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Posts tagged with Smoothies

Cooking away the CSA, week 22: Frosty melon chiller

Cantaloupe plus spinach plus mint equals one really cool drink.

Cantaloupe plus spinach plus mint equals one really cool drink. by Sarah Henning

Last week, we got a huge, sweet-smelling cantaloupe as part of a major CSA haul: slicing tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, hot peppers, bok choy, edamame and said cantaloupe.

In my eyes, it was the perfect variety, especially on a week that would be nuclear-hot by the end.

And, though it was a lot, I can honestly say we used everything. Making fajitas, stir-fry and keeping cool with a really delicious smoothie.

I’ve made a version of this smoothie before, but it was super hot and I felt like I needed an extra nutrient boost because I’d gone on a long run and really needed to be rehydrated with some good stuff. So, I decided to add mellow spinach to my icy-cool cantaloupe smoothie. It worked really well, and added to the green rush brought on by the mint.

Unfortunately, my mint plants have turned brown with the weather (I have faith they’ll bounce back), so I had to use mint extract instead of real leaves. I prefer real leaves, but I needed to drink something right then and I didn’t want to trudge to the store just for a few leaves.

Cool Green Cantaloupe Chiller

½ cantaloupe, chopped or spooned out of rind

2 handfuls baby spinach

Few mint leaves or drop of mint extract

2-3 ice cubes

Water, as needed

Put all ingredients in blender. Add just enough water to get above the blades. Blend. Serves 1-2.

So, what’d we get this week from Rolling Prairie? Two kinds of tomatoes, garlic, green beans, potatoes, basil, cucumber, bell peppers and cantaloupe.

Two kinds of tomatoes, garlic, green beans, potatoes, basil, cucumbers, bell peppers and cantaloupe.

Two kinds of tomatoes, garlic, green beans, potatoes, basil, cucumbers, bell peppers and cantaloupe. by Sarah Henning

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Cooking away the CSA, week 3: How to build a green smoothie

Greens, banana, water, vanilla protein powder, tumeric, vanilla.

Greens, banana, water, vanilla protein powder, tumeric, vanilla. by Sarah Henning

I've written a lot of smoothies over the years to this space. A LOT. And the majority of them have had some green element to them. They might not have actually been green, like the smoothie I wrote about last week, but they are green on the inside, even if another ingredient like blueberries or cocoa powder is covering up the evidence.

If this sounds disgusting to you, I'm sorry. If it doesn't, there's a chance you've already joined the green smoothie movement, which has been going on for years (I think I've been making them for at least five years). And if you haven't ever made one? I have news for you: now is the perfect time to start.

Here's the deal: Even if you don't have access to your CSA yet, or haven't joined one, you have an abundance of local greens available to you right now. The farmers markets and many of Lawrence's grocery stores are overflowing with local greens. From spinach, to kale to arugula to chard — you have a ton of greens to choose from. They're inexpensive, they're local and they're plentiful because they're in season.

So, if you haven't joined the green smoothie train, or did awhile back and eased off, I urge you to give it a go. It's a fabulous way to get your greens without being a total salad freak (like me) and if you are part of a CSA, it'll help you get through the giant bag of spinach you may acquire.

Now, you don't need a specific recipe to create a tasty green smoothie. Mine are probably different every morning, which is a good thing. To get as many nutrients as possible, it's great to alter your smoothies slightly, based on what you have on hand. This week, I had pea greens and spinach, and I used both in smoothies. I'm guessing there aren't that many smoothie recipes with pea greens out there, and that's exactly where you adapt.

The basic recipe I use is very simple. Take what you will from it, add in the extras if you like, and give it a try. Believe me, if I can get my kid to drink these (and he started at about 15 months), you can get anyone to drink them.

Basic Green Smoothie

2 large handfuls greens — spinach (great for beginners), tatsoi, de-stemmed kale, etc.

2 bananas or 1 mango

1 cup berries — strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. (optional)

1-2 scoops protein powder (I use vanilla or chocolate by Sun Warrior)

1.5 to 2 cups water

Additions: 1-3 tablespoons of hemp, chia or flaxseed; local bee pollen; maca; 1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder; pinch tumeric; pinch apple pie or pumpkin pie spice; splash of vanilla or almond extracts; one frozen packet acai juice

All you do is blend it up. That amount usually makes two servings (one large one for me, one smaller one for the kiddo), and is a great start to the day.

Now, what'd we get this week in our CSA? Whole-wheat flour, pea greens, spinach, salad greens, chives and green onions.

Whole-wheat flour, pea greens, spinach, salad greens, chives and green onions.

Whole-wheat flour, pea greens, spinach, salad greens, chives and green onions. by Sarah Henning

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A smoothie to welcome spring

Strawberries. Chocolate. Healthy extras. Enjoy.

