Category Archives: Commonly Used Ingredients and Products

Smoothies

Peach+Ginger+Mint+Green+SmoothieI love smoothies. I drink one or even two every day, especially green ones. Blending helps make greens full spectrum of nutrition readily available to the body, nutrients are encased inside plant cells and getting their benefits requires these cells’ walls to be ruptured. Smoothies are a nutritious and a quick way to get super healthy raw greens, fruits and vegetable into your diet without all the prep and chewing! And, a smoothie will keep in your refrigerator, as long as it’s covered, for about two and a half days. You can also freeze portion sizes of it (in glass containers preferably) and thaw out the night before which is what I usually do so I’m really only making them a couple times a week. All you need is a good blender and fresh, raw, organic fruits and vegetables. Organic is so so very important, I am not going to preach on this here but if you are absolutely dead set on not buying organic or maybe you feel you can only afford some organic produce then consider Googling “The Dirty Dozen” for a list of foods you must buy organic vs foods you can get away with. Apples, Pears, Celery, Cucumbers, Spinach, Strawberries to name a few you MUST buy organic. And if you still aren’t convinced, I promise they actually taste better!
Consuming raw fruits and vegetables in a smoothie every day will do several things for you:

  • Drink a green smoothie at breakfast or even before breakfast and you will feel fresh and energized at the start of your day.
  • You will have more energy and mental sharpness.
  • Ensure you are properly hydrated.
  • Provide you with the full spectrum of nature’s bioavailable chlorophyll, vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants.
  • Give you plenty of natural fiber to ensure excellent digestion.
  • Help empower your immune system to protect you from illness and diseases and reduces inflammation.
  • Improves the health, suppleness or appearance of your skin.
  • Can aid in loosing and obtaining a healthy body weight.
  • Save time on healthy food prep and enable you to consume a diverse mix of healthy foods.

Below I am posting several smoothie recipes I have made, come across or use regularly, check back later as I will continue to add to the list as I try new combinations and please get creative, I would love to hear of your smoothie creations!

First, some smoothie recipe secrets:

  • Try adding Avocado for creaminess. Avocados provide high amounts of potassium and magnesium and can add healthy calories to your smoothie.
  • Rotate your greens in green smoothies, you can make a basic green smoothie like Kim Snyders (below) and simply switch the lettuces and greens each time.
  • Try to add herbs like parsley, basil or cilantro to your green smoothies. We often don’t consume good portions of these herbs but they are very nutritious and have cleansing properties by helping to extract heavy metals and other toxins out of the body.
  • Spirulina and Chlorella are super foods and great added to smoothies.
  • Use High Mineral Greens, Herbs, and Fruit in your smoothies: Arugula, Cucumber, Celery, Broccoli, Boy Choy, Kale (all types) Romaine, Green and Red Lettuce, Spinach, Collard Green, Swiss Chard, Wheatgrass, Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel, Mint, Parsley, Alfalfa, Clover, Sunflower, Broccoli and Radish Sprouts, Acai Berries, Apples, Avocado, Banana, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Durian, Figs, Goji Berries, Grapefruit, Grapes, Huckleberries, Lemons, Limes, Orang, Papaya, Pear, Pineapple, Plums, Pomegranate, Strawberries and Tangerine.
  • Nuts and nut milks really well blended are great in smoothies, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Cacao, Coconut, Hemp Seeds, Macadamia, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Pumpin Seeds, Sesame Seeds or Tahini and Walnuts.
  • Chia seeds have become a popular superfood, mainly for their high protein and omega-3 essential fatty acid content. They are also a healthy addition to smoothies and will thicken it up considerably.
  • Ginger, Maca and Turmeric Roots are amazing healthy additions to a smoothie.
  • Fresh Stevia Leaf is a great way to naturally sweeten a smoothie, check your local garden store for a live plant! Dates work well too!
  • Use frozen fruits for a thicker, cold smoothie.
  • If you eat dairy yogurt is another good way to bulk up a smoothie, not always great with greens but spinach does blend well with yogurt.

Here is a short list of some well-known Nutritionists and Health Enthusiasts signature smoothie recipes. The first one is one of mine and of course a personal favourite, I make this one for guests all the time and everyone loves it, I like to have it post yoga, hiking or a bike ride, its my healthy green pina colada!

Kyla’s Green Pina Colada

Half a bunch Lacinato Kale (aka dinosaur kale), stems removed

2 cups pineapple (preferable frozen)

½ ataulfo mango

1 banana

2 cups fresh raw coconut water

Juice of half a lemon or lime

Blend well!

Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie

Kimberly says: “Green drinks make you feel light and energetic and, yes, they improve your appearance and help you drop the kilos!”

