Greens, Bananas and Coconut Smoothie

Tasty greens, frozen bananas, and coconut water = healthy shake! Bonus, a nice, wide tumbler from www.potterybarn.com makes it easy to get down to the bottom of the deliciousness!

Big news – we are pregnant! Which means I have unusual cravings for rice, banana bread, cereal, and yogurt (to name a few) and I have aversions to things I used to love; namely salads. Pregnancy is an important time to eat healthy and make sure you’re getting extra vitamins and minerals from greens and fruits. However, whether pregnant or not, most of us do not get enough of them. Because who looks at a leaf of kale and goes “OMG I HAVE TO GET THAT IN MY FACE RIGHT NOW IT LOOKS SO GOOD”? No, we save that for cake. Obviously.

So I looked into an easier way to get all my greens down and looked into shakes. Most pre-made shakes or shake recipes are chock-full of fruit, additives, or sugary juices and aren’t worth the small amount of green intake that you get. They can also take FOR.EV.AH to make in the morning. No thanks! This recipe is green-focused, but is sweetened by a bit of banana. The secrets to this recipe are (1) freezing the ingredients beforehand so you don’t have to deal with large chunks of ice that never get blended (2) coconut water for a low-sugar, but fresh-tasting flavor. So let’s get to smoothie-ing and getting some greens in you!

Bonus – I included ingredient amounts for both a single smoothie AND for making a large batch of smoothies. I’ve found that making a large batch ahead of time and freezing individual baggies saves me a ton of time in the morning.

Ingredients (bulk smoothie)
4 – 5 ripe bananas
4 cucumbers
Bag of baby spinach
Bag of baby kale
Small pot of wheatgrass
2 lemons
Frozen mango (optional, if you like it a bit sweeter)
2 33.8-oz coconut waters

Instructions
Break bananas into either halves or thirds, depending on how sweet you like your smoothies. Freeze ripe bananas at least overnight. The longer you freeze them, the sweeter they get. Cut cucumbers into 1/4” rounds. Wash spinach, kale and wheatgrass thoroughly. Squeeze juice of lemons. Based on the measuring of ingredients below, fill quart-sized freezer baggies and freeze. To finish off the smoothie, add the 1/4c – 1/3c coconut water and blend.

Ingredients (individual smoothie)
1/3 to 1/2 of medium, frozen banana
4 1/4” rounds cucumber
Large handful of baby spinach (washed thoroughly)
Small handful of kale (washed thoroughly)
Large pinch of wheatgrass – about 25 blades (washed thoroughly)
1/2 tsp lemon
3 cubes frozen mango (optional, if you like it a bit sweeter)
1/4 to 1/3c coconut water

Blend ingredients together. I use my Vitamix from Williams Sonoma for the most consistent, easy to blend smoothies. Worth. Every. Penny.¬†Note: If you freeze all ingredients beforehand, the consistency is more smoothie-like. If you don’t, it’s more juice-like. Enjoy!!

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Frozen baggies of individual servings make mornings fast and easy!

Random tips for you:

To keep spinach and kale fresh, place a piece of paper towel in the bag before putting it back in the fridge. It keeps the extra moisture off and helps it stay longer.

Throw your lemon rinds down your garbage disposal instead of your compost. The lemon rinds help deodorize and make your kitchen smell fresh.

Change your sponge and or dish rag often! Smell it – it’s way dirtier than you think it is.

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Game of Thrones Kale Salad

Bacon. Roasted tomatoes. Bacon. Fried shallots. Bacon. Tyrion Lannister. Pine nuts. Bacon. Dragons. Avocado. These are the makings of a great night and a great salad. This was a special for the Game of Thrones premier dinner that we throw each year at our house. This year the boys (thanks, Kyle and Simon) decided to grill tomahawk steaks, which are, no joke, the size of my face. So my salad had to stand up to these big beasts. Enter bacon, stage right.

There is just about nothing healthy about this salad, but it’s delicious and perfect for Game of Thrones viewings, summer picnics, impressing your kale-hating friends, justifying bacon in your “diet”, and reminding yourself that the best things in life include bacon.

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Oh, hey look there’s kale in my bacon salad

Game of Thrones Kale Salad

Ingredients

1 lb – 2 lbs bacon (depends on how crazy you want to get)
1.5 lbs cherry tomatoes
1tbs olive oil + 1/4c olive oil
1 large 10oz bag kale (I prefer Tuscan kale)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2c vegetable or canola oil
2 shallots, sliced long-ways
2 large avocados
1/3c pine nuts
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place bacon on a foil-lined sheet pan and bake until crispy, about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Once crispy, place on a towel-lined plate, being careful to make layers of paper towel and bacon so the bacon does not turn soggy.

While the bacon is cooking, mix together tomatoes with 1tbs olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Place on a foil lined sheet and bake in the same oven as the bacon until the tomatoes “crack”, about 20 minutes.

Wash kale and place in a bowl with lemon juice and a pinch of salt & pepper. Massage kale until it softens, about 3 minutes. Dress with 1/4c olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.

In a medium pan, heat the vegetable or canola oil on medium high. When very hot, add shallots and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until the shallots become a dark crispy brown, about 20 minutes. Be careful to keep shallots spread out on the pan or they will begin to stick together. If the shallots are cooking to quickly or beginning to burn, turn town the heat. Once dark brown, place on a large, paper towel-lined plate, being careful to spread the shallots so they do not stick together.

The bacon, tomatoes, and shallots should be allowed to cool. Once cool, cut the bacon into bite sized pieces.

Cut avocado into bite sized pieces.

Assemble the salad as follows:
Dressed kale
Roasted tomatoes
Avocado
Bacon
Fried shallots
Pine nuts

Serve to your very hungry friends as you all watch Game of Thrones together, raving about Daenarys, Arya, the dragons, and just how good this salad is (but not how good this salad is for you).