Three Smoothie Recipes to Brighten Your Morning

Hello Meatless Mavens!

I have a confession, back in the olden days I used to be a Breakfast Barbarian. I knew breakfast was the most important meal of my day, so I thought the bigger the better and the more carbs the merrier. Oh yes, my mornings were incomplete without a couple of eggs, bacon, maybe a pancake (or two), and white toast spread with butter and topped with blackberry jam. In fact, the blackberry jam was probably the closest I got to ‘fruit’ back in those days. But once I became a vegetarian I started actually thinking about the food I was putting into my body. I realized most the food I ate consisted of carbs and more carbs with an occasional vegetable or fruit. Ugh!

So about 5 years ago I replaced my carb-laden breakfasts with fruit smoothies. I will tell you my mornings are much brighter and I feel so much better than when I was eating the SAD breakfast. The greatest concern I had when I switched to smoothies for breakfast was that I’d be starving mid-morning. I was surprised to find that I could make it to 1 pm without feeling hungry. I think consuming such nutrient dense food was the key.

Now there are a lot of pre-made smoothies on the market looking pretty in their plastic packaging. Plus they’re such an easy and convenient way to get your recommended daily fruit intake. Why bother making your own? First and foremost when you make your own you know exactly what’s in it. Second, many of the pre-made smoothies contain added sugar, preservatives and artificial colors, and they can be expensive. Finally, when you make your own you can mix and match a variety of ingredients to suit your individual taste

The recipes below can be made with a blender. Which is a good thing ‘cuz you will retain more of the fruit fiber. I always toss in a handful of spinach for extra vitamins/minerals. The surprising thing about spinach is that it doesn’t really change the flavor. And about two weeks ago, I started adding cilantro…I know that may sound bizarre, but I’m telling you it is Super Yum

So here are three recipes I like. Try one won’t you? Tell us what you think. Or share your favorite smoothie recipe in the comments below.

RED BERRY- DELICIOUS

¼ cup strawberries (hulled and chopped)

¼ cup raspberries

¼ cup blackberries

5 oz apple juice

Place all the fruits and juice into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass over ice. Easy peasy! Note: if you are using frozen fruit you probably don’t need to pour the mixture over ice.

KIWI KICKER

2 kiwi fruit, peeled and quartered

juice of ½ lime

½ cup strawberries

4 ½ oz strawberry-flavored yogurt or soy yogurt

3 ½ oz non-dairy milk

Place the kiwi, lime juice, strawberries, yogurt and milk in blender and blend until smooth. Serve in a glass over ice.

GRAPE-PINEAPPLE MEAN GREENIE

3 cups spinach (Try it! The spinach doesn’t really alter the flavor.)

1 cup grapes

1 cup pineapple

½ cut water

Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.

ALL HAIL KALE!

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Kale – beautiful and nutritious.

Let’s talk about kale shall we? A proud member of the cabbage family, kale is a righteous superfood just waiting to get inside your God pod and fill it full of wondrous vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Kale packs a wicked nutritious punch. One cup raw kale has only 33 calories, no fat or cholesterol and provides 6% of your RDA for iron, 9% of calcium, 134% or Vitamin C, 206% of Vitamin A and an incredible 684% of Vitamin K! According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming a diet rich in vitamin K can reduce the overall risk of developing or dying from cancer. Vitamin K is necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions, including normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health.

Kale is also a good source of dietary fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin B6, potassium, copper and manganese. The fiber content of the lovely cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

So, with all these fabulous vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you’d be crazy not to incorporate more kale into your diet! Here’s how to pick it, store it, prep it, and eat it:

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When selecting go for firm, dark and richly colored leaves.

SELECTION

Kale is a cool weather vegetable. It can be found throughout the year in most markets, but its season runs from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring. When shopping for kale look for firm, dark and richly colored leaves (bluish-green or darker) with no yellowing or holes in the leaves. The steams should be hardy and moist. Smaller leaves tend to be more tender and have a milder flavor. In order to avoid harmful pesticides used during the growing of kale, choose organic!

STORAGE

Never wash kale before storing, this causes the leaves to go limp. It will last for several days in the refrigerator, but try to use it within 1 or 2 days after purchase. The longer it sits, the more bitter the leaves. Remove any excess moisture and store in an air-tight plastic bag.

Kale freezes well and actually will taste sweeter and more flavorful afterward. To freeze for a long period, blanch the leaves in boiling water for about 2 minutes, or until the leaves turn a bright green. Place in a colander and run under cold water. Remove any excess water by patting dry with a towel or set leaves out to dry in the open air. Place in freezer bags or other container. When needed, remove as many leaves as needed and thaw to room temperature.

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Wash kale only when ready to eat or cook, never before.

