Banana Cream Pie Smoothies

Banana Cream Pie Smoothie4 The Curvy Carrot


All right, everyone.  I’m trying to make a dedicated pledge to making some positive changes in my diet (that being said, I also have a few deep fried indulgent treats coming your way…so everything in moderation, right? Right.)

Beginning with breakfast-my often much-neglected meal of the day.  During the week, I run out the door with a big thermos of black coffee and usually a banana in my bag.  I usually don’t get around to eating that banana until about 10 am, so it probably doesn’t still count as a breakfast, but it works for me.

On the weekends, I can usually take some time to invest in making something a little bit more filling to keep my energy levels up throughout the day. (I’m also trying to increase my exercise time as well….that’s a work in progress, though.)  There’s this pretty awesome little cafe in my neighborhood that makes incredible juice concoctions…which I indulge in from time to time.  But if it’s still cold out (yes it is) or I don’t want to get out of my pajamas (my happy weekend place), a from-scratch smoothie fits the bill.  And this one sounded intriguing.

Here’s the deal with this smoothie.  It’s definitely not on the sweet side (depending on how ripe your bananas are), so if you are a fan of sweeter smoothies, add in some honey or agave nectar and adjust to taste.  To increase the protein content here, I added in some nonfat Greek yogurt instead of a sweetened, vanilla flavored yogurt (as originally recommended by Cooking Light).  It’s a thicker smoothie as well, so I thinned out mine a bit by adding in some more almond milk (adjust to your own desired consistency here).  If you want, add in some ground flax seeds or maybe even a few chia seeds for a little bit more texture/flavor.

It’s like a dessert for breakfast, and I am a fan.


Banana Cream Pie Smoothie6 The Curvy Carrot



Banana Cream Pie Smoothies

Servings: 2



1 ripe banana, sliced and frozen (I sliced my banana and froze it for about 45 minutes prior to making the smoothies.)

1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1 cup vanilla almond milk (or soy milk or skim milk)

1 tablespoon vanilla protein powder (I used a whey protein powder)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ice cubes (about 4-5)

Whole wheat graham cracker crumbs, crushed (You’ll want about 2 tablespoons total of crushed graham crackers.)



1. In your blender, combine the frozen banana, yogurt, milk, protein powder, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Blend until smooth.

2. Add the ice cubes and blend until smooth.

3. Pour the smoothie into your cups and sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over each smoothie.  Enjoy.


Source: Adapted from Cooking Light as part of my monthly contribution to the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.

March 25, 2014 - 8:24 am

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March 25, 2014 - 10:27 am

Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl - I LOVE that you added graham crackers!! This sounds delicious :)

March 25, 2014 - 6:39 pm

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - Breakfast is my favorite meal, and I love adding a smoothie to the mix. Great recipe!

March 25, 2014 - 9:50 pm

Carol at Wild Goose Tea - I love breakfast. I eat breakfast every morning. However since I work, my weekday breakfast is pretty boring. This wouldn’t take any time to speak of—-don’t want to tighten that morning schedule anymore than I have to, don’t you know. The end result would be a special treat with no guilt. I like the concept. Laughing—thanx

March 25, 2014 - 9:53 pm

Carol at Wild Goose Tea - Mmmm I posted a comment that didn’t post. I am going to try again. So if a double shows up, that’s my story and I am sticking to it. I love breakfast, but my working day breakfasts are pretty darn boring. This would be a treat for me that wouldn’t take anymore time. Can’t add any more time to my already tight morning routine, don’t you know. Laughing, but still serious. This would also be a guilt free treat. A concept I particularly like.

March 25, 2014 - 10:50 pm

Joanne - I am a diehard breakfast eater (greek yogurt and PB FTW!) but I could always use new smoothie ideas! I love how creamy this is….I feel like I could convince myself I was having a milkshake!

