Green Breakfast Smoothie

There are many variations to the smoothie and juice trend called the “green monster.”  It is a tasty way to get your greens into your diet and your childrens diet.  This weekend I made a green drink for my nieces and they loved it! They went home and told their mom how much they need a Vitamix blender now.  It is so important to teach are youth about good nutrition and healthy eating for our bodys to thrive not about deprivation or starvation to be a certain size.  I love these girls so much and want them to grow up loving themselves for who they are and I want them to take care of their bodies the best they can by staying active and eating healthy so they can live a long, happy, and healthy life.

I have this every morning for breakfast now and I absolutely love it.  If you like peanut butter and banana combo, you will too.  I promise you can’t taste the spinach.

Green Breakfast Smoothie

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 frozen banana

2 handfuls of fresh organic spinach

2 tablespoons of PB2  or if you prefer peanut butter that works too

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

Blend in a high speed blender such as a vitamix until smooth (about 45 seconds)

 

 

Beets, Benefits and Recipes

Since I am running this half marathon in a couple of weeks, I have decided to start reading runners world.  I came across an article on beets.  Beets are full of fiber, magnesium, folate, and potassium.  They also contain betacyanin which is an antioxidant that can reduce inflammation. Other added benefits are: natural aphrodisiac, they cleanse the body, help your mental health, high source of energy.  I have been adding new whole foods and superfoods into my diet since start nutrition school so I decided to give beets a try.

A couple of months ago, I ordered a beet salad for the first time and realized that I liked them. I had never boughten a beet before so this was going to be a first.  I have now tried a couple recipes with beets and really enjoyed them.

The first thing I made was a smoothie in my Vitamix blender with the beets.  I have to say I was a little bit nervous trying this.  I ended up really enjoying this smoothie and all of the nutrients it contains.

Berry Beet Smoothie

2  handfuls of organic spinach

1 beet chopped

2 apples chopped

1 carrot

1 cup raspberries

 

Blend in a high speed blender for 45 seconds until smooth.  Add water if you want thinner consistency.

 

Drink and enjoy all of the health benefits

I roast veggies a lot but had never added beets to it.  You can use whatever veggies you have on hand and any amount you want.  If you do a lot at a time make sure you use two pans so they can roast instead of steam.

Roasted Veggies with Beets

portabella mushroom slices

1 beet chopped and parboiled

baby carrots

fresh garlic cloves

onion slices

olive oil

salt and pepper (or any seasoning you enjoy)

Roast in oven at 425 for 15 to 20 minutes until tender and caramelized.

 

Avocados for Dessert?

Avocados sometimes get a bad rap for being high in calories and high in fat.  Not all fat is bad for you. We all need to get our good fats in each day. The monounsaturated fat in an avocado is healthy for you.  They can lessen your LDL (bad cholesterol).  Oleic acid is the primary fatty acid in avocados and it has been shown to improve cardiovascular health.  Avocados are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are also are packed with potassium and vitamins A,C,E, K and B6.

AVOCADO

This does not mean you get to eat unlimited amounts.  As with any foods, eat these in moderation. Here are a few ways I incorporate avocados into my diet aside from guacamole:

Raspberry Lime Sorbet

1 large lime peeled

1 ripe avocado, peeled and pit removed

1 packet of stevia, agave, or sweetener of your choice

1/2 fresh or frozen raspberries

1 cup ice

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender such as vitamix or nutribullet starting at level 1 and go up to 10.  In my vitamix this took about 45 seconds.  Until it looks like sorbet or soft serve consistency.  Top with lime zest and extra raspberries.  Makes 1 large or 2 small servings.

This is a yummy, clean, dairy free dessert.

Ever since I ordered my Vitamix, it has been in constant use and I can’t imagine life without it.  I am sure these recipes will work fine in any high speed blender.  We have been doing a lot of green drinks here and this one was pretty creamy and delicious.

You can always add what you have and make it your own but this made four smoothies for us.

