Red, White and Blueberries

Happy July 4th, Everyone!  Let the summer festivities begin! In true patriotic fashion, I made my kids a red, white and blue smoothie: farm-fresh strawberries, non-fat greek yogurt, plump blueberries, flaxseeds, oat bran, a touch of agave and ice.

Summer offers an abundance of healthy fruits and veggies but blueberries are indeed one of my favorites. It’s in summer that I make my blueberry and ginger pie and top my breakfast yogurt with these healthy, blue beauties. These nutrient-dense berries are a member of the superfood family. Rich in antioxidants, with a healthy dose of vitamin C, K, manganese and fiber, the powerful blueberry helps to support our immune system. Studies show that blueberries may help to balance blood sugar levels and more recent studies are indicating that the almighty blueberry may help with cognitive function.  Since I often find myself walking into my pantry for something only to find I have completely forgotten why I am there - bring on the blueberries! Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite summertime, blueberry smoothies.  The taste resembles that pie I mentioned earlier- maybe that’s why my blender is whipping up this drink so often in the summer!

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • ¾ cup of nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. toasted flaxseeds
  • drizzle of agave nectar
  • ice

Blend and enjoy! Better yet, close your eyes and imagine it’s a piece of that pie :)

 

 

The Kindness of Kale

A friend came by my home yesterday to pick up her son who was playing with my boys.  She arrived in the pouring rain holding a beautiful bunch of young kale, fresh from her garden.  The leaves were a vibrant,velvety, green color and I immediately wondered how I would prepare this lovely gift.  A raw salad? Perhaps throw it in my morning smoothie? I decided to make my Kale and Mushroom recipe.  It was the perfect compliment to the scallops I had planned to cook for dinner.  

My friend’s kindness made me think about how kale is kind to our bodies. Kale is a member of the dark, leafy, green family - a food group greatly lacking in the American diet.  It’s a powerhouse in strengthening our immune systems. This highly nutritious food is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc.  It offers us Vitamin A, C, E and K as well as fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Kale strengthens our blood by oxygenating it and it supports our respiratory system by clearing congestion in our lungs.  It improves our liver, gall bladder and kidney function and can actually (yes, this is true), improve our spirits and help to alleviate depression.  Kale and other dark, leafy greens promote a subtle, light and flexible energy in our bodies.This superfood is easy to incorporate into your life because there are so many ways to eat it.  Head to your local farm, farmers’ market or grocery store and bring home a beautiful bunch of kale. It comes in many different varieties - I like lacinato or “dinosaur kale”. Make a salad (just as you would with any lettuce) try it in a smoothie, bake some kale chips or try my recipe for Kale and Mushrooms - it can be paired with any kind of protein or it’s perfectly delicious on it’s own!

  • Kale and Mushrooms
  • 1 carton (3.5 oz) or loose mix of mushrooms of your choice - slice or keep whole
  • ½ bunch of kale – washed and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 fresh garlic clove – minced
  • ½ tsp. fresh ginger – minced
  • ½ tsp. coconut oil or olive oil
  • ½ tsp. chile oil (optional)
  • 1 tb. low sodium soy or tamari sauce
  • Handful of chopped fresh cilantro
  • Freshly ground pepper

Heat coconut oil over medium heat.

Add garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add mushrooms, chile oil and soy/tamari sauce.

Cook until mushrooms are coated and softened – about 5 minutes.

Add kale and cook until wilted

Season with pepper and cilantro.

*sprinkle with flax seeds for an Omega 3 kick

 

The Dreamsicle Smoothie

The “Dreamsicle” Smoothie!

I love my smoothies and am always trying to come up with new creations that will satisfy everyone in my clan. During the cold, winter months this year, I was determined to support my family’s immune systems with nutritious, breakfast smoothies.  As the morning news both updated and terrified me of the latest superbugs and nasty viruses hitting the country, my kids would cover their ears as my Vitamix blender with it’s deafening sound blended up anti-inflammatory concoctions for the family. This morning, as the sun was trying to peak through the gray, I felt the need to taste a bit of summer so I blended up one of my favorite, immune-boosting smoothies, the “Dreamsicle”. I named it this because it reminds me of the days when the kids in the neighborhood would squeal with delight as they heard the ice cream truck musically approaching.  I didn’t need to think hard about what I wanted but only needed to make a decision between two favorite treats: the Chocolate Eclair or the Creamsicle.  On those lazy, summer days, I would often choose the Creamsicle for it’s refreshing, sunny and soothing flavor: a little bit of bright with a little bit of creamy goodness.  I recreated this dreamy taste in a smoothie that packs an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, protein punch and brings me right back to the ice cream truck, catching fireflies and wishing summer would never end.

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut water
  • 1 juicy navel orange
  • 1 tb. of fresh ginger (I like ginger’s “heat” so I add more - up to you and your taste buds)
  • ¾ cup of non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. goji berries
  • ice (3-4 large cubes)

Blend and dream about those lazy days of summer.  Where did they go, by the way??

*Add flax seeds for an Omega 3 kick.