Drinks & Smoothies · kid-friendly · Recipes

Strawberry Peanut Butter Smoothie

Though it hasn’t felt very summery out there so far this year, something about this time of year prompts me to want to get moving more, lighten up what I’m eating so I can feel lighter myself, and spend less time cooking and eating big meals. Enter smoothies, the perfect on-the-go food with built-in health benefits. Of course, the other way to look at it is that these balance out all the inevitable hot dogs, cold beers and after-dinner trips to get ice cream that come with summer, so cheers to that, too!

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This smoothie is vegan, easy to make as well as to digest, tasty, portable, and perfect for post-workout because of the great balance of carbs to restore glycogen burned during exercise and muscle-building protein.

A healthy and filling after-exercise smoothie will ideally contain a foundation of greens and fruit, like we have here, plus a protein source such as nut butter, silken tofu or plain yogurt, and also a liquid, such as coconut water or almond milk.

I used peanut butter, but you could also use almond butter. You can sub half Greek yogurt and half almond milk — especially to boost the protein ratio for exercise recovery — or all almond milk in place of coconut milk.

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Strawberry PB Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 ripe banana (mine was frozen)
  • 1 can reduced-fat coconut milk OR 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 heaping TBSP peanut butter OR almond butter
  • optional: toss in some spinach or other greens

DIRECTIONS

Add all ingredients to blender, starting with liquid first, and process on high until smooth. It helps to have a high-speed blender like a Vitamix if you want to throw in a handful of greens and have them pulverized, which I did to get an extra veg boost, but otherwise this should be fine in a conventional blender, too.

The amount of berries can vary by however much you want. I used what I had on hand, which was a little less than a full two-cup bag in the freezer.

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I’m not even going to talk about the weather anymore because I think I’ve personally jinxed it from ever being nice this year. We are having a small cookout the weekend after next for Mark’s birthday, and if it’s rainy or cold still, I’m going to lose my mind.

Today, however, we got a peek at the sun, so I strolled on over to The Scooper Bowl in City Hall Plaza, which is an ice cream extravaganza that also benefits The Jimmy Fund. It’s still going on tomorrow from Noon to 8 p.m. outside Boston City Hall, right at Government Center. Perfect for an after-work outing. Or “lunch,” like I did!

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If you liked this smoothie, share it with a friend, and pin it for later! Have a great rest of the week, everyone. 

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Drinks & Smoothies · kid-friendly · Recipes

Blueberry Super Smoothie

Inspired by the Blueberry Bliss Smoothie at Mother Juice in the Boston Public Market, I set out this week to create a smoothie recipe that had more complex flavors than the results I’ve gotten with just frozen berries and coconut milk alone. While there’s nothing wrong with tossing frozen fruit and milk into the blender, I always suspected there had to be a way of packing even more nutritional clout into something built on antioxidant-rich blueberries. I also wanted to give this smoothie some heft, to make it a real meal replacement possibility and filling enough to satisfy that afternoon sugar craving. I really love how this turned out, and I think you’ll be surprised at the secret ingredient that gives it that extra edge!

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Blueberry Super Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup juice (I chose cranberry)
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1 ripe or frozen banana
  • 1 container vanilla yogurt (Greek or regular; about 4 oz.)
  • a small palm full of pistachios
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • a dash of pumpkin pie spice*

DIRECTIONS

In a high speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, add all the ingredients, placing juice on the bottom and spices/seeds on top. Blend until smooth and enjoy cold!

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*Did that last ingredient surprise you?? That’s one of the things that made the Mother Juice smoothie so good! You couldn’t put your finger on it, but it tasted SO GOOD. If you want to really amp up the spice factor, add in some cinnamon! And if you want even more protein, make the yogurt Greek (I like Trader Joe’s vanilla bean) and add a tablespoon of almond butter, too.

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You can also swap out the nuts if you don’t like pistachios — I think almonds would be good. And if you don’t use frozen berries or banana, then throw in a couple ice cubes. I make this at night and put it into to-go containers so I can grab them the next morning. With chia seeds, letting them sit in the smoothie overnight lets them plump up and give your drink a wonderful, thick texture! They also add lots of fiber, too.

