Figgy Green Monster Smoothie (Tastes Like Cake Batter!)

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With my Green Monster madness going on recently, I’ve been coming up with some pretty interesting concoctions. Seriously, I have about 3 recipes queued up over here. Anywho, none had more interesting, or shall I say a surprising, taste than my latest – Figgy Green Monster Smoothie.

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It’s a fig smoothie that tastes like cake batter.

The smoothie had zero elements that I would normally use to make a cake batter flavor and yet it tasted like cake batter! Ok, maybe it’s just me. You guys know I like to make my cake batters on the healthier side. But I honestly took the first sip after blending this smoothie up and thought…hmm…cake batter?

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I came up with the idea to make a fig smoothie because my friend who has a fig tree brought in a bunch to give me. Score! Unfortunately, even without teaching Zumba, my schedule has been hectic, so I haven’t exactly had a bunch of free time to experiment with a cool recipe.

So…What could I do quickly with figs? Why not put it in a smoothie, right? And as it turns out, figs in a smoothie are a good thing.

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Figgy Green Monster Smoothie (Tastes Like Cake Batter!)
 
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Have figs and don’t know what to do with them? The easiest thing you can do (besides eating them plain) is blend them into a delicious and healthy smoothie. Since I’m on a Green Monster kick, I decided to add spinach to mine to make it green. This Green Monster smoothie had an unexpected cake-batter-like flavor.
*Vegan if you use vegan milk*
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1½ – 2 cups loosely packed spinach (or sub ¼ cup frozen spinach or fresh/frozen kale)
  • sweetener of choice, to taste, optional (you can add with the other ingredients or blend and taste first and add in at the end)
  • 1 banana (a frozen banana will give you a thicker consistency, but non-frozen works, too)
  • 4 figs, stems removed, halved
  • 1 cup milk of choice (dairy, non-dairy, vanilla non-dairy, etc.) – I used vanilla soy
  • 2 cubes ice
Instructions
  1. Place spinach, banana, figs, milk, and ice in the blender.
  2. Cover and blend until banana/figs/ice is processed and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Enjoy!
Notes
Easily multiplies for additional servings.

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Here’s a GM smoothie recipe that was actually designed to taste like Cake Batter…Nom!: Cake Batter Green Monster – Peas and Thank You

You may enjoy some of these other Green Monster smoothies:

*Click here to read my Green Monster 101 post* (it explains what a GM is plus some ingredient and blending tips)

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Enjoy! :)

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Reader question: Figs were an ingredient that I never really expected to put into a smoothie. What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve put into a smoothie? Did you like it?

RAW Sampling + Par-tay

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Hazzah!

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I found my roomes: Sarah, Allie, and Meg.

Then we rounded up the troops for a little dinner I organized at a local restaurant called RAW.IMG_9903 IMG_9905 IMG_9907 IMG_9908

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We had a fair walk, but we didn’t take public transportation. This is the Healthy Living Summit afterall!

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Hi Meghann!

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Before we knew it, we were there! RAW in all its glory.

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We met up with owners Polly and Carole who so kindly prepared some samples for our group.

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Yummy raw food samples.

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They even showed us some of the full size entrees of the samples.

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Our group got busy with our cameras to capture the goodies. I’m so glad so many people were able to make it to our outing!

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We had lots of fabulous bloggers with us (thanks Allie for sharing your photo!): Kath, Tina, Meghann, Allie, Sarah, Meg, Nicole, Freya, Katy, Gracie, Gabriela, Emily, Emily’s friend (I’m sorry I don’t have your name!), & Heather.

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Nommmmm

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First up – the sushi! Made with cashews, avocados and other goodness.

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I forgot what this one was, but it had a yummy cashew sour cream.

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Then I tried the hummus/falafel sample and lasagna.

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Then it was on to the desserts! A biscotti and the most-delicious lemon bar. Nommm!

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Plus a breakfast sample – oatmeal!

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So much fun!

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My eyes were a little bigger than my stomach. Serious case of the “big eyes”!

I got some eats and the Almond Breeze smoothie (blueberries, strawberry kiwi juice, lecithin, and almonds), which was really, really yummy and not too sweet.

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I got the sushi but only managed to eat about 2 of these and gave the rest away.

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I had to save room for the lemon bar that I got! I only managed to eat about half of this, though and currently have the rest in my hotel room. ;)

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Special thanks to Carole and Polly for being so hospitable. If you’re ever in Chicago, be sure to stop by. They are wonderful!

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Next up, we headed to the Yum Universe launch party.

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Gotta love swag bags.

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There were a ton of people there!

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We got in line for samples.

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I was super full from dinner (who knew raw food could be so filling!?)…

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…but the samples were too cute not to try.

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I also had a little sample of some Hahn Family wine – the Pinot Gris. It was nice and light.

