Saturday, January 8, 2011

Good Morning! Basic and Sophisticated Green Smoothie Recipes

Thank you for the responses to my last post on the obesity epidemic! It's good to know there are a lot of people out there who want to see change and are passionate about the fight.

Now onto something less political, well, slightly less political: Green Smoothies.

I try to start every day with a green smoothie. Here are my reasons why:

1. I love sweet food, and they are sweet
2. I like to have a breakfast that fills me up and has staying power
3. I want to start my day with a nutritional punch, even a powerhouse
4. Green smoothies are easy to make--they do not require a recipe or measuring once you learn the formula
5. They are easy to clean up after
6. All of the ingredients can become kitchen staple items if you know what they are
7. Green smoothies are easy to take on my way out the door to work
8. I lost 50 pounds drinking green smoothies so I know they are a "safe" food for me

And here is a basic formula for a green smoothie:

frozen banana + greens + other fruit(s) + liquid + ice
optional, but highly recommended for regularity and nutritional goodness: ground flax seed or chia seed

Here are options for each component: use one or more from each category:

GREENS: fresh or frozen spinach, kale, collard, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, carrot (okay, it's not green). I recommend starting out with spinach because you cannot taste it in the smoothie and then adding one other green in addition, a little so as not to be overly aggressive at first.

FRUIT: I always start with a ripe FROZEN banana because it adds the creamy texture to the smoothie. If you don't like bananas, just leave it out. Then add more fruit, any or all, fresh or FROZEN (that makes this very easy!) in combinations that you like: fresh pitted date(s), strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango, apple, pear, orange, clementine, grapes, canned pumpkin puree, young coconut flesh, sweet potato

LIQUID: water (believe it or not, it's all that you NEED), unsweetened nut milk-almond is my favorite (365 Brand from Whole Foods is great), soy milk, rice milk, hemp milk. I like to find the lowest calorie versions of any of these products.

Once you master the basic green smoothies, you are ready for some sophisticated combinations if you like that kind of thing. This morning I woke up to a great blog post from Gena at about making your own Chai Spice Blend. I immediately cleaned up my kitchen and went to town (I mean work) on it.

Chai Spice Mix (yields about 1/3 cup spice mix)
2 tbsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 1/2 tbsp. ground cardamom
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. white pepper (I used black pepper because that's what I had)

Place all ingredients in a jar or baggie. Seal. Shake it like a Polaroid picture!

Proceed to yummy smoothie.

Healthy Girl's Chai Green Smoothie
serves 1

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond (or other nut) milk
1 heaping tsp chai spice blend
2 large dates-pitted
1 large frozen banana, broken into chunks
7 medium ice cubes
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 giant handful fresh spinach

Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.

For my taste buds, this chai smoothie ranked right up there with the best green smoothies of all time.

Do you drink green smoothies? Why or why not?

Is there something else that is your go-to breakfast?

What is your favorite green smoothie recipe?
"I wanna know, what you're thinking . . ." (another song lyric reference)


Cynthia said...

I love green smoothies! I just haven't had one in a while because it seems weird to have one in this weather. I have been craving one made out of spinach, blueberries, and maybe some peanut butter (and nonfat milk of course). We'll see how that one turns out!

SunnyHawkVegan said...

Green smoothies have made such a difference in my overall health (and my ph!). I start everyday with one. My favorite right now is almond milk, frozen over-ripe bananas (love to pick those up marked way down at our local IGA-AND the cashiers ALWAYS ask if you are going to make banana bread giving me an opportunity to tell someone about smoothies), frozen blueberries, frozen raspberries, a few dates and then cram in huge handful of spinach and another handful of kale. Yum.

otherwisehealthy said...

Like you, I love green smoothies and try my very best to have one every morning. While I love bananas in my smoothies, I'm trying to find recipes that allow me to create more "local" smoothies (that is, I live in Toronto, Canada...and bananas are definitely not grown here!). I like using blueberries and strawberries that were picked locally and frozen to be used throughout the year.
Now, that being said, your smoothie recipe above (I found you from your comment on Gena's post) sounds so delicious. Hmm, what to do? :)

VivaciousVegan said...

I cannot live without a green smoothie in the morning. I haven't tried just water in my smoothies yet as I am a chicken. I like to use homemade orange juice, but tomorrow I will be brave and attempt it. I also only use kale as the green in my smoothies as I like the dense nutrition they give me!
I love that you gave specifics on what elements you use to create delicious smoothies..
Did I say smoothies enough in this
My favorite smoothie would have to be my
Orange Julius smoothie.
3 banana's
1 small bag of frozen strawberries
1.5 cups fresh squeezed ok and 2 full handulls of kale
2 tbls.Chia seeds are optional, but I love them
Throw everything in a blender and whirl it round. Serves 3

VivaciousVegan said...