Strawberries. Chocolate. Healthy extras. Enjoy. by Sarah Henning

Well, spring is almost here. Maybe. After such a wonderful weekend, I feel like there’s a light at the end of this cold snap. Again, maybe.

I’m still not going to be convinced until possibly May, but this sort of looks promising. So promising, in fact, that I went a little hog wild and bought fresh strawberries.

Crazy, I know.

But I don’t regret a thing. Because the ones I could steal away from our resident strawberry monster/child, I made into a post-workout smoothie that was mine, all mine.

And it tasted like Neapolitan-ice-cream summery goodness.

Sure, I could’ve used frozen strawberries, but there was something really nice about using fresh strawberries (that were much more tasty than those expensive/anemic winter ones), especially on a day that would hover near 70 degrees.

We’re getting there, folks. So, just get out your blender, whip up this smoothie and then sit tight and wait for Mother Nature to bring the warmer temps for good.

Strawberry-Chocolate Power Smoothie

1 cup strawberries

1 banana

2 large handfuls baby spinach

2 servings protein powder (I use Sun Warrior chocolate)

2 tablespoons hemp seeds (or chia or ground flax seeds)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Splash vanilla

Pinch turmeric (optional but good for post-workout inflammation)

1-1/2 to 2 cups water

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Makes one large serving or two smaller servings.

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Bye-Bye Bounty, week 16: A chill drink for “chill” weather

Cool, juicy and perfect for the weather.

Cool, juicy and perfect for the weather. by Sarah Henning

Hi there, CSAers, hope you guys are doing well in this “cooler” weather. I know I’ve been enjoying these temps.

My garden, too, is pretty happy — it’s sort of perked up the past few days and looks a bit less parched, though, I still have no idea how local farmers have still been producing as well as they have. This summer has not been kind … as evidenced from the first two sentences of this blog referencing “cooler temps” and meaning in the 90s.

But I digress.

So, last week we got the following: A melon, chard, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and grapes.

Last week's haul.

Last week's haul. by Sarah Henning

It really was a great haul because each and every item could go into a variety of recipes. And though I know variety is the spice of life and all that jazz, I have a very hard time trying something new.

I am a “rut” person to a fault.

I’ve mentioned this before — how I have my favorites and make the same recipes over and over again not because I like being boring, but because I know exactly how I like things.

So, this week, I challenged myself to try something new. And you know what?

I have a new favorite.

One that is perfect to enjoy in this nice “cooler” weather. (HA.)

But first: Last week we ate the grapes out of hand, juiced the chard and cucumbers, made fajitas again with the peppers (remember what I said about being a rut person) and then had the grape tomatoes in yet another helping of tomato salad (again, shocking, I know).

Fajita veggies with black beans, chopped mango and peach salsa on a sprouted tortilla.

Fajita veggies with black beans, chopped mango and peach salsa on a sprouted tortilla. by Sarah Henning

Tomato salad ... yet again.

Tomato salad ... yet again. by Sarah Henning

Therefore, it was up to me to play with the melon. Try something new. I toyed around with what to do (I mean, I just like melon as is …), but after going out into the garden for inspiration, I figured out exactly what to do.

I’d combine the melon with leaves from my mint (spearmint) plant, which has bounced back from the brink in the cooler weather. I figured it would not only be a yummy combination, but that it would also show my dry little mint plant enough love that maybe it wouldn’t threaten to leave me again (I’ve killed my mint plants — spearmint, peppermint and chocolate mint — every single year I’ve had all three, despite the fact that garden books claim they are unkillable).

So, here’s what I came up with — a drink that’s been absolutely perfect to sip on the deck during our “cool” weather. And, if it’s not so cool? Don’t worry, it’ll chill you out so much, you might make it a nightly ritual (i.e. rut).

Mmmm, watermelon and mint.

Mmmm, watermelon and mint. by Sarah Henning

Minty Watermelon Cooler

4 cups roughly chopped watermelon (about half a small to medium watermelon)

3 sprigs mint (about ¾ tablespoon leaves when removed from the stem)

Tiny pinch sea salt

Put all ingredients in a blender.

Everybody in...

Everybody in... by Sarah Henning

The watermelon is wet enough that you should not have to add any water. Blend all ingredients until smooth.

So pretty and pink...

So pretty and pink... by Sarah Henning

When that’s done, pour the liquid through a metal strainer to remove any seed fragments or bits of mint that didn’t blend.

Through the strainer...

Through the strainer... by Sarah Henning

Pour the strained liquid into wine glasses or other small glasses. Serves 2.

What’d we get this week? More melon, peppers, tomatoes, summer squash, grapes, pears and a cucumber.

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Recipe: Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie

Sometimes, I just have to ask myself, "WHY must you love foods that STAIN so?"

