Spice Up Spring with a Ginger Mango Lassi

Now that we have entered spring and are experiencing a bit of warm weather, I am always looking for cool drinks to beat the heat. I love smoothies and some of my favorite fruits, like mangoes, are coming back into season. Mangoes tend to pop up in April and peak in May and June. Using mangoes, I took a shot at making a smoothie native to India, the lassi, but with an added twist. A lassi is a cross between a smoothie and a milk shake with spices (like cumin or cardamon) that can be either sweet or savory. It is creamy, refreshing and best of all easy to make! For my lassi, I am adding pineapple, almond milk and ginger to amp up the flavors.

Ingredients: (Makes one 16oz smoothie)

  • 1 cup of mango, chopped into cubes
  • 1 cup of pineapple, chopped into cubes
  • 1 cup of yogurt (I recommend Chobani Low Fat Mango Greek Yogurt)
  • 1 tsp of ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk (or substitute with whole milk)
  • Ice cubes
  • Honey or sugar (optional depending on the sweetness of your mango)

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Directions:

  1. Add ice, mango, pineapple and almond milk to a blender and puree until it reaches a creamy consistency.
  2. Add yogurt and minced ginger (I used jarred minced ginger, but I recommend fresh ginger for a more potent kick). At this point you can add any sweetener to your smoothie.
  3. Run the blender for up to 1 minute. For a smoother consistency add more almond milk.
  4. Pour mango lassi in a glass and top with some mango pieces and ground ginger. Sit back and pretend you are relaxing in Kolkata!

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Toni’s Tip:

  • A lassi can work with any combination of fruits and using frozen fruit works just as well as fresh fruit. Just skip out on the ice if you decide to go the frozen route.
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Watergate Cupcakes: A Scandalous Green Treat for St. Patty’s Day

Hello SCBD Readers! Antoinette, your South Jersey home cook here. For St. Patrick’s Day I wanted to bring a festive cupcake recipe that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth- Watergate Cupcakes. This Watergate dessert is a classic recipe and actually started off as a sweet salad of pistachio pudding mix, pineapple, walnuts, cool whip and marshmallows. In fact, the recipe for Watergate Salad can still be found on the pistachio Jell-o box today.

Legend has it that Kraft came up with the recipe to market their pistachio pudding mix. It was formerly called Pistachio-Pineapple Delight, but once the Watergate scandal happened, Kraft changed the name to market their recipe. The name has stuck since then!  I am making these cupcakes for a St. Patty’s Day party that I am attending with some political peers and it only makes sense to have these green-tinted, political-themed cupcakes. This recipe yields a lot of batter and can easily be converted to a bundt or layer cake.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of Betty Crocker Super Moist Golden Vanilla cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 stick of  unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup of lemon-lime soda
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup of finely chopped coconut flakes
  • 1 4 oz box of Instant Pistachio Jell-o Pudding Mix
  • 1 jar of Whipped Buttercream Frosting
  • 2 12-cup muffin tins

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. As oven preheats, line your muffin tins with baking cups, chop walnuts and coconut flakes.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, wisk cake mix with Jell-o pudding mix. Add vanilla extract, eggs, and butter. and mix for 30 seconds on low, slowly add the lemon-lime soda to the mixture,  and then 2 minutes on high.  If you don’t have a stand or hand mixer, just wisk until ingredients are well combined. If you desire a greener cupcake, feel free to add a few drops of food coloring.

3. Fold in 3/4 cup of finely chopped walnuts.

4. Fill each baking cup no more than 2/3 of the way full.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to completely cool before frosting.

“Cover-up” Frosting:

What better way to top a scandalous Watergate cupcake than with a cover-up frosting!

1. As the cupcakes are cooling, in a small bowl wisk together the butter cream frosting and some pistachio pudding mix until it becomes a nice pastel green. Be careful not to add too much pistachio pudding mix, or the frosting will become grainy. If you add too much pudding mix to the frosting, add water to further dissolve the pudding. Wisk until frosting is smooth and insert the bowl into the freezer to set for 10 minutes.

2. Once both the icing and cupcakes are cooled use a knife to spread icing onto the cupcakes. I recommend using a cheese spreader, as the smaller knife is easier to control.

3. Spread out walnuts and coconut flakes onto a plate and gently dip each cupcake to achieve an even coating on each cupcake. Voila! You’re done!

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Adding soda to the mixture makes the cake light and airy while the coconut and walnuts add a  crunchy texture. Warning: these cupcakes are so good it’s hard to have just one!

Happy St. Patty’s Day!