Raw Organic White Chocolate

white chocolate

When I first learned how to make my own chocolate I never even considered that making white chocolate would also be an option. I was so excited about just making the regular chocolate that I didn’t even think about white.

It wasn’t until years later, when I was looking at making white chocolate macadamia nut cookies that I wondered if I could somehow create white chocolate? Of course it had to be possible, it existed, so someone somewhere would have had to have figured out how to do it.

So I poked around a little bit, did a little googling and had my answer within minutes. Of course when I read what needed to be done it made perfect sense. Why I had not thought of it myself, who knows. But you know how sometimes you need someone to point out the obvious to you….

The basic trick in making raw organic white chocolate was that you need to use another powder than cacao powder, that was white. You need to use the powder to thicken it and bring it all together, because otherwise you would literally just have the cacao butter, though the right color, on it’s own is kind of oily and tasteless, which kind of defeats the purpose.

white chocolateThe magic answer is simply, milk powder. It is the right color and consistency and the good news is, ANY milk powder will do. If you want to keep your chocolate dairy free, there are non-dairy milk powders such as soy or coconut to make that work. It was so easy!

Another thing to keep in mind when creating white chocolate is using a fresh vanilla bean will no longer work, unless you want little black dots in your white chocolate. Even regular vanilla extract is brown in color, so to keep it purely white, use clear vanilla extract instead.

Otherwise go to it! If you have already tried the regular raw organic chocolate recipe you’ll be able to white with ease. And if you are new to chocolate making, it really is easy, so you’ll be a pro in no time!

Raw Organic White Chocolate

3/4 – 1 cup cacao butter

2-6 tbsp Soy milk powder or Coconut milk powder (just a caution if choosing soy milk powder, it is not pure white and has a slight tan tinge to it, so if you want it more of a caramel color perfect! but if you want white then I would choose coconut milk powder instead)

1-2 drops of clear vanilla extract (use a pipette if using vanilla extract as you only need a tiny bit, adding too much can ruin your chocolate)

2 tsp. to start Natural Sweetener of choice (again consider color I find clear stevia drops are best or even white stevia powder – honey and pure maple syrup will make your white chocolate more tan or caramel)

  1. In a medium metal bowl add boiling water about halfway up the bowl. *a metal bowl is best as it retains the heat well but can get hot to the touch Place second smaller metal bowl on top of large bowl so that it sits on top of the rim of the first bowl.
  2. Put desired amount of cacao butter into top bowl. Cacao butter will start to melt.
  3. While cacao butter is melting, add clear vanilla extract. Drop 1-2 drops at the most into cacao butter and stir.
  4. Once cacao butter is completely melted add 2-4 tablespoons of coconut milk powder. Taste for desired level of chocolatey-ness. If you’d like it richer add more milk powder.
  5. Once satisfied with amount of coconut milk powder add natural sweetener of choice. Start with 10 drops of clear stevia drops. (You may choose another sweetener but be aware that if you choose something like pure maple syrup this may darken your white chocolate, if so start with 3 teaspoons to sweeten). Taste, if desired level of sweetness has not been reached, add 2-5 drops of stevia and taste again (1-2 teaspoons if using another natural sweetener). Once level of desired sweetness has been reached you have your base chocolate.
  6. For plain white chocolate, spoon your white chocolate into molds and let set in freezer or fridge.
  7. white chocolateIf desired, before setting add additional ingredients such as nuts, dried fruit, coconut, essential oils such as Wild Orange, Peppermint, Lavender, etc. Ensure that the essential oils you are using are safe to ingest, as not all essential oil brands are created equal and many have synthetics and fillers in them that you definitely don’t want in your body! Also if oils are naturally colored they may change the color of your chocolate slightly (like Wild Orange). Pour white chocolate onto a cookie sheet or into a pan to let set for bulky additions, like fruit and nuts. If using essential oils you can pour into molds to set if desired.
  8. Put pan or molds into the freezer for about 5 minutes. Check to see if firm. If firm you can pop them out of your molds or break it up from the pan. If not leave in the freezer for a few more minutes and check again. Chocolate is best set in freezer (and ready faster!) but may also be set in fridge.

More Tips for Making White Chocolate

*Be very careful not to get any water into your chocolate as it will not work if you do. If your second bowl sits nicely on top, this should not be an issue as you do not need to lift the second bowl off the one with the water in it until you are done making your chocolate.

