Green Dream Smoothie

Green Dream Juice and Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients for Green Dream Juice

These two recipes are smooth, mild, and cooling…perfect for easy drinking on a hot day.

Recipe for Green Dream Juice

makes approximately 40 ouncesGreen Dream Juice

  • 2 large organic apples, cored and cut to fit in juicer – I recommend Golden Delicious or Fuji
  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled
  • 2 limes, peeled
  • 1 inch fresh ginger – No need to peel
  • 4 leaves green kale with stalks – Red kale won’t change the taste of the juice, but it will definitely change the color!

Recipe for Green Dream Smoothie

makes approximately 20 ouncesGreen Dream Smoothie

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled
  • 1 lime, peel cut away
  • 1 large organic apples, cored and cut – I recommend Golden Delicious or Fuji
  • ½ inch fresh ginger, peeled or 1 teaspoon ginger juice 
  • 1 green kale leaf with stalk
  • 2-3 ice cubes

Add ingredients in order listed in a powerful blender, like Vita-Mix, and blend until smooth. Add a small amount of liquid (coconut water, almond milk, etc.) if needed to help the blending process.

fresh produce

Juicing for Health

I’m happy to say I’ve started juicing again…you know I’m talking about fruits and veggies, right?  Summer is a perfect time to juice, when the goal is to enjoy the warm weather while showing off glowing skin…in a bathing suit.  Not there yet?  Adding fresh juice to your daily routine might be able to help.  If you’re new to juicing, or need a reminder of all the benefits, let me share why juicing may be right for you…

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  1. Juicing is the easiest, quickest, and most efficient way to absorb all the nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables.  The process of heating food destroys nutrients in varying degrees, depending how you cook them.  Eating raw vegetables in the amount that’s ideal can cause digestive upset.  Juicing produce yields micronutrient-rich liquid that’s doesn’t require much effort from our digestive system.
  2. Juicing is easy.  Yes, juicing does take some prep work.  But after you select and clean your produce, it takes little time or effort.  And your meal is totally portable, able to be enjoyed on the go.  I love my Breville juicer (Juice Fountain Plus, recommended to me by Joe Cross) because it’s quick to assemble, extracts all the juice possible from fruits and veggies, is easy to take apart, and a cinch to clean.
  3. Juicing is tasty.  Freshly juiced produce is absolutely delicious!  If you’re new to juicing, it can be a little daunting to figure out what combo makes a tempting, nutritious concoction.  But after consulting the many tasty juice recipes out there, you gain the confidence to know which produce to use, and perhaps even try out your own recipes.  I recommend The Big Book of Juices by Natalie Savona for ideas and guidance.  With more than 400 recipes, you’ll never get bored. I love the nutrients list and benefits rating for each recipe, as well as the index in the back that suggests which juice recipes are helpful for what’s ailing ya.
  4. Juicing is sexy, because it makes YOU sexy.  With skin-glowing nutrients, cleansing properties, and slimming qualities that make a difference people can see…how can you not feel great about how great you look?

Although juicing does awesome things for your body, you do need to keep a few things in mind….

  1. Juice is not nutritionally complete.  There is very little to no protein, and no fat, in juice.  You need both in your diet.  I use juicing to complement my diet as a vitamin-rich snack or a detoxifying elixir.  The only time I use juice to replace meals is when I’m doing a cleanse, and in this case, I’m purposefully giving my digestive system a break from protein and fat.
  2. Fruit and sweet vegetables contain sugar.  Too much sugar, even from healthy sources, is still too much sugar.  If you’re trying to watch your weight or have blood sugar issues, use sweet veggies and fruit sparingly.  I use a carrot, beet, or apple (or half of one) for a touch of sweetness to greens-laden juices or to tone down strongly flavored vegetables like cabbage.  Adding lime or fresh ginger is a great low-sugar way to add depth to your juice or “cover up” strong vegetable flavors.  If you do use sweet produce to juice and want to keep calories/sugar on the light side, drink a small glass instead or dilute your juice with water or club soda.
  3. Use organic produce as much as possible.  Juicing requires a lot of produce…which means you’re consuming a lot of produce.  So make sure what you’re ingesting is free from pesticides and chemicals!  The worst offenders are on the Dirty Dozen list, so definitely choose organic for those.
  4. Fresh juice has a quick end date.  Freshly juiced beverages have a small window of time in which to drink them.  It’s best to drink fresh juice right away, but if you want to make juice for later, here are a few tips:
  • Store juice in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate.  Make sure the juice fills up the entire jar to reduce oxidation.
  • Freeze the juice for later use.  Pop in a couple cubes of juice, frozen in an ice tray, when you’re making smoothies, shakes, and other cold beverages.
  • Taking juice with you but not drinking it right away?  Add a teaspoon of vitamin C powder or squeeze of lemon to the container to keep juice from turning brown.

Happy Juicing!

Fresh Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Fresh Spiced Cranberry Sauce

When I was a kid, I thought all cranberry sauce came out of a can in one big can-shaped jelly mold.  I thought it tasted OK, but something about it was weird and unnatural.  Then many years later I discovered that cranberry sauce could look like, well, sauce.  And it tasted so…delicious.  After that day, I just couldn’t bear to buy the jelly-roll-thing-in-a-can again.

While homemade cranberry sauce does take longer to make than opening a can, I think it’s totally worth it.  And my taste buds agree.  If you’re in a real pinch, or simply will faint if you have to make one thing more thing for the holidays, you could add the spices to a store-bought can of whole cranberry sauce (please stay away from the jelly!).  I promise not to say anything, as long as you pledge to try this recipe later.  OK, now that we’ve done the pinkie swear thing…..

