Avalon’s Red Berry Smoothie

Avalon's Red Berry Smoothie by Produce with Amy“Strong women. May we know them. May we raise them. May we be them.”~Unknown

It is my pleasure to introduce you to a brand new blogger who is very special to me. Her name is Avalon, and as of June 30, 2015, she is my step-daughter. Avalon is a beautiful little girl (she looks just like her mama Kimberly).

Meet Miss Avalon

Meet Miss Avalon

Not only is Avalon a beauty – she is intelligent, graceful, a great singer, tech savvy, loves to read, and she has a bubbly personality. Avalon enjoys helping me out in the kitchen and it is my pleasure to teach her how to cook. At an early age my mom taught me the health benefits of eating fruit and vegetables and lovingly showed me how to create a feast from a variety of ingredients. Because of this, I am resourceful and I have a passion for cooking fresh food from whole foods. I want to pass this healthy lifestyle down to Avalon and her little brother Lukas (who also is quite handy in the kitchen). I love our family dinners and I am always encouraging the kids to try new foods (even though if they are reluctant at times – baby steps). It is hard enough having to acclimate to a step-mother. Add into the equation that she is a vegetarian AND a teacher and imagine what a readjustment that is!

IMG_2173I do apologize for being away from the blog for so long, but as you can see, I have been engaged in a great deal of lifestyle changes.

For my plant-based friends, you may see a few changes/options in some of my recipes.

When Lukas and Avalon’s dad John and I fell in love we knew we were meant to be. Yet, we also knew we would have some differences in opinion on food.

While I try to maintain a plant-based diet, John is aIMG_3272 hunter and hobby farmer who raises free range chickens and other livestock. While I still do not eat meat, I have been eating free-range eggs and I do eat a small amount of dairy (homemade pizza is a staple in our house nearly once a week). I promised John that I would not try to convert him, Avalon, and Lukas to vegetarians, but I would encourage them all to incorporate more fruit and vegetables into their diet. I love that John does not want to have to rely on factory farmed meat and it is our long-term goal to produce as much of our own food as possible. Next year we are hoping to acquire a hoop house to help extend our rather short growing season in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

I can get lost in the beauty of our home and land.

I can get lost in the beauty of our home and land.

I

I put the yogurt containers to good use this spring when I started our squash and tomato seedlings.

I put the yogurt containers to good use this spring when I started our squash and tomato seedlings.

When I started spending time with Avalon, Lukas, and John – one of the first things that I learned was that they all have a sweet tooth. So I tried to find healthier desserts that would satisfy both their craving for something sweet and my obsession with healthy food.

Many years ago when I was cutting out artificial sweeteners, I discovered Greek Gods Yogurt. If you eat dairy and you have not tried this brand – you are missing out. John and the kids instantly agreed that it was better than ice cream and now it is common for them to go through three containers a week. I cut up fruit add a dollop of yogurt and sometimes sprinkle on granola and whipped cream. Avalon’s summertime favorite is watermelon and strawberries with honey vanilla yogurt. Though, for her smoothie recipe we tried the black cherry flavor and Avalon said it may be her new favorite. Right now she is in Virginia visiting her mom and she asked me to stock up on it for when she gets home. I find this brand in all of our local supermarkets, but Target seems to have the best price (it’s often on Cartwheel for 20% off).

The recipe for Avalon’s smoothie made two large glasses, so if you want an individual serving, you may want to reduce it in half. I have to say that Lukas is not a smoothie fan and he drank all of his. It is that wonderful!

Avalon and her smoothie creation

Avalon’s Red Berry Smoothie

*1 frozen banana (I highly recommend frozen bananas for smoothies since they give it a creamy and cold texture. I buy extra bananas each week and when they get ripe I peel and toss into a bag in the freezer so we always have them on hand)
*1/2 cup of Greek Gods Black Cherry Yogurt
(You could substitute a plant-based coconut, soy, or almond yogurt)
*1/2 cup of frozen cherries (fresh if you have them on hand)
*1/2 cup of watermelon (watermelon freezes well but we used fresh)
*1/2 cup of strawberries (we used fresh that we picked at a local farm)
*1/2 cup of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
*1/2 cup to 1 cup of water (depending on how thick you want it and if you are using frozen fruit. You could eliminate the honey and use fruit juice instead.)
*Tablespoon of honey (you could use your favorite sweetener if you do not eat honey)
*Optional ~ fresh mint for garnish (I grew chocolate mint and the kids LOVED it. Avalon wanted John to try a leaf when he got home from work. The mint would also be great blended  into the smoothie.)

Blend well, serve, and enjoy!

Avalon and Lukas enjoyed their smoothie for breakfast but it would make a great dessert as well. It is a great way to sneak more vitamin and mineral rich fruit into your kids’ diet. Plus, it will help them stay hydrated in the heat.

Printable Recipe HERE —-> Avalon’s Red Berry Smoothie
Pin the recipe HERE.

Avalon's Red Berry Smoothie

As always, it is my goal to keep sharing my healthy recipes with you! Thank you for the continued support and the messages and comments that you have sent during my absence. I am excited to announce the news of my marriage and I cannot wait to share more glimpses of our life on the farm. It is gorgeous here and it feels exactly where I am meant to be.

Since I do not have a sweet tooth and try to stay away from sugar, I have not shared many dessert recipes on Produce with Amy. However, now that I have a family who loves sweets I will be striving to find healthy versions that they enjoy. John and the kids bought me a beautiful Kitchenaid mixer for my birthday so I do not have a proper excuse not to bake.

My sexy new Kitchenaid mixer. I have wanted one FOREVER! Thank you, John.

My sexy new Kitchenaid mixer. I have wanted one FOREVER! Thank you, John.

In addition, we have a garden full of zucchini and an apple orchard laden with fruit – so we will not have a shortage of healthy ingredients this fall. Plus, with a beautiful new blogger in the house – and a brand new Mac Book Pro – Avalon and I may have to try our hand at video blogging!

Make sure your scroll through the end to check out more photos.

Please feel free to share Avalon’s smoothie recipe and please leave a comment and stop by my Facebook page to let her know what you think! Make sure you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and the other social media tabs at the right of the page. Thank you for joining me on the journey to eat more fruit and vegetables!

