1 Month Green Smoothie Challenge

My goal in mid April was to have one healthy smoothie for breakfast, every day for one month. So far I am on  day # 12. A healthy smoothie is one that is blended with fruits & vegetables; things like avocados, kale, spinach, carrots, fruits, yogurt, coconut water, almond milk, 100% fruit juice or 100% fruit & veggie juice.  No added sugar, no ice cream or frozen yogurt, just things that give you natural energy and tons of vitamins.

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Having at least one smoothie like this a day, will give you all of your required 5 serving of fruits & veggies each day. You will soon start to have more energy and you might start to care more about what you are eating the rest of the day. Personally for me, it gets my day started off on the right foot and while I absolutely adore the taste of coffee, when I have a smoothie first thing in the morning, before any other food or drinks, I notice I am less hungry and I don’t NEED that cup of coffee to function. I end up having a cup of coffee later in the morning, or early afternoon, and sometimes I can just skip it altogether and I don’t get a caffeine headache.

The other reason this Green Smoothie Challenge is since it’s only one smoothie per morning,  you don’t have to give up eating regular meals for lunch and dinner. This way you are guaranteed to get the nutrients your body desperately needs. Starting your day off with something in your stomach besides coffee, doughnuts, bagels, and croissants, or nothing at all, is so much better for you. You will have more brain power at work, pay better attention in school, and have more energy overall. Some smoothie/juice diets are for several weeks and for “cleansing”, and yes I will do those from time to time. For a true cleansing you only are allowed juices or smoothies. When I do a cleanse, I have 2-3 healthy smoothies a day, and a salad for lunch with only fruits, beans, nuts, and veggies, topped with a low fat balsamic vinaigrette.  No cheeses, no meats, no creamy dressings, no croutons, and no bacon bits!  90%-100% of your food intake should be vegetables or fruits during the cleanse.

To get you started on your 1 Month Green Smoothie Morning Challenge, I have given you all the tools and instructions on how to become a smoothie expert. Below are the instructions to make the best, creamiest, and highly nutritious beverages. Mose people are afraid to try these because of their  green or brownish colors. If you think about it, those are colors in nature, healthy, not dyed, untampered with natural goodness. Please give it a try, I promise you, you cannot taste the greens in these smoothies. They are just amazingly tasty cups of magnificent splendor. Once you go green, you will be hooked.


Note: you will want a combination of fresh greens, fresh fruits and frozen fruit. The frozen fruit helps your smoothie be nice and cold, I personally prefer mine cold. If you prefer to drink your smoothie closer to room temperature, then use all fresh fruit. Also, you will want to have just enough for about a week, otherwise if you buy too much fresh produce it will go bad before you can use it. I like to alternate my greens every 5-7 days. I use one up until it’s gone. Leafy greens seem to go bad the fastest, and you only use a cup at a time, so one bag of pre-washed & chopped kale lasted me a week.


::: List of ingredients used over the course of a month :::

  • Almond Milk ( or Soy Milk or regular milk)
  • Coconut Water
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Orange Juice
  • Fruit & Veggie Juice such as Tropicana Farmstand
  • Kale – fresh
  • Spinach – fresh
  • Bok Choy – fresh
  • Avacados – fresh
  • Carrots- fresh
  • Bananas – fresh
  • Strawberries -fresh or frozen
  • Blueberries – fresh or frozen
  • Peaches – fresh or frozen
  • Raspberries – fresh or frozen
  • Blackberries – fresh or frozen
  • Kiwi – fresh
  • Pineapple – fresh or frozen
  • Mango – fresh or frozen
  • Apples – fresh
  • Your favorite fruits
  • Rolled quick oats
  • Natural peanut butter

::: Tools & Tips of the Trade :::

While any blender will work for your smoothies, a mid-high quality blender will last you longer than a cheap one. Since you will be using the blender at least once a day and trying to puree tough greens, you should invest in a decent one.  I highly recommend a blender with an ice crushing feature.  If you can afford a blender in the $75.00 – $150.00 range, you should be very happy with any of these.

I own the Kitchen aid 5 speed high performance blender. I got a great deal on it at a department store. I think I paid about $75.00 a year or two ago. My favorite things about this blender are the ice crusher setting and the fact that it came with two pitchers in different sizes. It honestly makes the best homemade smoothies. The only other smoothies that are blended this well have been from Jamba Juice or Juice Shack. It also doesn’t hurt that it makes killer margaritas and pina coladas too! I LOVE THIS BLENDER.

KitchenAid

If you are willing to spend a little more cash on a good blender any of these would work as well. You really do not need to purchase a restaurant quality $300-$500 blender. Unless you are going to be making dozens of smoothies everyday, you really don’t need to spend the extra money.

