I love seasonal cooking. Summer and autumn are my favorite times of year to cook, mostly because they both yield such wonderful vegetables and fruits. As much as I love autumn/winter veggies though, I must say that summer reigns as produce queen. There's such a plethora of inexpensive fresh fruits and veggies at the grocery and farmer's market right now, it's almost an embarrassment of riches.
I'm determined to experiment more with meals and snacks this summer, to use more fresh fruits and veggies in a variety of different, simple ways. I say simple partly because my family (perhaps especially my nine year old, but me too) has simple tastes in food, and also because I love simple cooking. You don't have to add tons of things to fresh produce to make it taste good or look good -- it already does.
I'm going to try to keep track of some of my recipe experiments here on the blog, even the very simplest ones. In that spirit, I kick things off with the Peach Vanilla Smoothie that the sweet girl and I have had at breakfast twice in the past week. It's a keeper.
I based this on a recipe I found in a cereal box a couple of years ago -- admittedly not the place where I usually get my recipes! But I'm always on the lookout for tasty looking smoothie recipes, no matter where I happen to find them. I tweaked this one a bit and I think it could be tweaked still further if you wanted to "health it up" more.
But here's what we've been doing:
Orange Juice (a cup and a half or so)
Fresh peaches (about two, peeled and chunked)
About six dollops of french vanilla yogurt
Ice Cubes (about four)
The original recipe called for frozen peaches, which would be a fine substitute in the off-season, but with peaches fresh, cheap and plentiful at market right now, why do anything else? The fresh peach juice really comes through when you blend this.
I do like smoothies ice cold, which is why we added the ice (since we weren't doing frozen fruit). The recipe called for more yogurt too, but we've found a half dozen spoonfuls sufficient -- it adds a creamy texture and a nice hint of vanilla without overpowering the peach/orange. The whole thing has a bit of a creamsicle taste.
We've been using Yoplait french vanilla yogurt, which is sweetened. You could health this up by using plain yogurt (a good kind like Stonyfield Farms) or plain greek yogurt and then adding honey or agave nectar if you wanted a more natural sweetener.
I suspect this would also be good (though different) with other flavored yogurts like raspberry.