Tag Archives: healthy

Strawberry-Kiwi-Banana Smoothie

For me, summer is smoothie weather and I love having them for breakfast! It’s always fun trying out different flavors. Strawberries, kiwifruit, and bananas are a great combination, and this smoothie uses frozen banana slices to help thicken it and make it creamy. This smoothie is good and easy to make. And using a slice of kiwifruit as a garnish adds a nice colorful touch! Try this out for breakfast or for a healthy afternoon snack.

STRAWBERRY-KIWI-BANANA SMOOTHIE by NancyC

Makes about 2 cups

1 medium size banana, sliced and frozen

  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (or substitute a dairy-free yogurt)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup milk (you can use low-fat, soy, or almond milk)
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground flaxseed
  • Optional: a slice of kiwifruit for garnish

Add frozen banana slices, fresh strawberry slices, kiwifruit slices, yogurt, honey, milk, and flaxseed, if using, into a blender. Blend mixture for 1 minute or until smooth and creamy. Pour into a glass, add a slice of kiwifruit as a garnish, and enjoy!

This smoothie is a real treat and it’s nice that it’s healthy, too! I love making things with fresh fruit–especially strawberries! Are you a fan of strawberries, too?

Sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

SaveSave

SaveSave

Advertisements

Red Beet Hummus

Beets were never on my list of favorite foods as a kid, but I’ve grown to like them. And I especially like that they are so healthy and good for you. I make recipes with beets every so often–probably not as often as I should–and I had the perfect opportunity to make a beet recipe when I received a complimentary package of Gefen’s Vacuum-Packed Beets, which are organic and also pre-peeled, making them very handy and convenient to use.

These beets work great in everything from salads to smoothies. I decided to make Red Beet Hummus. I love trying different hummus recipes and hadn’t tried one with beets yet. I really like this hummus! It doesn’t have a super-strong beet flavor, since it just has about 1 medium-size beet in it. I think the mild beet flavor goes nicely with the other hummus ingredients, and adding beet to the mix makes this hummus so healthy! If you don’t happen to have any Gefen’s beets on hand, you can use precooked beets or roasted beets instead.

RED BEET HUMMUS by NancyC

  • 1 (15-ounce) can of Garbanzo Beans (also called chickpeas)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped, cooked (or roasted), peeled red beet (about 1 medium size beet)
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 clove minced garlic (you can use 2 cloves if you want a stronger garlic flavor)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • pinch of paprika

Add garbanzo beans, chopped beet, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Puree until mixture is smooth. Add sea salt, pepper, and paprika and blend everything together. Add more seasoning to taste if desired. Serve with crackers or veggies or use as a spread on bread or bagels.

I’ve learned that beets are a great source of of vitamin C, iron, fiber, and essential minerals. I really need to get more beets in my diet! Do you make any dishes with beets?

Sharing at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Blueberry Ginger Smoothie

ncBlueberryGingerSmthienm

We’ve had a few little tastes of spring this winter–several days of 50 and 60 degree sunny weather, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed! And on one of those days, I made this smoothie. It has a rich blueberry flavor and the fresh ginger gives it an energizing zing. It’s a pretty thick smoothie, so you’ll probably want to use a straw when you drink this. Even if the weather isn’t warm and sunny, it’s still a wonderful smoothie to make!

BLUEBERRY GINGER SMOOTHIE by NancyC

Makes 1 (10-ounce) serving

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup low fat milk
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 2 to 3 ice cubes

Add blueberries, yogurt, milk, honey, ginger, flaxseed, and ice cubes to blender; blend until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.

It’s so nice having a little touch of spring weather to break up the winter blahs. The weather did get cold again, but now it’s starting to warm up some more…so I’m sure I’ll be making more smoothies! They remind me of spring and summer because I make them often during the warm weather seasons–my favorite times of the year! Are you looking forward to spring as much as I am?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener, Thursday Favorite Things at Katherine’s Corner, and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Cucumber-Mint Water

ncCucumMintWater1nm

Now that it’s the new year, I know a lot of people who are trying to eat healthy and exercise away all that holiday food. And if you’re trying to get into a healthy routine, drinking lots of water is always a good idea. I actually made this particular pitcher of water at the end of last summer with some fresh mint I was growing in a large pot and some home-grown cucumbers my friend Mary gave me from her garden. I didn’t have a chance to post it back then but now, since it’s winter, you can just buy your cucumbers (use organic if you can) and fresh mint is usually available in the produce section at many stores, too.  The cucumber and mint lightly flavor the water in a soothing, refreshing way. If you like naturally-flavored water, you’ll want to try this out!

