry is a small variety of the kiwi fruit that is about the size of a grape with smooth skin. You actually eat them whole, which means you get the juicy kiwi flavor without the hassle of peeling.

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Dried mulberries are chewy and dense in texture, more similar to a dried currant or fig rather than a raisin.  The taste is mellow with a slightly spiced undertone. You can use them interchangeably for other dried fruit in recipes, or just eat them by the handful like me, using their “superfood status” as an excuse to hide the fact that they are just as addictive as candy.

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I couldn’t choose between the three berries this week so I decided to throw all of them into a yogurt parfait.  I wanted to be able to fully enjoy the flavor of the berries, so I left the yogurt flavor light.  I stirred a bit of apple pie spice and honey into plain non-fat yogurt and topped it with a generous portion of my triple berries.  I only wish yellow raspberries were easier to find so that I could enjoy this treat more often!

 

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Rhubarb & Apricot Compote Parfait

What is one of the best ways to sneak an extra serving of vegetables in at breakfast or dessert? Pretend the vegetable is a fruit!

Rhubarb is actually a vegetable, despite its famous use in strawberry-rhubarb pie. It is also delicious in savory dishes, but one of my favorite ways to eat it is in compote form, which is just a fancy way of saying a sauce you can use like a jam or finishing syrup.

First, I chopped the rhubarb (just the stalks, not the toxic leaves) into approximately 1 inch slices,

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Then I chopped a few fresh apricot, adding sweetness, color, and great flavor to the mix.

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The fruit, along with honey, water and a vanilla bean were all added to a large pot and simmered together for a few minutes. The vanilla adds a lovely undertone, but if you don’t have any handy, this compote will still be scrumptious if you skip it – I promise.

The end result is a sweet-tart, delicious mixture that is the consistency of thick applesauce.

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Once it cooled, I layered it generously with some Greek style vanilla yogurt and topped it off with my favorite granola.

This has been a great way to start my day this week, and soo easy to put together. It even did double duty as dessert one night!

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Rhubarb & Apricot Compote Parfait
Compote
1 lb fresh rhubarb, chopped in 1 inch slices
½ lb fresh apricots (about 4), pitted and chopped
½ cup clover honey
½ cup water
1 vanilla bean

Parfait
Rhubarb-apricot compote
20 oz of Greek style vanilla yogurt
granola for garnish (optional)

 

Add the rhubarb, apricots, honey and water to a large pot. Scrape the seeds out of the center of the vanilla bean, and add both the seeds and the pod to the pot. Place the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for another 15-20 minutes or until the rhubarb has started to soften. Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pod from the pot, and let the rhubarb mixture cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Makes ~2.5 cups of compote.

To make the parfait, layer equal amounts of the Rhubarb & Apricot Compote and Greek style vanilla flavored yogurt in a glass. Garnish with granola and serve. Makes 5 parfaits.

 

 

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