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Bloggers!  Meghann, Megan, Courtney, Hillary, Kath.

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Aprons! I thought these were for sale and was going to try to buy one…till I realized they were just for display.

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Soon enough it was time to hit the road to get back to the hotel.

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We ran into so many bloggers there! Bloggers galore! I can’t imagine what tomorrow is going to be like.

Can’t wait! :)

Marinated Kale Recipe

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I’ve owed you guys this recipe for ages now, but thanks to a reminder from reader Karen, I’m actually posting it!

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Here it is – my recipe for Marinated Kale! It’s so easy (no cooking!), tasty and healthful – give it a go!

What does it taste like? Well, kale to me, in general, is sort of like spinach except with a much heartier texture. Spinach is tender and bruises easily while kale holds up nicely (which is why a lot of recipes ask you to “massage” the kale – it tenderizes without bruising). Once marinated, the kale will soften up a bit, but it will still have a bite to it, texture-wise. The flavor mostly comes from the sauce ingredients, which end up being salty yet sweet with the lovely flavor of sesame oil ever prevalent and bits of fresh garlic and ginger popping up here and there.

Anywho, I LOVE to make a big batch of this to start a week. It’s an easy side veggie to take to work – just pack some into a tupperware – no re-heating necessary. You just need a fork! Makes a great vegetable serving.

On to the recipe…

First up – some visuals:

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Be sure to triple wash your kale – it’s usually pretty gritty when you get it home from the store. I usually tear my kale into smaller pieces with my hands while I’m doing the washing part, but you can also chop it with a knife.

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Other key ingredients: Tamari, Sesame Oil.

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Whisk up sauce.

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Add sauce to kale and massage – preferably with your hands. Why? Well, it seems like you can get away with using less sauce if you just rub it in a little. I believe most people massage their kale to tenderize it, but I just like to ensure my kale is well-coated without being in a puddle of sauce.

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Add sesame seeds. Done-zo!

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Marinated Kale Recipe

Raw, Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten-Free

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale (curly leaves, not dinosaur), triple-washed, cut or ripped into small 1-2 inch pieces (1 inch pieces will be easier to eat later)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tamari (use wheat-free if you’re going GF)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (you can omit this but it’s so much more flavorful with it!)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger (same note as for garlic)
  • 1-3 tbsp sesame seeds depending on how much you like them.

Directions:

  1. Place prepped kale into a large bowl.
  2. In a separate small to medium bowl, whisk together sesame oil and tamari till emulsified/combined nicely. Whisk in garlic and ginger.
  3. Pour sauce over kale and massage sauce into the kale (this will help ensure all pieces of kale are covered.
  4. Add sesame seeds to the kale (if you’re not sure if you’d rather go 1 or 3 tbsp, I suggest adding 1 and mixing up and checking coverage. You can always add more sesame seeds but you can’t take them back out…not easily at least).
  5. Store in an air-tight container. NOTE: You may wish to make your kale the night before you want to eat it so it has time for the flavors to combine.
  6. Enjoy!

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M4L Guest Post: Janice’s 7 Tips for Making Salad Right

Continuing my Meatless 4 Lent Guest Post series is Janice Stanger, author of The Perfect Formula Diet, which is book about eating whole foods. Yay whole foods! :)

Check under the article for more details on Janice.

Anywho, if you’re not sure what to eat tonight for dinner and you’re thinking salad, check out these tips on making salad the right way.

Take it away Janice!

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Seven Tips for Making Salad Right

If you are observing Lent by giving up meat on Fridays, you may be eating more salad just for the next few weeks. Or perhaps this choice is always a diet staple for you. In either case, you’ll greatly benefit from learning to do your salad the right way.

Salads have a great image, so it’s easy to fall into the habit of assuming that anything on a bed of lettuce is healthy. Constructing a salad that is healthy, satisfying, and appetizing all at the same time requires some thought, though. Here are seven tips you can use now or any time of the year.

   1. Greens are the basis of your salad, so have lots of choices to keep from getting bored. Generally, the darker green the leaf, the more dense the nutrients in each bite. For maximum vitamins, minerals, protein, and phytochemicals (beneficial plant substances), choose dark green lettuce, such as romaine. You don’t need to limit yourself to lettuce, through. Try spinach, kale, baby bok choy, collard greens, and other leafy wonders to mix and match.

   2. Strive for colorful salads with a variety of vegetables, either raw or cooked. Each color in the vegetable represents a different family of phytochemicals. Your health will benefit from the superstar team you gain when mixing the colors.