Green Smoothie

1 large handful of Spinach

1/2 cup to 1 cup water

1 avocado

2 green apples

2 kiwi

1/2 cucumber

1 TBSP Chia seeds

Blend in high speed blender starting at level one and go up to ten.  Add more water for desired consistency.

 

It tasted just like a kiwi!

 

Lime/lemon Sorbet


1 large lime or lemon peeled

1 ripe avocado

1 cup ice

1 packet of stevia or sweetener of your choice

lime or lemon zest for garnish

 

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender starting on level one and slowly go up to ten.  Garnish with zest.  I saw this recipe on Holli Thompson’s Blog and couldn’t wait to try it.  I fell in love.  Makes 2 servings.

 

I am so amazed at the response I got yesterday on Facebook.  250 Likes on the first day? My goal was 30.  I am so grateful to all of you.  I was going to wait until fall to publish it and share it but I have been emailing and texting recipes and ideas to too many people and this is a better way. This is  a work in progress so bare with me.  Keep watching this fall to see what I will have to offer.

 

Chia seeds/Pumpkin Chia pudding

Chia seeds are everywhere now and have so many amazing health benefits.  Until a year ago, I only associated chia seeds with Chia Pets.  Now I include them in my diet daily.  The seed contains one of the highest plant forms of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and are a complete source of carbohydrate, protein, fat, and fiber. Chia seeds have so many benefits including:

~they have been known to help reduce blood pressure

~stabilize blood sugar

~can give you energy

~anti-imflammatory properties

~weight loss

~detoxification

When added to liquid, they form a gel. The seeds can soak up to 9 times their weight in water.  You can either make a gel to add to recipes or water or use them as is since they are easily digested.

I add a TBSP to a big glass of water and fresh lemon squeezed into it. I add it to my yogurt, my smoothies, cereal, my overnight oats,or sprinkled on stir-fry.  No matter how I eat it, I aim for 1 TBSP a day.

I love desserts. When you try to eat a clean healthy diet, desserts often don’t fit into it. I was craving pumpkin pie so I made a pumpkin chia pudding.  I really enjoyed it.

Pumpkin chia Pudding with Honey Noosa topping

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/4 cup canned pumkin

1 TBSP honey

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice


Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Cover and refridgerate for at least 3 hours.  Top it with a TBSP or two of honey Noosa yogurt and sprinkle with walnuts and a few dried cranberries.  Should keep for a few days in your refridgerator.

 

Overnight Oats and Berrys with Chia seeds


You will often find these overnight oats or a variation of them in my refridgerator.  They are easy, tasty, nutritious, and keep you full for along time.

I like to layer them in mason jars and make a couple at a time.  You can try different berries or pumpkin instead of the blueberries.

1/4 cup of dry quick oats

1/2 TBSP of Chia seeds

1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/4 sliced banana

1/2 cup blueberries

cinnamon to taste

optional sweetener if you need it or want it.  I leave it out.

Layer in a mason jar and refridgerate overnight.  Shake and open and enjoy. I top mine with walnuts but granola or any nut would work if you like crunch.

“Souper” Warm and “souper” easy Soups

It has been below zero for the past 3 days in Minnesota with no warm up in sight.  Instead of making the usual smoothies and juices in my new Vitamix, I decided to try some easy comforting soups.  When I watched the Vita-mix infomercial, I had a hard time believing you could create a hot home made soup in a blender in five minutes.  I had to try it to believe it and boy was I amazed with the results.  The first soup I tried was Chicken Black Bean Soup and the second was a Cream of asparagus (minus the cream). Both soups are adaptations of versions of recipes that come with the Vita-mix but I changed them quite a bit. Both “souper” healthy and full of nutrients. Remember that recipes are just the technique and you can personalize them to what ingredients you have on hand or with what you like.  They also both are gluten free and dairy free and could be made vegetarian.

Chicken and Black Bean Soup

1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 roma tomato, halved

1 medium carrot, halved

1 stalk celery, halved

1 thin slice onion

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 thin slice yellow squash

1 thin slice red bell pepper

1 tin slice cabbage or handful of chopped

1 white mushroom

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp taco seasoning (I prefer Trader Joes but any will do)

dash cumin

 

Add all ingredients in a high speed blender and make sure to secure the lid (I use the Vitamix blender for this).  Starting on level one and slowly increase to level 10.  Blend at level ten for five minutes until it is hot and steamy.

