Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

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Fall is here and time for pumpkins, spice, and everything nice!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup organic canned pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 1 pitted date
  • 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
 and 1/8 tsp nutmeg)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ cup ice cubes
  • cinnamon stick

(optional: Scoop of a clean vanilla protein powder )

Directions
Blend all ingredients until smooth and top with cinnamon. Add a cinnamon stick and enjoy!

Always feel free to add greens, super foods, or protein powder of choice.

Having a Vitamix makes whipping up smoothies so easy, delicious, and quick!

 

4 Tasty Watermelon Recipes

This Month’s Superfood: Watermelon!

Watermelon is one of my favorite summer fruits because it hydrates, packs some powerful nutrients AND detoxifies our bodies! What makes watermelon a Superfood?

• It’s rich in vitamins A and C

• Provides an excellent source of beta-carotene and lycopene. Lycopene is what gives watermelon its deep red coloring; but the nutrient is also well-known as a cancer-fighting agent. It helps keep cell membranes strong, which in turn helps keep toxins from entering cells.

• Safeguards our eyes/vision. Watermelon contains lutein and zeaxanthin, potent antioxidants that are found naturally in our eyes. Researchers believe that the combination of these two antioxidants protects against several types of ultraviolet rays and many age-related eye diseases, including cataracts.

• Protects against a variety of cancers, including breast, prostate, colon, and lung, among others.

• Reduces inflammation and water retention; is a natural anti-depressant; boosts the immune system, and aids in weight loss.

• But wait, there’s more! You can even use the rind and the black seeds in your juicing! The rind is an excellent source of chlorophyll and the seeds are known to help relax the body, lower blood pressure and provide immune-boosting zinc and iron! (Make sure you rinse the rind very well before using.) This is truly a holistic, healing fruit!

That’s just about everything you ever wanted to know about watermelons … except: how do you determine from the outside how to pick out a watermelon that’s sweet and ripe on the inside? It’s easy if you know what to look for!

• First, choose a watermelon that feels heavy for its size. The water content of the melon increases as it ripens, and water adds weight.

• Next, examine the rind carefully, both top and bottom. The rind should be smooth and the top should be sort of dull compared to the rest of the rind. The bottom, which is where the watermelon rested on the ground as it was growing, should be a creamy yellow. If it is white or green, it’s probably not ripe yet.

• You can thump the watermelon if you like, but not everyone agrees that this helps determine ripeness. Those who do thump say to listen for a deep, hollow, bass sound rather than a shallow, higher sound.

Watermelon & Feta Salad with Serrano Chile Vinaigrette

watermelon_salad

 

From Athens, Georgia chef, Hugh Acheson

Serves 6

Ingredients
½ to 1 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 small shallot, minced
1 Serrano chili pepper, stemmed and sliced or chopped
Salt to taste
1 small seedless watermelon
1/3 lb block of feta cheese, sliced into 1/8″ slices (about 12 slices) *optional
1 bunch arugula, washed and drained

Directions
In a jar or salad bottle with a tight-fitting lid, combine olive oil, lime juice, champagne vinegar, thyme, shallot, and Serrano pepper. Shake well. Season dressing with salt to taste; chill in refrigerator. Meanwhile, slice watermelon into 3″ squares, about ¼-inch thick. On small salad plates, begin to assemble each serving of the salad. To assemble, place one slice of watermelon on the plate; next, layer one slice of feta on top of the first watermelon slice. Repeat, layering another watermelon slice and then one more feta slice. End with a final watermelon slice on top. Place about one handful of arugula on the plate, encircling the stacked watermelon/feta. Drizzle the stack and the arugula with the vinaigrette and garnish with a few slices of Serrano pepper. Chill for 15 minutes or serve immediately.

*For those of you who don’t eat dairy, the salad is also delicious without the feta.

Watermelon Gazpacho
From Eating Well Magazine Serves 6

watermelon_gazpacho

Ingredients

8 cups finely diced seedless watermelon, (about 6 pounds)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbsp red-wine vinegar
2 Tbsp minced shallot
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp sea salt or to taste

Directions
Mix watermelon, cucumber, bell pepper, basil, parsley, vinegar, shallot, oil and salt in a large bowl. Puree 3 cups of the mixture in a blender or food processor to the desired smoothness; transfer to another large bowl. Puree another 3 cups and add to the bowl. Stir in the remaining diced mixture. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Watermelon-Kiwi Popsicles
From Island Jane Magazine andNourishingMeals.com
Try these healthy popsicles and feel like a kid again!

