"Reinventing Indulgence" One meal at a time!

Archive for the ‘Smoothies’ Category

Cheers to the sweet potato!

“I’ll start juicing as soon as I get the right juicer or blender –
which one should I get?”
How many times have you said that? Anything to procrastinate right?

I might have a Vitamix but my Mom has style and grace! I was going for a pre-Thanksgiving day visit (yes it’s time to catch up on my blog entries). I had been on a smoothie kick and wanted to try something new and see if my Mom would get into smoothie making. It’s a quick and easy way to have a nutritious meal or snack. I was tempted to bring my Vitamix but figured my Mom would for sure have a blender. She has every kitchen appliance you could imagine or so I thought. I was bummed out with my sweet potato in hand as I realized there was no blender to be found. There was just a cheap $15 shaker/ mixer from who knows where. I was determined to make this shake even if it meant whisking or beating the ingredients by hand! It was called a Thanksgiving smoothie.

Don’t worry as I catch up on blog posts; you don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to have this. It’s super healthy and packed with nutrition. Besides, everyday should be Thanksgiving anyway!

Sweet Potato Nutrition

  • Exceptionally rich in beta-carotene which the body converts to Vitamin A
  • Vitamin A is important for eyesight, growth & tissue healing, healthy skin, antioxidant protection and our overall immune system health.
  • Not considered a “nightshade” vegetable for those interested in reducing inflammation

I was amazed that this cheap little plastic shaker not only worked but did the job quite well. You know what that means right? NO EXCUSES! Anyone can do this anytime. The only real catch here is that you have to bake a sweet potato in advance. Sweet potatoes are amazing – loaded with nutrients. You can make a few at a time, refrigerate and then throw them in this smoothie to go.

 

IMG_3021I pretty much just followed the recipe here.

Spinach
Almond milk
Sweet potato (baked)
Frozen mango
Nutmeg
Cinnamon

A bit nervous about drinking my typical Thanksgiving vegetables, I was amazed how good this tasted. Although we began with a cheap shaker, I for sure couldn’t beat my Mom’s glassware and table setting.
It turned out to be a wonderful smoothie lesson. If anyone is procrastinating, now you know just go for it!

 

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.

Protein Powerhouse Chocolate Peanut butter MEGA bomb

Nothing like a contest to get my creative juices flowing! This time it’s to win a Vitamix! The contest is at ThisIsStory.com. Lately, I have been in a straight up peanut butter mood. I would normally say almond butter, but I was out this time. I felt like having a hearty AND deliciously rich smoothie shake!

I call this the Protein Powerhouse, not that I am consumed by the “P” word at all- but others are so why not!

The official title is: Protein Powerhouse Chocolate Peanut butter MEGA bomb with Sun Warrior RAW protein, hemp seeds, vanilla hemp milk, cacao powder, peanut butter, dates, banana and blueberries. This is a rich superfood smoothie- all thrown together in my vitamix!

Recipe

banana-1
blueberries- 1 cup
dates- 2
protein powder- 1-2 scoops
hemp seeds- 2 tablespoons
cacao powder- 1 1/2 tablespoons
peanut butter- 1 1/2 tablespoons
hemp milk- about 2 cups

Here is a link to the cacao I like to use so you can see what it looks like. The hemp seeds I like are Nutivia or Navitas.

Hemp is rich is essential fatty acids, protein and fiber! It’s an especially excellent source for vegetarians and vegans. Some of the many benefits of hemp include:

  • Improved heart health 
  • Improved memory and brain related functions
  • Healthier skin
  • Weight loss
  • Better digestion
  • Stronger immune system

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.

Vegan day 228: Raw Piña Coladas

“Piña Colada” in any recipe book would get my attention but this one really made my day since it was all raw- all vegan!
 
“If You Like Pina Colada” from Brigitte Mars’ RAWSOME
As soon as I saw this title, I knew it was a wrap!
I had to make it!
 
