And the winner is… (plus a smoothie)

Today I’m excited to announce the winner of my first-ever giveaway.  For those who missed it, it was sponsored by the site/app Slimkicker and they wanted your ideas about fun and creative fitness challenges that their users can implement in daily life.  We got some great responses and Slimkicker has chosen Camila’s challenge to sponsor on their site.  Camila’s response was “to slow down while you exercise. Lots of people just rush thru their workout without actually focusing and concentrating on the movements.”  Congratulations, Camila, you’ve won the Ozeri professional kitchen scale!  You can email team@slimkicker.com to claim your prize!

And after sweating it out at the gym (or in your 100+ degree apartment) you can cool yourself off with this blueberry-cucumber smoothie.  Seriously, so necessary on days like today.

Help!  What’s your favorite way to cool off on a hot summer day?

Blueberry-Cucumber Smoothie
serves 1

Ingredients
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 medium cucumber, sliced
- 1 cup spinach (optional)
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp matcha powder (optional)
- 1/2 cup water

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.  Drink cold.

* I shared this post with this week’s Real Food Wednesday, Gluten-Free WednesdaySlightly Indulgent TuesdayFat Tuesday and Monday Mania.

Strawberry Beet Smoothie

Lately, my kitchen creations have been much more off-the-cuff than usual.  I normally enjoy planning my cooking adventures for the week, making a grocery list, going to the store, and then coming home ready for my next round of experiments.  But being on night shift has made me completely lose my organization.  I’ve been making recipes based on what’s in the pantry, what’s on sale, and what won’t take too long.  Luckily, my new approach resulted in this amazing strawberry and beet smoothie.

Last week, I stumbled on the amazing deal of 5 pounds of beets for the price of 1.  I think the farmer had more than he could handle and was just trying to unload as much as he could.  The beets were enormous with the beautiful leafy greens still attached.  I baked them by wrapping them in tin foil (method here) and washed and spun the greens.  The next morning when I went to make my usual green smoothie, I added both the roots and the greens.  And the berry and beet smoothie was born.

Berry and Beet Smoothie
serves 1

Ingredients:
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 cup steamed or roasted beets
- 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
- 2 cups beet greens, washed
- 1 Tbsp honey, if more sweetness is desired

Blend all ingredients until smooth.  Drink immediately.
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I added this post to this week’s Wellness WeekendPennywise PlatterGluten Free Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Strawberry Matcha Smoothie

Rhetorical question: What’s a girl to do with a freezer full of strawberries?

Last week, a friend and I headed out to a strawberry farm about 30 minutes from home.  The weather was perfect and strawberries were in their prime.  In just a few hours, I picked 22 pounds (not including the ones I ate…I really think these u-pick farms should weigh me before and after I go out in their fields in order to charge me more accurately).  To be clear, these were not your run-of-the-mill grocery store strawberries imported from California.  These were a variety called Hood strawberries that are smaller, more flavorful, and rare treats given that their harvesting season lasts about a month or less.  I was determined to come home with enough to last me through the summer.

For all their good qualities, Hood strawberries can’t boast a long shelf life.  One they’re picked, they want to be eaten in a day or two.  Their thin skins quickly become too soft and, as I learned, piling more than a couple of layers in your picking box will yield a layer of strawberry mash at the bottom.  Which means that I had my work laid out for me when I got home from the farm.  There was not time to waste.  The rest of my day was spent washing, topping, and freezing strawberries.  It’s so satisfying to open my freezer door to see the “fruits” of my labor staring back at me.  :)

Because it’s strawberry season, I’ve been seeing tons of tempting strawberry recipes around the web.  To name a few:

I want to make ALL of these.  But for now, I’ve been perfectly happy blending them into creamy smoothies.  Jeremy has been even less fancy…he eats them straight from the freezer!

Strawberry Matcha Smoothie
serves 1

Ingredients:
- 1/2 banana, the riper the better
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp cream (optional)
- 1 tsp matcha powder

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Enjoy right away.

* I shared this post with Seasonal Recipe RoundupGluten-Free WednesdayFat Tuesday, Hearth and Soul HopSlightly Indulgent TuesdayMy Meatless Mondays, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Monday Mania, and Mix it Up Monday.