1½ cups water

1 head organic romaine lettuce, chopped

½ head of large bunch or ¾ of small bunch organic spinach

3–4 stalks organic celery

1 organic apple, cored and chopped

1 organic pear, cored and chopped

1 organic banana

Juice of ½ organic lemon

Optional

1/3 bunch organic cilantro (stems okay)

1/3 bunch organic parsley (stems okay)

Add the water and chopped head of romaine and spinach to the blender. Starting the blender on a low speed, mix until smooth.

Gradually moving to higher speeds, add the celery, apple and pear. Add the coriander and parsley if you choose. Add the banana and lemon juice last.

Jessica Ainscough’s Wellness Warrior smoothie

Jess says: “This smoothie has so many amazing benefits. It is like a nutritious meal in a glass – and it tastes amazing!”

3 stalks of kale (discard the tough stalk and use the leaves)

3 leaves of Cos lettuce

1 cup coconut water

1 small frozen banana

A small handful of goji berries or blueberries

1 tsp hemp seeds

1 tsp chia seeds

1 tsp bee pollen

1 tsp maca powder

1 tsp spirulina

Add all ingredients to a blender and whiz until smooth.

Lee Holmes’s Body+Soul Green Renewal Juice

Lee says: “This is one of my favourite enzyme-rich green juices. It’s great for providing energy, detoxifying and alkalising your body. And it’s quick and easy to make, and you’ll probably find all the ingredients in your vegetable crisper.”

1 bunch English spinach

1 handful mint

1 handful parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, cut in half lengthways

A few lettuce leaves

4 celery stalks

2–3 cm (3/4–11/4 inch) knob of fresh ginger, peeled

6 ice cubes

With the motor running, feed all the ingredients except the ice cubes into a juicer one at a time. Pour into a drinking glass, add the ice cubes and sip slowly to enjoy its benefits.

Emma Sutherland’s Power Smoothie

Emma says: “This drink will keep you going for hours and contains good levels of tryptophan, antioxidants, vitamin D, iodine and many essential nutrients for weight loss and detoxification.”

1 cup oat milk

1 cup coconut water

1 tsp spirulina

2 tsp flaxseed meal

1 tbsp organic coconut oil

¼ cup frozen berries

1 tsp probiotics

2 tbsp organic natural yoghurt

A pinch if cinnamon

2 drops stevia for sweetness

Place all ingredients into a blender until smooth.

Here are some more…..

Cilantro-Mango Detox

1 ½ cups spinach

½ cup cilantro

2 cups water

3 bananas

1 lime, peeled

1 inch ginger, fresh

Blend spinach, cilantro and water until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

Cilantro Limeade

1 ½ cups spinach

½ cup cilantro

2 cups water

3 bananas

1 lime, peeled

1 inch ginger, fresh

Blend spinach, cilantro and water until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again

Strawberry, Banana, Blueberry

This smoothie is full of iron, potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants. We often add olive leaf extract, echinacea, and elderberry extract to to make it a power-packed immunity booster as well.

2 cups spinach

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed

1 cup strawberries

1 cup blueberries

2 bananas

Blend spinach, orange juice and water until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

* Use at least one frozen fruit to make

the green smoothie cold.

Refreshing Watermelon-Mint Green Smoothie Recipe with Parsley

This is one of my favourite Summer Smoothies, the watermelon is so refreshing and one of my favorite summer fruits. Watermelon contains 0.7 milligrams of iron in just two cups. It’s also a great source of vitamin C with 28% DV in two cups. It’s hydrating as well.

2 cups watermelon, frozen

11 fresh mint leaves

1 cup whole strawberries

1 cup fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley

Add all the ingredients to your blender and blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.

Chocolate Covered Cherry

This antioxidant-packed green smoothie is a healthy indulgence that will satisfy any sweet tooth.

2 cups spinach, fresh

2 cups almond milk, unsweetened

2 cups cherries, pitted

2 bananas

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons cacao powder

Blend spinach and almond milk until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

* Use at least one frozen fruit to make the green smoothie cold.

Pomegranate Citrus Punch

The Pomegranate Citrus Punch green smoothie is a great energy and immunity booster. Once you master the art of seeding a pomegranate, you should celebrate with this antioxidant-rich green smoothie. Makes about 4 cups.

2 cups spinach, fresh

1 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed

1 cup water

1 cup pomegranate seeds

1 banana

Blend spinach, orange juice and water until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again. If you have two fresh oranges, feel free to add them to blender rather than the orange juice.

* Use at least one frozen fruit to make the green smoothie cold.

Coco-Ginger Zinger

This refreshing green smoothie helps speed up your metabolism with cinnamon as well as eases any stomach discomfort with a slice of ginger.

2 cups spinach, fresh

2 cups coconut water

1 pear

1 banana

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 inch of ginger, fresh

Blend spinach and coconut water until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

* Use at least one frozen fruit to make the green smoothie cold.

