Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Where oh where did the summer go??

I can't believe it's back to school time already.  I've been loving the relaxed days, spending time with my kiddos, teaching them new things, discovering things together.  I know some of you are pulling your hair out and cannot wait until that school bus pulls up in two weeks. 

Don't get me wrong, we have had several days where my two have been at each others throats and I've wanted to hop in the car and drive far away.  For the most part, however, we've had an enjoyable summer and I'm not ready for it to be over.  Although, I do crave the routine, I don't look forward to the stressful mornings and the monotony of packing lunches.  So, this year I'm taking a different approach and planning ahead as much as possible.  With an arsenal of recipes and ideas, I hope to stave off the "what can I have for breakfast" and the "not that again" blues.

The first thing on my list is to prepare enough breakfast items for the first month of school and pop them in the freezer.  My kids have never liked cereal, they have always preferred pancakes, waffles or muffins.  Now that I know how to make sure they contain protein, fiber and healthy fats I have no trouble serving these along with some fruit.  

One recipe we really like is from My Whole Food Life and it's super duper yummy!  These peanut butter and jelly pancakes are SOOOOO fluffy!!  They are fantastic with some fresh black raspberry preserves. (for info on how to make your own with no added sugar or pectin go here) I've even grabbed two pancakes, slathered some peanut butter and jelly on them and made a sandwich on my way out the door.  

If your kids like eggs but you don't have time for an omelet, try making these egg muffins over the weekend and store them in the refrigerator for the week ahead.  Here's the recipe:


12 eggs
1-2 tsp. seasoning (anything you think will go well with eggs.)
1-2 cups cheese of choice (I use cheddar or Colby jack)
3 green onions diced small
Chopped veggies (anything you'd like. I use broccoli and red pepper.)
Meat (if desired. I make it without meat.)

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with olive oil. Layer meat (if desired), veggies, cheese, and onions until cups are about 2/3 full, leaving just enough room to pour a little egg around them. Beat eggs and seasoning together. Pour egg mixture into each muffin cup until about 3/4 full. Stir slightly with fork. Bake 25-35 minutes or until slightly browned and set.

Another option I make a lot, especially in cooler months, is oatmeal or quinoa.  I cook up a big batch of plain oatmeal or quinoa and store it in the fridge.  Each morning that week I take out a portion and heat it in a pan with some almond milk and whatever fruits, nuts or spices I'm in the mood for.   This year I'm trying this overnight oatmeal recipe.  It's different than refrigerator oatmeal in that it doesn't use yogurt and it's made with steel cut oats.  Unfortunately, my kids have never liked oatmeal, but they will eat quinoa with blueberries, almonds and some cinnamon.  Yummo!

Today I'm making some of this incredibly delicious Cinnamon Vanilla Banana Bread from The Naked Kitchen.  Check out her photo - doesn't that look amazing! If you haven't checked out this blog yet, please do.  It's so full of information and is one I visit frequently.  Sarah and Kristy have put together meal plans as well to make weeknights easier. 

 I may make a couple loaves of this because I'm not sure one would make it until school starts. 

Enjoy your last week and a half of summer!  I'll post some school lunch ideas next week.  Until then, B Naturally Nourished!

Monday, May 27, 2013

What?? It's the last week of May already?  (and I was wearing jeans and a jacket yesterday - what's wrong with this picture?!)

Here are the final seven smoothie recipes to get you through the month of May and into June!  Hope you enjoy them!

Let's start with breakfast (as I sit here, sipping my Cherry Beet Smoothie breakfast)...

Green Breakfast Smoothie
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup kale, tough ribs and veins removed
1 Tbsp almond butter
1 serving of whole walnuts (about 1/4 cup)
Coconut water
2 oz. Greek yogurt, plain

Add all ingredients to blender, add as much coconut water as needed to make desired consistency.  Blend until smooth.

RBCK Smoothie
1 cup raspberries
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup coconut water
1 cup kale
1 Tbsp chia seeds

Blend well.  

Here's a breakfast smoothie with a different leafy green, it's high vitamin and high protein and will leave you feeling great!  - 

Bok Choy Berry Smoothie
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup raspberries or blueberries, frozen
1/2 cup strawberries, frozen
4 stalks of bok choy, green removed (save them for a salad)
2 tsp stevia powder (optional)

Place all ingredients into blender.  The bok choy will make this smoothie very thin, that's why it's important to use frozen fruit or you can add some ice. 

Now on to lunch, or an afternoon snack....

