fresh cranberry yogurt drink

fresh cranberry yogurt drink | The Clever Carrot

I am that crazy lady with the screaming kids at the grocery store.

Yes, that shrieking horn-like sound you hear blaring down the aisles? It’s all coming from my shopping cart. I love my boys dearly, but we’re like a clown car. And for sanity’s sake, I will do whatever it takes to get out of there alive fast, even if it means letting my 2 year old eat raw cranberries out of the bag! Don’t judge, OK? Tantrums suck.

As predicted, my little guy chewed (and spewed) the berries all over the floor, and while I was cleaning it up I couldn’t help but wonder…

a little bowl of cranberries | The Clever Carrotfresh cranberry yogurt drink | The Clever Carrot

Would raw cranberries taste good in a smoothie?

Now, let’s be clear- raw cranberries are very, very tart. But when combined with yogurt and banana, I find that the tartness mellows and the overall flavor becomes pleasantly crisp. Any additional tartness can be rounded out with a drizzle of honey. Cranberries are quite the super berry too; they’re packed with an incredible amount of antioxidants and are most beneficial when consumed raw and unprocessed (no cranberry cocktail, please). Stock up and get them while they’re fresh!

More importantly, the 2 year old palette approves.

frozen cranberry yogurt drink | The Clever Carrot

If you have any leftover, you can make ice pops for the kids or freeze the liquid in silicone muffin cups (pictured above). Just add extra liquid to reconstitute, or keep it slushy for a healthy sweet treat. My friend Kelly taught me this trick, isn’t it cool? It’s great for busy mornings and saves on waste too!

You see, I can find inspiration in all things… even spewed cranberries bites only a mother could love ;)

Tips:

  • I like to buy fresh cranberries for this recipe. I freeze some for smoothies, and save the rest for jams, sauces, and these sparkling beauties. Frozen cranberries will also work too.

fresh cranberry yogurt drink
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ¼ c. frozen cranberries
  • 1 frozen banana, sliced
  • ½ plain yogurt
  • ½ c. apple juice
  • 1 tsp. chia or flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp. honey, agave or maple syrup + more to taste
Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender, and process until smooth and creamy. Run the machine for an extra minute or two to break up the seeds (if using).
  2. Add additional sweetener to taste.

fresh basil pesto

fresh basil pesto | The Clever Carrot

My herb garden is growing out of control.

The weather here in NY has been soooo weird lately; crazy rain, crazy mosquitoes, and now crazy heat! My once little herb garden has finally taken off and I don’t know what to do with it all! When in doubt, I throw everything into a blender and make pesto.

I feel like pesto is one of those things that you either love or hate. Me personally, I happen to love pesto. I grew up eating this glorious green stuff and to boycott its existence would go against my DNA (that’s the Italian in me…) Our family recipe uses a combination of basil and parsley, and instead of pine nuts (too $$$) I use almonds or walnuts. This is a ‘no-cook’ sauce, so using good quality ingredients will really make a difference.

Trust me.

fresh basil pesto | The Clever Carrot

If you’ve never made pesto before, I am going to share a little secret with you (I feel like I always say this…) You MUST blanch your basil. Why? Your pesto will turn brown if you don’t. I used to think this was a waste of time but it’s really not. You have to boil the water for the pasta anyway, so you might as well blanch your basil right before it goes in. It literally takes 3 seconds. Basil bruises very easily and this will help to retain it’s bright green color. Cool, right?

Freeze any leftovers. You know the drill…

fresh basil pesto | The Clever Carrot

Tips:

  • I like to use small, tender basil leaves for their sweet flavor. The larger ones tend to take on a liquorice/anise flavor.
  • For a smooth pesto, puree your sauce in a blender. Use a food processor or mortar & pestle for a more rustic texture.
  • Blanching basil will subsequently add more moisture to your recipe. Make sure to squeeze out any excess water before blending. If your sauce is too loose, the consistency can be corrected with additional parmesan cheese and/or nuts.
  • Freeze any leftover pesto in ice cube trays, and then transfer to Ziploc bags. Defrost overnight (in the refrigerator) or warm gently. Frozen pesto will keep for 3-6 months.
fresh basil pesto
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 2 c. basil, reserving a couple of leaves for garnish
  • 1 c. parsley
  • ½ -1 garlic clove
  • ½ c. pine nuts, almonds or walnuts
  • ½ c. ground parmesan cheese
  • ½ c. good quality olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lb. linguine fini (thin linguine) or thin spaghetti
Instructions
  1. Toast the nuts: In a small skillet, gently toast the nuts over low heat until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
  2. Make an ice bath: Grab a large bowl and fill with water and ice. Set aside.
  3. Blanch the basil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place your basil leaves in a small strainer and gently lower into the water. Blanch for 3 seconds and then remove it. Immediately shock in an ice bath and squeeze out any excess moisture. If you're serving this with pasta, bring the water back to a boil and cook your pasta according to the package instructions.
  4. Make the pesto: To a blender or small food processor, add the blanched basil, parsley, ½ clove of garlic, parmesan cheese, and toasted nuts. Slowly stream in the olive oil and process until smooth. If your mixture seems thick, add additional olive oil until you get the right consistency.
  5. Give your pesto a taste. Add more garlic (if you'd like) and a good amount of salt and pepper to taste. You don't want it to be bland. If it seems a bit loose, transfer the sauce to a bowl and stir in additional parmesan cheese.
  6. Drain the pasta reserving a mug filled with starchy cooking liquid. Use this to loosen the sauce if necessary.
  7. To serve: Top the pasta with pesto, reserved basil leaves, and extra parmesan cheese.
  8. Serve immediately.