Fierce Green Smoothie with Blueberries and Kiwi

Fierce Green Smoothie by Produce with Amy“Thriving. That’s fighting… Surviving is barely getting by.”
― Jillian Michaels

Since August of 2007 I have been a Weight Watchers Coach and I have experienced my own challenges with my weight management. Now that I am in my forties I have found that I must fight harder than ever to maintain a healthy weight. Though, I accept the challenge, because I believe that my health and my self-concept are worth the battle. This fall I was facing a mountain of stress in my personal life and the scale started to climb beyond the top end of my WW recommended healthy weight range.  I was concerned and frustrated. Unfortunately, the chaos continued to mount – the scale would not budge – and I felt helpless, angry, anxious, and out of control of my life.

I will be honest, at times I considered walking away from my position at Weight Watchers, because I felt overwhelmed and as if I was a fraud. How could I stand up in front of my members helping be their weight loss guide when I could not even manage my own weight? Yet, I could feel my members support and I heard a loud voice in the back of my head telling me that I could thrive once again. I knew what I needed to do. In 2006, Weight Watchers gave me the tools and the courage to believe that I can succeed. While things may feel out of control in my life – ultimately, I was in control of the food that I consumed. I took a closer look at portion control and started to be faithful to tracking once again. The scale started to move in the right direction and I am happy to report that by December I was back to my goal weight.

My employment with Weight Watchers has brought me face-to-face with many individuals who also face stressful challenges in their lives. I always remind members that we must first take care of ourselves and that during times of crisis – being On Program helps us feel that we are in control. I know that focusing on Weight Watchers Power Foods, staying hydrated, and eating healthy portions have helped me manage my stress. Getting back to my goal weight has been a boost in my self-esteem and has empowered me to have a positive outlook, even when things feel grim.

Before I joined WW, I may have been tempted to feed my emotions with sugary and high fat foods. However, I know how those foods make me feel (and look). I profoundly believe that a diet that focuses on fresh fruit, vegetables, and non-processed whole foods helps us navigate stress and have the energy we need to have a positive attitude and be productive.

In the coming weeks, I will continue to nourish my body with healthy food and my goal is to incorporate more greens into my meals. I really notice a difference in my energy level when I start my day with a green smoothie. They are also great as a snack because they help curb starchy carbohydrate cravings.

If you are new to green smoothies you may want to check out my New Year’s Green Smoothie Challenge post where I share information and tips.

The green smoothie recipe that I am going to share with you today is one of my favorites. The combination of blueberries and cinnamon is incredible and I love that you can fit so many health benefits into a glass. Kiwi is higher in Vitamin C than an equivalent amount of orange and it will help your body absorb the iron in the spinach. The antioxidants in blueberries help improve memory and are low on the glycemic index and help regulate blood sugar. (Therefore, I thought that Fierce was the perfect name!)
Kiwi and Blueberries

FIERCE GREEN SMOOTHIE
(My smoothie recipes will yield 3-4 cups. I often drink 1/2 for breakfast and reserve the other half for a snack on my 1/2 hour commute home from work or for an evening snack. If you want to make less – reduce the ingredients that you add. Green smoothies will keep for several days in the refrigerator but they may separate)

  • 3-4 cups of spinach (more or less for one’s personal taste.)
  • 1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 kiwis (reserve a piece for garnish)
  • 1/2 frozen banana (if you like your smoothie sweeter you may want to add more banana)
  • Juice and zest of one lemon (if using bottled juice you can add 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (to taste)
  • 1 cup of coconut water (or regular water)
  • *Optional ~ 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds (I add one Tablespoon per green smoothie that I am making. It is recommended to soak chia seeds. I do not soak mine since I have a high-powered blender and my smoothie often sits for  5-10 minutes before drinking. You could also stir into your smoothie before blending
  • *Optional ~ sprig of fresh mint

BlenderSmoothieBlend well and garnish with a kiwi slice and sprinkle of cinnamon. Because of the addition of blueberries – your smoothie will turn more purple than green.

If you are interested in checking out more green smoothie recipes, make sure you check out my Green Smoothie tab.

Pin this recipe HERE.

My goal for the new year is to continue to nourish my body with fresh fruit and vegetables so I can manage stress. I am determined to maintain my weight so I can look fierce this summer and feel the best that I can.

I challenge you to pick a goal and strive to reach it. Sip a green smoothie and reflect on what you want to achieve. If you (like I am) are facing a lot of stress in your life – you owe it to your body to eat clean and eradicate excuses. I raise my glass to you. Cheers to embracing a healthy lifestyle and thriving!

