Triple Ginger Smoothie

It’s been a while since I shared a recipe. Sorry about that. This one was worth the wait!

ginger smoothie

A few weeks ago my aunt and uncle requested a smoothie recipe made with the candied ginger I used in these.

My first thought was a cherry ginger combo but I only had dried cherries and that didn’t sound particularly appealing. I may revisit this when fresh cherries are in season or if I think to pick some frozen ones up.

Then I played around with the idea of a chocolate ginger smoothie but I just made this Chocolate Peanut Butter version and they seemed to similar.

Finally I spotted a bag of dates and figured, why not? I’ve never used dates in a smoothie before but I’d seen it done on other blogs. All I can say is, wow! You’ll be seeing a whole lot more dates around here. They added the perfect amount of sweetness and a creamy texture that blew me away.

I couldn’t take the pictures fast enough and quickly gobbled up the entire thing before the photos had even finished downloading to my computer.

I’m not one to toot my own horn but if you like ginger…Make. This. Smoothie. The fresh, powdered and candied ginger all add a different kind of kick. It was so delicious and refreshing. I’m seriously contemplating making a second one.

Triple Ginger Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

1 frozen banana

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

2 dates, pitted

1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced

2 tablespoons candied ginger, finely minced

4 ice cubes

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Cut the skin from the fresh ginger. Chop fresh and candied ginger into small pieces.

Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.

Top with more candied and powdered ginger if desired.

ginger smoothie ingredientsminced ginger DSC_0184triple ginger smoothie

Enjoy and Exhale!

Winter Running and Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothies

I haven’t talked much about running in the last few weeks but I’m still at it. I try to get out 2-3 times a week regardless of the snow, wind and extreme cold; although I do pay a lot of attention to the weather and try my best to run on warmer days when there won’t be ice on the ground. I’ve found the trick to surviving the cold has been to get a good running hat and layering up on top. Personally, too many layers on my legs is more annoying than helpful.

I can’t say my times have been particularly good but my main goal these days is just to get out there and not worry too much about the pace. Here are some of my latest stats. For some reason I can only get the time on my latest workout to show but I’ve put the pace below the other two.

This was the first run I’ve done without Eli in a long time. I thought I would be faster without him but it seems his excitement fuels us along.

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Run 2. Pace 8.28.

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Run 3. Pace 8.09.

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As you can see, I’m holding steady, not really improving my pace right now. But my hope is that all this winter running will make my summer running faster when the weather improves. We’ll see.

From my love of running to my love of smoothies.

Even with the cold weather I’ve been making a ton of smoothies. They make meeting my daily calcium quota so much easier and the flavors are endless.

The smoothie below has quickly become my new favorite. I’ve made it two days in a row and it was just as good today as it was yesterday.

It tastes a lot like a chocolate milkshake with much healthier ingredients. I’m sure you could add a handful of kale to it as well without affecting the flavor too much if you’re looking for some added nutrients.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

1 banana

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp natural peanut butter

1 cup unsweetened or vanilla flavored almond milk

3-4 ice cubes, depending on how icy you want it (see note)

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smoothie ingredients

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until combined.

Note: I often have almond milk that is about to expire. When I have extra I freeze the milk in ice-cube trays then store in Ziplocs. I often use a couple of almond milk cubes in place of the ice cubes. If I use almond milk cubes, I cut back the fresh almond milk to half a cup.

Also,the glasses pictured below are teeny tiny, this recipe yields enough for one smoothie.

Chocolate Peanut Butter SmoothieChocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie DSC_0127

 

Dessert for breakfast.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Kale Salad with Tahini Cashew Dressing

When I’m sick I can’t muster up the will to eat my normal plethora of vegetables. I want nothing to do with dinner bowls or sweet potatoes or broccoli. The best I could do over the past few days was my morning smoothie and a bowl of frozen peas. So I knew things were looking up when I was craving a salad this afternoon.

I’ve mentioned before but I’m not a huge fan of raw kale. I much rather prefer it lightly steamed but everyone keeps raving about it raw so I thought I’d give it one more shot. This time I used Tuscan kale instead of curly as it’s said to have a milder flavor and wilts a little better when massaged with dressing.

Verdict, the dressing was delicious but I still prefer my kale steamed. Oh well, next time and of course, there’s always a next time with kale!

Massaged Kale Salad with Tahini Cashew Dressing (vegan, gluten-free)

1/2 cup soaked cashews with 2 tablespoons reserved soaking water

2 tablespoons tahini

1 teaspoon garlic infused olive oil

1.5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

juice of 1 lime

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

8 cups Tuscan kale

1/2 bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

1/2 apple, thinly sliced

2 tablespoon sesame seeds

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Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Drain most of the water but reserve a few tablespoons. Place cashews and reserved liquid into a food processor. Add all ingredients through cayenne pepper.

Processes for 2-3 minutes until smooth.

Tahini Cashew Dressing

Adjust flavoring to taste.

Put kale in a large bowl and massage dressing into kale until it begins to wilt. Use your hands to really work it in.

Massaged Kale

Slice pepper, avocado and apple. Add to kale. Top with sesame seeds.

