Strawberry Banana Flaxseed Smoothie

{the pretty smoothie}

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I have been really into smoothie-making again.  They are just so easy to prepare and the combinations are endless.  I started making individual bags of smoothie combinations and putting them in the freezer.  I portion each for 1 smoothie, freeze it, pop into the blender, add a liquid, blend, pour, go.  The whole time change caused me to wake up a bit later so they were quite handy for a morning breakfast.

IMG_3639For these two combinations, I did the following:

#1) 3 very thin lemon slices, 1/2 cup frozen peaches, 1 handful of kale
#2) Fresh strawberries, blueberries, cherries, a handful of kale

Have you ever tried the Naked brand “smoothie” blends?  I really like them and usually cut them in half with water.  However, they are pretty calorie packed so I try to just use them as meal replacements.  I started trying different blended juices at the store and really liked the Bolthouse blends.  I tried the Carrot and Mango one – it was just OK, but the Amazing Mango one was, well, amazing.  It also is pretty thick so I cut it with water again.  I only used 4oz of the juice and the rest water.

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I am featuring this smoothie as a “recipe” on today’ post because I used the little addition of flax seeds.  Now, I wish I had used ground flaxseeds to reduce the seediness if you will.  So if you have a grinder, grind those babies up.

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So what’s the deal with flaxseed?

These seeds aren’t new to our world, they have been around for millions of years.  Us smart humans are just now wrapping our head around the health benefits of them – some of which are listed below.

+ Omega 3 essential fatty acids — the good fat that keeps our ticker healthy
+ Fiber — keep things flowin’ and our digestive system clean
+ Lignans — an antioxidant that protects against cancer-causing agents

Flaxseeds are pretty tasteless in my opinion.  I tend to add them into smoothies or sometime sprinkle over a salad.  For 2Tbsp they have about 75 calories – not bad at all for the health benefits that they punch.  A large container will last you a while too so go grab one and start using this wonder seed.

strawberry mango banana flaxseed smoothie

Ingredients:
1/2 cup strawberries
1 frozen banana
1 Tbsp flaxseeds
4 oz Amazing Mango
4 oz (or more) H2O

Directions
Add all ingredients to a blender and process until desired consistency.

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The Three Green Power Smoothie

{so green.  so healthy.  so good.}

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Remember my post about my new thoughts on organic and cleaning eating?  Well one of the topics the documentaries talked about were the powerful benefits of juicing.  This recipe isn’t made with a juicer (I think it could be), but it is a smoothie that will make you feel powerful.

Seriously, this green smoothie is packed with such amazing items that will have your body thanking you and screaming for more.  Drink one of these each morning and you will be giving your body the essential vitamins it needs.  Feel free to swap the fruits for whatever you prefer, but keep the greens the same.

Here’s a breakdown of all the great nutrition and benefits the greens bring to your smoothies.

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SPINACH*

  • Carotenoids help in eye health and function
  • 1 cup provides your daily recommended dose of Vitamin K & 1/2 of your daily dose of Vitamin A
  • A blast of Potassium which aids in nerve and muscle function
  • A mere 7 calories for 1 cup

parsley*

  • The flavenoids act as a strong anti-oxidant which prevents cell damage
  • Freshens breath
  • High in folic acid which aids in heart health and disease prevention
  • Very rich in vitamin C which prevents inflammation and can reduce arthritis pain

kale*

  • Aids in the body’s detoxifying process which flushes the body of unwanted garbage
  • 1 cup is another blast of your daily Vitamin K needs
  • High in fiber which keeps your body’s digestive system running smoothly
  • Linked to anti-cancer studies

So what are you waiting for?  Head to the store and stock up on these valuable pieces of Earth that will increase your longevity.  Put down the pop or Frappuccino & give your body the nutrients it deserves.