Avalon Trying the Chocolate Mint from our Herb Garden

Avalon Trying the Chocolate Mint from our Herb Garden

Lukas is Sold on the Smoothie

Lukas is Sold on the Smoothie

Avalon says that you have to try it!

Avalon says that you have to try it!

We picked strawberries in Trenary the day after our wedding!

We picked strawberries in Trenary the day after our wedding!

Healthy and Happy Kids!

Healthy and Happy Kids!

I love that John's shift this summer allows us to eat as a family. We try to eat Al Fresco when possible.

I love that John’s shift this summer allows us to eat as a family. We try to eat Al Fresco when possible.

Our Wedding Day: John, Avalon, Lukas, and I with my Mom Karen and my best friend Kim.

Our Wedding Day: John, Avalon, Lukas, and I with my Mom Karen and my best friend Kim.

Avalon, Lukas, and Amy.  We got married outside by Lake Superior and it was a cold, blustery day. However, as you can see by our smiles - we didn't let the weather interfere with our happiness.

Avalon, Lukas, and Amy.
We got married outside by Lake Superior and it was a cold, blustery day. However, as you can see by our smiles – we didn’t let the weather interfere with our happiness.

We got the kids a pool for their birthday. Summer is the time for spontaneous, make-up free selfies!

We got the kids a pool for their birthday. Summer is the time for spontaneous, make-up free selfies!

Avalon's Red Berry Smoothie

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Italian Hummus Spread with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Capers, and Olives

Italian Hummus Spread with Sundried Tomatoes, Capers, and Olives by Produce with Amy

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
― Neil Gaiman

Happy New Year and I hope that today finds you full of hope and commitment for a productive 2015. I always love the positive energy that ushers in a new year and this year is no exception. A fresh calendar provides us with the opportunity to dream and live our days with intention.

Today holds a very special place in my heart (and not just because it is the first of the year). Today marks the two-year anniversary of Produce with Amy and I am thrilled to celebrate it with a brand new recipe. I am thankful for the opportunity to share my passion for healthy food with my on-line community and I could not do it without the inspiration, feedback, and comments from my readers.  I cannot begin to explain how much your support means to me. Thank you!

One of the things that I love about blogging is the connections that I make with people across the globe. Living in the rural Upper Peninsula of Michigan it is easy to feel isolated and I love that when I click publish on a post all distance is erased. Instantly I can unite with other health enthusiasts and share ideas as we inspire each other to make positive choices in our lives.

HummusDuring the holiday season I received many inquiries about plant-based dishes to pass at a party. Since I try to follow a plant-based diet, social gatherings can be tricky. I have found that it is important to go beyond the standard fruit or vegetable tray and bring something that is filling.

While protein packed hummus is often my go-to choice – it can get a little bland and boring – so I try to give it a boost with a variety of ingredients. If your hummus needs a little interesting nudge, I think you will enjoy this recipe.

Hummus dip with olives and capers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITALIAN HUMMUS SPREAD WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES, CAPERS, AND OLIVES

*Hummus (you can use store-bought or find the recipe that I use here)
*1 teaspoon of dried oregano
*1/2 cup of chopped sun-dried tomatoes
*1/2 cup of chopped Kalamata Greek olives
*1/2 cup of chopped Italian parsley

*1/2 cup of chopped artichoke hearts
*1/4 cup of finely chopped red bell pepper
*1/4 cup of chopped green olives
*3 Tablespoons of capers
*3 Tablespoons of olive oil
*3Tablespoons of pesto
(store-bought or homemade. In place of pesto you could also use finely chopped fresh basil)
*Loaf of crusty bread (you can also use crackers, pita bread, tortilla chips, or raw vegetables for dipping)

Artichoke Hearts and PestoStir in oregano, sun-dried tomatoes,Greek olives, and parsley to hummus.

*Note – in place of raw garlic I added one head of roasted garlic to my hummus.

Spread hummus evenly on platter. Sprinkle on artichoke hearts and bell peppers. Drizzle with pesto and add the green olives and capers.

Slice bread, brush with olive oil, and toast in the oven or broiler until crisp. Serve and enjoy!

 

Pin this recipe HERE.

Toast

Hummus Spread

If you are looking for other ideas to bring to a gathering you may be interested in my recipes for Layered Greek Dip with Hummus & Tzatziki Sauce and Layered Refried Bean and Guacamole Dip.

I hope that you join me in celebrating Produce with Amy’s two-year anniversary with a burst of productivity and healthy choices. Make sure you stay up to date with my recipes by following my posts by email, by liking my Facebook page, and connecting with my other social media links on the right of this page.

I wish you health, peace, and plenty of laughter. Let’s thrive together in 2015!

Hummus and BreadHomemade Bread

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Green Smoothie Challenge

Summer Green Smoothie Challenge by Produce with AmyRoutine is liberating, it makes you feel in control.”
― Carol Shields

On the eve of August you may find yourself scratching your head wondering how you are going to savor the remaining days of summer. I know that one of the things that I will be sad to say goodbye to – is summer fruit. The fruit bin in our refrigerator is always full of fresh peaches, nectarines, plums, and cherries. I figured what would be a better way to enjoy fresh produce then a green smoothie challenge? Thank you for joining me! The goal of this challenge is to have one green smoothie a day (either for breakfast or another time during the day). We will be incorporating more nutrients into our diet and together we will stay accountable and share recipes and ideas. This is not a fast but a way to increase our intake of greens and fruit. All you need is a blender (I used a regular blender for three years before I invested in a Vitamix) and the desire to be healthy.

To those who are new to green smoothies, my recommendation is always to start simple. My first one was spinach, banana, strawberry, and water. Spinach is naturally sweet and you won’t believe how good it tastes. When I first started drinking green smoothies I found that a frozen banana was key because it gives the smoothie sweetness and makes it creamy. I would buy a couple of bunches of bananas a week and when they got ripe I would peel and toss into a bowl or bag in the freezer. Now I find that I often do not need the banana because I tend to like more greens and less fruit. I suggest that you experiment with your favorite fruit. Over the years I have tried every imaginable combination and often toss in what I have on hand. Frozen fruit works well and makes the smoothie cold (though you can add ice as well). Brenda, my friend and Weight Watchers receptionist often encourages people to throw their greens in the freezer. She says that since she started drinking green smoothies and freezing her greens and fruit she no longer ends of throwing out expensive produce.

