Chocolate Cherry Protein Smoothie

This is my new favorite smoothie.  As in I have it twice a week (at least).  Sometimes  I make a double batch and freeze one.  Then I grab it out of the freezer on the way to the gym and, after a workout and shower, it’s just thawed enough to stir and drink.  Which is pretty much having your cake smoothie and eating drinking it too.  Or something like that.

It’s going to be a bummer when our Costco stops carrying frozen organic cherries, as they make this smoothie possible.  Cherries make the smoothie seems indulgent and give a nice, rich flavor.

Chocolate Cherry Protein Smoothie

Chocolate Cherry Protein Smoothie

  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like Sun Warrior Vanilla Rice Protein)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • few ice cubes

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.  Add more non-dairy milk (or water) as needed to get the desired consistency.

Options:

  • freeze leftover coffee into ice cubes and use in place of water ice cubes to give a slight coffee flavor
  • freeze chocolate coconut water (I used the Zico brand) and use in place of water ice cubes
  • use chocolate almond milk for even more chocolate flavor
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Cilantro Melon Detox Smoothie

Cilantro Melon Detox Smoothie

Alternative Title: I did a 21 day cleanse and all I have to show for it on the blog is this one recipe.

Here is my deep question to start your Monday:

If you do something and don’t blog about it (or Facebook it or Instagram it or Tweet it), did it really
happen?

You’ll have to take my word for it, since I don’t have 21 days worth of food, smoothie, green juice, herbal teas and supplement pictures to display. I blogged all the meals last time I did the cleanse, but that time I only made it 13.5 days and I was pretty blah about the whole thing. This time it’s been 90% great and I’m probably going to keep
it up for another day or two.

clean-book

I followed the Clean Program guide (link here), using my own protein powder and supplements instead of buying the kit they sell. I used recipes from the book and the website and made up a few of my own following the food
guidelines. The basic protocol is a liquid breakfast/solid lunch/liquid dinner in order to ease the digestion process so the body can spend more energy cleaning/detoxing. Sugar, dairy, eggs, gluten, allergenic fruits and veggies and most processed foods are off limits.

The only two meals I have photographed in the last 2 weeks. Someone (a newly detoxed someone) has fallen off the food blogger bandwagon.

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Raw Wrap from Green Restaurant (Collard Green, Spinach, Carrots, Celery, Cranberries, Mushrooms and the world’s best raw pecan hummus) with quinoa tabouli and a small kale salad.

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Macrobiotic(ish) bowl – Brown Rice, Broccoli, Black Beans + Sprouted Adzuki Beans, Kraut and Nori

The cleanse has been a good thing for me. My energy has come back, my skin has cleared up and I’ve enjoyed feeling victorious over my sugar cravings. I’m aware of how much non-hungry snacking I do. I haven’t gotten on a scale yet, but I’m guessing I’m down a couple of pounds, which isn’t unwelcome at the beginning of swimsuit season.

Juicing isn’t really a pillar of the program, but I decided to add in a daily juice as my first ‘meal’ of the day. I followed it an hour or so later with a smoothie. I definitely spent more time in the kitchen in the mornings by making both juice and a smoothie, but I’d like to keep juicing most mornings post-cleanse.

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My Vita-Mix has become the most-used appliance in the kitchen and it probably cursing this cleanse. I made two smoothies some mornings and generally used it at night to make my soup or dinner smoothie. Thankfully it’s quite easy to clean.

This very simple Cilantro Melon smoothie was one of my favorite drinks during the cleanse and will be a summer staple. I have made fantastically refreshing popsicles with the leftover smoothie. I like this smoothie as a light ‘first breakfast’ or afternoon pick me up.

Cilantro, beyond being darn tasty, is quite the detox soldier. It is an antioxidant, metal chelator, natural antibiotic and blood sugar regulator. It may even improve sleep quality. I’m going to be honest and say that
my sleep quality is generally more impacted by whether or not one or both kids wake up in the middle of the night and no amount of cilantro is going to help with that. I’m also going to be honest and say that even if cilantro did none of those wonderfully healthy things, I’d still consume it because it’s just so delicious.