1/2 cup macadamia nuts soaked for 4 hours
1/4 cup chopped pineapple (of course I used more)
1 orange peeled
1/4 cup young coconut meat 
1 1/2 cups of coconut water  
 
I defrosted my young coconut meat that I had delivered last week from Exotic Super Foods. That takes about a day and a half in the refrigerator. I soaked the macadamia nuts for 4 hours and then rinsed them well. I blended everything together in my Ninja blender. I may have added a little agave had I had it but instead added 1-2 tablespoons of vegan sugar to this creation. It may depend how sweet the pineapple is to determine if it is even necessary. I was in heaven. 
To date, I will delightfully say that I have no allergies. My throat did however become a tiny bit scratchy after drinking this. Obviously, being an x-frozen drink addict, this was not about to stop me. I didn’t even blame the nuts! I thought I was coming down with the beginnings of a cold. Since I drank this the next day as well, I may have to admit it probably was the nuts. Raw vegans don’t get sick that easily after all hehe!
 
The mixologist in me has to of course add the comment that it could be de-virginized with some dark rum heavily splashed in! 
 
Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Wednesday August 15th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 222: Purple Haze (Smoothie)

I have heard this name before and have seen her book online- it was time to buy it! The same time it arrived- I fell in love. For a moment I wished that my blog had more than 143 days left. That moment of insanity was fleeting however since I quickly reflected back to how this blog has taken over my life. The pressure of a daily blog is far more than I had imagined. My drive to stay as close to on point as possible is probably the greatest achievement in dedication that I have ever accomplished in my life. I can handle the daily experiences and challenges to make and taste new food items but then to write about it too- this is a true test in commitment. Perhaps after this, I will be closer to a visualization in long-term relationships- I don’t know. Everything is somehow connected. 

 
I started to flip through the pages and there were so many recipes that I wanted to try. This one in particular was classified as a power punch. For me, it was a quick and easy smoothie. I added raw vegan protein powder to mine.
 
PURPLE HAZE
3 dates pitted of course and soaked for 20 minutes
1 1/2 cups of coconut water
1 cup of blackberries (I used blueberries)
1 banana
 
BLEND & drink!
 
Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Thursday August 9th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 203: Lilli Pilli Berri Bar White Plains NY

Lilli Pilli Berri Bar- say that 3x fast after a few wheat grass shots!
I was so excited that there was an organic smoothie bar in White Plains where I am spending the weekend. I can’t run to Whole Foods every time I need something! 

I guess you can say that this is my kind of place! I was easily distracted from a smoothie to a tea to a wheatgrass shot to a juice. For me this is a good thing! I’m well into my raw vegan month and this is really the only kind of menu that interests me.

 I began with a smoothie. Actually, funny story: I know I am headed out of NYC and into White Plains so I bring my own raw vegan protein powder— but of course! lol I asked them if they could make me a smoothie with my protein powder. They were very nice and accommodating  but did ask me why. I think they were just curious. I explained how I was on a raw vegan diet and that most places didn’t carry that kind of protein. They asked the name and I told them SUN WARRIOR – honestly, I was AMAZED when they pulled that out from the prep area. I was so happy that I think I ordered everything in the store! While they were making the smoothie, I had wheatgrass shots with my friend and I ordered some vegetables to go. As I was about to leave I noticed the fresh pressed juices. I didn’t even realize this was a juice bar but happily delighted to see that it was. Of course, I will travel for fresh press. Oh.. and don’t think that iced green tea matcha wasn’t starring at me the whole time lol. I figured I would come back for that in the afternoon!

Everything was really wonderful- I have to say they saved me! I can’t forget to mention nor take for granted that it’s organic and local too- my favorites!

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Saturday July 21st 2012 blog]

Vegan day 187: Press + Blend smoothies (Woodstock)

Back to the PRESS + BLEND my new favorite raw vegan stop while I am upstate visiting Woodstock! I came in here the other day for a smoothie.. and left with inspiration! The inspiration and motivation is what I had needed to to begin my challenge to a one month raw vegan food experience.. and my continued efforts on my one year full vegan journey. I was so excited to see so many delicious options for both juices and smoothies. They use 100% organic produce 100% vegan and 100% raw! They make cold pressed juices (with a Norwalk juicer), superfood smoothies, raw desserts and raw foods! 
 