If you are interested in my green smoothie story, and how my husband and I started incorporating them into our meal plan after my husband suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage, you may want to read this post. 

I’m a green smoothie “purist” and normally stick with water, fruit, chia seeds, and greens. The chia seeds make it filling and are a great source of calcium, protein, and Omega-3.Though, many of my Weight Watchers members add yogurt, milk and dairy-free milks, and even healthy oils to their green smoothies to help meet their Good Health Guidelines. I do sometimes add hemp seeds, spirulina, and aloe vera juice to give an additional nutritional boost.

Green Smoothie by Produce with AmyThe smoothies are a great way to fortify your iron and since the blender breaks down the cell walls of the greens, it makes it easier for our bodies to absorb the nutrients. My husband Mike and I like to drink one for breakfast and find them  filling and satisfying.They give us an important boost of energy in the morning!

If you do not have a high-powered blender I recommend blending up the greens and liquid first and then adding 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

I love my Vitamix!

I love my Vitamix!

chunks. This may not be as easy as dumping cold cereal and milk in a bowl, but I promise that it is worth your labor! 🙂 Though, trust me, you may find yourself wanting to upgrade to a Vitamix blender. Many of my friends and Weight Watchers members have been convinced to do so after reading my posts. I saved up for a year to buy mine by wearing a pedometer and putting $1 in an envelope each day that I met my step goal of 14,000 steps. Not only did I work on building a healthy routine in the process, but my Vitamix blender is no an important anchor, or daily reminder, of what I can achieve when I put my heart to it. 

Weight Watchers members may wonder how to count the PP for the green smoothies. Personally, I do not count the PP of the fruit in my smoothies and only count the things I add that would carry a PP value (chia seeds, coconut water, avocado). Though, if you run the smoothie through the Recipe Builder, it will give you a PP value (once a fruit or vegetable is not in its natural state it is easier to over-eat). I always like to mention at my meetings that the danger of smoothies are that they may bypass our bodies hunger signals. However, I do not have this problem with green smoothies. I take a long time to sip my smoothie in the morning and it really satisfies me until I can have a morning snack at around 10:00-10:30. I attribute this to the fact that the smoothies are full of fiber and the chia seeds make them especially filling.

In my shopping list I have included spinach, kale, and turnip greens. I do warn that kale tastes much stronger and more “grassy” than spinach, so I recommend that you a little at a time. Also, if you enjoy the taste of fresh ginger root (I personally could add it to every smoothie I make).

When I started drinking green smoothies five years ago I read all that I could about green smoothie guru, Victoria Boutenko.  I highly recommend her books Green for Life and Green Smoothie Revolution. In her books, Victoria Boutenko stresses the importance of rotating our greens because of the alkaloids found in them. Read more about it here.

11When you drink green smoothies for weeks-on-end it is important to rotate your greens. While spinach is my favorite ~ I also enjoy kale, carrot tops, beet greens, radish tops, spring mix greens, dandelion greens, and turnip greens. If you look in the produce section of your local market you will be surprised how many varieties of greens there are. While in the summer I enjoy growing my own, during winter months I will often purchase bunches of beets, radishes, and carrots and lop off the tops to use in my smoothies. (Tip: if they are wilted when you purchase them you can immerse in cold water and they will perk right up).

In this post I will share four weeks of shopping lists and recipes (printable lists at the bottom of the page). I have tried to keep the lists as simple as possible, while utilizing seasonal fruit. The shopping lists (and recipes) are a guide to green smoothie flavor combinations. The amounts of fruit and greens you purchase depends on your personal taste and how many smoothies you will be creating. I would love to hear what your favorite combinations are.

Before I share the recipes that I came up with, I wanted to share the favorite green smoothie recipes of four of my readers who sent their favorite recipes for me to share with you. Maybe you will do the same after our challenge – I would love to do a follow-up post in September featuring reader’s favorites.

Brenda Aldrich

Brenda Aldrich

Brenda Aldrich is my Weight Watchers receptionist and she has been at goal Lifetime since May of 2011. She lives in Skandia, with her husband, their dog Winston and 3 cats. Winston is always willing to accompany Brenda on her walks as exercise has become essential to helping her maintain her goal weight.

Brenda heard about Green Smoothies for months before finally deciding to try them. While she loves fruits and vegetables, she just couldn’t imagine liquid greens. After hearing from some fellow Weight Watchers members how a green smoothie tamed cravings for them, she decided to try a simple one with spinach, banana, strawberries, blueberries and water and has been hooked ever since. Brenda likes to freeze excess fruit and dark greens. Frozen greens and fruit are perfect for smoothies. This method is helpful when the fruits are not in season ,and she is craving the taste of watermelon in the winter, or when avocados are not on sale.

Brenda’s favorite green smoothie recipe:
*Spinach
*1/2 banana
*1/2 avocado
*1/2 cup blueberries
*1/2 cup pineapple
*8-10 oz cooled Green tea
*Chia seeds
(Brenda said she uses frozen fruit so the smoothie is cold)

Sherene Lehman

Sherene Lehman

Sherene Lehman said this: ” I live in Mt. Pleasant, MI, where we have a small, but wonderful farm market. It is a great source of the freshest ingredients for my smoothies. The best smoothies are made Thursday mornings when I get home from the market. Ideally in a University of Michigan large Tervis Tumbler!

Sherene’ favorite green smoothie recipe:

Green Goddess Smoothie
*1/2 container Key lime yogurt
*1 cup apple juice or pineapple juice, white grape, etc. (something light-colored)
*Few handfuls kale or spinach, or both
*2 cups assorted fruit, including kiwi, honey-dew, pineapple,
*1 Tbs. agave or honey
*Scoop whey protein (optional)
*Ice to thicken
*Blend all and serve.

Heather Nayback

Heather Nayback

 

Heather Nayback lives in the U.P. of Michigan where she is a teacher.

