Blueberry Pear Salad with Lemon Honey-Mustard Vinagrette

I’m a Maine girl, which means that a love of blueberries runs in my blood. When I was a kid during summer we would visit my grandparents at their summer home on Gotts Island, off the coast of Maine. Tons of blueberries grew wild all over the island. Needless to say, when picking them, I probably ate one for every berry that went in the bucket.

As you can see from the photo it gets really foggy on Gotts Island. One time, on a recent visit back, my husband and I thought it would be fun to go for a walk in the fog at night. It was so thick we lost sight of the house after just a few steps! Just a few yards away and the fog was so thick we weren’t sure which direction the house was in any more! I started to worry that we would get really lost, or fall in a ditch, or worse, into the ocean! So, we turned around and groped cautiously forward till we found our way back inside. So much for our little fog-walk adventure. lol! 😂

This salad pairs my love for the blue berry with some fresh greens and fruits, topped with a versatile dressing that compliments any salad with fruit. The pears swap out well with some canned apricots or fresh figs. Lately, I’m into the cute Persian cucumbers with have a more delicate flavor and crunch.

Recipe: Makes 2 dinner sized salads or 4 small side salads. Takes about 20 minutes.

Salad:

  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 half cup chopped cucumber
  • Big handful of blueberries!
  • 1 fresh pear or 1 can of pears, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • Feta or Goat cheese to sprinkle on top; Optional: sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 heaping tables Dijon mustard
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of honey or maple syrup
  • Season with salt and pepper

Instructions: Mix up all the dressing ingredients in a large measuring cup, whisk together, and set aside. Taste test your dressing and add more lemon, or honey, or mustard to suit your taste. Assemble your salad greens first, chopped ingredients on top. Whisk dressing once more before drizzling on top.

French Tuna Fish Salad

I grew up eating tuna fish sandwiches with mayo in the tuna and had no idea there was any other way to prepare tuna. As I became more health conscious I figured there had to be another way and began to look for it. One day I stumbled across a recipe for a gourmet French tuna fish sandwich.

It was semi-complicated sub sandwich involving marinading a baguette or some such thing. 🤔 I knew right away, with all the carbs and complication, that it wasn’t for me, but what I took away from it was using lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil to flavor the tuna. Such a simple dressing and the entire salad just bursts with light zesty flavor and, unlike that sandwich, it’s easy to make. 🍋😋

Kalamata olives pair so well with the tuna and lemon in here. I’m absolutely addicted to kalamatas. I used to think I didn’t like olives and then I had a Kalamata and it was so completely different and so much better that it bears almost no resemblance to the tiny black rings in cans that they insist upon calling black olives. And, you guessed it, with all the olives in this salad, you just had to know, it goes great with a glass of wine. It is, after all, a freeeench saalaaad, n’est pas? (😆 Sorry! Couldn’t resist the accent, stopping now.) Might I recommend a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc?

There are olives and then there are Kalamatas.

For my vegan friends out there, this salad shares quite a few ingredients with the vegan chickpea of the sea, tuna substitute, like this tasty catch from Veganista. So, to make this salad vegan, begin by crafting a batch of chickpea tuna and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

This is a warm salad, which makes it great for winter but the bright flavor makes it a winner for summer too. The only ingredient in it that is cooked is the green beans, which are sautéed in a pan with some olive oil. My pups 🐶 love it when I make this salad because they get what we call a “second dinner” of squeezed tuna juice over a little bit of kibble.

Recipe: Makes 2 large servings or 4 small ones. Takes about 20 minutes to make.

  • 2 cans tuna (in water, not oil)
  • Cup or so of Green Beans, fresh or frozen (enough to fill the bottom of your frying pan)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1/4 cup rough chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 10 chopped Kalamata Olives
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (or juice of one lemon)

Instructions:

Dump all the green beans into a frying pan with some olive oil and sauté on medium high heat until lightly browned in places. If you are using fresh green beans don’t forget to chop the ends and stems off.

Chop up the red onion, olives, and basil, and put to the side. If you don’t have any fresh basil on hand, just spinkle in a bit more Herbs de Provence.