**you could use a vanilla bean in this recipe if you wanted, but because it is white chocolate you will see small black dots in the chocolate. If you would prefer solid white stick with the clear vanilla extract.

***when adding essential oils to your chocolate, measure 1 drop onto a teaspoon and stir it into your chocolate. This way if 2 or 3 drops come out instead, it’s on your spoon and not in the chocolate with the flavor way too strong!

****when popping out the chocolate from your molds, use a cutting board on parchment paper or plate. Popping them out directly onto the counter not only makes it hard to pick up, but it also may start to melt as often times the counter is warm.

*****You could also make the chocolate with fillings such as caramel, nuts or other desired filling, in the middle. For this you simply put a bit of chocolate in the bottom of your mold, let it set then add your filling and top up the mold with chocolate and let set completely. If you wanted to get really fancy, make a batch of regular chocolate as well and make layers – have them be white and dark. White chocolate is also great to use for Chocolate Dipped Strawberries! In fact, I discovered a cute Halloween treat this year that are strawberry ghosts. What a great idea! Fun and healthy.

sugar free valentines treats

Making white chocolate opens up a whole new world of possibility and is just as fun as making regular chocolate. And now you can get even more creative with it! Who knows maybe next you can make swirls!

Dairy Free Delicious Homemade Cinnamon Buns

dairy free sugar free cinnamon buns

Sometimes it’s just a make cinnamon buns, coffee and movies kind of weekend.

I have been craving cinnamon buns for weeks. I have no idea why. I just wanted a big sticky gooey, yummy, sweet cinnamon bun. But I also wanted to respect my needs (and not feel awful after) so I wanted it dairy free and naturally sweetened. So I couldn’t just run out to the store and get one – I decided I was going to make some sugar free dairy free cinnamon buns.

Of course my biggest issue was time. When I am baking and/ or creating in the kitchen I like to have the time to do it. I don’t like to feel rushed or hurried, or that I have to get to the next thing. I just want to move from one step to the next at whatever pace I choose. Often enjoying a favorite movie in the background as I work.  I like to take my time, enjoy the experience and give myself space to do it. I also need to feel motivated or ‘in the mood’ as they say. I find if I don’t want to then I won’t enjoy doing it either and it certainly won’t turn out.

dairy free sugar free cinnamon bunsThis weekend the stars aligned and I had all these things in place, time, desire, all the ingredients (as sometimes that is a big barrier to lol). It was the kind of weekend that was just for me, doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. A soulful weekend I like to call it. A time where I can do things that I love and fill up my soul. Sure I had work to do, and other tasks that certainly could have used my attention, but sometimes we really need to take a break, get away from work and I needed this more. I needed to rejuvenate and reconnect with myself and well baking and creating in the kitchen is one way that I like to do it.

Now you have to understand what kind of undertaking making cinnamon buns from scratch was for me. Growing up I had tried a number of different bread type recipes and could never get them to rise successfully. No matter what I tried or how I did it, I just had no success. You know when they say you should let it rise til it doubled in size? I was lucky if it rose even a little, if at all, and that was after hours of waiting. Failed after failed attempt, I watched others do it successfully, my aunt did it with ease, I think even my sister managed it once, but for me it just wasn’t happening. So to even attempt a cinnamon bun recipe where rising was involved was a big thing – I had absolutely no idea if they were even going to turn out as the light and fluffy cinnamon buns I desired, or if I would end up with rocks in the garbage once again.

I was also playing with ingredients – creating a recipe that was naturally sweetened and dairy free, I put some things in and took some out. I laughed as I was telling my girlfriend about it when I went to yoga, leaving the buns behind hoping they would rise and double in size by the time I got back. Because of all the tweeks I had made I really thought it would be a miracle if they worked.

To my delight, when I returned home from a lovely yoga and essential oils class, the cinnamon buns had in fact risen and doubled in size! I was so excited I took a picture and sent it to my girlfriend right away! (I have no idea if she was as excited as me to see this but I sent it anyways).

I giddily turned on and preheated the oven, preparing them to bake. I couldn’t wait to pull them out of the oven and taste them! hoping that my cinnamon buns had not only risen but that they tasted good too.

The good news is, they did. In fact, I have had a hard time not eating them all and am grudgingly sharing them with the kids. The beauty of it is the recipe is so easy the kids could make them themselves with a little supervision. And since they devoured theirs today afterschool they announced that they are very willing to do so!