Watermelon_popsicles_picture

Ingredients

3 cups watermelon puree (about 1/4 to 1/2 a watermelon)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 peach or nectarine, diced small
1 handful of fresh cherries, pitted and chopped

Directions
Cut the watermelon into chunks and then puree it in a blender until smooth. Set aside. Set out a dozen popsicle molds and make sure they are sturdy (you may need additional or fewer molds, depending on their size). Fill each mold with the chopped fresh fruit. Add a slice of kiwi and a few blueberries to each mold. Then pour in the watermelon puree until each mold is full to the top. Place a popsicle stick into each filled mold. Place the molds in your freezer (again ensuring that they are sturdy) and freeze for 6 to 8 hours. To release popsicle, run the mold under warm water for a few seconds and pull each one out.

Watermelon Refresher

watermelon_cucumber_refesher

Ingredients

1 cup watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 peeled and sliced cucumber
5 mint leaves
½ cup ice

Directions
Mix all ingredients in a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix ). Blend on low 30 seconds, then on high until smooth, about 30 seconds more. Pour into individual glasses and garnish each glass with a mint leaf. Serve cold.

 

watermelon

 

5 Surprising Beauty Foods

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5 Surprising Beauty Foods

All fresh fruits and vegetables contain magical powers when it comes to shiny hair, clear skin, and strong nails. However, the ones I’ve chosen below are perhaps not as well known for their powerful beauty benefits. Try and include these foods into your diet if you want to look your best without the need for botox or other unnatural remedies.

  1. Red Peppers. All red and orange colored foods contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Red peppers are particularly beautifying due to the minerals A, C, and K. Vitamins A and C can help prevent cell damage that leads to premature ageing, and they can also reduce inflammation, which can cause a puffy-looking face. Pepper also has Vitamin K, which is an excellent property for protecting our cells from damage.
  2. Spinach. All leafy greens are actually very powerful in terms of being a beauty food because of the chlorophyll they contain. There are also loads of other phytochemicals and fiber in spinach that help build blood that is super clean and which will show through in your skin.
  3. Turmeric. This yellow-colored, Indian spice has a load of powerful antioxidant qualities. Turmeric assists in protecting our cells from free radical damage and also contributes towards cleaning up metabolic waste in our systems. It is also great as a liver flusher to get rid of any poisons and chemicals which are stored there.
  4. Pumpkin Seeds. Wow, these really are powerful. What don’t pumpkin seeds have in them?! The humble pumpkin seed contains high levels of zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B, C, and E. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, all essential for healthy cell maintenance. Make a handful of pumpkin seeds a regular part of your diet, and you will definitely notice a change in your appearance.
  5. Parsley. Next time your plate is garnished with parsley, don’t push it aside. This is a pretty powerful herb when it comes to anti-aging, as well as purifying and cleansing the body. It contains vitamins A and C as well as anti-oxidizing flavonoids that protect our cells from free radical damage. Parsley also helps to purify the blood, kill bacteria, aid digestion, and cleanse toxins from the liver.

The best thing is that all these foods are easy to incorporate into your diet. Add turmeric to juice and combine the other foods with some other fixings to make a great, beautifying salad. Who said that beauty was hard to keep? Or make a simple turmeric tea as a night cap.

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Speaking of beauty, I also added a new favorite thing to my site, Natural Happiness Skincare. All of these products are amazing but my favorite is the lotion bar. It is mosquito season in Minnesota now so try the bug bar for your family. It is not just about watching the chemicals we eat in our foods, it is about being aware of what we are putting on our body and believe me, this STUFF rocks! Plus, it is made within 15 miles of my house. Great gifts and fabulous for the whole family.

Or for another favorite line of skincare shop here

Do you incorporate any of these foods into your diet? Or have you tried Natural Happiness Skincare? Please answer below.

Strawberry Bang Smoothie

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Strawberry Bang Smoothie

  •  1 Cup Coconut Milk
  •  1 Cup Cultured Coconut Milk (found by the kefir in the refrigerated section)
  •  1 Cup frozen Strawberries
  • 1 Cup Chopped Spinach
  • 1 Tbsp Flax
  • optional: scoop of high quality protein powder

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy! (2 servings)

I love to start my day with a smoothie. Get creative with your ingredients. Change up your greens, change up your milks, super foods, and fruit to create a smoothie perfect for you.

Chia Seeds, benefits and recipes

Chia seeds

The Chia seed is an ancient SuperFood used by Aztec and Mayan warriors to increase their energy and stamina, way back in 3500 B.C. Chia is the highest plant-based source of Omega-3s, fiber and protein. Many health experts agree that these tiny seeds are the next big thing in nutrition. In addition to protein and Omega-3s, they are packed with protein, healthy oils, fiber, disease-fighting minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. The Chia seed also has three times more calcium than milk, for an excellent non-dairy source of this bone-building nutrient.

Chia seeds can be added to just about any recipe, providing extra nutrition without changing the taste or texture. When you add chia seeds to liquid, they form a gel and absorb ten times their weight in water, making it an excellent source of hydration. The seeds take on the flavors of whatever food you mix it with.