CUCUMBER-MINT WATER by NancyC

Makes 8 servings

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled or unpeeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 to 8 large or 12 to 16 small fresh mint leaves

Put water in a gallon-size pitcher. Add sliced cucumbers and mint leaves and stir everything together. Place in your refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours to chill. When ready to serve, add some ice to the pitcher or pour over ice in your glassware. The water usually keeps for several days if kept chilled in the refrigerator.

If you don’t have mint, you can just make cucumber water–that has a nice flavor, too. Mint by itself is also good in water.

I think water tastes so much better when it’s flavored with natural ingredients. Do you like to flavor your water too?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Blackberry Peach Smoothie

ncBlkbryPchSmthienm

It’s been so hot the last few days, a smoothie sounded like the perfect thing to make! I like this recipe because it also has a peach in it–blackberries and peaches are such great summer fruits, so what a great idea to use them together in a smoothie! I found this recipe at Clean and Scentsible. If you don’t have blackberries, you can use blueberries or raspberries. Use your berries frozen–it makes the smoothie thicker, not to mention really cool and refreshing!

BLACKBERRY PEACH SMOOTHIE by NancyC, adapted from Clean and Scentsible

Makes 16 ounces–enough for 2 small smoothies or 1 large smoothie

  • 1 cup frozen blackberries (or substitute blueberries or raspberries)
  • 1 peach, sliced (and pit removed–you can peel the peach if you want–I left the skin on; or, you can use canned peaches)
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 2 to 3 ice cubes
  • 1/2 Tablespoon honey (optional)

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

This really tastes great on a hot summer day! What kinds of cooling summer beverages have you been making?

Blueberry-Honeydew Smoothie

ncBluHondwSmthie2nm

It’s really been warm lately, so I’ve been making lots of smoothies–they just taste so good on a hot day! One fruit that I really love but haven’t used that much in smoothies is honeydew melon. They’ve always been a little challenging for me to cut because I don’t have the greatest cutlery (watermelon is the same problem, but I usually don’t buy a whole watermelon; I buy the ones that are already cut). But my melon-cutting problems were over when I received two samples from the Gunter Wilhelm™ Executive Chef™ Cutlery Collection. I received an 8″ Chef Knife and a 3.5″ Paring Knife to try out, and I decided to put them to the melon test!

ncBluHondwSmthie1nm

I bought quite a large honeydew melon, which would have been really hard to cut with my old knives. I used the 8″ Chef Knife to cut the melon in half and it worked like a dream! It cut so smoothly and was really easy to handle. The Paring Knife worked great for cutting the melon into smaller chunks. I read that these knives have an ergonomic handle which is especially nice when you have recipes that require a lot of chopping. And this cutlery is made with high-carbon stainless steel that won’t wear out–in fact, it has a lifetime warranty.

So I decided to use my chunks of honeydew melon in a smoothie with some frozen blueberries, and it tasted great! The frozen blueberries make the smoothie nice and cool, and there’s some banana and yogurt in this that make it creamy. Here’s the recipe…

BLUEBERRY-HONEYDEW SMOOTHIE by NancyCreative

Makes 2 (8-ounce) servings

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup honeydew melon (cut melon into small chunks–you can substitute cantaloupe if you want)
  • 1/2 medium or large size banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2  to 1 Tablespoon honey
  • Optional: 1/2 Tablespoon ground flaxseed

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (if you want extra fiber, add the ground flaxseed into the blender, too). Pour into two glasses and serve immediately. Makes 2 (8-ounce) servings.

Cutting and chopping fruits and veggies is so much easier with this cutlery. Do you have a favorite set of knives you like to use, or have you ever tried the Gunter Wilhelm™ brand?

Linked to Full Plate Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things.

Blue Chai Tea

ncBlueChaiTeanm

BlueChai Tea - Dried Butterfly Pea Flowers - Blue Tea Flower

Image from BlueChai.com

Did you know there was such a thing as organic herbal blue tea? Well there is…BlueChai blue tea is made from organic butterfly pea flowers. I discovered this tea recently when I received a complimentary sample to try. You can drink this tea hot or iced, and the tea, which has a blue color, can also be used as a natural food coloring. The aroma and taste of the tea is similar to green tea, but it is a caffeine-free herbal tisane. And if you like adding lemon or lime juice to your tea, you’ll get more of a violet shade. There are health benefits this tea offers that you can read about here, and when I made my tea I followed the brewing instructions at BlueChai.com.

