“Eureka!” she exclaimed with glee.

Every once in a while, I have a Holy Spirit moment in the kitchen. You know the kind – when all the ingredients just magically work out to a perfect blend of culinary divinity. It’s a taste of heaven by shear happenstance. Tonight was one of those nights.

I made a smoothie.

(Hold on to your hats, I know.)

But this was no ordinary smoothie. You see, I never make the same smoothie twice. I never use a recipe and I never have a plan when I start. I just love foraging the refrigerator for whatever I can find to make a delectable treat that happens to be healthy, too. So tonight, I did just that and lo and behold, I came across a concoction that tastes virtually identical to an Orange Julius. You read that right – a healthy Orange Julius. If you know me, you know that an Orange Julius has been one of my favorite drinks since I was a little girl. But as of late I am trying to eliminate anything processed from my diet. Nothing out of a can, nothing out of a box, nothing pre-prepared. This severely limits what I can have at Dairy Queen and the Orange Julius is no exception.

But God is faithful and he hears the cries of our hearts, however petty. Thank you, Jesus. This is definitely a hallelujah moment! 🙂

So without further adieu, I give you The Healthy Orange Julius Smoothie. You’re welcome.

Healthy Orange Julius Alternative

Ingredients:

5 Clementine Oranges, peeled
1 Banana, peeled
1/2 c. Pineapple, diced (fresh is best but canned will work)
1/2 c. Plain Yogurt
1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
2 c. Milk
4-5 Cubes of Ice

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. (Note: the clementines will give the smoothie a slight texture. I personally like this but if you don’t, you can always separate the clementines before you add them, being sure to remove all the pith. But you might consider leaving it in there because the pith has some anti-cancer properties, antioxidants, full of fiber and provides you with virtually the same quantity of vitamin C as the flesh does.)

I’m in Texas. It’s November 12 and we’re just now cooling off. Such is life in the Lone Star State. But I can’t complain. It’s gorgeous and crisp outside, the perfect weather for my mom’s hot spiced tea. And since I love this time of year so much, I thought I’d share the love… and the recipe. It’s delicious!

Ingredients:
1/3 c. Tang
1/3 c. Instant tea w/ lemon (I use decaf so that I can drink it at night and not get the jitters)
1 t. Cinnamon
1/2 t. Ground Cloves

Mix dry ingredients in an airtight jar or container for storage.

For drink:
Mix 2-3 rounded teaspoonfuls in hot water and stir. Enjoy!

I’m all about using what I have on hand. I’m also all about saving every dollar possible. Some might call me cheap. I call it thrifty. I like to think of myself as The Frugal Wanna-be Gourmet. So on on tonight’s menu: dinner for the whole family for a whopping $1.58.

Now that I have your undivided attention, I shall reveal my magical goddess of the kitchen secrets to you. 😉 The other night I didn’t feel like putting a lot of effort into dinner, so I grabbed a rotisserie chicken, some fresh asparagus, and some new potatoes (my personal favorite). Mashed up the potatoes, grilled up the asparagus and called it dinner. And delicious it was. Only one problem. Whenever I buy a rotisserie chicken, I always end up throwing some (or lots) of it away. We just don’t finish it all before I’m over eating it. I’m food ADD, I readily admit it. But I hate to waste. (My father literally saves every possible scrap of food that comes through his house into baggies for my sister’s dogs. He wastes nothing. Not even a morsel of food. I have inherited this compulsion with one problem – no dogs within a 100 mile radius that I could feed.) So we end up with a lot of well-intended leftovers.

But thanks to some ingenuity (and a few pins on Pinterest) I’ve come up with a delicious way to savor all the flavor of all of our rotisserie chickens from now on. I plan on trying other recipes, this is just the first. I used the leftover rotisserie chicken, spices I had on hand, and picked up a pound of carrots and some celery for $1.58 at the farmers market. Sweet!

Leftover Rotisserie Chicken Soup
1 leftover rotisserie chicken (carcass, skin and all) (I just used the traditional flavor)
Carrots (as many as you like), diced
Celery (as much as you like), diced
Fresh Garlic (as much as you like), minced
Dried Onion
Rosemary
Thyme
Oregano
Salt
Pepper (all spices to taste)
Water

1. Separate the chicken meat from the carcass and skin and place into a bowl for later (you’re just going to have to get your fingers in there and get after it. So wash your hands and get over it). Place the bones and all the skin and gristle into a large stock pot. Cover with water and season with rosemary, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper to your liking. Bring to boil and then simmer for 20-30 minutes over low-medium heat.

2. Strain bits out of your new amazing broth and discard. Add chicken, diced carrots, diced celery to your broth. Add some dried onion and fresh minced garlic because nothing in life is as good as it could be with garlic. Bring to boil and then simmer your soup until the veggies are tender.

Serve warm with your favorite bread, or if you want to get old school, butter a few slices of Mrs. Bairds, cause you know you did it when you were a kid and it was delicious.

Enjoy!

*Mmmm and just FYI, the broth is simmering in my house as I write this and it smells like heaven!

**It should be noted that even if you bought all of these ingredients at once, the soup is still exceptionally economical considering that a rotisserie chicken in generally around $5. You’re looking at a $10 dinner here, folks. That’s delicious!

***If the way I cook drives you crazy (i.e.: no measurements), the best approach to this soup is to taste along the way. Get your carcass, etc in the water, season it up and once it has boiled, give it a taste. Add a pinch of salt, a dash of oregano until it tastes good to you. Taste the soup again once you add the chicken and veggies. The best way to cook is to season as you go, in layers. That way the flavors develop to your taste. And that makes the most delicious meals!