*nutritional information is based on my own research and education. 

three green power smoothie

Recipe by: Doughie
Hands on Time:  4 minutes   ///   Cook Time:  0 minutes   ///   Servings:  2

Ingredients:
1/2 cup spinach
1/2 cup kale
1/2 parsley
1 frozen banana
1 cup frozen peaches
1 1/2 cups water

Directions
1.  Add all ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth.
2.  Add more water for desired consistency.

IMG_3488Enjoy.

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Ode to the Jicama

{hic-a-ma}

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There are a ton of fruits & vegetables that go unnoticed at the store.  As creatures of habit, we tend to stick to the basics – lettuce, carrots, potatoes, green beans.  Next time you go to the store really look around and take in the incredible variety around you.

A few years ago, I spotted this interesting tuber-like veggie? fruit? potato?

IMG_3440I placed the ugly little thing in my shopping cart and toted it home.  It sat on my counter for a few days until I did enough research to know how it is typically prepared.

The jicama is also known as a Mexican turnip or yam.  It is typically eaten raw, paired with chili powder, cilantro, onion, etc.  Very similar to the basic ingredients in a salsa.   The texture is like that of a raw potato or crisp apple.  The taste is relatively sweet, a bit starchy, and super crunchy & fresh.

My first experience with the old jicama consisted of the basics.  I julienned it and tossed with cilantro, lime juice, red onion, salt, pepper, cayenne [ingredients similar to those in my Pineapple Salsa].  A refreshing raw salad.  This time I wanted to add a bit more umph to salad.  I had some delicious Cara Cara oranges & Meyer lemons in my fridge so I decided to create a tropical, citrus jicama salad.

It turned out to be a perfect combination of flavors: starchy, sweet, sour, spicy and tasted amazing.  I had a bottle of dried, toasted coconut pieces (typically used for baking) that brought the whole thing together.  This bottle was purchased at Home Goods.  If you can’t find something like it, I suggest just toasting some shredded coconut to put on top.

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I really enjoyed this unique salad and it made me stray from the typical fruits & veggies that end up in my shopping cart.  If you are trying to broaden your palate, start with the jicama.  Its mellow flavor isn’t something super adventurous or weird.  Although pretty high in carbs, it has a lot of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for the body, including an abundance of your daily dose of fiber.  So next time you are at your grocery store, pass by the boring white potatoes and pick up a jicama!

tropical Citrus jicama salad
Recipe By: Sara
Hands-on Time:  15 minutes   ///   Cook Time:  0 minutes   ///   Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 large jicama, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
2 oranges, peeled & cut into segments
1 Meyer lemon
2 Tbsp red onion, minced
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tsp Mango Masala sea salt [use kosher salt if you don’t buy this :)]
1 Tbsp toasted coconut pieces or chopped shredded coconut
1 tsp coconut oil, melted

Directions:
1.  In a small bowl, combine the juice from the lemon, salt, coconut oil and pepper.  Stir to combine.
2.  In a serving bowl, toss together the red onion, jicama, and cilantro.
3.  Drizzle the mixture over the jicama.
4.  Top with orange segments and toasted coconut.
5.  Chill until ready to serve.

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enjoy!

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Tomato & Goat Cheese Endive Cups

{healthy & vibrant snack}

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As you know, I am a big snack & appetizer fan.  Sometimes I get really sad when out to dinner if I accidentally max out on the appetizers.  No room for dinner!  However, it is really hard to pass up appetizers so I try to opt for healthy, less filling ones.

When we go out Bryan and I are always suckers for mussels or seared Ahi tuna bites.  If I am not having seafood for dinner, these are my go-to appetizers.  I am never left full and ready for dessert.  Veggie appetizers are few and far between so I have been experimenting with some ideas.

I have been compiling a list of some apps that I would like to serve when I host a Sip Happens party.  I am all about balance… a protein app, a sweet app, sweet & savory combo app, veggie app etc.  Since I am on a healthy and clean eating kick, using the endive leaves as scoops instead of crackers makes for a low carb, practically calorie free alternative.

