Green Smoothie Made Easy!

Recently,  a few people were asking me how to make a good healthy green smoothie, and I honestly don’t have the “expert” answer, since I just began exploring, making and drinking green smoothies.

My friend Cindy from London, UK, just shared with me this awesome “how to customize your own green smoothie” poster which her friend pinned on Pinterest from another source (Eva Ramsey).  I got very excited upon seeing it and can’t wait to share with all of you right now!!  Here’s a guideline on how to make your own yummy green smoothie, and I know I will substitute the liquid part with almond milk (unsweetened) instead, as I love almond milk a lot!

I want to say thank you to Cindy, her friend Jen & Eva Ramsey for sharing and/or posting this cool green smoothie easy steps poster!

Happy Green Smoothie Making & Drinking! 🙂

Love, Violet 

Green Smoothie Menu

A Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Sugar-free Surprise!

Gluten-free + Dairy-free + Sugar-free = Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Muffins

Gluten-free + Dairy-free + Sugar-free = Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Muffins

About 6 months ago, I was chatting with my good friend Naomi, who also started on a gluten-free and dairy-free diet around the same time as me.  However, she went further by totally cutting out refined sugar.  I have to admit, sometimes I still “cheat” with the sugar-free part, such as eating a Kit Kat bar the other day during break at work.  I tell myself a little refined sugar indulgence is ok once in a while, and compensate it with exercise.  It’s all about balancing! 🙂  Anyways, Naomi went on this eating lifestyle change at the recommendation of her naturopathic doctor for health reasons.  I truly admire her self-control on eating gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free daily!

When I saw her for her birthday a few days ago, she looked absolutely stunning, glowing with health.  To begin with, she has always been beautiful; she looks like a classy, younger version of Ashley Judd with short dark hair.  Nonetheless, the demands of her hectic career affected her physical appearance and energy level in the past few years.  As a result, she gained some weight and had unhealthy pallor of skin.  Now that she has been on her gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free diet for about 6 months, I can really see the difference it has made on her physical appearance.  Her skin is more radiant, her eyes are brighter, and she has slimmed down.  She confides in me that her energy level is much better and she believes it’s all due to changing her eating habits.  As well, her increased energy level allows her to focus on balancing between work and family.  I’m absolutely thrilled for Naomi and through her, see how healthy eating and balanced living work hand in hand towards happiness!

Naomi inspired me to create the following gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free muffins.  A few years ago, Naomi decided to stop buying gifts for family and friends. Instead, she would hand make gifts for them.  I followed suit and surprised her with these yummy treats for her birthday. 🙂

I will now share with you the recipe that I made especially for my dearest friend Naomi.

VIOLET’S VERY HEALTHY BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP OAT MUFFINS

Makes: 18 muffins

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: about 35 minutes

Special Notes: 

In my further exploration of gluten-free flour, I discovered quinoa flour.  It is high in protein, calcium and iron; it also gives a nutty and sweet taste to the baked goods.  It adds lightness to the baked goods, so I decided to combine it with the almond flour (which makes baked goods dense).  The result of the combination was perfect!

-The sugar from the ripe bananas and the lesser amount of sugar in the semisweet/bittersweet chocolate chips compared to other chocolate types, make the muffins sweet in a natural way!

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour/meal

2 cups quinoa flour

1 1/2 cups rolled oats (wheat-free & dairy-free)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 ripe and mashed bananas

3 eggs

1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line muffin pans with large baking cups.
  2. Combine almond flour, quinoa flour, rolled oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
  3. Combine bananas, eggs, almond milk and chocolate chips in another bowl.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well.
  5. Fill each baking cup evenly with the batter.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  7. Let the muffins cool completely.
  8.  Bon appétit!

*I asked Naomi to write a mini review on the muffins after she consumed all of them, and here it is:

“I’ve tried many Gluten-free Sugar-free muffins/recipes before and they all seem to end up with a very dense, heavy texture.  But not these muffins!  They are light and fluffy, with great taste.  They have a natural sweetness from the bananas.  Delicious for a healthy breakfast, snack or even dessert!”

Grateful for Green Smoothie

I'm beginning to love drinking a green smoothie for breakfast!  I like to top it with a sprinkle of raw cacao nibs.  Yum!! :)

I’m beginning to love drinking a green smoothie for breakfast! I like to top it with a sprinkle of raw cacao nibs. Yum!! 🙂

In my search to find satisfying and healthy gluten-free breakfast, I came upon Kimberly Snyder’s book The Beauty Detox Solution- Eat Your Way to Radiant Skin, Renewed Energy and the Body You’ve Always Wanted, and began reading it avidly.  I got inspired by her “Glowing Green Smoothie” (see her blog for recipe: http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/ggs/).  She claims that drinking a green smoothie or drink daily is the most powerful way to increase our mineral and enzyme consumption, which are critical to our health and beauty.  She says “green-based drinks are the real super foods- not exotic, expensive or hard-to-find fruits or plants from foreign countries.” (Chapter 4: Beauty Minerals and Enzymes)  Furthermore, dark, leafy greens are packed with many nutrients that are good for our bodies, and they’re better than any other food groups.  Basically, having vegetables, especially the greens (e.g. kale, spinach, celery etc.) and fruits will nourish us completely.  According to Health Canada, we should have at least 7-8 servings (if you’re female, and for males: 8-10 servings) of both fruits and vegetables per day (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/choose-choix/fruit/need-besoin-eng.php), which translates roughly into 2-3 servings of fruits and 7-8 servings of vegetables (I confirmed this information with my naturopathic doctor).   Therefore, having a nutritious and fiber filled green smoothie is such a great way to consume our vegetables and fruits early on in the day.

