Happy St. Patricks Day Green Smoothie – have a Shamrock Shake the healthy way!

So I have been dying to get myself a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s. But then I realize that the last time I had one, I wasn’t thrilled.  I rarely indulge in a McDonald’s milkshake, but I don’t think they have been the same since they started putting whipped cream and a cherry on top.  I mean, this is McDonald’s, not an ice cream parlor, or even a diner.  Their food isn’t supposed to come with garnish.  Then I saw someone post the list of what is in a Shamrock Shake.  Not that I don’t ever consume those ingredients – I do loves me a McDonald’s Ice Cream Cone, and the ice cream is the main component of the shake – but it wasn’t worth the calories or chemicals for something I don’t really like.

Shamrock Shake Green Smoothie in sunlightBut it is St. Patrick’s Day, and for some reason, I still thought a Shamrock Shake for breakfast was the way to celebrate, since the rest of my plans for the day are decidedly NOT Irish.  I’ve seem a lot of versions posted on various blogs this week, but most involved ice cream.  So I decided to make one that was breakfast-worthy (but definitely still yummy enough for dessert).  And it does not involve any green food coloring.  Or added sugar. I think I will be making one for The Bug for snack.  Throw a banana in your freezer in chunks, and it’ll be ready to make this for an after dinner treat.

I am not a huge mint person.  I regularly think to myself that I wish they made peanut butter-flavored toothpaste.  So this is admittedly a little light on the mint.  If you like things really minty, go ahead and add more mint extract.  And no, you can’t taste the kale, and if you blend it up, you don’t even know it is there, other than the lovely green color it gives the smoothie.

What are you doing for St. Patrick’s Day?  Eating or drinking anything green?  Or Irish?

Shamrock Shake Green Smoothie from top

Shamrock Green Smoothie (serves 1)

Ingredients

Shamrock Shake Green Smoothie1 frozen, really ripe banana

1 c milk (I used Almond Breeze Almond Coconut Milk, but you can use any milk you choose)

1/2 c kale (or other dark, leafy green of your choice)

1/2 t vanilla extract

1/4 t mint extract

ice cubes – I used 4 regular-sized ones.  This was probably aboutn3/4 c.  Adjust accordingly based on the size of your ice cubes and how icy you want it.

Directions

1.  Put all ingredients into a blender (I used my trusty Magic Bullet), and blends until smooth.

2.  Pour into a glass to serve, and garnish with a strawberry, if you want to be all fancy.

Enjoy!

shamrock green smoothie from iphone

Shared with:

I Heart Nap Time
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Lucky Charms Cupcakes and Breakfast Rules

Lucky Charms Cupcakes in the sun

Top o' the morning to you!

Paraphrasing the Grinch, I got an idea.  An awful idea.  A wonderful, awful idea.  These kinds of things happen when you are in the car for 3 1/2 hours, with nobody other than your son.  And he sleeps for half the ride.  And he is not even two, so his current idea of a deep conversation is, “Mama, open mi-illkk!” or “Want raisins-n-O’s”.

I have three words for you.

LUCKY. CHARMS. CUPCAKES.

Lucky Charms Cupcakes with Shamrocks

Three Lucky Charms Cupcakes

Yes, I said it.  I was thinking about what I could do as the very first St. Patrick’s Day sweet treat for my blog.  Sure, I could have thought about something involving Bailey’s or minty green frosting or even some Guinness stout chocolate thing that seems to be all the trend these days.  But no, I though about a totally marshmallow-laden, sugar-filled, horrible-excuse-for-breakfast (despite the Whole Grain claims on the package) Amercan breakfast cereal.  And cupcakes.  How Irish!

Lucky Charms CupcakeI am not sure if this is in defiance of or homage to my mom.  As a kid, the rule was that I could not buy any cereal that had marshmallows in it.  Mind you, I could have all of the Frosted Flakes or Cookie Crisp I wanted, and our house was never short on M&M’s or Chips Ahoy! cookies  And she does advocate an occasional dinner of ice cream.  But marshmallows in my breakfast cereal – NO WAY!  So what did I do every time I slept over my cousin’s house?  In the morning, I immediately bee-lined for the Lucky Charms or Franken-Berry or Boo-Berry.  Unfortunately my cousin usually beat me to the toy surprise.