Cucumber-Grape Punch

This Cucumber-Grape Punch superfood green smoothie with kale is packed with some amazing nutrients. The mighty green kale is an excellent source of manganese, which helps build bones, and supports connective tissues in the body.

2 cups kale, fresh

1 cup almond milk, unsweetened

2 cups grapes

1 cucumber, peeled

1/2 avocado

1 banana

1/2 cup pineapple

Blend kale and almond milk until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

* Use at least one frozen fruit to make the green smoothie cold.

Strawberry Peach Refresher

This smoothie uses the mild tasting green, bok choy, which is known as a cancer-fighting cabbage because of it’s good source of beta carotene. In just one 9 calorie cup of bok choy, you receive 63% vitamin A, 52% vitamin C and 88% calcium of your recommended daily value.

2 cups bok choy, fresh

2 cups almond milk, unsweetened

1 cup strawberries

2 cups peaches

Blend bok choy and almond milk until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

* Use at least one frozen fruit to make the green smoothie cold.

Mango Ginger Immune Support

Enjoy this immune boosting mango ginger green smoothie chock full of green vegetables and low in sugar. Did you know that ginger clears sinuses and soothes a sensitive stomach?

1 cup celery

1 cup parsley, fresh

2 cups water

1 cucumber, peeled

1-inch ginger, fresh

3 cups mango

1 lemon, peeled

Blend celery, parsley and water until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

* Use at least one frozen fruit to make the green smoothie cold.

Beginner’s Luck With Tops

We are lovers off all things leafy green— especially kale. And this extremely creamy green smoothie is no exception.

1 ½ cups spinach, fresh

2 carrots, include leaf tops

2 cups water

1 cup pineapple

1 cup mango

1 banana

Blend spinach, carrot top leaves and water until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again. You can grate your carrots with a cheese grater, or steam them to soften them before blending.

* Use at least one frozen fruit to make the green smoothie cold.

Spa Skin Cleanse

Get a lot of bang for your blend with this green smoothie. Avocado has a significant portion of healthy fats and vitamin E, while the coconut water is like nature’s gatorade, “hydrating and regenerating your tissue.” By gulping natural skin boosting ingredients in this green smoothie and applying external moisturizer (Jen’s favorite is unrefined coconut oil), your skin should be glowing in no time.

2 cups spinach, fresh

2 cups coconut water

2 cups pineapple

1 avocado

Blend spinach and coconut water until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

* Use at least one frozen fruit to make the green smoothie cold.

Kiwi Strawberry Twist

Get adventurous with your green smoothies by rotating the greens you put in it (which is a great way to avoid alkaloid build-up.) Strawberries, kiwi and fresh oranges give this green smoothie a sweet vitamin C boost.

2 cups kale and dandelion greens, fresh

2 cups orange juice, fresh squeezed

2 cups strawberries

2 ripe kiwi

1 banana

1 lemon, squeezed

Blend kale, dandelion greens and orange juice until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

* Use at least one frozen fruit to make the green smoothie cold.

TIP: You can keep the kiwi skin on to add an extra nutritional boost of fiber. But feel free to peel the fuzzy kiwi skin. It’s really a personal preference.

Berry Protein Bash

Give yourself a protein boost with this yummy Berry Protein Bash green smoothie. Protein burns slower than carbohydrates, so adding it to smoothies helps prevent blood sugar spikes and helps prevent hunger pains. And it’s also great if you are working towards a flat belly or building muscles. Yes, the majority of us are on a mission to get those firm abs back— and drinking a protein-rich smoothie after your work-outs is the perfect formula.

2 cups spinach, fresh

2 cups almond milk, unsweetened

1 cup strawberries

1 cup blueberries

1 banana, frozen

1/2 cup almonds*

Blend spinach and water until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again. * Soak overnight in water before blending, or use almond meal.

Healing Cranberry Cleanser

Cranberries are an antioxidant powerhouse, so get them fresh during the fall and winter. By drinking this Healing Cranberry Cleanser green smoothie with cranberry, your body will experience the immediate effects of natural energy. Get your healthy dose of vitamin C and fiber in this healing green smoothie!

2 cups kale, fresh

1 cup water

1 cup cranberries

2 oranges, peeled

2 bananas, frozen

Blend kale and water until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

TIP: Keep as much of the orange pith (the white part) on to add nutritional benefits. Because of the cranberries, your smoothie may turn out more “purple-ish.”

Avo-Banana Kale

2 cups kale, fresh

2 cups water

3 bananas

1/4 avocado

Blend kale and water until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

Spicy Savory Green Smoothie

3 cups water

1 avocado

1 small orange beet

1 small cucumber

4-6 stalks of collard greens

juice of one lemon

splash of vanilla extract

inch of fresh ginger

1/2 jalapeno pepper*

*this will vary depending on your own personal tolerance of heat

Blend everything up in blender till creamy.

