Monthly Archives: May 2012

Green Smoothie

I first learned about green smoothies in 2010 from a good friend of mine. Soon after, I had the opportunity to sit in on a green smoothie class taught by Robyn Openshaw, the Green Smoothie Girl (www.greensmoothiegirl.com). I loved the class and have been to several since. You can watch a short ‘how to’ video with green smoothie girl at the end of this post. I gave green smoothies a try. After doing them for a short period of time I noticed I had more energy, easier digestion and less food cravings. Awesome! I’ve been doing green smoothies for my family since then. I’ll usually make a large blender full in my Blendtec each morning and Scott will take a coffee mug full with him to work, I’ll drink 20-32 oz and each of our four kids has a glass(we have five but Nora’s not old enough to drink anything besides breast milk). If they don’t finish it at breakfast they finish it sometime before dinner.

Over the past few months, I’ve  been trying out all sorts of smoothie recipes, several with oats as one of the ingredients. But most of the recipes I found online that had oat smoothies also had a good amount of yogurt and since I’m trying not to do dairy right now because our newborn seems to have a cows milk sensitivity for now, I decided to try adding oats to the green smoothie we have daily. The kids didn’t even notice, so I’d say it was definitely a success!

I find that Costco has the best price for spinach, by far, and you can get berries for a really good deal as well. I go through my huge bag of spinach in about 2 weeks. The spinach will stay good that long if you store it in your fridge, laid out flat. But if you store it straight up and down(like in the picture above), the spinach on the bottom will go bad within a week. Also, notice that I sometimes use fresh bananas and sometimes frozen bananas. Tip: When bananas are on sale I stock up and then I break bananas into thirds and freeze them on a cookie sheet for about an hour and then transfer them to a ziploc bag which I date and label. These banana pieces work great for smoothies.

I will also freeze a few bananas in their skins(yup, just throw them right in the freezer) to use in banana bread after I’ve let them thaw on my counter.

Let’s get started on the green smoothie! First, add your liquids to the blender. I usually do 12 oz water and 2 oz 100% juice to sweeten it(you don’t need a sweetener and I like it great without though I’ll usually add either a little juice or Stevia or agave because my kids and hubby prefer it that way). Tip: if you ever use fruit canned in it’s juice, you can save the juice in a little jar and use it as the juice in your smoothie. It’ll keep in your fridge for about a week.  Next, add in a leaf or two of kale(which has a stronger taste) and a couple of large handfuls of spinach, which is a really mild green. Liquefy them.

This is what the stevia I get looks like. It comes in little 1/2 tsp packets and it looks like a white, granulated type of sugar. Stevia has no impact on blood sugar levels. I add in a packet of this if I’m not using 100% juice to sweeten the smoothie.

Sometimes I’ll add some oats, about 1/2 cup, but that’s optional.

At this point I’ll also usually add in a tablespoon of chia seeds or soaked flax seeds(flax oil works great too, but a little expensive), both of which are really high in your omega fats. I like to blend up my greens, seeds and oats before I add the fruit so they grind up nice and smooth. Tip: I’ll soak about 2 Tbsp flax seeds in 3/4 c water in a small jar with a lid on top that has a screen for easy straining(I got the repair window screens at Ace hardware and cut them in circles to fit the tops of my jars). Let it sit for about 2 hours and then strain out the water. If you’re not using it right away, rinse and add fresh water. You can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days and rinse and strain a couple of times during the day.

Now add your fresh fruit. I like to add 1 and 1/2 bananas plus a whole apple, cored. Once your fresh fruit is in, add 3c frozen berries and 1 ice. I love the frozen mixed berries from Costco and the frozen tropical mix but you can use whatever you want. The frozen mixed berries(blueberries, blackberrys and raspberries) will change the color of your smoothie from green to a brownish-purple color which some children(and husbands :)) prefer.

Blend everything together for 2-3 minutes in your high power blender until smooth.

THE RECIPE:

Green Smoothie- makes approx 60 oz

12 oz water
2 oz 100% fruit juice(or you can omit juice and use 14oz water with 1/2 tsp Stevia or 1 Tbsp agave)
1-2 leaves kale
2 large handfuls spinach
1 1/2 banana
1 apple, cored
2 c frozen mixed berries(blackberry, blueberry, raspberry)
1 c frozen tropical fruit(pineapple,papaya, mango and strawberries)
1 c ice
optional: 1 Tbsp soaked flax seeds, 1 Tbsp chia seeds,
optional: 1/2 c regular rolled oats

Combine liquids, greens, and optional ingredients in high power blender and liquefy. Add in fresh fruit, frozen fruit and ice. Blend until smooth about 2-3 minutes.