The other day I ordered ECHOS OF MY MIND: Acai, raspberries, peach, cashew, coconut water, coconut meat, agave, kale, spirulina and cacao.
Today I ordered BANANA BOAT for the girls.. and THE TEA LADY for me. Their’s had banana, cashew, water, dates, vanilla and sea salt- a favorite among the kids! Mine had green tea matcha, banana, coconut water, coconut meat and agave. The agave was raw.. my new friend Mario even lifted the container for me. I love what some people will do to spread the joy and happiness of health! I really have to say.. I so appreciate all the extra efforts people make to accommodate my eating lifestyle. 
 
The smoothies were all delicious, refreshing and nutritious!
 
Press + Blend is also great for snacks and desserts. I often pick up whatever they have made that day- acai cheesecake, acai cacao bowl, granola, nuts and dehydrated chocolate cookies etc! 
Thank you PRESS + BLEND for being in one of my favorite towns!
 
Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Thursday July 5th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 184: Raw cashew milk protein shake

It always more fun when kids are around.. to prep the foods and make them from scratch. You may be surprised.. but kids like to eat something that they can be proud that they made themselves.. and if nothing else it was a learning experience! I was so happy when one of my friend’s daughters wanted to help me out. Raw vegan food takes time and prep.
 …Side story… of course: This woman comes into the bar the other day and says to me.. “I need help.. I have a question for you. What can I eat .. or not eat.. I will try anything but don’t ask me to cook. I can’t cook or prep anything because I don’t have time!” lol

This is the problem folks! No one has the time.. or makes the time. I promise you this though- you can make health a priority now… or health will make you a priority later. 

One or two hours a day for food preparation, eating and exercise is essential to ones health, well being and vitality. That’s what I told my friend at the bar.. take at least one day a week to prepare some meals.. and give up one bad habit.. lol 
ANYWAY...

  • We prepped our cashews the night before.
  • Now it was time to MILK THE CASHEWS!!!!!!!!
  • First we drained the soaked nuts and then RINSED them well!
  • We added the nuts to the NINJA BLENDER (thanks again Tee)
  • My Sous Chef Kayla added water just over the amount of nuts by about 2 inches. 
  • She blended and we both tasted it. 
  • Since I was making it with her.. and she is an 11 year old trying out vegan food.. I added some maple syrup. It really didn’t need much! Other things you can add for sweetening would be dates or figs. I have done both with almond milk in the past. 
  • I have never made cashew milk. We were both amazed as we blended it into a creamy white texture that closely resembled dairy milk. Wow we did it ourselves… no cows or suction cups.. or pus, hormones, antibiotics or GMO feed. Ok.. I admit we could have used gloves.. but we were experimenting.. we were drinking it.. and it was FUN!
  • This step here is where those gloves would have come in handy: MILKING THE CASHEWS! You can’t just drink it from the blender (well.. maybe) because it’s gritty! So here we squeeze the milk out through a milk bag… or in this case… a paint bag. I always heard you could use a paint bag and I finally gave in and tried it- super!
  • I am a messy bartender at work … and a messy chef in the kitchen. I wanted to make the shakes first.. clean second. Even my little sous chef was nervous about that and wanted to clean. lol Anyway- we made her shake first without the protein powder. Kayla had the fresh cashew milk with bananas and strawberries.

  • Next up was my special raw vegan meal of the day: Sun Warrior RAW VEGAN PROTEIN POWDER mixed with cashew milk, banana and strawberries!
  • ALL DONE! We even had 2 small mason jars of cashew milk for the next day!
  • Check in tomorrow to see what we did with the macadamia and pine nuts!