   3. Your salad must satisfy your appetite, or you will likely regard it as no more than a necessary evil to be avoided whenever French fries are also on the menu. Your body has sensors for both nutrients and energy in your food. Vegetables do great on the nutrient front, but don’t have enough calories to keep you going for long. Therefore, if you are very hungry or your salad is the center of your meal, you need more kinds of foods in it. The most satiating foods are beans, potatoes, and whole grains, all dense with fiber to fill your stomach and enough calories to turn off your appetite (without making you fat). Add these to your salad in abundance.

   4. Salad is most nutritious and satisfying when it is fresh. Assemble your salad close to the time you will eat it, and use ingredients that would still taste great if you ate it by itself. Wilted lettuce is out. On the other hand, salad is a great way to use up leftovers, as long as they are still in good shape. If you don’t have time to cook beans, open a can and rinse the beans in a strainer to get off most of the salt.

   5. Use a variety of herbs and spices – not all at the same time, of course. Herbs and spices are your best source of phytochemicals, and their fragrance and taste make every meal a treat. Try fresh parley, cilantro, chives, garlic, ginger, rosemary, basil, or whatever is available to you. Dried herbs and spices are also awesome. These flavors make food with little or no salt taste great, so cut back on your sodium as well.

   6. An oily or overly salty dressing is the downfall of most salads. Most of the stuff in a bottle or that you get in a restaurant is not made with your health in mind – or weight loss either. Your tastes take about three weeks to get reeducated once you change your eating choices. At first, a salad lightly dressed with vinegar and herbs, or a silken tofu or tahini-based dressing, may taste strange if you are used to olive oil and lots of salt. But if you make the healthier choice for three weeks, you will grow to love it

   7. Pair your salad with other healthy dietary choices. The healthiest salad in the world, if eaten with animal foods or junk foods, will do little good in the overall scheme of things to improve your health or weight. In other words, keep chicken, fish, and cheese off your carefully planned salad. Use dairy-free milks instead of estrogen-laden cow’s milk in your coffee or other cooking. Eat whole grain bread instead of white. Salad is not a magic bullet. You will benefit to the extent your eating choices as a whole support your vigorous health and lean weight.

Have fun with your salads. As these tips become second nature for you, healthy eating will become easier every day – with results to match.

http://perfectformuladiet.com

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About Janice Stanger, Ph.D.

Janice Stanger is an author, educator, and health industry expert. Her mission in writing The Perfect Formula Diet is to help people and the planet at the same time through a whole foods diet. Janice did not always eat this healthy. For much of her adult life she was overweight and suffered from conditions including daily headaches, frequent sinusitis and respiratory infections, depression, mysterious aches and pains, and crippling fatigue.

Janice was motivated to research plant-based nutrition by the examples of her two daughters, who stopped eating meat at ages 11 and 13. She spent 14 years critically analyzing scientific findings until perfecting the whole foods discoveries she wants to share with you now.

While working as a consultant to employers on their health benefits, Janice has observed one health insurance industry gimmick after another, including managed care, fail to control costs and keep people healthy. In her continuing work in the health insurance industry, she sees every day the devastation that obesity and illness brings to both individuals and companies struggling to stay in business and provide benefits.

Janice has a Ph.D. in Human Development and Aging from University of California, San Francisco – one of the country’s leading health sciences campuses. She also has an M.B.A from University of California, Berkeley.

Janice’s site is http://perfectformuladiet.com

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Thank you so much Janice so your informative salad article! Those are some great tips!

Check out other fabulous Meatless 4 Lent Guest posts by clicking here

Chic Energy Bites – Currant Crave

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As promised yesterday, here’s my recipe for some Larabar-inspired, no-bake snack bites.

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I bring you…

Chic Energy Bites – Currant Crave

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried black currants
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tbsp chia seed (ok to omit if you don’t have any on hand)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor.
  2. Process mixture until ingredients are chopped into tiny bits and the mixture starts to stick together. (At first the mixture will appear very dry. As you keep going, the mixture will become more sticky, though it won’t come together like a ball of dough). Start/stop and use the pulse as you go. Check it often if you’re unsure about consistency. Also, before you start forming discs, you can make a mini ball to test the mixture holds together ok.
  3. Carefully remove blade from food processor.
  4. Pick up about 1tbsp worth of mixture, roll into a ball and flatten slightly to a disc shape.
  5. Enjoy!

NOTE: Makes about 20 bites. Store in an airtight container.

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Yummy dried black currants.

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All ingredients into the food processor.

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All blended up and ready to form into discs.

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I made a mini test-ball to make sure the consistency was ok.

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Form into discs.

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So simple, so good.

The combination of fruit and nuts make these great for a pre-workout or general energy boost snack.

To enjoy:

  • Eat them straight up (for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert)
  • Use them as an oatmeal topping
  • Chop them up over Power Toast
  • Make a dried fruit and nut sammie by placing on a whole wheat dinner roll

Look for more great Chic Energy Bites coming soon! I have a bunch of good ideas in the works!

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