My Foray into Smoothies

​More than a year ago, I put a message out on Facebook asking if anyone had a blender and a juicer for cheap.

I have a blender however it barely blends soup and I really wanted to make some smoothies using up the kale I had in the freezer left over from the summer. I was part of a CSA that summer and I had lots and lots of kale. At the end of the summer however, I realized I really don’t like it very much.

I hate wasting food though and kale is very healthy for you. My thought then was to either blend  it into smoothies or juice it or keep putting it into soup like I had been doing (and not enjoying very much).

A friend sold me her juicer and I still haven’t gotten around to doing much of anything with it. But another friend, when I asked if I could buy his nutribullet which was sitting on the kitchen counter in the office (untouched for months), told me just to take it.

The nutribullet is so easy to use I started using it immediately. I used it so much, I actually burned the motor out (smoke coming out of the machine and all!) I bought another one to replace it. I love this little powerhouse. 

I have untold smoothie recipes on Pinterest and pulled out from magazines, as well as a pretty nifty recipe book by Kris Carr (love her #kriscarr #crazysexylove) which I’ve promised to someone else (if I ever remember to give it to her) but frankly I’ve been just winging it.

In the beginning, most of what I made was hit and miss. Nothing so disgusting that I had to throw it away, but nothing I wanted to repeat either. Over the last year though, I’ve gotten good at this smoothie thing.

I don’t do anything fancy. I buy what’s on sale that week and create from there.

So today I’m actually going to share a few smoothie recipes. I enjoy these a great deal. I can drink them down easily. No nose holding here!  This has been especially important lately as my appetite has been somewhat spotty. These smoothies insure that I am getting my nutrient rich foods I need for my health. 

 I’m not very good at measuring these types of things and it is just a tiny nutribullet that I make the smoothies in so they are essentially a one glass recipe. Note that none of my recipes call for unusual ingredients. None have flax, Chia, hemp, or oatmeal. I don’t eat them for my health reasons but you certainly can add them. I do not add protein powders either. I tried once and found I didn’t like them. I prefer the pure, unadulterated taste of fruit and veggies. Also note that I do not add any more sugar, honey, molasses, or maple syrup. I’m sure you could but I find them to be plenty sweet enough. By the way, I have these for breakfast most of the time.

I hope you enjoy these also. 

Purple People Eater Smoothie

Handful of spinach. Please don’t waste your money on expensive baby spinach. At my grocery store the baby spinach was on sale for $2.50 for 4 or 5 ounces. I went to the other side of the produce aisle and bought regular spinach for a $1.99 for 8 ounces. That’s about a $3 savings. It’s going into a smoothie folks, not a salad. The rest will be great in a stir fry.

Small handful of frozen blackberries. I had these in the freezer from the summer and the real purpose of them is that this way you get some sugar, some fruit, and don’t need to add any ice. I suppose you could use any frozen fruit of your choice. I like berries and I like the dark purple color that the blackberries provide. This IS a Purple People Eater smoothie after all!

A few slices of apple including the peel. I prefer a tart apple and mine are often a Staymen or an Ida Red. You use whatever type of apple you like. Obviously a red delicious will make a sweeter smoothie.

Unsweetened vanilla flavored almond milk (I often use coconut milk instead). I prefer Silk (#Silk) brand because it is more allergen sensitive for wheat and gluten, and lactose than the other brands. I use the refrigerator case one, not the shelf stable one, because it doesn’t have the extra stabilizers in it. I do not use the sweetened almond milk. It has way too much sugar in it. (I’m not paid by Silk btw. I’m currently using SO Delicious coconut milk and it’s very good also.)

Whazz it up as Jamie Oliver would say.

Delicious.

The Kitchen Sink

This smoothie is more of a “what’s in the fridge” recipe than an actual recipe but it is good for every single day and it is my “default” smoothie. Feel free to change this one up. I call it the kitchen sink because I use whatever is available. No celery ok. No banana. Ok. No berries. Okeedokee.

Handful of greens. One of my favorite bagged greens is spinach with chard and boy choy. It is a much better price point than those little bags in the salad section of the store. I love chard. It’s probably my favorite green so I’m all for it in my smoothie. I often buy bunches of greens instead of bagged greens. Definitely buy what is on sale and affordable. I usually stir fry any remaining greens so they don’t go bad.

Frozen banana. I keep a small container with frozen bananas in it. I use a fork to break off some from what becomes a giant banana “block”. This acts as “ice”.

Some kind of berry. Blueberries and strawberries are best. Blackberries leave their seeds and I don’t like the texture or a mouth full of seeds. Yuck.

