Green Smoothie Heaven

What a day! I invited two dear friends, Tanna and Nina, over to my house to play kitchen.

Or were we playing mad scientist?

Or were we on the cusp of developing a new reality TV show?

Perhaps all three – there was experimentation, laughter, deliciousness galore and the set up was gorgeous as we set out on a Green Smoothie-a-thon. Just check out this produce.

 

 

 

To prepare for our big day, I went to the market with my shopping list in hand: coconut milk, almond milk, ginger, kale (3 kinds), swiss chard, collards, spinach, romaine, red leaf lettuce, parsley, basil, cilantro, celery, cabbage, beets, green beans, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mangoes, pineapple, avocados, bananas, apples, pears, oranges, lemons, limes, kiwi, watermelon and honeydew. I am a huge believer in eating what is local and in season, so it felt a bit weird, frankly, to have melons and tropical fruits in my cart, but I was on a mission. I was determined to develop a full repertoire of smoothies that would make even the most squeamish eater happy. My carload of produce, added to my stock of spices, seeds and nuts that I had at home, made me feel  pretty confident that we could whip up some fabulous concoctions.

 

 

Usually when I make green smoothies, I just look at what I have in the house and start blending. I keep adding and tasting until I have something I like, (which is a great way to make them) but it leaves me with the problem of having  a hard time duplicating it and sharing my recipes with anyone else. Today I was determined to write it all down step by step, to develop recipes that would be both easy to follow and please a wide range of palates.

I began with a mild tropical one, good for someone who doesn’t think green and smoothie are two words that should ever be used together. With a base of mango and banana, it was pretty safe – a bit of spinach was all that was needed to “go green”. We moved on to a watermelon based smoothie that needed lots of tweaking to have depth of flavor, but eventually we got there. It had a funky “Army green” color, but taste wise it was pretty good.

Each smoothie brought different characteristics to the table that were made even more noticeable by trialing them side by side. Adding just 1 date or 1/2 cup of pineapple would completely change the flavor profile. I have long known that adding lemon and ginger will cut through any “grassy” taste from the dark or bitter greens, but was amazed by the power of small amounts of various ingredients to transform the drink. All together we made 6 smoothies (some with several incarnations), 1 pudding and 1 milk shake. Check out how beautiful those fresh colors were.

 

 

The smoothies above, from left to right, are The Medicine Chest (from the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook), my first attempt at Kelly’s Beet Smoothie (later to become the Vermont Farmer’s Smoothie) and the Green Cashew Cream.  The last one got the special complement from my friend Nina as being “true comfort food”.  It is mild, slightly sweet, creamy and totally yummy.

Here is a picture of my famous MoJo’s Chocolate Pudding. Talk about comfort food. It was a happy moment watching the looks on my friends faces when then tasted this. I suggested that I make this in advance for an event and Nina said “No, you can’t. They will think it’s a trick. No one would believe you can get this taste with just these ingredients – you have to show them”. You could serve this at a formal dinner party and no one would ever have any idea that there was no dairy or processed sugar in it.

 

 

This delicacy is as smooth as the best chocolate mousse and packed with nutrition. This is made with banana, avocado, medjool dates and raw cacao.

Pure fabulousness.

I like to make this as a lunch box treat in the morning so that I can get a breakfast treat made at the same time – the best way to “clean out” the blender after you scoop the pudding out is to add in milk, more cacao, a date and some almond butter. Blend until sides seem “clean” and you will have the best milkshake ever. Every single ingredient is a whole food powerhouse of vitamins, micro-nutrients and fiber. This combo of protein, good fats, fiber and vitamins is what a real energy drink is all about.

We almost ended our day at this point, feeling confident that we had a nice range of green smoothie recipes. Thankfully I decided to try a savory smoothie “just to see” how that would go.

WOW! We were blown away. Tanna instantly thought this was her very favorite of the whole the day. I began with a recipe from Victoria Boutenko in Green For Life that was a gem as it was, but I decided to tweak it a bit more. I added extra avocado, sun dried tomatoes and cilantro (you could easily substitute basil if you are not a cilantro fan) to what was basically a kale, tomato and garlic based smoothie. It was a huge hit with all three taste testers. Because it was savory, we all thought ‘soup’ right away. We imagined it served in a bowl with a dollop of creme fraiche or yogurt on top just waiting to be stirred in. But, alas, we never got to try it that way because we kept refilling our glasses til every drop was gone. This one had so much potent energy in it that we could almost feel our cells do a little happy dance of joy and thanks. This will be my go to smoothie for energy – SHAZAM!

What turned out to be a GRAND Finale, was one I made while Nina and Tanna were still there, but I tweaked after they had to leave (4.5 hours later…) – The Vermont Farmers Smoothie. I dedicate this smoothie to my cousin Kelly and my dear dad – both served as the inspiration behind this marvel.

Kelly had told me about a smoothie she makes using canned beets and green beans from her garden.  &^#*%$!!  I was instantly intrigued. I mean, Really? Canned beets and green beans? Yup. To these she would add protein powder, a dollop of yogurt and a splash of milk. It sounded so unthinkable that I just had to try it. Since I did not have home canned beets and green beans, I bought fresh and par boiled them as they would be for canning. The combo instantly turned that gorgeous shade of hot pink that only beets can provide. I followed her directions and we were ridiculously surprised. This was GOOD, REALLY GOOD!

I was wanting to find a way to make it without the protein powder since I was putting together a whole foods class and whey powder is not a whole food. I tried just leaving it out, but something was lacking. I made another batch, this time thinking about the earthiness of those Vermont beets and green beans and all of the farmer’s hands who have grown them for generations in this soil.

