Banana Chocolate Fig Green Smoothie

I found some black mission figs at the grocery store the other day and picked some up.  Unfortunately, I do not like the taste of fresh figs nearly as much as I thought that I would.  I’m not sure if it’s the quality of the figs that I bought, or just my palate, but I didn’t want them to go to waste, so I put them in a smoothie and it turned out delicious!  Smoothies are a great way to consume fruits and veggies that you don’t normally like the taste of, and bananas especially do a great job of masking earthy flavors like those that come from figs.

Ingredients:

4 frozen figs, cut in half

2 fresh figs, cut in half

2 Medjool dates, pitted

1 1/2-2 C spinach, packed

2 frozen bananas

1/2 C unsweetened vanilla flax milk

1/2-1 C unsweetened chocolate almond milk

1 tsp.-1 Tbsp. chia seeds

Directions:

In a blender, blend the spinach, 1 banana, and 1 date with the flax milk until smooth.  Empty into a glass or bowl.  Rinse out the blender.  Add the remaining banana and date to the blender and blend with almond milk and frozen figs until smooth.  Empty into glass or bowl.  Top with chia seeds and fresh figs.  Enjoy!

Vanilla Banana Raspberry Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 1/2-2 C spinach, packed

1-2 frozen bananas

1/2-2 C frozen raspberries

2 Medjool dates

2-4 Tbsp. hemp protein

1 Tbsp. chia seeds

1 C unsweetened vanilla flax milk

Directions:

Add all of the ingredients except the chia seeds to the blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass when finished and top with chia seeds.  Enjoy!

Peppermint Chocolate Raspberrry Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 1/2- 2 C spinach (packed down)

1 or 2 frozen bananas

1/2 C -1 C frozen raspberries

1/2-1 Tbsp. fresh peppermint

2 Medjool dates

2-4 Tbsp. hemp protein

1 Tbsp. cacao nibs

1 C unsweetened chocolate almond milk

Directions:

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Green Raspberry Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C spinach

1 Tbsp. peppermint

1/4-1/2 C diced cucumber

1 apple, cored and diced

1/2 in. finger fresh ginger

1/8 in.-1/4 in. finger fresh turmeric

1 1/2 C water

5 ice cubes

1 1/2 tsp. honey (I used raw Acacia honey because it was on sale)

1 C frozen raspberries

Directions:

For a layered smoothie, blend the spinach, peppermint, cucumber, ginger, turmeric, apple, ice cubes, and 1 C water until smooth.  Empty into a glass.  Wash out blender.  Put raspberries and remaining water into blender and blend until smooth (you may need more water, so don’t be afraid to add more if you do, so as to not burn out your blender’s motor).  Add to green layer.  Enjoy!

Raspberry Matcha Nicecream

I kept seeing pictures of nicecream (banana ice cream) on Instagram, so I figured that I better see what all of the hype was about, and oh, my, am I glad that I did!   Nicecream is a great way to have a sweet, cold treat and eat tasty fruit!  It’s definitely going to become one of my go-to’s on a hot day, and I can’t wait to try making it different ways.

Ingredients:

2+ frozen bananas

1C frozen raspberries

1/2 tsp. matcha (next time I will use 1 tsp. because I want to taste the tea more)

1C unsweetened vanilla flax milk

Directions:

Add the bananas, raspberries, and milk to your blender and blend until smooth.  You can either add the matcha to the entire smoothie, or take out half of the smoothie, reserving it in a separate glass, and add the matcha to the remaining half of the mixture in the blender, and blend again until smooth, topping off the glass with it after you are finished.  Enjoy!

Super Easy Italian Chicken Salad: Dinner for 4 Under $20

Mike and I had our friends over for dinner the other night, and I thought it’d be nice to share how easy it is to prepare a quality meal at home on the weekend for less than $25!

When I went to the store, I had noticed that Italian chicken stuffed portabella’s were on sale for $2 and 3 each (each couple split one), so I picked up a restaurant-quality appetizer for only $5.

My friend Sarah picked up the chicken breasts, which were $14 for four, and I already had Italian dressing ($3/bottle of Simply Balanced Organic Italian dressing from Target), spinach, and cabbage (which we used about $2 worth of).

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

Italian dressing

1/4 C rice vinegar

Spinach

Cabbage (green and red)

1/8 C cilantro

Directions:

For the stuffed mushrooms, cook on 365F for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken reaches temp. (which is 165 ).  Take out of oven to cool before enjoying.