Read more about chia seeds and find my recipe for chia pudding right here.

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Have a great weekend everyone!

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Drinks & Smoothies · kid-friendly · Recipes

Banana Date Smoothie

Does anyone else love dates? Like a lot? I sure do! They’re considered a super food for a reason, and are easy to work into your repertoire.

So delicious and full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, they are a great source of energy and have been a satisfying component to many Mediterranean diets for centuries. Eaten in moderation, which is always a good idea with dried fruits, dates can boost digestion and keep you fuller longer, and lend a special flavor to any appetizer spread, smoothie, or even dessert. In fact, I did just that on Christmas Day with Sticky Toffee Pudding, and it turned out so well that I made a batch to share with my co-workers a week later. I’ll be sharing it with you in just a few days! Sticky Toffee Pudding uses blended dates as the basis for a delicious, dense little cake topped with butterscotch sauce, and it would be simply perfect for Easter Sunday, too.

You know what? If you make that Sticky Toffee Pudding, you’ll have just enough dates left over to toss in this smoothie. How perfect! If you are interested in learning how to make a healthy smoothie using dates, bananas, nut milk and oats, read on.

BANANA DATE SMOOTHIE

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen bananas (or add a couple ice cubes if using fresh bananas)
  • a handful of dates, about 10 (I buy them by the box at Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

Directions

In a blender, add the almond milk then the dates. Blend at medium speed until the dates are mostly broken down.

Add the bananas and blend again. Then, add the oats and let them sit for a minute to soak and soften. You can probably skip this step if you have a high-end blender such as a Vitamix or BlendTec.

Puree the entire mixture on medium-high until smooth. Makes two servings.

Enjoy!

So we had a huge snow storm last week (and it’s freezing this week…spring, WTF are you hiding from??) which meant I was trapped at home for two days with no school and barely-plowed roads. I love getting in extra time with my G, but we definitely ran out of things to do after a little while. Often when that happens, we start cooking or baking together. She loves making smoothies, and this is one I’ve been wanting to try for a long time because it is so filling and fiber-rich that it really qualifies as a meal replacement. It’s delicious and good for you, and boy was I glad I’d made it a few days later when I had some early mornings and evening meetings that otherwise would have forced me toward the drive-thru for sustenance. The only thing I’d change next time is to make sure I have two smaller frozen bananas, because the ones we got at Costco last time around were so gigantic that the flavor *almost* took over the dates in my smoothie. If you find that you can only get larger bananas too, then I’d just use one or one-and-a-half.

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I thought you’d all appreciate a glamorous behind-the-scenes shot of my life testing recipes and staging food photos while home with a mischievous toddler and elderly cat. Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

Drinks & Smoothies · Recipes · Uncategorized

Healthy Green Smoothie

Happy almost weekend! I’ve come down with a summer cold, so I’m stepping up my eating habits to nourish myself back to health. Nothing helps kick an icky illness better than eating right and resting. The body needs real food to recover! Sunday night, when I felt this one coming on, Georgia and I grabbed the last lettuce from the garden and some fruit from our weekend grocery haul, and got down to business. This smoothie is refreshing, re-hydrating, energizing and nutritious. Sip happily!

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Green Smoothie

Makes enough for two servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 slices watermelon
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 apple, cored and quartered
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 head of romaine, rough chopped
  • optional: 1 celery stalk, chopped (I love adding celery to smoothies :))

Using a fresh banana is fine, too. You may want to add a couple ice cubes to keep it cold if you do that. Subbing a lime for the lemon is also OK; you can also swap the romaine for any kind of lettuce, and any type of apple will do. This is a flexible smoothie that tastes sweet, not super green. My only advice would be to keep water as the base or it will get too heavy and won’t have the same smooth drinkability.

DIRECTIONS

Adding the water, lemon juice and watermelon first, then the other ingredients, blend on high until smooth. Enjoy cold! Keeps well for up to a week in the fridge, or double and freeze extras to have throughout the week.

🎉 Happy Independence Day everyone! 🎉

 

 

Drinks & Smoothies · Grow Your Own Way · kid-friendly · Recipes

Carrot Cake Smoothie

After a month of staring down my new Vitamix in intimidation and fear, I finally asked Georgia to help me figure out how to use the darn thing this weekend. We were trapped at the house while Mark jetted down to New York for new headshots, and we had some pretty random things in the fridge to use up. I remembered seeing a recipe for a smoothie using carrots this winter, and going on memory, I tried to make something refreshing for all seasons. I swear, I’ve never had a smoothie come out this, well, SMOOTH before — I’m about to go get married to this Vitamix so I can keep it forever. It’s that good. Best combo birthday/Mother’s Day gift EVER.

Since it’s summer, you could definitely tone down the warming spices in the recipe to keep it tasting lighter and fruity.

Carrot Cake Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup almond milk (soy also works well)
  • 1 plain low/no-fat yogurt (about 5 oz.)
  • 2 TBSP rolled oats
  • 1 TBSP dry chai tea mix, such as Trader Joe’s*
  • 1 frozen chopped banana (or 1 fresh, plus two ice cubes)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (or at least 1 cup shredded/packaged)

* To approximate chai tea seasoning, use a dash of cinnamon, vanilla and 1 or 2 cloves. You can also omit the cloves, or use 1 TBSP pumpkin pie mix instead.

DIRECTIONS

Add the ingredients in order of liquidity: first the almond milk, then the yogurt, then the grains and spices, and finally the fruits and vegetables. If using a high-powered machine like a Vitamix, blend for less than one minute on low and increasing up to high. Makes enough for two days, or to share with a friend (like my G!) Enjoy 🙂

Drinks & Smoothies · Recipes

Creamy Strawberry Smoothie

Yup, another smoothie post! The baby is Boss Lady and she’s the one who keeps demanding new smoothies! How can I not comply?

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Creamy Strawberry Smoothie

Ingredients
  • 1 package frozen strawberries* (12 oz.)
  • 1 cup milk (regular, almond or coconut)
  • 1 frozen banana or a few scoops of yogurt, for creaminess
  • a splash of juice for tartness, your choice. I used cranberry.

 * add some ice cubes if you’re using fresh strawberries instead of frozen

Directions

Adding milk first then strawberries, combine all ingredients in your blender and process until smooth. Adjust thickness by adding more of the yogurt or banana if desired. Tastes like summer!

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PS: Is anyone else planning to go to the BlogHer Food Conference in May?

It’s being held in Miami and I’d love to go, and to make plans to meet up with any fellow bloggers or readers who will be there! Of course, this all depends on my mom or someone else being able to take care of the baby while I travel, since I’m pretty sure Mark is booked through May for this next theater season. Which is a good thing. I just … am still adjusting to factoring a baby into my long-term plans. And she’s not even here yet! But she will be, any day now…..

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Drinks & Smoothies · Pregnancy · Recipes

Mango Smoothie

Yum! This closely resembles my tropical smoothie, which is made with pineapple, but here I use mango instead because I love the taste of them. Sometimes you just need to mix things up a bit (but not too much).

mango smoothie

Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Coconut Milk
  • 1 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1 Banana, preferably frozen
  • 1 bag frozen mango chunks (12 oz.)
  • water if needed for texture
Directions

Adding liquid to the blender first, combine all ingredients and blend. Drink cold!

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Inevitably, the cat photo-bombs me

I know I’ve been a little heavy on smoothies and drinks lately. The further along in my pregnancy I get, the more I’m loving that stuff to stay hydrated and keep my energy up without getting too full. I’m sure it’s getting boring for you, but baby can’t get enough fruit apparently! 

InstagramPsst — are you on Instagram? I’ve used it for almost two years, but am only recently realizing the power of connecting with folks over recipes. If you’d like to connect, check out my profile! I’d love to meet you.