Almond Joy Smoothie
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 frozen banana
2 large handfuls of spinach
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut (or can use 1/2 tsp coconut extract)

Place all ingredients into blender.  Blend until smooth. 
This tastes like an Almond Joy bar, except much healthier!  I haven't tried it yet, but I'm guessing you could add some cocoa powder to get the chocolate taste.  Hmmm, I know what I'm trying later!!

Here's a great afternoon snack that is perfect for today, with it's red, white and blue ingredients....

Strawberry, Banana, Blueberry Smoothie - this link will once again take you to the Simple Green Smoothies website, a great resource for all your green smoothie questions.  If you haven't checked it out yet, please do!

Now for a great after dinner snack....

Mojito Smoothie
1/2 cup coconut milk 
1 cup spinach 
1/2 frozen banana
juice from 1/2 lime
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
handful of fresh mint leaves
stevia to taste

Combine the milk, spinach, banana, lime juice and vanilla until well blended.  Then add the mint leaves, some ice cubes if necessary and stevia if you'd like it sweeter. Blend again until smooth.  Enjoy this delicious mojito-like smoothie!

Lastly, here's a great summer treat - no greens in this one - just some juicy, delicious mango!

Summer Mango Smoothie
 1 mango
2 Tbsp honey
1 cup milk (almond or cow)
1 cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
1 tsp cinnamon
handful of ice cubes

Remove the flesh of the mango and discard the skin and seed.  Add the flesh and all other ingredients to the blender, blend until smooth and creamy.  You can adjust the sweetness by adding more or less honey.

Shopping List

Bok Choy
Coconut water
Milk of your choice
Orange juice
Greek yogurt - plain or vanilla
Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries - frozen
Fresh mango
Almond butter
Walnuts, raw
Chia seeds
Coconut, unsweetened
Fresh mint leaves

Other staple items - vanilla, cinnamon, honey

I hope you've enjoyed the Smoothie a Day for May challenge.  Whether you like them green....

or purple.....

I hope you'll continue to make them a part of your daily routine on your journey to better health.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Week 3 is here!

Are you enjoying your green smoothies?

If you haven't tried a smoothie yet and are wondering why you should, I'd like to share some compelling reasons....

1.  It's the easiest way to consume 2 cups of greens.  Seriously, if you don't enjoy salads, are you really going to sit down and eat a huge plate of spinach?  Why not puree it with some fruit and drink it.  When you're short on time, smoothies are a great way to get a complete meal!
2.    They give you energy!  Drinking your greens gives you a powerful boost of nutrients to make you feel amazing.  I no longer have that 3pm slump - my energy lasts all day.
3.  They help you lose weight!   Consuming green smoothies on a regular basis has been proven to assist in weight loss.  By eliminating one processed snack or meal item a day and replacing it with a green smoothie, you are not only consuming fewer calories, but you are boosting your nutrition.  Giving your body whole foods nutrition is THE BEST way to get healthy and lose weight.  I've lost 5 lbs these past two weeks just by drinking a daily smoothie!
4.  Your cravings for bad food will decrease.  Believe me, I speak from experience when I say this is totally true.  Since I have been drinking smoothies on a regular basis, just the thought of eating junk food makes me cringe.  I want to eat more veggies.  If you knew me when I was younger, you would laugh in disbelief at that.  Like most kids, I totally hated veggies.  Now I can't believe I didn't eat them and am enjoying trying so many new ones - ever had kohlrabi or jicama?? 
5.  You will have better digestion and elimination.  No one likes to talk about elimination (except, apparently, 8 year old boys, who think talking about bodily functions is the funniest thing ever.) But seriously, if you're not going every day, then you have a problem with constipation.  Drinking green smoothies will help.  Not only are they easy to digest because you've already broken down the leafy greens, they contain lots of fiber and we all know how important that is.
6.  They reduce pain and inflammation in your joints.  If you suffer from daily aches and pains, try adding a smoothie to your diet.  They work on a cellular level as an anti-inflammatory.  By adding ingredients like turmeric, green tea or blueberries, you can increase the anti-inflammatory effect.
7.   Your skin, hair and nails will begin to look betterThe dark leafy greens in smoothies are great at detoxifying your body.  Because of this, many people experience clearer skin, shinier hair and your nails grow faster.  Pretty cool!

Ok, so if those reasons aren't enough, I don't know what else to say.  Get past the green color and try it!!    

Here are your recipes for the week -

This cleansing and detoxifying smoothie from a website called The Road Not Processed is a delicious way to start your day. 