BLUE CHAI TEA made with loose blue tea

Makes 1 to 2 servings (serve hot or over ice)

  • Put 1 teaspoon loose tea in a tea strainer or small cone coffee filter, then place in your cup. Add 1 cup, or 250 ml, hot water to the cup (if using a small cone coffee filter, pour water into the filter over the loose tea and let the tea steep in the filter).
  • Steep tea 4-8 minutes, depending on the intensity and flavor desired, then drink either hot, or let cool and add ice cubes (the BlueChai website also mentions you can use the tea for 2  brews). If you want a very light brew, just steep for 2 minutes.
  • Add honey and lemon if desired–adding lemon juice changes the color of the tea from blue to violet.

I just steeped my tea for 2 minutes because I don’t like my tea very strong. I tried the tea both hot and iced. I really like this tea iced for the summer! I often put lemon slices in my tea but I was fresh out of lemon when I made this. But it is refreshing if you are a tea drinker like me and since I love the color blue, I enjoyed trying this out! If you’re interested in ordering, it’s only available through the BlueChai.com website and you’ll find ordering information there.

Cinnamon Apple Chips

ncCinnAppCrsp1nm

It’s always nice when you can make yummy snacks that are good for you, too! I found this recipe in a review copy I received of Keep Your Brain Young: A Health & Diet Program for kybycoversmallYour Brain, Including 150 Recipes. The book gives helpful tips and a simple action plan on how you can help prevent or delay neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The book explains how the brain works and what causes these diseases, and then provides a 12-Step Healthy Brain Diet Program along with menu plans and recipes to keep your brain healthy. There are a variety of recipes, from snacks to soups, main dishes, and desserts.

One thing I found interesting in the book was that “The brain is the hungriest kind of tissue in the body. Eat an energy-rich, low-glycemic-index diet that fuels the brain steadily without spikes in blood sugar levels. Spiking blood sugar damages neurons moment by moment (p. 124).” So this book helps you think in terms of feeding your brain properly so it can function at its best.

I decided to try the Cinnamon Apple Chips recipe out because it’s always nice to have healthy snack options and apples are so good for you. You have to be careful not to slice your apples too thick or too thin–if they’re too thick they won’t crisp up as nice and if they’re too thin they may get a little burnt when they’re baking. So try to keep your slices as close as you can to 1/8″. Actually, my slices never really did get “crispy,” they were more the texture of dried apples, only a little moister, and I did bake them for 40 minutes, so maybe I should have baked them a little longer. The edges curled up and got a little crispy but the centers of the slices stayed soft–they do dry up a little more as they cool off on a wire rack, but mine never got to a “crispy” stage. But I really liked them. These chips taste like a slice of a baked apple, so if you like that flavor, you’ll like these!

CINNAMON APPLE CHIPS from Keep Your Brain Young

  • 4 large tart-sweet apples (such as Braeburn, Gala, or Pippin), halved and cored
  • 4 teaspoons  (20 mL) stevia powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) ground cinnamon
  • Nonstick cooking spray (preferably olive oil)

Preheat oven to 325˚F (160˚C). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a very sharp knife or a mandoline, cut apples into 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick slices.

In small bowl, combine stevia and cinnamon.

Arrange apple slices in a single layer on prepared baking sheets. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with stevia mixture.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until edges are browned and slices are dry and crispy. Transfer chips to a wire rack and let cool completely (do this while the chips are still warm, or they will stick; they will crisp more as they cool). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Health Tip: Recent studies indicate that eating as little as 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) of ground cinnamon per day and boost cognitive function and memory.

Nutrients: Calories 59; Fat 0g; Carbohydrate 16g; Protein 0g; Vitamin C 5 mg; Vitamin D 0 IU;Vitamin E 0 mg; Niacin 0mg; Folate 3 mcg; Vitamin B6 0.1 mg; Vitamin b12 0.0 mcg; Zinc 0.1 mg; Selenium 0 mcg

Courtesy of Keep Your Brain Young: A Health & Diet Program for Your Brain Including 150 Recipes by Dr. Fraser Smith & Ellie Aghdassi, 2014 © www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

I was thinking that next time I try these I may cut the apple slices in halves or fourths and maybe that would help make them more crispy.

Have you baked apple slices before or do you have a favorite healthy fruit or veggie snack you like to make?

Linked to Wow Us Wednesdays.