That made me think of my dad and that’s when it came to me! What were some of my dads favorite things to grow/raise/make in VT? I decided to add some raspberries from the freezer. To that I added the dollop of yogurt, some milk, and  just a touch of maple syrup – a nod to Vermont’s most famous and delicious product of all. This had it all – farm fresh vegetables, berries, VT dairy, and Maple syrup – representing all the seasons.  How much more Vermont could it be? It was love at first sip. As I drank this, I closed my eyes, remembering the stories my dad would share with me as a kid while I helped him in the gardens or with gathering sap from the maples. I remembered funny stories about his childhood being barefoot in the dirt and about  drinking milk straight from the cows on the farm.  I knew I had found the perfect Vermont Smoothie.

 

 

A few general notes about green smoothies:

1 – Start with flavors you feel comfortable with and gradually increases the greens. The goal is to get greens in, sugars out.

2 – Mix up your recipes. You need variety in order to maximize health and minimize deficiencies. I highly recommend Victoria Boutenko’s book Green For Life.

3 – Feel free to use whatever form of milk your body does best with, just make sure it’s real, organic, whole and free of any additives.  Cow’s, Goat’s, nut milks, coconut milk, coconut water, kefir and water are all fine choices.

4 – Nuts, nut butters and seeds (like flax and chia) are all great to add in.

5 – Adjust your liquid to get a consistency you like.

6 – Adding a date will sweeten things up.

7 – Experiment and be sure to get in your greens every day. It doesn’t have to be steamed spinach to be healthy!

Now for the moment you have been waiting for…… RECIPES!!!

Tropical Breeze

Ingredients

  • 1/2 mango
  • 1/2 banana
  • coconut milk up to 1 cup line in VitaMix
  • water up to 2 cup line
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1/2 date
  • 1 handful of spinach

Instructions

  1. Place first 4 ingredients into VitaMIx blender in order.
  2. Blend after adding water.
  3. Add remaining ingredients
  4. Blend til smooth
http://www.itsallconnectedliving.com/green-smoothie-heaven/

Vitamin Blast

Ingredients

  • 5 cups watermelon
  • 8 romaine leaves
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 date
  • 1 orange - peeled, obvious pits removed
  • sm bunch parsley (thumb size if pressed together)

Instructions

  1. Blend first two ingredients til smooth
  2. Add remaining ingredients
  3. Blend til smooth
http://www.itsallconnectedliving.com/green-smoothie-heaven/

Green Cashew Cream

Ingredients

  • 4 medjool dates - pits removed
  • 1 avocado - pit removed, skin off
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2 -3 cups water
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach

Instructions

  1. Add first 3 ingredients and blend til smooth
  2. Add cashews and 2 cups water
  3. Blend til smooth
  4. Add spinach and enough water to reach desired consistency
  5. Blend til smooth
http://www.itsallconnectedliving.com/green-smoothie-heaven/

Medicine Chest

Credits for this recipe go to The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre

Ingredients

  • 2 small apples - cored and cut in chunks
  • 2 pears - cored and cut in chunks
  • 1/2 lemon with skin or 2 lemons juiced
  • 1 to 2 inch of ginger - peeled and sliced thinly (start with 1)
  • 5 kale leaves
  • 5 romaine leaves
  • 1/2 cup hopped green cabbage

Instructions

  1. Put apples, pears, water and lemon juice in Vita Mix.
  2. Blend til smooth
  3. add ginger, kale, romaine and cabbage
  4. Blend til very smooth
  5. Add water to desired consistency
http://www.itsallconnectedliving.com/green-smoothie-heaven/

MoJo's Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 avocado - peeled and pitted
  • 2 medjool dates
  • 2 T raw cacao
  • almond milk as needed

Instructions

  1. Blend banana and avocado til smooth
  2. Add dates and cocao
  3. Blend til smooth.
  4. If too thick to blend, add small amounts of almond milk until it begins to mix well.
http://www.itsallconnectedliving.com/green-smoothie-heaven/

MoJo's Milkshake

Ingredients

  • Blender canister with MoJo's Chocolate pudding stuck to sides
  • approximately 2 cups of coconut milk from a carton
  • 1 tsp raw cocao
  • 1 medjool date - pitted
  • 1 scoop of almond butter

Instructions

  1. Add coconut milk to 2 cup line
  2. Blend til you see pudding incorporating into the milk
  3. Add remaining ingredients
  4. Blend til smooth
http://www.itsallconnectedliving.com/green-smoothie-heaven/

Savory Sensation

Ingredients

  • 5 kale leaves
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 3 very small cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 lime - juiced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3 sundried tomatoes reconstituted with a small amount of their water (1/8 - 1/4 cup)
  • cilantro or basil - compacted to size of thumb

Instructions

  1. Blend first 5 ingredients until smooth
  2. Add remaining ingredients
  3. Blend til smooth
http://www.itsallconnectedliving.com/green-smoothie-heaven/

Vermont Farmer's Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 small beets
  • 2 handfuls of green beans
  • scoop of yogurt
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup milk - more if needed
  • 1 T maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Blend beets and green beans til smooth
  2. Add yogurt and splash of milk
  3. Blend til smooth
  4. Add raspberries and maple syrup
  5. Blend til smooth
http://www.itsallconnectedliving.com/green-smoothie-heaven/

2 Responses to Green Smoothie Heaven
  1. Erena DiGonis
    January 12, 2012 | 8:58 pm

    I love green smoothies! Thank you for sharing! I will definitely make that chocolate pudding! :)

  2. Amie Hall
    January 21, 2012 | 10:44 am

    Maureen – awesome blog article! Love it – would love to have you call in from VT and share on the air!!! 650-ASK-FTNS 1 – 2 pm EST M/W/F I am live in the studio!!! Hope to see you in CA!

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