Kale and Pear Smoothie with Herbs

1 1/2 cups water

2 cups greens (I used kale)

1/4 cup herbs (parsley and cilantro both work great)

2 ripe pears, cored

1 frozen banana

1 cup ice

1 Tablespoon flax seeds (optional)

1/4 avocado (optional)

*Option to add protein powder!

Blend well.

Figgy Green Monster

Have figs and don’t know what to do with them? The easiest thing you can do (besides eating them plain) is blend them into a delicious and healthy smoothie. This Green Monster smoothie had an unexpected cake-batter-like flavor.

1 1/2 – 2 cups loosely packed spinach

sweetener of choice, to taste, optional (you can add with the other ingredients or blend and taste first and add in at the end)

1 banana, frozen

4 figs, stems removed, halved

1 cup milk of choice (dairy, non-dairy, vanilla non-dairy, etc.) – I used vanilla soy

2 cubes ice

Blend till smooth.

Peach, Orange, and Romaine Smoothie

2 oranges, peeled and chopped

1 white peach, pitted and chopped

4-6 large romaine lettuce leaves

1 cup ice

Peel oranges with a knife and cut into pieces. Cut peach in half, discard pit and chop. Add oranges to blender, followed by peaches, romaine and ice. Blend on high until smooth.

Banana-Papaya-Blueberry

2 organic bananas, peeled

1 cup papaya, cubed

1 cup wild frozen blueberries (or use fresh)

8 ounces of filtered water

Blend till smooth

Vanilla-Jackfruit Green Smoothie

This green smoothie is very simple and yet very tasty. I love the way that fresh vanilla blends with the exotic sweetness of jackfruit.

If you haven’t had jackfruit before, it’s a large fruit from southeast Asia. It taste like a mixture of banana, pineapple and mango. Some people say it tastes like Juicy Fruit gum.

1 medium banana, peeled

1/2 cup jackfruit pieces

The vanilla from 1 vanilla bean

2 cups fresh baby spinach

6 to 8 ounces of water (or use coconut water)

Start by adding the liquid to your blender, followed by the soft fruit. Add the greens to your blender last. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.

Papaya–Mint

This is a mineral-rich green smoothie providing 27% of your daily value of calcium, and 5.5 milligrams of iron.

I used goji berries in this recipe as they are a great source of protein. One tablespoon of goji berries has 1 gram of protein.

2 cups papaya, cubed

1 pear, cored

3 cups fresh or frozen spinach

10 fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons dried goji berries

8 oz filtered water

If you do not have a high-speed blender, be sure to soak goji berries in water for 10 minutes before adding them to your blender.

Kiwi-Cucumber Green Smoothie Recipe with Broccoli

Don’t get creeped out by this green smoothie recipe because it has cucumber and broccoli in it. Go ahead and give it a try. The banana and kiwifruit blend wonderfully with crisp, refreshing cucumber and you’ll barely taste the broccoli. It’s all good!

1 medium frozen banana, peeled and sliced

1 cup frozen broccoli, chopped

4 kiwifruit, with peel if organic (peeled if not organic)

2 small cucumbers, or ½ a large one

8 ounces filtered water

Pineapple-Coconut with Wheatgrass

I’m not usually one for powdered supplements, but for this recipe I used a wheatgrass powder from Amazing Grass (available in health food stores). If you’re not on the go, you can use fresh wheatgrass juice. You’ll need a dedicated wheatgrass juicer, however. Even top-of-the-line blenders are not designed for breaking apart the tough cell walls of grasses. If you blend wheatgrass in a Vitamix, you’ll end up with bits of indigestible grass with no nutritional benefit.

Since wheatgrass has a “highly distinctive” flavor on its own, I find that adding sweet pineapple, coconut water, and bananas mellow it out nicely.

2 cups pineapple, cubed

2 small bananas, peeled

1 packet Amazing Grass Wheatgrass

1 cup baby spinach

8 ounces coconut water

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Delicious Sweet Treat, perfect for the Fall!

1/2 cup pumpkin

1 1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 frozen banana

1 medjool date (pitted) – for added sweetness

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp of cloves

Shake of allspice

1 Tbsp chia seeds (for added protein & energy)

1/4 avocado (for thickness and healthy fat)

1 tsp green powder (for added nutrient boost)

Optional: Ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in Vitamix or blender.

Garnish with cinnamon sprinkled on top.

Peach-Fig Green Smoothie Recipe with Vanilla

Summer is peach and fig season, and luckily, both fruits are delicious when blended together in a green smoothie recipe! Figs are a good fruit-source of calcium. The figs in this recipe contain 89.6 milligrams, or 9% daily value, of calcium. Peaches are a good source of lycopene and lutein. Research shows that lycopene and lutein may help prevent heart disease, macular degeneration and certain cancers.

