RASPBERRY LEMONADE GREEN SMOOTHIE – A REFRESHING SIP OF SUMMER

“Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television.”
-Aldo Leopold

Anticipation. The promise of summer has grown stronger each month. From the moment my daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips starting showing off – I have been waiting for the distinctive rattle of the cranes as they touch down in our pasture, the smell of fresh mown grass, and the warmth of slightly pink shoulders after a day in the garden. Not to mention, strawberries that finally taste like strawberries and tomatoes that taste like tomatoes. Knowing nothing will ever be as wonderful as that first bite.

Our beautiful Golden Gracie loves having me home for the summer!

As a young girl I always anticipated summer days so I could swim, ride my bike, and attend Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp. Since my birthday was at the end of the month, when school was not in session, my mom would always make a special treat for to me to bring to my classmates on the last week of school. I remember the year she made homemade cupcakes and topped each one with a gorgeous pink icing rose. I was so proud of those birthday cupcakes that I can still remember handing out each one.

One of the benefits of being a teacher is holding on to that anticipation of the end of the school year. While it ends up being a whirlwind trying to tie up all the year’s loose ends by wrapping up grading, tucking away my classroom, and finishing the end of year reports. However, when that final bell rings – I still feel the rush of freedom that comes with time off for vacation and projects!

Apollo loves walking up and down the “river” to our pond, but he does not jump into the pond.

While I feel fortunate to have the luxury of time in the summer, I have to be careful to make sure that I am productive. While it may sound tempting to lounge around in pajamas drinking coffee all day, I try to start my mornings with a schedule (imagine that) to make sure that my time is structured. This year part of my morning routine includes exercise and a green smoothie.

I prefer a tart smoothie over a sweet one (especially in the morning) unless I am drinking the green smoothie in place of dessert. If you are new to green smoothies, I always recommend starting with spinach since it is naturally sweet and easy to blend. A frozen banana is also essential. The banana imparts sweetness and makes the smoothie cold and creamy.

This recipe is for a surprisingly simple and refreshing summer classic. You can control how much banana and lemon you add depending on the level of tartness or sweetness that makes your taste buds happy.

RASPBERRY LEMONADE GREEN SMOOTHIE

*3 cups of spinach
*1 lemon (juice and zest)
*1 cup of raspberries (fresh or frozen
*1 small frozen banana
*1 cup of water (you can use coconut water)
*A handful of ice cubes
*Optional – chia seeds and/or fresh mint

It always makes me feel productive when I share a new recipe and focus on healthy living. I have plenty of projects this summer that will help fill the void of my empty classroom and I have to fuel my body properly to accomplish everything on my list. I hope you join me in lifting a glass to celebrate summer.

Make sure you check out the other green smoothie recipes on my blog. In fact, I have an entire month of green smoothie recipes, with printable shopping lists, posted in case you want to commit to a healthy challenge.

My photo bomber Apollo

 Tips for those new to green smoothies

1. Start by adding a small amount of greens. Spinach is naturally sweet.

2. A frozen banana is essential. It gives the smoothie sweetness and makes it creamy. Buy a couple of bunches of bananas a week and when they ripen, peel and toss into a bowl or bag in the freezer.

3. Fresh ginger root helps mask the grassy flavor of greens that have a stronger taste (such as kale and dandelion greens). Raw ginger also helps promote digestion, as do parsley and cilantro (it may sound odd to add cilantro to afruit smoothie, but it is a wonderful and unexpected addition).

4. If you do not like bananas you can use dates, maple syrup, or raw honey for sweetness.

5. You can add other liquids other than water: coconut water, milk, almond or coconut milk.

6. Chia seeds are filling and are a great source of calcium, protein, and Omega-3.

7. Protein powder and Greek yogurt are great additions to make a smoothie filling.

8. We use a Vitamix blender at our house, but if you do not have a high-powered blender, blend up the greens and liquid first and then add the fruit (cut up in small pieces) a little bit at a time. When you freeze your bananas you will want to slice or break them into small chunks.

My happy place.
My azalea bushes finally bloomed after several years!
Lupine and Iris
Iris

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.

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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