Posts tagged smoothies

Guest Post: Creative Ways to Use Extra Greens

Raised garden beds

Photo Credit: Kate Kutnick

Sadly, I’m a basil killer. And zucchini. And tomatoes. And nearly every other plant that people are apt to say, “Oh, but they’re so easy to grow.” My friend, Kate Kutnick, has a gift when it comes to greens. She’s always making fresh meals after picking through her luscious garden for inspiration.

For ideas about how to use your extra garden greens:

A few years ago, I installed 6 raised garden beds in my backyard. To this day, the smörgåsbord of fruits and veggies just feet from my kitchen never ceases to amaze me! I will also admit that the blessing of such a leafy buffet is also a double-edged sword. Sometimes I feel inundated by radicchio leaves and pole beans. Just the thought of yet another salad or plate of steamed beans can be nauseating!

 

This year, however, I have finally figured out how to keep the same ingredient fresh and palatable day after day. Per the Beastie Boys advice, I got crafty. Here are some ideas of how I’ve been successful at using all my homegrown produce and enjoying every bite.

 

Soups and smoothies- ‘nuff said! I’ve tapped into Organic Gardening’s recipe collection for this amazing soup. I was intrigued by the thought of salad in liquid form, but hey, I was pretty desperate.

As for the smoothies, I really wanted a way to get the tougher leafy greens into my diet in a raw format, and this method came through! Viewer discretion advised: this will be a very green in color drink, but uber delish and nutrish!

  • 1.5 cups plain, non-fat yogurt

  • a few large ice cubes

  • handful of hemp seeds

  • 5-8 whole, seedless dates

  • 4-6 tablespoons honey

  • 2 large carrots

  • dash of vanilla

  • 4 large leafy green leaves of your choice (kale, collard greens, etc)

Dump all these ingredients in your blender and blend until pureed.

 

Sauces: Sauces can make such a huge difference at any meal. I’ve been really into making flavored butters lately. Last week I made a bowl of garlic, chive, & lemon butter to drizzle over some grilled veggies (from the garden, of course). I’m thinking my next butter adventures will involve lavender and other earthy herbs from the yard. These are super easy to mix together before any meal.

The Gardener and The Grill also has an amazing section of heavenly sauces for your garden bounty.

 

Preparing your crops in these ways admittedly takes a bit of time planning & researching, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll start thinking about and more importantly, enjoying your food in a totally new way.

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Magic smoothies

A few weeks ago I noticed someone posted on a picky eater dilemma on Facebook–when you give your kids a smoothie spiked with spinach, do you tell ‘em about it…especially if they’re liking said smoothie packed with one of nature’s premiere superfoods?

Full disclosure: I love, love spinach. Regular lettuce has no heft and doesn’t fill me up, but give me a bowl of fresh baby spinach (or let me sip it down) and I’m happy. My kids, well, I’m working on that.

I don’t believe in sneaking veggies into foods. After all, you want kids to like veggies, right? Well if they don’t even know what they’re eating, how will they know they like them? But, I do believe you can be a little creative in your veggie presentation. And St. Patrick’s Day offers a perfect chance to convince your kids to try this veggized version. Explain to your younger kids that you’re going to make a magic smoothie–it’s going to change colors from Leprechaun green to pink. My youngest has a fascination with leprechauns ever since one of her teachers convinced her the little guys existed by moving all of the desks around in her classroom on the holiday and claiming, “The leprechauns did it.”

So if you want to weave some sort of leprechaun lore into your smoothie prep, by all means. Frankly, I’ve found the best texture for a spinach smoothie comes from mixing the spinach with applesauce, water and Greek yogurt before adding in the berries. If you mix everything at once the spinach doesn’t always get blended well enough (as much as I like spinach, no one likes a big leaf hanging out in their smoothie). I add in the berries at the end. Sure enough my green smoothie becomes pink with just a few pulses. Whether you want to tell your kids the color change is magic, the leprechauns did it, or just serve them up spinach smoothies without telling them what’s inside, well that’s up to you. I will say that first time my tween saw me making this smoothie her reaction was “Ex, gross there’s spinach in there.” I asked her to give it a try and she balked, sipped, then declared, “Oh mom, I can taste the spinach that’s nasty.” Well, I made again and she didn’t say anything, just slurped away. When I was making it today I didn’t try to hide the spinach–and she didn’t ask about it–her only question, “Mom, where’d you put the straws?”

Ready to whip up some veggized spinach for your kiddos?

Recipe

Servings: 4-6

Prep time: 5 minutes


Ingredients

1 cup fresh baby spinach, loosely packed

3/4 cup plain yogurt (preferably Greek)

1/2 cup apple sauce

1 cup water

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

2 cups water

1 tablespoon agave or honey

lemon (optional)

Directions

  1. In a blender, pulse the spinach, yogurt, apple sauce and 1 cup water together until thoroughly combined. The mixture should be a bright green.
  2. Add the fresh or frozen berries along with another cup of water and the honey or agave. Pulse again.
  3. Pour in more water to get the consistency you want. Blend until smooth.
  4. Optional: squeeze 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice into the smoothie, pulse and serve.

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