2 small peaches, pitted

4 large figs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (non-alcoholic)

3 cups fresh baby spinach (or use escarole, butter or romaine lettuce)

8 ounces of filtered water

Start by adding the liquid to your blender followed by the soft fruit. Add the greens to your blender last. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.

Two Layer Mango-Strawberry Smoothie Recipe with Ginger & Hazelnut

You are going to make this fruit smoothie in two parts, then combine them in the glass. This recipe makes two servings, so double or triple as needed to serve more.

Bottom Layer

1 large mango, peeled and pitted

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

4 ounces hazelnut milk *

Top Layer

1 cup whole strawberries

1 cup watermelon

1 small banana, peeled

Add all of the bottom layer ingredients to your blender and blend on high for about 30 seconds or until creamy. Pour the smoothie into two glasses, stopping when they are half full or when the mixture is divided evenly between the glasses.

Next add the top layer ingredients to your blender and blend on high for about 30 seconds or until creamy. With a spoon, gently spoon the top layer on top of the bottom layer in the glass. Make sure you start with the inside edge of the glass and work your way toward the center. Distribute it evenly so that you don’t end up mixing the two layers together.

* You can also use almond, cashew or coconut milk in this recipe if you do not have hazelnuts on hand.

Apricot-Strawberry and Radish Greens with Goji Berries

Two of my favorite summertime fruits lend their flavors to this delicious green smoothie recipe. Goji berries boost the antioxidant, protein and beta-carotene levels in this smoothie and radish greens provide a solid dose of minerals such as calcium and iron without any bitterness.

Radish greens taste nothing like their roots, so if you don’t like radishes, it doesn’t mean that you won’t like their much milder greens. I highly recommend only using organic radish greens and be sure to wash them well.

4 apricots, pitted

8 large strawberries, with tops

1 banana, peeled

1 tablespoon goji berries

3 cups organic radish greens

8 ounces of almond milk

Start by adding the liquid to your blender followed by the soft fruit. Add the greens to your blender last. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.

If you do not have a high-speed blender, be sure to soak goji berries in water for 10 minutes before adding them to your blender.

Strawberry-Basil Green

The fresh basil really adds a nice flavor to this smoothie that complements the strawberries and bananas. For me, five leaves of fresh basil is just right. Your tastes might vary so if this is your first time making this recipe, or using basil, start with three leaves and add more if you like.

Use only fresh, organic basil only. Do not used dried basil. An alternative spice to use is fresh mint if you do not have basil on hand

2 cups whole strawberries

2 frozen bananas, peeled and sliced

Juice from 1/2 lime

5 fresh basil leaves

4 cups fresh baby spinach

8 ounces of homemade hazelnut milk

If using frozen bananas, cut into pieces before adding to your blender. Start by adding the liquid to your blender, followed by the soft fruit. Add the greens to your blender last. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.

Strawberry-Cinnamon Cooler Smoothie Recipe

Enjoy this delicious fruit smoothie when you need to cool down on a warm spring day. Cinnamon accents the flavor of fresh strawberry, peach and banana in a cool, creamy smoothie.

A secret ingredient in this smoothie is carrot. While the flavor is hidden by the sweet fruit, the nutrients are unlocked in the blending process, providing an exceptionally high dose of vitamin A (as beta-carotene). Carrots are famous for promoting healthy vision, especially night vision.

You’ll also get a good dose of vitamin C.

1 medium carrot, chopped

1 medium organic peach, pitted

1 cup whole organic strawberries (with tops)

1 frozen banana, thawed slightly and sliced

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

8 ounces of filtered water

Start by adding the liquid to your blender, followed by the soft fruit. Add the greens to your blender last. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.

Add a tropical flavor note by using fresh young coconut water in place of the plain water.

Blackberry-Apple & Chocolate Iron-Rich

I just love how the flavors of blackberries and apples mingle with chocolate in this delicious and nutritious green smoothie recipe!

Apples are a great source of fiber, which helps with weight loss and bowel function. Studies also suggest that eating apples might provide some health benefits for people who suffer from asthma.

Blackberries are a rich source of antioxidants.

Cacao is a great source of antioxidants as well. Depending on the brand of raw cacao you get, it can be an exceptional source of iron. Sunfood brand raw cacao has the highest iron content of any raw chocolate, which provides a significant amount of the 24 milligrams this recipe contains.

1 cup blackberries

2 medium apples, cored

2 teaspoons cacao nibs or powder

4 cups fresh baby spinach

2 small carrots

8 ounces of filtered water

*For a thicker smoothie at ¼ of an Avocado

Start by adding the liquid to your blender followed by the soft fruit. Add the greens to your blender last. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.