Reduce back down to level one and add in optional ingredients through lid plug and blend for additional 10 seconds.

Optional ingredients

1/2 cup cooked chicken breast, chunked

1/4 cup rinsed black beans

1/4 cup corn

1/4 cup black olives

1/4 cup corn

fresh cilantro

jalapeno to desired heat

 

Enjoy!

 

I thought this soup was so good so I brought my sister Anje a sample and she really enjoyed it too.  It is hard to believe it is this easy to make and this quick.  If you aren’t gluten free or dairy free, you can top it with tortilla chips, sour cream, and shredded cheese.

Cream of Asparagus Soup (Dairy Free)


Base

1 1/2 pounds of asparagus spears steamed or cooked until tender (I use Trader Joes frozen grilled spears for this) Save 1/2 cup of the tips for garnishing the soup

1 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth

1/8 tsp pepper

1/8 tsp salt

1 garlic clove

1 stalk of celery, cut

1 slice onion

Add ins

1 cup cooked lobster or crab, thawed ( I used Trader Joe’s Langostino Tails)

1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (if you eat dairy, you can add cream instead)

1/2 cup reserved asparagus tips

Mix soup base in the Vitamix starting with level 1 and slowly increasing to level 10. Blend on 10 for 5 minutes.  Turn down to level and add in the almond milk though the lid plug.  Put 1/2 cup of lobster and 1/4 cup asparagus tips in 2 bowls.  Top with hot soup.  If you eat dairy, top with fresh parmesan cheese.  I used shredded almond cheese for mine.  It is a healthy alternative to cheese.

 


The Trader Joe’s Langostino Tails (70 calories, 16 grams protein,  and 0.5 grams of fat) and Asparagus

 

The Almond Cheese (only 50 calories per ounce, 7 gram protein, and 1 gram of fat)

 

I warmed myself up with these soups but now I need the MN weather to warm up also.  I can only take these temps for so long.

Healthy Orange Julius Smoothie

For the past month of training for the half marathon, I have chose to eat a pretty clean diet.  I usually eat pretty healthy anyway but I have wanted just to eat real whole foods so that included a diet of mostly fruits, veggies, lean meats, and nuts. I have had a few off days here and there but have mostly been happy sticking to this and have felt great.  It has been almost 30 days of no caffeine and this morning I really could have used a cup.  We were on the road for hockey (awesome hockey games) so sleeping in a hotel and eating not the best food for me after eating so clean really caught up to me.  My stomach is very upset, I have bags under my eyes, and I am so tired.  It is amazing to me how foods can make you feel this way and yet most people still choose to eat a diet full of junk.

I have been craving my green drinks, fruits, and vegetables all weekend.  When we got home tonight, we all wanted something sweet but were still pretty full from dinner.  I was also so thirsty from all the sodium and was craving oranges so I decided to create a healthy version of an old favorite.  We used to make orange julius smoothies growing up with frozen orange juice concentrate, vanilla, ice, and milk.  We also would order them at the mall whenever we were shopping when I was a little girl.  Now I like to recreate old favorites with healthy ingredients.  The results were great.  My son Jackson loved it as well as my husband and I.

Healthy Orange Julius Smoothie

3 oranges

1 whole carrot or about 8 baby carrots

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 cup 10 1 1/2 cups of ice

1 dash of vanilla (optional)

Optional : scoop of high quality protein powder

 

Put peeled oranges, vanilla almond milk, dash of vanilla, and carrots in a high speed blender.  Blend until mixed and then add ice.  Blend on high until ice is blended to desired consistency.  about 45 seconds total.

 

Pour into mugs and enjoy.  So refreshing! This made 3 servings this size for us but could make about 4 1 cup servings.  Perfect sweet healthy treat to end this not so healthy weekend.  One last week of training before the big day.  This will be a nice easy week of working out. I cant wait to wake up, make a green smoothie, get a nice easy run in, and get a massage.  I know I didn’t train as much as I would have liked but I am anxious to see how it goes.

