September 2012

Why not go green with a tasty ABC smoothie: almond, banana, coconut…and kale! I know it sounds bizarre, but one of my nice neighbors brought this smoothie to me for lunch one day. Kale? I don’t even like kale in and of itself, but it’s a lovely secret ingredient–doesn’t add any particular taste, just the goodness of fresh, leafy greens. It tasted great and kept me full till dinner.

These smoothies sell for $7 down at our local farmers’ market. SEVEN DOLLARS? How hard could it be to replicate at home? Not hard at all if you have a blender–so let’s shake it up!

adapted from The New York Times

1 banana, sliced and frozen
2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon coconut
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 stalk kale, ripped up into smaller pieces

Ready for how easy as ABC this is? Add all ingredients to your blender, put on the lid and blend! Serve with a bendy straw for additional fun and satisfaction.

See, Kermit the Frog was wrong. It IS that easy being green after all.


My enduring love for all things almond-y has found its way into a brownie. Bake these and your house will smell like an Italian bakery! I suppose on a miniature scale, my kitchen kinda is.

I think of these brownies as rather sophisticated, but they’re kid-friendly, too. When I made them last month, my friend’s little girl (5 and 3/4 years old, thank you) asked:
“Did you make these all by yourself?”
I replied, “Yes, I did, because I don’t have a helper. Would you like to be my helper sometime?”
To which my little friend nodded and smiled enthusiastically. So sweet.
So, with or without a helper, let’s swirl up some brownies, shall we? And Chelsea, you can bake with this kat anytime!

adapted from my all-time favorite brownie recipe from Ghirardelli

For the brownies
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
3/4 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa
2/3 cup unsifted flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks (I chopped up Valrhona feves)

For the almond cream layer
Process in mini food processor till smooth:
4 oz. cream cheese (I use Neufchatel, 1/3 less fat)
4.5 oz. almond paste
1 large egg
1/8 tsp. bitter almond

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a spoon, stir eggs with sugar and vanilla; add butter.

Now here’s my crazy kat trick, if you don’t know it already: I save an empty Ghirardelli can to shake all the dry ingredients together ’cause I find sifting to be a chore. So shake or sift–however you roll!

Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks. Spread half the batter in a buttered 8″ square pan.

Smooth the almond cream mixture over the bottom brownie batter layer.

Cover completely with remaining brownie batter. Swirl with a knife to marble.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting and enjoying!

Is it just me, or do you see an alien in a dress at the bottom right of the pan?!