Sugar Free Dairy Free Cinnamon Buns

Dough:

dairy free sugar free cinnamon buns2 1/2 – 3 c. flour

3 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. salt

2 1/4 tsp. quick rise yeast

1/2 c. water

1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk or choice of unsweetened non-dairy milk

3 tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Spread

1 egg

Filling:


3 tbsp. softened Earth Balance Vegan Spread (this softens quite quickly so don’t leave it out too long as it will actually melt)

3-4 tbsp. cinnamon

1/4 – 1/2 c. coconut sugar

1/2 c. raisins (can add more if you really like raisins)

Mix 2 1/2 c. of flour, salt and yeast together. Create a hole in the middle of the dry mixture and add the honey to the hole, but do not mix. Set aside.

dairy free sugar free cinnamon bunsHeat the water, non-dairy milk, and Earth Balance on low heat on the stove. DO NOT bring the mixture to a boil, make sure everything has melted, mixed together and is hot but not boiling. If it boils the temperature of your mixture is too high and may not turn out. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients by pouring liquid in the middle over the honey – this is so the honey will melt and dissolve into before mixing. Ensure that the honey has completely dissolved before beginning to mix.

Using a dough hook on the stand mixer, mix together on a low setting. If all the dry ingredients are not mixing as well you may stop the mixer and mix in the rest by hand, then put it back under the mixture to complete. If needed, add the rest of the flour a tablespoon at a time to form a smooth dough (I found that I did not need the extra flour but you may depending on where you live). Continue to mix for 5 minutes. Allow the dough to rest for 3-5 minutes.

After you have allowed the dough to rest, use a rolling pin and roll out the dough into a rectangle shape about 1/8 inch thick. Spread the softened Earth Balance over the dough. Then sprinkle evenly with desired amount of cinnamon and coconut sugar. Sprinkle with raisins.

Beginning with the long end of the rectangle, tightly roll the dough so that you’re filing is on the inside. Cut the rolled dough into 10-12 even pieces. Place the pieces in a well greased 9×13 inch pan.

Place the rolls in a warm draft free place and cover lightly with a clean t-towel. Let rise til they are double in size.

Preheat oven to 350 F and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

Now we found these sweet enough and enjoyed them without icing and honestly they really don’t need it. But if you would like to ice your cinnamon buns you can certainly do so. I have this yummy dairy free sugar free cream cheese icing that is to die for! So I am definitely going to try that on these cinnamon buns the next time we make them. If I can find it that is… I can’t remember where I put it… I’m sure it’s in that ‘safe’ place. (Once I do find it I will share it with you here).

These cinnamon buns certainly did not disappoint, in fact I may have just enjoyed one slathered with Earth Balance on it once the kids were in bed… we must try out all options of course! I will definitely be making them again. Though I would like to try a gluten free version and see how that one will turn out…maybe I shouldn’t push it…


Goji berries

St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Smoothie

shamrock smoothie

I remember growing up waiting for those delicious shamrock shakes that you could get at McDonald’s only around St. Patrick’s Day. I loved those things! They were so yummy! Smooth and creamy. And I also love just about anything mint so they were a hands down winner for me.

What I didn’t know then (and honestly as a kid probably did not really care) was how bad these things were for you. Full of sugar and all kinds of additives I don’t really want in my body, health wise they were not the best choice. But I never forgot them, and I still got excited every year when they announced that the Shamrock Shake was now available at McDonald’s for a limited time – though I did not go to get one.

Little did I know that there was actually a healthy alternative I could not only enjoy without guilt but that I could easily make at home! Full of healthy fats and delicious greens this healthy version of a shamrock shake was just as creamy and delicious, if not better.

shamrock smoothieI made this discovery quite by accident a couple of years ago when I was looking for something else on the internet; and I came across the concept of a Shamrock Smoothie. When they boasted that they tasted just like the shakes that you got at McDonald’s they had my attention. So I took a peek, and I experimented a little, tweeking the recipe to suit my needs and tastes. Adding in a little of this and taking out a little of that and then voila! I had created my own version of the perfect Shamrock Smoothie, which was now good for me and I enjoy every St. Patrick’s Day (See more info at modernechild.com).