She said this about green smoothies:
“I found out about green smoothies from Amy. As a colleague of hers through the Upper Peninsula Writing Project, we attended a training about Holocaust Education together. I was intrigued by her enthusiasm for a Vitamix and her smoothie recipes. I began that same summer using greens from my own garden. Green smoothies are my summer treats, and I try to have them year around now!”

 

Heather’s favorite green smoothie recipe:
*Coconut milk
*Sun butter
*Banana
*1/2 an avocado
*Cinnamon
*Bee pollen
*Kale or romaine
*Handful of ice
(Heather is allergic to peanuts and to spinach, so this is her variation on the Chunky Monkey Green Smoothie from A Journey to Thin. She said that her daughter used to turn up her nose to green smoothies but now demands that Heather shares. Her daughter like the addition of cacao nibs to hers.)

Heather had her favorite green smoothie today for lunch. Here is a photo that she sent me. What a relaxing spot to enjoy a green smoothie and read in the sunshine.

Heather had her favorite green smoothie today for lunch. Here is a photo that she sent me. What a relaxing spot to enjoy a green smoothie and read in the sunshine.

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith discovered green smoothies on her quest for better health and wellness last fall. She loves trying new recipes and incorporating local produce into her menus whenever possible. Kristin and her husband live in Milwaukee, and they enjoy hiking, camping, and traveling. When not busy with work as a child psychologist and college instructor, Kristin spends time running, reading, and singing with a community choir.

Here is Kristin’s favorite green smoothie recipe:
*Spinach
*White nectarine
*Banana
*Spinach
*Coconut water
*Flax seed

Ladies, thank you so much for sharing your favorite recipes. I cannot wait to try them. If you try their recipes make sure you give them a shout-out in the comment section or on my Facebook page. 
Cover Photo August Green Smoothie Challenge

SUMMER GREEN SMOOTHIE CHALLENGE SHOPPING LISTS

(Printable lists below)

*If you do not enjoy the listed fruit or berries, substitute with your favorite. The amount of fruit and greens you put into each smoothie will vary depending on your personal taste. I recommend that those who are new to green smoothies add a small amount of greens at first and go heavy on the fruit. You will find that the more smoothies you drink the more greens and less fruit you can start blending. If you prefer more fruit in your smoothies, you may find yourself running out during the week and other may find some left that you can incorporate into the next week’s green smoothies.

I suggest that you choose the ripest bananas that you can find. Peel and cut into pieces and toss in the freezer in a bag or bowl. You may also to choose to freeze the other fruit as well.

Week One:

  • Spinach (3 ~ nine ounce bags of spinach)
  • Bananas (5-7)
  • 1 peach
  • 1 nectarine
  • 1 fresh pineapple
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 limes
  • 1 ~ twelve ounce bag of frozen raspberries (or 2 containers of fresh)
  • 1 ~ bag of fresh or frozen cherries
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • Fresh ginger root
  • Coconut water (optional ~(regular water works fine but there are many health benefits to drinking coconut water. It can often be found in the Latin food or heath food section of the supermarket. I usually buy one large can per two green smoothies…or a couple liter containers).
  • Chia seeds (you may also use flax or hemp seeds)

Week Two:

  • 2 (9 ounce bags) of spinach
  • 1 bunch of kale (or an alternate green.)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 5-7 ripe bananas (peel and freeze)
  • 1 pineapple (unless you have some left from last week. You will need 2 cups)
  • 1 bag green grapes
  • 1 plum
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • Frozen mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries ~ or similar mix)
  • Fresh ginger root
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla extract
  • 1 can of light coconut milk (often found in the Asian food section.) Divide the coconut milk into 3 servings. I freeze coconut milk to use in green and dessert smoothies and curries.

*Optional Ingredients

  • Molasses (used as flavoring in one of the smoothies)
  • Coconut flakes (used as a garnish for couple of the smoothies)
  • Chia seeds (some people add hemp seeds or flax-seeds)
  • Coconut water

Week Three:

  • 2 bunches of kale, 2 bunches of turnip greens (or greens of your choice)
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 peach
  • 1 nectarine
  • 1 carton of fresh blackberries
  • 1 bag of frozen raspberries (or fresh)
  • 1 bag of frozen blueberries (or fresh)
  • 5-7 ripe bananas (peel and freeze)
  • 2 plums
  • 2 avocado
  • 2 lemons
  • 3 limes
  • Fresh ginger root
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract

*Optional Ingredients

  • In place of the banana to sweeten the smoothie you may opt for medjool dates (or even chopped dates) or raw honey (or rotate sweeteners day-to-day)
  • Coconut flakes (used as a garnish for couple of the smoothies)
  • Chia seeds (I add these to my smoothies each day. Some people add hemp seeds or flax-seeds)
  • Coconut water (regular water works fine but there are many health benefits to drinking coconut water. It can often be found in the Latin food or heath food section of the supermarket. I usually buy one large can per two green smoothies…or a couple liter containers).

Week #4:

  • Greens (I suggest a combination of greens ~ spinach, turnip greens, kale, chard, carrot tops, beet greens, or spring mix and dark green lettuces) Since the week #4 recipes are for 10 days, you may want to buy enough for the first five-7 days and purchase more mid-week.
  • Bananas (plan for ½-1 banana per smoothie, unless you plan to sweeten with honey, dates, or another sweetener)
  • Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 bag frozen mango (or 2 fresh)
  • Watermelon (you will need a few cups)
  • 3 kiwi
  • 1 red apple
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 peach
  • 2 avocado
  • 4 limes and 1 lemon
  • Parsley and/or cilantro
  • Fresh mint
  • 1 can light coconut milk (divide in thirds)
  • Almond extract (optional)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg

*Optional ~ chia, hemp, or flax seeds and coconut water

Summer Green Smoothie Challenge

SUMMER GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPES

*If you plan on drinking your smoothies in the morning you may prep your smoothies the night before. Sometimes when I know I am going to be in a time pinch in the morning I blend the night before. Each recipe should render  3-4 cups (depending on how much greens and fruit that you add). I often make to make extra (or leave a little) for a mid-day snack. If you are using fresh, and not frozen fruit, I suggest adding a few ice cubes or chill your smoothie in the refrigerator.

