Glass ‘O Green Stuff

green juice 3

I’m a big drinker.  Yup.  I love to drink stuff of all kinds.  I’m a  fruit smoothy lover and have been poking fun at my girlfriend, Noeleen, for drinking what appears to be a daily thermos of blended grass for a long time.

To shut me up she brought me some to sample (finally took the hint!) and I thought I’d share her concoction with the world–or at least my little corner of it.   I know you can drink green leafy thingies, and have done so before.  I must admit, however, that it is a bit odd to look at some fresh greens and think…

green juice 1

..I am going to drink this.  Weird, I say.

This glass ‘o green stuff, my friends, is darn tasty I will attest.  And I don’t mean that in a “I eat so much healthy food that my taste buds have morphed into a state where even weird things taste good.”   I am not one of those “dark side” kinda folks.  Promise.   Really

Noeleen’s Glass ‘O Green Stuff (which I modified and still enjoyed–see my version, below)

Ingredients:
1 cup juiced pineapple (if that’s too intense trader joes has 100% pure pineapple juice;)
you can also substitute the juice for water…it still tastes great!)
1 Granny Smith
1 handful of spinach
1 handful of kale
1 handful of frozen pineapple.
Directions:
cube the apple and put in blender with water or juice.
blend the heck out of it;)
add the spinach & kale
add the frozen pineapple
enjoy:)
Michelle’s version (aka: I didn’t have exactly what Noeleen described so I took a few liberties… so unlike me.)
Ingredients:
handful spinach
1 handful kale
few big scoops of apple sauce (I had bought a Granny Smith apple for just this purpose, but Mike found it in the fruit bowl before I got to it!)
can of pineapple including juice
few ice cubes
Directions: (and here’s a pre-blending photo for your viewing pleasure)
green juice 2
Blend the heck out of it and drink!
Tips: I think the key is the pineapple in one form or another.  It has such a sweet and tangy flavor that it can work with, well, some green leafy stuff that you wouldn’t likely consider drinking in the first place!  The apple, whether fresh or as a sauce, provides some added sweetness of course.  I think strawberries would work well.  Wouldn’t go for melon, though, as I think it would be too mild.  I mean, we are drinking kale here; you need some power behind it!
While Noeleen’s kids love this beverage, mine were–surprisingly–not so enthused.  For me though, I like to make one of these a couple times a week and keep it in the fridge.  I can grab a glass here or there and know I’m getting some quick and good nutrition for a girl on the go.
Some final nutritional notes on kale (aka: the Queen of greens!)…
Kale is high in fiber and contains no fat.  Kale is high in iron, vitamin A, C and K, is loaded with calcium and is filled with powerful antioxidants.  It is an anti-inflamatory food that also supports good cardiovascular health.
That’s a lot of bang from a small little green guy.  Hope you enjoy this tasty and healthy recipe!
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Fruit Salad: Yummy! Yummy!

fruit salad

Here you see the remnants of my strawberries that taste great but are already turning soft (will have to talk with my farmers market vendor next week… just got these on Saturday!), my oranges that Rhea says have “too much white stuff around them” and some on-the-verge-of-banana-bread bananas.

And what does a economizing mama do with all the above ingredients?  Cut off the “white stuff,” sift through the berries and toss a few pieces of each banana–and then make a fruit salad, of course.

Served in the fanciest breakfast establishments, one would think that fruit salad is a tad high brow.  But I have my suspicions that people more along the lines of my frugal Grandma Millie came up with this concoction.

“What shall we do with all this fruit that has bad spots here and is starting to turn, ma’am?”

“Cut out the good pieces and put it in a pretty glass bowl.  And we shall call it: fruit salad!”

Many vendors at farmers markets have special buckets for people (yes–people like me) who are willing to cut out a spot here and overlook a mark there; and pay 1/3 the price of the pretty produce.  For example, I often purchase organic apples for $1.25 lb just because they aren’t picture perfect.  Then I chop’em up, throw out the few brown parts, and make apple sauce.

Beautiful, delicious, healthy, economical–these are some of my favorite things!

