Chocolate Cherry Protein Smoothie

This is my new favorite smoothie.  As in I have it twice a week (at least).  Sometimes  I make a double batch and freeze one.  Then I grab it out of the freezer on the way to the gym and, after a workout and shower, it’s just thawed enough to stir and drink.  Which is pretty much having your cake smoothie and eating drinking it too.  Or something like that.

It’s going to be a bummer when our Costco stops carrying frozen organic cherries, as they make this smoothie possible.  Cherries make the smoothie seems indulgent and give a nice, rich flavor.

Chocolate Cherry Protein Smoothie

Chocolate Cherry Protein Smoothie

  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like Sun Warrior Vanilla Rice Protein)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • few ice cubes


Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.  Add more non-dairy milk (or water) as needed to get the desired consistency.


  • freeze leftover coffee into ice cubes and use in place of water ice cubes to give a slight coffee flavor
  • freeze chocolate coconut water (I used the Zico brand) and use in place of water ice cubes
  • use chocolate almond milk for even more chocolate flavor

Homemade Jalapeno Cilantro Ranch Dressing

Earlier this year I got to mark the 11th year of being married to the perfect guy for me.  He still hasn’t seemed to notice that I got the way better end of the deal and I’ll spend the next 11 years trying to keep that fact hidden from him.  Distraction is key.

Enter this Ranch Dressing recipe.

My guy has loved Ranch Dressing ever since I’ve known him.  You know how some folks are said to put ketchup on their ketchup?  Well he puts ranch on his ranch.  And maybe some pickled jalapenos too.

Back when he was living the bachelor life, one of his favorite meals was ground beef sautéed with zucchini served over white instant rice and smothered in bottled ranch dressing.  (I just read that sentence aloud to him and he wanted me to clarify that he added ‘just a touch of ranch for flavor’.  I experienced the dish and stand by my description.  He says ‘just a touch’ I say ‘smothered’.)

Thankfully he has willingly joined me on the clean(er) foods bandwagon in the last few years.  I’ve tried to replace shelf stable bottled ranch dressing with a few different refrigerated brands (which tend to have less preservatives and funky stuff) but none have been a clear winner.  No preservatives = a need to keep the product pretty acidic for a respectable (and profitable) shelf life = very tart dressing.  Same issue with hummus.  Someday in my stay-home mom life I’ll solve the shelf life problem of high water activity, non (naturally) acidic foods for food companies and make millions of dollars…. mmm’kay?

—back to the story at hand—-

I was skeptical to make a homemade version of Ranch Dressing.  For no good reason.  Just unexplainable skepticism.  Story of my life.

Then I saw this recipe.  And thought ‘hey, that isn’t so bad.’ So I printed it out, modified some to suit our tastes and voila, came up with a fantastic version that we both love.  It’s got a cleaner ingredient list than any store-bought version, it is customizable and, most importantly, it’s darn tasty.

Jalapeno Cilantro Ranch Dressing | The Lively Kitchen

Homemade Jalapeno Cilantro Ranch Dressing


  • 1/4 cup organic mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup organic sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (lime works too)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk + 1 tsp lemon juice that you let sit for a few minutes)
  • 4 green onions, white bottoms removed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped, seeded jalapeno
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  2. Dressing will thicken considerably in the fridge, so add more milk/buttermilk if you like it runnier.

Dill-icious Green Goddess Dressing

A few weeks ago I got a big bunch of fresh dill in our Greenling local-produce box, in addition to some avocados.  I thought combining the two in a dip/dressing might be a good way to go.  I was right.  Which is rare.  Anyways….

I started with this recipe at Oh She Glows as my inspiration.  I modified based on my tastes and what I had in the kitchen and came up with this Dill-icious Green Goddess Dressing.

Dill-icious Green Goddess Dressing

Creamy, tangy and with the added bonus of both greens and good avocado fats – what’s not to love?


  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 medium ripe avocado
  • 7-8 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup diced green onion
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp honey (use agave or other vegan sweetener if desired)
  • 1 tsp salt
1.  Place all ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
I kept mine pretty thick, as I used it for a dip, but you could add more water to get the desired consistency if you are looking for a salad dressing.

Blender PB & B Cookies

I’ve had my vita-mix for almost a year and a half now and it is easily our most used appliance.  It mostly does smoothies, but occasionally I let her how her power over other foods.  Like dry oatmeal.  In order to make oat flour. In order to make cookies.  With peanut butter, ripe bananas and chocolate chips.  Need I say more?

Actually, this recipe could be made with a less powerful blender, as all of the ingredients are pretty soft and easy to blend, so if you don’t have a vitamix (we call ours The Precious), don’t fret.

Peanut Butter & Banana Blender Cookies

This cookies are wheat free, vegan and have only 1/3 cup of added sugar.  They are also tender, delicious and freeze well. Win win.  Could be made gluten free if you use gluten-free oats.