Light

blueberries

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Gingered Nectarine Green Smoothie

Gingered Nectarine Green Smoothie“Part of doing something is listening. We are listening. To the sun. To the stars. To the wind.” -Madeleine L’Engle

Yellow RoseIt is mid-July and this week my goal is to be mindful of stopping to appreciate my time off for the summer. With thirteen years of teaching under my belt I know how important it is to refuel and recharge for the upcoming school year. It is easy to let time slip between our fingers and I commit to facing each of my days with intention.

My husband and I spent the weekend in my hometown of Crystal Falls, Michigan for my 25th high school Orange Liliesclass reunion. When we got home I was greeted with new blooms in my garden. Flowers feel like poems to me because they force me to slow down and savor the world. I examine the sunshine filtering through the trees, the breeze, the damp soil, and the flowers’ bright petals make the sky even seem more blue.

I love when I get comments and emails about my blog and I have received several in the last couple weeks about my green smoothies. It is always wonderful when I hear from readers that try, and enjoy, their first green smoothie. I have found that most people try one sip and they are hooked.

One of my friends suggested that I do a green smoothie challenge in August with recipes and printable shopping lists like I did in December and January. I have decided that if there is enough interest that I will. Read about my winter green smoothie challenge HERE.

Today I thought I would share the green smoothie that I enjoyed for breakfast this morning. Nectarines are one of my favorite fruits (second to cherries) and I love the combination of fresh ginger and cilantro with the sweetness of the nectarine. If you have not tried cilantro in your smoothie you have to add some. It adds a refreshing zing and has a lot of health properties (including detoxification of the body).

When I first started drinking green smoothies I added a frozen banana to each drink for sweetness but I find that I do not have to add the banana when I use fresh nectarines or peaches since their sugar content is so high. The texture of this smoothie is lush and smooth and I hope that you enjoy it!

GINGERED NECTARINE GREEN SMOOTHIE

  • 3-4 cups of spinach (or your greens of choice)
  • 1 pitted nectarine
  • 1 cup of coconut water (or regular water)
  • Fresh ginger root (to taste. Ginger can be an acquired taste so I recommend adding a little at a time until you achieve the flavor you desire)
  • Fresh cilantro (to taste. I used approximately 1/2 cup. If you do not like cilantro you could use parsley)
  • 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds (optional)

Blend well and enjoy! Fresh lime juice and zest would be a wonderful addition to this smoothie but I did not have any on hand.

If you want to participate in a green smoothie challenge in August, leave a comment or send me an email or message on my  Facebook page. I would love to come up with recipes that take advantage of the abundance of summer fruit and greens.

If you enjoy nectarines as much as I do, make sure you check-out my last recipe: Cherry BBQ Salad with Nectarine, Sweet Potato, Basil, & Tempeh.

Please make sure you sign up for email updates of my posts, and follow my posts on Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter.

Stay tuned because the next recipe that I post will be a healthy indulgence. It is a plant-based substitute for a milk-shake that combines chocolate, fresh mint, and coconut – and I promise that it is as spectacular as it sounds.

Enjoy your July and remember to slow down, stop, and savor summer while it is here.

Pink Lilies
Red Rose

 

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse-Shake

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse-Shake with Avocado by Produce with Amy

“Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again…”
~Mary
Oliver

After a relaxing weekend Monday arrived with a blustery surprise. I thought that my husband Mike was joking when he woke me up and told me that I had a snow day off of work today. However, he was not kidding. Outside our window stretched a fresh landscape of white. I think that this makes #10 for the year ~ but who can keep track? 

Homemade bread toasted and spread with sun-dried hummus and topped with broccoli sprouts and capers. A side of quinoa tabbouleh, tomatoes, and Chicago style hot peppers.

Homemade bread toasted and spread with sun-dried hummus and topped with broccoli sprouts and capers. A side of quinoa tabbouleh, tomatoes, and Chicago style hot peppers.

What else is there to do but make the most of the morning and take advantage of extra down time. I enjoyed a breakfast with leftovers from my weekend food prep. If you have been following my blog you know that during the school year I utilize my weekends to make jarred salads, soup, homemade bread, and even make and freeze breakfast for my husband.

Normally, I have a green smoothie for breakfast but today since I had fresh hummus and tabbouleh in the refrigerator I decided to let that dictate my

Israeli Feast Jar Salads

Israeli Feast Jar Salads

breakfast. The hummus and tabbouleh was leftover from my Israeli Feast Jarred Salads. Here is a link to my Mason Jar Salads if you interested in my different combinations.