That is 2 tsp on the chia seeds...sorry

healthygirlskitchen said...

Yum, that Orange Julius sounds delish! Thanks for commenting everyone!

Danielle Wolverton said...

I just started drinking green smoothies and I love it! They give me tons of energy and help me get rid of my sugar cravings. I can't wait to try this chai recipe.

Dan & Rivky said...

yum. that will be the first thing we do when we finally get our vita-mix....

Laura said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe, I am eager to try it! I love green smoothies - I have one every morning for breakfast (I use water to mix, add raw cacao powder, cinnamon, fruit, lots of greens, hemp & flax seeds,) and feel wonderful. It fills me up, appeals to my sweet tooth, and I really crave the greens! I also like the Whole Foods unsweetened almond milk - my second favorite mixing liquid behind water.

Nora Elsberry said...

I got this idea from a local Jamba Juice and tweaked it a little: almond milk, spinach, frozen strawberries, some dates, figs or frozen banana for sweetness, and frozen strawberries---heaven! Just discovered your blog not too long ago and love your honesty and fresh ideas. Keep it up! I relate to so much of what you have to say. Thanks!!

Kathleen @ Kat's Health Corner said...

Oatmeal is my go-to breakfast. :) I love your recipe for green smoothies!

Sindy said...

I'm an oatmeal girl too, but I'm now inspired to try a green smoothie - maybe tomorrow!

healthygirlskitchen said...

Also a thought, green smoothies are not just for breakfast! Don't feel like cooking? Blend a green smoothie instead. COuld be unch or dinner, just make one of these and you will be satisfied and feeling good about what you just ate!

Julia said...

I love green smoothies. I pretty much juice every day but I love the smoothies!

purplegrape. said...

oh I really need to try a green smoothie!!! thanks for sharing your recipie :)

Xx Yas

Stephanie Leah said...

Great idea on adding the chai blend to your smoothie. I usually just add one or two (usually ginger, cinnamon or cardamom) for the added nutritional value and not the flavor, but if it tastes like chai, well, now that's different!
: )

Benjamin Britton said...

I drink them occasionally. Usually I use Frozen Blueberries, frozen mixed fruit, soy milk, water. At times I will throw in spinach or other greens. I don't juice that often though.... see Jeff Novick's views on processing ;D

healthygirlskitchen said...

Thanks again everyone for the comments! I'm feelin' the green smoothie love . . .

Anonymous said...

Hi Wendy,
This is my first time to your blog as I just learned of it through another blogger that was raving about your green smoothies! I've not tried a green smoothie yet as I don't have a blender. (could I probably use my food processor???) I am allergic to bananas and really want some advice about a great green smoothie recipe without the banana. I will be mixing up your chai recipe to use in my "kick-off" to smoothie world. By the way, I am already addicted to your blog! I have been on a quest since September to adopt a healthier lifestyle and have found wonderful bloggers/people like yourself who are really aiding me in this journey to health! Thank you and thanks for your advice about a banana replacement!

Anonymous said...

really delicious. thanks for the inspiration wendy. i didn't have spinach so i used dinosaur kale. i also threw in a few apple peels left over from making my kids' lunches. i don't like my smoothies too cold so instead of ice cubes i used water. it was delish!!!

Anonymous Fat Girl said...

Thanks for the great recipe. I also like the canning jar you used for your smoothie / pics. Very inventive. I've been drinking smoothies for quite some time, but haven't delved into spices like these. I'll have to give them a try.

Liz said...

I just started using broccoli as my "green" component. Have you tried it? Delish!

Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) said...

Liz, broccoli, really? I'm scared to try it . . . I tried broccoli sprouts a few times in my smoothie, instead of alfalfa, and I wasn't happy. There was a hint of broccoli that I wasn't happy with. Do you taste it much in the smoothie?

Elizabeth said...

Other than chai, what kinds of spices have you tried in green smoothies?

Wendy (Healthy Girl) said...

I've tried pumpkin pie spice in a smoothie with pumpkin and banana and other stuff (you could do a search on this blog and find the recipe). I've tried different extracts also, like mint and coconut. There are lots of different extracts sold at Whole Foods. They are kinda pricey but casn be very useful in a smoothie.

Pretty Pauline said...

I love a good chai ANYTHING, so YUM-O!!!

Troye said...

This smoothie is AMAZING! I'm pretty sure this smoothie will be a staple. I am just coming off of a 60 day juice fast and this is a wonderful day 3 transition meal!

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