Easy-Tasty-Fancy Looking!

fruit pizza

OK.  So in the title I took out “healthy” and replaced with “Fancy Looking.”  Just work with me here.

Fruit Pizza is what we call this in my family.  You may or may not be able to tell that I was going for a “sun” theme with the fruit display.  I made this for Easter so it seemed appropriate.

Every time I make fruit pizza everybody gobbles it up and all the mommies ask for the recipe.  It looks beautiful and is so absurdly easy to make everyone should have this recipe in their back pocket.

Fruit Pizza

Ingredients: (I’m embarrassed to say…) Pilsbury Sugar cookie Dough, 16 oz. cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar (or powdered sugar), tsp. vanilla, diced fresh fruit.

Directions: Set cream cheese out for about an hour to soften.  Spread the cookie dough (this is 1 1/2 tubes) out on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for approximately 17-20 minutes or until done.  Set out to cool.   Mix softened cream cheese with sugar and vanilla.  Spread on completely cooled sugar cookie crust.  Top with fruit.

Tips: I’ve made this with homemade sugar cookie dough and although it is certainly a less processed food choice, you really cannot taste the difference (short cuts are all the rage.)  Fruit can be arranged in a stunning display of some sort (not featured above, unfortunately) or just scattered.  The pineapple and orange chunks that I used were drained before placement.  Good fruits for this include strawberries, blueberries, grapes, sliced stone fruits… don’t use bananas though as they will brown and throw off the whole “impressive” statement you’re going for.  (I seem to be using an excessive amount of quotation marks today….  Don’t you think?)

I seriously dare you to take this to a potluck situation and not impress the masses.  Yes.  Maybe even double-dare.

DO Try This at Home!

This is Michelle’s kitchen counter on a typical Saturday morning:

Saturday spread

Ahhh…  After my weekly farmers market pilgrimage, I feel ready to start another healthy week with my family.

Routine is the key to my meal planning.  By hitting the same farmers market (usually) I know the vendors, know the prices, know what’s what.

I don’t go to the farmers market to have a Hallmark moment.  OK.  Yes it is more enjoyable to shop outdoors, purchase from local farmers and sample anything I like before I buy it.  But like a lot of mamas of three, I am, uh, kinda busy.  I don’t amble along the market, wicker basket in hand, bluebird on my shoulder.  Often I’m in a bit of a sprint between basketball and soccer games, or maybe a birthday party or heaven-knows-what!

I don’t shove and knock people out of my way, but I cruise along, big cart and reusable bags in front, and get on with my shopping.

I make this weekly trek, out and back, in about an hour.  Another 15 minutes to unload and rinse my pretty produce, and we are set for another 7 days.

And when I look down at the “fruit” of my labor, it makes my heart smile.

Heart raddish

Something Blue

something blue

Fruits and Vegetables.  We should all be eating more fruits and vegetables.  I’m assuming this sounds familiar to pretty much everyone reading this blog–if not every person reading any blog.
 
In season right now at my local farmer’s market are Bosc pears that we are totally diggin’ at my house.  Their brown skins make them an exotic addition to the fruit bowl.  Here in sunny southern California even these kiwis are locally grown.  You can get oranges at the farmers market too, but I don’t have to because my mom/neighbor has a tree with prolific amounts of delicious oranges.  Lucky us!
 
Every morning we begin our breakfast with fruit of some kind.  We prefer fresh but are not opposed to an occasional canned pineapple, peach or pears (in its own juice.)

Because I’m a time economizer, I’ve developed the format you see pictured above.  Step 1: Mommy cuts fruit on cutting board.  Step 2: Cutting board is placed on table for mass consumption.  Step 3: Three kids and husband have at it.  Step 4: Mommy–or sometimes Daddy :)–clean up said cutting board.
 
My two girls volunteered as hand models in the photo above–they were so excited to “show everyone how we do it at our house.”  I tried to get a shot that didn’t include the atrocious blue nail polish you see (thanks, Catalina, for the birthday party nail salon!) but couldn’t. 

But then I figured hey, this isn’t the Pottery Barn catalog.  Blue nails and all, here we are eating breakfast at my house.  Have a great day!