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Green Smoothie + Storage Method

green smoothie

As we all know, the holidays are a time of joy, gratitude and indulgence. We have family gatherings filled with hearty meals and rich desserts. We have a few too many seasonal beverages and eat a plate or two of cookies. It is part of what makes winter so appealing- lots of layers and stick-to-your bones food! We love these things too, but our bodies do not always appreciate the carb overload and sugar highs. We are taking this opportunity to share one of our most important recipes- a basic GREEN SMOOTHIE!

Many of you have already heard of, or even tried, a green smoothie. If you have, then you already know why they are so great! If you haven’t, the green (sometimes purpleish-brown, depending on the combination of fruit) elixir can be a bit off putting. Do not be afraid! It tastes better than it looks, although we enjoy the vibrant color. If you REALLY can’t get past the Kermit color, try putting it in a solid receptacle, like a ceramic bottle or jar, so you don’t have to see what you are consuming.

Everyone knows that loading up on raw greens and fruit is essential to your health. Chowing down a giant raw kale salad everyday is not necessarily in the cards, but blending your leafy greens with a few other ingredients is an efficient, practical and delicious solution to your dilemma! You can easily pack a days worth of greens into a quart jar, which can serve as a satisfying breakfast, a meal replacement or snack throughout the day. Drinking raw fruits and vegetables will help your body digest food and absorb nutrients better, and can easily replace your morning cup of coffee. It is amazing how quickly you will feel your body go from tired and sluggish to recharged and energized! We recommend drinking 1 quart of green smoothie at least 4-5 times per week, if not every day. We realize this seems like a rather daunting task, but we have figured out a trick that helps us stay on track: the freezer!

We make our delicious green drinks in large batches. We buy the nearly 3 lb bag of organic power greens (kale, spinach and chard) from Costco and make smoothies until we have used it all. This produces between 8-10 quart sized smoothies. We put them in canning mason jars with plastic lids and pop them in the freezer to preserve freshness and nutrients (except the ones we will be drinking the next day..those go in the fridge). We found it is best to let them thaw 24 hours in the fridge before drinking, so after you take your smoothie from the fridge in the morning, be sure to replace it with another one from the freezer.

We know everyone (ourselves included) have the best intentions, but real life does not always work out the way we want it to. Of course, a fresh smoothie is best, but it was just not realistic for us to make them daily with our busy schedules. Yes, you lose a small amount of nutrients by freezing, but it is worth it to get those greens in on a daily basis. Once you get your method down, it takes about an hour to make enough smoothies for 2 weeks. Not too bad, right?

So we urge you, if you haven't tried a green smoothie before, you should do so immediately! There is no better way to get in your fruits and vegetables in one meal and consuming them raw is even better. We discovered green smoothies after reading a wonderful book called, Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko. Then later discovered Robyn Openshaw, AKA Green Smoothie Girl. If you want to know more about why these jars of green goo are essential to your health check out their sites. Cheers to green smoothies!
 

Green Smoothie {recipe}

Servings 2 | Serving size 1 quart

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 c water
  • 10 c packed greens (spinach, kale, chard)
  • 1 tsp flax seed oil
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/2 c frozen mango chunks
  • 1 cup assorted frozen fruit (pineapple, papaya & strawberries)
  • 2 TB raw wheat germ
  • optional: To add sweetness you can try adding stevia (about 15 drops liquid) or blend in dates.

 

METHOD

  1. Place water, spinach and flax oil into blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add fruit, wheat germ and continue to blend until smooth.
  3. Add stevia until you reach your desired sweetness.

 

This makes 8 cups of smoothie, I used the Vitamix which has a 64oz container. If your blender is not large enough cut the recipe in half.

NOTE: This recipe is simply a template for you to create your own endless varieties of green smoothies. Don't be afraid to change up the fruits and greens. Everyone will find their favorite!

NOTE: A turbo blender (Vitamix or BlendTec) is recommended to achieve a smooth, velvety consistency. If not using a turbo blender, your smoothie may come out a bit chunky. This can be challenging for people who have texture issues (like Jessica), but the health benefits will remain! Once the habit sticks, it may be easier to justify a $500 blender. It is an investment in your health, and will change your smoothie drinking life FOREVER!

 

FROZEN FRUIT TIPS

Citrus: Our grandmother has an orange and lemon tree so we constantly have citrus fruits available to us. When we get big bags of oranges and lemons, we take the time and peel them all and freeze them in gallon sized bags. This way, when we make our smoothies, we just grab what we need and throw it in.

Bananas: Try buying a few bunches of bananas at a time. Let them ripen until the skins begin to brown. Peel the bananas (very important) and toss them into freezer bags so you always have sweet, frozen bananas on hand! They are also great to blend up for a raw banana ice cream.

