Posts Tagged ‘smoothies’

Moments of satisfaction: “Fasts”, Facebook groups, Green smoothies, and Green Icing.

Okay, seriously exciting thing happened for a leaf-loving blogger yesterday. I was already feeling quite Green, as a friend and I did a juice-and-smoothie fast for a short time this week, and I have to say it was so refreshing. I was amazed at how I felt so full- yet “light”.  It didn’t last long, because I like to…well, you know…chew food, but I carried on eating a ton of Green Food, and no Beige Food at all, and I really felt grand. (See this post here for my thoughts on Green Food and Beige food)

Simultaneously, my friend added me to a Facebook group for an exercise support group (Jillean Michaels)  I wasn’t too interested in it to be perfectly honest- I do like exercise DVD’s from a practical “don’t have to leave the house” point of view, but I am trying to get back into cycling again. I was just about to unsubscribe from the group, when someone mentioned she wanted to try “those green power juices that are everywhere on Pinterest”. Of course this was music to my ears- I could barely wait to post one of  my favourite and simplest green Smoothie recipes:

“Half a cantaloupe melon, 2-3 handfuls of babyleaf spinach. Instructions: Blend, drink, rejoice!”

Immediately another group member said that she too enjoyed them (with her children too) and from then on in, within 24 hours, the group wall was awash with photos of beautiful green drinks, recipes, and posts for suggested shopping lists. Enthusiasm abounded, and shopping trips were rapidly organised. We were Loving Leaves.It was a beautiful thing  🙂  (Is. I mean it is a beautiful thing. The Green Revolution continues……)

The most awesome ever “slimming shakes”, and “energy shakes”!!  🙂

So of course, I found myself doing the workout. I am on Day 3. I can barely walk downstairs- To be absolutely truthful…..I love that feeling  🙂

My other small moment of satisfaction was to have one of my weird recipes validated  🙂  Okay, it is not my recipe- plenty of people are sharing this online. I got a notification that people were visting this site from another bloggers site who I didn’t know and I popped on over out of curiosity. It is Ria’s Collection Blogspot, and it seems like she has just started but she loves baking recipes. She had made some beautiful vegan chocolate cupcakes (using avocado IN the cakes to sub for butter) and had topped it with “Not Quite Betty Crocker” Avocado frosting (recipe here)  Here is her husband’s verdict:

So he knew the cupcakes had avocados in it. When he got back from work, he found me frosting the cupcakes so I asked him if he wanted to taste test one. He obliged, like always and took a bite of it. He nodded in agreement when I asked him if they were good. After chewing down one half of the cupcake, he asked me what’s the frosting made of…a question I was waiting all this while to answer. When I told him it had just avocados, cocoa & sugar, he was definately surprised! I don’t think he thought I would go that far with that fruit 🙂   This frosting kind of sets and loses it’s sticky property so this is perfect to pack and send it to wherever you want!The cupcakes were super moist and the frosting was rich and creamy.No one would guess it has what it has 🙂

 

By the way, the actual cupcakes look wonderful and moist, I think I will try them one day (follow her link above for the recipe)

 

These were my small moments of satisfaction (at least- in the realm of Green food- I do have many others!)

Wishing you plenty of your own  🙂

 

Things that work together

Strawberries and summer days. Crunchy autumn leaves and cosy walking boots. Great music and closed eyes. Friends and laughter. Painted toenails and summer sandals. Mango and spinach. Did I lose you on the last one?

A sweet ripe mango +  water +  2 handfuls of raw babyleaf spinach is the simplest of all green smoothies. They work together. You will love it. And best of all:  it will love you right back!

