Posts Tagged vegetable

Vanilla Mint Smoothie

I want to share my new favorite smoothie, because it’s so perfectly Summer I have to get it in before Labor Day! I usually save smoothies for snacks and this is perfect for a post-hike or after school snack, but with the heat this Summer, it also worked great for me for breakfast. There is a secret ingredient too, with kind of a fun twist…instead of using questionable methods to get the green color that you find in many mint products, spinach and fresh mint each serve the dual purpose of a great nutritional boost and a brilliant green color! If you don’t have fresh mint, which I do recommend, you can put a drop or two of peppermint or spearmint oil in the water before pouring it into the blender. I keep frozen bananas in the freezer at all times in case the need for a smoothie arises. Outside of smoothie season, they are good for banana bread too.

If you are worried about the ice watering the smoothie down, no need to fret. We are essentially making our nut or seed milk and smoothie in the same step, so the ice (plus the water) serves as the liquid for the seed milk and it keeps everything nice and cold which is a critical element to keeping the bananas from getting gummy. Plus, the higher the hydration to sweet ratio the better, in my opinion, especially in a cooling mint smoothie! If you do want it a little sweeter, you can add a pitted date with the hemp seeds for an extra potassium boost!

  • 3/4 cup cold water, plus a little more depending on the consistency you want
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds (I sometimes use raw soaked almonds instead)
  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • 1 cup spinach, or more if you like
  • 1/2-1 cup fresh mint (depending on your level of mintophelia)
  • 1 large frozen banana, cut into smaller chunks
  • teeny pinch of salt

Pour the vanilla in the water and set aside; if you are using mint oil instead of fresh mint, add it to the water too. Put the hemp seeds, ice cubes, spinach, mint, and salt in the blender, then pour the water over it. Putting the hemp seeds in first keeps them from flying around before they are blended and sticking to the side of the blender. Blend on low to get it going, then turn to high and blend until smooth, adding small amounts of cold water if needed to allow your smoothie to process. Blend it just as long as necessary, as you want to avoid heating up the smoothie in order to keep a perfect smooth, thick consistency. I like it thick enough to eat with a spoon, but it’s good anywhere between there and milkshake consistency. Sit down, take a deep breath, be grateful, and enjoy!

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Country Lentil Stew

This is a homey, hearty stew – perfect for the April showers we’re hoping to get here in Colorado soon! It’s full of chunky vegetables, French lentils, and a touch of tomato and is delicious served over golden turmeric-spiced rice with a side of roasted veggies and maybe some bread and avocado. I like to cut the vegetables into relatively large pieces, which, to me, is what makes it a country-style stew. I start with the usual – onions, garlic, celery, green beans, and carrots, but shallots, celeriac, and lots of chopped kale add more depth, heft, and nutrition. Of course, fresh parsley is a must in any soup broth. You could also add some cabbage at the last minute; just give it a couple minutes to soften up – you don’t want it to get mushy. I currently have a toothache, so turmeric abounds in my cooking because of its anti-inflammatory effects. I’ll take all the anti-cancer benefits too. Red chili flakes add a little kick and will help keep our sinuses healthy as the weather shifts between Winter and Spring. You can pack a lot of health benefits into this one pot, huh? And, it tastes fabulous, so enjoy!

  • 1 1/2 cups French lentils, soaked overnight with a strip of kombu*
  • 2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks of celery, thickly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, cut in thick rounds
  • 1 large celeriac (celery root), peeled and cut into chunks**
  • 2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes, plus more later to taste
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups jarred diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice, soaked overnight
  • 2 cups water (more if you didn’t soak the rice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

*Kombu is a mineral-rich (including iodine) sea vegetable. When soaked/cooked with beans, it helps to soften the beans and makes them more digestible. It often dissolves with cooking, but I typically remove any big pieces that have not dissolved, as they are unpalatable to certain members of my family…

** Celeriac, aka celery root, looks like a knobby, dirty turnip. Use a pairing knife to peel off the skin and you’ll find white, tender flesh. Now that all of my CSA potatoes are gone, I like to use it anywhere I would otherwise use a potato.

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat, then add the olive oil and onion and saute until the onion is translucent and just starting to brown. Add the shallot and saute until it starts to brown. Make a space in the middle of the pot, add a little more oil, then add the garlic and saute for about a minute or until it’s very fragrant. Stir in the celery, carrots, and celeriac, and green beans, cover and saute a few minutes more. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the lentils and add them to the soup pot. Add the water and onion and garlic powders, turmeric, and chili flakes. Turn the heat to high, and bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the lentils are very soft. While the soup is cooking, drain and rinse the rice and put it into a medium pot with the water, salt, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Once the lentils are soft, add the kale, tomatoes, salt (start with 1 teaspoon), pepper, and simmer on low for another 10 minutes or so. Season to taste and serve over rice. Enjoy!

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