New Blog, Take Two; 52 Smoothies a Week, Week One

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Wow, that didn’t last long.  I started this blog a year and a half ago, and wrote one entry.  Oops.  A lot has happened since then–I grew a garden, got very sick and was diagnosed with CFS, found the love of my life (who I am marrying in 10 days!!!), got a new job that I adore, bought a house, and learned how to make healthy smoothies.  All of these things will probably be mentioned at various times in my blog (I’m determined to make it more than a one-shot deal this time), but guess which one is going to be today’s topic?  You’re right–the smoothies.  🙂

When I started getting really sick last year, it took a long time for the doctor to figure out what was going on, so there was a lot of testing and experimentation.  One thing I tried was increasing my veggie and fruit intake, in the hopes that my illness was simply a vitamin deficiency (it’s not, but, hey, you can never have too many veggies and fruits in your diet).  To that end, I started making fruit/veggie smoothies, usually with a kale base, because kale is an amazing vegetable with so many excellent properties, and it’s also gross.  At least in my opinion.  However, I found that, by adding a bunch of yummy stuff to it (my cure for every food I don’t like), you can have your kale and eat it too (or, in this case, drink it)!  I really like smoothies for the kale, because you can drink them on the go (good for busy mornings).

I’ve been making various concoctions with kale for over a year now, and everyone who has seen them has been very curious.  So, in the spirit of starting things at the new year, I’ve decided to do a year of smoothies and share them with you!  Each recipe usually makes enough for 3-4 days, so I generally end up making a smoothie once a week (I drink them every day for however many days it lasts, then I take a break and have egg white french toast–I’ll post that recipe later–or some other breakfast option the other days of the week).  So, without further ado, here is the recipe for Week One:

Kale Smoothie, Week One –

“Broccoli Citrus Delight” – makes four 20 oz servings

  • 2 cups chopped raw kale
  • 2.5 cups broccoli spears
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 2 cups mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2 cups orange juice

Notes on this smoothie:  I mostly just taste the citrus, with a slight hint of broccoli.  This one is thin enough to drink easily (some of my smoothies are pretty thick, and are more like milkshake consistency).  The color is a blueish red (from all the berries).  If you’re a blender and not a puree person (see below), be prepared that it’s very particle heavy (almost crunchy!).  Finally, according to Weight Loss Matters exchanges, one 20-oz serving counts for 1.5 veggies, 1.5 fruit, and .5 milk.

General Smoothie Notes:

I have a Ninja blender I use that is pretty good at chopping up anything, so I just throw everything in the blender without worrying about chopping it up (the kale was only chopped because I can get a giant bag of chopped frozen organic kale for super cheap at Costco).  However, if your blender is not super powerful, you may want to use a food processor on the veggies and fruits before throwing everything in the blender.

My veggies and fruits are a mix of frozen and fresh–it really depends on what I happen to have handy.  I usually have frozen kale and berries, because I can buy them in bulk.  I like using some frozen stuff, because it makes the smoothie nice and cold, but it isn’t required.

Depending on your blender, you can choose to puree the smoothie or just blend it.  I like it blended–it freaks some people out because you can see flecks of all the different foods in the smoothie, plus the texture is rougher, but I like getting the fiber from the veggie roughage, so I blend.  Use a puree setting if that kind of stuff grosses you out.

Okay, one post down for the year!  Hopefully I can keep it up, and keep the smoothies rolling!  Happy New Year, everyone!

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First Post, Mom and I, and Don’t Waste Free Food

Hello all!  Thanks for taking time out of your day to read this!  First all, I’ve never done regular blogs before, so, yeah, there’s that.  Anyway, I’m starting this blog as a tribute to my mom.  She’s is quite possibly the coolest person I know for very many reasons.  Reason #2531 is that she is an awesome cook, quickly followed by #2532, which is that she is a great blogger and her food blog is awesome.  I used to love getting her daily food blogs in my email, and I have really missed them since she decided to concentrate on her genealogy blog (btw, if you want to check out either of her blogs, you can look up kentuckykindred and foodflowersherbsandlife here on wordpress).  So, in honor of her bloggy awesomeness and all the effort she put into teaching me everything I know about cooking, I’m starting a food blog of my own.  I think it will be a great way to give a shout out to Mom and a fun opportunity to look at our blogs and see how similar we are in some ways, while also seeing our quirky differences.  Hmm…about that…

Mom and I are quite similar in a lot of ways–we’re both introspective and introverted, we’re both avid cooks and musicians, we both love to read and enjoy history and love to write.  We look a lot alike too:

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(except I have a dragon tattoo, but maybe one day…)  🙂

Anyway, despite our similarities, we definitely have our differences as well–which makes life more fun.  I’m kind of a train wreck, while my mom puts Emily Post to shame.  My mother is a perfect lady, and she and Dad kind of expected me to be their princess…turns out I’m more of the rescuing type than the damsel in distress, and “no thank you, I don’t need saving, I’m quite capable of changing my own tire and brakes and beating up the bullies and starting a revolution on my own thank you very much”.  I always tease them that they had hoped for a princess but they got the next Ani DiFranco.  They seem to be cool with it, though.  🙂

Okay, so on to the second part of this blog…the food!  Tonight’s meal has a fun little story behind it.  I live in what my roomies and I affectionately refer to as the anarcho-commune.  There are several core people who live here, plus others that come and go, and we have a really cool set-up that allows everyone to contribute in ways they are able to so that everything gets done and everyone gets their needs met, plus it provides an awesome sense of community that this world seriously lacks.  Anyway, every Tuesday we attend a free market/potluck with other activists and community-minded people in a local park.  Some of the other activists have a community garden which supplies the goods for the free market and some of the veggies for the potluck, and this last week there were mustard and collard greens left over at the end of the event, so I took them home for the commune.

I decided this evening that I needed to fix these greens, even though I’ve never fixed mustard and collard greens before and, from the smell of them, wasn’t sure I was ready for a huge batch of bitter leafies.  However, I have come to appreciate the value of healthy, fresh food and wasn’t about to waste it (healthy food and free?!  Hell yeah!), so I came up with a way to prepare it that turned an intimidating vegetable into a treat!

Sidenote:  My recipes are weird because I don’t actually measure portions–I just put stuff together.  For the purpose of this blog I will try to be more mindful of that so people can use the recipes if they want, but I didn’t come up with the idea until after I was cooking, so there aren’t portions on this recipe.

Pasta and Greens

  • Fresh dark, leafy greens (I used collard and mustard)
  • Penne pasta (cooked)
  • Pine nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Raisins
  • Honey
  • Onion
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Thyme
  • Savory
  • Salt
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese (shredded or in small chunks)

Put the oil in a skillet, add the greens, onions, pine nuts, and raisins and cook on med-high heat, tossing regularly, until the greens just start to shrivel.  Add the balsamic vinegar, honey, savory, and salt.  Cook a couple more minutes, then add the pasta.  Cook about 2-3 more minutes, tossing regularly, then remove from heat.  Add the fresh mozzarella on top and you’re ready to eat!

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After thought:  This would also make an awesome lasagna.  🙂