Green Dreamsicle Smoothie

After a month-long(!) break, I finally headed back to classes this morning.  Slowly, I’m remembering what it’s like to have to get up before 10am, that a “reading list” means more than just the novels and cookbooks I’m requesting from the library, and the general anxiety that comes with projects, tests, and grades.  Not that I’m complaining.  Over the last month, I’ve realized that I can actually be a very lazy person when there are no outside motivators to get me up and out in the world.  I don’t want to be a lazy person.  And from the looks of my course syllabi, that will not be a problem for me this semester.

This calls for a green smoothie.  It’s a green Dreamsicle smoothie that I hope you will love as much as I do.  I had it for breakfast this morning and went to class feeling satisfied and energized.  If you haven’t ever added greens to your smoothie, I highly recommend that you give it a try.  For novices, spinach is a good place to start.  It blends up nicely, leaving no “crunchy” bits and it doesn’t have much of a taste to it.  As you get bolder, you can experiment with the cruciferous greens like kale and collard greens.  These veggies have wonderful health benefits but are also more likely to add a distinctive “green” taste to your concoction.  I don’t usually mind it but can see that it could be off-putting for a newbie.

Green Power!

Same smoothie without the spinach.

Enjoy!

Green Dreamsicle Smoothie
serves 1

Ingredients
- 1 tangelo, peeled and seeded
- 1/2 banana
- a few handfuls spinach
- 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
- about 1/4 cup hemp (or other) milk (hemp milk recipe here)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla

Blend all ingredients in a high-power blender.  Some blenders may not be up to the task of liquefying a whole tangelo, in which case you may want to experiment with OJ instead.  In that case, leave out the milk and consider adding more greek yogurt and/or banana to thicken.

* I added this post to this week’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, These Chicks Cooked, and Fat Tuesday.

Persimmon and Coconut Smoothie

Have I mentioned that I love smoothies?  Yes, I love smoothies.  But I sometimes find myself in a rut, especially as the weather gets colder and good seasonal fruit becomes harder to come by.  At this time of year, I’m usually using a lot of bananas, pumpkins, and fruits from the freezer for my daily shot of blended goodness.  During my most recent visit to the farmer’s market, though, and unusual fruit caught my eye.  It was a persimmon and I was immediately drawn to the beautiful toasty orange color.

Now, I had never actually eaten a persimmon and wasn’t really sure about what kind of taste to expect.  Having had one now, I think I would say that the flavor is most closely related to an apricot but less sweet.  The next thing I wanted to know was how I could incorporate it into a smoothie that would highlight its delicate favor.  Maybe some coconut and ginger?  Yes and yes.

Persimmon and Coconut Smoothie
serves 1

Ingredients
- 1/2 large banana or one small banana
- 1 ripe persimmon
- 3 TBS coconut milk (the more concentrated from-a-can kind, not the milk substitute)
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt
- generous pinch ginger
- extra water, if necessary to achieve desired consistency
- a few handfuls of spinach (optional)

Blend in the blender until smooth and enjoy!  Here’s what you’ll get it you’re shy about using greens in your smoothies.

And here it is if you like to sneak in the leafy greens like I do :)

* This recipe is included in this week’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, the Hearth and Soul Hop at Premeditated Leftovers, Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Gluten-Free Wednesday at Gluten-Free Homemaker, Healthy 2day Wednesdays at day2day joys, the Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Wednesday bloghop, and Simple Lives Thursdays at GNOWGGLINS.

Figgy Smoothie

Hello!  I hope everyone is enjoying their weekends.  I’m working on staying cozy in my apartment and getting caught up on some housekeeping and schoolwork.  I know that doesn’t sound like an exciting weekend, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need!  I had a productive morning with a quick workout, running errands and taking Dan to the park.

I’ve learned that if Portland gives you sunshine in the winter, you don’t waste the opportunity!

When I’m busy and need quick, healthy food, green smoothies always come to the rescue.  It’s my go-to breakfast and I probably have them 5-6 days a week.  Since I eat them so often, I sometimes get caught in a smoothie-rut where I’m using the same ingredients over and over.  Luckily, there are a lot of other green smoothie enthusiasts out there who like to post their recipes online and I can always find inspiration to switch things up.  Today’s smoothie is based on one from Laury at The Fitness Dish.  Of course, I’m almost incapable of following a recipe exactly so this is my slightly tweaked version.

Figgy Smoothie
serves 1

- 1 ripe banana
- 3-5 figs
- 2 kale leaves, stems removed
- 1 Tbs hemp protein
- 1 Tbs almond butter
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/2-1 cup almond milk
- ice cubes (optional, I don’t like my smoothies too cold in the winter)

Put everything in your blender and blend ’til smooth!