Greena Colada Smoothie

Would you believe me if I told you that this smoothie tastes just like a piña colada?

Well, it does. I know it sounds crazy, but you can’t even taste the spinach! You taste coconut and pineapple. It is such a treat and a regular I love to make as a snack after church, for breakfast, or in between lunch and dinner.

The inspiration for this recipe came in the BlendTec cookbook, but it calls for actual coconut meat. I never have that on hand. So, it’s been modified to fit what I usually have in my kitchen.

Greena Colada Smoothie
Serves: 2
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • Juice from half a lime (I've made this without the lime juice and it's still great)
  • 3½ cups frozen pineapple
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice
  • 2 cups spinach
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  1. Add ingredients to blender in order listed. Blend until smooth, blending longer if you prefer less coconut texture. Serve and enjoy!


Nutella Banana Shake

I LOVE NUTELLA! It is my goal to see how many things I can get it into. So, when my friend Erinn posted this shake on her blog, you better believe I was making it that night! I changed it up and added peanut butter and chocolate milk mix, taking some inspiration from a recipe in the cookbook that came with my VitaMix blender. Matt got me one to replace our possessed blender for my birthday, and we’ve been smoothie & milkshake obsessed ever since! Ada likes hers topped with people sparkles (purple sprinkles).

I like mine straight up. Can you say that for something non-alcoholic?

Yield: 1 serving

Nutella Banana Shake
  • ½ c. milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutella
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • 1 Tablespoon Nestle Quik powder
  • 6 ice cubes
  • Sprinkles (optional)
  1. Put ingredients in blender in order listed. Push ice crush/milkshake button or blend until there are no more chunks of ice. Pour into glass and enjoy!


Strawberry Banana Smoothie

We had a week of rain here in Santa Cruz. Welcome, Spring! After three days, I decided to pretend like it wasn’t freezing cold and make smoothies. It definitely helped with the cabin fever…and now the sun has returned!

Ada loves smoothies and declared this one, “So nummy, Mommy!”

Strawberry Banana Smoothie Recipe

Strawberry Banana Smoothie
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 cup orange-pineapple juice (or juice of your choice)
  • 7 large strawberries, rinsed with stems removed
  1. Put banana, ice cubes, and juice in blender. Blend until no large chunks remain. Add fresh strawberries and blend until combined. Makes one full blender.

Stick a straw in, pretend like you’re somewhere warm, & enjoy!

Nutella Hot Chocolate & Homemade Marshmallows

Do you love Nutella as much as I do? After being introduced to it in Italy ten years ago, I thought I had put it on everything imaginable. Until I saw this post over at The Sisters Cafe. It was one of those, “DUH!” moments. Why hadn’t I thought of this YEARS ago?! Nutella in my hot chocolate? Glorious!!

It is so perfect. Two ingredients that yield frothy, hazelnutty, chocolately goodness in a cup.

Nutella Hot Chocolate Recipe – from Mindy at The Sisters Cafe:

1 cup milk (whole tastes the best to me)

2 Tablespoons Nutella

Whisk milk and Nutella in a saucepan over medium heat until combined and frothy. These measurements give you one serving, so adjust accordingly.

Is is bad that I have made this so many times that I can eyeball itand know exactly how much I’ll have? The Nutella tends to separate from the milk after sitting for a while, so whisk as necessary to combine before drinking more.

I wanted to add some homemade marshmallows to my hot chocolate, and my sister gave me Miette’s cookbook for Christmas! It is adorable, even the pages are cut with the cutest scalloped edge. I can’t wait to visit their shop the next time I’m in San Francisco. When I saw their marshmallow recipe, I knew I had to try it out. They were so fun to make & are bouncy little guys, so be careful while putting them into a bowl. We had quite a few go overboard! They melt down beautifully in the hot chocolate and taste nothing like store-bought marshmallows. They are so much better!

Miette Marshmallows Recipe 


1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar

3 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder (4 packets)

1/3 cup water, plus 1/2 cup

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 vanilla bean (I omitted…too expensive but I bet they taste even better with it!)

3 large egg whites

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Pinch of cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


Have ready a 9×13 inch pan lightly coated with cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together the corn starch and powdered sugar. Dust the bottom and sides of the pan with the mixture. Tap off the excess and reserve.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the 1/3 cup water. Set aside to soften.

In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the sugar. (Save the pod for another use.) Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Over medium-low heat, cook the mixture to 246 degrees F.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt. When the syrup reaches 230 degrees F, start to which the egg whites on low speed. When it reaches 246 degrees F, immediately remove the syrup from the heat and whisk in the softened gelatin until no lumps remain. Pour the syrup through a fine mesh sieve into another pan or a heatproof bowl.