I love that this recipe combines avocado which not only makes it rich and creamy but provides healthy fats with coconut milk and mint, two more of my favorite flavors. This thing is so thick and delicious it is the perfect healthy snack that doesn’t taste so healthy for St. Paddy’s Day 🙂

I also love the addition of peppermint essential oil in this recipe as I am now reaping all the benefits of peppermint essential oil in my already yummy healthy drink. I have to say to that the dollop of coconut cream on top, though optional, really is a must to make this smoothie just a little bit fancier without much effort. Oh and don’t forget the sprig of mint either!

So give this recipe a try this St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy your own Shamrock Shake guilt free. And if you share it with the kids, it’s a great way to sneak in some avocados and greens in a way that they’ll gobble it up and ask for more!

St. Paddy’s Day Shamrock Smoothie

1 banana

shamrock smoothie1/4 of an avocado

1/2 c. full fat coconut milk

1-2 drops peppermint essential oil

1/4tsp. vanilla

1 handful of spinach

dollop of coconut cream – optional

Put all ingredients except coconut cream in the blender and blend on high until smooth. Pour into glass and top with dollop of coconut cream. Add a spring of mint if desired and enjoy!

Serves 1

Sugar Free White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

white chocolate macadamia nut cookies

I am super excited about this week’s cookie recipe as it is my most favorite cookie ever! White chocolate macadamia nut cookies just have the right combination of sweet and crunchy in amongst a soft chewy cookie. And for a while now I have not been enjoying these sweet delectable sensations, well because I have chosen not to, because of the decision to eat healthier and feel better in my body.

But they are sooo good! So I had to experiment and see if I could successfully come up with a recipe that fit my dietary needs and was just as yummy as I remembered. Of course I am happy to share with you success (and may or may not be munching on one of these delectable cookies right now). Go visit dlouhygaragedoorrepair.com.

The kids love them too, as all they do is ask for cookies. For breakfast, afterschool, before supper, after supper for dessert. They’d take them to school to if they could, but it’s a nut free zone there. They would also totally sit down and eat two or three at once if I let them – so yeah I think the recipe is ok 🙂

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies – Dairy Free, Sugar Free

1 c. Earth Balance vegan spread

3/4 c. coconut sugar white chocolate macadamia nut cookies

1/4 c. honey

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. almond extract

2 1/2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 c. coarsley chopped macadamia nuts

1 c. coarsley chopped vegan white chocolate

In a large bowl cream together Earth Balance, coconut sugar and honey til smooth. Add in eggs one at a time and mix. Then add the vanilla and almond extract.

Combine the flour, baking soda and sea salt then gradually stir into the creamed mixture.

Add in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate. Stir by hand until well combined (stirring by hand keeps nuts and chocolate in chunks which is one of the delights of this cookie. Using the mixer could break these pieces up and make them smaller).

Drop dough by the teaspoon onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

We still have a couple more weeks of cookie recipes coming so stay tuned… they might to start to get a little Christmasy…

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

pumpkin cookies

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know how much I love pumpkin and any and all things related to pumpkin. So when Shreya of the Sassy Life contacted me and said she had a pumpkin cookie recipe she’d like to share in our cookie series I was all over it!

These delightful pumpkin cookies are easy to make and can be ready in less than an hour – maybe more if you have little helpers or like myself just get distracted easily. They are small, bite size and can be customized if you like your cookies crisper or more cakier, a little stronger pumpkin flavor or a little more spice.

Shreya’s original recipe calls for refined sugars, which have been adjusted here but they do not change the flavor or the result of this delicious cookie. Perfect for Fall, or a little pumpkin variation for Thanksgiving, no one will even notice that they’re vegan or sugar free unless you tell them.

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredientspumpkin cookies

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (I measured when solid if that makes a difference)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1-2 drops On Guard essential oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegan/non-dairy chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the coconut oil with the brown and white sugar.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and pumpkin purée and continue to mix. The mixture will look pretty slick and oily at this point.
  4. Add the salt, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice or On Guard essential oil, and flour and mix until just combined.
  5. Gently stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Bake rounded balls of dough on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet at 350ºF for about 15 minutes. Cool slightly before removing from pan. Move to a cooling rack to ensure cookies cool evenly.
  7. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 24 cookies

* For a stronger pumpkin spice flavor, add another teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. My cookies came out very puffy and small because I baked small balls of cookie dough. For flatter cookies, flatten the tops of the cookies before placing in the oven.

What’s your favorite fall cookie recipe?

Thanks to Shreya of the Sassy Life for sharing her recipe. All photos are from the Sassy Life.

Join us next week for White Chocolate Macadamia Nut – my most favorite – ever!

Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Sugar Free Dairy Free

healthy oatmeal raisin cookies

There’s nothing like a warm cookie from the oven, soft and chewy as it melts in your mouth, it’s usually hard to have just one. For a while now I haven’t really been making a lot of cookies, partly because of time, but also because though delicious, cookies are not really that healthy. Full of sugars and flours, typically I would avoid them and make some other kind of sweet treat to satisfy.

But this Fall when the weather changed and it was time to feel all warm and cozy I really wanted a cookie. So i started exploring some of my favorite cookie recipes and experimenting with how I could adjust them to make them more healthy and still just as delicious!

And now you get to benefit from my experimenting and research! For the month of November I am going to be featuring various healthy cookie recipes for you to indulge in. Some of them will be my own creation, while others are from other fabulous healthy food bloggers that I have collaborated with. It’s going to be a month of treats and just in time for Christmas! Now you can contribute a healthy version that you’ll feel good about eating and sharing.

Today we’re starting with a classic Oatmeal Raisin recipe – as I have always loved these soft chewy cookies with raisins in them (in fact most cookies with raisins in them I thoroughly enjoy). The original recipe came off the quick oats package and had been sitting on my counter for months. With a little bit of tweeking I came up with this successful healthy oatmeal raisin cookie recipe, sugar free and delicious! (even taste tested by a close friend who loves oatmeal raisin cookies and gave it two thumbs up).

Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1/2 c. Earth Balance vegan spread

healthy oatmeal raisin cookies3/4 c. coconut sugar

1/4 – 1/3 c. honey

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon or 1 drop Cinnamon Bark essential oil*

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 1/2 – 2 c. uncooked rolled oats (quick or old fashioned)

1 c. raisins

healthy oatmeal raisin cookiesIn a large bowl combine the Earth Balance, coconut sugar and honey. Mix until creamy.

Add in eggs and vanilla. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, sea salt and mix well.

Add in the oats and raisins, I like to add these in by hand and stir, as I find the mixer can chop up the raisins which I don’t want. Stir well.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in 350F oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven, cool for 1 minute on cookie sheets then move to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

*Please note that if using essential oils in this recipe to ensure that your essential oil brand is safe to take internally. Not all essential oil brands are created equally and some use synthetic fillers and chemicals in their processing of the oil or added to the oil itself. Due to no governing regulations on producing essential oils a company can say they are 100% or Organic. Due your due diligence and research the brand you are using to ensure your safe usage.

Next week indulge in Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, courtesy of The Sassy Life (I can’t wait for this one as I love pumpkin!!)


Our Top 5 Favorite Fall Soups & Stews

fall soups and stews

One of the many things that is fabulous about Fall (it is my favorite season) is the harvest of all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that are available. Things like apples, squashes, carrots, corn, fresh pumpkins and more, abound in the stores and on the tables.

Not only are these abundant and delicious there is such an array of colors that I usually want to eat just about all of it. They do say you should eat the rainbow at every meal!

fall soups and stewsI also love this season as we start to have cooler days and bring out the warm cozy sweaters, start up the fireplaces and start to cozy up with our loved ones. And our bodies also naturally start to want heavier, heartier foods, warm and satisfying in our bellies, preparing for the winter ahead.

So it’s a perfect fit when we start to drift towards those yummy soups and stews, chilis and hearty meals, as not only is that what our body needs we also conveniently have an abundance of those foods fresh and at our fingertips. (This is no coincidence btw this is a natural rhythm of life as we are built to eat with the seasons, looking for the foods that are common and abundant in those seasons. This natural cycle of produce is perfectly designed to support our health and supports the body’s natural healing process. Think about how a fresh green salad can taste so good in the summer and is just what you’re looking for yet in the winter may not be as appealing).

I also love the variety in the recipes that come with these fall soups and stews, so many to choose from! And so many of them can be done in the slow cooker another bonus for those busy days when you just don’t want to think about what’s for supper at 5 o’clock.

Our Top 5 Favorite Fall Soups and Stews

Here are some of our favorite soup and stew recipes that we tend to drift to in the Fall (click on the names to be taken to recipe):

fall soups and stewsAutumn Turkey Chili – a hearty flavorful chili that has such a variety of ingredients in it. I love the addition of fresh apples and butternut squash.

Creamy Mushroom Soup – this recipe was an original submission in an issue of Clean Eating Magazine and is the best dairy free mushroom soup I have ever had. I love the variety of mushrooms and the addition of fresh thyme.