Or try this one that is Simple and Delicious for a breakfast that will leave you feeling great. Some frozen mango, banana, kale and ginger are all you need to add to the creamy vanilla almond milk for a quick and easy meal.

This one is called the Rawkin Superfood smoothie because it contains super healthy ingredients that also taste amazing.  It contains some ingredients that may be a bit unusual to you.  Bridget, at The Road Not Processed, adds chlorella and spirulina to this smoothie.  What?? you say.  Chlorella is a powerhouse of nutrition  - as is spirulina.  Both can be purchased online or found at a health food store.  I just thought I'd throw this recipe out there in case you were feeling ready to try something different and/or up the superfood power available. 

Next, I'll share one I've really enjoyed - it's called Blueberry Heaven and the recipe was developed by a fellow IIN classmate of mine - Kate Kim. 
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 cups spinach or kale
1 frozen banana
2 Tbsp. almond butter
2 cups water

Blend well.

This is soooooo delicious!  The almond butter adds such a wonderful flavor and creaminess.  I often have this one after a workout.

The Carrot Cake Smoothie is a divine treat.  Great as a dessert replacement after dinner.....hint, hint.  If you followed the link, you'll see I found this one at a great blog called Simple, Healthy, Tasty.  Love her by-line - "Healthy Doesn't Have to Be Hard" - I couldn't agree more!

Now I'll share two more that are so yummy, you'll think you're drinking dessert.

The Cherry Berry

1 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen cherries
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3 large kale leaves (stems removed)
1/2 cup coconut milk
Blend well.  You can add a couple drops of liquid stevia or a dash of honey if more sweetness is desired.

Key Lime Pie Smoothie this one is a treat - it does not contain greens, just fruit

3/4 cup Greek yogurt
Juice of one lime
splash of pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut milk
stevia to taste

O.M.G. this is yummy!!

Your shopping list.... 
Fresh or frozen peach
Bananas, frozen
Frozen cherries and blueberries
Swiss chard, kale and/or spinach (it's time to start changing up your greens!!)
Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Coconut milk
Carrot juice
Greek yogurt
Almond butter
Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves
Sweeteners like stevia, honey, or pure maple syrup.  I DO NOT recommend agave.   

OK, there you go.  I hope you all have a great week!   

Sunday, May 12, 2013

It's Week 2 of the Smoothie a Day for May Challenge!

 This week, I'm going to guide you over to one of my favorite websites - my "go-to" for recipes - The Gracious Pantry.


If you're not familiar with The Gracious Pantry - it is a clean eating how-to website, started by a stay-at-home mom and chef.  It's a great resource, especially if you are new to clean eating and need some guidance.  If you go to this page,  Tiffany will tell you all about clean eating and how to get started.  She also has a No-Sugar Challenge and a new SummerFit Challenge that are worth checking out!  The majority of recipes on her site are her own originals, which is amazing!  And because they are her original creations, I cannot post the actual smoothie recipes here.  So I will guide you to 6 different glasses of deliciousness I found on The Gracious Pantry (there are LOTS more, so take some time and explore her smoothie recipe page!) and then I'll throw in another recipe I enjoy.  
First is the Cinnamon Apple Smoothie  which is so simple to make - just some apples, cinnamon, spinach and almond milk!  Super. yummy.

Next we have the Blueberry Banana Smoothie, which is my daughter's favorite (probably because it's doesn't look green).  Instead of the protein powder I add vanilla Greek yogurt for protein.  

For a tropical treat, try the Pineapple Breeze Smoothie.  I love her picture - martini glass with the pineapple garnish.  Breakfast doesn't get that fancy at my house!  

The Green Tea Mango Smoothie is a light, refreshing treat.   Great for an after dinner snack.

The Strawberry Oatmeal Smoothie is a great, filling breakfast choice. Again, the protein powder is optional.  Another note, if you are having a smoothie only for breakfast and are getting hungry an hour or two later, add some oats to it.  It will definitely keep you feeling satisfied until lunch.  

This one contains beets - which are super-nutritious (even if you don't think they're delicious).  If you make this exact recipe, it will take some prep work.  The Gracious Pantry uses marinated beets but you could just use cooked. The Cherry Beet Smoothie is a great energy booster.

Now, for another of my favorites - the Raspberry Blueberry Ginger Smoothie.
Simple recipe:
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened vanilla
1/2 to 1 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
Fresh ginger (add as much zing as you'd like)

Ginger is a healing wonder-spice.  You may have already known about it's ability to ease nausea but did you know these other benefits?       