While the green beans are cooking, get a large bowl out and start putting together the rest of the salad. Drain the liquid from the tuna cans and scrape the tuna out into the big bowl. Mash up the tuna cake. If you are using a fresh lemon, zest some of it into your tuna to bump up the lemon flavor! Season tuna with salt and pepper, herbs de Provence, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Add in all chopped ingredients to the salad and toss. Add in the cooked green beans and toss again. Add more salt, pepper, lemon juice, or olive oil to adjust the flavor to your liking.

Bon appetit!

Blueberry “Sour Patch” Smoothie with Veggies & Apple Cider Vinegar

Some of you are probably making that face and thinking “apple cider vinegar, ewww!” My stepson told me the other day that it tastes like “trash.” 😆 But all the time I run into articles and videos trumpeting the health benefits of ACV, such as weight loss, targeting fat in particular. Three tablespoons a day is the target goal, and this smoothie will get you to at least two tablespoons.

I’ll admit ACV taken alone is potent medicine and I will be posting on ways to manage doing that as well. I was going to say this smoothie masks the ACV flavor, but really what it is doing is harnessing the flavor in service of a delicious tartness. It’s a bit like sour gummy candies, so if you like those, this smoothie is up your ally. And, this smoothie is loaded with fruit & veggies! I’m always trying to sneak extra servings of veggies into my diet.

Getting funky with frozens: Why cool things down with ice cubes when you can get more vitamins and veggies into your system with frozen ingredients? I’ve come to think of broccoli as a sort of green ice cube that just happens to be packed with calcium. Funny fact: my dogs like to eat frozen broccoli 🥦🐶; its basically a veggie pupsicle, so when I make smoothies with it I give each of them floret to munch. If you’re in the mood for a bigger dose of blueberries, skip the broccoli and toss in more blue pebbles.

Sometimes for the lemon component in this smoothie, I freeze small chunks of lemon, rind and all, in the freezer and add 3 or 4 pieces into the smoothie. Get that vitamin C out of your lemon, get every last bit!

I use a Ninja blender that blends the smoothie in the tall drinking cup. I love my Ninja; making daily protein shakes with it is so convenient and cleanup is so quick!

I will probably update the photos on this post next time I make this smoothie. Silly me, I didn’t take a pic with the ACV bottle in it. 😝

Recipe: Makes 1 smoothie

  • 1/4 chopped celery
  • 1 cup spinach
  • Half of one avocado 🥑
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (up it to 3, I dare you!)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (or vegan coconut yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 3 or 4 pieces of frozen broccoli
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • Dash of chia seeds

Place all ingredients in the blending cup, starting with fresh veggies, next yogurt and protein powder, then all liquids, and add frozens last (so they are closest to the blender blades). If using ninja, or other similar cup blender, place the blender on top and close it up, then give it a good shake or two to disperse the liquids throughout. If your blender gets a stuck trying to grind up those frozens, stop it and give the cup another shake, until things start to “smooth” out. Finished smoothie is a pretty shade of violet. 🥰 Enjoy!

Easy Almond Pulp Waffles

Once you start making your own almond milk, as those who do know all too well, you are constantly looking for ways to use up your almond pulp. One of the easiest and tastiest ways I’ve found so far to use up a bunch of pulp is waffles!

I’ve been experimenting with using almond pulp for a few months now and find that the dampness effects recipes a bit, weighing them down and making them more moist. The trick is to use that to your advantage and sometimes compensate for it a bit with a little more of whatever dry ingredients are in play. I’m working out my ratios with a citrus loaf recipe that I’ll post on soon.

There is something about waffles that just triggers happy for me, like good times and relaxed weekends are just built into that word.

In the back of my mind, I hear Eddie Murphy, in the role of Donkey from Shrek, saying “And in the mornin’, I’m makin’ waffles!”

I chose oat flour to make the recipe gluten free. If you don’t have oat flour, you can use regular baking flour. I’ve not tried this with coconut flour but would probably work great too. I’m kind of half way there already since the almond milk I make has a fair amount of coconut in it. You can also make your own oat flour by putting 2 cups of rolled oats into your food processor for a few minutes; double the ratio to account for the big flakes being ground down into powder.

