Today I tried something new in the smoothie arena. If you’ve been reading this blog you know that I have been experimenting with smoothies for awhile now as a way to eat healthier and tastier.
Now that we are in the season of squashes – particularly pumpkins – why not try a smoothie that tastes like a pumpkin pie? I did. It was fast and easy.
1 14 oz. can of cooked pumpkin (or 2 cups fresh, cooked pumpkin)
2 cups kefir (creamy plain yogurt or silken tofu could be substitutes)
2 tbsp maple syrup (honey could be a substitute)
1/2 tsp salt
pumpkin pie spices to taste: ground cinnamon, ginger & cloves
Combine all ingredients in blender and puree. Makes 2-3 servings. That’s it. Drink up.
The kefir adds a whipped-creamy taste to the pumpkin. The spices make it taste like a slice of pumpkin pie in a glass – but without the fat, carbs and salt.
The smoothie will look identical to the photo above – even though that is a different recipe – “pumpkin spice smoothie” that also looks like it would be good to try. You can find it at For the Love of Food Blog here.
Deep in the Pyrenees, we had been making our way through Catalan country all day. We were slowly moving toward Collioure, a small town on the coast of the Mediterranean near the Spanish border. The land was mountainous, rugged and beautiful.
At one point we stopped and visited with a women’s cooperative. They were creating beautiful, brightly colored mohair throws with ultra-soft wool from pygmy goats. The wool was hand washed, dyed and loom woven. We watched and talked as they worked in their stone studio. I purchased one in rich blue and purple hues which I still use today.
Late in the afternoon we came upon a restaurant snuggled into the hills. We were hungry, thirsty and tired. It was called the Les Cinq Feux or “Five Fires” Restaurant. Inside we could see why. There were five enormous fireplaces within this thick-walled, stone building – still standing since the middle ages. So many fireplaces meant that every table was next to a fireplace for dining. They served only one dish – cassoulet. This is a French country dish that takes at least three days to make. Beans, pork, duck, sausage and local herbs simmer to make this amazing dish. It is presented in a one-serving clay pot, bubbling hot. With a demi-bouteille of red, country wine it was the perfect end to our day.
Later on we arrived at our apartment in Collioure. Here, on the sea coast we would remain for nearly a week. With the long shadows of late afternoon, the street where we stayed looked like something from a fairy tale.
The end of this narrow street brought strollers directly to the water’s edge of this tiny, sea-faring town. The castle walls can be seen in the background.
We were shopping each day at the market in the Old City of Jerusalem. Wonderful figs, olives, pomegranates and fresh greens. It was colorful, noisy, hectic and total pandemonium with its narrow streets and numerous carts. I wandered around the stalls inspecting the spices, the fabrics, colors and smells. No zoning here. Fish next to pitas next to bras. I remembered that the fish stall had a large and prominent sign: “Don’t touch the fish” (in Hebrew). However, in the very next stall I watched while women pawed every pita in the bin before deciding which to purchase. Next to the pita stall were bras and women’s lingerie for sale. Hmmmm. Quite an assortment.
We came upon a shop of take-out restaurant for Iraqi food. The Iraqi food shop had large pots of steaming stews. I asked DH, “What kind of food is it?” He stopped for a moment, opened the lid of the pot where he stood, looked inside, replace the lid. “Brown” he replied.
Across the way I saw an intriguing assortment of something that looked, perhaps like cheeses. The owner offered a tray of bite-sized pieces. “What’s this?” I asked. “Try it and see!” DH responded. I did. WOW. This was unbelievably good. Kind of like heaven in a bite. I was in awe. What was this? I had never tasted anything like this! “It’s halva” DH informed me.
Immediately I tried a few flavors and we purchased two kinds to take with us. This stuff was bliss and it was addictive! Really delicious, melt-in-your-mouth sweetness. It’s made from sesame and honey – but flavored many ways with raspberry, almond, rose, chocolate, vanilla, caramel – you name it. See all the flavors displayed in the picture below.
Heaven on earth. For me, truly nectar of the gods. I can’t imagine life without experiencing halva.