Going Green….

DSC_0746Turns out I like spinach smoothies – I know totally gross!  I’ve been avoiding the green smoothie craze for years, incorrectly assuming health nuts were just plugging their noses and gulping down the nutrients before their taste buds could have a say.  My first green experience was an unwelcomed post workout guilt trip.  The one where you worked out at the gym, but not as hard as you know you could have, but you go out for lunch as a reward anyway.  So there I was at the new smoothie shop looking forward to my strawberry banana sugar rush, when my friend ordered a green juice.  Arg, did she really just do that?  Next thing I know I’m ordering the Green Monster… and here’s the kicker – it was sweet and refreshing and I drank the entire thing without holding my nose once!

So now I’m home, a day after eating out in London (burgers, fries, beer, wine, bruschetta, pad thai, spring rolls, more wine), and feeling pretty crummy.  I have spinach in the fridge and google to help with recipe selection.

DSC_0713My potential ingredients included: spinach, banana, canned peaches, canned pineapple, lemon juice, lime juice, cucumbers, frozen berries, flax seeds, cucumber, soy milk, almond milk, peanut butter, and carrots.

There were several promising recipes, but I opted for My Favorite Green Smoothie by the Minimalist Baker for several reasons:

  1. I have a soft spot for flax seeds, as I think we should all consume foods with more fiber
  2. It was the first one I saw that called for peanut butter, enough said. (Have I mentioned that if I’m deserted on an island I would choose peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to eat for every single meal for the rest of my life?)
  3. Instead of ice, it called for frozen fruit, which I shockingly had and I loved that it would add a sweet nutritional kick

Recipe direct from the Minimalist Baker’s Food Blog:DSC_0721

  • 1 medium banana, previously peeled, frozen and quartered
  • 1/2 cup mixed frozen berries
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1 heaping Tbsp natural, salted peanut butter
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy, adding more almond milk or frozen berries (or bananas) to thin/thicken, respectively. Serve immediately or freeze to enjoy later. Although, it is best when fresh.

DSC_0728    DSC_0733  DSC_0741

I put my banana in the freezer about an hour before, since no, I do not usually have previously frozen bananas.  I also surprised myself in finding some frozen mixed berries in the bottom drawer of the freezer- those don’t go bad right?  Also, my shake was a little thick (definitely didn’t measure the spinach and used more than 1 Tbsp of peanut butter), so I added about a cup of ice and 1/4 cup more of almond milk.

DSC_0745The result – a creamy, peanut butter green delight!  The peanut butter flavor really did rule over all the others – so much so that I’m inclined to use a little less next time.  Let me know how yours turns out!

Side note> I saw a few recipes calling for coconut water, which I know is supposed to be really healthy for you, but I just don’t like the taste as a drink by itself- so I plan on pouring some coconut water into ice trays and using the coconut ice cubes in a future smoothie.

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Missing ingredients? No Worries, Be Happy :)

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies!

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies!
with flax seeds and 50/50 vegetable spread and Greek yogurt

Don’t let missing ingredients ruin your spur of the moment baking.  Keep a few staples on hand (yes, in addition to your regular flour, sugar, butter and eggs).  I often get a rush of energy and want to bake something and often times I never have all the recipe ingredients on hand.  And when would I ever let something like that stop me?

No eggs?  Use 1 tbsp flax + 3 tbsp water for 1 egg.

Not enough butter?  Use Greek yogurt in place of half the butter.

Run out of unsweetened baking squares?  Use 1 Tbsp vegetable oil/butter/shortening + 3 Tbsp cocoa powder per ounce (square).

Need baking powder?  Combine 1 part baking soda with 2 parts cream of tartar.

Buttermilk unavailable?  Place 1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice in measuring cup and fill to 1 cup line with milk.  Let sit to sour.  This will work with soy and rice milk (but not almond).

What are some of your favorite ingredient substitutions?