Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Strawberry-Lemon Coconut Smoothie

It's strawberry season in San Diego! I know that sounds weird, but this is when we start getting strawberries from our local farms. That is one of the reasons I think it's going to be hard to move away when we graduate... however the main reason is Disneyland, I have no idea how I'll survive being more than a couple hours drive from Disneyland.... :'(

Where I think I live

Where my friends think I live

 Where my husband thinks I live

Ok a moment to recover

...and now back to the recipe. :) 

When Nathan first got hurt I went to the grocery store and tried to figure out what might be good for him to drink. One of the things I found was coconut water, which purports to be a naturally balanced way to hydrate (like nature's gatorade?). Anyway, it intrigued me so I brought a box home. We were pretty excited to try it, but unfortunately it turned out that neither of us liked the taste and it's been sitting in our fridge ever since. I super HATE throwing things out, so here is my attempt to salvage it in a tasty smoothie.


1/2 cup - coconut water (you could probably use milk or regular water too)
6 oz. - lemon yogurt
10 - strawberries
1/4 cup - coconut milk (we use Mea Ploy brand cause it's the bestest)


Throw all the ingredients into your blender. I didn't include any honey or sugar in this recipe but you could add some now if like things a bit sweeter.

Here's the coconut water! Just dump it in!

Pour into a fancy glass

Drink and notice how nice coconut water tastes when you mask it with lots of other better tasting stuff. :)

Get well soon!
Elizabeth and Nathan

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spicy Carrot Curry Soup

So... in preparation for all the soup making I am expecting to do, I invested in the Costco 10 lb bag of onions and 10 lb bag of organic carrots. I was pretty optimistic about purchasing them, however, 20 lbs of vegetables looks a lot bigger now that we have them in our apartment.

I think we'll do ok, but I have to remember to buy some green vegetables next time we're out. I don't want to risk turning us orange (a quick poll of my friends + google search revealed this wonderful article on the subject. Good news: only one known carrot overdose related death in history, yay?).

This soup will be my first in a series of attempts to make my way through those carrots. On the bright side it turned out super tasty, I think next time I'll make a double batch. :)


6 - medium sized carrots
1 - large yellow onion
4 - cloves garlic
32 oz. - chicken stock
1 Tbsp - curry powder
1 tsp - nutmeg
1 tsp - cayenne pepper (adjust to make it more or less spicy)
1 tsp - salt (more or less depending on the sodium content of your broth)
2 Tbsp - butter (or olive oil)
1/4 cup - cream (optional)


Start by dicing up your onion. Since you are blending this soup don't worry too much about getting the pieces too uniform. 

While you're dicing you can start heating up your butter in the pot.

Add the onions to the pot and let them caramelize as you chop up the garlic and carrots. Again it doesn't really matter how you chop since we are blending. However, I like to chop relatively thin slices so that the carrots cook faster.

Make sure the onions are fully caramelized before adding the other ingredients. The onions are a big part of the flavor in the finished soup.

these look about done!

Toss in the garlic and the carrots. if you are worried about things sticking you can also add a cup or so of the chicken broth. 

Let everything simmer together for a couple minutes until the carrots start to get just a bit soft. Next add the curry and nutmeg. I know nutmeg sounds like something that should go in pumpkin pie and gingerbread, but it turns out it also complements and adds depth to curries too. How exciting! :D 

Mix around just a bit more and then add the rest of your chicken broth. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until everything is soft.

When you are confident that everything is soft enough to blend transfer the contents of the pot to your blender. Add the cayenne pepper and cream if you are using any and blend until smooth.


Get well soon!
Elizabeth and Nathan

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Garlic Lemon White Bean Soup

This recipe was inspired by Nigella Lawson's White Bean Mash. We changed it up a little to make it more like a soup so that it's easy to drink out of a cup (Nathan's current preferred eating method).


