Smoothies 101; Summer Smoothies Part 2

smoothie ingredientsBuilding the best smoothies can be a challenge because if you are an inventor like me, you want to just dive in and make your own. This however can lead to some problems especially if you are kind of new to eating healthy.

I started making smoothies pretty early on in my healthy living journey. Back in 2010 I found out I needed to be coffee, corn and gluten free (among other things) in order to avoid chronic migraines, joint pain and IBS. It was a journey I knew absolutely nothing about. But smoothies quickly became a favorite because well, I knew I needed to give up ice cream which almost always contains high-fructose corn syrup and it was a staple in my life. Making healthier versions was my new mission so I began with what I had on hand. I have since learned never, and I repeat never put (sweet) pepper in a smoothie. No matter what you always taste it- blah!

Here are some tried and true ingredients to always have on hand when making smoothies;

*frozen bananas (take the peel off when ripe and stick in a freezer baggie)

*fresh berries (strawberries/raspberries/blueberries)

*kale or baby spinach (you barely taste it and it’s super healthy)

*avocado

*almond milk (unsweetened vanilla)

*raw local honey

*peanut butter (or sun butter if you are nut free)

*cacao (raw chocolate powder)

*almonds, cashews or walnuts (optional for protein)

*chia seeds (ground or regular)

 

These ingredients are staples in my kitchen and pantry and I never make a smoothie with out them.  Now, if you are looking for thick and creamy that is your banana, avocado or chia seeds. They add the texture. If you are looking for sweet (like a peanut butter cup) use the banana, cacao, honey and or peanut butter. Those are all good and a huge kid favorite. If you are going for healthy and or green, go with the nuts, berries, kale and avocado and sweeten with honey if needed.

Start with 8-12 oz. of almond milk.  Add your thickener, add your fruit (or sweet), add nuts for protein. For healthy ones, add the kale and spinach. If you want to avoid brown colored smoothies don’t mix too many greens and red berries. Add more berries for the color and a small handful of the kale or spinach. 

With the right combination of any of these items you are off to a great healthy start. The best one tip I can offer (other than avoiding the pepper) is to Keep It Simple.  The fewer the ingredients the better. Do 4-5 things and you are good to go!

 

Enjoy making your Summer Smoothies now that you have the goods! (and let me share, boy are they good! Your body will thank you!

 

Summer Smoothies Part One

I bet where you live, the summer is a fun time to cool off with a nice cold smoothie. I’m from Houston where the summers are HOT and smoothies are NOT, so for us they are a great treat and healthy way cool down. You can find smoothies at just about all fast food places these days but don’t be fooled, not all smoothies can be created equal!  butterfinger smoothie

Did you know people have been making smoothies for almost 100 years? In that time the process of finding new ingredients has led to the development of different types or categories of smoothies, which are divided into the following groups;

  • Fruit Smoothies: A smoothie made from fruits, specifically for their sweet flavor.
  • Green Smoothies: Smoothies typically dark green in color due to their use of dark vegetable greens such as spinach.
  • Healthy Smoothies: Any smoothie whose aim is to optimize the amount of nutritional content, with the goal of replacing supplements and providing all of one’s daily recommended vitamins and macro-nutrients in a natural form.
  • Weight Loss Smoothies: These typically exclude any added sugar (with the aim of minimizing the overall glycemic load of the smoothie), and often contain healthy fats such as flax seed or almond butter to help satiate one’s appetite. Caffeine based stimulants like green tea or coffee can also be added which further promote weight loss by both increasing metabolism and reducing appetite.
  • Dessert Smoothies: Dessert smoothies typically contain added sugar or fat in the form of ice cream or syrups – many recipe books call for smoothies with either added sugar or dairy products creating a dessert like beverage, which in many cases tastes identical to a shake. These are the ones you are going to get from most stores in prepackaged form or at restaurants.

Why are Smoothies good for Kids?

I think that healthy, homemade smoothies are the fastest and easiest way to feed your child their recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Smoothies can easily provide your child with a full serving of calcium, fruit and vegetables – in just one cup. The taste is almost always sweet no matter what is in them.

Smoothies are the perfect solution for:

Picky eaters, kids on the go, active kids, children with food allergies and more importantly, busy parents!

In the summer months when fruits are readily available, smoothies are a wonderful addition to breakfast or a healthy snack.

What We Love About Smoothies

  • They pull double duty: quenching thirst and satisfying hunger at the same time.
  • They taste as bright and pretty as they look.
  • They’re a great way to sneak more fiber and antioxidants into your kids. (But all they’ll care about is the taste.)
  • They don’t require a lot of fussy ingredients.
  • They give new life to overripe fruit.
  • They can be easily tailored to suit individual needs. And even kids with dairy allergies can enjoy them.
  • They’re a great DIY snack for older kids; younger operators will require adult supervision.

 

My girls just love it when they hear that smoothie blender going. They often come running in to see what kind and color concoction I have made today. My youngest is a little more timid when trying them, but my oldest will not hold back, green or not- she’s all in! I will recommend if you have a very picky eater, serving it in a fun (colored) cup and with a straw helps disguise the color better and it may work in getting them to try it.

Here is a recipe that I found online and it is an all-time-favorite here. It makes a good amount so don’t worry about enjoying some yourself, it’s all good!!

 

Kids Favorite Smoothie- The Butterfinger!

 1 cup almond milk

3 tbsp. peanut butter

1 apple cored and cut

1 pear cored and cut

1 frozen banana

1 hand full kale

1 hand full ice cubes

 

Blend in blender on high until smooth. If your blender has a smoothie setting, try that! Sip and enjoy!