The dressing has a little heat from the cayenne that I loved with the kale and the mix of crunch from the pepper and apple with the smooth avocado was perfect.

This salad is also calcium rich. I ate 3 cups of the salad with about a 1/4 of a cup of dressing and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds which offered up about 45% of my daily intake. Not bad for a little salad.

Kale Salad with Tahini Cashew DressingKale Salad with Tahini Cashew Dressing

Enjoy and Exhale!

Blueberry, Banana Grapefruit Breakfast Smoothie

There hasn’t been much cooking going on here this week besides Monday’s soup. As soon as Michael started to get over his cold, I got it!  I’ve been sniffling and sleeping my way through the week but think I’m finally turning the corner. After my first restful night’s sleep all week I woke up to sunshine and motivation to have more than just tea.

I wanted something filled with nutrients and flavor that could cut through a stuffy nose while also keeping the Calcium Challenge in mind. This smoothie packs a whopping 46% of your daily calcium needs: 30% coming from the almond milk, 6% from the chia seeds and 10% from the kale. Plus it tastes great. Although it definitely needed to be followed by a hot cup of tea to warm me back up!

The week is finally starting to look up…just in time for the weekend and the playoff games.

Blueberry, Banana, Grapefruit Breakfast Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

1 frozen banana, thawed

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Juice of 1 grapefruit

1 cup kale

1 cup vanilla or regular almond milk

1 tablespoon chia seeds

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Thaw frozen banana in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Place banana, frozen blueberries, grapefruit juice, kale, milk and chia seeds in a blender or use your immersion stick. Blend for 1 minute until everything is well incorporated.

blueberry, banana, grapefruit smoothie blueberry, banana, grapefruit smoothie blueberry, banana, grapefruit smoothie

Serve in a pretty mason jar, optional, but makes it more fun to eat.

Enjoy and Exhale!

The Calcium Challenge

My mom, in true mom fashion, still wants to make sure I’m eating healthy, sleeping enough and getting adequate vitamins and minerals.  While she was in Boston over the holidays I must have heard her say ‘make sure you’re getting enough calcium’ about 50 times. To be honest, she’s been saying this for years and I’ve sort of brushed it under the rug assuming that the copious amounts of cheese I was consuming were enough. Now that I am eating less and less dairy, I find myself wondering where my calcium is actually coming from. I’ve never tracked it before so I really had no idea.

Before I get into my findings I’ll preface by saying that I am not a medical doctor nor do I pretend to be. Everything below is based on my own research and understanding of said research (which is debatable). As it pertains to your own diet, please use your best judgement. Okay, now that I’m done sounding like a disclaimer for a drug ad, let’s move on.

I know I’m not the only lady (or man) out there who assumes they’ve got this calcium thing covered but aren’t totally sure how. Hopefully this helps.

How much should we be getting?

Most sources recommend 1000 mg/day for all the below important bodily functions.

Calcium Infographic

[Source]

Where can I get it from?

A glass of milk right? Isn’t that what every kid would say if you asked?

The most common misconception is that you should get your calcium from traditional dairy. But, I’ve read enough to know that dairy isn’t the only source of calcium. Many plant-based foods are great options as well. You can get high levels of calcium from non dairy milk and tofu but certain vegetables, seeds and beans are also good sources such as artichokes, kale (hooray!), sesame seeds, chia seeds and hummus.

Calcium Protein Sources

[Source]

There is also the option of calcium supplements but for those of us with family histories of kidney stones, taking supplements isn’t necessarily the smartest idea. Plus, I believe it’s best to get your nutrients from whole foods whenever possible so I won’t talk supplements here.

Below are a couple good lists of plant-based sources of calcium.

One Green Planet

Harvard Health Services (scroll down a bit for the plant sources)

Vegetarians In Paradise (scroll to bottom of page)

What’s my average intake?

Like I mentioned above, I had no idea where a normal day’s diet would put me on the intake scale so I spent a few days doing calculations without changing anything. Here are my totals:

Day 1 900 mg

Day 2 800 mg

Day 3 600 mg

Day 1 and 2 weren’t horrible but they weren’t 1000 mg. They also both happened to include a soy latte. Although this is fairly typical for me, it’s not an everyday occurrence. I have Starbucks 2-3 times a week, mainly on weekends. On days when I don’t have coffee I have tea without milk, which offers 0% of my daily calcium. Without the latte I am severely under my calcium quota. Day 3 reflects this.

The Challenge!

With my new knowledge in hand, I thought it might be fun to create a challenge.

(If you haven’t figured it out already I like to make up fake challenges for myself, see the Sweet Potato Challenge of 2012, ha).

Can I consistently, key word, consistently, get 1000 mg of calcium a day eating only plant-based foods?

Over the next few weeks I’ll focus on my calcium intake more closely. I’ll try to share how I’ve better incorporated it into my day-to-day diet. I’ll work on some calcium rich recipes that will help close the daily deficiency in my diet and possibly yours and I’ll hopefully quell some of my mom’s worries. 🙂

Anyone else up for the challenge?