About the banana. I’ve made this recipe without the banana in it and it still works. I just really like the hint of sweetness and tenderness the banana gives the waffles. So, in a pinch, you can skip the banana; it is just a little better with it.

Make your waffles vegan? This is a very flexible recipe so some chia eggs would do nicely here. I include eggs for some extra binding effect but they can probably be skipped altogether without much ill effect.

Toppings!

Real Maple Syrup is a must for me. I’ll have none of that fake, corn-syrup imposter stuff.

Fresh Fruit: I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that fresh berries of any kind are amazing on waffles. Strawberries are my favorite with blueberries as a close second. Fresh or canned peaches are also lovely. What’s the most unusual fruit, or other topping, you’ve ever topped a waffle with?

Cream?: Pad of real butter or cashew butter. If you’re feeling decadent or celebrating—and honestly, just having waffles feels like its own mini celebration— top off with some whipped cream. There are some terrific nondairy whipped creams out there, so the party is on for plant milk peeps! These waffles are gluten free and naturally sweetened so healthier waffles is something to celebrate, right?

Almond pulp waffle topped with strawberries. 😋

Recipe: (makes 3 Belgian-sized round waffles)

  • 2 cups almond pulp
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ripe banana

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together in a big bowl or food processor.

Turn on your waffle iron and let it warm up. Brush with coconut oil or your non-stick oil of choice. Once the unit is hot, pour in batter amount appropriate for your waffle maker. The light on my waffle iron that is supposed to indicate when they are done doesn’t seem to work, so I just peak in every now and then to check for golden-ness. I keep my done waffles on a plate in the microwave so they stay warm until it’s time to eat.

Serve warm with your favorite toppings!

Almond Coconut Milk

Recently, I heard the dairy industry is lobbying for legislation to stop almond milk companies from labeling their product using the word milk because it’s misleading. Seems a little late in the game to be doing this. Call it what whatever you want, I will still drink it! Almond juice? Almond sweat? Almondaid? Almond Essence? Jus d’ Amande? 🤪 I couldn’t help coming up with silly new names for it. It seems almond beverage is the preferred term.

It’s true it doesn’t have the protein milk has, but it has more calcium and less calories. And, dairy milk has a lot of bad things in it, which is why I switched in the first place.

So, this is how I started making my own milk. One day, my husband came over to my desk excited by a new gadget he discovered for making almond milk on one of his tech blogs. He is a total geek for gadgets. I, on the other hand am always wary of new gadgets and appliances that fill up, my already limited, counter space. He made a persuasive case for it that won me over.

There are 2 added bonuses to making milk at home:

1.) You cut down on waste. When I would go grocery shopping I used to buy like four almond milk cartons at a time. It makes me happy to cut down on the garbage my household generates. 2.) You make pulp! And pulp is both tasty and useful stuff. After grinding up the almonds and what not, which flavors the water and gives you milk, there is pulp, about 1 cups worth per batch of milk.

You can use pulp for all kinds of things: pancakes, cookies, put in smoothies, bowl of pulpmeal & fruit. One person said you can make a shower scrub with it! I really have to try that some time. At the moment, my favorite thing to do with the pulp is make waffles. I will give my recipe for that in another post. I’m not always able to use up all my pulp but I do manage to use most of it.

The tech for making plant milk has gotten so good!

There is the Almond Cow which is for nut milks of all kinds. Almond coconut is my favorite but I really want to try making oat milk sometime.

If you are more into soy milk then the Soyabella is the one for you:

These two appliances are pretty similar except the Soyabella has a heating feature which is necessary for soy milk. I’ve heard almond cow is best for nut milks as it achieves a finer grade of grind as it is specifically designed for nuts.

You can make almond milk without one of these gadgets just using a food processor. It will just be a little more work as you will need to strain the milk out of the pulp through a cheesecloth or handkerchief. For me, the convenience of the gadget is what gave me the confidence that I could handle making milk on a regular basis.