Black Bean Hummus

ncBlkBnHummus1nm

When I was at the grocery store the other day, I saw some Black Bean Hummus. I hadn’t noticed that flavor before and it  sounded great ! Instead of buying some, I decided to make my own.

You use black beans instead of garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) in this hummus, but it still has many of the same ingredients you would use in your typical hummus recipe…like olive oil, garlic, and tahini. It also has a little cayenne pepper in it, which adds some spiciness–but if you prefer a milder flavor, leave it out.

This is a smooth and creamy hummus, and I love the flavor combination of the black beans with all the other spices. If you like hummus and black beans, keep this recipe in mind!

BLACK BEAN HUMMUS by NancyCreative

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Optional garnishes: 10 to 12 Kalamata olives, 1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Place all ingredients, except for the garnish ingredients (olives and cilantro), in a food processor or high-power blender; process until smooth and creamy. Spoon into a bowl and garnish with olives and fresh cilantro. Serve with pita bread, fresh veggies, or tortilla chips.

I’m enjoying trying out and creating different hummus recipes! I’ve also made these other hummus recipes: basic HummusSun-Dried Tomato Hummus, and Pumpkin Hummus.   Do you have a favorite hummus flavor?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Super Greens Fiesta Salad and a Greens Giveaway!

ncSpGrFiesSal1nm

When I buy salad greens, I like buying organic. Last week, I had the chance to try some complimentary greens from OrganicGirl. This company specializes in making a variety of salad OrganicGirlblends and greens that are all organic, triple washed, and packaged in 100% recycled plastic packaging, which I think is great! I tried out a package of their Super Greens (a blend of baby red chard, baby tat soi, baby spinach, baby green swiss chard, and baby arugula), and a package of their Baby Spinach. I really liked these OrganicGirl greens–they were very fresh and tender, and worked great in the recipes I used them in. And I’ll be sharing these recipes with you!

And more good news–OrganicGirl will provide 5 giveaways of the same two packages of greens I tried out–so 5 of you can win these two healthy, tasty organic greens to try out for yourself! Organic Girl will send the greens directly to you, or you can receive coupons to get them from your local health food store if you prefer. See the end of the post for details on how to win!

Today I’ll share the Fiesta Salad recipe I made with the Super Greens. The giveaway will end on Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. (CST), and on Wednesday or Thursday evening, when I announce the 5 winners, I’ll share a recipe I made with the Baby Spinach.

I really like the variety of ingredients this Super Greens Fiesta Salad has! I found a recipe at Taste of Home and modified it a little, taking out some ingredients and adding in some other ones. I also used larger amounts, so this will make a big bowl of salad that serves about 8 people. If you need to make the salad a little ahead of time, don’t toss the dressing in until right before serving.

SUPER GREENS FIESTA SALAD by NancyCreative, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes 8 servings

  • 1 (5-ounce) container OrganicGirl Super Greens mix (about 4 well-packed cups; or substitute your favorite lettuce greens)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced olives
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2/3 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light Ranch salad dressing

In a large salad bowl, combine the salad greens, corn, black beans, tomatoes, green onions, sliced olives, and celery.

In a small bowl, combine the salsa, sour cream or plain yogurt, and ranch dressing; mix until well blended. Drizzle this salsa dressing over salad mixture and toss to coat. Makes about 8 servings.

Note: This dressing gives the salad a generous coating. If you or your family prefer a lighter amount of dressing, just use about 3/4 cup of the dressing mixture. Or, just toss all your salad ingredients together without the dressing and serve the dressing on the side.  You can also serve this salad with a vinaigrette if you prefer.

ncSpGrFiesSal2nm

OrganicGirlGIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED–winning comments were: #7, #10, #20, #24, and #33

Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win two packages of organic greens–Super Greens and Baby Spinach–from OrganicGirl, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Wednesday evening, March 12, at 8 p.m. (CST)–the random drawings will be made from the comments on this post only (there will be 5 winners)! The winners will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Wednesday or Thursday evening, March 12 or 13. Winners will be notified via email. Giveaway is limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

NOTE: If you are a winner, your email will be given to OrganicGirl and they will contact you via email about getting your greens delivered to you. You have the option to have coupons for the product sent instead if you prefer. Winners who reside in Canada will only be able to receive the coupons.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post–it would be great to hear what your favorite greens are, or what your favorite salad is!

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

I hope you all have the time to leave a comment or two for the chance to try out these OrganicGirl greens! And if you’re not sure where OrganicGirl products are available near you, there’s a store locator here to help you find one!