If you do not have a high-speed blender, grind cacao nibs in a coffee grinder or use cacao powder.

Beet Smoothie Recipes

Beet-Berry Smoothie

Beets have an earthy flavor that blends well with strawberries, pineapple and bananas. You probably don’t want a beet-flavored smoothie, but if you blend it with sweet fruit and use mild greens, you’ll get a delicious green smoothie with a wonderful purplish color and an excellent source of folate. Be sure to cut the beet into small pieces before blending, and only blend them if you have a high-speed blender like a Omniblend or Vitamix. Otherwise, use beet juice as your smoothie liquid. Avoid using bitter greens like dandelion and kale in smoothies that contain beet. Instead, blend beets with escarole, butter or romaine lettuces, or use fresh baby spinach.Beets are particularly rich in folate. One 2-inch in diameter beet contains up to 22% RDA of folate. Beets are also a great source of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium. A small beet provides 35 calories and 1 gram of protein.

1 small beet root, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup strawberries

1 small orange, peeled and deseeded

8 ounces homemade almond milk

 

Chocolate Maca Power Smoothie

I have recently discovered the benefits of adding Maca to my diet, although not new, Maca has been added to the current popular list of super foods and while it does have a pretty nice looking nutritional profile, I was attracted to it for claims of providing energy, stamina and hormone balance.   See my post on Maca HERE for more info!   This recipe includes a few super foods and makes one perfect sized smoothie, if you like a sweeter smoothie, add a whole banana or an extra date!

1 cup Home Made Almond Milk

1/4 cup of water as needed

½ Banana

1 tablespoon Hemp Seeds

1 tablespoon Chia Seeds

1 tablespoon Flax Meal

1 heaping tablespoon Raw Cocoa

2 tablespoons Coconut Cream or Macadamia Nuts, or Cashews

1 soft Date

1 tablespoon Cinnamon

Fennel

ImageThe edible herb called fennel belongs to the Apiaceae family, which also includes carrots and parsley. It is native to Europe and related to certain herbs that have fragrant flowers widely referred to as seeds, such as anise, cumin and dill. Although some people use fennel for its scent or claimed medicinal properties, the plant is a well-known ingredient in cooking and food products, too. Edible fennel is available in bulb, leaf, seed and stalk form, and cooks use it as a flavouring agent, garnish, herb or vegetable in dishes. You can consume the different parts of the plant in various ways, explains the Herb Society of America, such as by cooking the stalk to use as a vegetable, eating the stalk uncooked, adding the raw leaves to salads or preparing tea from fennel leaves or seeds. The actual nutritional properties of fennel may vary based on such factors as added ingredients, cooking method and the variety used.

Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is also a very good of dietary fiber, potassium, molybdenum, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and folate. In addition, fennel is a good source of calcium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, iron, and niacin.

Like many of its fellow spices, fennel contains its own unique combination of phytonutrients—including the flavonoids rutin, quercitin, and various kaempferol glycosides—that give it strong antioxidant activity. The phytonutrients in fennel extracts compare favorably in research studies to BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), a potentially toxic antioxidant commonly added to processed foods.

The most fascinating phytonutrient compound in fennel, however, may be anethole—the primary component of its volatile oil. In animal studies, the anethole in fennel has repeatedly been shown to reduce inflammation and to help prevent the occurrence of cancer. Researchers have also proposed a biological mechanism that may explain these anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. The volatile oil has also been shown to be able to protect the liver of experimental animals from toxic chemical injury.

In addition to its unusual phytonutrients, fennel bulb is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is the body’s primary water-soluble antioxidant, able to neutralize free radicals in all aqueous environments of the body. If left unchecked, these free radicals cause cellular damage that results in the pain and joint deterioration that occurs in conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The vitamin C found in fennel bulb is directly antimicrobial and is also needed for the proper function of the immune system.

As a very good source of fiber, fennel bulb may help to reduce elevated cholesterol levels. And since fiber also removes potentially carcinogenic toxins from the colon, fennel bulb may also be useful in preventing colon cancer. In addition to its fiber, fennel is a very good source of folate, a B vitamin that is necessary for the conversion of a dangerous molecule called homocysteine into other, benign molecules. At high levels, homocysteine, which can directly damage blood vessel walls, is considered a significant risk factor for heart attack or stroke. Fennel is also a very good source of potassium, a mineral that helps lower high blood pressure, another risk factor for stroke and heart attack.

Just a super food!

Kyla’s Healthy Holiday Baking 2012

IMG_9345Each year I like to made a little treat box or container of my baking for friends and family. This year I only added two new recipes and altered or played with a few goodies from last year.  As I mentioned before I recently discovered coconut sugar and have been experimenting with it with great results.