This appetizer is a beautiful one to present with its vibrant colors.  The mixture can easily be adapted to your likes as well.  I love tomatoes anytime of the year so that was the main veg here.  I paired it with creamy goat cheese and thyme.  As summertime approaches, I will definitely be making this again as a caprese version!

tomato & goat cheese endive cups

Recipe by: Doughie
Hands on time:  15 minutes   ///  Servings:  about 18

Ingredients
3 endive bunches
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup of goat cheese crumbles
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp Agave nectar (or honey)
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper

Directions
1.  In a bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, thyme and spices.
2.  Drizzle over the tomatoes.  Refrigerate until serving.
3.  Gently, remove each endive leave for the core.
4.  Add the goat cheese to the tomato mixture.
5.  Spoon a bit into each endive cup.
6.  Serve immediately.

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Organic thoughts + Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps

{are you organic?}

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This past Saturday Bryan and I were flying solo since Chase wasn’t with us.  We went out last weekend so it was a date night in.  We had some creamy blue cheese & brie for starters.  I am proud to say I was very conscious of my cheese intake, opting for just a small bit of each.  I knew I had some healthy taco lettuce wraps coming up next & I am trying my best to cut my snacking.

For our date night in, we decided to have our snacks and watch some documentaries.  I know exciting, right?  But these were really great ones that jump started our clean healthy kick even more.

We watched Food Matters & Hungry for Change - two that are on Netflix streaming.  They were very insightful & eye-opening.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  We eat pretty well compared to the average American so most of the documentary information we agreed with.  However, the one thing we don’t do often is eat organically.

I started buying organic chicken & pork a few months ago.  I was making chicken for dinner one night and the chicken breasts were about the size of a small child.  Unless these chicken were working out each day, there is no way in hell they were naturally that large.  I read the ingredients and these suckers were full of crap.

No thanks.  See ya later Perdue & Tyson.  We haven’t bought these two brands in a while and I don’t plan on it unless in a pinch.  The documentaries shared a lot of information about the importance of eating organically and what non-organic foods may contain.

My main concern is the cost.  Eating organically is not cheap.  Their answer:  are the doctor bills, medications, and higher health insurance payments easier to pay then?  Well, no, but I cannot think that way as a 20 something.

To go with my clean & healthy eating regimen, Bryan and I thought we would take the documentary’s advice and try to eat organically (within our means financially) as much as possible.  We want to see if it makes any difference in the way we feel.  I took a trip to our “fancier” Kroger today and stocked up on food for the week.  My cart consisted of mostly organic goods and my bill rounded out to about $90.  This included dinner for 4 nights, staple items, and a few items for lunches.  I didn’t think that was too bad.

Do you eat organic?  What do you think should is an absolute organic eat?

In light of my post, I am sharing the Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps we shared for our date night in.  They are super simple, low-carb & definitely can be made organic!  For vegetarians or vegans, sub the ground turkey breast for a can of kidney beans.

Turkey Taco lettuce wraps

Recipe by: Doughie
Hands on-time:  20 minutes   ///   Cook Time:  20 minutes   ///   Servings: 6 (2 wraps each)

Ingredients
1 tsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey breast
1/2 cup salsa [I used Newman’s Own Pineapple Salsa]
1 can (15oz) organic black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 Tbsp organic cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
pepper & salt
1/2 head of organic iceberg lettuce
toppings:  cheddar cheese, low-fat sour cream, hot sauce

Directions
1.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the ground turkey.
2.  Use a wooden spoon to break it apart into small pieces.  Let cook about 5 minutes.
3.  Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.  Stir to coat the turkey and cook an extra 3 minutes.
4.  Add the veggie broth, salsa, corn and black beans to the mixture.  Stir to combine and let cook about 3 minutes or until the corn is warmed through.
5.  Stir in the cilantro.
6.  Cut the stem off of the lettuce head then half it.  Slowly remove each lettuce cup.
7.  Spoon a bit of the mixture into each lettuce piece and top with cheese, hot sauce and sour cream if desired.

enjoy!

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