Tag Archives: magic smoothie

Magic Green Smoothie {My Favorite Smoothie Recipe}

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I have a go-to smoothie that I discovered a while ago. It is quick, easy and has only five ingredients {or four ingredients if you omit the optional cinammon}. The best part is that it is so easy that I can make it in my sleep – which is what I’m still doing after I crawl out of bed in the morning! I don’t think I have a real recipe for it noted anywhere on my blog, so I thought I’d take the time to do that today. Then I can refer back to it when I review all of the new smoothies I’ve tried in the coming weeks.

BONUS: I also have some tips and tricks to making your own smoothies below the recipe.

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Magic Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 frozen banana (see frozen banana tip below)
  • 1 handful spinach (about one cup) – either fresh or fresh-frozen (see fresh-frozen tip below)
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter (or any nut butter)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional, but highly recommended!)
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I usually use unsweetened almond milk)

Method:

Mix all ingredients in a food processor (what I use) or a blender.

Notes:

  • I used to add a little bit of honey, but I found that I don’t need that any more. You can add to taste.
  • I always make sure my bananas are overripe before I freeze them. That’ll sweeten the deal.
  • I’ve added chia seeds and/or flax seed or flax meal on occasion.

What I love about it:

  • Nut butter offers both protein and fat to keep me full.
  • I get some potassium from both the banana and spinach.
  • All of the nutrients in spinach!
  • Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants.
  • I think this tastes like ice cream! Okay, not exactly. But if I’m craving something cold, smooth and creamy, it does the trick!

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General Smoothie Notes:

  • I’ve been pinning a lot of other smoothies lately! While this one will always be my tried-and-true, it’s time for me to step outside the box for a bit. Post to come on those soon…
  • I am not a protein powder girl. I try to eat real foods and much as possible. If I see a smoothie recipe that sounds good, but it has protein powder in it, I just skip it.
  • Generally speaking, I do not use juices in my smoothies. I don’t keep juice in the house. If I want some fruit, I’d rather eat it.
  • always have bananas and spinach on hand! See my tips below.

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Three Smoothie Tips:

1) Clean your food processor or blender immediately after making your smoothie.

The one minute it takes you to rinse out your food processor or blender and all its parts will save you twenty that it’ll take you if you leave it for later. Once you smoothie remnants harden on the darn thing, you will be cursing you ever made a smoothie. I do a quick rinse with very hot water. Sometimes I need to do a little scrubbing, sometimes not. Then I just let it air dry and go on with my morning. It’s ready to go for the next day.

2) Keep cut-up bananas in the freezer at all times.

The first time I read to use a frozen banana in a recipe, I took a banana and threw it in the freezer. Um, no. Do you know how hard it is to peel a banana after it’s been frozen?! Do you know how hard it is for your blender or food processor to chop it up, even after trying to cut up that frozen banana? Here’s what I do now:

Use only overripe bananas. They will give your smoothie more sweetness. Usually I have two or three overripe ones, but for some reason I had more this week. {Instead of freezing, you could use overripe bananas to make these.}

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Peel and chop your bananas. I usually cut mine in half and then each half into five semi-equal parts. This way, I know that when I need half of a banana, I can just grab five pieces.

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Label a freezer bag. I always put the date and how many pieces make a half of a banana. I don’t want to try to remember later.IMG_2448

Lay your banana pieces flat in the freezer bag. Then, try to remove any air at the top of the bag before sealing. Lay the bag flat in the freezer. This will keep the banana pieces from sticking together too much. Otherwise, what was the point of chopping them up?! Once frozen, you can move the bag around in the freezer anyway you wish, just like a bag of vegetables.

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3) Always have fresh or fresh-frozen spinach on hand.

I once read an article about how good it is to get your greens in the morning. Basically, you’ll have more energy, stay more focused throughout the day and have less cravings.

I don’t know if that’s true, but I can’t believe how long it took me to discover spinach. And then how long after that it took me to discover spinach in smoothies. Now, I always have spinach on hand. I’m not talking about that stuff you get in the freezer section! When I’ve bought that for a recipe in the past, I’ve found that I can never squeeze out enough of the water that’s suggested, making my dish a runny mess. It’s also way too time consuming.

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I freeze my own spinach now! The day I discovered this {all by myself, I might add}, I felt like a genius. 🙂 Here’s what I do:

Freeze spinach when it’s about to turn. You can freeze your spinach at any time, but I prefer keeping it fresh for salads. Whenever my spinach is on the brink of getting slimy, that’s when I know… It’s time!

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Only freeze the good parts. Sometimes, if my spinach has too many stems, I rip those off. I’m not sure that it matters, but I do it quickly, not as an exact science. I also throw away any of the really slimy gross pieces. Don’t freeze anything you wouldn’t eat fresh.

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 Use a freezer bag. Dump the spinach in and label with a date. Push the spinach toward the bottom and fold the bag over as many times as needed to get as much air out as possible. Then seal and toss in the freezer!

Whenever you need a handful of spinach, whether it be for a smoothie or cooking, just pull out your bag of fresh-frozen and break off a chunk!

