Why you should make green smoothies?

IMG_0440Not just for yourself, but also for your loved ones.  Especially your toddlers.  Probably the biggest and best reason for this is because they are delicious.  A close second is they are super healthy.  And coming in right behind that, it’s an easy way to teach kids they like spinach!

My recipe is super easy.  And super duper delicious.  And SweetPea asks for it, on a regular basis.  And if I try to make some just for me, she won’t stand for it.  And who am I to say no when my kid asks for some of my vegetable yumminess?

If you haven’t already jumped on the green smoothie band wagon, now’s the time!

Green Smoothie Recipe

1 cup orange juice
2 bananas
2-3 handfuls of spinach
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Put the orange juice and spinach in a blender, blend until smooth.  Add bananas.  Blend.  Add chia seeds.  Blend.  Serve and enjoy.

The most important thing when making a green smoothie is blend the liquid (juice, water, milk, whatever you choose) and the greens BEFORE adding anything else.  Or you end up with confetti in your mouth.  Now this may sound like a party, but it’s not.  It’s actually awful.  However if you blend the greens before adding in banana or fruit or ice it will turn out smooth, amazing, and oh-so-good.

The second most important thing is to make enough to share.  Or you won’t get enough.  You will, however, have a kid with a pretty awesome green smoothie mustache.  Which is pretty awesome.

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Spicy Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

Spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

Spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

Oh man.  Not that this soup is souper spicy (see what I did there?) or anything but it does have a little more heat than my 2-year-old typically eats.  However, I put a small serving (I wasn’t planning on wasting a single drop of this deliciousness) in front of her; she took one bite and started saying how good the soup was and then continued to plow through her bowl like a champ.

Toddler approved spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

Toddler approved spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

I need to remember that whenever I give her something that has a little spice in it, as long as I don’t say, “Oh, this might be too spicy for SweetPea,” there’s a good chance she’ll give it a shot and maybe like it.

Unfortunately for me, she liked this soup…which means I had fewer leftovers…which means I got to eat less of the soup…which kind of sucked because this soup is really good.  However, it’s also really easy to make, so I might just have to make it again in the near future.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound spicy chorizo sausage
2 Tbsp butter (or olive oil, but butter is delicious)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I used closer to 1/4 tsp to keep the heat down)
1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped (about 2 very large handfuls)
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite size bits
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk or cream (I used 2%)

Directions:

Heat large pot over medium high heat.  Add chorizo and brown it.  Once chorizo is browned, remove it from pot and set aside.
Lower heat to medium, add butter and let it melt.  Then add the onions and let them cook 5-10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Cook another 5-10 minutes.
Add chopped kale in smallish batches (I did mine in 4 batches).  Let each batch wilt before adding the next.  Add the nutmeg and stir.  Cook another 2-3 minutes to allow the kale to fully wilt.
Add potatoes, cooked sausage, and chicken broth.  Bring to boil.
Lower heat and let simmer an hour or more (the longer it simmers the better the flavors).
Stir in the milk (or cream).

Serve and enjoy!

Spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

Spicy sausage, potato, and kale soup

Roasted Roots – with a zippy twist

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Roots

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Roots

I love vegetables.  And I feel pretty lucky to say that…mostly because I know so many people who don’t like vegetables and one, they’re missing out on tasty food and two, they have a hard time eating healthy.  I just think it’s sad when people don’t like veggies.  And the saddest thing about it, is the reason they don’t like veggies.  They’ve probably never had them prepared in a delicious way.

Roasting veggies happens to be a delicious way to prepare them.  And roasted veggies might be one reason I love fall and winter so much.  They’re just so good!

This recipe is one of the first ways I’ve cooked parsnips.  And guess what?  They’re pretty dang good!  So get ready to rock your taste buds and make a delicious (and healthy) side dish.

Ingredients:

1 pound carrots, cut to about the size of fat french fries (fat french fries is a technical cooking term…promise…)
1/2 pound parsnips, cut to about the size of fat french fries
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp molasses
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

In a medium bowl toss carrots and parsnips with olive oil, red pepper flakes, and salt until well coated.
Spread in single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, at 400 degrees.
Toss with molasses, and roast another 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Serve and sprinkle each serving with a tablespoon of feta.  Enjoy!

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Roots

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Roots

Roasted Garlicky Squash

butternut squash recipe

Roasted Garlicky Squash

I admit.  I was never a big fan of squash until recently.  I think the problem with so many squash recipes is that people make them sweet.  And yuck.  That is just gross.

However, add a little oil, garlic, and cheese…wahlah! you’ve got yourself a dang tasty treat.  And (depending on how much oil and cheese you add) a pretty healthy one too.