The jar salads have really transformed our meals. I take one to work each day for lunch and my husband eats one for dinner. I pour his out on a plate and rotate each night a different kind of protein on top. Add a cup of soup and you have a quick and convenient meal. Plus, the glass jars and metal lids help the salads stay fresh all week.  They eliminate throwing out costly produce and since a one quart jar holds over four cups, it is a great way to get more vegetables into your diet.

Mike's Jar Salads

Mike’s Jar Salad

I think that the time that I invest in food prep is a worthy investment. The last thing that I feel like doing when I get home from work is chopping up ingredients for a salad. I promise you that it is time well spent. Many of my Weight Watchers members make the salads and have found that they really help them stay on program and make healthier food choices.
Mason Jar Salad Prep

My weekend produce purchase which helps guarantee a healthy week.

My weekend produce purchase which helps guarantee a healthy week.

Today’s recipe that I am sharing is one that shows how wistful for spring I am. In the past few weeks I have shared a few Dessert Smoothie/Shake recipes. With summer approaching I wanted to share some dairy-free ice cream substitutes that will help satisfy a sweet tooth but still remain healthy. Over the past few years I have virtually eliminated refined sugar from my diet and find that the natural sugars in fruit helps me manage my hunger and I feel better.

This recipe tastes decadent but is packed with nutrients. It gets its luscious and creamy texture from avocado and its sweetness from a frozen banana. I know what many people may say. Avocado and chocolate? Yes, and please trust me. Avocado is technically a fruit and it contains healthy fat and an assortment of nutrients. It takes on the taste of both sweet and savory ingredients and I love to add them to my green smoothies. They make are a fantastic dairy-free alternate to add body to creamy desserts and even salad dressing. I often say that I could probably eat cardboard if it was smeared with avocado. 😉

I called this dessert a mousse-shake because it has the texture of a mousse. In fact, I ate half of this shake with a spoon and I think it would be elegant enough to serve at a dinner party. My version is only slightly sweet so if you prefer it to be sweeter you could add your sweetener of choice (maple syrup, agave, organic raw sugar, or even raw honey).

Plant-Based Chocolate Raspberry Shake with Avocado by Produce with Amy
CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY MOUSSE SHAKE

  • 1/2-3/4 cup of cold coconut water
  •  1/8 of a cup of raw almonds (I like to make my own almond milk to avoid the additives found in store bought varieties)
  • (I soaked them overnight which increases their nutrients, helps make them softer, and makes them easier to digest)
  • 1 small, ripe avocado 
  • 1 small frozen banana (you may add more banana if you like it sweeter)
  • 6 ounces of raspberries (I bought fresh raspberries and frozen them for 30 minutes before blending so they would be cold. You could also add a few ice cubes)
  • 1 Tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder (add as little or as much as you like)
  • Garnish with Cacao Nibs (I purchase in the bulk section of our local food coop)

Printable recipe: CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY MOUSSE SHAKE

Pin it HERE.

Chocolate Raspberry Dessert by Produce with AmyI hope that you enjoy this recipe and that you are finding, or will find, my posts helpful. Cooking and coming up with healthy recipes is my passion and I love being able to share this obsession with others. Please make sure you stop by my Facebook page, sign up for email updates of my posts, and follow me on Pinterest.

I love hearing from those who try my recipes and I appreciate your feedback and support. It keeps me inspired when I know that others are enjoying the food combinations that I create. Stay tuned, I am anxious for summer to get here so I can shop our local farmers markets! Have a wonderful day and thank you for joining me on the journey to eat more fruit and vegetables.
RaspberriesHealthy Chocolate Raspberry Dessert

 

 

Cherry Almond Coconut Shake ~ Plant-Based Healthy Indulgence

Guilt-Free Cherry Almond Coconut Shake by Produce with Amy “Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.”
― Langston Hughes

I woke up this morning with thankfulness. This is an intentional routine that I try to practice each day. I believe that we shape our own energy. Life can be fraught with stress (a majority that we manufacture ourselves). Therefore, it is important to stop and think about what is really important. Start each morning with a smile. (Smile right now…it made you feel lighter…did it not?) 😀

It is easy for me to type these things as I sit on the sofa enjoying a cup of peppermint tea and bask in the morning glow of my spring holiday. With each breath in and out ~ I am reminding myself to slow down and make the most of this time. Enjoy. Savor. Appreciate.