2 Cans White Kidney Beans
2 Tbps Lemon Juice
6 Cloves of Garlic (we made it pretty garlicky, feel free to reduce the amount to lessen the intensity)
1 1/2 Chicken Broth
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
salt to taste (taste test first because canned beans vary a lot in sodium content)


Dice the garlic and saute in a skillet with the olive oil.When the garlic begins to brown add the beans to the pan along with 1 cup of the chicken broth. 

Simmer for about 7 min, or until the beans begin to break down a bit. 

These beans are done!

Transfer the bean mixture from the pan to the blender and add the lemon juice and remaining chicken broth. Blend on high for about 1 min, adding more chicken broth if the mixture looks too thick.

Taste and add salt if necessary. Strain into a mug to remove any bean skins that remain in the mixture (using the method in the Split Pea Soup post). Serve immediately and enjoy!

Get well soon!
Elizabeth and Nathan

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pumpkin Smoothies

Before the accident we had been planning on making some yummy pumpkin cranberry bread [Link to the delicious recipe for when you can chew again], but since that looked like it would be hard to blend it was time to consider alternate fates for the can of pumpkin in our cupboard. After looking at several recipes (including this lovely one at the Pioneer Woman) I came up with my own version that uses the plain can of pumpkin that I already had instead of the premixed pumpkin pie filling.

Recipe Bonus: my pumpkin tin promises that pumpkin is an "Excellent Source of Vitamin A and Fiber" and that it is "Low in Calories and Fat". Well, at least the first statement will be true of the smoothie...


1/4 of a 29 oz. can pumpkin
1/4 cup - brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp - pumpkin pie spice
pinch of salt
1/2 cup - vanilla greek yogurt
1 (12 fl. oz.) can - evaporated milk
3 Tbsp - honey
1 Tbsp - vanilla


Several hours before you start premix the pumpkin and spices.  Transfer this mixture to a freezer safe container (I used ziplock bags, but you could use an ice cube tray, or any other plastic container). Once the pumpkin is frozen, transfer it and the rest of the ingredients to the blender and blend till smooth. Serve in chilled cups and feel proud that you made a smoothie that tastes good and also contains a vegetable! (Makes 2 servings)


Get well soon!
Elizabeth and Nathan

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sprinkles Cupcake Smoothie?

Last year a new Sprinkles Cupcake bakery opened up walking distance from our house, an occurrence which was obviously a direct sign that we should be eating more cupcakes.

One of the best things about Sprinkles (beside beautiful delicious cupcakes) is that each day they have a secret whisper word which will score you a free cupcake. This seems to work well in theory, but in practice I always seem to walk out with my free cupcake and also seven dollars worth of other cupcakes that I couldn't leave without...

Anyway, since the day Nathan broke his jaw I had already guiltily eaten one Sprinkles Cupcake of which he not eaten even a single bite because, well, he can't bite anything. In light of this cruelty I had decide that I wouldn't get anymore cupcakes because that seemed mean. However, in a stroke of genius, it occurred to me that maybe I didn't have to go on an 8 week cupcake fast after all, maybe, just maybe I could BLEND a cupcake! Ok, it also occurs to me now that I might have a cupcake problem... but let's ignore that for now.

Once inside the store I inquired about which cupcake they thought might do the best in the blender, and after some deliberation we decided upon the classic Spinkles Red Velvet cupcake. Turns out that this is ALWAYS a good choice, even when your plans include blenders.


Sweet little unsuspecting cupcake, it feels safe and secure knowing that the person it was purchased for is not currently capable of biting or chewing. 

Little does Sweet Little Cupcake know of our plans...

Sweet Little Cupcake is starting to feel slightly less secure now...

So is this Vanilla Yoplait yogurt.

And Surprise! It actually turned out really nice and tasted just like drinking a red velvet cupcake. Plus it's really pretty. :)

1/2 - Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcake, frosting and all (or sub with a homemade cupcake)
1/4 cup milk
6 oz. Vanilla Yogurt

Place everything in the blender and run until it is a smooth frothy consistency. Pour into a frosty glass and enjoy!