I try to eat Chia seeds every day, mixing a tablespoon or two into oatmeal, smoothies and soups, or sprinkling it on top of salads.

This month’s SuperFood at a glance; Chia seeds are:

• A complete protein with all of the essential amino acids intact. This is a great protein source!

• A super source of Omega 3 fatty acids (the same Omega-3s that we get from fish oil and flax.) Omega 3 fatty acids are well-known for controlling inflammation in your system.

• High in fiber, which helps pull toxins from the digestive system. Fiber also keeps things “moving” and makes you feel fuller, longer.

• Rich in antioxidants (more than blueberries!) which protect your cells and tissues and keep you looking and feeling YOUNG!

• A source of sustained energy and known to help relieve inflammation in the body.

• Research shows that the concentrated amount of antioxidants and Omega-3s in Chia seeds may help improve brain clarity, concentration and memory.

Drea’s Recipe Corner
Banana Nut Loaf
Makes one loafbanana_bread

Ingredients
5 large over-ripe bananas
1 cup almonds
2 cups pecans
1 cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour
1/2 cup of maple syrup
3 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp cinnamon

Directions
Start by pre-heating the oven to 300 degrees . Then blend the almonds and pecans in a food processor so that they form a flour-like consistency; this should take about 30 seconds. Once the mixture is smooth, add it to a mixing bowl with the buckwheat flour, maple syrup, chia seeds, and cinnamon, mixing them all together. Next, mash the bananas together util smooth before stirring them into the flour/nut mixture; at this point the mixture should be nice and sticky. Grease a loaf tin with coconut oil and then pour in the mix and allow it to bake for about an hour. Slice and store in snack-size freezer bags for the perfect travel treat! They will defrost naturally in your carry-on or backpack!

Dirt Balls
From Dr. Mark Hyman’s, The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook

dirt_balls

Makes12

Ingredients
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup dates
1/4 cup cacao powder
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 Tbsp water
1/4 cup coconut flakes

Directions
Combine the cashews and oats in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are as fine as breadcrumbs. Add all remaining ingredients, except coconut, and process until it forms a large ball. Roll out 12 equal balls and pour the coconut flakes out onto a large plate. Roll each ball in the coconut until completely covered. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Store leftover Dirt Balls in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Homemade Trail Mix Bars

trailmix

Ingredients
3 cups puffed whole-grain cereal (e.g., puffed wheat or Kashi)
1/2 cup chopped nuts or seeds (or a combination)
1/2 cup (or up to 3/4 cup) chopped dried fruit such as cranberries or blueberries (or a combination, NO added sugar)
3 Tbsp ground chia seeds
1/3 cup creamy nut or seed butter (e.g. cashew, almond – NO added sugar)
1/2 cup raw honey (OR brown rice syrup, light molasses, sorghum, or pure maple syrup)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9-inch square metal baking pan foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl mix the cereal, nuts, dried fruit and (optional) flaxseed; set aside. Place the nut butter and honey in small heavy saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly for about 1 minute until bubbly and smooth. Pour hot mixture over cereal mixture in bowl, stir to blend (mix well to coat all of the cereal). Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Using a large square of wax paper or foil, firmly press mixture down into pan to firmly compact. Bake until just golden around edges, about 10 minutes. Cool completely. Remove bars using foil liner and cut into 16 bars or squares. Wrap in tin foil or plastic wrap and store in zip bags for travel. Makes 16 servings.

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)

 

 

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.

Green Smoothie

I love blending or juicing my greens. Leafy greens are the number one food you can add to your diet to improve your health. The are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and are very low in calories. They can help protect you from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers.

Pineapple tastes so good right now and has been a great price. I have been cutting it up and freezing it for my smoothies. Always include the core, it contains bromalain which can help reduce inflammation and pain.

Mason jars are a great way to store your smoothies for the day if you are not going to drink it all. Try to not have much air in there so it does not oxidize and drink it within a day or so. Fresh is best! Who had greens today?

I would normally would add lemon to this 🙂

Remember if you need or want a Vitamix, please visit http://www.vitamix.com and enter 06-008336 to get free shipping and to be entered into my next drawing.  Let me know if you have questions. You will fall in love with it (and greens).

Creamy Kiwi Cado Smoothie

Creamy Kiwi Cado Smoothie
Another yummy smoothie! Love liquid love nutrition. I went a little overboard with kiwis at Costco so I had peeled and froze them before vacation.  Although my 17 year old was eating them faster then I could peel. I hate to see fresh food go to waste so my freezer is stocked with all of my greens and fruit from before vacation and is prepped and smoothie ready. 

1 1/2 cups coconut water (or try coconut or almond milk)
1 cup spinach (or try kale)
2 kiwis peeled (I peeled and froze my kiwis)
1/2 avocado

Blend and enjoy! 

optional add ins:
ice, if not using anything frozen
hemp seeds
chia seeds
flax seeds
or protein powder