Smoothie Corner – Be Green

Smoothies make a great breakfast. You can get a shot of nutrients to start the day and take it on the go if you’re in a hurry.

This week, I tried my first “green” smoothie. The idea behind a green smoothie is that you include a serving of vegetables in the mix. I was hesitant to include anything green because I thought it would taste too much like a salad for breakfast. Its true what they say though, you can’t taste the spinach. Some veggie lovers who don’t mind a stronger vegetable taste use other greens like kale in smoothies.

Smoothies are fun because you can use whatever you have in the kitchen and base the flavors on your mood for the day. I like to use a combination of yogurt, frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables, and almond milk. You can use fruit juices too instead of milk if you want a bit more tangy instead of creamy drink.

For the smoothie above I used:

  • 1 cup lemon Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup mixed frozen vegetables – pineapple, mango, peaches

Put it all together and blend. I find the immersion blender works really well for these. Its quicker and less to clean up first thing in the morning before heading out to work.

Money saving tip: Stock up on frozen fruit when its on sale to have a variety on hand.

If you want to by Dairy Free you can use juice or any milk substitute – soy milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, or my recent favorite, almond milk. You can leave out the yogurt too it will just be a bit thinner of a smoothie.

 

Zucchini Fritters

As soon as zucchini comes in season, these cakes are on the menu. I usually make a big batch, they freeze well and make yummy leftovers.

Originally from Smitten Kitchen.

  • 1 pound zucchini (2 medium)
  • 1 tsp salt plus extra to taste
  • 2 scallions sliced thin
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil

Trim ends and shred zucchini. Toss with salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Wring out excess water in zucchini. You can use a salad spinner for this but using my hands works better. Its a little messy but worth it. Return to bowl. Add additional salt if needed. Stir in scallions, egg, and black pepper.

In a separate bowl, mix baking powder and flour. Add to mixture.

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Drop small bunches of batter into oil and flatten. Cook until golden, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Drain on a paper towel. Transfer to a baking sheet and finish in the oven at 200 degrees for at least 10 minutes or until cooked through.

If you’d like to add a zing, try mixing these together for a sauce.

  • 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • Salt
  • 1 clove garlic

The tomato, watermelon, and basil kabobs in the picture are a light and fresh summer dessert.

*Vegetarian, Dairy Free (without sauce)

Fresh Summer Salsa

I made this salsa for the first time a few years ago for a family cookout. Now, its what the family asks for whenever we get together under the sun. You can make it how you like it –  spicy, mild, fruity, whatever you want.

  • Red, yellow, and orange bell peppers
  • Red onion or whatever onion you have on hand
  • Jalapeño
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Tomatoes
  • Green onion

Seed the bell peppers. Seed the jalapeño if you’re not a fan of spicy salsas. If you like it hot, leave the seeds. Finely dice all vegetables. Add lemon juice and olive oil to taste.

You could do the dicing in a food processor but I enjoy the therapeutic chopping.

Try some of your own additions like corn, mango, or pineapple. Let me know what you like in your salsa.

*Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Stuffed Peppers

These stuffed peppers are a favorite around the house. They bring bright colors and savory smells to the kitchen. They also freeze well and make great leftovers. We usually use about six large peppers and that makes enough for about three meals for two.

You can use the same mix for stuffed zucchini. They may need to cook a little longer until the squash is soft.

  • Bell peppers
  • Ground beef or turkey
  • 1 cup rice, cooked
  • 1 egg
  • Italian style breadcrumbs
  • Olive oil
  • Cubed or shredded cheese – mozzarella, cheddar, anything you have on hand
  • Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut bell peppers in half and clean out. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, cooked rice, egg, breadcrumbs, and cheese. Mix together with a spoon (the rice is hot!) or let cool and mix with your hands. Scoop mixture into peppers and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese for a crunchy crust. Top with olive oil. Cook for 1 hour.

You can plant the bell pepper seeds too, they sprout up quick.