You will also need glass bottles for storing your milk. Sadly, I don’t recommend the almond cow bottles as the lids don’t stay on tight, which means milk goes bad much more quickly. I found some nice bottles on amazon with screw-on lids. Almond milk tends to separate so it needs to be shaken every time before pouring and these are great for shaking!

First add shredded coconut, then chopped dates, then almonds.

Almond Coconut Milk Recipe:

  • Half cup of almonds (soaked in water in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight)
  • Half cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 chopped dates (or as I like to call them congealed honey pods)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt (I know, this sounds a bit hoity-toity but the reason for using it is to put the extra minerals that are in PHS in your milk)
  • 5 cups filtered water (There is a min max fill line on the inside of the almond cow maker.)

Pour the water in your almond cow or processor and sprinkle in the salt. Drain excess water from soaked almonds. Load the almond cow basket with all ingredients. I always put the coconut first, then dates (slice dates in half), then almonds.

Make sure the basket is tightly secured to the grinder! and load into the almond cow pitcher. (I broke the basket the first time I made milk because it wasn’t fully locked on. Almond Cow was really nice about it and replaced it for free.) Next, press the cow button and grind, baby, grind! I usually run my almond cow for two cycles. Pour milk into glass bottle. Empty pulp into storage container.

Repeat as necessary. I tend to make 3 batches at a time, so that I’m not constantly making milk. Enjoy that first sip of milk you made yourself! 😋

Cute lil’ baby milk! Reminds me of what they used to drop off on doorsteps when milk was delivered to your door back in the day. Three batches is just enough for two big bottles and a little bottle or mason jar. I tend to save cute bottles from other things that I buy.

Chocolate Strawberry Protein Shake

A while back, inspired by the many awesome cooking blogs out there, (shout out to my fav’ cookieandkate.com!), I decided to start my own lil cooking blog and quickly became overwhelmed thinking I needed to keep up with the level of polish and detail of other blogs. 😵

My new approach is to make this my cooking journal where I can talk about what I’m up to, what I’m making and share my favorite recipes. This blog is a fun, casual hobby for me so, just gunna do what I want. 😝

Right now, I’m in the middle of writing my dissertation in English literature!!! 😮‍💨 Don’t ask me what it’s about. Lately, I get asked that question a lot and I’m always surprised because I just assume no one outside of academia will be interested. Guess I’m wrong about that! It is laborious, complicated, and very challenging writing so a little bit of fun casual writing might do me some good.

Cooking interesting healthy things is my other form of stress relief. I really enjoy the challenge of making food that tastes really good but has way less calories, or carbs, or sugar.

So, to kick things off here is my chocolate strawberry protein shake! Tastes decadent! but totally healthy. 😋 Tastes just as good (dare I say, even better?) as fast food ice cream shakes they have a burger joints but way better for you!

Made with 12oz fresh homemade almond milk ( I make my own milk these days, but store bought is fine too. Gunna have to post my milk recipe some time.) 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 teaspoon dark chocolate cocoa powder, 1 cup frozen strawberries (it works out to like 5 to 8 berries), dash of chia seeds for fun. Dump all ingredients in your blender and presto!

This recipe makes one shake. I use the ninja blender that you drink out of the same cup you blend in. I’m into whatever makes clean-up easier and more efficient.

This smoothie is great if you need a mood booster, and, with the way the news cycle has been lately, I think we could all use one of those right now.

Thai PB Kale Salad

This is my new healthy go-to lunch salad. It is savory, succulent, and crunchable! It’s also so colorful it’s like a sunset in a salad bowl. I’ve had an obsession for a while now with Thai Peanut butter sauce. Most salad dressings tend to add flavor without bringing much in the way of nutrition. The sugar-free nut butter in this Thai dressing adds in a dose of those protein-loaded energizing fats that help me get through my afternoon of work and make it to the gym. Plus, the savory flavor zing is amazing!

The salad also has boiled yam in it, a.k.a. sweet potato. Studies have shown that boiled sweet potatoes retain more beta-carotene (vitamin A), which makes it easier for the body to absorb this nutrient. They are also packed with other great vitamins and contain no fat and have fewer calories than white potatoes. I was told by my old trainer, a while back, that boiling, rather than baking or frying, prevents more of the potato starches from turning into sugar than the other cooking methods. I’ve been searching for a link to back that up but so far haven’t found one, so, for now I’m taking his word on that.