Today I will be mindful of the relaxation that my mind and body both need but I will also make a few preparations for next week. I acknowledge that going back to work will be a shock to my body (and the 160+ teenagers that share a classroom with me each day). I want to finish the last couple months of school with positive energy, commitment, and all the passion that led me to a career in education. Today I will prepare for the whirlwind that I will encounter next week by accomplishing some household chores and by getting a jump on my weekend cooking.

Along with a positive attitude, I believe that the food that we consume also plays on our mood and attitude. I find that when I am not consuming refined sugar and caffeine that I feel more balanced and able to manage stress and my emotions. The same goes with creating meals that are assembled with whole non-processed food. I am not saying that a bag of chips, soda, chocolate bar, or processed food item never ends up in my shopping cart, but it is a rarity.

A couple of posts ago, when I shared my recipe for a Peach & Raspberry Cobbler Shake, I explained how I made the shift away from store-bought dairy substitutes because of the long list of ingredients on the carton. It seemed like a natural change since I did invest in a Vitamix blender a few years ago and I always have raw nuts on hand. Why not make my own?

In anticipation of summer and warmer weather, today I am sharing another recipe for a Bowl of Cherrieshealthy dessert that tastes indulgent but is full of nutrients and will help you fuel your day. It is inspired by my favorite summer treat ~ cherries. I spend a bundle of money on fresh cherries each summer. In part, I believe, because they remind me of my childhood. My mom always had plenty of cherries (watermelon, grapes, and nectarines too) in the cooler when we spent long summer

Target carries my new obsession ~ real vanilla, almond, and peppermint extract.

Target carries my new obsession ~ real vanilla, almond, and peppermint extract.

days on the shore of Fortune Lake in my hometown of Crystal Falls, Michigan.

Since cherries are not in season in April, I had to settle for frozen cherries for this shake (I am calling it a shake instead of smoothie because it is thick and rich and tastes like a perfect dairy-free substitute for a traditional milk shake). The raw almonds help make it thick and give the drink a filling boost of protein. My advice is that you do not leave out the almond extract ~ I have made it without, and trust me, it does not taste the same.

Cherry Almond Coconut ShakeCHERRY ALMOND COCONUT SHAKE

  • 1 cup frozen cherries (If you are lucky enough to be using fresh cherries, make sure to freeze them first)Vitamix
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/4 of raw, soaked almonds (soak overnight or for a few hours prior to making the shake)
  • 1 teaspoon real almond extract (I added a bit more)
  • Ice cubes (I added a few)
  • 3/4-1 cup of plain coconut water (I made sure it was cold and added 1/2 cup at first and added more until it was the consistency that I wanted. My shake was very thick and resembled a milk shake in texture)
  • Optional ~ 1 Tablespoon organic coconut flakes for garnish

Blend well. A great addition to this shake would also be a touch of vanilla extract and a dash of cinnamon.

Printable recipe: CHERRY ALMOND COCONUT SHAKE

Pin it HERE.

Cherry Almond Coconut Shake by Produce with Amy

Cherry Almond Coconut Smoothie

 

Cherry Almond Coconut Plant-Based Shake

If you are interested in other nutritious desserts, check out my Healthy Indulgences tab.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and please follow my posts via email, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr and make sure to find me on Facebook. I love the reciprocal nature of social networks. Together we can create a community of health minded individuals that are concerned about the fuel that put into our bodies. I look forward to sharing more recipes with you and please post your comments and feedback. Have a marvelous day and remember to stop to breathe, appreciate, and savor the world and all the gifts that are all around us.

Appreciation

Peach & Raspberry Cobbler Shake ~ Plant-Based & Guilt Free

Guilt-Free Peach & Raspberry Cobbler Shake by Produce with Amy“Freedom from obsession is not about something you do; it’s about knowing who you are. It’s about recognizing what sustains you and what exhausts you. What you love and what you think you love because you believe you can’t have it.” 
― Geneen Roth

Over the past couple months I have received several requests for plant-based desserts. Unfortunately, I am not much of a baker and in recent years my sweet tooth has been replaced by a love for salty and savory food. It may be due to the fact that I eat a lot of fruit and that my body and taste buds have adjusted to not consuming refined sugar very often. When I do get a sugary urge for something, other than a piece of fruit, I assemble healthy ingredients in my Vitamix blender and mix up a smoothie.

Since I have had recent requests for desserts, I decided that I would share some of my non-green smoothie recipes. The combination that I am sharing today tastes more like a milk shake than a smoothie. It tastes creamy, indulgent, but because it is made with frozen fruit and coconut water, it still has a refreshing edge to it.