Dry Brushing and Epsom Salt Bath

Two of my favorite things to do as a part of my self care routine is dry brushing my skin and soaking in epsom salts. With everyone trying to detox this time of year, both of these can be an important part of your routine. Our skin is the largest elimination organ and will be the first place to show signs of imbalance or toxicity is in your body. External pollution and dead skin cells can build up and clog pores which can prevent your skin from effectively releasing the toxins. If the toxins can’t be released through the skin, they can be stored as fat or they are entered back into our blood supply.

Dry Brushing
I was first introduced to dry brushing at a spa 10 years ago on a trip.  I loved it and thought I would do it every day but of course I didn’t stick to the routine once I got back home.  At another spa a few years ago, the massage therapist dry brushed me before my treatment and gave me the brush and again told me all of the great benefits.  I once again didn’t stick to it when I got home.  Now that I started school, the topic came up again about the importance of dry brushing and I decided it is time to make it part of my daily routine.  It feels great and doesn’t take too much time at all.  Dry brushing not only makes your skin look and feel great, but it provides you with a number of health benefits.

*It can reduce cellulite-this will take dedication and time to see results so hang in there.

*It stimulates blood and lymphatic flow

*great exfoliation for the skin by reducing dead skin cells

*It helps your skin absorb nutrients

*Rejuvenates the nervous system

*It excellerates toxin elimination

*promotes tighter skin

Buy a long handle natural bristle brush.  Mine detaches from the handle for easier use and the handle comes in handy for my back.

You always want to dry brush your skin while it is dry.  Before your shower or bath works great.  Make sure you keep your brush dry as well.

Always start at your feet and brush towards your heart.  Work on areas with cellulite a little longer.

At the spa I was at this week she told me to do long strokes on the long bones and gentle circular motion at the joints. She also said that it made such a huge impact on tightening her skin on her stomach after having her baby.

On the tummy do a sunshine radiating out motion or follow your digestive track.

Be gentle on sensitive areas and avoid any area with a rash or broken skin.

Try to spend 5-10 minutes every day dry brushing or even twice a day if you can and see how you feel.  Make it a habit. It is so important to nurture your body.

I like to follow up my dry brushing with a soak in epsom salts.

Epsom Salt Bath

Soaking in an epsom salt bath feels great and has many benefits as well.  It is an easy way to increase the body’s magnesium because it is readily absorbed through the skin.  Magnesium plays an important role in our body like muscle control, energy production, and elimination of harmful toxins. Epsoms salts can also help soften your skin. It also is very helpful and soothing to sore muscles, aches, and pains.

~add 2 cups of epsom salt to your warm bath (I love the  Dr. Teals Lavender at night and Relax and Relief for when I am not feeling well or really sore)

~do not add soap to get all of the benefits

~soak for 15 to 20 minutes

~aim for 2 to 3 epsoms baths a week if you can

I know everyone always says they are too busy to take baths and have no time for themselves.  It is so important to take care of you or the you you are giving to everyone is not healthy and happy. You are worth it and everything you need to do or get done will be there when you are done.

*A note of caution, Do not take an epsom salt bath if you are pregnant, have diabetes, have high blood pressure, or have a  heart or kidney condition.  This information is for general references only.  Always speak to your doctor before starting any new diet or treatment.

Baked sweet potato fries

Baked sweet potato fries

I love sweet potatoes any way but making them as fries is my favorite!  So easy and very tasty,

2 sweet potatoes

1 tbsp coconut oil

sea salt

Trader Joes 21 season salute

Cut potatoes into fries.  Try to make them all close to the same size.  Toss in oil and season them to your liking.

Spread evenly on two pans.  You want to spread them out so they don’t steam each other.

Preheat oven to 425 (I use convection)

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes

Serve immediately.

Change to whatever seasonings you like.