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Monday July 2nd 2012 blog]

Vegan day 159: Celery banana green tea shake

A friend of mine posted this on my Facebook page the other day- it was part of her initial detox cleansing leading into a full juice fast. I love this recipe because it pulls together the benefits of green tea, celery and a banana.


Green tea is widely popular and filled with many health benefits:

  • Antioxidants (catechins)
  • Weight loss possibilities
  • May reduce pain of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Stabilizes cholesterol levels
  • Improves immune system
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Promising studies for fighting cancer cells
Celery, as a I mentioned in yesterday’s blog is loaded with nutrients and is incredibly helpful for detox and elimination. Banana’s are a food I eat almost everyday and most certainly include in most of my proteins shakes. 

Recipe

Green tea- prepare 2 cups and let cool
Celery- a few stalks with the heads on

Banana- one

References: 
Edgar, J. Health Benefits of Green Tea. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-benefits-of-green-tea
Benefit of Drinking Green Tea: The Proof is in– Drinking Tea is Healthy, says Harvard Women’s Health Watch. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/benefit_of_drinking_green_tea

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Thursday June 7th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 152: Green tea MATCHA FRAPPE

I remember distinctly the first time I had an iced green tea matcha latte– it was upstate in Woodstock, New York at The Tea Shop! It was the best thing ever for someone like myself who was trying to wean off of coffee. I loved it so much that I bought the matcha powder in the tiny Japanese canister. They explained to me that I should use one teaspoon of the powder with a tiny bit of hot water and then whisk it gently with a bamboo whisk. There is a whole art to this as it is used in traditional Japanese celebrations. After that, I would add it to iced soy milk or almond milk and it’s ready! I loved this and was equally quite excited to see it on the Starbucks menu. At Starbucks you have to ask for it unsweetened (no sugar water) and with the soy milk (it’s organic); it’s also offered hot or iced! 

Now I see it today on the list of items we are going to prepare in class. I am so excited. Wait.. it was a tease. We just had a tasting… so I had to make it tonight. I think I have to make it one more time to get it just perfect but it was really good! I put too much powder in. I should have remembered what they told me at The Tea Shop! 
 
Recipe
 
Matcha powder
Vanilla extract
Ice (optional) 
You will have to experiment with your own measurements until you get it to your liking. I used 2T of matcha for the amount you see above and it was a bit strong. Put everything in a blender and you are good to go! 
 
For more information on MATCH TEA, which has it’s origins in Japanese tea ceremony celebrations known as Chado, or ‘Way of Tea.’ “ 
check out another favorite store of mine: TEAVANA
 
Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Thursday May 30th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 150: Chocolate coconut smoothie

One day… one day.. I will get the coconut thing right! The first problem is HOW does one open a coconut and then two, HOW does one include it with a smoothie? It seems so simple yet it’s NOT! 
 
The first attempt at a coconut smoothie was trying to duplicate a green kale coconut smoothie that we had in Woodstock. That was more of a kale issue and another blog.  
 
This time.. it was the coconut giving me trouble. I have to google this immediately.. how?? The first time I needed a coconut, my nephew got it open with a hammer and screwdriver. This time it almost required a drill.. lol nothing like having a tool box in the kitchen. Actually, it took a sterilized screwdriver to puncture it to drink and then a rock and coconut war that had to be moved to the outdoors. This is the brown coconut. More info later on the fresh young coconuts that have to stay refrigerated. 
 
Anyway… we snacked on a few pieces of coconut and they were a bit chewy and time consuming.. tasty of course .. but took some work because of the coarseness. We wanted one more fun item to make with the kids– smoothies it was! Here are the ingredients for this one:
 
Coconut
Almond milk
Cacao powder
Watermelon- hey we had a lot of it left over
Peaches
Ice

It sounds like it would taste good and it did but not to the main 7-year old’s taste. He said it was good and then later confessed it really wasn’t lol. I’m guessing the coconut was too “texture-ess” and the cacao was not sweet enough.