For the chicken, place the four chicken breasts in a glass plan.  Pour the rice vinegar over the chicken first, and then pour the Italian dressing over the chicken until it is conservatively covered (you should use about 1/4-1/2C).  Let the chicken sit and marinate while you prepare your grill, covering it with foil after you have started and cleaned it.  After about 20 minutes of marinating, take the chicken out of the marinade and place it on the foil on the grill, cooking for about 25-40 minutes, or until it reaches temperature (165F).  Take the chicken off of the grill.

For the salad, chop up 1/4 of a red cabbage and 1/4 of a green cabbage and mix with about 4C of spinach (or more for a bigger salad) and cilantro.  Add Italian dressing to your liking.  (Try 1/4C over the entire salad, and gradually add more if you need too, or add rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar for a lighter dressing with more flavor) Mix the salad.  Plate the chicken and salad.  Serve and enjoy!

(I also served some of the hummus that I made and pita chips with the meal.)

Garlic Basil Hummus

Something that often deters me from cooking certain dishes is the initial investment that goes into purchasing the ingredients for it.  Hummus, for instance, is quite a bit cheaper to make on your own at home, but the initial investment of buying the tahini (which, when not on sale, costs around $7-8 for a jar of organic) and chickpeas ($1.50/can of organic when not on sale) sometimes discourages me from buying the ingredients to make it.  $15 may not seem like a lot, but it is when you are only buying two ingredients for a dish that is not a main course, so I found a way to offset the initial investment of these ingredients, and although it may seem pretty obvious, it takes some planning.  SHOP SALES!  The other day, I was at the grocery store and noticed that organic chickpeas were on sale for $1/can, so I immediately scooped up three, having purchased tahini days earlier (which I did not get on sale, but which does drop down to $5 or so when it is on sale, so grab a few if you see them on sale!), and itching to make a batch of fresh hummus.  Buying ingredients on sale in bulk is an extremely good way to save money when you are trying to shop organic/non-GMO on a budget, as the items do not usually go on sale often (every few months, in many stores). For instance, by buying these three cans of chickpeas on sale rather than at full-price, I saved $1.50, ultimately getting the third can for free!  Now for that tahini to go on sale…

**A 16 oz. can of tahini has enough tahini to make three batches of this recipe of hummus, which is also why I bought three cans of chickpeas in particular.  Having spent $7 on the tahini and $3 on the chickpeas, and since the basil is grown in my own garden, and I already had the other staple ingredients on hand, three batches of this hummus, yielding 2C each (6C total), costs about $3.33/batch, which is a considerable deal for organic hummus!**

Ingredients:

1/3 C Tahini

1/2 C water

1/4 C lemon juice (or lime if you prefer)

5 cloves garlic

2 tsp. Himalayan salt

2-3 Tbsp. chopped basil (or about 15-20 whole leaves)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 C canned, drained chickpeas (or cooked and drained)

Directions:

Put ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

+Things to eat your hummus with: raw or cooked veggies, rice, pita chips, na’an, crackers… the possibilities are endless!

Mango Matcha Smoothie

It seems that all of my natural remedies for sinus pressure and congestion are working (see previous two blog posts), because when I woke up this morning, I had some of my taste back and even have more energy! To keep myself properly nourished while my immune system recovers, I added some extra fruit to my smoothie this morning [kiwi is high in vitamins C & K, bananas have potassium and are rich in pectin (which helps digestion), and mangoes and plums have antioxidants], along with matcha (again, packed with antioxidants, which help the process of cleansing the body), ginger (anti-inflammatory), and greens (also packed with vitamins).

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C Spinach

1/2-1 C Kale

1 Frozen banana

1/2-1 tsp. Matcha green tea powder

1 C Water

2 Ice cubes

1/2 in. Finger of ginger

1/2 Mango

1 Plum (take the pit out!)

1 Kiwi, peeled

1/2 C Water

*For a colder smoothie, freeze the mango, plum, and kiwi overnight*

Directions:

Add spinach, kale, frozen banana, matcha, ginger, and 1 C water to blender and blend until smooth.  Add two ice cubes.  Blend again until smooth.  Empty contents into glass.  Rinse out blender.  Add mango, plum, kiwi, and remaining water to the blender and blend until smooth. Empty contents into glass, and enjoy!  You can reverse the order as well, because the mango layer of the smoothie will be noticeably thicker than the spinach layer.