Here are some green combinations that work together. Required: Blender

  • Mango, spinach (Alternative: Substitute the water for fresh orange juice, and a squeeze of lemon if you wish. A glug of “not from concentrate” smoothie can help give it a lift if you are beginning and/or in a hurryAnd if you crazy busy in the mornings, and are blessed enough to be able to access frozen mango chunks, you save yourself some work- just thaw a cupfull the night before.) 
  • Ripe pear, kiwi, squeeze of lime, spinach/kale
  • Cantaloupe melon, apple, spinach  (add half a ripe avocado for a creamy drink)
  • Oranges (whole), ripe banana, frozen strawberries, spinach or other greens
  • Orange, lemon, pineapple, greens (like the “orange lemon and pienapple” you used to drink as a kid. Only not…)
  • Pineapple, frozen blueberries, greens
  • Mango, apples, lemon juice, greens

If you blend up a concoction and you are not keen on it, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater-just work it out: what does it need?

  • Too thick and gloopy? Add water or fruit juice or a glug of quality smoothie
  • Too watery? Add half  a banana, or a chopped apple. If using water (recommended) only add enough to get the blender going at first or you will dilute all that lovely fruitiness too much
  • Not sweet enough? Add ripe banana, a strawberry or three, or a little fruit-only juce/smoothie
  • Still not sweet enough? Add some honey or maple syrup.
  • Not quite “something” enough? Sometimes a squeeze of lemon is just what it needs. It’s like the salt of green smoothies.
  • Too “green” for your taste? This is not a usual scenario as most people start quite cautiously!  Kale is strong but even that you can end up enjoying.
  • Too sweet? Maybe you could try savoury smoothies: (Details via this link) or a home-made gazpacho for breakfast (Click for recipe)

I don’t even know if you like painted toenails and summer sandals (on yourself, or others)

but I highly recommend you start whizzing up green smoothies.

It’s a no-brainer delicious way of consuming plenty of fruit and raw greens and helping your children do the same. If they are very small you won’t even have to convince them, just insert straw.

And unlike summer sandals (which I sometimes wonder if I will get out this year) you can love them every day of the year. To your health!! (And fingers crossed for a decent UK summer!)

1 photo and 2 quotes

First: A photo. Take a good look! I was quite mesmerised by the shading!

Second: 2 quotes from friends who are loving leaves, in green smoothies.

I’ve started doing green drinks in the morning….. I love it! I feel like I have so much more energy in the day and it doesn make me make much better food choices 🙂 I love it!  Today I put in 1 beet, celery, carrot, apple, 1/2 banana, frozen spinach and frozen strawberries, and it was delicious! Seriously!  We have one of those great Thermomix blenders so I just put in a cup of water, whizzed it up and drank it.”      Sarah (Read her recipe blog here)

“I’m new at this and I am loving them! I drink a litre every day and I feel so full of energy- they really fill me up too!”  Patricia 

Have you loved leaves today?  🙂  

Have you drunk your greens today??

This post is dedicated to my beautiful Andaluzan friend Noemi, (which is Spanish for Naomi) who now lives in the good old US of A. When I first met Noemi in Spain, we ate a LOT of ice cream together! But she also taught me a lot about good, wholesome simple Spanish food. Her favourite supper was a bit of white fish with either a simple salad, or some steamed vegetables with olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Curiously, almost a decade later and thousands of miles apart, and somewhat out of touch, we both found our health paths converging (erm- hello? is that a word? I am so rusty!) She suddenly posted something on Facebook about “Green Smoothies”, and I thought “Wait- I drink those! Somebody else that I actually know drinks those! Ohmygosh!”

The short version of my story was that I was getting desperate with a looooooong term health issue that regular medication could not seem to shift. Not life-endangering but OH, SO not nice! My Mum passed me a book that she had read (I don’t know if she passed it to me out of enthusiasm, or if she didn’t find it “for her”…never mind..the main thing is, this book came into my hands, called “Green For Life“. I read it in a day or two, and kind of said to myself “erm- well, lets give this a crack shall we?  Fresh fruit smoothies supercharged with leafy greens? It can’t do any harm!”

Day 1- I literally bought myself a bag of curly kale and some ripe bananas, and threw it in a blender with some water. NOTE: I would not recommend starting with curly kale- it has a kind of strongish flavour, and it may put you off green elixirs for life.My discomfort and nigh-on desperation was driving me and I chugged back two massive glasses a day- morning and evening- about a litre a day. It was GREEN, amigos!!