*http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-cilantro/

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Cilantro Melon
Detox Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cubed honeydew melon
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes and/or water (depending on blender strength)
  • big handful cilantro – I used about a cup

Directions: Blend all ingredients together. Add more water if needed to get desired consistency.

St. Patrick’s Day Green Smoothie Ideas

One day of Spring Break down, four to go.  Today the kids are begging to go to Chuck E Cheese (to be fair, the little guy ‘earned’ a trip for good behavior about 4 months ago and we have yet to fulfill our end of the bargain {to be fair, I’m kind of failing on the consistent discipline/reward system- there goes my mom of the year award}) and maybe hit up a park.  Anyone want to meet us at Chuck E Cheese??  We are only going to play games…. pizza is NOT part of the deal.

{insert witty transition to St. Patrick’s Day foods} {or not – day one of staycation spring break wore me out}

Here are some healthy and naturally green smoothie recipes for St. Patrick’s Day.  These are really year-round smoothies, as we can all use more greens in our daily diet.

Family Friendly Creamy Mojito Smoothie

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Creamy Key Lime Pie Smoothies

(these are my son’s very favorite smoothies and the only way I can get him to consume avocado)

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Shamrock SmoothiesIMG_6203

My favorite ‘starter’ green smoothie recipe for skeptics:

1 cup spinach, 1 frozen banana, 1 glob peanut butter, non-dairy milk and ice.
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Happy Spring Break to all the Texan readers!  Who else out there is spring break-ing?

Fall Flavors Protein Smoothie

Alternative Title #1: Pumpkin-less Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Alternative Title #2: Is it odd to drink squash?

Alternative Title #3: Butternut Squash Smoothie – give it a chance!

I’m slowly developing more than just a taste for Butternut Squash.  For the last few years I’ve slowly increased my fall/winter squash consumption and have moved past eating it because it is good for me, past tolerating it, past ‘it’s not so bad’ and am now in the ‘who knew I could actually crave butternut squash?’ territory.

Olives, don’t get any ideas.  I will never crave you or even tolerate you.

Last week I had some roasted butternut squash in the fridge.  On that same day I wanted a smoothie.  I knew I wanted it to have a nutritional punch, but I wasn’t feeling the green smoothie.  (sorry kale)  I remembered seeing a smoothie recipe with butternut squash and thought I’d try making my own.  The smoothie turned out quite tasty, tasty enough that I took a few sips and then reached for my camera.  It’s gotta be good if I deem it blog worthy.

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Fall Flavors Protein Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 -3/4 cup roasted butternut squash (canned pumpkin could work too)
  • 1 carrot (if your blender can handle it)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like Sun Warrior and Garden of Life rice protein)
  • 1/2- 1 cup water – depends on how thick you like your smoothies
  • a bit of ice if you like your smoothies extra cold (which I do)

Directions:

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.

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If prefer to consume your butternut squash with a utensil besides a straw, try these recipes from this blog:

Fall Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash and Onions

Butternut Squash and Coconut Bisque

Cantaloupe Citrus Smoothie

Fact – My Mom loves cantaloupe almost as much as she loves Words With Friends.

Fact – My daughter loves cantaloupe almost as much as she loves American Girl dolls.

Fact – My son hates cantaloupe almost as much as he hates sitting still.

Fact – I’m not passionate about cantaloupe.  A good, sweet one I’ll eat a few bites of, but it will never compete with watermelon in the ‘favorite melon’ category.  I mean, really, Baby did not say “I carried a cantaloupe.”  We all know she carried a watermelon.

Fact – I misspelled cantaloupe every time I typed it in this post.  Thank you spell check for always making me feel like an imbecile.  Which, I also misspelled on first try.

I have a hard time passing up cheap, ripe cantaloupes, so we when we had more than my daughter could eat, I turned it into this tasty smoothie.  It’s my new favorite way to consume the non-watermelon melon.

Cantaloupe Citrus Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped ripe cantaloupe
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • tiny dash cinnamon if you so desire – it made the smoothie for me
  • 2-3 ice cubes

Directions:

1.  Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth and frosty.