WEEK ONE:

Summer EnergizerDay #1: Summer Energizer Smoothie 

  • 3-4 cups of spinach(more or less for one’s personal taste.)
  • 1/2 a nectarine
  • ½ cup of cherries
  • ½ cup of raspberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 frozen banana (optional. I find that I do not need the sweetness of the banana with the nectarine and cherries)
  • 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)
  • 1 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger(since ginger has a strong taste you might try to add a little at a time)
  • 1 cup of coconut juice (or water)

Day #2: Summer Sensation Green Smoothie Summer Sensation

  • 3 cups of spinach or greens of choice
  • 1/2 cup of pineapple
  • 1/2 peach
  • ½ avocado
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1 cup coconut water

(I find that the pineapple is so sweet that I do not add a banana. However, you could add one or 1/2 a banana)

Cherry LimeadeDay #3: Cherry Limeade Green Smoothie 

  • 3 cups of spinach
  • 1 lime (juice & zest)
  • 1 cup of cherries
  • 1/2-1 frozen banana(more if you want the smoothie sweeter)
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • Fresh peeled ginger root to taste.
  • 1 cup of coconut water or regular water

 

 

Day #4: Nectarine and Basil Green SmoothieNectarine and Basil Green Smoothie

  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 nectarine
  • 1/8 – ¼ cup basil (add a little bit of time. I really enjoy the flavor combination of basil and nectarine. This summer I grew cinnamon basil just to eat with nectarines and put in my smoothies)
  • Banana(optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of coconut water or regular water

Cherry & Pineapple Mint Green SmoothieDay #5: Cherry & Pineapple Mint Green Smoothie

  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup of cherries
  • 1/2 cup of pineapple
  • 1/2-1 banana
  • ¼ cup of fresh mint
  • 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of coconut water or regular water

 

 

Day #6: Raspberry Blast Green SmoothieRaspberry Blast Green Smoothie

  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 3/4-1 cup of raspberries
  • 1/2-1 banana
  • ¼ cilantro
  • Fresh peeled ginger root to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1/2 lime and zest
  • 1 cup of coconut water or regular water

 

Just Peachy Green SmoothieDay #7: Just Peachy Green Smoothie (or “Leftovers” Green Smoothie)

  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1/2 peach
  • 1/2 – 1 banana
  • 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds
  • Parsley or cilantro or mint or basil (or all) depending what you have left
  • 1 cup of coconut water or regular water

 

 

WEEK TWO:

Day #8:  Caribbean Dream Green SmoothieCaribbean Dream Green Smoothie

  • 3-4 cups of kale
  • 1/2 – 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup of pineapple
  • ½ avocado
  • light canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon Molasses (since molasses has a strong taste you may want to add a little at a time)
  • Garnish with shredded coconut, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of coconut water (or regular water)

Berry Blast Green Smoothie Day #9: Berry Blast Green Smoothie

  • 1/3 bunch of kale
  • 1/2 – 1 banana
  • ½ cup of grapes
  • 3/4 cup of mixed berries
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro (to taste)
  • Fresh ginger root to taste (peeled)
  • 1 cup of water (or coconut water)

 

 

 

Day #10: Lean & Green SmoothieLean & Green Smoothie

  • 2-3 cups of spinach
  • 1/2 cup of grapes
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple (if it is organic, leave on the peel)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Juice and zest of one lime (1/2 if you want it less tart)
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro (to taste)
  • Optional ~ banana (if you want it more sweet. I leave it out. You could also add another 1/2 cup of grapes or pineapple for sweetness)
  • 1 cup of water

Berry Bliss Green SmoothieDay #11: Berry Bliss Green Smoothie

  • 1/3 of a bunch of kale
  • 1/2-1 banana
  • 1 cup of mixed berries
  • Light coconut milk
  • *Optional ~ ginger root to taste
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of water

 

Summer Harvest Green Smoothie
Day #12: Summer Harvest Green Smoothie

 

  • 3-4 cups of spinach
  • 1 plum
  • ½ cup of mixed berries
  • Ginger root (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ½ – 1 cup of water
  • *Optional ~ banana (depending on how sweet you want it to be)

 

Pina Colada Green Smoothie

 

Day #13: Pina Colada Green Smoothie

  • 3-4 cups of spinach
  • 1 cup of pineapple
  • ½ – 1 banana
  • light canned coconut milk
  • ½ cup of coconut water or regular water
  • Garnish with coconut

 

 

Lemon Berry Green Smoothie

Day #14: Lemon Berry Green Smoothie

  • 1/3 bunch of kale
  • 1 cup of mixed berries
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 1/2 – 1 banana
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of coconut water or regular water

 

WEEK THREE:

Blue Boost Green Smoothie         

Day #15: Blue Boost Green Smoothie

  • 3 – 4 – cups of your greens of choice
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1/2 – 1 avocado
  • Raw honey/dates/ or banana for sweetness
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1 cup of coconut water/or water
    *Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds
    *Garnish with shredded coconut

Day #16: Peach-Raspberry Zinger Green SmoothiePeach Raspberry Zinger Green Smoothie

  • 3 – 4 cups of your greens of choice
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries
  • 1/2 peach
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • Cilantro (to taste)
  • Fresh ginger root, peeled (to taste)
  • Raw honey/dates/ or banana
  • 1 cup of coconut water or water
    *Optional ~ 1- 2 Tablespoons of chia seeds

Blueberry Twist Green Smoothie

Day #17: Blueberry Twist Green Smoothie

 

  • 3 -4 cups of your greens of choice
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Raw honey/dates/or banana
  • 1 cup coconut water or water
    *Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds

 

Day #18: Plum-Berry Green Smoothie

  • 3 -4 cups of your greens of choice
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1 plum
  • Fresh ginger root, peeled (to taste)
  • Cinnamon (to taste)
  • Parsley or cilantro (to taste)
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Raw honey/dates/or banana
  • 1 cup coconut water or water
    *Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds

  19Day #19: Blackberry Charmer Green Smoothie

  • 3 -4 cups of your greens of choice
  • 1 container of blackberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup coconut water or water
  • Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds

 

 

 

