Decadent Chocolate Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Who loves chocolate strawberries?  Raise your hand!!!!  Who loves smoothies?   Raise your other hand!!!  And reach for this most delicious chocolate strawberry smoothie, bananas are optional but they certainly add to the flavor!

Okay here’s what you do to make the best smoothie ever!

In a blender or food processer toss about 1-1/2 cups frozen strawberries, sprinkle in 1 tsp of sugar.  Try using  powdered sugar in your smoothies.  I was making smoothies one day and was out of regular sugar so I improvised and used powdered, it works!  Add about 2 tablespoons of orange juice and just let the stuff sit for about 15 minutes so the strawberries can thaw just a little bit. 

Spoon in about a 1/2 c of yogurt, layer with half of a banana, sliced. 

Here’s the best part!  Take about a scant 1/4 c of chocolate chips and put them in a microwave safe dish,  don’t use much more than that or the chocolate will over power the berries in the smoothie.   Add about 1 tsp milk in with the chocolate chips and nuke it for about 10 seconds or until you can stir the chips into a heavenly creamy sauce.  You might have to add a drop or two more, depends on your chocolate.   Be careful not to over-heat the chips.

Go ahead, dip your finger in it, you know you want to…

While the chocolate cools, cover the blender and turn it on!!!  Blend the ingredients well, adding a few more drops of OJ if it’s needed but no more than an additional teaspoon.  When the berries are blended into a creamy smoothieness, leave the blender on but remove the little thing that lets you add yummy little tidbits while it is swirling around…add a light drizzle of honey.  After the honey has been incorporated, turn off the blender and pour the chocolate heaven on top of the berries and yogurt and blend until it is mixed in well.  Pour into your favorite glass and standback to admire if you must…. if you can…. just stand there and drool over it, I mean look at it.  Seriously, find a comfy chair, and sip to your hearts desire…

This is the sweetest, not the sugary sweetest but rather the damn best sweetest smoothie you will ever have!  

Remember to be good to yourself!

Cheers!

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PINK OUT, Women’s Cancer Fund

As I do every spring, I attend the Pink Out Women’s Cancer Fund event.  It is a night that is filled with fun, friendship, food and awe.  Money is raised for the Pink Out Fund, information is  HERE.  Please make a donation!

The mansion is a beautiful piece of architecture and design in itself but it is totally decorated in pink for this event.  The girls in the committee are all dressed in a theme outfit and we are greeted at the door by Jane Rice with a hug, a hug that is one that you would give your best friend as she enters your home for a girl’s night.  The committee women’s husbands wearpink polo shirts; they direct the parking and offer you a ride to the mansion in golf carts.  There are tall pink flags waving in the evening breeze as you drive up to the mansion, gorgeous pink flower arrangements are placed throughout the rooms (donated and crafted from plastic bottles and bags and painted), tables are adorned with pink fabric and ribbons, and beautifully hand-blown glass hats and purses dress the tables outside in the backyard.  The drinks for the evening are of a pink nature of course, made with cranberry or pomegranate juices, pink plates and napkins, pink food ~ pasta with a pink sauce and salmon, even the salad dressing had a pink hue to it! 

The entire place is filled with women in pink, it looks like a pepto bismol bottle exploded!  It’s one the most wonderful things you can experience.  The sister-hood, the love, the caring.  And then you are humbled when you see someone that is obviously undergoing chemo treatments.  I ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time.  She had no hair and my heart instantly ached for her.  She told me that she shaved her head for her daughter-in-law who has breast cancer.  LOVE

Volunteers for the evening, also in a theme outfit but different from the committee girls, are walking around all evening collecting your empty plates and cups.  There is also a  silent auction and raffle drawings. 

Then Jane speaks, her story of surviving cancer is amazing and makes me tear up every time.  A guest speaker spoke last night, a young woman; I could not move from where I was standing.  As she was introduced by her friend, it was mentioned that she was a tough cookie; she also mentioned a t-shirt that this young woman wore, it read “hey cancer, you picked the wrong bitch”.  And cancer did.  This young woman’s story was shocking and heartwarming and I couldn’t help but cry.  She had a doctor appointment, had her breast exam and was given a clean bill of health, in a matter of 2 months I believe; she did her own breast exam and found the lump that changed her life.  She talked about how she wanted to “feel” what cancer was like so for a few days she didn’t take some medicine, which she said looking back was probably not a good thing, but she still wanted to feel it.  After a treatment she was so sick but still went to work, had to excuse herself and then went back to work.  She did then take the meds, and she said that she really couldn’t explain why she wanted to do that but she did.  She also told us how she would have a treatment and then go home to put on her bikini, hop on the John Deere and mow her yard.  Yea I think she might be a tough girlie!  She told us though, she was still depressed and sad BUT she was not going to let cancer live her life, she was going to learn to live her life with cancer. 

After she spoke and walked away we were asked if we remembered a young bald girl 2 years ago in a pink fluffy dress, a lot of us agreed that yes we did, that was her and she will be celebrating 2 years of being cancer free this month. 

Next, Jane asked all the women in the room that had breast, ovarian or uterine cancer to come forward.   Women from all corners of the room walked up, some beside me.  I just cried.  They held hands and stood around a tree that was decorated with names of those being remember or honored with women’s cancer.   It was so moving. 

At the end of the night as you walk outside you are greeted by the husbands in pink polo shirts again.  They help you down the steps, hand you a gift and escort you to your car in the golf cart.  They use lights to guide you out of the cart and walk you to your car, open your car door and get you in the car safely.  And finally, they tell you “get home safely”.

People that care. Friends, family.  Amazing.  Please make a donation, this is a wonderful organization.

Ladies, do your breast exams!!!

Grilled Romaine with Yummie Grilled Veggies

I know, you’re thinking….”grilled lettuce?”  Seriously, try it. 

Go grab some of your favorite veggies.  I used a red and yellow bell pepper tonight, and a zucchini.  Portobella mushrooms grill really well, but I’m not a mushroom kind of girl.  Asparagus and yellow squash are some other good choices to try.

Cut all your veggies up for grilling, don’t cut them too small.  For the peppers I like to either halve them or cut them in thirds, the squash and zucchini I like to  cut into diameters of 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch.  Toss them all in a bowl to hang out and get to know each other.  Then coat them really well with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a good shot of salt and pepper.  You can expereiment with other spices and herbs here too.  Garlic powder, believe it or not, is a good choice.

Place the veggies on your grill.  Tonight I used my indoor George Foreman, but you can certainly use a grill pan or your outdoor grill.  Just keep and eye on the grilling process, the times may have to be adjusted.  For me tonight, I probably grilled the veggies for about 10 minutes on each side. 

While the veggies are basking in all their glory on your grill, go ahead and cut the head of romaine in half.  Drizzle both sides with olive oil and salt and pepper.

When the veggies are grilled to perfection remove them and place on a platter.  Put the romaine on the grill.  Here’s the tricky part…no really it’s the easiest part.  Slap that baby on the grilll and leave it on for the grill marks.  Flip it to the other side and you are done!  Honestly that’s it!  If you leave the lettuce on too long it will begin to wilt and get mushy.  Mushy lettuce is not good.  The lettuce won’t have the crunch but it shouldn’t be mushy.  Understand? 

You can top the lettuce and veggies with your favorite dressing but I prefer olive oil and balsamic since that is what the veggies were drenched in, it just all marries well together.  You do whatever is yummy for you.  And, make extra veggies for later, they reheat super well and are delish in pasta, rice, and with couscous.

Cheers my friends!!