 

Watch out for next weeks post as I will share tons of summer smoothie recipes!

Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti

Leftover shreddedChicken Spaghetti chicken

Quinoa or Rice Spaghetti Pasta (cook according to package)

½ – 1 cup shredded cheese (1/2 – 1 depending on taste)

1 jar organic spaghetti sauce (few ingredients)

Optional Fresh basil to taste (chopped)

 

Prep and Cook time- 35 mins.

Preheat oven to 350* Cook spaghetti according to package directions. When spaghetti is cooked and drained, place in a square 8X8 baking pan. Layer shredded chicken over the pasta and then layer with spaghetti sauce. Top with cheese. Bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes, or until sauce bubbles.

On the side- While spaghetti is in, steam in microwave (or on stove top) fresh green beans. Add butter, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve and enjoy!

Winter Beef Stew

Beef Stew

Beef Stew

1 package cut up stew beef (follow instructions on label)

2 cups Flour (I use potato)    (put flour in Ziploc and mix in stew meat to coat)

5-6 small red potatoes cut up bite sized

1 1/3 cups baby carrots

¼ cup celery

1 can diced tomatoes

½ cup diced onion

4 cups chicken/vegetable broth

Salt, pepper and rosemary, to taste.

 

Fill Ziploc (gallon size works best) with about 2 cups of flour and add stew meat. Shake the meat in the bag until meat is coated. Add a little oil to the stock pot and then the onion, cooking until translucent. Add beef and begin to brown (one minute) Add chicken/vegetable broth to pot and bring to a boil. Mix remaining ingredients to the pot and simmer on low for 30 minutes.

Serve with Green Salad and whole grain (or gluten free) bread.

5 Ways to Plan SMARTer This Year

AK Meal Plan Monday

Before I had my coaching business I did not do any ‘formal’ planning. I was a goal setter for sure and accomplished many goals but as a ‘stay at home mom’ I did not feel the need to be so specific as to write them down. Did you know however that people who set goals are way more likely to reach them when they have them written down? Have you ever wondered what your life might be like for your family- if you wrote down some of these goals and worked toward them?

The best way to set these goals yearly is to be smart. SMART goals as they are called teach you how to be specific to measure progress and get results.You may be wondering why you need to make smart goals if you stay at home with your family and do not even work outside of the home. Well I can tell you, that I believe you and your family deserve it! I believe that your children deserve to have parents who want to be better- and make plans that are intentional for the whole family unit to be as successful as possible. If you have been hoping for a household that is more smooth-running and peaceful, then you can get it by putting in just a little work and thinking smart.

As the CEO of your home, I want to encourage you to think about setting some SMART goals for your family. The way to get started to changing your family’s outcome is to be intentional with what you want for yourself and them.  Here are five ideas to get you going;

S- Specific. Set goals for yourself and your family that are specific. They are easy to understand and are clear cut.   An example of a goal for the family might look like this- By January 31st the home and all members in it will have established routines that get us ready in the morning. We will be ready to leave the home on time and without yelling at least 5 times out of the seven that week.

M- Measurable. Goals need to be tangible- you have evidence that they have been done. There can be several shorter goals that show the overall goal has been accomplished. A chore chart with jobs listed on them can be checked off when the chore is completed is a good way to start. The routines can be built around the chores and your child can be rewarded for doing a good job completing the chores that morning.

A- Achievable. Goals need to be easy enough to attain yet challenging enough to keep the person trying to accomplish them. Most goals can be met when they are planned in an appropriate timeframe. Take Grocery shopping for example, you can spend time on a Sunday planning your meals for the following week by writing down what meal you will serve on what day. When you did that meal for that day, check it off and celebrate! That alone could be a win!

R-  Results focused. Goals for the family need to reflect the overall outcome not the actual results. If the overall goal is family happiness, unity and less stress then the results mean more than just seeing check marks that stuff is done. You FEEL results, results are more of a process not a destination. A result of meal planning is less stress and healthier family members. The results show the family coming together over a home cooked meal to talk, share and enjoy each other. It also will save your grocery budget by not eating out as much and another added benefit may be your waste-line shrinks! J

T- Time bound. Goals should be linked to a time frame that is practical and denotes a sense of urgency. Getting out of the house with grocery list filled out, and in hand is a  good sense of urgency and if you are sick of not making that happen, you need to set some goals so you will! Planning ahead is the only way to make it happen regularly and with success. An example would be; by March 31st all meals- morning, afternoon and evening will be planned and implemented.  One way to make sure this happens, is to get the whole family involved by helping plan and prepare the recipes! Then after a few weeks of success take a day off to celebrate by finding a healthy restaurant your whole family enjoys and eat well!

If you are ready to start over with a SMART plan, contact me about how I can help you as a Healthy Living Coach, I can help you step by step to get you and your family on a healthier path and actually REACH those goals for meal planning, diet or exercise you have been working on. Taking part in one of my programs could be the SMARTest thing you could do for your family in 2016!!  Check out all the info of my newest program a Meal Plan Bootcamp here .

 

 

Breakfast Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

2 eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup organic raw sugar

1 cup pumpkin (can)

1 2/3 cup (gluten free) flour

1/4 cup quinoa flakes

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

(optional) 1 cup dried cranberries

(optional) handful diced walnuts

~Preheat oven to 400*  Combine all ingredients into a large bowl, stir until blended well. Bake 15-20 mins. until a toothpick comes out clean.  (makes about 16 muffins)

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