  • 2 1/4 cups quick oats
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 ripe medium bananas
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Place 1 1/4 cups of quick oats in a blender or food process and blend/process until a fine flour is formed.
  3. Place oat flour in a bowl, along with 1 cup of quick oats, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Mix.  No need to rinse out the blender yet.
  4. Place bananas, coconut oil, peanut butter, and vanilla in the blender and blend until smooth and uniform.
  5. Add banana mixture to the oat mixture and stir until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Drop batter by spoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Batter doesn’t spread much, so they can be placed pretty close together.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until bottoms are starting to brown.

Watermelon Gazpacho

I’ve been eyeing the Watermelon Gazpacho soup in Raw Food, Real World for a while.  The problem is we seem to eat watermelons as fast as I cut them, so I never have an extra 4 cups of watermelon sitting around to use in the soup.

Yesterday I got smart and made the soup as I was carving a fresh watermelon.  It is much easier to put the fresh watermelon straight into the blender than to count on having enough left over after the kids (and adults) in this house have their way with the watermelon tub in the fridge.

ps – Want to ensure you have some watermelon just to yourself?  Mix it with cilantro, tomatoes and green onions into a cold soup.  Your kids won’t touch it….

Watermelon Gazpacho (raw)

 inspired by Raw Food, Real World

3 cups watermelon, seeded and pureed in a high-speed blender
1 cup watermelon, diced small
3/4 cup seeded tomato, diced small (about 1 large or 2 small tomatoes)
1/2 cup peeled, seeded cucumber, diced small
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced small
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 scallion, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large glass bowl or container, combine the watermelon puree with the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Refrigerate to chill. This recipe should keep in the refrigerator for up to four days.

It’s like a bowl of summer…. so refreshing……

Are you a watermelon fan?  Do you prefer yours plain or with tomatoes and cilantro?  🙂

Raw Carrot Avocado Soup

Raw food can be time-consuming to prepare, but it can also be made in 3 minute like this soup from last week.  And, in case my husband is reading (which is highly unlikely), I still love, love, love my VitaMix!



Raw Carrot Avocado Soup

  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 – 1 avocado
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • sprinkle of cayenne (to taste)
  • 1/2 in ginger
  • 1/2-1 c water (as needed to blend)

Add all ingredients and blend to smooth.  Add more water if needed.





Getting Back on the Healthy Wagon


Carrot+Spinach+Lime+Kale+ Apple + Ice. It was so good.  I’ve missed my VitaMix.  I’ve never missed an appliance before.

Hello Athletic Shoes.  Let’s get to work!

I opened the TJ Peanut Flour (thanks to Kate) and made Peanut Flour+Banana+Almond Milk+Ice ‘ice cream’ in the VitaMix.

Shared it with my little guy.

Dinner is also thanks to Kate at For the Love of Breakfast, Decentness Soup.  I’d say it was more than decent.

This was my daughter’s plate.  Not that I have anything against eating on pink pig sectioned plates, just that I need more than a kid-sized bowl of soup for dinner.

How is your week starting out?

Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup

aka ‘Don’t spill this on your carpet because there are mad amounts of beta-carotene and it is a potent natural color.’

Here in San Antonio we are having cooler weather.  Not cold.  Not even cool.  Cooler, as in 70 is cooler than 95.  So, I’m pretending it is fall and eating fall foods, like soup.

I modified this recipe from Raw Food, Real World. As a side note, I have yet to make a bad recipe from that book.  I just requested it from the library again and am going to copy down some more recipes.  I highly recommend this book.

Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup

  • 1.5 cups carrot juice (I juiced mine, but could use store-bought if not concerned about the ‘rawness’ of the dish)
  • 1/2 medium avocado
  • 2 Tbsp shredded coconut
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • dash of cayenne and salt to taste

Blend all ingredient (I love my vita-mix!) until creamy and smooth.

I topped with additional coconut and avocado.  Very good – I loved the nuanced flavor the ginger, coconut and cayenne added.

Anyone have a raw soup recipe to recommend?

Orange + Avocado = surprisingly good!

I’ve already marveled at the orange + broccoli combo, but I have an even more random one for you today: orange + avocado.

I saw a recipe in my VitaMix cookbook for an Orange Avocado Sorbet and was quite intrigued.  Here is my modified version:

Orange Avocado Sorbet

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • about 1in square of orange peel
  • 1/2 small lemon, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp honey (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups ice

Blend in vitamix until sorbet forms.  Then eat and be amazed.

My husband could quite get past the green color, but did agree that it tasted just like an Orange Julius.  Anyone else remember getting Orange Julius in the mall?  Back in the tight-rolled jeans and scrunchie days?  I remember getting an Orange Julius and a pack of sour patch kids and walking around feeling so cool to be old enough to be at the mall with my friends and no parents.

Now I can’t imagine letting my kids go to the mall alone.  I will be the mom walking stealthily behind her kids, hoping they don’t catch me.  I’ll leave my scrunchie at home, you know, as to avoid embarrassing them and all.  🙂