Coconut sugar, derived from the flowers of the coconut tree, is an organic, sustainable natural sweetener that shows promising results for people who suffer from chronic illnesses or conditions such as diabetes, gallstones, cancer, heart disease, obesity or simply want to reduce sugar intake. This sugar has a low glycemic index (approximately 35) and is also a nutrient powerhouse, filled with lots of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Coconut sugar is minimally processed, unbleached and contains no preservatives.  Sounds good to me!

IMG_9316So the recipes I altered are the Almond Butter Cookies ,  Gluten Free Short Bread and Raw Vegan Rum Balls, all worked great subbing in the Coconut Sugar.  For the short bread this year I rolled the dough out and cut small but thick rounds and with half pressed a dried cranberry on top and the other half a sprinkle of coconut sugar.  These were a definite hit!

The other two recipes I put together are below.  Also look for my two other Holiday experiments: Coconut Milk Bailey’s Irish Cream and Home-Made Healthy Clamato Juice.  Click here for Holiday Baking 2011.

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Dark Chocolate, Cranberry, Pistachio and Tangerine Zest

Baking sheet, flipped over and covered with tin foil or parchment paper
1               pound Dark Chocolate, chopped
1/8          cup Raw Cacao Pieces
2/3         cup Raw or Shelled Roasted Pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3         cup Juice Sweetened Cranberries, coarsely chopped dried
1              large firm Tangerine, zested with a citrus zester (can use an orange here too)
Coarse ground sea salt

In a double boiler melt chocolate over simmering water, stirring frequently – this is standard chocolate melting procedure, I fortunately have a “warming zone” on my glass top oven and can slowly melt chocolate in a pyrex bowl.  There are few methods to melt chocolate, I suggest Googling it. Just be careful not to burn your chocolate, melting it on the stop in a pot will likely burn it!

Once your chocolate is melted, pour onto tin foil or parchment paper -lined pan and spread with a rubber spatula until it is about ¼ inch thick.

Sprinkle with zest first, then with pistachios and cherries and finished with cracked sea salt.

Allow toppings to settle a bit before transferring to your refrigerate to harden hardened.  Once hardened, break into pieces and serve.  Can be stored in the fridge or freezer.

IMG_9319Flour-less Pistachios Sugar Cookies

Oven 325 degrees
Two parchment paper lined baking sheets
Food processor
2              cups Raw or Roasted Pistachios
1              cup Coconut Sugar
2              large Egg Whites
1              teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2              drops Green Food Coloring   *Optional
¼            cup coarse chopped Pistachios and/or Dried Juice Sweetened Cranberries

Grind pistachios in your food processor until a paste. Add coconut sugar and grind some more.  Add remaining ingredients and process until you have a thick and sticky batter.

For a small, bite sized cookie use a teaspoon and drop onto your prepared cookies sheet.

Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a little sugar and chopped pistachios or a cranberry and gently press.  I like to do half and half.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden on the edges.  Allow to cool on a cooling rack before eating or storing.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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Saffron

Started working with Saffron this weekend! I’m going to post two recipes I’ve adapted from others I have researched and of course, made healthier and gluten/dairy free.  So far I’m loving Saffron!

Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. Saffron, is native to Southwest Asia and was first cultivated in Greece.  The word “saffron” comes from the Arabic word for “yellow” It contains a carotenoid dye, crocin, which imparts a rich golden-yellow hue to dishes and textiles. Its recorded history is attested in a 7th-century BC Assyrian botanical treatise compiled under Ashurbanipal, and it has been traded and used for over four millennia. Iran now accounts for approximately 90 per cent of the world production of saffron. Because each flower’s stigmas need to be collected by hand and there are only a few per flower, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.

Not all Saffron is created equally, Saffron is graded via laboratory measurement of crocin (colour), picrocrocin (taste), and safranal (fragrance) content. Determination of non-stigma content (“floral waste content”) and other extraneous matter such as inorganic material (“ash”) are also key. Grading standards are set by the International Organization for Standardization, a federation of national standards bodies.  The world’s finest samples, the selected most red-maroon tips of stigmas picked from the finest flowers, receive absorbance scores in excess of 250. Market prices for saffron types follow directly from these ISO scores. However, many growers, traders, and consumers reject such lab test numbers. They prefer a more holistic method of sampling batches of thread for taste, aroma, pliability, and other traits in a fashion similar to that practiced by practiced wine tasters.

Despite such attempts at quality control and standardisation, an extensive history of saffron adulteration—particularly among the cheapest grades—continues into modern times. Adulteration was first documented in Europe’s Middle Ages, when those found selling adulterated saffron were executed under the Safranschou code. Typical methods include mixing in extraneous substances like beets, pomegranate fibres, red-dyed silk fibres, or the saffron crocus’s tasteless and odourless yellow stamens. Other methods included dousing saffron fibres with viscid substances like honey or vegetable oil. However, powdered saffron is more prone to adulteration, with turmeric, paprika, and other powders used as diluting fillers. Adulteration can also consist of selling mislabelled mixes of different saffron grades. Thus, in India, high-grade Kashmiri saffron is often sold and mixed with cheaper Iranian imports; these mixes are then marketed as pure Kashmiri saffron, a development that has cost Kashmiri growers much of their income.