Vegetarian Ramen Noodle Bowl

Ramen 9 The Curvy Carrot



I feel like ramen is the new “in thing” as far as food goes.  Recipes abound online and in magazines, and there are a few pretty upscale restaurants here in Milwaukee now featuring…you guessed it…endless variations of this noodle based dish.  But the problem for me?  Although all of the recipes I’ve seen look pretty fabulous, they all incorporate meat or poultry somehow.  I was bound and determined to have myself a pretty satisfying savory bowl of meat-free ramen.  But could it be done?


You won’t miss the meat here.  There’s enough savory umami (love that word) from the mushroom broth, and the soft-boiled eggs add a kick of extra protein (obviously skip the eggs here for a vegan version.)  The combination of the dried mushrooms, miso, and soy in the vegetable broth provide a great depth of flavoring.  And instead of using chicken here, I decided to sauté some extra-firm tofu in sesame oil instead (I’m beginning to think that anything cooked in sesame oil is delicious.)

This has to be one of my favorite vegetarian dishes to date, and I hope you like it, too.


P.S.  Happy birthday to my Dad (and his identical twin)!


Ramen 5 The Curvy Carrot


Vegetarian Ramen Noodle Bowl

Servings: 4-6



4 cups boiling water

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

2 tablespoons red miso (or whatever kind of miso you prefer)

2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

2 cups vegetable broth

3 garlic cloves, minced

8 ounces udon noodles (or ramen noodles, if you can find them-I couldn’t.)

1 and 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced

2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided

8 ounces fresh mushrooms (any variety), sliced

8 ounces extra-firm tofu, sliced (make the pieces as big or small as you like-I like mine thinly sliced)

3 large eggs, soft boiled (or cooked to whatever consistency you desire.  A fried egg would be great here, too.)

3-4 scallions, sliced



1. In a medium bowl, combine the 4 cups of boiling water and the dried porcini mushrooms; let stand 15 minutes.

2. Drain the mushrooms through a sieve over a bowl; reserve both the porcini and soaking liquid. Once the mushrooms have cooled a bit, slice them and set them aside.

3. In a Dutch oven or a large sauce pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering.

4. Add the onion and carrot; sauté 2 minutes.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso and tamari/soy sauce.

6. Add the miso mixture, porcini liquid, vegetable broth, garlic, and ginger to the pan; bring to a boil.

7. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

8. Carefully strain the broth through a sieve over a bowl, discarding the solids.

9. Return the  broth to the  pan over medium heat and bring it to a boil.

10. Add the noodles; cook 8 minutes or until tender (or whatever the instructions on your package say). Remove the broth from the heat.

11. Heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a large skillet  or sauté pan over medium-high heat.

12. Add the fresh mushrooms; sauté for 8 minutes or so until the mushrooms have let off a lot of their liquid.

13. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, combining the sliced porcini and fresh mushrooms in a separate bowl.

14. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil to pan; swirl.

15. Add the tofu, cooking it until it is crispy and golden, flipping the pieces over to ensure even cooking.  This took about 5-8 minutes total or so for me.

16.  Divide the noodle mixture among your serving bowls; top each serving with your desired amounts of mushrooms, eggs, tofu, and scallions.  Enjoy.


Source:  Adapted from Cooking Light as part of my monthly contribution to the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.

March 20, 2014 - 5:27 am

Elizabeth - Noodle soups what ever there stripe seem to be the ultimate comfort food this looks great.

March 20, 2014 - 8:48 am

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - I love that ramen has become so popular! It’s so freaking cheap – and awesome!

March 20, 2014 - 11:39 pm

Joanne - I’ve yet to attempt ramen for fear that I wouldn’t get the depth of flavor that you get from meat. Good to know that mushroom broth does the trick!

March 20, 2014 - 11:53 pm

Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody) - Yum! Who doesn’t love ramen noodles? This sounds like a wonderful vegetarian option.

March 22, 2014 - 11:50 pm

dina - it looks wonderful. i want to try my own ramen too!