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Blending instructions:
1. Blend your liquid(s) and your leafy greens first. I use the ice crush mode, then switch to liquify for another 10-20 seconds or so. You want the greens to liquify as much as possible for a nice smooth texture.
2. If you are adding carrots or other harder veggies, throw those in with the greens before you start to blend.
3. Then add the remainder of your ingredients.
4. Use the ice crush mode again to break up the frozen fruit, until they are completely broken up.
5. Set it to mix for about a 10-15 seconds.
6. Kick it in high gear on the highest setting, mine is liquify, for about another 10-20 seconds, until completely smooth. (There should be NO LUMPS or chunks of fruit left. If there are, keep blending until you have a beautiful creamy consistency.)
::: Pay close attention to your blender, each one will take a different amount of time. If you push it too hard, you can wear the motor down. If you have to use a lower setting, that’s ok :::



::: 1 Month Green Smoothie Challenge ::: DAYS # 1-10 :::



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Day 1.  Blue Almond

  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1\2 cup strawberries
  • 1\2 an apple

Day 2.  Tropical Treasure

  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/2 cup OJ
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1 banana
  • 3 strawberries

Day 3. Orange you glad I said Banana

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  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup OJ
  • 1 banana
  • 2 clementines
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Day 4. PB&J Oatmeal Bar

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango 
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of peanut butter

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Day 5. Pineapple Plantation

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 banana

Day 6. Sea Green Paradise

  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches

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Day 7.  Strawberry Popeye

  • 1 cup Tropicana Pomegranate Blueberry Juice
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches

Day 8. Greener Pastures

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  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup frozen pineapples
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 medium banana

Day 9.  Banana Berry Monster

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 2 large strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Day 10. Peachy Purple Pom

  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup Tropicana Pomegranate & Blueberry  Juice
  • 1/2 avacado
  • 1 small banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

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Samosa Pot Pie

If you love indian food, then you should have eaten at least one samosa in your lifetime. I have eaten dozens of these amazing little potato filled dough triangles. They are scrumptious. They have the just the right amount of seasoning and spice, combined with potatoes and peas they are the Indian version of American Pot Pies.

The only bad things about traditional samosas is they are far too small for a main meal, and they are usually deep fried. Well, what if I told you, you can take all the same elements and turn them into a ginormous pot pie that will feed 8-10 people?  You’re welcome.

Samosa Pot Pie

This recipe was inspired by one I saw on a vegetarian website, but as always I modified it to suit my family’s taste and needs.  If you are new to trying Indian cuisine, then this is a great dish to start with. It has a small amount of curry, and is not that spicy (although you can kick it up if you like to sweat while you eat.)  You can also add other veggies to it as you like, and serve it with a mint-cilantro sauce and your favorite chutney. We used Kozlowski Farms Apricot & Mango Roasted Chipotle Sauce. This is sweet with a little kick and can also be used for dips, grilling, and marinades. My husband loved this sauce so much over half the bottle is gone. Or if you want something with a little less heat, you might want to try Kozlowski Farms Mango & Apricot Chutney. 

Apricot & Mango Chipotle Sauce

Since this is a larger size pot pie, it’s perfect for a dinner party or potluck. If you have a large family this will be plenty to fill them up. Personally I prefer to have leftovers. Since my man is vegan, it’s much easier for us to have food prepared at home for him to take to work.  You can also prepare this ahead of time and freeze it. So what are you waiting for, go get your curry on!


:::  Samosa Pot Pie :::   Serves 8-10

Crust

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbs butter (or vegan margarine)
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1½ tsp dehydrated toasted onion spice *
  • 10-15 tbs of ice water

Filling

  • 7-8 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed ( I cut each potato into 6 cubes)
  • 1 Tbs. mustard powder
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ⅛ tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
  • 3 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium to large onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrot, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 to 2 cups water (or vegetable broth)
  • 2 tsp  sugar

For the Crust: Preheat oven to 400°F.

  1. Using your food processor, blend flour, salt, butter and slowly add in oil until clumps form.
  2. Add ice cold water, 1 Tbs. at a time, until dough holds together.
  3. Shape into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other. 
  4. Roll out larger ball of dough (on floured surface) first to fit bottom & sides of pan
  5. Lay crust in pan and poke fork holes on bottom. Press edges up and make sure they come all the way up to the edge of the pan. I used an 11-inch circular cake pan, so I could have a thicker filling than a regular pie tin.  If you like less filling or just want a smaller pot pie, use 2-3 less potatoes and use a traditional pie tin.

For the Filling:

  1. Stir together mustard, curry, ginger, cumin, turmeric, paprika and red pepper flakes, if using, in bowl; set aside.
  2. Cook potatoes in boiling salted water 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain, return to pot, and mash, leaving small chunks.
  3. While potatoes are cooking, heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add onion, carrot, and garlic, and sauté 7 -10 minutes, or until carrot is tender.
  5. Move onion mixture to side of pan, and add mustard seed mixture in center. Toast 30 seconds.
  6. Stir in peas, spinach and water (or broth). Fold onion mixture into potato mixture; stir in sugar.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Final Assembly:

  1. Scoop filling into pie/cake pan with the bottom crust
  2. Leave edges of crust clean so you can crimp the top and bottom crusts together
  3. Roll out second ball of dough big enough to cover the top of your pot pie 
  4. Cover filling with dough
  5. Using a little water, wet the edges of the bottom crust and start crimping the two crust edges together
  6. Trim away excess dough
  7. Cut X in center to vent steam
  8. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until crust is golden.
  9. Let stand 5 minutes before serving

* Dehydrated Toasted Onion Spice is from the Savory Spice Shop located in downtown Santa Rosa, CA. I bought this spice for the first time a couple months ago and this stuff tastes great on almost everything. One of my favorites was steamed fresh green beans with toasted almond slivers, a little olive oil and a sprinkling of the toasted onion and OMG they were to die for delicious. It really makes a difference using this version versus just granulated onion.  If you don’t have a spice shop near you, you can order this one online from the Savory Spice Shop.