Family Friendly Creamy Mojito Smoothies

I’ve mentioned how my mint and parsley are the only survivors from last year’s attempt at a square foot garden.  Hence the large number of recipes containing either parsley or mint showing up lately on this blog (although I haven’t combined them in a recipe yet – maybe a parsley-mint soup?  mmmmm).

I’m a big mojito fan.  I had my first mojito about 12 years ago (before they became mainstream happy hour drinks) when a Brazilian co-worker at my first internship made some for a dinner party.  I remember thinking ‘where has this been all my life and when can I get to Brazil so I can have more of these?’  I have yet to make it to Brazil, but thankfully mojitos are pretty common on drink menus these days.

look – I found a picture from that party – man, I looked younger 12 years ago.  funny how that works…I’m the only American in the picture, the dark haired couple are from Brazil and the cute gal next to me is French.  Aww, memories.

This smoothie combines mint and lime and sweetener, but leaves out the rum.  A little more kid friendly, if you will.  I save my alcoholic mojitos for happy hour with my girlfriends.  Anyone free tonight?  Suddenly I’m craving a girl’s night out….

Totally Legal to Serve Your Kids Creamy Mojito Smoothies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium ripe avocado
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, plain So Delicious or Silk coconut milk (almond milk could work too)
  • 2 Tbsp honey (if you use sweetened coconut milk, leave out the honey)
  • 5-7 mint leaves or 1/4 tsp mint extract
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes (optional)

Directions

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and add more mint, sweetener or lime juice if needed.

Shamrock Smoothies

Last year we attempted a square foot garden. It wasn’t exactly the bountiful garden that provided bushels of fresh produce for our family as I had envisioned. More like a some tasty cherry tomatoes and a boatload of basil. Which means that only 2 of our 12 squares were successful. Not planning on going off the grid anytime soon, as a family of four cannot live on basil alone.
However, after a pretty mild winter, this is how the garden looks today.
20120312-090252.jpgIt’s received no care or attention since last summer and 3 plants are still going strong, stronger than they were when I was tending the garden. Read into that what you will.
Anyone want some parsley, mint or rosemary? I’ve got plenty. Especially parsley. I’ve been juicing the parsley in my green juices and last week, while picking some parsley, I grabbed a few mint leaves too.
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In a stroke of genius (and because I saw someone post a picture of a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake on Facebook and got a craving for something minty, creamy and sweet without lots of sugar, dairy, artificial coloring and all kinds of additives) added it to a smoothie.
Here’s a minty green smoothie that is refreshing and oh-so-healthy. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

Shamrock Smoothie (Vegan)
  • 1.5 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract or 4-5 mint leaves – add more if you like it extra minty
  • 2 Tbsp honey (or other sweetener) – can add more to taste
  • 3/4 c non dairy milk – I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 4-5 ice cubes (if your blender can handle it)

 

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.  Add more liquid if needed.

 

Natural Rainbow Smoothies – Daily Buzz Moms 9×9

This post was written as part of the DailyBuzz Moms February 9×9 Challenge: Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I am honored and excited to be one of nine bloggers chosen to share a rainbow-inspired blog post. The nine posts will be featured on Feb. 23 on DailyBuzz Moms.

In my corporate food science days (oh paycheck, how I miss thee) I worked with different companies that supplied colorants to the food industry.  If you, as the product developer, were willing to put the term ‘natural and artificial colors’ on your product label, you could get just about any color you wanted.  It often came after significant R&D work, as colors can be quite finicky to work with in certain food products.  I once worked on a cake mix that we had to reformulate because the dark brown color we used caused blue streaks to appear in the batter when water was added to the dry mix.  Apparently consumers don’t like to see blue streaks in their chocolate cake mix.  Who knew?

When formulating a product with the goal of labeling ‘natural colors,’ your color palate was a bit more limited.  See, nature doesn’t have any Blue Raspberries or Arctic Blueberries to provide that oh-so-natural-looking Smurf Blue color to yogurt or frosting or cereal.  Natural reds, oranges, yellows, greens and some purples are pretty easily obtained thanks to carrots, beets, algae, spices and berries. (And sometimes crushed beetle shells. Yep – read about it here) Still, when the label says ‘natural food color’ it simply means the color originated from a natural source.  To get the colors out of the natural source, there is quite a bit of chemistry and processing involved.  Meaning, you don’t simply drop some ground beets into a vat of yogurt to make it pink.  More like you drop some concentrated liquid that was made by processing beets with hexane or acetone and other solvents and then stabilized with a natural acid.  Mmmm, acetone.  Wait, isn’t that stuff in nail polish remover?  Yep.