This would be a great sauce to accompany any white meat, which you probably already guessed.  But I encourage you to try it with other foods too, such as swirled into oatmeal or yogurt, dolloped onto vanilla ice cream, or stuffed into baking apples.  I bet you could come up with some fun ways to use it for holiday hors d’oeuvres too.

Recipe for Fresh Spiced Cranberry Sauce

makes about 1½ cups of sauce

  • 1½ cups filtered water
  • ¾ cup sucanat (dehydrated, freshly squeezed sugar cane juice with a natural molasses flavor)
  • 1 (12-oz) bag fresh cranberries – Equals 3 cups
  • ½-1 teaspoon (packed in) freshly grated orange peel – I really enjoyed the stronger taste of orange, but if you only want a hint, try ½ tsp
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (optional) – It’s great without, but cardamom is such a warm, holiday-ish spice, it’s perfect for this time of year
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour water and sugar into medium pot and heat to a boil, stirring.  Add cranberries and bring to boil again.  Simmer, covered, until cranberries pop and mixture thickens a little (about 15-20 minutes).  Turn off heat.  Stir in rest of ingredients.  Let sit until cools.  Transfer sauce to glass container and chill in fridge until thickens (don’t worry, it will firm up!).

Have a tasty holiday season!

Butternut squash mash with spices

Butternut Squash Mash

If you’ve ever tried to peel and cut up hard winter squash, you’ll appreciate how little effort this recipe requires.  There are so many variations and adjustments you can make to suit your needs.  I listed some ideas below to get you started.  I tried the recipe as both sweet and savory versions, which were fantastic each way.  This will definitely be making its way onto the table for Thanksgiving!

While this is a simple recipe, it does take time.  The good news is you can do most of the preparation the day before.  After mashing baked squash in a baking dish, cover and refrigerate.  Baking the squash from its refrigerated state will take about 40 minutes.  It goes down way too easily, so make sure you whip up enough!  I highly recommend roasting the seeds too.  They make a great topping for soups and salads, and taste crazy good by themselves as well!

Tasty Butternut Squash Mash Twists (can combine, mix and match to suit tastes):

  • Classic – Butter, sea salt, and pepper
  • Sweet – Maple syrup and cinnamon  (Add layers of marshmallows before baking if you’ve got to have a traditional Thanksgiving side)
  • Savory – Red pepper flakes, paprika, garlic, basil, sea salt
  • Creamy – Add splashes of milk or cream
  • Crunchy – Add roasted squash seeds and/or crumbled no-nitrate bacon

Recipe for Butternut Squash Mash

1 squash makes enough mash to fill a 1.5-quart baking dish.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Place whole squash in a baking dish and bake for 1 hour.

Easy way to bake squash!

Let squash cool enough to handle, then slice skin and peel off.  The cooler the squash is, the easier the skin peels off.  Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds (set aside if want to roast them later).

After removing skin, cut in half to scoop out seeds

Place squash in baking dish and mash

Mash squash in baking dish.

Mashed squash ready to bake

Bake at 350°F until edges pull away from dish.

To roast seeds:  Pour seeds into colander (use one with bigger openings so pulp can pass through) and separate pulp from seeds with the help of very warm running water from the sink.  If possible, soak seeds in water in a jar or container for at least 6 hours (I do this overnight).  Coat baking sheet with coconut oil.  Spread seeds on sheet and sprinkle with salt.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F (or before if you hear the seeds popping).

Baking squash and seeds (from 2 squash)

Potato and Carrot Soup with Shallots

Creamy Potato and Carrot Soup

Soup topped with sautéed garlic and shallots

I love fall.  The air turns crisp.  Pumpkins pop up in windows and on porches, some al naturale while others wear dramatic expressions.  Trees dress in the latest fashions of amber, chestnut, and garnet.  This soup is perfect for transitional weather…creamy and dreamy and warms you up without weighing you down.  Even if you live in a warm weather zone, you’ll feel autumn’s spirit.

I like to chew on something when I eat soup, so I made extra of the shallot mixture as a topping.  I see this soup as an appetizer or snack because it’s so light.  But you can also use this soup as a base, adding bits of veggies and protein to make it a more filling meal.

Recipe for Creamy Potato and Carrot Soup

1 lb carrots, cubed (about 2 ½ cups)

1 lb potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 2 ½ cups)

vegetable stock/chicken stock/filtered water, enough to cover carrots and potatoes in pot – I recommend using stock because it provides more flavor.  I used homemade stock and neglected to measure how much I used (again!).  You’ll probably need one of those 32 oz boxes, I recommend Pacific Natural Foods brand.

2-3 shallot sections, thinly sliced – Or can use onions, just make sure they’re very thinly sliced so they’ll cook faster

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped

1 Tablespoon butter (or olive oil)

2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary – If you use dried rosemary, only add ½ to ¾ of a teaspoon, at the same time you start sautéing the garlic and shallots

1 teaspoon sea salt

Pour cubed carrots and potatoes into a deep pot and cover with stock or water until veggies are just covered with liquid.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes until tender.  Melt butter in medium saucepan.  Add garlic and shallots on low until fragrant, then add rosemary.  Saute until shallots are translucent.  Carefully transfer carrots and potatoes (with liquid) into a Vita-mix blender or large food processor (or do in segments).  Add salt and shallot mixture.  Blend until smooth, adding more liquid if necessary.  Add freshly cracked pepper and sea salt to taste.