*note we also tried replacing the yogurt with ice cream and that was good too.

Get well soon!
Elizabeth and Nathan

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Split Pea Soup

Split pea soup was one of the first things I though of as an easy liquid diet food. The peas go all mushy and the whole thing is just like a pureed soup except that you didn't actually have to do any pureeing, genius! Extra bonus, it might be the best way to incorporate bacon flavor into a drinkable food without actually stooping to the act of pureeing bacon (we may eventually sink to that level, but we're trying to hold out for at least a week).


1 onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
1-2 tsp marjoram
2 strips of bacon
1 cup split peas
6-8 cups water or broth (depending on how thick you can handle)


Saute bacon slices in the bottom of a large soup pan on medium heat. Once they are crispy take them out and place them on a paper towel to cool. You are now done with the bacon and some chewing member of you family (or friends) should probably be invited to come enjoy them so that you're not tempted to try and force the bacon through your banded shut teeth. Add the onion, garlic, and celery to the pot and fry in the bacon grease until the onions become transparent (ok, yay now you get bacon flavor after all, also, if all this bacon is not your thing, you can replace it with butter or olive oil and everything will still turn out tasty, just less bacony). 

Once the onions are transparent add the water (or broth if you have it) and set the heat to high. Once the pot is boiling add your split peas, salt, paper and marjoram. Lower the heat and simmer until everything disintegrates into a green mush.

Now depending on your jaw you might be able to eat this as is, or you might want to add an additional step which will make everything even smoother and easier to drink. Since Nathan currently has to drink everything through his teeth we did this extra step to make the whole process a little more pleasant.

Step 1: Find a sieve

at first I thought this one was a good one

and then I realized squishing an entire pot of soup through it was going to take just about a million years.

This huge one is MUCH better, I definitely recommend buying a big one if you can find it

Step 2: Mush all the soup through the BIG sieve

This makes all the soup much smoother, and catches all the big pieces that would get stuck in your teeth, before they get stuck in your teeth. WAY more pleasant that way. Unfortunately not all the soup will probably fit through the sieve and you'll be left with some chunky parts. If you have a chewing-able person in your household they might be happy to eat these more chunky pieces of soup (this is our current solution). Otherwise you might try blending these chunkier pieces in either a blender or a food processer (maybe with some more broth?) to break them down more and make them easier to eat.

Get well soon!
Elizabeth and Nathan

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why we're here

Bicycles are useful but dangerous beasts, and even bikes which you believe to be tame and docile can occasionally surprise you with a wild streak. Just such an occurrence happened to our family last week when my husband Nathan's bike decided that instead of moving forward in an orderly manner, it would get it's wheel stuck in a pothole and chuck Nathan over the handlebars (not a nice idea bike, we're watching you...)

Fortunately Nathan had the presence of mind to catch himself with his face, and even more fortunately to find our housemate who helped him locate bits of his tooth and who also miraculously convinced him to go to the ER. Several hours later we got the news that his jaw was broken and he'd need surgery. Thus began our new life in the world of liquid dinners (and breakfast, and lunches, and snacks). Prognosis is that chewing is out for the next 6 to 8 weeks which means it's time to whip out the blender! (ok, actually we are borrowing a blender, cause we're grad students and don't actually own one... luckily we've got a good friend who has entrusted us with hers).

In our copious amounts of hospital time I started searching for ideas for what we could make at home and came away realizing that there actually aren't that many resources for people on liquid diets and those that do exist are strange... like blended spagetti... and pizza... not that I'm saying that those wouldn't be good... but I might not be emotionally ready for that yet. So in response to the lack of resources I'm using this blog as a place to compile the recipes we make, with the goal that they will be things that you would actually want to eat even if your jaw weren't wired (or rubber banded) shut.  :)

And for your viewing enjoyment, here we are hanging out in the emergency room (post-break, pre-surgery). Poor Nathan has his eyes closed because it is the law of the universe that we can never both have our eyes open in the same photo. :)

Get well soon!
Elizabeth and Nathan