Green Smoothies for the nutrition win!

So I’m continuing on in my blog post about FOOD every Tuesday. “Why?”-asks random blog reader. :)

I do this because I am trying to transition my family into eating a LOT more vegetables. I think when we are busy families, we let our health fall to the wayside sometimes out of exhaustion, which is understandable! But, I desperately want my daughter to grow up having a healthy relationship with food(unlike I did!). I want her to know that vegetables are super yummy if prepared the right way, and fruit can be a treat! Not that there isn’t a time and place for sweets, but I want our diet to be plant based vs carbs/sugar/processed foods based. Don’t get me wrong- I love me a brownie and a slab of steak, but I’m trying to reorient our diets to not crave those things, and that takes a lot of work! I’ve never contemplated going completely vegan or vegetarian, but I am learning the beauty of moderation. Whole grains, lots of legumes, vs meat with EVERY meal and carbs totally void of nutritional value. I’m trying to make our meals count!

 

Which brings me to the green smoothie! If you have ever been around toddlers, you know getting them to eat can sometimes be a battle. Rachel has gotten into the throwing food on the floor stage. (I’ll save you the gross-ness that is this past time, although I did contemplate photographing it’s aftermath.) Every parent decides to deal with this differently. Some days Rachel loves broccoli, and eggs, and black beans and quinoa. And some days, Rachel throws it all. on. the. floor. It drives me BONKERS. So, when she wanted some of my green smoothie, I was elated. All she can do is throw the cup on the floor, and less mess for me!

 

I got this yummy recipe from the Healthful Pursuit Blog. I love it because it gives you 44% of your daily calcium, and has two cups of vitamin rich spinach, but doesn’t have an overly green flavor because of the yummy ingredients it is paired with. It gives you a great kick to start off in the morning, too!

OK, before I begin, I have to brag about my new blender, too. Ours broke awhile ago, and I’d held off buying one so I could do some research. I’m so glad I did, because I discovered the Kitchen Ninja! Guys, this combo blender/food processor is seriously amazing. It’s super easy to clean(just watch out for the sharp blades!) and easy to use, and comes with super convenient lids to store away things when you’re cooking but done blending. What I also love is that the containers are durable plastic instead of glass. I always hated that blenders were so heavy! I could go on and on about it, but for now, onto the recipe!

Classic Green Smoothie

Let me start out by saying the wonder ingredient of this smoothie is the ground flax seed. It has TONS of health benefits and it is incredibly good for you to include in your daily diet. I easily ground the seeds in the smaller food processor of the Kitchen Ninja, and stored it in an air tight container beforehand. You can mostly find it at health food stores like Whole Foods.

(As you can see in the picture, it’s not ground incredibly fine, but it still doesn’t make the smoothie super gritty. That’s one part of making smoothies with berries I don’t like!)

 

The other ingredients are also powerhouses in nutrients. Almonds and spinach are packed with vitamins. (Just google it and you’ll find tons of information. ) I love this recipe because you can pack a little more spinach in there if you’d like (because let’s be honest- some days I am just not in the mood for a salad!).

I love Justin’s Almond Butter, but I can’t afford to buy everything all natural/organic, so I pick and choose. This plain almond milk is from Aldi. (I LOVE Aldi.) First throw in the Almond Milk, then the Spinach. This really will make your blending experience more pleasant, especially if you don’t have an awesome booty kickin blender/food processor like the Kitchen Ninja. (No, no one is paying me to say that, I really just love it that much!)

I love the way the Ninja works because you have everything in the container separately with the handy lid(which also has an open and close spout- love it!) and then put the blending mechanism on TOP instead of trying to twist and wiggle the bottom of the container into a giant base.

Blend for about 30 seconds, and voila! I don’t like chunks in my smoothie, so I always make sure it’s nice and smooth.

Hope you get to enjoy the nutrient rich smoothie soon. It’s DELISH! Here is the recipe and nutrition information exactly from Healthful Pursuit.

Classic Green Smoothie

This classic green smoothie will give you 44% of your daily recommended intake of calcium!