Zingiberaceae (ginger family) Wellness Smoothie

I’m still feeling under the weather, but this zingiberaceae (ginger family, which includes ginger and turmeric, and is well known for reducing inflammation) smoothie that I put together this morning actually seems to be helping with the inflammation of my sinuses, along with the Olbas cough syrup that I picked up from Outpost yesterday [which is an all-natural cough syrup made from honey, Olbas oil (A Swiss blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, cajeput, juniper, wintergreen, and clove oil), thyme, licorice, plantain, horse chestnut, and pine, and retails for around $8], and the 20-minute “Yoga for when you’re sick” video that I did earlier, and which you can find if you follow this link: https://youtu.be/n5YvtYXSocw

Ingredients:

1 C Spinach

1/2 C-1 C Kale

1 Frozen banana

1/2 in. finger of ginger (or less, if you don’t like ginger that much)

1 tsp. culinary matcha

1/2 a mango

1 frozen banana

1/2 in. (or less) finger of ginger

1/8-1tsp. turmeric (this really depends on whether or not you want to taste the turmeric)

1 1/2 C water

ice

Directions:

Blend the spinach, kale, one banana, one of the pieces of ginger, matcha, and about 1 C of water in a blender until smooth (adding the ice at the end if you wish to have a colder smoothie).  Empty contents into a glass.  Rinse out blender.  Blend the remaining ingredients in the blender until smooth.  Top off glass.  Stir if you wish. Enjoy!

A few other things that I’m doing for my cold/sinus infection are:

+Putting hot compresses on my face for 5 minutes or so every few hours

+Drinking lots of tea and water

+Using a eucalyptus tea tree chest rub that’s made by Tea Tree Therapy, which I bought back in January at my local health food store for $5 on sale (normally $8 I think), and which I still have over half a jar of.  This is a great natural chest rub to use, and I highly recommend using it as a substitution to Vick’s and the like.  You can also put a small bit underneath your nose and on the soles of your feet for extra relief!

+Getting more rest!

Cinnamon Ginger Superfood Smoothie

I’ve been feeling sick with a cold for the past few days, so this morning I decided to pack my smoothie with as many superfoods that I had left in the pantry and fridge in an attempt to feel better.  But before getting to the recipe, let’s back up a minute… What is so super about these so-called “super” foods?  And why do our bodies need them?

‘Superfood’ is just a fancy term that some clever marketing execs came up with to sell foods packed with vitamins and other nutrients vital to our survival, but they’ve been around for a lot longer than their recent popularity, and you’ve probably been eating some of them without even realizing their wondrous health benefits.  Before the advent of modern medicine, these foods, as well as other plants and plant byproducts (i.e.-honey), were the most widely available medicines on the globe, and today, there’s no reason that they can’t be effectively used for the same reason.  Including foods such as protein- and fiber-rich beans, green veggies like spinach which are rich in potassium and iron (especially important for all of the ladies out there), bananas super rich in vitamins and minerals, and omega fatty acid rich flax, just to name a few, ‘superfoods’ are available at most grocery stores and markets.

The superfoods that I put in this smoothie are bananas, flax, chia, and hemp (I plan on giving hemp it’s own post in the near future, so stay tuned!).

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Frozen bananas

2 Medjool dates, pitted

2 Tbsp. Hemp Protein

1/2 in. finger of fresh ginger

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 C unsweetened vanilla flax milk

1 Tbsp. Chia seeds (**I get a 2 lb. bag of organic raw chia seeds for under $12 on Amazon from The Raw Food Company, which is truly an unbeatable price, as a 1 lb. bag of chia seeds retails for more than this in the grocery store**)

Directions:

Add bananas, dates, hemp protein, ginger, cinnamon, and flax milk to your blender.  Blend until smooth, put in a glass, top with chia seeds, and enjoy!

Other things that I’m doing to feel better:

+Drinking jasmine green tea with a chunk of fresh ginger and honey (cayenne pepper and lemon are also a good addition for sore throats, and I’ll switch to this combo later on)

+Drinking lots of water

+Supplementing with 400mg echinacea capsules that I get from the health food store (which I take once daily year round, but increase to 2-3x/day when sick)

+Sitting outside in the sun to get some much needed fresh air and Vitamin D

+Going to the health food store (I go to Outpost Natural Foods) later on to get zinc cough drops, some tea, salad mix, soup, and a baguette (or if I don’t feel well enough to do that, ordering some pho from a place nearby that does takeout)

+Resting and cuddles!