For this recipe I used a purple yam. Regular orange colored ones also work great. Besides being a brilliant purple color, I read that purple yams are also higher in antioxidants. Extra healthy and gorgeous. Those traits pass on to the eater too, right? 😉

Last time I was making this, I decided to make a quadruple batch of the Thai peanut sauce so I would have enough for several days. I happened to have a nearly empty bottle of Sriracha on hand so I poured all of my completed sauce into the bottle! It is super convenient having a squirtable bottle of PB sauce on hand. Lunch prep is quicker than ever! My only worry now is slowing my husband down- he is putting it on everything!

Thai PB Kale Salad

Thai Peanut Dressing

Calories 234 Servings 4

  • 1/4 cup Peanut Butter ( I use Adam’s brand because it is sugar free.)
  • 1 tablespoon Liquid Aminos (healthy soy sauce substitute)
  • 2 & 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger.
  • Tablespoon of Sriracha (or more or less, depends on how spicy you like it.)
  • 1/3 cup water

The Salad

Calories 180 Serves 1

  • 1 cup of kale
  • 1/2 cup of shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 1/2 cup of boiled yam
  • Optional – top with edamame beans for a protein bump.

Chop up yams and put them on to boil until tender. Should take about 5 to 7 minutes. I usually bring it a boil and then turn off the heat and let the residual water heat finish them off.

While the yams boil, put all your dressing ingredients into your food processor and mix together. You can also mix them by hand in a bowl.

Put all your salad items on your plate or bowl. I like to to microwave my kale for like 20 seconds to soften it just a bit, before adding in the other items. You can warm the kale and yams or eat it all cold. It’s good either way. Top with dressing to taste and save extra for later.

Kale is tougher and less inclined than other greens to wilt so this salad can be made ahead of time, the night before, or even a few days before. So you can load up tupperwares with salad lunch for several days.

Chilled Cranberry Vanilla Protein Bites or Bars

These tasty protein nuggets are super yummy and satisfy cookie cravings. They also make for an awesome pre-work out energy bump! 👊 They taste even better than they look, and they are easy make, no bake! A cool, chewy, low-calorie pastry just in time for summer. They are Vegan friendly, no dairy, no eggs, no added sugar, or flour, or oil, and they are absolutely delish!

A while back I was looking for a healthy snack to curb those after-dinner-dessert cravings and found a neat looking recipe by Hummusapien. Excitedly, I set about trying it out. When I got to the mixing dry into wet stage there just didn’t seem to be nearly enough wet. Almond butter and syrup were already added, followed by the 1 tablespoon of almond milk and it was still a bowl of dry stuff. Eying the powdery mixture dubiously, I instantly decided to modify it.

I found that I needed a full cup of almond milk, instead a tablespoon and a full, heaping cup of almond butter, bulging towards a cup and a half! I also upped my maple syrup to a half cup. At that point everything was moist and ready to clump. I’m grateful to the other recipe for providing me with a launching point.

When I’d gone shopping at the store for some reason I was having trouble finding the vanilla plant-based protein powder that day. I went with an unflavored plant protein powder instead. I put in the tablespoon of vanilla extract along with 10 drops of vanilla stevia and that easily made up for the powder’s flavor loss. I find having a vial of vanilla stevia really helpful to have around and so far, keeping my fingers crossed, I have yet to some across any compelling arguments against Stevia and I’m not the only one who thinks this.

This snack is awesome first of all for the healthy fats of almonds which is packed with 14 grams of monounsaturated fat – the good kind you need to fuel your body – 6 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fiber, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium and vitamin B2 (riboflavin). This is all really great stuff. I also want to talk briefly about why you might want to take the time to make your own protein snacks.