Day #20: Plum & Blue Blue Blossom Green Smoothie

  • 3 -4 cups of your greens of choicePlum & Blue Blossom Green Smoothie
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1 plum
  • Raw honey/dates/or banana
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut water or water
    *Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds

 

 

Flourishing Green Smoothie

Day #21: Flourishing Green Smoothie

  • 3 -4 cups of your greens of choice
  • 1/2 cup of peaches
  • 1/2 – 1 avocado
  • 1 kiwi
  • Parsley or cilantro (to taste)
  • Fresh ginger root, peeled (to taste)
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • Raw honey/dates/or banana
  • 1 cup coconut water or water
    *Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds

WEEK #4:

Day #22: Tropical Dream Green SmoothieTropical Dream Green Smoothie

  • 3 – 4 – cups of your greens of choice
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of watermelon
  • 1/2 cup of strawberries
  • Cilantro or parsley to taste
  • 1 lime (juice and zest)
  • 1 cup of coconut water/or water
    *Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds/flax seeds/or hemp seeds

Apple Pie Green Smoothie

 

Day #23:  Apple Pie Green Smoothie

  • 3 – 4 cups of your greens of choice
  • 1 apple
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • light coconut milk
  • ½ cup of coconut water or water
  • Cinnamon & nutmeg to taste
    *Optional ~ 1- 2 Tablespoons of chia seeds/flax seeds/or hemp seeds

Day #24: Watermelon Mint Green SmoothieWatermelon Mint Green Smoothie

  • 3 -4 cups of your greens of choice
  • 1 cup of watermelon
  • Fresh mint
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • Raw honey/dates/or banana
  • 1 cup coconut water or water
    *Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds/flax seeds/or hemp seeds


Strawberry Kiwi Green Smoothie

Day #25: Strawberry Kiwi Green Smoothie

  • 3 -4 cups of your greens of choice
  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • 2 kiwi
  • 1 lime (juice and zest)
  • Fresh ginger root, peeled (to taste)
  • Raw honey/dates/or banana
  • 1 cup coconut water or water
    *Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds/flax seeds/or hemp seeds

Day #26: Peach Cobbler Green SmoothiePeach Cobbler Green Smoothie

  • 3 -4 cups of your greens of choice
  • 1 peach
  • ½ avocado
  • Fresh ginger root, peeled (add just a little bit)
  • Raw honey/dates/or banana
  • Almond extract
  • Light coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut water or water
    *Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds/flax seeds/or hemp seeds

Mango Madness Green SmoothieDay #27: Mango Madness Green Smoothie

  • 3 -4 cups of your greens of choice
  • 1 cup of mango
  • Raw honey/dates/or banana
  • 1/2 cup coconut water or water
    *Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds/flax seeds/or hemp seeds

 

 

 

Day #28: Sip of Summer Green SmoothieSip of Summer Green Smoothie

  • 3 -4 cups of your greens of choice
  • 1/2 cup of strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of mango
  • Parsley or cilantro (to taste)
  • Raw honey/dates/or banana
  • 1 cup coconut water or water
    *Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds/flax seeds/or hemp seeds

 

29

Day #29: Strawberry Lemonade

  • 3 -4 cups of your greens of choice
  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • Raw honey/dates/or banana
  • 1 cup coconut water or water
    *Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds/flax seeds/or hemp seeds

Day #30: Glistening Green Smoothie

  • 3 -4 cups of your greens of choice
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 green apple
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 lime (juice and zest)
  • Parsley or cilantro ~ or both (to taste)
  • Ginger root (to taste)
  • Raw honey/dates/or banana
  • 1 cup coconut water or water
    *Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds/flax seeds/or hemp seeds

Day #31: Strawberries & Cream Green Smoothie

  • 3 -4 cups of your greens of choice
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Ginger root to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of almond extract
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 cup of light coconut milk
  • Raw honey/dates/or banana
  • 1/2 cup coconut water or water
    *Optional ~ 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds/flax seeds/or hemp seeds

Printable Shopping Lists: Summer Green Smoothie Challenge Shopping Lists

Printable Recipes: Summer Green Smoothie Challenge ~ 4 Weeks of Recipes

Pin the post HERE.

Make sure you stop by my Produce with Amy Facebook Page to let me know you what your favorite green smoothie combination is (either my recipe or your own). I would love to hear what it is and I would love to feature you in a follow-up post. If interested, please send me brief biographical information about yourself, a photo, and your recipe (if your recipe comes from a blog – please include the address so I can link it here). You can private message this information via Facebook or email it to me at amyslatinen@gmail.com

During the month of August if you are on Instagram – make sure you use the hashtag #gscproducewithamy to tag your green smoothie creations.

Sign up to receive email updates of my posts, follow me on Twitter Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Thank you for joining me in the Summer Green Smoothie Challenge. I lift my green smoothie glass up to yours ~ cheers to thriving together!

Greem Smoothies 3August Green Smoothie Challenge by Produce with Amy

 

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Chilled Green Soup – A Summer Staple

Raw - Chilled Green Soup by Produce with Amy“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
― Julia Child

Often I am told that I am fortunate to be married to a man who is flexible with meals and will eat anything that I cook. While I do often prepare a different dinner for each of us (since he does eat meat and I do not) Mike does enjoy eating an abundance of fruit and vegetables. He will try anything that I make and loves to eat healthy. I agree that I am lucky –  but his eating habits are one of the reasons that I fell in love with him in the first place. Right from our first few conversations I could tell that he cared about nutrition and fitness. When we first started dating he purchased a cookbook (which just so happened to be a Weight Watchers cookbook) and we would select dinners from it to prepare together.

VitamixTwo summers ago when Mike and I invested in a Vitamix blender, I had a marvelous time experimenting with different recipes. One of our favorite summer recipes is a raw, cold, green soup. I suppose it could be called a green gazpacho – or a savory green smoothie – and I never make it the same way twice. I love to add whatever produce that we have on hand and toss in a variety of fresh herbs from our garden. The result is a refreshing, filling, and healthy soup that serves as a great lunch or opening course for dinner. I normally make a bowl for each of us but I think that one could make a large batch of this soup and it would keep well in the refrigerator for a few days. Not only are cold soups refreshing on a warm summer day but there are loads of health benefits from eating raw vegetables. One of the advantages of blending greens is that the blender breaks down the cell walls of the kale and spinach and the nutrients are easily absorbed by our body. In my Weight Watchers meetings we are always discussing new ways to consume more fruit and vegetables and a cold soup is a light and delicious way to do so.