Blueberry season is one of those times. My kiddo likes the little berries about as much as I do, and between the two of us, we're constantly spotted black-and-blue all summer long.

Same goes, in truth, for pomegranate season. Though, I have learned the best way for seeding a pomegranate to avoid a kitchen that looks like a murder scene (seeding it underwater is the trick — the seeds won't detonate on your backsplash and the pith floats to the top while the seeds sink), I still seem to stain my clothes, counter or kid with pomegranate juice.

That said, it's TOTALLY worth it. Both these fruits are super high in antioxidants because of their dark color, and are foods you should devour whenever you get the chance. Their antioxidants fight damage-causing free radicals and may even protect you from the possibility of cancer. Reason enough to sacrifice a few stained pieces of clothing, right?

Right. And thanks to the miracle of frozen fruit, I've been enjoying these two powerhouses together this winter. Fresh pomegranate seeds (or arils) mixed with frozen blueberries and other goodies have been the basis of more than a few smoothies recently. I seeded about seven pomegranates this weekend (I like to do several at once), and I've been alternating eating them out of hand as well as blended.

If you like pomegranate juice, but hate the price (it IS very expensive, no?), I totally recommend trying your hand at a pomegranate-tinged smoothie. Because they're in season right now, whole pomegranates cost about $1.50 a pop, and you'll get maybe a cup's worth of seeds with each one. That's a lot of cancer-fighting power, right there.

So, here's a truly tasty, healthy, power-packed recipe for your new year. The pic above shows about two-thirds of the recipe — my son drinks the rest in his own cup (and then begs for more). Bonus: He's less likely to make a mess with a smoothie than eating fresh berries and arils out of hand.

Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie

1 cup blueberries (frozen or thawed)

1 handful (or more!) pomegranate seeds

1 banana

1 scoop protein powder (optional)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon hemp seed (optional, but good for Omega-3s)

2 teaspoons chia seed (optional, to sprinkle on top, good for Omega-3s)

1.5 to 2 cups water

Blend everything but chia seeds in a blender until smooth. To serve, sprinkle chia seed on top. Serves 1-2.

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A liquid lunch (or breakfast) your kid will love (yes, even the picky ones)

That smoothie didn't have a chance. And, yes, he drank most of my portion, too.

That smoothie didn't have a chance. And, yes, he drank most of my portion, too. by Sarah Henning

So, last week was our first week of the year without a CSA. Which stinks, but which is also inevitable when living in our neck of the woods (stupid hard winters). That said, one of the questions I consistently get when blogging weekly about what my family eats is this:

"Does your kid REALLY eat that?"

Well, yes and no.

Truth be told, my little guy (who is nearly 3) is just as picky as any other toddler out there. There are days when he would give any college student a run for his or her mono-mealing money. Yes, he'll request cheese morning noon and night. He ate dried cranberries at every single meal last Sunday. Whenever we eat out he'll eat nothing but French fries, no matter where we are.

But, at the same time, he does tend to make pretty good choices (French fries aside). And one of his favorite choices is also a really sneaky way to keep his fruit and veggie intake high, no matter how much cheese he ate in the last 24 hour period: smoothies.

If you've checked out the other smoothies (and juices) on this blog, you may have noticed there's not much to them. They're usually just fruit and water, maybe some spinach thrown in for color or protein powder for an extra kick. I don't like to add a bunch of bells and whistles because then I become accustomed to them and so does my little guy, who will drink nearly anything we give him as long as he gets to "pick his straw" (we use the "decorative dots" from Glass Dharma).

So, generally, anytime I make a smoothie, he'll drink it. And yes, there is photographic evidence of him drinking:

The kiddo tears into his smoothie. He doesn't seem to care what flavor it is, as long as he gets to pick out his straw (we use reusable glass straws from Glass Dharma).

The kiddo tears into his smoothie. He doesn't seem to care what flavor it is, as long as he gets to pick out his straw (we use reusable glass straws from Glass Dharma). by Sarah Henning

So, Saturday, before a trip to the Lawrence Farmers' Market, I made a double version of one of my favorites, the Cherry Chocolate Bomb Smoothie from my friend Kristen.

And he drank all of his, plus half of mine. Such a hoss (as you can see from the first photo). Try it on your kids and you might just have them thinking they're getting a treat when really they're getting super nutrition.

Cherry Chocolate Bomb Smoothie (Recipe by Kristen Suzanne)

1 cup filtered water

1 frozen banana, chopped

1 cup frozen cherries

1/4 cup hemp protein powder (I rarely use it)

2 tablespoons hemp seeds (Not necessary, but they have a bunch of good fats!)

2 tablespoons raw chocolate powder

Splash vanilla extract

Blend this goodness up, and enjoy it as it helps make your day one of the best days ever!

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