PREPARATION

To prepare your kale for eating wash the leaves in a sink full of water to remove any dirt. If the stems are very small and tender they can be cooked with the leaves. Stems that are thick, but still tender, can be cut off and cooked for a minute or two before leaves are added. Any thick, tough stalks should be discarded.

QUICK KALE TIPS

Quick cooking preserves kale’s nutrients, texture, color, and flavor. Chopped kale can be added to salads, soups, smoothies, stews, stir-frys, salads, casseroles or even as a topping for pizza. Substitute kale for spinach or collard greens in recipes.

  • Create a simple and delicious salad with a bunch of thinly sliced kale, red pepper, onion, raisins, and your favorite salad dressing.
  • Braise some chopped kale, add sliced apples, garnish with chopped walnuts, and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  • Toss whole-grain pasta with chopped kale, pine nuts, feta cheese, and a little olive oil.
  • Cover and cook a pound of chopped kale with a few garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes; season with salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar.

FIVE SIMPLE KALE RECIPES

Crispy Kale Chips

North African Chickpea And Kale Soup

Summer Tomato Crostata with Kale Pesto

Sweet and Savory Kale

Kale, Carrot and Avocado Salad

Note: Kale contains oxalates, a naturally occurring substance that can interfere with the absorption of calcium. So, avoid eating calcium-rich foods like dairy at the same time as kale to prevent any problems.

*Statements on this web site are not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.

July Gathering and…..Exciting News!

First, the “Exciting News!”

I had such grandiose plans when I started this blog a year or so ago.  As my blogging friends out there know, researching and writing posts could easily be a full time job. So, this blog sort of fell by the wayside and became somewhat neglected. That is about to change! The news? Well, we now have a fantastic writer who will be contributing new posts on a regular basis. She is a creative writer, an inspired photographer and shares my passion for great, wholesome and nutritious foods. We are blessed that she has offered her talents and her time. With her contributions, this blog may begin to live up to the vision I had when it was first conceived. Great things are in store for this blog. So Welcome MMH! Welcome.

Now, on to the food….Our monthly gatherings continue to grow. We welcomed new faces this month as well as some who returned after a short hiatus. The food…well, that goes without saying. None of the additives, preservatives, colorings, etc., but ALL of the flavor. Without meat of course. There are some creative cooks out there and the caliber of food that shows up month after month continues to inspire. My favorite this month…a tough call, but I loved the Tu-no Salad. Enjoy the pictures, try the recipes and we hope to see you next month!

The Raw Curried Cabbage Salad recipe can be found here. The Tu-no Salad recipe can be found here, and the recipe for the Bliss Balls can be found by searching this blog–they were included in an earlier post.

May Gathering & Recipes

The most popular posts are by far the ones where I post recipes.  Why is that?  Well, I think because of the role that food plays in our lives. Yes it nourishes us, but more than that, most people enjoy coming together over a good meal–breaking bread, if you will, while sharing stories and uniting over the things we have in common.  And that is why we gather each month. To come together with old friends, welcome new friends and to enjoy great food that does nourish our bodies, but also our hearts and spirits. If you happen to live in the Hilton Head/Beaufort/Savannah area, or will be visiting, we invite you to join us.

In May we gathered at The Preserve around the pool.We were honored to have Cheryl McCarthy of Ageless Acupuncture as our guest speaker. Not only is she a dear friend, she is a bright light with a remarkable story and a wealth of knowledge.

Cheryl McCarthy of Ageless Acupuncture speaking to the group about the benefits of acupuncture.

Cheryl treats emotional, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological and other conditions. If you are in the South Carolina/Georgia lowcountry and would like more information, send me a message and I will pass it on to Cheryl.

The food again this month was outstanding. I’m running out of adjectives to describe the great food. One stand out for me was the Three Sisters Farm Arugula & Sorrel Pesto. I loved the peppery bite from the arugula and it was just so fresh tasting. I think that may have been my first introduction to sorrel as well. But there were many other fantastic dishes.  Eating without meat is never boring!…at least not with this group!

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In addition to the recipes posted, there were Almond and Pecan cookies; Squash with chickpeas and marinated with basil, mint, dill, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil…; Roma tomatoes with mozzarella cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and fresh basil…; and an amazing Chocolate-Almond Biscotti based off of the Chocolate-Hazelnut Biscotti found from Veganomicon. You can find that recipe here.

Enjoy and we hope to see you soon!

Recipes and Photos from March Gathering

Some of these pictures are not for the faint of heart.  I will be upfront with that. Chef C from delisheeeYo was at our March gathering teaching us how to make kombucha.  She brought a big jar of kombucha with the scoby mushroom intact and took us step by step through the process.  If you are a kombucha fan (I am), then you may be familiar with strands of the “mother” or scoby floating in your bottle. Nonetheless, the sight of a mature scoby pulled from a freshly brewed batch of kombucha can be a little disconcerting as these pictures show.

