Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Smoothie A Day, Day One

Welcome to Smoothieland!

Today is October 1st, which marks the first day that I'm drinking a green smoothie each day, preferably/hopefully for breakfast.

I woke up in the morning this morning, and thought, "I'll just lay in bed for a few mins to wake up."

Well, I woke up...again...and it was almost NOON!  What the HECK?!  I know I'm off this week but sheesh!  I gotta nip this in the bud!

As soon as I woke up, I was STARVING.  By that point I should have been almost at the point of eating lunch.  FAMISHED!  Not good, when you still have to make almond milk, make a smoothie, and THEN eat...

Anyway...bygones...  Lesson learned?  1) Set the alarm AND get up, and 2) Make the smoothie the night before!  Problem solved.

So here's the ingredients (for the most part) and what it looked like in the end.  Well, it was greener than the army-green that it appears in the pic (ruddy cell phone camera).

I ended up not using the vanilla like in the pic, and added a little bit of kale.  A very little bit of kale, actually, because I had to use my regular blender for making the smoothie, since my Nutribullet blade is currently AWOL.  Chunks of kale in a smoothie are ICK!

I also added the tiny bit of fruit that was left in one of the bags of frozen fruit, which turned out to be mango and a few strawberries.

So, for those interested, the ingredients list is:

1 banana
1 large handful baby spinach
A little bit of kale
A handful of strawberries
About a half cup of rasperries
A few frozen mango pieces
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1.5 tbsp hemp hearts
4 dates (I should have used a few more)
2 cups (approximately) of almond milk

Nutritious and delicious!

And would I have eaten all that for breakfast?  File that under, "Heeel Naw!"  I'm not the salad for breakfast kind of person. ;)

Want to make your own almond milk?  Click here for instructions!

How To Make Almond Milk

How to make almond milk, the quick and easy way!

What you'll need:

1 cup almonds (about a large handful), NOT roasted

A blender
A nut milk bag/soup strainer bag
An airtight container to hold the almond milk (preferably glass)
A large bowl with a pouring spout


Soak the almonds overnight in water, in the fridge.  This step isn't strictly necessary, but it makes for a much nicer and nuttier milk.

Up to 24 hours later, give the nuts a rinse, and stick them in the blender.  Fill the blender with water to the 4-cup mark.  **Tip--if you want thicker almond milk, just use less water.**

Blend 'er up!

Let the blender blend for at least a minute, at its highest speed.  The longer it blends, the better the milk will be.  I blend around 1-2 minutes I think.  Not that I've ever timed it or anything.

Take your nut milk bag and open it.  I found soup bags for super cheap at the local Asian super market, so that's what I use.  $1.29!

Put your bowl in front of you, and pour the nut milk in the blender into the bag, allowing it to drain into the bowl.  You'll note in the pics that I'm not using a nice big bowl with a spout.  Don't do this.  It can be very messy!

When it gets to the point where the last of the liquid is straining through the bag, give the bag a gentle squeeze to help it out.  Don't be too aggressive though--I learned the hard way that trying to make sure you get every last drop with too much enthusiasm resulted in some of the almond meal getting through the mesh of the bag.  Which meant that I had to strain it again.  Oil.  Trust me--gentle but firm works best!

The end result is beautiful isn't it?  So purdy and white.

Fresh-made almond milk in an airtight container will last in the fridge for about two days.  The 4 cups that I made today will also last me 2 smoothies.  Coincidence?  Hmmm...

**Quick Tip:  Soaked and rinsed almonds will last about 4 days in the fridge.  So why not save some time, and soak enough for 2 batches?  That way you only have to soak the almonds every 4 days, instead of every 2.**

Check out this cool "how-to" infographic I found from!

The only difference in how I make mine, is I just use tap water (if I'm using water as a base) because the water here is pretty good, and I don't have a filter anyway, and if I use any sort of sweet, it's almost always dates (because they're sweet, have a flavour, and are quite good for you), or occasionally raw honey.

Stevia I personally don't care for, I prefer raw honey to agave, coconut nectar and palm sugar are SUPER expensive here, and I can't have maple syrup in my home. Seriously, I have a PROBLEM.  The problem being I LOOOVE IT and find way too many reasons to inhale it if it's in my pantry!!

Whew!  What a crazy few months!

Luckily, things have returned to a semblance of normalcy, so I can return to this blog!


Tomorrow I'm starting a little "challenge" to have a green smoothie each day.  I love smoothies anyway, they're so easy, cheap and delicious!  And of course nutritious!  I'll post the ingredients and pics as often as possible, for those who are new to the green smoothie idea, if you want to take part.  There are also lots of recipes out there--just be SURE that all your ingredients are whole foods.  Adding something like white sugar pretty much defeats the purpose!  If you have any doubts at all, shoot me a message/comment, and I'll do my best to help you out. :)

Green smoothies are incredibly good for you.  Think about the last time that you had fruit and vegetables for breakfast.  And no, fruit danishes don't count!  If you do it right, you can have 2 or even 3 servings (or more, depending on the size of your blender!) of fruits and veggies, just with your breakfast!

I found the image on the right online (click here for the website and page), which illustrates just how much you can put in a smoothie.
Isn't it amazing?!  Would you eat all that for breakfast?  Maybe some would, but I can say for me, definitely not.  And not every day!

Tomorrow, I'm going to buy apples and frozen fruit.  Well, after I "spring clean" my freezer.  I just have a regular old fridge freezer, so it fills up quickly.  It seems like just a month or so ago that I clean it out last, but I know it was a lot longer ago than that.  I always apply the "if I haven't reached for it recently/don't know what it is, it's gone" part of spring cleaning, so it won't take long.

I have some strawberries, a few persimmons I found at the farmer's market this weekend (they were quite the find!), baby spinach (I prefer baby for smoothies because they're tender and blend better), kale, and bananas in the fridge.  I also have raw almonds I'm soaking, to make almond milk tomorrow morning (since I have a vast amount of almonds but no almond milk in the pantry).

I think I have frozen cherries, the very end of a mango/berry mix (well, it was berries, and mango, which I combined to save space)...maybe some blueberries...and I think that's it for the freezer.  So I think I'll buy pineapple (which is GREAT in a green smoothie), mango...we'll see.  Maybe something will be on sale!

Frozen fruit is great for smoothies, particularly off-season.  They're frozen at the peak of their freshness and nutritional density, and they're MUCH cheaper Autumn-Spring in northern climes.  Just make sure you look at the ingredients.  It should ONLY say the fruit that's in it, and nothing else. Some brands even add sugar!  I mean really!  It's FRUIT PEOPLE!!

Tomorrow I'm going to make roasted root vegetables for lunch or dinner.  A work friend of mine from work, asked if I'd help her to try to figure out what's in a spice blend she bought from 10,000 Villages a couple of years ago.  She loves it, but had poured the spice blend into a container when she bought it, throwing away the bag.  D'OH!  Apparently she's been trying to make it last as long as possible, but hasn't been able to figure it out yet, so decided to sacrifice a bit.  I think I have about 1 tsp, so that should be enough to cook with.  I could taste it before cooking, but "raw" spices often taste so different than cooked, I think making a dish is a better idea.  It smells like some sort of Moroccan blend, so that's a good start.

Anyway, it's after midnight (!! How did that happen?!) so I'm hittin' the hay.  See you tomorrow!