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Green Smoothies for all!

Hi!  So I know I said Wednesdays would be CSA Wednesdays with posts related to cooking/eating/enjoying your vegetables from the CSA box, but... my dear friend Jenny has started a lovely blog dedicated to just that!  Please visit and subscribe to CSA Family Dinners
Our box this week...what a haul!

So, here I can focus on sharing my own recipes and ideas/thoughts/feelings about food.  Being a vegetarian/vegan who makes almost all of her own snacks and food from scratch...I get a lot of questions!:)
Here's a link to my post last week with some raw vegan snack recipes , and tomorrow I'll share my recipe for kale chips!

This week I want to focus on a staple in our house...the *Green Smoothie*. 

Yep, that's right....green.  Well, usually they're green. 

Sometimes they go a bit purple/blue if they are berry heavy, but they are always loaded with dark leafy greens.  People love the idea of making these but are unsure of how to get started, or the best way to combine them.

There are a lot of great blogs out there actually dedicated to green smoothies.  There are a million ways to make one.  I am simply sharing with you what I do for myself and my family.  The main components of our daily smoothies are:
  • dark leafy greens (at least 2 large handfuls)
  • fresh fruit (whatever we have on hand)
  • frozen fruit (whatever we have on hand)
  • a few Tbs of healthy extras
  • filtered water
In detail:
Dark leafy greens:  we generally get a lot of these from our CSA box and our garden (when it's actually producing).  We rotate between spinach, chard, kale, beet greens, carrot tops (my fave!), wheatgrass, romaine, red leaf lettuce or any other leafy greens we can get.  **It's important to rotate the greens you use.  the rule of thumb is to use a different green every day.  This way your body won't bulid up a distaste.  You're body knows when it's getting too much of one thing!**
Fresh fruit: since combining iron (dark leafy greens) with vitamin c helps the absorption of iron, I like to use oranges.  I just peel and drop them in.  We also use pineapple, mangoes, bananas, pears, strawberries (any berry!) or basically any fruit we have out on the counter that is nice and ripe. 
Frozen fruit: Since I buy in bulk to save money on organic produce I usually freeze extra fruit as it ripens so we always have a pretty good stash to pull from for our smoothies.  I also order 10 lb bulk frozen organic berries from a food buying co-op.  So the frozen fruit is generally the same as above...depending on what I have.  Why frozen?  Because as your smoothie is blending up it gets heated.  The frozen fruit helps keep it a nice temperature, not too warm, but not like a slushy either.  I do about 2 parts fresh fruit to 1 part frozen.
Healthy extras: every day I throw in a little something to top off the green smoothie with a bit of extra nutrition.  These are generally known as *superfoods*. I rotate between spirulina, chlorella, bee pollen (although not for my husband as he has a very strange reaction to it), hemp seeds, goji berries, flax seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, wheatgrass powder, and probiotics.  Each one of these deserves a post on it's own so I won't go into their magical powers here.  Ha Ha!
Filtered water:  by now your blender is jam packed and you just need to throw in some water to get things going.  I add just enough water to cover everything (usually about 3-4 cups for a full VitaMix sized blender).  We used to sometimes use coconut water from fresh young Thai coconuts instead.  Coconut water has many benefits, but there's also a big debate over whether or not they are safe as many of the young Thai coconuts are dipped in a nasty formaldehyde bath to keep them "fresh" as they travel the distance to our lands.  Do the benefits out weigh the risks?  The verdict is still out.  I choose not to use them for now.  I'll use O.N.E. Coconut Water  as a base if I see it on sale at amazon, but it's expensive and not as good as the fresh stuff cracked right out of the coconut.

I blend it all up for a good minute or two.  You want to break down the cell walls in those dark leafy greens so your body can absorb them.  We own and use a Vita Mix.  It's a high powered blender that can blend almost anything.  You can definitely make these in a regular blender, but start with more water at first and get a feel for how much it can take.  You'll have to blend a little longer with a regular blender to get a good consistency.
Drink your smoothie right away for the best results as it will start to oxidize quickly.  It's perfectly safe though to cover and pop it in the fridge and sip on it throughout the day (or take it to work for lunch). 
Little E enjoying every last

drop!

A lot of people ask me what my favorite green smoothies are and I tell them, but I also remind them that it's a lot of trial and error.  We all have different tastes and some people just may need more fruit added to their smoothies at first.  I think it's best to just start making them and see what flavor combinations you and your family enjoy.

