Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Green smoothies to the rescue!

Here’s a yummy, healthy recipe for the whole family to try.  It was inspired by a recipe in Kiwi magazine, but because one of their ingredients was tough to find out in our neck of the woods, I adapted it considerably. But, that recipe was a great find for me, because I would never have considered putting spinach in a smoothie, especially one meant for consumption by my offspring.

Happily, this tastes good! REALLY good! Both the boys love it and ask for it all the time (even my super-picky 4 year old). I think the name helps sell it; my 7 year old thinks it’s totally cool and believes fully in its super-power qualities.

While I think the vivid green color of this smoothie is cool and wild and a little rock-n-roll, if your kids hate all things green, you could use a different fruit in place of the mango, like strawberries or raspberries; they’ll make it more of a brick red color. Also, be sure to use nice, ripe bananas; they’ll sweeten it up considerably. You can use fresh fruit in place of the frozen, but if you do, use ice instead of water to make it cold and frosty.

I keep a bag of frozen mango chunks and a bag of frozen banana chunks on hand at all times for just this reason. They’re cheaper at the supermarket when they’re super-ripe, anyway, so buy a few bunches, peel them, break them into thirds, and put them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Throw that into your freezer and freeze them until they’re firm, then transfer the banana pieces to a big freezer bag. This way, they won’t stick together in a big clump. They’ll keep in a storage bag for about six months, but I predict you’ll use them long before then, anyway.

These have become a standard part of breakfast for the school year; whenever I get my kids to eat spinach for breakfast, I feel like a totally virtuous mom for the rest of the day. Halo, anyone?


Green superpowers smoothie

2 c. (packed) baby spinach
2 very ripe bananas, broken into thirds and frozen
1 heaping cup frozen mango chunks
1 c. cold water (or soy milk for a calcium boost)
1/2 c. orange juice
1 T. honey or agave syrup (or more or less, to taste)

Throw everything except the honey/agave into your blender and blend, baby, blend! You may have to stir things up a few times to get it nice and smooth. Taste and add honey/agave if needed and give it another quick blend, or serve if it’s already sweet enough. Enjoy!

Serves 4.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Taco night

Mmmm, tacos! Don’t you just love them? They’re tasty and messy and you can tuck just about anything into those crispy little shells. Back in the day, seasoned ground turkey was the “base” of choice; these days, we stick with beans or tempeh, or a big combo. This recipe relies on black beans, lightly seasoned — and, man, are they ever GOOD!

This is a case where you really need to use coconut oil to get the flavor just right. I know it’s more expensive, but just think of all the money you’re saving by not buying meat!

This comes together really quickly, so it’s a great choice for a weeknight, or a Friday night when you don’t feel like doing much cooking. If your kids don’t mind raw onion, mix it right into the salsa; otherwise, hold it out like I do and just mix it into the adult portions.


Black bean tacos with mango salsa

1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
2 T. red onion, diced
juice of 1/2 fresh lime
2 T. chopped cilantro
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 T. coconut oil
2 scallions, finely chopped
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. sea salt
6 taco shells, warmed
1 avocado, diced

Combine mango, lime juice and cilantro in a small bowl. (Add the onion, too, if your kids don’t mind it.) Set aside.

Combine beans, coconut oil, scallions, cumin and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover bowl with waxed paper and heat one to two minutes, until warmed through. Remove waxed paper and mash about half the beans with the back of a fork. Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, warm taco shells in the oven. Remove, and fill 1/3 of the way with the bean mixture, top with a couple spoonfuls of mango salsa, then top with diced avocado. (Remember to add onion to the adults’ tacos.) Serve immediately.

Makes 6 tacos; recipe can easily be doubled.