Lucky Charms Cupcakes from topSo as I thought about this some more, I knew that what I found when I Googled “Lucky Charms Cupcakes” and essentially found “use your favorite box cake mix and canned frosting, and top with a few marshmallow from the Lucky Charms box” that this was not going to cut it.  I was going to go all Momofuku on these bad boys.  I am talking Cereal Milk!  If you haven’t heard of it, Momofuku Milk Bar is a restaurant/bakery in New York City, where they use “cereal milk” in some of their baked goods.  They are even getting a trademark for it.  So I had to try the idea out for myself.  Because isn’t that one of the best parts of eating a bowl of sugary cereal – drinking all of the yummy, sweet milk at the end?!

Unfrosted Lucky Charms Cupcakes

I did make an attempt a a marshmallow frosting.  Tasted pretty good, but looked awful.  So when in doubt, I turn to Martha, and used her basic buttercream frosting.  I just added more vanilla, because I always add more vanilla.  This recipe should make enough to frost the entire batch of cupcakes if you don’t put quite as large of a mound of frosting as I did because I really only utilize cupcakes as a vehicle for frosting consumption just to make them look prettier in the photos.

Lucky Charms Cupcakes on tray

So yes, this recipe does involve opening a box of Lucky Charms and picking out all of the marshmallows.  But hey, if you do that then it is a perfectly acceptable breakfast food, right?  No marshmallows, so I think mom would agree.

Three Lucky Charms Cupcakes on plate

Oh, and though he didn’t get to eat too many, these were definitely Bug-approved.  Look at him doing quality control…

The Bug and Lucky Charms Cupcakes

What is your favorite cereal?  Is it something healthy, or a kiddie, sugary one?  I love Strawberry Yogurt Cheerios and right now I am kind of into Cinnamon Sugar Chex.  I tend to eat it dry as a snack, rather than for breakfast.

Lucky Charms Cupcakes with Marshmallow-Studded Buttercream Frosting (makes about 24)

Cupcakes adapted from Claire Crespo’s White Cupcakes posted on Epicurious.

Frosting adapted from Martha Stewart’s Basic Buttercream

Ingredients for Cupcakes

Three Mirrored Lucky Charms Cupcakes11.5 oz. box Lucky Charms Cereal (or bigger, but then you may not need all of the marshmallows)

1 1/2 c whole milk

2 t vanilla extract

2 1/4 c all-purpose flour

2 1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 c sugar

2 eggs

Directions

1.  Preheat your oven to 350°F, and put liners in cupcake tins.

2.  Pick the marshmallows out of the box of Luck Charms.

3.  Combine 1 c of the Lucky Charms (after removing the marshmallows), the milk and vanila extract.  Let soak while you finish assembling the other ingredients, about 15-20 minutes.

4.  Grind 1 c of the Lucky Charms (after removing the marshmallows) into a powder using a food processor, or just crushing them up really well.  You should be left with a little less than half a cup of cereal powder.

5.  Sift together the cereal powder, flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.

6.  In a large bowl, cream the butter, then gradually add the sugar, creaming until light and fluffy.

7.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a few seconds after each addition

8.  Drain the milk mixture off of the cereal.

9.  To the butter and sugar, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture in thirds, beating until smooth after each addition.

10.  Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until it springs back when you touch it.

11.  Let cool before frosting.

Ingredients for Buttercream Frosting

One cupcake on square mirror1 1/2 c (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

4 c confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 1/2 t vanilla extract

Food coloring, if desired

Reserved Lucky Charms marshmallows (up to 1 c, if you use a larger box of cereal)

Directions

1.  With a mixer on medium-high, beat the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

2.  Reduce the speed to medium, and gradually beat in the sugar.  Continue mixing for a few minutes, until the frosting is smooth and creamy.

3.  Add the vanilla and food coloring, if using, and beat until smooth.

4.  Carefully fold in the marshmallows.

Enjoy!

Lucky Charms Cupcakes

This recipe was shared with:

Scrumptious Sunday Link Party #2 at I Am Addicted to Recipes

Sweet Indulgences Sunday #46 at A Well-Seasoned Life

The Sweet Spot Recipe Party

Sundae Scoop Link Party at I Heart Nap Time

Crazy Sweet Tuesday at Crazy for Crust



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