Your Shopping List

Spinach - I still have some left from last week and since some recipes this week don't need spinach, I shouldn't need to buy any. 
Bananas - frozen
Frozen cherries, mango, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries - as needed.  I still have plenty of these in my freezer.
Fresh pineapple
Cooked/marinated beets
Apples - your favorite variety
1 can coconut milk
Almond milk, unsweetened (I buy Silk unsweetened vanilla.)
Oatmeal - traditional
Ginger root - you could also use ground ginger
Cinnamon - you should already have this in your spice cabinet.       

Enjoy your smoothies this week!  If you have any questions, or would like to further discuss your health journey, please contact me via email at bnaturallynourished@gmail.com or visit my website at www.bnaturallynourished.com . I hope to hear from you soon! 


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My post-run smoothie
I just finished running 4 miles and I'm in need of some fuel to recharge.  So I whipped up this smoothie in less than 5 minutes.  I found the recipe over at Sol Glo Wellness and just happened to have the ingredients.  Yes, I keep some not-so-common ingredients in my fridge.

If you're interested, here's some more info on spirulina and why it's so amazing - click here

Even though I had all the ingredients, I still changed it up.  I used kale instead of spinach, coconut milk instead of hemp milk and coconut water, and I left out the protein powder.  I also added extra cinnamon and less molasses

This leads the question - do you really need a recipe to make a good smoothie?  Yes and no.  Yes because it's nice to have a guideline, an idea of what tastes go well together.  (I have this friend who doesn't need recipes, like, ever because she has this amazing gift of knowing what will taste great together.  I do not have that gift - although I am always learning.)   No because you really just need a liquid, some frozen fruit and some leafy greens.  And if you have the gift of knowing what tastes good together, then you can just throw things in a blender. 

However, I do like to have that recipe in front of me.  Maybe it's just for reassurance, comfort in knowing I'm making something that someone else liked and decided to share.  And I'd like to thank Sol Glo Wellness for sharing this one because it is DEEEE-LI-CIOUS!!

Enjoy this beautiful day!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Good Morning Smoothie Challengers!

It's Tuesday, kinda dreary outside and cooler than I would like it to be in May, but it's a great day!  Why, you may ask?  

My kiddos tried a new green smoothie.  

You see, they've been drinking "green" smoothies for a while but they didn't know.  I always made them with strawberries and blueberries and a little vanilla Greek yogurt so they were nice and creamy.  And it hid the green color from the spinach REALLY well.  Now, they know about this challenge and that as a family we are all going to do this together.  They (my hubby, son and daughter) have agreed to drink at least 8 oz a day for the month.  (smile)

To the right you see what's left of my son's morning smoothie.  Mason jars are great to store leftover smoothies in.  They will keep it from oxidizing and losing nutrients.  This will be in the refrigerator, waiting for him when he returns home from school. 

But it's not green, you say.  It was greenish brown when they first tried it and told me it tasted like water (because I had used water as a base instead of the usual almond milk) so I added some almond milk and some raspberries (at my son's request).  Lesson learned, the kids like it creamier so I will stick with almond milk as a base for them.  This smoothie originally consisted of 1 cup water, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries and spinach (and I threw in some ground flax for Omega 3's) - which results in a brownish green color.  Obviously adding some raspberries make it this nice red color.  And much tastier according to my 8 year old!

So, remember, as you begin this Smoothie a Day challenge - it's all about experimenting.  You're not going to like every recipe.  If you take a sip and realize it's not for you, put it back in the blender and add something else until you do like it.  Have fun with it! 

Please comment below and ask questions, if you have any.  Or contact me via email at bnaturallynourished@gmail.com.

Happy blending!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Moms and Dads - You know you don't eat enough vegetables.  You may not have the time or the desire to consume all you need.  (Be honest, are you really eating 3-5 servings of veggies a day?)   And if you're not eating enough vegetables, chances are, your kids aren't either.

For the next 28 days, I want you to add a green smoothie to your daily routine.  Don't change anything else, just add a daily smoothie (at least 16 oz.) and then let me know how you're feeling after a couple weeks.  I can't wait to hear about how great you're feeling, how you've lost a few pounds, have more energy, are craving healthier foods, etc.  If you currently have an adversity to all foods GREEN, start with less greens and more fruit.  Then, as you begin to realize there is nothing to be afraid of and, hey, these actually taste really good, you can add more greens.