Another thing I like about this dish is the color.  Call me crazy, but I love it when my plate is bursting with different colors, that might be one of the reasons I like having a green salad with most dinners.

A third thing I like about this dish is how easy it is to make.  Cut the squash and garlic, toss with oil, sprinkle cheese…that’s about it.  Easy peasy, right?

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 medium butternut squash, cubed into bite size pieces
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a medium bowl mix olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Add squash and toss until coated.

Put squash in a baking dish and roast, uncovered, for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, roast another 10-15 minutes until squash is tender.

Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Garlicky Squash

Roasted Garlicky Squash

Roasted Garlicky Squash

Roasted Garlicky Squash

Breakfast of Champions

Also known as any breakfast that includes a green smoothie.

Liquid Fuel - EmergenC, Green Smoothie, Hot Chocolate... and oatmeal!

Liquid Fuel – EmergenC, Green Smoothie, Hot Chocolate… and oatmeal!

Gotta love a breakfast chock full vitamins.

This is my favorite green smoothie recipe.  It tastes just like an orange julius.  It’s so good.  And it’s so healthy.

Ingredients:

1 cup water
1 cup fresh spinach
1 banana
2 Tbsp orange juice concentrate

Directions:

Put water and fresh spinach in blender.  Blend until smooth (this is the most important step.  You have to blend the spinach with only liquid otherwise you end up with a drink full of confetti…and that is NOT a good thing).

Add banana.  Blend.

Add orange juice concentrate.  Blend.

Be prepared for a taste bud extravaganza.

Feel free to experiment with amounts and with ingredients.  I really like adding fresh ginger to my smoothies…yum!

And I’m not the only one who enjoys a healthy breakfast.

Green Smoothie, water, milk, and oatmeal!

Green Smoothie, water, milk, and oatmeal!

SweetPea likes her “green juice” just as much as I do!

Toddler Approved Green Smoothie

Toddler Approved Green Smoothie

Toddler Approved Green Smoothie

Toddler Approved Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie Mustache!

Green Smoothie Mustache!

Have you ever seen a more fresh looking drink than this?

Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Bean Stew

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Bean Stew

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Bean Stew

This being a freezer meal, I couldn’t remember what was actually in it (other than the beans and broth I added when I put everything in the crock pot).

And then, once I got everything in the crock pot I stayed at home…so I never actually smelled it cooking (and any crock pot cook knows how good crock pot meals smell).

So without remembering what the ingredients were and being unable to smell the meal, I was a little unsure about how this soup would taste…I just thought it would be very very bland.

Right up until that first spoonful hit my taste buds.

Let me tell you what, this is a delicious stew.  And I’m not the only one who thought this was a pretty delicious dinner, my husband heartily approved of this meal.

The flavors are rather mild, but because no flavor overtakes the stew, it becomes a delightfully tasty dish.  A dish made even better with a slice of crusty bread to sop up some of the broth.

Ingredients:

2 cans beans, drained and rinsed (I used pinto and red beans)
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 small onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
3 Tbsp uncooked rice (I used brown)
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
3-4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)

Directions:

Combine ingredients (except broth) in gallon zip lock bag.  Freeze.

Thaw.

Put contents of bag in crock pot.  Add enough broth to cover everything.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Serve and enjoy!

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Bean Stew

Freezer Friendly Crock Pot Bean Stew

For more freezer friendly crock pot meals check out this post.

Sweet Potato Hummus

Toddler Approved Sweet Potato Hummus

Toddler Approved Sweet Potato Hummus

I like garlic.  A lot.  What I’m saying is that when a recipe calls for 1 clove a garlic I usually think that 4 cloves is the perfect amount.  There’s no such thing as too much garlic!  Right?  Right.

Fortunately for me (and my family) they like garlic too.  You never want to be the only person that eats a lot of garlic…but if everybody is eating garlic then everybody’s breath is on equal grounds.

SweetPea started eating hummus about a year ago.  And I am so glad.  She absolutely loves her hummus…even when Mom puts five cloves of garlic in it…

I’ve made a lot of traditional hummus.  I’ve also made it with beets and carrots…and SweetPea has enjoyed all those variations.  Sweet potato was a new variation, and one that I quite enjoy!  And SweetPea enjoyed it too.  That means she got hummus and an extra dose of veggies in the form of sweet potatoes.  That makes this a two thumbs up recipe.

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato, peeled, cut up, and steamed (or roasted) until soft
1 cup garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tahini
2-5 garlic cloves, raw or roasted
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
water, as needed

Directions:

Put everything (except water) into food processor and process until smooth.  Add enough water to make it the consistency you want it.

Serve with crackers, bread, vegetables…a spoon…a finger…

Toddler Approved Sweet Potato Hummus

Toddler Approved Sweet Potato Hummus