In this post I will share the recipe for the soup that I made for tonight’s dinner so you can create it yourself or tweak the recipe based on your personal tastes and what you have on hand.

Produce

CHILLED GREEN SOUP
(Makes 2 bowls.  Approximately 3 cups)

*2 cups of fresh spinach
*3 large kale leaves
*1 cup of vegetable broth (I have also used water)
*Juice and zest of one lime (lemon works well too. If you are using bottled citrus juice, use 1/4 cup)
*1/2 cup of fresh cilantro (chop and reserve 1/2 for garnish)Garnish
*1 cucumber (chop 1/2 into small pieces and reserve to add to soup after blending)
*1 avocado (cube 1/2 and reserve to the soup after blending)
*1 medium tomato
*1 seeded jalapeno
*1 carrot
*1 red bell pepper (you can also use orange, yellow, or green)
*1 clove of garlic
*1 Tablespoon of onion
*1 Tablespoon of fresh chives (optional. Since I have chives in my garden I add them to everything in the summer)
*Pinch of salt and pepper
*Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on top
*Optional – if you are eating this soup as a main course you can add raw nuts or beans to the top for protein

Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend until all ingredients are smooth. I have a high power Vitamix blender and do a quick blend for 45 seconds.

Pour the soup in a bowl (if my ingredients are room temperature I like to let the soup chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes before serving). Add the cucumber, bell pepper, avocado to the top and drizzle with olive oil. I also like to sprinkle on a little coarse sea salt. The color will be bright green and beautiful and it tastes as fresh as it looks.

Printable recipe: CHILLED GREEN SOUP by Produce with Amy

Pin the recipe HERE.

Raw Green Soup by Produce with Amy

Chilled Green Soup by Produce with Amy

Cold soup is so simple to make and it is a great way to add more vegetables to your meal plan.  Please let me know if you are interested and I will gladly come up with more flavor combinations. Think about a raw tomato, spinach, and basil soup with grilled corn added after blending. How about turnip greens with avocado, cucumber, and marinated mushrooms? Or spinach and garden peas with fresh mint and dill? Maybe you have a favorite cold soup combination that you would like to share!

Over the next couple days I will be sharing weekly recipes and shopping lists for an August Green Smoothie Challenge. My hope is to have the recipes posted this weekend so that you can be prepared. You can use my recipes, or come up with your own. The goal will be to try to drink at least one green smoothie a day (Mike and I will be drinking ours for breakfast). If you are new to green smoothies you may want to check out my post from last January: New Year’s Green Smoothie Challenge.

We can keep each other updated on our favorite green smoothie combinations during August so please make sure to stop by my Facebook Page and give it a “like”. I will create a hashtag on Instagram too. In the meantime, please sign up for email updates of my posts. Follow me on Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter and thank you for joining me on the journey to eat more fruit and vegetables. Cheers to our health!

9

Plant-Based Chocolate Mint Shake with Coconut

Plant-Based Chocolate Mint Shake with Coconut by Produce with Amy“Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.” ― Joanne Harris, “Chocolat”

July marks my seventh anniversary of reaching Lifetime status with Weight Watchers and August is also my seventh anniversary of becoming a Weight Watchers leader. When I look back and reflect on my journey, I realize that one of the healthiest changes that I made to my lifestyle is eradicating refined sugar from my meal plan. When I drink coffee or tea, I drink it black and candy, sweets, chocolate, juice, cereal, and ice-cream does not find its way into my shopping cart. I will on a rare occasion, when at a gathering, indulge in a regular soda (I try not to consume artificial sweeteners) and when I want something sweet I reach for a piece of fruit.

Every once in a while I will have a craving for something sweet – especially in the summer when ice-cream beckons – so I have come up with healthy ways to indulge a sweet tooth. Today I thought that I would share one of my favorites from the past couple years.

When I first started making plant-based shakes, or ice-cream, I would buy a carton of almond or coconut milk. But after reading the long list of ingredients, I decided that it would be healthier to make my own nut milks. Not to mention that I found myself tossing the processed cartons of plant-based milk away since I did not use it often and with the price of groceries, I despise throwing out food. For my dessert recipes that call for homemade plant-based milk, I use raw nuts and coconut water (or plain water). If I know beforehand that I am going to make a shake, I soak the nuts overnight (or for a few hours) but if I am being spontaneous – I add them straight to my Vitamix blender .

This recipe calls for fresh mint which I have available all summer in my garden. If you do not have access to fresh mint – a mint extract will do the trick. (I have found wonderful almond, mint, and vanilla extracts available in the spice aisle at Target.)

Cocoa Powder, Raw Nuts, & Mint

CHOCOLATE MINT SHAKE WITH COCONUT

  • 1 and a 1/2 frozen bananas (mine were medium in size. I allow my bananas to get fully ripe and then I peel and toss in a freezer bag or bowl for smoothies and ice-cream/shakes)
  • 1/2  cup to 1 cup of coconut water (depending on how thick or thin you want your shake. I used 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup of raw nuts (I used a mix that I find at Target)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder to taste (I used 2 heaping Tablespoons)
  • Handful of ice cubes
  • Few sprigs of mint (or 1+ teaspoons of extract)

Blend well and garnish with cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips – many varieties are plant-based) and coconut flakes. Serve and enjoy!

*Notes –
Possible healthy additions to this shake include:

  • Avocado (it adds healthy fat and makes the shake creamy…surprisingly, it does not dramatically impact the taste)
  • Vanilla extract
  • A dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Spinach (it is naturally sweet and it will change the color of the smoothie but like the avocado will not dramatically change the taste)
  • When I make curry I do buy canned coconut milk and I freeze the leftover. When I have it on hand I will use it in my plant-based shakes to make them extra creamy.