When I first started experimenting with a plant-based diet, I started buying coconut and almond milk as a dairy substitute. I have noticed that these products have gained popularity, and not just for those who are lactose intolerant or those who follow a plant-based diet. I know that many of my Weight Watchers members gravitate toward it because the unsweetened varieties are lower in Points Plus than cow’s milk. However, if you are concerned about the nutritional value of food and trying to eat as cleanly as possible, I recommend that you look at the ingredient list on the packaged version of these dairy substitutes. Unfortunately, many of the products carry a long list of ingredients (most of which we do not recognize as real food). I do not imagine that almond milk contains many almonds because if it did they would have to charge much more for it (you know this if you have purchased almonds lately since they carry a relatively high price tag).

Peach & Raspberry ShakeWhat I have been trying to do is to make my own nut based milks with raw nuts and my Vitamix. I have bought dairy substitutes on occasion for convenience. The couple times that I did purchase almond milk, most went down the drain since I do not use it often.

For Weight Watchers members who are concerned about the PP value of this smoothie, I find that smoothies or shakes that I make with raw nuts (instead of dairy substitutes) tend to be much more filling. Nuts do have healthy fats and supply protein as well. So not only is this shake a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth but it is also strong nutritionally speaking. It is well worth the PP since it is real food.

For this shake I decided to use plain coconut water and raw nuts as the base. I used a mix of nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds, macadamia, and pistachio) and I soaked them overnight (but they can be soaked a couple of hours in advance). Soaking raw nuts helps increase their enzymes and nutritional value, makes them easy to digest, and will make them softer and have a less gritty texture in recipes.

Ingredients for Peach & Raspberry Cobbler Shake by Produce with AmyPEACH & RASPBERRY COBBLER SHAKE

  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 of a frozen banana (I added this after a quick taste of the shake because it needed to be a touch sweeter for my taste. If you want the shake sweeter add more banana)
  • 1/4 of raw, soaked nuts
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon to taste (I added approximately 1/2 a teaspoon and sprinkled more on the top before blending)
  • Ice cubes (I added a few)
  • 3/4-1 cup of plain coconut water (I made sure it was cold and added 1/2 cup at first and added more until it was the consistency that I wanted. My shake was very thick and resembled a milk shake in texture)
  • Optional ~ 1 Tablespoon organic coconut flakes for garnish

Blend well. This shake is versatile and you add your choice of fruit, but I recommend freezing the fruit first so the shake is thick.

Printable Recipe: Peach & Raspberry Cobbler Shake

Pin it HERE.
10Peach & Raspberry Dairy-Free ShakeRaspberry & Peach Cobbler ShakeFinding healthy ways to satisfy our cravings is simple if you use the right ingredients. I love to experiment with different combinations and enjoy being able to share my findings with you. If you like this shake you might want to try my Guilt Free Chocolate Pumpkin Shake and my Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie.

If you enjoy my blog please stop by my Facebook page and give it a like and join the conversation. I love hearing from those who try my recipes and the tweaks made so they fit one’s personal taste and lifestyle. Healthy and delicious food is one of my passions and I am so thankful for the opportunity to share and learn together. I look forward to hearing from you. Cheers to our health!

Collage

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie ~ Plant-Based & Healthy

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.” –  Anne Bradstreet

Patience. I am trying to exercise patience waiting for spring. However, yesterday on my way to work my Jeep registered -22. We still have loads of snow outside and I am determined to believe that it will make spring even sweeter. I do know that I am looking forward to being on spring holiday next week so watch for a flurry of blog posts. I have many recipes to post, including a Creamy White Bean Soup with Green Chilis, Kale, and Tomatoes, a couple jarred salads, mushroom stroganoff, and I am dreaming up a couple more.

Tonight I was dreaming about summer and thinking about how I would like to share some smoothie recipes that would be a healthy, plant-based substitute for ice cream. Sometimes I want something sweet after dinner (aside from fresh fruit) and when this happens I like to blend up a dessert smoothie. Tonight I made a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie and it was perfect. It only had four simple ingredients and was free from artificial ingredients and refined sugar.

CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE

*1 cup frozen strawberries
*1 frozen banana
*2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder (or to taste)
*1 cup coconut water (I sometimes use coconut or almond milk but I am trying to stay away from all the processed additives in store-bought versions. I like to make my own nut milks but tonight I went for the easy route.)

This recipe is also delicious with cherries and you could add spinach and chia, hemp, or flax seeds for a nutritional burst.

Check out my other smoothie recipes HERE. 

I hope you enjoy this smoothie much as I did. Please make sure to stop by my Facebook page and feel free to share my recipes. Stay tuned for more ideas how to incorporate more fruit and vegetables into your meal plan.