Tag Archives: smoothies

A New Morning Ritual + Smoothie Faves

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There’s something I’ve been doing nearly every morning for the past several months…

Drinking hot lemon water

I’ve read about so many benefits of doing this…

…But ultimately, it has become a comforting morning ritual for me!

Here is what I do:

  • Heat a mug of water for 1 minute. {When I make tea, I heat a mug of water for 2 minutes.} I have a friend that just fills her mug with warm water from the tap.
  • Juice 1/2 of a lemon and pour into mug of hot water.

I use a citrus juicer like this that catches the seeds:

juicerA couple of weeks ago, when my in-laws were in town, I had my husband pick up a bag of lemons when I knew they were going to Costco. These lemons are HUGE!

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I decided to slice one into thirds for my morning lemon water:

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That middle one got more than a little messy. Now, I cut each lemon into four wedges and just squeeze one wedge into the mug with my hand. I can handle a few lemon seeds! But for regular-sized lemons, just juice 1/2 lemon and save the other half for the next day. So simple.

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Oh, and as promised, of the 15 new smoothies I tried here, here and here, these are the ones I’d make again:

  • Green Monster Smoothie from Iowa Girl Eats – Very much like my Magic Green Smoothie, but with the added protein of Greek Yogurt
  • Dana’s Mango Smoothie from $5 Dinners – But only when I have juice in the house, which is rare. But it’s so tasty!
  • Coffee Smoothie from Snack Girl – So easy and a great use for leftover coffee!
  • Raspberry Grapefruit Smoothie from The Iron You – The prettiest smoothie ever! I love raspberries, too. But I’d probably have this as a refreshing summer snack, perhaps after a run or on a hot day on the deck, rather than at breakfast.
  • Avocado Smoothie from Chocolate Covered Katie – I’ve found that avocado in smoothies can make them so much creamier; but I also found that there needs to be the right balance or it’ll taste more like I’m drinking guacamole. This one’s a winner in my book. I’d like to rename it Avocado Milk.
  • Best 3-Ingredient Avocado Smoothie from Omnivore’s Cookbook – Another avocado one I liked and so easy!
  • Chocolate Green Smoothie from Greatist – This is a winner when I’m craving something chocolaty.
  • Tropical Green Smoothie from Simply Recipes – Yes, whisk me away to a tropical destination – stat!

And a few more links on how to make the perfect smoothie:

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What are your morning rituals?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

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Smoothies Part III – The Finale

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This is the finale of all of the new smoothies I’ve tried. {You can read about the others here and here.} As much as I love smoothies, it can get a little old. I think that my tried and true smoothie still comes out on top for me.

But here we go!

11) Green Monster Smoothie from Iowa Girl Eats

Made: I don’t remember if I did a whole or half recipe. My guess is half.

Varriation: None

Thoughts: That felt like soooo much spinach, so I didn’t quite add that much. But it truly could have used more. Sweetness from the banana and the vanillacounteract it. This one is very close to mine, but Greek yogurt is added for extra protein. When I have Greek yogurt on hand, I’ll make this again. I usually buy plain, though, so I may have to add a drop of vanilla extract to balance.

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12) Runner’s World Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothie from Itz Linz

Made: Full recipe

Variation: I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk, vanilla Greek yogurt and no flax because I didn’t have any on hand.

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Thoughts: Looking at my breakfast stats now, I may not have added enough milk! However, the smoothie already did come out pretty runny. You may want to pulse the oats first before adding anything else, unless you like that oaty, grainy texture. I did not.

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13) Dana’s Mango Smoothie from $5 Dinners

Made: 1/2 recipe

Variation: I did not add the optional oats because I didn’t like that texture in my last smoothie.  I also used almost a full 5.3 oz container of  vanilla yogurt for a half recipe. (The full recipe calls for a 6 to 8 oz container.)

Thoughts: Remember how I said that I don’t put juices in my smoothies? I don’t keep juice in the house. I’d rather eat my fruit. But this recipe called for it. So I checked the labels to make sure I wasn’t getting one with any added sugar or any other gunk. This one is just orange juice. No other ingredients. The others I looked at had about four or five!

It was a big-assed bottle! But a smaller sized one was the same price. So what did I do with all of the leftover juice? I put it in ice cube trays!