Within a few days my issue had subsided, and I was so excited- and continued with one large smoothie a day. I then discovered that babyleaf spinach and Lambs Lettuce (corn salad) are very mild tasting, but also very nutritious so I switched up my leaves from time to time. I also discovered ways to make it considerably more delicious than just banana 🙂  Since then, I have made it an (almost) daily habit and I have my family on board (most of the time!)  Oh- did I mention that I have never had a problem with my previous health issue? I do not have perfect health- I have issues, leftovers from decisions of yesteryear, but nowadays they rarely rear their ugly heads- kept at bay by the power of greenness!  🙂

So- even though I have posted about these before- here are a few reminders for those who want to get those raw greens doing their wonder-stuff!

  • All you need is a regular old tabletop blender (ie “liquidiser”)
  • Liquid+Fruit+Greens+extras
  • Liquid: I use water. You could also use coconut water or almond milk. For quite a while I used a bit of shop-bought smoothie/fruit-only juice, and this helps kids drink them
  • Fruit: Ripe bananas, frozen berries (strawberries add sweetness, the rest add a little acidity), mango,pineapple,sweet pears- experiment!
  • Greens: the mildest tasting ones are babyleaf spinach and lambs lettuce (corn salad) and can be piled in with gay abandon, frankly. Curly kale, swiss chard, beet greens, romaine lettuce?
  • Extras (optional): sweetness (dates, honey etc), “supplements” like bee pollen, spirulina, ground linseed etc
  • If you are beginning, begin with mild greens and add little by little.

  • Since you are blending up all this goodness, make it a large one, yea, even super-size. Like “SuperSize”, only…NOT….

  • MUST be delicious- there is no point in drinking something you don’t enjoy or you will never continue.

  • Try drinking one first thing in the morning, and then wait 30 minutes to see if you still want breakfast? You may not need it…

  • Whatever you believe about breakfast being “the most important meal of the day”-what is true is that a clean green breakfast drink sets the tone for better food choices mid-morning and later on.
  • These are an utterly fabulous weight loss shake, especially if you add some healthy proteins. (I am not qualified to advise on weight loss- did everyone get that? But just so you know, these are fruits and greens, people, and I don’t think you can go too wrong on that….)
So- back to Noemi.
She started a “Green Smoothies” group on Facebook (it’s an English/Spanish group) and added all her friends and I think, at first everyone was a bit “Eh??” (like my husband was when he first saw me doing it- “You are WEIRD!” – said kindly, by the way 🙂  …As an aside, he went from “What on EARTH?” to….”Let me try…not bad!” to……”If there’s any spare I’ll have it”  to…….”Please could you make a massive goblet and let’s all drink some every day” to……”No green smoothie today?? Quick, we need to go shopping!!”)
On the Facebook group there was even a comment early on of “Erm- excuse me, but in Spain, we know how to eat, I know Americans eat terribly, but we don’t need all that….
But now, she has dozens of people blending up green leaves, yea, even loving leaves (fancy that!)  and there are plenty of positive reports on personal benefits, and how it is spilling over into improving other eating habits….in short- a Revolution is happening, friends.
Have you started drinking your greens yet??

Sunshine smoothie

A large and delicious taste of summer for under £1. I am a great fan of frozen fruit in my freezer-storecupboard, for affordability, and some even suggest they have more vitamins than fresh fruit that has been sitting around for a while. At my local supermarket (Tesco) they sell 500grams of frozen strawberries for £1.99 or 3 boxes for £5. This smoothie is a large one person portion (happy husband) and uses 100grams of frozen strawberries- 33pence.

Not trying to suggest that we are all pinching pennies, but just to point out there are many ways to eat more fruit and vegetables without spending the earth

This is GORGEOUS.