Earlier that day.. I used the same line twice.. once after the morning fresh vegetable juicing and the second after the smoothie: 
“I could add 22 teaspoons of sugar to it if you want”.. each time I received a puzzled look from an adorable child.. or teenager.. who didn’t think my joke was funny when I said.. “well, that’s what’s in a SODA!”

 I may have exaggerated the 22- it’s like 17 teaspoons in the common 20oz bottle; 10 teaspoons in a regular can! Take the grams and divide by 4 to get the teaspoons!
A few fun links for those interested in the sugar in SODAS:
Sugar Stacks
How Much Sugar is in a can of Soda- video 

 
Anyway- I didn’t add the sugar or sweeteners because I was drinking it too lol! I added my hemp protein powder though and it tasted great to me. Next time though I am sticking to fresh young coconut. Much more fresh and delicious! 
 
One that is difficult to open too however. Here is a good YouTube video on the technique (and another one here)! 
Interestingly, as the late writing of this blog due to the Memorial weekend and the fabulous (3 day) LIVING & RAW FOOD INTENSIVE class at the GOURMET INSTITUTE in New York City that I can’t wait to share with you… interestingly, my teacher opened one in class so I shall try all of these methods and see which one works. There is so much exciting food that can be prepared using fresh coconut water and fresh coconut meat so I MUST LEARN! 
 
Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Tuesday May 28th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 98: Press + Blend: Pulp Friction

I love a good juice bar– especially if it’s organic and most definitely if it’s fresh press! Fresh PRESS is when they make the juice using an advanced “press” type juicer. These machines juice the produce and then press it ensuring that all vitamins, minerals and enzymes are squeezed out in as much quantity as possible without sacrificing quality. The room temperature must be cool and the machines gentle. This type of juicing is more time consuming. Sometimes you wonder– hmmm I can make that for 1/4 the price right? Well not necessarily with FRESH PRESS because the machines are very expensive- but with regular juicing you can- and by all means you should. Juicing really is worth the time and effort. If ever you can try the FRESH PRESS- go for it! In the city, two of my favorite places for this are Organic Avenue and Terri. (If you missed my detailed blog about organic avenue- check it out here!). Another previous blog with good juicing links and information is from “vegan day 2.”

 Anyway, I wasn’t home- I was in Woodstock– land of the hippies, rock-n-roll, liberalism and now VEGANISM! Well, I think so anyway. 


I visited a new juice bar there, PRESS + BLEND, which survived the winter months so it must be good! I ordered a smoothie- PULP FRICTION” to be exact and I couldn’t resist the ACAI BERRY CHEESECAKE– vegan of course! The ingredients are acai berry, dates, cashews, pecans, coconut, lemon juice and banana. 


I will be making a similar recipe for a vegan dessert pie very soon- I hope it comes out even half as delicious! The smoothie was interesting! It was really good but it took a little getting used to. It was made with kale, coconut water, coconut meat, spirulina, cacao and a date. I liked it! But then here comes that inner saying… I can make this for 1/4 the price right? Umm- so wrong! What seemed like a simple smoothie- was actually quite tedious, not that attractive and hard to palate as well! But I tried lol!

My attempt at this consisted of kale, coconut water, coconut and banana! Simple.. except I have never cracked open a coconut. Actually, I still haven’t. The first time my nephew did it with a hammer and a screwdriver lol, this time my friend did it with a huge chopping knife- all other times, it was on the side of a road with a skilled coconut craftsperson and a machete! Ok so we have the coconut meat and water now- put it in the NINJA with a big bunch of kale and a banana. I hit the blending options and away it went mixing! The only thing is- it wasn’t  SMOOTH as in “smoothie”! I have made smoothies before with greens but I think it was spinach that I used. This kale smoothie today seemed to still have particles of kale visible. Yes, it tasted really good, but the texture made it a bit difficult to drink!


The lesson learned today- is to TRUST THE EXPERTS… I can now further appreciate the creative smoothies made for me in these wonderful juice bars!




Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Saturday April 7th 2012 blog]