Lean & Green Smoothie Challenge: Amy’s Sunday Energizer

Amy in Asheville, NC June 2011
Amy in Asheville, NC
June 2011

“Green strongly influences the heart and helps alleviate tension. Positive qualities associated with green are generosity, humility, and cooperation. Foods of the green vibration are all green fruits and green vegetables.” ― Tae Yun Kim

It felt like I was floating all last week with the realization that I had finally accomplished my long awaited goal of starting a health food blog. I no longer felt like an imposter when I snapped a photo of my food purchases in the supermarket. In celebration I sent a photo to my husband Mike. “Don’t people look at you strange when you take photos of your cart?” he texted back. “No, I’m a food blogger!” I triumphantly typed. I sometimes wonder if Mike knows what he truly got into when he married me.Shopping cart

This brought back memories of a momentous occasion when we adventured to a Whole Foods in Asheville, North Carolina for the first time.

Greenlife GroceryAsheville, NC
Greenlife Grocery
Asheville, NC

One of my friends Brenda was anxious to learn more about the store and asked me to snap some photos to show her when I returned. I marched into Whole Foods and as soon as I picked my jaw off the floor, I furtively started to snap photos of the stunning array of produce. An employee looked amused and asked me what I was doing. A wave of embarrassment shot through my body and before I could marvel over the selection of living raw foods in the refrigerated case, I lied to him. “I’m a food blogger.” I explained that we did not have a Whole Foods in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He smiled and for a moment I thought he was going to pose for a photo. He returned to his work and so did I, merrily snapping photos and delighting in all sorts of new food finds that were discovering a home in my cart.

True, my facebook posts are often centered around food and I routinely bring in food inspired writing prompts for my high school creative writing students. This fall I created a “sensory writing experience” for my young writers by bringing in fresh rosemary, basil, mint, sage, dill, cilantro, oregano, and thyme from my container garden to smell, taste, and serve as prompts to write about.

Amy's Summer Container Garden
Amy’s Summer Container Garden

Many of them had heard of these herbs but did not realize that you could grow them yourself. I am hoping that this experience made at least a couple of my students gardeners, green lovers, and maybe even future food bloggers. Last week when we shared our intentions and writing goals for 2013 I told my students about my Lean & Green Smoothie Challenge and they expressed interest in having me bring in my Vitamix to mix them up something mysterious and green.My friend and colleague, Heather Hollands and I share a blog called Blended Voices,and in May of  2011 I wrote a blog post, Nourishing the Joy of Writing, about a magical creative writing retreat we enjoyed with our students. In the morning I made green smoothies for our group and the students were wild about them. I kept the green smoothies simple and made them with spinach, bananas, and strawberries.

It may be a psychological reaction, but with nearly one week of starting each morning off with a green smoothie, I feel energized. So much that today I even finished Day #2 of Jillians Michael’s 30 Day Shred. Not only is Mike joining me on this challenge, but so are many of my friends in my Weight Watchers meeting. Each morning I start a “Green Smoothie” thread on our secret facebook group and we all post our smoothie combinations. We are all getting great ideas as we do this. For example, I am so thankful that one of my friends Sue shared her recipe that contained coconut juice. I immediately added coconut juice to my shopping list. After browsing the internet for ideas I also added fresh ginger, cilantro, and blackstrap molasses. Smoothies are so versatile and can be changed every day which helps one avoid a food rut. I want to make sure that I am rotating my greens and meeting a wide range of nutritional needs.

This morning was not a typical Sunday in our house. Before the coffee maker even began to gurgle our Vitamix broke the silence. Two glasses of liquid mirth were poured and with the first sip my taste buds began a spirited dance. The combination that I whirled together was so phenomenal that this evening I blended a second smoothie and captured pictures for this post. One thing that I quickly learned about becoming a food photographer is that I have to be prepared to take many shots. (Please excuse my feeble attempts and I hope to advance my skills as this blog progresses.) Another thing I learned is that my cat Athena really fits the curious reputation that cats hold. The other morning as I was photographing my green smoothie with my iPhone to share with my facebook friends, Athena performed a perfectly orchestrated photo bomb.

Even Athena Wants a Sip
Even Athena Wants a Sip

She was so stealthy that I didn’t even notice until after I posted the picture.

Today was no exception and as I was prepping my table for the smoothie ingredients, Athena was again tempted to check out the area. She must have curled up shortly after because she did Athenanot join me as I tried to hone my photography skills. Though anyone who lives in a cat’s house knows that this is the norm.

If you are familiar with the U.P. you know how cold and long our winters can be. Today the thermometer was lingering in the low 20s. This Green Smoothie Challenge feels like an exotic and colorful change in the normal routine. I wanted to make sure that I shared this morning’s recipe since it made such a delicious impression. The cucumber, cilantro, and ginger made for a refreshing and zingy combination and it took the sting out of a chilly morning.

Amy’s Sunday Energizer Green Smoothie

  1. 3-4 cups of spinach (more or less for one’s personal taste. I recommend less for those new to green smoothies)
  2. 1/2 a cucumber (I peeled mine since it was not organic)
  3. 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  4. 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  5. 1 small banana (peeled. I buy 2-3 bunches of bananas a week and when they get overly ripe I peel and toss into a bag in the freezer. Frozen bananas are perfect for green smoothies because they lend a desired sweetness and make the smoothie creamy)
  6. 1/2 cup of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  7. 1/2 cup of mango (fresh or frozen)
  8. 2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds (it is a good idea to soak your chia seeds. I toss mine in the blender with the liquid that I am using and let them soak for 5-10 minutes)
  9. 1 inch piece of fresh ginger (since it is strong tasting you might try to add a little at a time)
  10. 1 cup of coconut juice
    *This recipe rendered 3 cups of Green Smoothie. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It is one that I will be making again soon.
    100_0730VitamixAmy's EnergizerEnjoy

5 thoughts on “Lean & Green Smoothie Challenge: Amy’s Sunday Energizer

  1. You are inspiring me to make your smoothie! And I’m investigating this Shred concept. Gotta step it up!

  2. Amy, I am going to try this recipe and let you know how it goes! I made green smoothies (and non-green ones) for my young ones in Gwinn. As always when we cooked, they had to take a “no thank you bite” of the green one to try- a great tactic to use when working with little ones with food aversions. A few liked them, but most preferred strawberry-banana-almond butter.

    Enough of me- I love following this new writing endeavor of yours. Keep it up!

  3. Wow, Amy! That was an amazing entry. My smoothies are so simple at this point. I am just haddpy that I tried them and am continuing even if today was only day 3. Since I don’t like cilantro, I won’t try that recipe.

  4. I just stumbled upon your blog and decided to do the smoothie challenge. I just made the day 1 smoothie and it is fantastic. SOOO delicious.
    Thank you!

    1. Diane,
      THANK YOU so much for your message. You made my day! I am thrilled that you enjoyed the smoothie and are doing the challenge. Please keep me posted. If you are on Facebook, please make sure to like my page. 😀 Have a fantastic week.

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