Friday, January 10, 2014

Green smoothies for our girls

One of our new year commitments is to drink more green smoothies. Our go-to place for the best green smoothie recipes is online from some of our favorite health bloggers.

Here are Ellyn's top three smoothie tips:

1. Remember the liquid base!

Full Plate Blog is often my first stop for green smoothie inspiration. I like to follow the basic recipe for most of our smoothies: 

2 cups liquid + 2 cups packed greens + 2 cups fruit = 3 (2 cup) servings

When I first started making smoothies, I would sometimes add veggies and fruit without any liquid. This works for very water-based items like watermelon and cucumber, but most smoothies need a bit of extra liquid to get the right consistency.

Once I put in the two cups of liquid- mostly water for us, but sometimes almond milk, almost any other combinations of fruits, vegetables, and nuts seems possible. I think the experimentation element of making smoothies is something that appeals to me. Even if I make a combination I don't like, it's only a few minutes of time and a few ingredients, so it doesn't feel like a huge loss if it doesn't work. It probably helps that I end up liking almost everything in my smoothies, with the exception of celery. 

2. Make your smoothie fun by drinking it in a fun cup or mug.

Kris Carr, author of Crazy, Sexy Diet was my original inspiration for trying green smoothies. I saw her speak at a workshop and she makes many compelling arguments for the benefit of drinking daily green smoothies, most notably that her green smoothie regimen helped to put her cancer in remission. Kris is good at making eating well feel fun. I like her tip to serve green smoothies in a mug or cocktail glass, anything to make it more festive. Serving green smoothies in a mug is also a helpful tip for introducing green smoothies to kids, so that the color doesn't create a negative first impression. I like drinking my smoothies out of a mug in winter because it keeps my hands from getting cold!

3. Lemon is a favorite addition to most smoothies- it brings out the flavor of other fruits and veggies well. Don't be afraid to mix it up with adding different veggies or fruits if you don't have what the recipe recommends.

Here is Tara's recommended smoothie shopping list:

As Ellyn mentioned, one of the best things about making smoothies is the experimentation that's involved. Lila and Clara love the idea of making "potions" and "concoctions," so the green element makes it seem mysterious, scientific, and fun! Together, you can just throw in handfuls of veggies and fruit and see what happens. Using many combinations of the following ingredients, we've never made a smoothie we didn't like.

Swiss Chard
Other leafy greens
Berries (Tip- throw in the whole strawberry including the green stem!)
Any fruit can be used... (Tip- Use frozen fruit instead of ice.) 

Main Protein Sources:
Protein Powder (i.e. Whey, Casien, Soy) 
Silken Tofu
Nut Butter

Other Ingredients:
Ground Flaxseed
Chia Seeds

Dark Chocolate
Cocoa Powder
Liquid Vitamins

Although the above is a recommended shopping list, most of the time we are able to whip something up with the random items in our fridge. Making smoothies has helped us to save what would be otherwise wasted food. When our veggies are wilted or our fruit is bruised, we throw them in a smoothie. This is helpful during the summer when we do our farm share-- sometimes we have so many vegetables we can't get to eating them all. So, a quick solution is to blend 'em and drink 'em up!

"To good health!"

A green smoothie is a perfect quick, healthy breakfast on a school day!
We encourage smoothie-makers to be creative, but if you are looking for a recipe, here's a great one to try from Whole Life Nutrition, another favorite smoothie source. This New Year's Day, Clara and Ellyn started the new year with their favorite green juice recipe:

Cucumber-Kale Green Drink

2 medium cucumbers 
3 large kale leaves 
small handful fresh parsley 
1 small lemon, peeled 
½ Granny Smith apple 

Place all ingredients into your blender. Use the machine as directed, then stir, and drink immediately.

Yield: about 2 cups 

Cucumbers and lemons are two of our favorite smoothie ingredients so we really liked this one. We didn't have Granny Smith apples on hands, but another apple variety worked fine.

Clara loves loading up the blender, and sometimes adding extra ingredients that she thinks would make a yummy addition. It's definitely a collaborative effort.

Our blender is ready to go!

Serving our smoothie in a mug helps to keep us warmer and feels more special!

The blender is loud, so Clara and I keep our ears covered while it is running. :)

The hardest part of the cleanup is cleaning the green moustaches off of our mouths!

Cheers! Smoothies are always better when shared with friends.

We would love to hear your favorite smoothie recipes. Please share in the comments.

-Tara and Ellyn

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