There are tons of protein bars out there touting low-to-no sugar so you’re thinking “Wow! this is great! and so convenient.” I felt the same way. But when you eat them they taste sweet so you know SOMETHING is being used to sweeten them. Curious, I began reading through the label of the cookie dough protein bar I was munching on and found the culprit: Sucralose, a.k.a Splenda.

So, I did a little research. Sucralose is attractive for its touted zero calories, but this is actually not true: it has the carbs dextrose, glucose in disguise, and maltodextrin which bring the real calorie count up to 3.36 calories per gram. Sucralose is made from sugar through a chemical process that turns hydrogen-oxygen groups into chlorine atoms. At this point, I started back in alarm, the word chlorine shouting through my brain. I thought to myself there is no way chlorine can be good, let alone safe, for my body.

The article I read stated it has the potential to raise the blood sugar of those who don’t regularly consume artificial sweeteners. If you bake with it the heat may break the sucralose down into harmful substances: Chloropropanols, (there’s that chlorine again!), a substance that may raise cancer risk. And, finally, sucralose has the potential to kill off friendly bacteria in your gut while leaving harmful bacteria alone. Studies with rats were done and the results did not sound good.

Many of the products out there that contain Sucralose claim to be good for weight loss but in actuality they do not improve weight loss at all and there are new studies suggesting Sucralose may effect you metabolism. Obviously, if your metabolism gets slowed down it will be even harder to loose weight. More studies are needed but there are enough negatives here already for me to want to steer clear of it and it gave me the motivation to make my own protein snacks.

Anyway, on to the recipe! The limited ingredients of this recipe and no baking make it super quick, easy and summer-perfect because you don’t have to heat up the house with that oven. I tried making the bars and they were fun but the nuggets are great too and allow for smaller portions. And you save time by skipping the parchment paper tussle. If that’s going to make all the difference between making and not making them then go baller! Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard. ☺️

No-Bake Cranberry Vanilla Protein Nuggets or Bars

Makes 24 nuggets. Servings size 1 ball. Calories 72.

Makes 9 – 11 bars. Serving size 1 bar. Calories 144.

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 scoops plant-based protein powder, vanilla or plain. (Whey won’t work.)
  • 1 heaping cup unsweetened almond butter.
  • 1/2 cup maple-syrup
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cranberries or cherries

Instructions

  1. If you want bars, line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside. If making balls, skip this step.
  2. Place oats, ground flax, coconut and protein powder in a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture is an integrated powder.
  3. Dump dry mixture in a medium mixing bowl. Add in all the almond butter, almond milk, maple-syrup, and vanilla. Stir until well combined. It may be necessary to finish mixing with your hands. If you used plain protein powder add in about 10 drops of vanilla stevia. Fold in cranberries. If using cherries, which are a bit bigger than cranberries, I recommend chopping them up before adding them in.
  4. If making bars scoop mixture out into the lined loaf pan. Press down firmly using your fingers until flat and smooth. The lined loaf pan can be a bit of a hassle. Freeze your bars for at least 30 minutes before slicing. If making nuggets roll the the mixture into small golf-size balls. Chill for 30 minutes before eating.
  5. Store in fridge or freeze.

Went taking them out from the freezer to eat, it’s best to give them a minute or two to thaw a tiny bit before biting in.

Cool as a Cucumber Vanilla Smoothie.

This chilled green wonder has been a morning staple for me for years now and somehow I never tire of the light vegetal flavors with cooling vanilla-lemon overtones. I drink it at least five times a week!

This smoothie is packed with dark, protein-dense, greens, healthy fats, and vitamin C. Every time I gulp one down I feel my insides thanking me. The lightly-sweetened flavor is soothing, cool, and a pleasure to drink every day. The only sweetening ingredient in it is vanilla protein powder. We never get enough vegetables into our daily meals so this smoothie is an amazing way to sneak a huge serving of veggies into your breakfast.

There was a time when I would have refused any drink made with vegetables. The idea of drinking spinach or kale did not sound good to me. Smoothies were made with fruit, period. And fruit is good for you, right? Turns out the answer to that is yes and no. Yes, fruit has a lot of vitamins and fiber. The no part has to do with the naturally occurring sugar that is in fruit.