Green smoothies are a very simple and quick way to add LOTS of nourishment with very little effort!  Whether you know it or not, your body is starving for nutrition.  We live in a country of abundance where we are overfed and undernourished.  If you have cravings (and who doesn't)- your body is trying to tell you something.  It's crying out, trying to find a way to fulfill it's nourishment needs!  Once I began fueling my body with whole foods nutrition, I found my cravings started to go away.  And my tastebuds changed - junk foods no longer tasted good or seemed appealing.  
OK, so you and your kids (yes, I'm saying to make this a family affair) may not love the smoothies at first - but PLEASE don't give up!  You can play around with ingredients and make it to your taste.  If you don't like one of the fruits listed, try a different one - don't like peanut butter, don't put it in. Think it tastes too sour - add a little (and I mean a tiny amount) honey or stevia or some extra berries.  NO SUGAR, please!  These recipes are just ideas.  Start with spinach for the greens - it is very mild and you won't taste it.  Then as time goes on, try other greens, like kale, romaine lettuce, chard, beet greens or bok choy.  Some recipes I'll give you won't have anything green.  There will be other vegetables, like carrots, pumpkins or beets - or roots like ginger and turmeric.  If you think there is no way something that looks like this could taste good - wait until you try the Creamsicle smoothie or the Creamy Mint Chocolate one!  WOW!

Alright, stop skipping breakfast or put down that "meal replacement" drink or bar full of synthetic nutrients and give your body what it wants - REAL nutrition from WHOLE foods.  Trust me, your body will totally thank you!!

Are you ready to take the challenge - 

Smoothie a Day for May

Where do we begin?

How about a shopping list - this week you will need.....
  • Baby spinach (I usually buy the Nature's Promise brand at Giant - a large container costs $5.99 but has plenty of spinach to get you through this week and maybe next week!)
  • Bananas (7 or 8 medium to large) - peel them, break in half and place in freezer
  • 1 bag frozen peaches
  • 1 bag frozen mango
  • 1 bag frozen strawberries
  • pineapple (canned is OK if it's in fruit juice only)
  • fresh canteloupe
  • grapes (red or green)
  • one ripe avocado
  • one orange
  • Almond milk, unsweetened (vanilla is good)
  • Natural peanut butter (that means only containing peanuts and maybe salt)
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Cinnamon and/or pumpkin pie spice
  • Raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • Coconut oil (more info on coconut oil  here )
  • Mint extract
  • Raw or local honey
I realize this grocery list seems long.  Every week won't be this long.  Some of these ingredients may last you through the next two weeks and some you may already have.  Don't be discouraged by how much you have to buy.  Once you get on this nutritious superfood train, you won't want to get off.  These will be staples in your fridge and freezer!


 OK, here it is, my most favorite green smoothie - the Creamsicle:

1 cup water, 1 cup almond milk, juice of 1 orange or 2-3 Tbsp orange juice, 1 tsp pure vanilla, 2 cups frozen peaches, 2 LARGE handfuls of spinach.  Place in a blender, mix and enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Green Smoothie OK, this won't be green, it will turn out brownish in color

1 cup almond milk, 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1 large frozen banana,  1 handful spinach, 1 Tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp pure vanilla, 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.  Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie

2 cups almond milk, 2 frozen bananas, 2 heaping Tbsp natural peanut butter, 2 large handfuls spinach, 1 tsp pure vanilla.  Option:  add cocoa powder before blending to make this a chocolatey treat  Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Chocolate Strawberry

1 1/2 cups almond milk, 1/2 cup water, 2 cups frozen strawberries, 1/2 frozen banana (optional), 2 cups spinach, 2 Tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tsp pure vanilla.  Blend until smooth and enjoy!

The next two are from a great website called simplegreensmoothies.com and can be found by following these links:  Beginner's Luck Green Smoothie       and  Cantaloupe-Grape Sweetness.

And now drumroll please...... the insanely delicious, you-almost-feel-guilty-drinking-it
Creamy Mint Chocolate Smoothie!
I promised you some recipes wouldn't have any greens - well, this one has half an avocado - which is technically a fruit, so no greens in this one but it still has amazing health benefits.  If you're craving something chocolatey and milkshake-like - this is it!  Again, if you don't like mint, don't add it.  I just happen to think that the combination of chocolate and mint are a perfect match.  The recipe can be found at The Road Not Processed  (which also has tons of other amazing recipes!)

There you have it - one week's worth of recipes to get you started!  I hope lots of you will join me and my family as we begin this challenge!  Cheers! (C'mon, clink your green drink with me)