Archive for March, 2012

A Lighter Shade of Green for St. Patrick’s Day {Leprechaun Smoothies}

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

I’m not sure when St. Patrick’s Day became a national holiday nearly on par with Christmas. I know it can be a slow slog through the months of school between winter and spring breaks, but we still have a few stray pieces of Valentine’s candy around and now we’re in full-fledged leprechaun territory. And for kids, corned beef and cabbage has long since been supplanted with shamrock cookies and pots of gold. At least the chocolate is, well, slightly natural, but the barrage of bright rainbow-colored and artificially-dyed green treats flooding the internet frankly makes me nauseous. Even so, I wasn’t sure how my own little leprechauns would react to my latest green smoothie. Neither has touched avocado on its own since their first birthdays, though they will still dabble in guacamole occasionally. (I doubt anyone would suspect a toddler of being a rational being.)

leprechaun smoothie

Recently my five-year-old watched a VitaMix demonstration at the supermarket with rapt attention. When the woman placed handfuls of kale and spinach in the smoothie, he declared, “I LOVE kale and spinach!” Um, news to me, to say the least — but I determined to test his enthusiasm at home. And so my Leprechaun Smoothie was born — avocado, banana, orange juice and spinach. (According to the folks at Avocados from Mexico, a slice of avocado has a full gram of fiber — always something little ones can use more of.) Even if your kids load up on junk food the rest of the day, at least they can get a healthy start this St. Patrick’s Day.

st. patrick's day green smoothie

As for my leprechauns? They both demanded seconds. To quote my five-year-old, “I’ll die if you don’t get me some more smoothie immediately.” That’s better than a pot of gold to this mama.

Recipe: Avocado Spinach Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • several fresh spinach leaves

Instructions: Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Makes 2 small servings or 1 large smoothie.

A few other healthy green options for St. Patrick’s Day:

(and if you really want to go even more naturally green, check out my “Eat More Kale {and Other Greens}” board on Pinterest.)

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup

Monday, March 5th, 2012

When she heard I was finally conquering my slow cooker phobia, my friend Jill was quick to share her favorite black bean soup recipe. I made a few substitutions, starting with vegetable broth instead of chicken to make it Meatless Monday-friendly. Instead of the spicy serrano pepper I used a canned chipotle pepper with a bit of the adobo sauce, which gave it just a subtle flavor kick. (In fact, I may serve it with some sliced jalapeƱos for the adults, next time.) And as Jill noted in her instructions to me, don’t skimp on the lime juice, which really brightens the flavors of this soup.

slow cooker black bean soup

Tofu-fearing- and bean-adverse-husband wasn’t wild about it (“needs bacon,” he suggested), but both kids devoured their bowls — which counts as a definite win in my book. We were out of tortilla chips so I toasted some corn tortillas to serve on the side.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
Adapted from Cooking Light, March 2009

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 chipotle pepper and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (chipotle canned in adobo sauce)
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • sour cream
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Instructions:

Rinse beans, place in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak overnight, then drain.

Combine beans, broth, onion, garlic, water, cumin, bay leaves, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 10 hours.

Discard bay leaves. Add lime juice and salt, then serve. Top with sour cream and chopped cilantro.

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This post is shared with SoupaPaloozaCome join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by KitchenAid, Red Star Yeast and Le Creuset.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! {and Yink’s Pink Ink Drink}

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

We’re big fans of Dr. Seuss around here. The boy has been looking forward to PBS Kids’ Cat-in-the-Hat-a-thon all week — and, he even has the day off school so he can camp out in front of the tv in his pjs to watch. Meanwhile, I made a Seuss breakfast: Lorax pancakes, green eggs and ham, and pink ink. You know, of One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish:

This one, I think, is called a Yink.
He likes to wink, he likes to drink.
He likes to drink, and drink, and drink.
The thing he likes to drink is ink.
The ink he likes to drink is pink.
He likes to wink and drink pink ink. – Dr. Seuss

This breakfast smoothie is fast to whip up. And the best part — it’s all natural, no food dyes needed.

yink's pink ink drink

Recipe: Yink’s Pink Ink Drink

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed

Instructions: Place all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth and frothy. Pour into glasses, add a straw, and enjoy! Makes 2 small smoothies.

natural green eggs and ham

What’s the most read Dr. Seuss book in your house? Ours is probably Green Eggs in Ham, but One Fish Two Fish gets a lot of air time as well. Most exciting is that the boy is just about ready to start reading them to us — can’t wait!