I had been visiting personal trainer, Craig Dinger, at the gym to get help with my exercise routine and diet. He explained to me that the naturally occurring sugar in fruit counts as part of my daily sugar in-take and would effect my ability to loose weight.

Those of us in the weight-loss game know the two main things that have to be cut back are carbs and sugar. Fruit, melon in particular, is high on the glycemic index, meaning it has a high sugar count. Without going into scientific detail, foods that are low on the index are beneficial for weight loss. Fruit is still better than the straight-up processed sugar in cookies, soda and stuff, but if I was serious about loosing weight and toning up then cutting back on fruit was going to be part of that. You know you’re serious when there is too much sugar in fruit! lol.

As part of my training, I was on orders to drink a protein smoothie every morning. So, one smoothie everyday. No fruit. And I was getting sick of chocolate peanut butter. I had to come up with something to mix things up, literally!

Packin’ in dem greens!

I turned to the Internet researching vegetable smoothies looking at sites with massive lists of like 37 different recipes and quickly got overwhelmed, but gained a rough idea of what should go in. I decided to try something on my own and came up with the green wonder-drink I’ve been drinking ever since. I have tried other green smoothies but this one is still my favorite – a testament to it’s delicious balanced flavor.

To keep up with my green smoothie habit, I started buying the mega-huge bags of spinach at Costco, two at a time! Feels like I’m buying bails of hay to feed horses instead of humans. My husband is also a big fan of this green smoothie. With both of us drinking it, needless to say, we go through A LOT of spinach every week.

Bails of Spinach. Neeeeigh!

Cooling Wonder-Green Smoothie

Serves 1. Calories 332

  • 2 cups of spinach (or kale!)
  • Half 1 avocado
  • Half-cup chopped cucumber
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (Whey, soy, pea, whatever powder type you prefer. Cookies n’ cream flavor also works! )
  • 1 cup water
  • half-cup ice

*Optional – Spice things up with a teaspoon (or tablespoon, if you love it) of fresh grated ginger. I always keep a chunk of ginger root in my freezer. Frozen ginger is waaaaay easier to grate. The standard recipe is my every day. If I’m feeling zesty I’ll toss in some ginger.

Note: Depending on which protein powder you choose you may feel like you want a little more vanilla flavor in your cup. An easy fix for this is adding 5 drops or so of vanilla stevia. This stuff is potent! Use cautiously until you get a feel for how vanilla-y you like your smoothie.

Directions: If using Ninja pro, or other similar blender type, load ingredients in spinach first, then avocado and cucumber, followed by powder, lemon juice, water and ice last. You want the ice to hit the grinder first. Blend for about 30 seconds or so. You want to make sure you get all the little bits of spinach integrated. The end result should be a smooth velvety texture. Did I mention I LOOOOOVE my Ninja pro? It is awesome! Daily smoothie making is fun and easy with it. You can customize smoothies for each person because the blender is the drinking cup. Clean-up is a breeze.

*Tip: Since the blender is the drinking cup you can easily prep a smoothie in the morning to drink later. If you are doing that pre-load all ingredients except the scoop of protein. Add the powder right before blending to avoid it getting dried stuff stuck on the sides of the cup that refuses to come off during blending.

Did you try the green-wonder? Let me know how you liked it. What’s your favorite green smoothie? Was this post helpful? Thanks for dropping by. ☺️

Healthy Living & Eating is All Mental.

I’m an English major so naturally I have a deep love for words. I love super old and unusual words which lead me to chose Alimental for my blog name. Alimental means to supply with sustenance. It’s origins are Middle English (think Geoffrey Chaucer) tied to the Latin alimentum, from alere, meaning to nourish. Looking at the origins of this word gets to the heart of the food issue. The food we eat should not only sustain us but also nourish us. Also, I can’t help myself, alimental sounds like “all mental.” The word play of gaining nourishment being directly tied to mental will power is so perfect! Eating healthy, consistently, is a mental act of will. Getting to the gym several times a week also takes will power. And, eating healthier also takes a little bit of detective work. *wink Thank you for joining me on my alimental journey!

“It’s alimental, my dear Watson.”

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