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Filed under Breakfast, Smoothies, vegan

Jam Tart

Just prior to my birthday last month, Scott asked me if I’d like something special for meals. I didn’t have any special requests, though he knows I like to keep it real(meaning real/whole foods) so he kept that in mind. He then asked me if I’d ever had a Jam Tart. I hadn’t. About 10-11 years ago, he had served a full-time mission for our church in Italy for two years and this was something he and his companion would pick up in bakeries sometimes. So guess what we had for breakfast on my birthday along with green smoothies? That’s right, jam tarts! And they were SO good! He even went so far as to make some substitutions in the recipe with healthier options. I was very impressed. I made it again just recently and made sure to take notes and write down all of our changes so that I could share them on here with you.

This recipe requires you to refrigerate the dough at two different times so plan ahead and either make it the night before if you want it for breakfast, or make it early on in the day if you’re planning on serving it with dinner as a dessert. The leftovers are fabulous!

Grab a medium sized mixing bowl and add in your dry ingredients(white wheat flour, coconut sugar, and salt). Stir them together.

Cut in your butter using either a pastry blender like pictured below, or you can do it with two forks. You’ll want to mix it until it resembles coarse meal(see consistency in picture below with egg).

Once you add in your egg, mix it together with a fork until the dough holds together. If it’s too dry, add a little water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time(I added 1/2 tbsp water total). Divide the dough into two balls, one a little bigger than the other.

Flatten the balls into discs and then place them on parchment or wax paper and stick them in the fridge for 40 minutes. I put mine on parchment paper, one on top of the other.

Once they’ve chilled, grease a 8 or 9 inch pie pan or tart pan. Roll out your largest piece of dough onto a lightly floured surface and then wrap it around your rolling pin and transfer it to the pie pan. Because my pie pan isn’t very shallow, I went around the edges of the pie dough and pushed the pie dough down with my fingers, so the sides only went up the dish about half way. Poke a few holes in the bottom with your fork. Cover it with some plastic wrap and put it back in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Next, roll out the smaller piece of dough into a rectangular type shape, about 1/8 inch thick. Using a pizza cutter cut the dough in straight lines about every 1/2 inch apart. You’ll use this for the lattice on the top of the tart. Take the pie pan out of the fridge and put a thin layer of the jam in the bottom of the tart, spreading it around evenly. Take your dough strips and place four vertically and four horizontally, crossing them over each other, with space in between, making a lattice. My lattice skills need some work :).

With a pastry brush, lightly brush the lattice with an egg you’ve beaten in a small bowl. Bake it in your 375 degree preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Place it on a cooling rack and allow it to cool before you serve.

THE RECIPE:

Jam Tart
1 1/2 c whole white wheat flour
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 c coconut sugar (or other granulated sugar)
1/2 c butter, chilled
1 egg (organic)
3/4 c fruit jam (I use ‘simply fruit’ jam or some other similar jam made with all fruit and no sugar)
1 egg, lightly beaten and reserved for glaze

Make the pastry by placing the flour, salt and Sucanat in a mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut butter into dry ingredients as quickly as possible until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat the egg in a cup and pour it over the flour mixture. Combine with a fork until the dough holds together. If it is too crumbly, mix in 1/2-2 Tbsp water. Gather the dough into two balls, one a little bigger than the other, and flatten into discs. Wrap in parchment or wax paper and refrigerate for at least 40 minutes.

Lightly grease a shallow 9inch tart or pie pan. Roll out the larger disc of pasty on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to the prepared pan. Trim the edges evenly with a small knife. Prick the bottom with a fork. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread jam evenly over the base of pastry. Roll out the remaining pastry. Cut into strips with pizza cutter, about 1/2 inch wide. Arrange over the jam in a lattice pattern. Trim the edges of the strips even with the edge of the pan, pressing them lightly onto the pastry shell. Brush the pastry with reserved egg. Bake for about 30 minutes until crust is golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers