Baby & Toddler · Drinks & Smoothies · Recipes

We’re back (+2 Vitamix recipes)

Do you ever feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? Ever since having a baby, I sure do. I think it’s frowned upon to say that, but traveling with a child is down-to-the-bone exhausting! 

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I’m so glad we got away from this snow. And it never feels like we spend enough time with our family by just seeing them every six months, especially since they used to live up north full time. But I always come back feeling that we should have stayed longer, and like I need to still take a few days off before going back to work so that I can get my life back together and recover from flying with a toddler. Our return flight was delayed, and Georgia did NOT cope well — she threw a water bottle and poured milk on our seat mate, who turned out to be a very understanding grandpa, and kicked the guy in front of us for three hours straight. She head-butted me so hard at one point that I thought she’d broken my nose. Oh, and did I mention that Mark got food poisoning and spent the entire day with a barf bag? Not fun. We actually talked about driving next time even though it takes three full days.

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On the plus side, I think we might be only house in the entire Greater Boston area that doesn’t have horrific ice dams right now. We didn’t have a single leak when we got home, and our next-door neighbors snow-blowed us out so we could get in the driveway upon returning from the airport. We really are so lucky.

where did our house go?
where did our house go?

On our last day in Florida, Mark and I took Georgia to Nokomis Groves for her first citrus swirl. Well, technically she had the lime-vanilla cone in utero, but she very rudely made me throw up the entire thing an hour later, so we had to go back! It only took her one attempt at biting the ice cream before she figured out to lick it and protect her front teeth.

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P.S., can we talk about the fact that mom has never owned a pair of Topsiders, and this kid already has a hot pink pair?? Someone’s daddy sure spoils her.

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She’s in a major daddy phase right now, which is kind of a relief after 18 months of mom-clinging!  

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Georgia also tried her first smoothie while in Florida. My aunt just got a Vitamix (jealous!!) so we made Georgia a smoothie with blueberries, plain Greek yogurt and banana. She loved it! She only just started using sippy cups with a straw a couple weeks ago, so I’m hoping this is the start of her finally giving up her bottle for good. She is SO attached to it.

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If I had a Vitamix, the main thing I’d use it for would be green smoothies, followed by soups. Why green smoothies? Because the Vitamix can puree vegetables, even rough ones like kale, in a way that standard blenders just cannot. If you like to add greens into your fruit smoothies, the only way to make them drinkable instead of gritty is to go with a high-end blender like the Vitamix. Plus, it’s self-cleaning, and has an automatic off sensor when purees are done.

I have a great Cuisinart that we received for our wedding, and it’s still going strong after 7 years — maybe when it dies, I’ll think about investing in a Vitamix! My favorite green smoothie is Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie, the original classic:

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I leave out the herbs and substitute some ice for the water because I prefer green smoothies very cold.

My aunt made a great soup with her Vitamix this trip, and she showed me how. It’s a Sweet Potato Soup that you start on the stovetop and finish in the Vitamix, adding a dash of cream if you want to make it more rich. It has all kinds of spices and some peanut butter in it — yum! We ate it topped with salted cashews.

Sweet Potato Soup

Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven or heavy-duty pot with oil and heat over medium. Add in one large diced onion, 3-4 minced garlic cloves, and 1 TBSP minced fresh ginger, and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add in two good-sized peeled and chopped sweet potatoes. Cover with 4 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth (the contents of one cardboard box). Pour in 1 cup of water and add in 4 -5 cups of unsalted or low-sodium diced tomatoes (she uses fire roasted).  Add in a 1/2 cup of unsalted peanut butter (smooth), then the following spice mixture: cinnamon (1/4 tsp) cumin (2 tsp) coriander (2 tsp) sea salt (1/4 tsp) and cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp). Bring to a boil. Let cook for about 12 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add in 4 cups of fresh Swiss Chard; she uses the entire bunch from the store, stems and leaves chopped. Cover the pot and let the chard wilt about 2 minutes.
It’s ready to eat as-is at this point, but she let it cool and then blended in the Vitamix until pureed. If desired, add in some half & half or veggie stock. Serve with some nice crusty bread or croutons, and salted peanuts, cashews or asiago cheese on top.

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Well, tomorrow it’s back to braving the snow and the MBTA commute again for me. Don’t I wish I was still eating well and enjoying nice weather down south! Alas, reality comes crashing back down eventually. I hope you all stay safe and warm if you’re in this snow vortex gripping the northeast! And if you use your Vitamix for something really creative that I didn’t mention, or you have great smoothie recipes to share, call ’em out in the comments.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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!