Thursday, December 29, 2011

Green Machine Smoothies

Abbott and I both came down with some kind of awful virus the day after Christmas. Our symptoms were not even close to the same except for in one area: eating just didn't sound good. In an effort to quickly and easily get some much needed nutrition into our systems, we made smoothies. Smoothies are really great for times of illness because, in my experience, it's much easier to drink something than eat anything when you're sick. Why "Green Machine" you ask? Well the "green" comes from the raw spinach included in the recipe and "machine" because that appeals to a certain little 3 (and a half) year old boy ... and maybe because it rhymes and I'm silly like that, too. OK so here we go:

Green Machine Smoothies (dairy and gluten free)


A variety of fresh fruits (I used about 1/4 cup blueberries, 1 medium sized kiwi, 1 whole banana, and about 1/2 cup strawberry halves).

Did you know that blueberries, kiwi and strawberries are Vitamin C powerhouses? Vitamin C is depleted from our systems when we are fighting illness AND is a natural antihistamine. Bananas are rich in potassium, which can improve muscle, nerve and digestive function.

1/2 to 1 cup of raw spinach

1 cup of spinach delivers 56% of your RDA of Vitamin A, which is a natural immune booster. It is also a good source of zinc, which improves cell function and immune function.

About 4 oz. of orange juice AND 3-4 oz. of pure pressed carrot juice. Kroger has "lite" mandarin oranges in the can, meaning they are stored in unsweetened orange juice rather than in light or heavy syrup. I just reserve the juice from the can for this step. Truly, the amount of liquid you use is based on your preference for thickness, play with this a bit until you find your happy place. :)

We all know that OJ is great at providing vitamin C in times of illness, but did you know that carrot juice is a powerhouse, as well? Carrot juice is packed with vitamins E, A, C, K and B6, which is a brain booster AND helps to combat nausea!

Abbott loves to help when I cook so I let him add all the ingredients once they've been prepared/measured. In my experience, the things he gets to help with are the things he is most excited to try!

We added about 6 oz. of natural apple juice to thin it out a bit.

Pack all those ingredients in there tightly.

Put the lid on, turn that blender on and watch the colors fly. After blending, Abbott and I tasted it and we decided it needed to be a little sweeter. Normally, I would have added some agave nectar or honey, but we were out of BOTH! I added a few teaspoons of raw sugar and that did the trick.

The spinach turns the smoothie bright green, a color some kids might think is cool to drink, others might be terrified to try it. You can always leave the spinach out until they're ready to try it. This recipe made enough smoothie to fill a 16 oz. glass (Abbott drank on it all day) and fill an entire 12 oz. mason jar, plus a little extra so you may want to scale the recipe down for one person. Also, with there being no dairy in this, it doesn't separate and get all nasty like other smoothies can. Abbott's cup lasted him all day, going in and out of the fridge and I never once had to stir it or worry about something spoiling.

Variations and suggestions:

Try just spinach, a banana, a scoop of peanut butter, some almond milk and a little cinnamon and you've got a protein packed green smoothie. This is one of my favorites for breakfast.

Frozen peaches, strawberries and blueberries work well, too, if they are blended while frozen.

Stay away from fruits with lots of seeds like blackberries, raspberries and pomegranates; use the juice alternative to those fruits instead.

I hope you enjoy! :)

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