Unwrapping the kombucha

Initial reaction to the scoby.

Chef C makes delicious kombucha–not to strong, fresh and the flavor of this batch made with Yerba Mate was particularly enjoyable. Again, in the interest of full disclosure, making kombucha is easy, but there are a  number of steps involved.  Comprehensive directions for brewing kombucha can be found here. If you decide it is too many steps for you, it can be found in any health food store and some mainstream grocery stores.  If you are in the Lowcountry, Chef C sells it by the shot glass and in larger containers to take home.

Now, the food:  Yummy, Tasty, Delicious, Healthy…I have recipes or links to recipes for many of the dishes. If there is something you would like a recipe for and it is not posted or you need more information on a recipe, leave a message in the comments section and I will do my best to find it.

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I was too busy eating to take pictures of the wonderful Collard Green Chips that Barb made in the food dehydrator. There were also sweet and spicy Thai Peanut Butter Cups that were a big hit.  The recipe for Aloo Gobi can be found here. Also,  Kickin’ Chickpeas, The Best Lentil Salad Ever (really) and Louisa’s Cake.  

Hope to see you in April for Forks Over Knives.

Recipes From Our Last Gathering…And A Very Mysterious Fruit…

Yes, I am very late posting these recipes. Here it is, mid-February and almost time for our next get together and I am just posting the recipes from January. For that, I do apologize. In fact, this blog has been silent for nearly a month…and I never like to go that long without talking!!

Our last get together was awesome. I know I must say this every month, but truly, the food keeps getting better and better!  And we had a taste test:  green juice and an interesting fruit brought back from the Florida Everglades. Enjoy the slideshow of just some of the tasty treats we enjoyed followed by selected recipes.

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We also enjoyed Lazy Mary’s Lemon Tart and a delicious Curried Lentils in Tomato Sauce. The recipe for the Three Kings Cake can be found here.

Oh, and that mystery fruit?….It is called a Canistel.

 The Canistel also known as “Eggfruit” is native to Southern Mexico and Belize. Grows well in Southern Florida. The only way to get this fruit is if we ship it to you there are not many trees around. The fruit is in the Sapote family and is sometimes referred to as ‘Yellow Sapote’. The edible portion of the fruit is found inside and resembles the texture of a boiled egg and that’s where it got its nickname ‘Eggfruit”. Known for its qualties for making custards, icecreams and sorbets.

This month, we are learning how to make Kombucha. If you are in the Savannah/Bluffton/Hilton Head/Beaufort area and would like to attend, details will be posted tomorrow.

Eating Without Meat gathering from 10/22/11

Last week brought another Eating Without Meat gathering.  I have been wowed by how good the food is month after month.  It truly just keeps getting better.  I think we all agreed that the indisputable hit of this feast was the African Sweet Potato and Peanut stew served over short grain brown rice.  Hearty…creamy…a touch a sweetness…I’ve already made it for my family! We had 4 new friends attend this gathering and by the end of the afternoon, I think we all truly felt nourished—in many ways.  Here is a sampling of the delicious food that was served. Links to the recipes or the actual recipe follows:

Rice Salad with Dried Fruit & Nuts

½ cup brown basmati rice, rinsed

1 cup Lundberg Wild Blend rice

(or use ½ cup each of brown basmati, wild rice, and short-grain brown rice  for a total of 1 ½ cups)

Combine rice in a pan with 3 cups water and ¼ tsp salt.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes.  Meanwhile put in a large mixing bowl:

1 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup currants

½ cup dried apricots (cut in pieces—I use kitchen scissors for this)

When the rice is done add it to the dried fruit.  (The heat of the rice softens the fruit.)  While rice is still warm, pour over this dressing and mix:

¼ cup lemon juice

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

May be refrigerated when cool, depending on when you want to serve it.

Before serving mix in:

¾ cup whole pecans, toasted

½ cup chopped parsley

¼ cup chopped mint

¼ cup chopped basil

Serve at room temperature.

Other Recipes:

African Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

Black Bean Salad with Mango & Kiwi (no recipe provided)

Vegetarian Chili Verde

Dan’s Special Salsa (no recipe provided)

Beer Bread

This is the Beer Bread I brought to the last meeting.  I have made it many times and it has always turned out wonderfully.  This recipe is from the blog http://www.honestfare.com.

Beer Bread

3 Cups all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 Teaspoons salt ( I have had some people make this and say theirs was too salty.  Mine never has been.  I use sea salt, that might make a difference

4 Tablespoons sugar (I use organic)

1 12 ounce bottle/can of beer (I have used Bud Light every time I have made it)

3 Tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Sift well with a fork. Pour in beer, stir until a stiff batter is formed, but do not over mix. Scrape dough into prepared pan. Melt butter and brush across the top of the dough. (Omit the butter to make vegan).

Bake 40 minutes or so until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.