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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Easy Thanksgiving Guide

Composition

With a few tasks each day during thanksgiving week, you can ensure that it will be a piece of pumpkin pie to get your meal to the table stress free. We have mapped out the easiest route to make sure each day isn’t too difficult and that your meal will come out effortlessly.

Most importantly, don’t forget to have your adopted turkey as your guest of honor! Place a photo of your poultry pal in the center of your table and celebrate the lives of all things sentient and living. The turkeys will be as thankful for you as you are for them!

 

MONDAY

  • Prepare your shopping list.

  • Shop for all your groceries.

  • Make Stuffing*. {RECIPE HERE}

 

TUESDAY

 

WEDNESDAY

  • Make Corn Casserole (reserve topping) {RECIPE HERE}

  • Make Spinach Dip* (using prepared sour cream) {RECIPE HERE}

  • Make Cranberries*. {RECIPE HERE}

  • ***Place phyllo dough from freezer to refrigerator***

 

THANKSGIVING DAY

  • Morning (before guests arrive, prep takes aprox. 2 hours):

    • Prep Brussel Sprout Salad & make shallot vinaigrete {RECIPE HERE}

    • Prepare mashed potatoes: Boil red skinned potatoes until fork tender, drain and smash. Add unsweetened soy/almond milk, vegan butter, and salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste or use your favorite family recipe.

    • Make gravy while potatoes boil (we like to do a double batch!) {RECIPE HERE}

    • Assemble Squares

  • Serve Spinach Dip when guests arrive.

  • 3 Hours before dinner is served:

    • Bake Stuffing (350º for 30 min). (can be placed back in oven to reheat closer to dinner)

    • Bake Corn (350º for 1 hr). (can be placed back in oven to reheat closer to dinner)

    • Bake Squares (350º for 45min to bake, 20min to set)

    • Bake rolls while squares set (Pillsbury Crescent Rolls are deliciously vegan!)

    • Make Brussel Sprout Salad while rolls bake (prepare right before dinner is served so salad is still warm). {RECIPE HERE}

    • Pull pie from freezer before dinner to allow time to defrost.

 

*Items we recommend making ahead of time

  • STUFFING: Make at least one day ahead so bread has enough time to absorb liquids and flavors can develop. Freezes well.

  • PUMPKIN PECAN TORTE: Best made the day before serving to allow time to thoroughly freeze and set. Take out of freezer 30 minutes to an hour to defrost before serving.

  • SOUR CREAM: Make a day ahead of Spinach Dip to allow time to thicken properly.

  • SPINACH DIP:  Make a day ahead of serving to allow flavors to meld and dip to thicken. It is very good on the same day, but much better the next. Best served cold.

  • CRANBERRIES: Allow time to chill all the way through for best results. Can be made same day if time permits.


 

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Flakey Spinach Tempeh Squares

spinach squares

So let’s start by getting a few things out of the way:

-Phyllo dough is the devil. A flaky, delicious, pain-in-the-butt to work with yet oh-so-magical ingredient.

-Tempeh is weird, and can be very daunting. It has a strange bitterness, and an interesting, yet intriguing texture. We know it is a nutritional powerhouse, but what the heck do we do with it?!

-Turkey is not vegan. We will not be eating it, and therefore, we need a different main course for our Thanksgiving spread.

-Sometimes things are a bit labor intensive. Sometimes you must face the beast that is phyllo dough and take on the challenges of that illusive tempeh.

Why must we do these things? Because we want to have something on our table that is not trying to be turkey, but is a delicious main dish that is protein rich and tastes great smothered in gravy! Something special that we worked hard on..but something much easier on the poor turkeys.

This is what we have come up with.

Flakey Spinach Tempeh Squares are here to grace your holiday table! Yes, it is a bit time consuming and tricky to layer and butter your phyllo dough, and there are a few different steps involved in the preparation of this dish, but it is a special occasion and we think it is worth it! We tried to put together a few different things as our main dish, but nothing was coming out how we wanted. We realized we were too focused on replicating a turkey dish, and what we needed was a completely different entree. We wanted something special that could hold its own as a main dish, and also went great with our mushroom gravy. We decided to use tempeh because it is very nutritionally dense and packed with protein. It is not something that we have much (actually..any) experience using, and we wanted something new! We tried this a few times, but the tempeh was bitter and flavors were off. After doing some research, we found that steaming (more like boiling) tempeh for a bit before using it releases some of the bitterness, softens the texture and allows it to absorb other flavors. This really seemed to help. Combined with the other flavors and textures, it is actually a rather delicious dish. It stands alone fine, but will be amazing smothered in rich mushroom gravy on our special day. We hope that this year you will opt to adopt a turkey instead of cook one, and celebrate their life with these tasty and cruelty-free Spinach Tempeh Squares!