As I’m going gluten-free, I decided to give the green smoothie a try.  Although I am nowhere near in drinking one per day, I do drink it 2-3 times a week for my breakfast.  Perhaps, in the summer, I will challenge myself to drink Kimberly Snyder’s “Glowing Green Smoothie” every single day and see if it is true about becoming even more energized, more beautiful with radiant skin and leaner.  She claims these are all the positive health effects one will have in drinking it daily.  Keep you all posted on this!

Here’s a recipe that I tried with whatever ingredients I could find in my kitchen, primarily with the intention of making a “green” smoothie, and the result was quite refreshing.  It wasn’t as sweet as I usually prefer, but I was surprised I liked the taste and the energy boost I got from it!  I love how adding the fruits balances the taste of the greens.  So,  I am grateful for discovering the power of green smoothies for my breakfast! 🙂

VIOLET’S  GREEN SMOOTHIE   

Makes: 1 smoothie

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: about 15 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups of baby spinach

2 stalks of chopped celery (excellent source of calcium, vitamin C, fibre,  potassium, folic acid, fiber, vitamins B1, B2 & B6)

1 chopped nectarine

2 tablespoons chia seeds (makes the smoothie filling as it has protein, and provides 4.4 g of protein)

1 cup unsweetened cold almond milk (if you prefer a sweeter taste, go with original)

1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs

Instructions:

1. Put all ingredients (except the cacao nibs) into the blender and mix.

2. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and enjoy!

I’m discovering there are so many possibilities in making a “green smoothie” that it’s deliciously fun!!  I keep Kimberly Snyder’s mix and match rule in mind when creating a green smoothie:  “Your favourite fruits are your favourite go-to jeans and your leafy greens are your many different cute tops.  The jeans (fruits) are really the support for the fabulous, eye-catching tops (leafy greens) which are the most important part of the outfit.” 😀

What ingredients do you put in your green smoothie? 

Thanks & Love, Violet

*If you want to know the nutritional values and health benefits for the following ingredients, please see these links:

Baby Spinach: http://www.livestrong.com/article/258415-what-is-the-nutritional-value-of-baby-spinach/

Celery: http://www.foods-healing-power.com/celery-health-benefits.html

Nectarine: http://www.livestrong.com/article/408098-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-nectarines/

Cacao Nibs: http://www.livestrong.com/article/462015-benefits-of-cocoa-nibs/

Exploring Gluten-Free Baking…

On my last visit to my naturopathic doctor, as we continued to discuss and explore a variety of ways for me to maintain my healthy eating, she kindly shared with me her Berry Almond Flour Muffins recipe.  At her recommendation, I am on my way in cutting out gluten in my daily diet, since we discovered gluten was another reason I often felt bloated.  I used to have toast with milk (I’ve also decreased my dairy intake now) almost every morning for my breakfast, but now I am learning to find appetizing substitutes for my first meal in the morning.  Of course, balance is the key in life, as well as in eating, so I admit that on special occasions such as at my friend’s wedding a few weeks ago, I had some gluten and dairy food.  I figure that eating gluten once in a while is ok, at least for me. 🙂

I am now experimenting with gluten-free alternatives in my baking and eating.  It’s an area that I’m unfamiliar with, but excited to learn more!

As a chocoholic, I had to add a bit of chocolate into my naturopathic doctor’s recipe, so below you will find my version, with some minor changes.  Have fun baking it!

VIOLET’S RASPBERRY & CHOCOLATE CHIP ALMOND FLOUR MUFFINS

Raspberry & Chocolate Chip Almond Flour Muffins Photo

Makes: 18 muffins

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: about 45 minutes

Special Notes: I decided to replace the blueberries/cranberries with raspberries, because I find the tartness of the raspberries goes very well with chocolate.  Plus, there are many health benefits in eating raspberries. (see: http://www.livestrong.com/article/419257-benefits-of-raspberries/)  I find the Almond flour makes the muffins very moist, heavy and filling.  Therefore, having one of these muffins for breakfast is a good way to start off the day on a healthy and sweet note! 🙂

Ingredients:

3 cups almond flour/meal

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups raspberries

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup manuka honey

3 eggs

1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line muffin pans with large baking cups.
  2. Combine almond flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
  3. Combine raspberries, vanilla, manuka honey and eggs in another bowl.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well.
  5. Fill each baking cup evenly with the batter.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  7. Let the muffins cool completely.
  8.  Bon appétit!

Do you know of another gluten-free flour that is great for baking?  Please let me know and if possible, share a recipe with it. 🙂

Thanks & Love, Violet