How could I possibly use orange juice ice cubes? I am not 100% sure, but I’m sure there are some recipes that call for orange juice for which I can use them. I’m soliciting suggestions!  Or I can use them if I decide to make this smoothie again. In fact, even after I filled two ice cube trays and made this smoothie a second time, I still had this much OJ left:

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That’s right, I made this smoothie a second time! It was sooo delightful! {Even with my slightly freezer-burned, really-needed-to-be-used mango.} It reminds me of an Orange Julius! That is, if I can remember what one tastes like. The last one I had was probably when I was roaming the mall in 7th grade. Okay, so let’s say that it reminds me of what I’d imagine an Orange Julius to taste like. Oh yeah. Yum.

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14) Coffee Smoothie from Snack Girl

Made: full recipe

Variation: None

Thoughts: This was pretty darn good! It was easy to pour, not too think and a great way to use leftover coffee. I like the added texture of the chia seeds, but some people might not be okay with a seedy-drink. This smoothie is low-cal, is very easy to whip up and has the added bonus of caffeine!

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15) Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie from Green Lite Bites

Made: full recipe

Variation: I don’t have lemon extract and didn’t intend on buying any. But I found a great substitute! 2 parts lemon zest = 1 part lemon extract. Therefore, I used 1/2 tsp lemon zest. It worked perfectly!

Thoughts: This was a little grainy, but otherwise tasted just like Strawberry Shortcake!

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And there you have it! Those are the 15 new smoothies I’ve tried over the past few weeks. Since these posts feel like they are so long, I’ll recap my faves that I’d make again next week along with a couple of websites I found that offer tips for making smoothies.

Do you ever freeze leftover juices (orange, lemon, lime, etc.)?

If so, how do you use it?

Cheers~
Carrie

Smoothies Part II: More Avocado and the Ones with the Berries

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Last week, I shared with you my first group of new-to-me smoothies which included my first ever avocado smoothie (and then two more). There was only one that I didn’t particularly like. But none of them really wowed me, either.

There are so many variations of smoothies that I’ve been a bit overwhelmed… But I pressed on!

Here is my second round…

6) – Raspberry Grapefruit Smoothie from The Iron in You

I made: whole recipe

Variation: used fresh ripe banana and frozen raspberries

Thoughts: So easy. So pretty. I’m not sure you know how much I love raspberries! This was very good. But that fact that it is all fruit doesn’t quite make it a breakfast for me. I wonder if I could freeze this to make a sorbet? It’s nice and tangy.

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7) Berry Green Smoothie from Damn Delicious

I made: 1/2 recipe

Variation: none

Thoughts: I thought this one had promise. It sounded so good!

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But it came out so clumpy. I had to add more water to make it a smoothie… Don’t be turned off from the Damn Delicious blog, though. I’ve made plenty of her recipes before with success. This was just a fail for me. I took a Larabar to work instead.

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8) Avocado Banana from Bravo for Paleo

I made: whole recipe

Variation: small banana, 1/4 cup water

Thoughts: I definitely tasted the avocado in this one, perhaps because I used a smaller banana. After adding the first three ingredients, I started the food processor and slowly added water, ending after about 1/4 cup.

It still tasted very much like avocado, maybe too much. I’m not sure I want to drink guac in the a.m. If I made this again, I’d probably use a bigger banana or add a little honey for sweetness. But I’m really thinking I should stick to spreading an avocado on toast for breakfast instead of adding it to my smoothies.

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 9) – Creamy Paleo Chocolate MilkShake from Oatmeal with a Fork

I made: 1/2 recipe.

Variation: none

Thoughts: I don’t know what I was thinking! I should have done a full recipe for this one. A half recipe doesn’t make much. As suspected, the dates did not get pulverized enough in my food processor. I even chopped them a bit by hand first. They would have mellowed the flavor, of which the cocoa was surprisingly strong. I would not make this one again, if only for the sheer number of ingredients.

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10) – Avocado Smoothie from Chocolate Covered Katie

I made: 1/2 recipe

Variation: I added maple syrup as my sweetener.

Thoughts: I thought I would hate this one, but I loved it! However, I would do a whole recipe next time. Sure, you can call this an avocado smoothie, but it’s so smooth and creamy that I’d rather call it avocado milk. I don’t like plain milk, so this is a winner for me! I love the added vanilla, too.

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So there you have it! I liked the Raspberry Grapefruit Smoothie and the Avocado Smoothie the best this week. But would I make them again? Probably only if I had all of the ingredients on hand. My go-to Magic Green Smoothie is still just the easiest in that regard. I seriously might try to make sorbet out of that first one, though… 😉

Which of these smoothies would you most like to try?

Cheers~
Carrie

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