Flakey Spinach Tempeh Squares {recipe}

12 Squares

 

INGREDIENTS

Tempeh

  • 8oz tempeh

  • 2 TB soy sauce

  • ½ tsp liquid smoke

  • 2 TB olive oil

  • 2C veggie broth

Vegetable Mixture

  • 12 oz. fresh baby spinach, chopped

  • ½ large onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 stalk celery, diced

  • 1 medium carrot, grated (about 1C)

  • 2 TB olive oil

  • salt & pepper to taste

Tofu Mixture

  • 1 14 oz package firm tofu (refrigerated)

  • 1 TB nutritional yeast

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper

  • 1 TB soy sauce

  • 1 TB miso

  • 2 TB lemon juice

  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning

  • 1 tsp granulated garlic

Phyllo Dough

  • 16 sheets phyllo dough (double check that it’s vegan)

  • 4 TB vegan butter

  • 2 TB olive oil

 

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.

  2. Chop tempeh in thin slices then into smaller pieces about 1” long. Bring veggie broth to a boil, add tempeh and let simmer for 20 minutes, covered. This step allows the tempeh to soften and release some of the bitterness by steaming it.

  3. Drain any excess broth, then mix tempeh in soy sauce and liquid smoke.

  4. Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium high heat and add 2 TB olive oil. Cook tempeh until browned and caramelized. It is ok if tempeh breaks apart. Set aside.

  5. Add 2 more TB of olive oil to pan, and add onions, garlic and celery. Sautee until onion and garlic are translucent, and celery begins to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

  6. Begin adding all your chopped spinach, and stirring until completely wilted. Stir in grated carrot. Season with salt and pepper.

  7. Once wilted, drain spinach mixture pressing as much water out as you can (using a nutmilk bag or cheesecloth works very well). Add to large mixing bowl.

  8. Blend all tofu filling ingredients in blender (if not high speed, use a food processor) Blend until smooth.

  9. Add in tempeh and blended tofu mixture to spinach and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper as needed.

  10. Combine the 4 TB butter with 2 TB olive oil in a small dish.

  11. Use melted butter-oil mixture and a pastry brush and grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13” casserole dish. Carefully layering in 1 sheet phyllo dough. Make sure the dough comes up the sides, it will fold over the filling. Be sure to cover the unused dough with a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out.

  12. Brush layer gently with butter oil mixture and continue layering until you have 6-8 sheets on the bottom.

  13. Add spinach filling and spread evenly, and fold over dough onto mixture.

  14. Begin layering phyllo dough again, brushing with butter between each sheet. 6-8 more sheets.

  15. Trim any excess dough around the edges so it sits evenly in pan, or you can fold edges in to make an extra crust.

  16. Brush the top and edges lightly with butter/oil mixture.

  17. IMPORTANT: Score the top of the dough (cutting through the top layers) into 12 squares. Pastry will be crushed if cut after baking. Scoring beforehand allows squares to come out easily.

  18. Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.

  19. Allow to set for 15-20 minutes before cutting all the way through, this will allow the filling to set.

  20. Serve warm, and best enjoyed with our mushroom gravy on top!

 

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Pecan Pumpkin Torte

Pumpkin Torte

The holidays are nothing without our favorite desserts gracing our table. There are so many choices, and frankly, we want them all. This year we decided to come up with a special treat- one that covered all the bases in one fell swoop. We knew this dessert would be extremely decadent, and the perfect thing to satisfy even our mother’s sweet tooth (and that is no easy feat)! We started by combining all the things that we love- pecan pie, pumpkin cheesecake and of course, chocolate. The pecan crust is chewy and sweet, but balances nicely with the lightly sweetened, silky smooth pumpkin filling. There is a thin layer of whiskey caramel in between to add a little something extra, and it is all topped with a delicious and simple chocolate ganache.

What is even better about this dessert is that it can be made ahead of time and kept in the freezer. You never have to bake it, just leave it out to defrost.

This is a very rich dessert, so we kept it somewhat thin. You only need a small slice, and it would be even better with your favorite whipped topping or even some vanilla ice cream. Now you don’t have to pick just one of your favorites to prepare for your holiday meal- you can have them all!