  • 125 mls water
  • the juice of 1 lemon (15- 30pence, depending)
  • 100grams of frozen strawberries (in this case, 33pence)
  • 1 flavoursome apple (20-40pence, depending….)
  • 1 flavoursome clementine (10-20pence, depending)

My photo uploader has been malfunctioning for ages, hence no photo again.  For a more filling smoothie add a small banana and a touch more water. I would not omit the lemon here- it totally lifts it. Bon appetit friends!

 

My 99p shake

I am always divided when people dispute whether it is cheaper to eat wholesome healthy food, or junk food. On the one hand berries will always be more expensive than biscuits, and buying the raw ingredients of a dish are often dearer than buying the same dish in a “ready meal” form. On the other,beans are cheaper than bacon, and they go a long way.

 In my heart, on balance, I know it is usually cheaper (in money) to buy unhealthy food, but long term, more expensive (in many other ways) And believe me, I am watching my shopping budget like the best of us.

As I was making our breakfast smoothie I costed it up out of curiosity. It turned out to be less than £1 for an adult portion (400mls) These prices are based on what I bought in my local store (Tesco)  this week. My not-even-99p shake was:

  • 1/2 a pineapple 50p
  • 1/2 a honeydew melon  50p
  • 2 big handfuls of babyleaf spinach (abt 75grams) 40p
  • 2 BIG handfuls of frozen raspberries (100g) 45p
  • 125 mls water

This made 1.2 Litres of smoothie, which is what we make most days in our house, and is adequate for 2 adult portions of  400mls and 3 x small childs portions of about 125mls.

So there you have it. A 99p breakfast shake! If you are lucky and/or clever with your shopping (especially in summer) you can prepare some delicious smoothies for very little money every day, especially if you happen upon marked down fruit which can be frozen, or just special offers, the lifeblood of UK supermarkets.

I am not saying cheap is everything but let’s face it, when you need to make the numbers add up but you want a healthy drink, it sure helps.

Happy Wednesday friends. Love yourselves in body and spirit  🙂

PS My maths is poor, And happily so, because an adult portion of this costs even less than I thought……about 60p. Even better!

Gazpacho: Worthless fragments??

Apparently that’s where they think the Moorish word for gazpacho comes from. The worthless fragments probably referring to the week-old bread they used to pound up in the pestle and mortar with the summer vegetables. Using a blender is easier, and throwing in a chunk of wholegrain (or even sprouted grain) bread is of course optional. What is not optional is the salad! As I am sure you will know, gazpacho is just an ice-cold blended Mediterranean summer salad, and oh my heavenly!! This is so delicious. Definitely not worthless. My photo just makes it look like some wierd sort of carrot juice….but you have to give this a try!

The essential bits (in my opinion) are TOMATOES, RED PEPPER, CUCUMBER, EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, SALT, and VINEGAR (I use apple cider, normally). The optional extras (in my opinion) are garlic,  little onion, and some wholegrain bread to thicken.

You cannot really call this a recipe, because let’s face it, it’s a vegetable smoothie…but here is how I did it. Makes about a litre.

  • 2 large, flavoursome tomatoes.
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • Half a cucumber, unpeeled.
  • 250mls of ice cold water
  • 1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup of quality vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.

    This is not wierd carrot juice. It is a heavenly mediterranean elixir of goodness!

If you add onion, add only a very little, it’s quite overpowering. If you add garlic, be aware of the social consequences 🙂  Your cells will love it though. When eaten raw, it’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral-anti-fungal, anti-everything-nasty properties is kicking.

Roughly chop your vegetables, and blend all ingredients until very smooth. Taste test- and be a little more heavy handed with the condiments if you like.

YUM! This is packed with beta-carotene, the plant form of Vitamin A, which also happens to be a powerful anti-oxidant in our body, to protect your cells from free radical/oxidative damage.

It has all the enzymes of the raw plants, fibre, water, and plenty of other phytochemicals for your body. The fresher the plants, the more nutritious they are, as many vitamins begin to deplete after picking. I cannot wait to make this fresh from my father in laws garden.

4 days to go!

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