Monday, April 7, 2014

Leader Enterprise - March 19, 2014 - Healthy Smoothies


My dear hubby and I recently returned from enjoying some R & R in sunny Florida. (I heard that groan!) My heart sunk every time I heard of another snowstorm back home. I know I won't get any arguments about this year's winter this year haing been brutal. Hopefully spring is just around the corner. My hope is that maybe these smoothie recipes will help you feel warm breezes, imagining you're sitting under the shade of a lovely palm tree.Enjoy every sip!

We love smoothies at our house. (I even took our blender with us to FL so we could enjoy them away from home too). They can be made very healthy, so when I saw this info from The Foodie Physician (www.thefoodiephysician.com), I knew I had to share.And it just so happens, Sonali, the REAL Foodie Physician, is publishing a cookbook with Greek yogurt recipes,and she's chosen 3 of mine to be included. The ebook will be published in April. 

"Smoothies are great because they're easy to make and you can incorporate a wide variety of ingredients depending on your taste. They can be enjoyed as a snack or even as a meal replacement depending on what you put in them.All you need is a blender and a little creativity. Here's a quick guide for making your own healthy smoothies at home. When concocting your smoothies, there are a few different components to consider:

Liquid base-milk or fruit juice if often used as the main liquid base in smoothies.You can also try other varieties of milk like soy or almond milk. Fruit juices often contain a lot of sugar so be sure to read the labels. Other options are coconut milk, coconut water, coffee, tea or water.

Fruits and Vegetables-try using a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in your smoothies. And don't forget the frozen aisle of the grocery store when fresh fruits are out of season. Fruits with a higher water content (like watermelon, grapes or oranges) will give the smoothies a thinner consistency than denser fruit like bananas which are often used to thicken smoothies). I like to keep frozen bananas in my freezer so that I have them ready to pop into the blender when I'm in the mood for a frosty drink.

Sweetener-depending on the ingredients you choose, you may need to add a little extra sweetener. You can use liquid sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or agave or traditional sugar. Pitted dates are a great natural sweetener.

Flavorings-extracts like vanilla or almond extract and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg are easy ways to add flavor to your smoothie without adding calories.

Nutritional Add-Ins-for a boost of protein: I often add some nonfat Greek yogurt to my smoothies. Almond butter, peanut butter and protein powders are other good high protein options. For a boost of omega-3s,fiber and antioxidants, you can add in some flaxseed or chia. Oats are another great addition to add fiber to smoothies and thicken them. (You won't even know they're in the smoothie because they dissolve in the blender).

Ice- I usually add in some ice cubes to chill my smoothies and thicken them. If you are using frozen fruit, you'll need less ice.

Once you have your ingredients ready, simply place them in a blender and blend until smooth.In just a few minutes, you'll have a delicious, nutritious and portable snack." 

The first two recipes I'm sharing will be included in the Greek Yogurt cookbook. The last 2 are recipes I adapted from others I saw online.


STRAWBERRY PEACH SMOOTHIE



1 c.strawberries (fresh or frozen)

1 large peach, cut into wedges (fresh or frozen)
1 c. milk or orange juice (more or less,depending on the consistency you want)
1/2 c. favorite (Greek) yogurt (I used peach)
1 TB. honey or 1 sm. packet sugar or sweetener
Strawberries or peaches for garnish, optional

Place all of the ingredients in a blender; process on high until smooth. Garnish with additional strawberries or peaches if desired. Serve and enjoy! Yield: 2 servings
STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE SMOOTHIE 

1/2 c. frozen strawberries
half of a frozen banana,sliced
2 Tb. (lite)cream cheese) 
(or 2 Tb. cottage cheese)
1/2 c. vanilla Greek yogurt,or plain
3/4 c. 1% milk 
1 tsp.chia seed,optional
1 tsp. vanilla,or more
stevia, honey, or sugar to taste
Optional: Strawberries or crushed graham cracker, for garnish

Combine all ingredients except garnish, in blender. Puree until smooth. There ya go!! Suck it down, but not too fast or you'll get a brain freeze. 

HEALTHY PEANUT BUTTER CUP SMOOTHIE 

1/3 c. (dry) old fashioned oats 
handful chopped peanuts
1 tsp. chia seeds, optional
1 tsp. flax seed meal
1 scoop (sugar free) vanilla protein powder
1/2 c. vanilla Greek yogurt
(or add 1 Tb. honey & 1/2 tsp. vanilla to plain Greek yogurt)
1/2 c. milk (or water)
1 banana, sliced and frozen
3 Tb. baking cocoa powder
1/3 c. natural peanut butter
1 Tb.carob (or chocolate) chips for garnish,optional
8-10 ice cubes

Place all ingredients, except for carob chips and ice, in blender. Add about half the ice;blend on high until completely combined and frothy, at least 30 seconds. Add carob chips and rest of ice. Blend just until combined so carob chips aren't totally ground. Yield: 2 good-sized smoothies 
CRANBERRY BANANA CHEESECAKE SMOOTHIE 

1/2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
1 c. nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
(or use 3/4 c. yogurt with 2 ozs. cream cheese)
1/2 banana, sliced (frozen makes it thicker)
1/3 c. quick cooking oatmeal
3/4 c. skim milk
1-2 Tb.Tb. honey 
Stevia to sweeten to taste, optional

Toss all the ingredients together in blender and whir at least 30 seconds. Serve immediately. Yield:2 servings





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