Thursday, November 4, 2010

Here Ya Go, Dianna!


I resisted this idea for a long while because I don't have a Vitamix or Blend Tec blender nor do I have the $900 to purchase one. I have a decent one (Cuisinart) but I doubted whether it could make a green smoothie palatable. Would it be chunky? Would it be slimy? Would I throw up? These were the questions on my heart.

But I am happy to report that an average blender can indeed make a delicious green smoothie that does not induce vomiting or even gagging. Crucial.

Here's what I do...

1. Fill the blender with ice and water (approx. 1/4 of the container)
2. Stuff as much kale, spinach, or other green matter that you can until the blender is about 3/4 of the way full.
3. Add frozen fruit. Definitely banana because it will give you much need sweetness. My children NEVER finish a whole banana anymore. I used to make them chocke it down until I just started collecting the leftovers and tossing them in a baggie in the freezer. If you don't have that problem at your house, you can just peel a whole banana and freeze by itself. I also like frozen berries or peaches. Frozen grapes are good, too. Just whatev.
4. Add some yogurt or kefir if you like. Gives it a little creaminess but it's not essential.
5. Finally, the magic ingredient: orange juice. Especially if kale is your main green, the acidity in the OJ really mellows the strong kale flavor. Unless you like strong kale flavor in which case feel free to omit this step, too.

Blend it all on low at first and then when it has all be processed fairly well, kick it up to high for a few seconds. And then, enjoy RIGHT THEN! A cool, room temp, or warm green smoothie is just BAD. It is pond sludge in a glass. Just say no. If you can't drink it right away, stick in in the fridge until you ar ready for it. I'm not kidding.

This is such a great way to get in a lot of greens in one sitting. I'm not a big salad eater unless the salad is all fancied up with fruit and nuts and gorgonzola. I'll eat a plain salad but I'm way more likely to drink a green smoothie and this way, I get in way more nutrients than a small salad would offer.

(Are you happy now, Dianna?)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

DIY Overpriced Fruit and Nut Bars

Love: A snackbar with very few and very pronouncable ingredients

Don't Love: Paying like a dollar a bar for them

So once again, the fact that most things can be homemade and will taste WAY better and cost WAY less remains true in the case of Larabars. These are my favorites and they are really easy to make as it turns out.

The base of most bars like Larabars are dates and some kind of nut. And then some kind of dried fruit is added. And then they wrap it up and sell for a profit margin of roughly 800%. Yay for Lara. Boo for the rest of us.

So here's what you do if you, like me, enjoy a tasty snackbar and also enjoy being able to pay your electricity bill...

1. Grind up the nut of your choice (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, whatever) in a food processor. I used about 1/3 c. of almonds for the bar pictured above (yes, it has a bite out of it.) I probably could have ground mine a little longer. I think it just depends on how much crunch you want your bar to have.

2. Add about 1/2 c. of dates and whatever dried fruit you want to use (cranberries, cherries, raisins, apricots, you get the idea) to the nuts and continue to pulse them until you get a sticky mixture that holds together fairly well. You can add a tiny amount of water or coconut oil if it isn't holding together well. I put in maybe a tsp. of water and it seemed to do the trick.

3. Form the mixture into a loaf about the length and width and thickness you would like your bars to be. You can do this on a plate or a glass dish. With these measurements, you will have a really small batch--I got about 4 bars out of mine.

4. Refrigerate your bars long enough for them to firm up a little more. Then they should cut easily and you can wrap them individually in wax paper, parchment paper, saran wrap, etc.

I made almond/date/cherry bars. They were pretty crumbly but I think processing the nuts longer will take care of that. They turned out really well--even Asher gave them the "Picky 3 Year Old 2 Thumbs Up" Award.

High praise indeed.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

She's Baaaa-aaack! I had a baby. I saw 2 pink lines and everything I knew and embraced about eating cleanly and intentionally went out the window. Oh, and the gym? I basically forgot how to get there.

But I am now the proud mother of another little boy who,quite frankly,was completely worth getting fat for. Oh and I did. I gained my usual amount despite my heartfelt declarations that I WOULD NOT.

So it is what it is. And now I'm ready to jump back into the kind of eating that my body loved. I felt great and I was a size that I felt comfortable being. Again, my mindset will be day-by-day decisions to make good choices that will move me towards my goal. I hope to post my menus here and document my journey back to the land of health. I like it there. And I like fitting into my clothes. Let's be honest--there's nothing quite like walking into a closet full of clothes that are no where near fitting to motivate you.

So here we go...Project No More Elastic Waistbands 3.0 is officially underway!