Grapes: Don't forget that frozen grapes are a delicious snack on their own, but when the price is right, wash and freeze on cookie sheet for an hour, then place in freezer bags to store. Frozen grapes are perfect in smoothies.

 

 

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Minestrone Soup

minestrone soup

The heatwave continues. Fans are on, shorts and tank tops are our chosen attire. Big jars of lemonade (because everything is better in a mason jar), and crisp salads for lunch. Yet it is October. And we want SOUP! Mother nature may be all over the place, but our bodies are ready for Fall, and sometimes you just have to go with your gut- and our guts want Minestrone!

Minestrone is a cold weather essential, but it is great any time of year. This is a very hearty, stick-to-your-bones soup. It is loaded with veggies, and is perfect when trying to use up all those farmers market finds that you have hanging around your fridge. You can use any vegetables you prefer, or whatever you have on hand. It is also the ideal place to use all the random bits of dried pasta taking up space in your cabinets. You can break up larger noodles, or use a variety of shapes and sizes. 

This recipe makes a very large pot, but it keeps very well. As a matter of fact, it gets even more flavorful after a day or two. Be aware that leftovers get very thick as the noodles soak up the rich broth, but adding some extra vegetable stock and some salt and pepper to taste gives you a whole new soup! It also freezes well, so if you are cooking for 1-2 people, you can easily store this in a ziploc or tupperware and have it around for a quick and hearty rainy-day meal. Just don’t be surprised if there are fewer leftovers than expected- it is just THAT good.

 

Minestrone Soup

Servings 5 | Serving size 2 cups

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 c carrot, chopped (cut baby carrots into thirds)
  • 1 c celery, chopped
  • 1 lb russet potato, chopped (washed and peel left on)
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 c chopped cabbage
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 15oz can organic tomato sauce
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c dry whole wheat pasta (I used spirals)
  • 2 c kale, chopped and packed in cup
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp himalayan pink sea salt
  • pepper to taste

 

METHOD

  1. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil on medium-high heat and add onions and garlic. Stir and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Then add carrots, and celery and cook another 5 minutes, until celery becomes tender.
  3. Add in vegetable stock, water, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Stir until combined.
  4. Next add the remaining ingredients except kale: potatoes, zucchini and cabbage, kidney beans, pasta, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender and pasta is cooked.
  6. When finished stir in chopped kale and serve.

 

NOTE: Great served with toasted whole wheat bread with olive oil and rubbed with garlic

 

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CLASSIC Caesar Salad Dressing

Caesar_Salad.jpg

As a vegan, one of the most common things you can expect to hear from omnivores (aside from “where do you get your protein?”) is “Do you just eat lettuce all the time?”. No. We do not just eat lettuce all the time.

BUT WHEN WE DO..we like to do it right!

We have always enjoyed a good salad, which can be surprisingly hard to come by. Ever since we were children, there was always one particular salad that we were drawn to: the classic Caesar.

Rich and creamy, with the spiciness of raw garlic accompanied by the acidity of lemon juice and mellowed by parmesan cheese, this salad was at the top of our list whenever we went out to eat. It was our personal mission to try every Caesar salad that we could get our hands on. We could instantly tell if it was bottled dressing, or something they lovingly created in the kitchen. It was, in our humble opinions, the distinguishing factor between a good restaurant, and a great one.

Luckily for us, our father has always excelled at making a Caesar dressing that became our standard for all others. It was not until years later that we learned that anchovies were a typical ingredient in our number one choice of dressing. Well, as a vegetarian, that just wasn’t going to work anymore. Our loving father revamped his famous dressing to lighten up the fat, and cut out the anchovies to create a new, but equally delicious dressing. Theeeeen, vegan happened. Suddenly he was no longer allowed to use cheese, eggs, traditional Worcestershire sauce..basically any of the ingredients that make the dressing what it is. But our father loves us, and could not stand to see us go without (mostly because we insisted we still needed it in our lives). With a few substitutions, we now get to dive in a much healthier, but equally as indulgent classic Caesar salad, and all is right in the world.

 

CLASSIC Caesar Salad Dressing {recipe}

Makes 2 1/2 cups dressing.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 - 14-16oz block silken tofu (refrigerated)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 TB white wine vinegar
  • 2 TB vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TB whole grain dijon mustard
  • 2 TB nutritional yeast (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Pinch of salt & pepper to taste

 

METHOD

  1. Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.

 

NOTE: Feel free to add an additional squeeze of lemon and fresh cracked pepper to your salad, we always enjoy a little extra tang. This dressing will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge.

 

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