Saffron’s aroma is often described by connoisseurs as reminiscent of metallic honey with grassy or hay-like notes, while its taste has also been noted as hay-like and sweet. Saffron also contributes a luminous yellow-orange colouring to foods. Saffron is widely used in Persian, European, Arab, and Turkish cuisines. Confectioneries and liquors also often include saffron. Common saffron substitutes include safflower which is often sold as “Portuguese saffron”, annatto, and turmeric. Saffron has also been used as a fabric dye, particularly in China and India, and in perfumery.  It is used for religious purposes in India, and is widely used in cooking in many ethnic cuisines: these range, for example, from the Milanese risotto of Italy or the bouillabaise of France to biryani with various meat accompaniments in South Asia.

Saffron has a long medicinal history as part of traditional healing; several modern research studies have hinted that the spice has possible anticarcinogenic (cancer-suppressing), anti-mutagenic (mutation-preventing), immunomodulating, and antioxidant-like properties. A 1995 study suggested that saffron stigmas, and even petals, have been said to be helpful for depression. Early studies show that saffron may protect the eyes from the direct effects of bright light and retinal stress apart from slowing down macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.  Other controlled research studies have indicated that saffron may have many potential medicinal properties. The active components in saffron have many therapeutic applications in many traditional medicines as antiseptic, anti-oxidant, digestive, anti-convulsant.

This novel spice is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are used by the body as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome oxidases enzymes.

It is also rich in many vital vitamins including vitamin A, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-C that are essential for optimum health.

Quinoa

Quinoa pronounced ‘keen wah’ is a frequently neglected and relatively unknown superfood. It is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins.  Although not a common item in most kitchens today, quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked.

Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas.”

Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa’s amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.

Cooking

A common cooking method is to treat quinoa much like rice, bringing two cups of water to a boil with one cup of grain, covering at a low simmer and cooking for 14–18 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. The cooked germ looks like a tiny curl and should have a slight bite to it (like al dente pasta). As an alternative, one can use a rice cooker to prepare quinoa, treating it just like white rice (for both cooking cycle and water amounts).

Vegetables and seasonings can also be added to make a wide range of dishes. Chicken or vegetable stock can be substituted for water during cooking, adding flavor. It is also suited to vegetable pilafs, complementing bitter greens like kale.

Quinoa can serve as a high-protein breakfast food mixed with honey, almonds, or berries; it is also sold as a dry product, much like corn flakes. Quinoa flour can be used in wheat-based and gluten-free baking.

Quinoa may be germinated in its raw form to boost its nutritional value. Germination activates its natural enzymes and multiplies its vitamin content. In fact, quinoa has a notably short germination period: Only 2–4 hours resting in a glass of clean water is enough to make it sprout and release gases, as opposed to, 12 hours overnight with wheat. This process, besides its nutritional enhancements, softens the grains, making them suitable to be added to salads and other cold foods.

Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=142&tname=foodspice
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa

Daiya Vegan Cheese

I am really excited about this product (Vancourerite Inventors too)!  I first read about it in Maclean’s and waited patiently for it to arrive in Canada, and, well its here!  By here I mean in Whole Foods, Choices, Famous Foods, Super Value….  So far I have made nachos and a vegetarian lasagne with this non-dairy, cheese like stuff and both turned out AWESOME!  It truly does stretch, melt, bake and taste like cheese!

Why is it so awesome:

  • Free of many common allergens including; dairy (casein and lactose), gluten, egg, peanuts and tree nuts;
  • Same refrigerated shelf life as dairy cheese. Once the package is opened it is good for 7 – 10 days in the fridge;
  • Can be frozen and reheated. (It will retain its melting, stretching and flavour properties); and
  • Healthy ingredients, GMO free, and almost all organic!

http://www.daiyafoods.com/

http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/05/25/for-these-vegans-its-the-holy-grail/

Herbamare

Herbamare is a sea salt and herb blend I commonly use in place or ordinary sea salt. It lend a nice lighter salt taste.

“…Herbamare has been a staple in Europe for decades. A brilliant blend of celery, leek, watercress, onions, chives, parsley, lovage, garlic, basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and kelp, all organically grown. Herbamare Original replaces dreary conventional table salt. Use it as a condiment to perk up your recipes or at every meal to salt your food the healthy way. Add after cooking to enhance taste!…”

http://www.avogel.ca/en/shop/health_food/herbamare_orig.php