Friday, March 9, 2012

Green Smoothies - our style

Okay gals.  Or guys.  I am not gender-biased around here.  Actually, I still think that only my 2 sister in laws read this blog so in my head it is gals.  That is another discussion though.
Smoothies.  Probably the thing I consume most overall.  I have one almost every morning.  Except when I run out of greens.  It happens every once in a while, mostly because I am lazy and hate grocery shopping. The smoothies we drink are a 60:40 smoothie, made with 60% fruit and 40% dark leafy greens.  I know, that just sounds weird - veggies in a smoothie.  It is good and so very good for you.  Do NOT knock it until you try it!
There are a few VERY important keys to a good smoothie:

1. Frozen fruit, people.  Some people try to do fresh and add ice but it never works out the same.  Fresh fruit makes smoothies foamy and runny and the ice makes your blender work so hard.  Go frozen and drink happy!  The exception to this is when you have fruit that is about to go bad and you want to use it up.  Throw it in with some ice and use that fruit!
2. A banana.  Use a medium ripe banana and while you will usually not taste it (unless it is really ripe), the sweetness it adds and the texture/creaminess it creates is super important.  Friends don't let friends make smoothies without bananas.
3. Use dark leafy greens that are not bitter in taste.  The best to use are spinach (especially if you are a beginner - it completely melts into the smoothie), kale (remove the hard centre veins) and collard greens (again with the hard veins).  They are all super nutritious and blend well but more importantly do not alter the taste of your smoothie much.  Things like lettuces, beet or mustard greens or swiss chard are not great for smoothies due to their super strong bitter flavours.  We used arugula once ..... lesson learned.
4. Use 100% juices or else water to liquify your smoothie.  I mostly use 100% apple juice, occasionally orange and mix it with water to get the consistency I want.
5. Don't be afraid to try new things.  Mix it up, so to speak.  Add things in like oatmeal for a filling smoothie or flax seed for general health benefits - I use the flax most days.  Change up your fruit combos and get a new flavour.  Use whatever fruit you have going bad in your fridge, stems and all.  Just remember, more fruit than greens and you are good to go!

Here is a basic recipe for one of our favourites and you can change it up as you wish.

Not-so-Green Smoothies
recipe by Domestic Diva

1 medium banana, either frozen or not
1 c baby spinach leaves
1.5 c frozen cherries or blueberries (you can buy both in the freezer section of Costco)
2 tsp ground flax seed (the golden roasted stuff is a little strong in taste so try to get the regular ground flax)
3/4 c 100% pure apple juice
as much water as you need to blend and make it smooth (start with 1/2 a cup and continue to add more - I usually do about a full cup in the end)

Put all the ingredients in the blender and let it go.  Blend until super smooth, a few minutes on low and then a minute on high to really get it fine.  Pour into cups and enjoy!

For a "greener" smoothie, as in a neon green colour, try this:

1 medium banana
1 c spinach
1 1/4 c frozen mango chunks
3/4-1 c pineapple juice
3/4-1 c water
2 tsp ground flax

The colour is crazy but it tastes like the beach!  My kids call it monster juice or if they are into Star Wars (and whose kids aren't?) we call it Yoda Soda.

Make and enjoy - they are so totally delicious that you will forget just how good they are for you!


  1. Another reader . . . your cousin "in law?" Whatever I am, I read it.
    So, I like smoothies, but I'm too chicken to add greens and I hate bananas WITH A PASSION! I think adding a bit of plain or vanilla yogourt makes up for the banana. And don't even try and tell me you can't taste it! I can taste/smell a banana from a mile away.

  2. Sorry Barb, didn't mean to exclude you :P As for the smoothies, try the greens but maybe go more like 75-25 in your ratio. I don't add yogurt as dairy can actually inhibit the absorption in your body of some of the vitamins in the greens and also I don't love the creamy "milkiness" that the yogurt adds. I love me some greek yogurt, just not in my smoothie. If you but out a banana, just go for sweeter fruits or add a tbsp of honey or something. Try it out - it only takes once!!!

  3. I've been wanting to try to do some green smoothies...I'll have to try this out. I can't do bananas either, though. I get really ill when I eat them. :( Interesting about the yogurt/dairy in them with the greens. I didn't know that worked against the greens. Good to know! Most smoothies I make are yogurt and fruit. But if I add greens I'll leave out the yogurt.

  4. Tami, I am always grateful that you introduced us to green smoothies years ago. I now have it everyday for breakfast. I usually start with a can of peaches (canned in water) as my liquid. I also use almond milk for more liquid. I add in whatever I have and feel like including omega oils, vitamin D supplements, flax. I always use greek yogurt to ge our protein as well. Often I put in leftover sweet potatos and carrots or anything. I have powdered greens as well for if I run out of spinach and kale. I just love our breakfast smoothies!