With the mixer still on low speed, pour in a small amount of the syrup, away from the whisk so the hot syrup doesn’t splash. Continue to add the syrup in a thin stream; when all the syrup has been added, raise the speed to medium-high. Continue to whisk until the meringue has cooled to room temperature and stiff peaks form. Scrape it out into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Dust the top with some of the remaining cornstarch mixture. Cover the pan and allow the marshmallows to set for approximately 6 hours.

To cut, slip an offset spatula between the marshmallow and the sides of the pan. Invert the slab onto a cutting board dusted with the cornstarch mixture. Using a lightly oiled knife, cut the marshmallows into 1 1/2 inch squares. Dust the cut edges with the cornstarch mixture and store in an airtight container or bag for up to 5 days.

Green Smoothie

Green smoothies are all the rage! They are healthy and taste surprisingly sweet for the amount of spinach that is in them.

I found this recipe on my friend Jen’s blog. I halved her recipe and it filled our Black & Decker blender that sorely needs replacing. It’s possessed!

Green Smoothie
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 baby carrot
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • 1 Pear
  • 1 Banana
  • Handful of frozen strawberries
  • Handful of frozen mangoes
  • 2 Tbs ground flaxseed
  • A few squirts of Agave Nectar (I used honey the first time and it tasted great)
  1. Blend to desired thickness & enjoy!


Even Ada loves this, and I play around with the fruit depending on what I have. Also, after shopping around for agave nectar – I found that Costco was the best deal for a two-pack.

Frozen Hot Chocolate

This drink is one made famous by Serendipity 3, a must-visit if you’re ever in New York City. It’s a tiny, funky place where hot fudge sundaes and treats like this abound. They now have one in Las Vegas too! You can buy a mix to make their Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, but it’s a bit pricey. It is very dangerous that I now know how to make this from scratch. It’s tastes just like the real thing and is a satisfying cold treat for a chocoholics like me. I see lots of Frozen Hot Chocolate in the summer days ahead!

3 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
1 package Hot Cocoa Mix
2 Tablespoons Butter
2/3 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
12 oz. Can Evaporated Milk
Two trays of ice cubes
Homemade Whipped Cream

Combine sugar, cocoa mix, and butter in the top of a double boiler that is set over gently boiling water. Stir often until melted and a smooth paste forms. Add chocolate chips & stir. When chips begin to melt, stir in 1/2 cup of evaporated milk. Mix until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Combine the chocolate base mixture, the remaining evaporated milk, and ice in a blender (you can do this in batches) and cover. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses & top each with whipped cream. Sprinkle with cocoa and/or chopped chocolate chips if desired. Stick in a straw and enjoy! Just don’t drink too fast. :)

Recipe adapted from Mama Foodie.

Great White Punch

We have had some extremely warm weather in Santa Cruz recently, and I just had to make this punch. It is so refreshing when it’s hot out! We have been welcoming the sunshine after all of the storms and rain. This is really sticky…my husband accidentally spilled some (twice) on our kitchen floor and I don’t think we’ll ever get it all up! It has quite a bit of sugar, and would taste great with 1 cup less if you like things on the tangier side. I made this for the missionaries in the summertime and they chugged it!

Recipe courtesy The Sisters Cafe.

1 6 oz. can frozen limeade

11 cups water

3 cups sugar

2 quarts lemon lime soda or 7-UP

fresh lime wedges

Mix limeade, water and sugar until dissolved. Freeze, stirring often. 2 hours before serving, thaw mixture in punch bowl. 1 hour before serving, add lemon lime soda or 7-UP. Garnish with fresh lime wedges.

This also tastes great if you put some in a mug and stick it in your freezer, eating when slushy with a spoon.

Hershey’s Hot Cocoa

Last month, my friend Melissa posted on facebook about how awesome homemade hot cocoa was. I asked her to share the recipe, and she sent me this link: Hershey’s Hot Cocoa. She is right! This is so creamy, rich, and delicious that you’ll never want to have powdered mix again! It has been freezing in Santa Cruz, so I made this last night. Topped with homemade whipped cream it’s the perfect treat to warm you up.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
Dash salt
1/3 cup hot water
4 cups (1 qt.) milk (I used 2 cups fat free and 2 cups whole milk)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Miniature marshmallows or sweetened whipped cream (optional)

Stir together sugar, cocoa and salt in medium saucepan; stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil and stir 2 minutes. Add milk; stirring constantly, heat to serving temperature. Do Not Boil.
Remove from heat; add vanilla. Beat with rotary beater or whisk until foamy. Serve topped with marshmallows or whipped cream, if desired. Five 8-oz. servings.