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There is no need to squeeze out any water. I mostly use my fresh-frozen spinach for smoothies or for the first layer in my Power Bowl concoctions that I heat in the microwave at work. It’s perfect for cooking; but I’d recommend sticking to fresh for a salad.

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With these tricks, making my Magic Green Smoothie in the morning is sooooo simple.

  • Take spinach and banana out of the freezer.
  • Take milk and nut butter out of the fridge.
  • Sprinkle in a little cinamoon which is the cupboard right above my food processor.
  • Combine in food processor.

Not too much to think about while I’m still rubbing my eyes!

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Recently, I realized that I had pinned dozens of smoothies, but hadn’t tried any of them. I really needed to justify my smoothie-recipe-hoarding. So I took action. Stay tuned over the coming weeks for my reviews on the ones I’ve tried- what I like or dislike and if they are simple or more a PITA. I figure I just may find a new favorite. Or, at least, after all of the practice with different ingredients, I’ll be able to throw in whatever I have an hand!

Do you have a favorite go-to smoothie recipe?

If so, please share. Recipe links encouraged!

Cheers~
Carrie

 

 

 

 

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My 3 Favorite Smoothies (Food & Fitness Link-up)

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I don’t know when it was that I started drinking smoothies. Maybe when I started running? When I started reading blogs? I don’t have them every day because sometimes I’d rather have something savory. They are also ideal the day after you’ve had one too many cocktails because they are chock full of nutrients! And they can kind of taste like ice cream. 😉

For me, the key to a great smoothie is the ease of putting it together. Five ingredients or less is ideal.

Here are my top three favorites:

1) Magic Green Smoothie – I got his one from  Kim at Living Laughing and Losing. It’s the one I make the most because it is made of just five ingredients and they are ones I almost always have on hand. I think the consistency is perfect and the cinnamon is what really kicks it up a notch!

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 Tbsp Almond Butter (or favorite nut butter of choice)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (or Chinese Five Spice)
  • Optional: 1 tsp honey (or sweetener of choice)
Magic Smoothie Ingredients: 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 Tbsp PB {I was out of almond butter!}, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 frozen banana

Magic Smoothie Ingredients

2) Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie – I found this at a time when I had some cream cheese to use up and found some graham crackers leftover in the back of my pantry. I also happened to have strawberries on hand. But I think blueberries and raspberries would make an excellent cheesecake smoothie, too. 😉

3) PB & J Smoothie – This one was a recent discovery for me. It tastes just like PB & J! Another reason it’s great is that it’s one of the few smoothies that doesn’t require a banana. So it’s perfect when I’m all out of those. I do add about a teaspoon of honey as a sweetener, though.

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Smoothie Tips:

~ Use frozen bananas. Then you don’t have to worry about ice. When my bananas get too ripe, I peel and cut up each one up into 10 pieces and lay all of the pieces flat in a zip lock bag and date it before putting it the freezer. This way, I know that a half of a banana is about five pieces. When I’m ready to make my smoothie, I just take out five pieces and plop them into my food processor.

~ When you have spinach that is on the brink of going bad, make a smoothie! One day, when I had nearly a whole bag of spinach about to go bad, I had the genius idea of dumping it into a ziploc bag for freezing. It stopped the spoiling process and the frozen spinach works just as well. This way, I have it on hand at all times, too!

~ Clean out your blender immediately. I use a food processor to make my smoothies. But it is really hard to clean later after it’s been sitting all day. So after I empty my smoothie into a glass, I immediately rinse every piece of my food processor. It takes about two to three minutes but saves me the headache of having to scrub it later.

~ Up the fiber/nutrient content. I love smoothies because they are vitamin-packed. They are generally made with fruit, sometimes a vegetable and often a nut butter protein. You can increase the nutrient level by adding things like chia seeds or flax seeds.

~ Check out this tutorial on How to Make the Perfect Green Smoothie. It offers up ratios of fruit to greens to liquid, etc. so that you can make a smoothie with whatever you prefer or have on hand.

Now it’s time for…

planning

Food

Dinners:

  • Monday – Am I crazy? I have some sauerkraut on hand that my cousin Stacie canned that I’m anxious to use. When I came across this recipe for Pierogies made from scratch, I had the urge to attempt to make them… and pair them with steak. I’ll ask again – Am I crazy? My husband loves the Steak and Pierogies at The Lowry. There is no way my first attempt will ever live up!
  • Tuesday & Wednesday – Rob requested Croque Madames this week. Only, I’ll use some English muffins. Do you have a favorite style or recipe of croque monsiers/madames? At first I thought I’d serve them with some simple mixed greens tossed with a lovely vinaigrette just like in France. But then I found this recipe for Roasted Tomato Dressing. There’s a pint of grape tomatoes in my fridge begging to be used for this purpose.
  • Thursday – Leftovers
  • Friday – TBD
  • Saturday – TBD
  • Sunday – TBD

Lunch:

Breakfasts:

Fitness

  • Monday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 2, Day 1
  • Tuesday – Recumbent Bike/Yoga
  • Wednesday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 2, Day 2
  • Thursday – REST
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 2, Day 3
  • Sunday – Recumbent Bike/Yoga

What is your favorite smoothie?

Cheers~
Carrie