Splash of OJ. Squeeze from an actual orange or pre-made (I only use Florida Natural which uses oranges only from Florida, not Brazil or wherever else they may come from). Or leave it out altogether.

Half an apple with peel or pear with peel. Or leave it out. Pear makes it a sweeter smoothie. (I was given 2 large boxes of Harry and David pears for the holidays. Gave some away and I’m still eating A LOT of pears – smoothies and salads and poached and baked….)

Coconut or almond milk or water as you feel that day.I’ve added green or black tea if I have some left in the pot and enjoy it immensely, but I’m not brewing it special for my smoothie.  

I often chop up a celery stalk. I like the peppery taste it provides a great deal.

Sometimes I add a little cucumber as well. Or even carrot and zucchini. Romaine lettuce is great in a smoothie.

I’ll also add parsley if I have it but again, it’s just because I have it. I’m not going out of my way to buy it special. 

Now here’s the choice. This smoothie will be either primordial  green or brownish depending upon your ingredients. Sometimes it’s not very appealing to look at. I don’t care but if you do,  add cocoa powder. I like to add it to change the taste to a chocolate smoothie. The brown color will be much more rich and appealing.

This one will make a lot of juice if you add all the ingredients. You can drink half one day and save the other for the next day. I usually pair this with a tablespoon of nut butter eaten off a spoon.

Cucumber Refresher 

Easy peasy.

Water

Cucumber

Stalk of celery

Whazz and drink. I like this with a little more water because it can be somewhat “gelatinous” otherwise. It is very refreshing. If your cucumber has a lot of large seeds you may want to use a spoon to remove them first.

Cucumber Strawberry Refresher

Same as above but add strawberries. It is also very refreshing. Add fresh mint or basil or even cilantro if you have some.

Cucumber Melon Refresher

Same as the cucumber refresher but with some cantelope or honeydew. If I have any fresh mint I may add it. 

Let me know what you think and share your smoothie recipes. 

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Bacon, What’s a Nice Jewish Girl to Do?

So the report is out. Bacon and other processed meats have a definitive causal link to cancer of the bowel.While the risk is small, WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer says “there is enough evidence to rank processed meats as group 1 carcinogens, because of a causal link with bowel cancer.”

What’s this Jewish girl to do? Bacon has made eating out palatable for me. I know that sounds totally strange but ever since I changed my diet, my choices when eating out with friends and colleagues have been limited. Unless I want to spend a small fortune every time I eat out at lunch (I eat out mostly weekday lunches), I order burgers (another no-no — too much red meat) or chicken, and often ask for bacon. It gives a nice flavor to the otherwise unbelievably boring slab of protein on my plate.

Remember, I don’t do a bun or cheese, and I mostly eschew any dressings except for barbecue sauce (which really is a cheat food for me), and plain olive oil with some lemon juice or balsamic, and even more rarely, red wine vinegar. It is not uncommon for my lunch to be a large white plate with a lonely piece of lettuce, some onion, sometimes tomato (which I usually don’t eat), a pickle, and the aforementioned protein.

No offense to my vegetarian friends, but when you can’t eat any grains or soy or dairy, a salad is nothing more than a bowl of lettuce and is hardly an adequate meal.

So I mostly stick to burgers and grilled chicken, or fish if the place is reputable, and a vegetable, although even those are suspect when they pre-prepare them with butter or cheese or breadcrumbs. Bacon makes my protein choice taste like something other than a slab of protein. That is more because restaurants, without their signature sauces, rubs, and other toppings, have no clue what to do with a piece of protein.

Even when I went to a lovely restaurant with my dad last year, although the menu had a plethora of beautiful sounding entrees and small plate options, they could offer me only two items, a piece of salmon or a filet. The salmon was well-prepared and delicious, and I was grateful that the chef could at least make me that, but really, with a large menu there were only two items they could offer me?  I thought about some veggie options but I couldn’t eat any of them except for some grilled veggies because they were all otherwise pre-seasoned.  Delicious notwithstanding, dinner was not cheap and I was hungry after I was done. They didn’t even have plain fruit to eat for dessert.

Also notice that one of the items it offered was the filet, usually the most expensive item on the menu. I had the same experience with a local restaurant. I took a friend there for a birthday dinner (and had been there before the change in diet for mine as well) and all they could offer that was not pre-seasoned, pre-pre-prepared, was the filet.

So what’s a Jewish girl who loves bacon to do? I suppose eat it occasionally still but cut back.

I’ve been meaning to brown bag it more often anyhow since lunches out are getting too expensive.  Here’s a link to the article that got me thinking about this post: Kveller: Looks Like Your Jewish Mom Was Right About Bacon