Tuscan Lentil Soup

We are in the middle of a snow storm in Minnesota so I thought it would be great day to make soup.  Since it is a blizzard out there and they have taken the plows off the road, I had to create a soup with what I had on hand.  The final result was so tasty!  I will make this again for sure.  As with most recipes, use what you have on like, it doesn’t have to be exact.

Tuscan Lentil Soup


2 1/2 cups of steamed lentils  (you can make your own or I used ready to eat Trader Joes Steamed lentils)

1 TBSP olive oil (I used a tuscan olive oil)

1/2 red pepper, chopped

1/2 to 1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup to 1 cup celery

1/2 cup  to one cup carrots

6 cups chicken stock or broth

1 14.5 oz can of organic diced tomatoes

1/4 cup spaghetti sauce

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp garlic pepper ( I used Tastefully Simple)

red pepper flakes to taste (I used a few sprinkles)

2 garlic cloves chopped

2 gluten free chicken sausages cooked and chopped (leave out if you want it vegetarian)

fresh shaved parmesan to top

fresh basil or parsley to garnish

 

Saute the celery, red bell pepper, carrots, and onions until tender in olive oil.

Add the lentils, broth, chicken sausage, tomatoes, sauce, seasonings, and garlic cloves.  Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer for 30 minutes.  I think the longer soup sits, the better it tastes. Top with parmesan and fresh basil or parsley and serve.

 

 

So tasty!

I was so so excited to find this great time saver at Trader Joes.  Steamed Lentils that are ready to eat.  They are in the produce section at the store and contain just lentils and seasonings.  So easy and a great source of Fiber, protein, and iron.

Sweet Balsamic Grape Tomatoes and Tuna Salad lettuce Wrap

Do you ever have those nights when you are running around and your whole family is at different activities and eating at different times?  I know this happens all the time to people.  That is why it is important to always have fresh healthy ingredients on hand so you can whip something up quick!  This was the case for us last night.  I didn’t get home until late and I was starving.  Instead of grabbing something processed and quick, I knew I could make something good for me with ingredients that I had on hand.  I have never been a huge fan of tuna but it is easy, fast, low in calories, a natural source of omega 3, and full of protein.  Tuna salad is usually full of mayo but I used an avocado to bind the ingredients and the results were fabulous! This tomato dish recipe was adapted from a recipe in Gourmet Nutrition. I always have to change a few things when I read recipes or at least adapt them to what I have on hand.  I will for sure be making this one again.  I already have a few ideas in mind for it and how to turn it into a main dish.

Sweet Balsamic Grape Tomatoes (adapted from Gourmet Nutrition)

1 Tbsp olive oil (I used tuscan and herb olive oil)

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp pure honey (I used organic)

Cherry tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes)

1/4 cup pine nuts (I used a little less than that)

Salt (I used Himalayan pink salt)

pepper

Optional~I also sprinkled it with parsley when I was done. I would have preferred basil but I did not have any.

 

Heat your pan to medium heat.  Add oil, vinegar, honey, tomatoes, pine nuts,and salt and pepper. Saute until hot until tomatoes are hot to the touch.  Remove tomatoes and set aside, leaving the pine nuts and sauce to thicken.  Pour thickened sauce over tomatoes and serve.

 

sprinkle with fresh basil or parsley

Veggie Tuna Salad

1 2.6 oz bag of tuna in water (you could use 2)

1 cup of broccoli slaw

a few broocoli small florets

1/4 of a red pepper chopped

1/4 of a cucumber chopped

1 Tbsp finely chopped onion

1 fresh avocado

1 Tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon jiuce

salt to taste

pepper to taste

paprika to taste

romaine lettuce leaves

Mix the tuna and the veggies all together in a bowl.  Add the avocado and mash with a fork.  Squeeze the lemon juice in and add seasonings to taste.  Toss it all together and serve in a lettuce leaf.  You could also serve on whole grain toast, pita, or whole grain wrap.

Cooking quick and healthy meals does not require a lot of cooking skills or time.  Just start practicing throwing different ingredients together and see what you come up with.  Prep and shop on weekends if that helps.