March 23, 2014 - 7:56 am

Helen @ Scrummy Lane - This sounds so flavorful! It reminds me of the dishes you can get so easily in Asian ‘hawkers’ markets’. I think you probably need to go to an Asian supermarket or smaller shop to get udon noodles. it’s worth hunting them down!

March 23, 2014 - 6:21 pm

Sarah|Pickled Capers - Can we all just take a minute here and admire the perfection that is your hardboiled eggs?

March 24, 2014 - 5:44 am

Alaina - I live in Japan and am always looking for vegetarian recipes for Asian dishes. This is just like the miso ramen I find here but healthier and of course, meat free! Thank you so much.

Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit 7 The Curvy Carrot

This is one of those dishes that had always caught my eye in the past.  A mixture of cream, cheese, and beer drizzled over a buttery toasted piece of bread?  Ummm, ok.  Hold me back.

But it’s also one of those recipes that I was afraid to make for the sole reason that I would fall in love with it and then make it way too often (read: high cholesterol.)

And so I did.

Of course, there’s a million different ways to make/eat this dish.  You can broil it, serve it with fried eggs on top (I did this, and it is equally as delicious), or you can serve it up with various different herbs and flavorings.  I wanted something  relatively straightforward here-something reminiscent of a beer cheese fondue.  I found this version by Alton Brown and decided to run with it.  And so I did…over and over and over again.

This is so simple to make. For breakfast, dinner, whatever.  (It also would probably make a great breakfast the morning after indulging a bit too much the night before-not that anyone ever does that.  Ummm.)  It comes together in less than ten minutes, and it’s completely satisfying.  Save this for a rainy day or a day for a much needed comfort food indulgence, and you’ll be sold, too.


Welsh Rarebit 3 The Curvy Carrot



Welsh Rarebit

Servings: 4



2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (use a vegetarian-friendly one if this is a concern)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pepper, to taste

1/2 cup beer (use a porter; I had Guinness on hand, so I used that.)

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Sriracha, to taste

Pumpernickel bread, toasted (or use whatever kind you like) and buttered

For the top: chives, fried egg, etc.



1.  In a medium saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter.

2. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour is lightly golden, about 2 minutes.

3. Whisk in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and salt.

4. Add the beer, stirring until combined.

5. Add the cream and stir until smooth.

6. Slowly add the cheese in batches, stirring until each batch is thoroughly incorporated.

7. Once all the cheese has been added and the mixture is smooth, add the Sriracha (or other hot sauce) and salt and pepper, to taste.

8. Pour the rarebit over the toast and serve immediately.
Source:  Directly from Alton Brown and the Food Network.

March 18, 2014 - 8:56 am

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche - This looks delish! I agree you can’t go far wrong with cheese and beer :D I must point out though, this is a Welsh recipe, NOT an English one (hence the name!). My Welsh dad would have a fit if he saw you calling it English haha

March 18, 2014 - 9:11 am

bellini - I remember making this as a teenager and loving it!!! What has stopped me from making it lately. Absolutely nothing, thanks for the reminder.

March 18, 2014 - 9:03 pm

Maria Tadic - For the longest time I had NO clue what this was. But I had to put on a 1950′s style dinner and found this to be a common dish back in those days! I can see why too…cheese and bread. The best combo ever! I love the idea of a fried egg on top. Geesh…i want that now!

March 18, 2014 - 9:37 pm

Joanne - For the longest time, I read rarebit as rabbit and was always SO CONFUSED. Especially when vegetarians were eating it.

That beer-cheese sauce?! I want to bathe in it.

March 19, 2014 - 1:39 am

Helen @ Scrummy Lane - My goodness, this looks delicious, and it doesn’t help that I’m reading at breakfast time! Like the commenter above Welsh rarebit always used to make me think of rabbits and I had no idea what it was. I’ve actually never tried it, which is shameful, but then again it sounds like it would be easy to get hooked if I tried making this one with the beer in it. What a genius idea!