While ‘natural’ food colors are indeed a better choice than ‘artificial’ food colors, I think the best and healthiest food colors are those that come straight from the plant to you.  Nature makes some bold, amazing and enticing colors.  They can be pretty tasty too.

Want to start your day with a rainbow of truly natural colors?

Red Smoothie – Frozen Strawberries + Apple Juice

Orange Smoothie – Carrot Juice + Oranges + Ginger + Frozen Peaches

Yellow Smoothie – Frozen Pineapple + Frozen Banana + Pineapple Juice

Green Smoothie – Fresh Spinach + Fresh Kale + Frozen Peaches + Water/Ice

Blue(ish) Smoothie – Frozen Blueberries + Frozen Banana + Coconut Milk

Purple Smoothie – Frozen Blueberries + Frozen Blackberries + Frozen Cherries + Water

Combining all six of the smoothies creates a cheerful and vibrant rainbow smoothie full of nature’s colors, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and protein.

While the all-in-one cup smoothie was awfully photogenic, my kids preferred the single serving, single color little smoothie shots.  They tasted each one and picked their favorites.  Orange was tops for me, Red for my girl and Yellow for my boy.  The husband was outside doing yard work (sorry dear) and didn’t get to choose a favorite.

I will freely disclose that I do not routinely get up and make six separate smoothies in the morning.  While my plant-powered diet does give me plenty of energy, it does not make washing out the blender six times or hauling out all the frozen fruit in my freezer feasible or remotely pleasant for a school morning.  My daily smoothie is generally a combination of the green and purple smoothies.  It’s not as vibrantly singularly colored, but it is very filling and tasty and lets me start my day with 2-4 servings of fruits and vegetables consumed before 8am.

PS – Nature’s colors can be potent dyes, so I recommend consuming your natural smoothies on non-carpeted floors.  🙂

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Overnight Smoothie – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

If you read the healthy food blogs, you’ve more than likely read about Overnight Oats.  They’ve been done in approximately 7432 ways.  Approximately.

However, on the new to me blog, Healthful Pursuit, I stumbled across her recipe for Overnight Smoothies and smacked myself for not thinking of it myself.  It’s genius.  I modified her Sleepy Chocolate Cookie Dough Smoothie recipe into the following recipe for an Overnight Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Smoothie.  It is so creamy and delicious.  It is also quite filling.  I had it for breakfast this morning and, even after my first spin class in 2 weeks which left me in a pile of sweat, I’m still full.  I actually had more than fit into my glass and I froze the leftovers into popsicle molds.  You better believe I’ll be having a smoothie pop this afternoon….

Overnight Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Smoothie.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c non dairy milk + 0.5 c for freezing (I used Silk Plain Coconut milk which is one of my most favorite things lately) 
  • 1/3 c plain oats (uncooked)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa nibs (or could use chocolate chips)

Directions:

  1. Combine 1 c non-dairy milk, oats, chia seeds, peanut butter, cocoa powder and vanilla and stir well to combine.  I put mine in a jar and shook it up.
  2. Let sit in the fridge overnight.
  3. Freeze 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk in an ice cube tray or small plastic container.
  4. The next morning, pour the contents of the jar/container into a blender, along with the frozen non-dairy milk, frozen banana and cocoa nibs/chocolate chips.  Blend to smooth, adding more milk if needed.
  5. Enjoy!
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After:

Key Lime Smoothie

Stop what you’re doing and make this right now.  Seriously.  It is that good – if you like creamy, tart and sweet.  And if you don’t, well, you have bigger problems.  🙂

It is from Living Raw Food by Sarma Melngailis

  • 3/4 c fresh squeezed green apple juice
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 chopped (frozen) banana
  • 1/4 c fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 c agave (honey could work too)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Blend and enjoy the sensation of drinking a pie.