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cups organic spinach
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 3 ice cubes

Place in your blender in the order of the ingredients listed, then blend for 30 seconds or until smooth.

Cheers to a happy tummy and healthy life.

Meg

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

If the title of this post has totally thrown you, I apologize. My husband and I are pretty big “The Office” fans (read: pre- Michael Scott departure), so I can’t think of Beets without thinking of this guy:

All that to say, I just came to LOVE beets. Over the summer, I really tried to transition our family to eating a LOT more vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, I love meat and carbs, but I’m pretty sure my husband and I lived off of mac ‘n cheese, hot dogs and ramen for the first year of our marriage, so we weren’t exactly your standard of health. ;)

Anywho, I visited the Logan Square Farmers Market nearly every Sunday, and I’d always try to buy one new vegetable that we didn’t eat on a regular basis. One week, it was beets! The man purchasing some from the same stand said he loved beets, and would saute them in butter for about 30 minutes, and then eat them straight for lunch! I won’t lie- this sounded gross. I couldn’t remember if I’d ever had beets, or how they would taste warm…or with butter, or any which way for that matter. BUT, I’m so glad I overrode my suspicions and took home those beets.

The first time, I got the smaller beets. (I didn’t even know larger ones existed!) They were so easy to cook. I just threw them in with their own greens(look a lot like swiss chard), a little butter, and voila! It was DELICIOUS! Not to mention very pretty on my plate. Of course I had to photograph it!

 

This week though, my husband brought home huge beets. I couldn’t believe it. I thought he’d brought home the wrong thing by mistake. Actually, I was honestly kind of mad. I thought I’d gotten the shaft on my beets!

 

But thankfully, they taste the same, and I just wrap them up and save the other half for later. I’ve had some time to experiment, so I wanted to share my “recipe.” I’ll probably keep the quotation marks for awhile because it is still hard for me to believe I can cook now and make yummy things! I was a mess when I first started out. Trust me- just ask my husband, or my friend Melissa. :)

Sautéed Beets with Kale

1. Let 1/2 tbsp of Coconut Oil heat up in a large sauté pan.

2. While it’s melting, slice up your beet in whatever way you like.

             -When working with the large ones, you may want to cut the slices in halves or thirds. The small ones make pretty clean slices so no problem there.

3. Throw in the beets. Turn the heat down low. Sprinkle some lemon juice over them, and stir every few minutes or so. Let them cook for about 20-30 minutes.

             -The reason the time is lacking specificity is because the firmness of the beet is up to you. I like my beets to have some crunch, so I lean towards the 20 minute end.

 

4. Once the beets are at your desired firmness, grab a couple cups of freshly washed kale. Tear off the the leaves from the stems(they are too fibrous for my liking) and throw in the pan with a little more lemon juice.

           -I’m trying to use a minimum amount of oils in my cooking to work on seasoning and sautéing with other things. If you prefer to add more oil instead, feel free!

5. Toss the kale around with the beets until you see that all of the leaves have got some coating of lemon and oil.

6. At this point, I season with salt, pepper, and cayenne! Season to your desired heat level. I find that I enjoy a dish way more if it’s got some kick!

7. There is no science to when this dish is “done,” except to say that it’s up to you. Some people like their greens pretty wilty, others pretty crunchy.

         -The joy about kale is that it does not lose it’s texture as much as spinach does when cooked. It’s still super yummy and takes a LONG time to get to a slimy state. I also find that 

        because it takes a little more effort to chew, it causes me to slow down and really enjoy all of the flavor. Win-win!

 

And voilà! 

 

Mmmm. See all of that texture and yummy goodness? This is my go-to lunch most days, sometimes paired with half an avocado and a handful of whole grain crackers if I’m still hungry afterwards. Delish!

 

And another note: don’t be afraid to feed them to kids. The color is bright, and the taste is so yummy and sweet. Rachel LOVES beets. See her cute little red mouth?

 

I hope this post has challenged you to TRY beets. They really are so delicious. So go and enjoy!

And remember, bears. eat. beets.  ;)

Have any questions about the recipe? Suggestions? Let me know in the comments below!

xo,

Meg