Drinks & Smoothies · Recipes

Cran-Raspberry Smoothie

New favorite alert! As promised in my post from last week, I’m sharing a new smoothie recipe. I made this when Mark accidentally bought cranberry juice concentrate instead of cocktail, and I love how it makes the smoothie just tart enough. I added bananas to sweeten it, fresh juice from two delicious Florida oranges I still have hanging around from our shipment in late January, and almond milk for creaminess. yumyumyum.

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Cran-Raspberry Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 bag (12 oz.) frozen raspberries
  • 1 -2 frozen bananas
  • juice of two oranges
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice concentrate (not juice cocktail)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Directions

Blend ingredients until smooth, making sure you add liquids to the blender first. It will be very tart if you use just one banana; two will make it sweeter. I used 1.5 (I always keep frozen ripe bananas, cut in half, in a baggie in the freezer so they are ready for smoothies). Add more almond milk to make the smoothie less thick.

SO refreshing!

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Drinks & Smoothies · Recipes

Strawbanana Spinach Smoothie

If  you know me, you know I always throw greens into EVERY smoothie I make, because…well, why not? It tastes great and it adds critical nutrients. This one is simple but delicious and makes a great breakfast drink.

Strawbanana Spinach Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of frozen strawberries
  • 1 small coconut water
  • 1 banana, frozen (fresh is also OK)
  • handful of fresh spinach
  • 1 cup apple juice (add more or less to taste)

Directions

Adding liquids to the bottom of the blender first, blend all ingredients together until smooth. Enjoy cold.

This recipe makes enough for two good-sized smoothies that you can put in the fridge for the week. You can use more or less apple juice to your taste; it does add sugar, so you could leave it out and either add more coconut water to make up the difference, or just use plain old water. You won’t even be able to taste (or see) the spinach, but you WILL get all the benefits of this leafy green powerhouse: folic acid, protein, and calcium. It’s also iron-rich and packed with antioxidants and fiber.

Drinks & Smoothies · Recipes

Two Green Smoothies

I have a new routine: “Smoothie Saturdays,” when I bust out the blender after I get home from grocery shopping to whip up some breakfast smoothies for the week. This week, I made three varieties: a tropical smoothie, which I’ll cover in another post; a spinach-banana smoothie, which is simple and refreshing; and an adaptation of Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie, which is super energizing and can help you kick your early-morning caffeine habit while sweeping toxins from your system.

I am in the process of trying to cut back on how much caffeine I drink — both for the benefit of my stomach, since coffee in particular is such an irritant, and because I don’t want to be so dependent on a stimulant to get alert in the morning. It starts to feel lame when you NEED coffee to function, or when you get a debilitating headache from lack of having it! In the past when I’ve needed to cut back, instead of going cold turkey I just reduce the number of cups per day and then eventually the size of my morning order. I’m down to one small coffee in the morning and no soda or tea for the rest of the day. Next, I’ll replace coffee with a green smoothie every other day until I can phase out caffeine as a kick-start altogether. Green Smoothies give you so much natural energy it’s actually amazing.

Spinach Banana Smoothie

Total time 5-7 minutes.

Makes enough for two large on-the-go beverages.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 chopped bananas, ideally frozen
  • a couple ice cubes (use more if your bananas aren’t frozen)

Blend all ingredients together, taking care to add liquids first so you don’t jam your blender. Keeps well in the fridge for up to a week. Or, freeze for up to one month and thaw overnight in the refrigerator the morning before you plan to drink it.

Glowing Green Smoothie

This is a simplified version of Kimberly Snyder’s classic green smoothie, because I didn’t have pears on hand. If you read her book, the Beauty Detox Solution, you’ll see that almost any greens will do — so feel free to throw in kale, romaine, or spinach like I did ~ you name it!

Total time: 5-7 minutes

Makes 3-4 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch greens (I used spinach since I had it on hand)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 organic apple, chopped
  • 2-3 frozen chopped bananas
  • juice of 1 lemon

Blend all ingredients together until smooth, adding liquids first so the blender doesn’t jam. Enjoy!

All set to go for the week ~ just thaw and sip!