Printable Recipe: CHOCOLATE MINT SHAKE WITH COCONUT by Produce with Amy

 

Chocolate Mint Shake by Produce with AmyChocolate Mint Shake with Coconut by Produce with AmyMake sure you check out my Healthy Indulges tab for other plant-based dessert shakes. I always love to hear what people think after trying one of my recipes and I enjoy hearing about the changes that are made to fit personal tastes.

Please make sure to stop by my Facebook Page and give it a “like” and make sure you sign up for email updates of my posts. Follow me on Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter. As always, please feel free to share my posts with others who embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Have a beautiful week and I hope that you enjoy the Chocolate Mint Shake! I raise my glass to you – cheers to thriving together!

Chocolate & Mint Shake with Coconut by Produce with Amy

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

 

Cherry BBQ Salad with Nectarine, Avocado, Sweet Potato, Basil, & Tempeh

Salad with Cherry BBQ Dressing by Produce with Amy“There was something rather blousy about roses in full bloom, something shallow and raucous, like women with untidy hair.” – Daphne du Maurier (Rebecca)

Rose Collage

The last of the peonies.It has been a cool summer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and my garden has not been doing well. I kept things simple this year and have six tomato plants, spinach and kale, beans, peas, squash, a couple of cucumbers, and herbs. My flowers are flourishing but sadly I said goodbye to the peonies this weekend. They weeped nearly all their petals on the lawn and at the same time my white rose erupted into bloom. It is punctual since last year it opened its petals around Independence Day as well.

One thing that I make sure that I take advantage of in the summer is the offering of fruit and berries available at the grocers. Last week I purchased cherries, nectarines, plums, watermelon, and strawberries.Cherries

Since I love fruit on salads I wanted to create a combination that involved cherries. I have been experimenting with making my own BBQ sauce and decided that I would allow a sweet and tangy sauce inspire my salad dressing.

The resulting Cherry BBQ Salad Dressing was pleasing and I knew that it had to be shared. To make it a dressing I added extra vinegar. If you want to use it as a BBQ sauce you can reduce the amount of vinegar in the recipe and it will be sweeter and thicker. It can be tweaked to your personal taste. My recipe is rather mild tasting and you could add more garlic, liquid smoke, and your favorite spices. I think it would also work well as a marinade.

Cherry BBQ Dressing by Produce with AmyCHERRY BBQ DRESSING (Printable recipe below)

  • 1 1/2 cup of fresh, pitted cherries (frozen would work)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup of vinegar (I used raw apple cider vinegar. I like tart dressing but if you do not, I suggest a little at a time. You can always use water to thin the dressing if it is too thick. Use a Tablespoon or so of vinegar if you want to use it as a sauce, unless you like your BBQ extra tangy)
  • 8 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon of onion
  • 1 Tablespoon of Molasses (Add more if you like your dressing sweeter. You could also use brown sugar or your favorite sweetener but I like the flavor of molasses)
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (if you follow a plant-based diet you can find many recipes on-line. Here is the one that I used.)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Sprig of fresh oregano (about three inches long. Could use a teaspoon of dried)
  • Tablespoon of fresh chives (I have chives in my garden so in the summer I use them in most dishes)
  • 1/8-1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (I omit the oil and add it to each salad instead for portion control)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Blend dressing well and make final tweaks in ingredients based on your personal taste. This recipe made 2 and 1/4 cups of dressing. I will be using it this week as a marinade for grilling. Because the vinegar acts as a preservative, homemade dressing will last over a month in the refrigerator. I store my dressing in a Mason jar with a metal lid.

 

Ingredients for Cherry BBQ SaladCHERRY BBQ SALAD WITH NECTARINE, AVOCADO, SWEET POTATO, BASIL, & TEMPEH

Cherry BBQ Jar Salad by Produce with AmyI used the following ingredients to make two jar salads and two plated salads, so I divided each ingredient into four. If you are new to Mason jar salads you may want to read this post.

  • Cherry BBQ Dressing (I use 3-4 Tablespoons per salad. Since I make my own dressing and add the oil separately, I am able to use more dressing)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (2 teaspoons per salad)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes cubed and divided into four. (I scrubbed well, left the peeling on, wrapped in tinfoil, and baked. One of the heating elements is out in my oven so I check often until the potato is soft. If your oven is working correctly, I would suggest 30-45 minutes at 350-400 degrees. I know – a food blogger with a broken oven? 😉 A new one is on our long list of items that we have to purchase but our budget does not allow us to do so now…one of these days.)
  • 3 sliced avocado  
  • 2 sliced nectarines 
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh chopped basil ( I topped the nectarine with the basil since I enjoy the flavor combination)
  • 4 small onions,  caramelized (cut the onions into rings and cook on low in the oil of Cherry BBQ Tempeh by Produce with Amyyour choice until brown and soft. I used coconut oil)
  • 40 cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 small package (8 ounces) of tempeh. Dip the tempeh in the Cherry BBQ Dressing and sear in a hot pan with oil for a couple of minutes. (I do try to limit my soy intake but this tempeh is fantastic. My husband does eat meat so the next time I will use meat for him since he is not a huge fan of tempeh and I do not like to give him soy. As an alternate protein source for myself I may add raw nuts or white beans)
  • One bag of spinach (or greens of your choice)

*Note – you can serve the tempeh and the onions warm or cold.

Printable RecipeCHERRY BBQ Salad

Cherry BBQ Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Avocado, and Nectarines

This salad speaks loudly of summer and I love all the lush textures and flavors. If you are interested, check out my other salad recipes and my other salad dressing recipes.

Cherry BBQ Salads

Here are other recipes that incorporate cherries: Scarlet Salads in a Jar with Cherry Chipotle Vinaigrette

Cherry Almond Coconut Shake

Cherry Limeade Green Smoothie

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

BBQ Cherry Jar Salad by Produce with Amy

Cherry BBQ Salad Dressing or Sauce by Produce with Amy

 

Summer is the perfect time to experiment with fresh produce and find out what suits your taste buds. I promise to keep posting fresh and tantalizing recipes and if you try one, let me know what you think. I wish you a summer filled with healthy choices and time to appreciate the outdoors. Thank you for joining me on the journey to eat more fruit and vegetables.

Bloom

Pink Peony

Cherry BBQ Salad Plate by Produce with Amy