Pecan Pumpkin Torte {recipe}

9" torte, serves 10-12

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Crust

    • 8 oz unsalted, dry toasted pecans

    • 2 cups (about 40) pitted dates

    • ¼ tsp salt

    • 2 TB raw agave nectar

  • Whiskey Caramel

    • 1 c dates

    • 1 TB whiskey

    • ½ c hot water

    • ½ tsp vanilla

    • ¼ tsp salt

    • ½ cup raw pecan pieces

  • Pumpkin Cream Filling

    • 15 oz can pumpkin puree

    • 1 c cashews, raw unsalted

    • ¼ c coconut oil, refined

    • 4 TB maple syrup

    • 2 TB lemon juice

    • ¾ tsp cinnamon

    • ¼ tsp nutmeg

    • 2 pinches clove

    • ¼ tsp salt

    • ½ tsp vanilla

  • Chocolate Ganache

    • ¼ c almond milk

    • 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (dairy-free)

    • 1 TB vegan butter

 

METHOD

  1. In a food processor, combine crust ingredients and pulse until a sticky dough forms.

  2. Press crust into 9” springform pan with about ½ inch up the side (to contain caramel).

  3. In a blender, combine all whiskey caramel ingredients, except pecans and process until smooth.

  4. Pour over crust and spread, then sprinkle with ½ c raw pecans.

  5. In blender combine all Pumpkin Cream ingredients and blend until smooth (might need to use tamper to get the mixture going).

  6. Pour over caramel and pecan layer.

  7. Place in freezer for about an hour before adding chocolate top.

  8. Heat almond milk in a small sauce pot over medium heat, until hot. Then add chocolate chips and whisk constantly until smooth and melted.

  9. Then whisk in 1 TB butter until glossy.

  10. Pour melted chocolate over the top and spread.

  11. Place back in freezer for several hours until set.

NOTE: Best served after it sits out for 30 minutes to soften.

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Warm Brussel Sprout Salad

brussel salad

Brussel sprouts get a bad rap. They are always used as an example of a gross vegetable that kids hate, or that you move around on the plate to give the illusion of consumption. They are not something to enjoy- rather something that is forced upon children as some strange form of torture.

Well NOT ANYMORE! We love brussel sprouts, and we want YOU to love them, too! They are incredibly good for you, and can be prepared in many delicious ways. They are rather hearty and to us, just scream “FALL”. Combined with a few other seasonal fruits and toasted hazelnuts, we created a lovely warm Fall salad sure to change the minds of brussel sprout haters everywhere.

We also really wanted to utilize another Fall favorite- the persimmon. Our grandmother has a huge fuyu persimmon tree in her backyard, so we have been munching these candy-like fruits every fall for as long as we can remember. They are incredibly sweet, and are a bright, vibrant orange color. The addition of some pomegranate seeds, with their acidic flavor and deep crimson color allows for a very nice balance in taste, texture and appearance.

This dish is extremely quick and easy to put together, and is very aesthetically pleasing. It would make a great addition to a beautiful table spread. We recommend using the dressing at room temperature so it does not cool the salad, although it tastes great either way. Be prepared to show your family and friends how delicious brussel sprouts can be. They won’t even realize how healthy this salad is as they come back for seconds!

 

Warm Brussel Sprout Salad {recipe}

Serves 6-8

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Dressing

    • 3 TB lemon juice

    • 3 TB olive oil

    • 1 medium shallot, finely minced

    • 1 TB parsley, finely minced

    • 1 tsp whole grain mustard

    • 1 TB red wine vinegar

    • 1 TB balsamic vinegar

    • 1 tsp agave

    • ½ tsp miso

    • 1 TB nutritional yeast

    • ⅛ tsp salt

    • ⅛ tsp pepper

  • 1 Fuyu Persimmon, peeled and julienned (matchsticks)

  • ¼ c pomegranate seeds

  • ¼ c toasted hazelnuts, chopped

  • 12 oz shredded brussel sprouts

  • 3 TB olive oil

  • Salt & pepper to taste

 

METHOD

  1. Blend all dressing ingredients together until smooth.

  2. Heat medium saute pan over medium high heat and add oil.

  3. Sauteé brussel sprouts until slightly golden on edges, 3-5 min.

  4. Add about ⅔ of the dressing, and combine.

  5. Remove from heat and add persimmon, pomegranate seeds and hazelnuts.

  6. Can use remaining dressing as needed.

NOTE: Be sure to use fuyu persimmons, not hachiya. The fuyu’s are much harder and crunchy, and the hachiya is much softer and better for baking. Fuyu’s can be eaten just like an apple, and you can even eat the middle! The skins are also ok for eating, although we recommend peeling them for this recipe.

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