Here's one of my favorites:
A large bunch of spinach (rinsed well of course!)
1 fresh banana
1-2 peeled oranges
1 cup frozen pineapple
1-2 Tbs Hemp seeds
Filtered water
Blend and enjoy!
Blender top view

Blender side view

Blender action view! :)


My daughter F loves berries:
A large bunch of swiss chard (hard parts of stems removed)
2 handfuls of fresh strawberries
1 large handful of frozen blueberries
a sprig or two of mint
goji berries
chia seeds
filtered water
Yum!

That's one sassy smoothie girl!

There are also savory green smoothies.  I don't make these very often because my little girls much prefer the fruit ones, but when our peppers in the garden were abundant I jst had to use them up!
Try:
a bunch of kale
4-6 ripe roma tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
2 anaheim peppers (not super spicy)
1/2 jalapeno pepper
2-3 cloves of garlic
large handful of fresh parsley or cilantro.
1 lime with peel
filtered water
Blend it up well so that it warms a bit and eat it with a spoon (kind of like soup!).


Here's a great website with a lot of free info on green smoothies.  If you really want to start incorporating them into your diet and gain the knowledge of why they're good for you, go buy the book Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko.  It's an easy to read book full of specific green smoothie recipes as well as the reasons they are good for you.  Some say Dr. Anne Wigmore invented them back in the 80's...while I believe this is true, I think Victoria Boutenko and her followers have made them famous and tasty!

Just try it!  Start your day tomorrow with a green smoothie.  Post a comment for us to see what your first one was, and if you're a regular green smoothie drinker, post your comment with your favorite recipe!

**Edited to add: Dear friends!! One of my fave Raw Food blogs is giving away an amazing Wheatgrass juicer.  Skip the green smoothie some mornings and down 2 oz of liquid gold!!  Go enter at Choosing Raw!**

10 comments:

  1. I love green smoothies. I use spinach, mango, banana, orange, apple, water and ground flax. I use my regular blender (make sure you slightly thaw any frozen fruit). Where do you get the chia seeds? I just started reading about them.

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  2. okay, I think we were blogging at the same time last night! I want to go all organic, but cringe, I mean CRINGE at the cost. I know when it comes to my family's health it's important, it's just well, it's just daunting. You know Wendy has been pushing me this way for years, and I just may be ready to learn more about it. In particular the food co-op thing you talked about in this post and at the seminar is something I should maybe look into if it will help with the cost. More things I should pick your brain about :)

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  3. You inspired us to make some green juice this am, we aren't quite to the smoothies yet, but we are working towards it. Are those mini glass straws?

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  4. mrsuribe - Chia seeds are great! I get mine from a bulk ordering company called Azure Standard, but Whole Foods has them over in their vitamin/supplements aisle.
    Andrea - Thanks for pointing it out...I had wanted to put in a whole diatribe on buying organic, but that deserves its own post for sure!
    Miranda - They sure are glass. I just posted a comment on your blog about them. Cheers to the green juice!
    xoxox

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  5. Awesome blog!!! And thanks for the shout :)

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  6. So I'd been meaning to write this for a couple of days...I tried my first green smoothie and learned a couple of things:
    I use a regular blender, so when I think I'm done blending I need to blend more, and then when I think it's done I blend more. I nearly choked to death on some not-quite-blended carrot tops. Secondly speaking of carrot tops; they need a bit more blender love, so Laura suggested maybe blending them a bit first then adding in my other goodies. Lastly, a small note about taking them on the go; check your mirror once you've finished. When I was finished I looked up to see the Swamp Thing residing between all my teeth, so I needed a big swish or 5 of water before I was ready to be in public.
    Happy juicing!

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  7. So do you use those little jars as regular drinking glasses for the girls? Where do you get them? Would you do a post on what you use for glasses/utensils/plates etc with kids? Teddy still throws stuff so I have to be careful with glass, but I'm open to the idea.

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  8. Hmmm...good idea Olivia...I will post about that. How about tomorrow? :)

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  9. We finally started making green smoothies this past week...what a great way to use greens from the CSA! We did chard/banana/orange/frozen strawberries/peach. Kids loved it.

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  10. Love the idea of Chia Seeds and Hemp Seeds in my protein shakes or green smoothie shakes! Thanks for sharing that idea.

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