Butternut Squash Soup – a creamy flavorful soup with all my favorite Fall spices like cinnamon and sage.

fall soups and stewsBroccoli Cheese Soup – a classic creamy soup that’s perfected in a dairy free version. I love it extra cheesy so I’ll often add just a little bit extra!

Glorified Turkey – ok this is not really a soup or a stew but is absolutely one of my favorite fall dishes. Especially right after Thanksgiving when you have all those yummy turkey leftovers. The flavors of this dish are so simple yet so divine.

What are your favorite Fall recipes that you like to break out as the weather cools?

Back to School Smoothies – Tropical Green Smoothie

green smoothie

Green smoothies are an excellent choice for those back to school mornings as they provide a ton of nutrients to start the day and get the kids energized. A green smoothie though, is not always the most popular with kids. They take one look at the color and won’t even try it no matter what you tell them is in it. (This is one of the reasons why I like making other kinds of smoothies and adding in a little greens. You can literally hide them in there as it doesn’t change the color and they get blended up so they have no idea!)

One of the reasons kids (and some adults too) steer away from green smoothies is because often times they are this ugly dark green and aren’t very tasty or sweet. And even though I like my vegetables, when my smoothie tastes bland and like just a glass of vegetables, that doesn’t appeal even to me – why would a kid like it? That being said I have found a green smoothie that I quite enjoy and has passed the ‘kid test’. It is actually the favorite of my youngest son.

This green smoothie is sweet in taste due to the 3 kinds of tropical fruits, but not overly so, and a bright vibrant green. Stocked with 3 kinds of greens as well this makes for a very good combination. The nice thing is to if you need it a little sweeter you just add a little more fruit.

I have even made this green smoothie in my kids cooking classes (ages 3-12) and most of them liked it. In fact, for some of them it was their favorite smoothie as well!

Why do you want kids to have a green smoothie in the morning?

  • They are an easy way to get in those greens everyday (and right at the start). I don’t know about you but sometimes I find this difficult and get to the end of the day with no greens whatsoever. I feel good when I start my day with some greens.
  • Greens are rich in fiber, high in vitamins like vitamin C, K, E, and minerals and have many disease fighting benefits. And if you’re using a green like spinach, it’s high in iron ( supports brain function, muscle health, curbs fatigue)
  • Greens are high in antioxidants
  • They are high in folate which maintains a healthy heart, is needed for body’s cell division and prevents depression
  • Supports healthy brain function

Tropical Green Smoothie

1 c. spinach

green smoothie3-4 stems of parsley

1 sprig of fresh mint (I love mint so I might add a bit more, add yours to taste)

*1/2 c. papaya

1/2 c. pineapple

1/2 c. mango

**1/2 -3/4 c. apple juice or water

Put all ingredients in Vitamix blender. Start on low moving up to high. Blend on high for 1 minute or until smooth. Enjoy!

*I use orange or yellow papaya as I like it better and find it sweeter; but you can also use red papaya

**vary the amounts of fruit to make it sweeter or less sweet to taste

**I have found over the years that if I add a little more fruit then I can use water instead of juice and it still tastes yummy, sweet and delicious

Serves 1

Give this green smoothie a try this weekend and see how the crew likes it. If it’s a success you can start incorporating it into your back to school smoothie rotation in the mornings and kick off the day with a nice green healthy breakfast.

Back to School Smoothies – Classic Berry

berry smoothie

One of my favorite smoothies is when there is an abundance of fruit – and I mean a variety of fruits that I really love. Yes I know they all taste great on their own but I love putting them all together in one glass. Seriously for me it’s like a treat or a sundae.

This is why I love a classic berry smoothie. Not only do I fulfill my desire for more than one berry at once, I can also amp it up a little with some added ingredients that get disguised in the mix. So to the eye and palette very much berry, berry and berry, but to the rest of the body, lots of yummy nutrients that I need or am trying to get in!

This is especially good for kids who naturally love sweeter smoothies and will be all over drinking this. They will enjoy it and you will be happy that you got that other stuff in there (I feel especially successful when I’ve gotten some greens into them first thing in the morning). My daughter, in particular likes this smoothie and will gulp it down very quickly.

berry smoothieNow I know in the first post in this back to school smoothie series I recommended go easy on the fruit, as it can create too much sugar (even if it is natural) in the body first thing in the morning. The key is that with the other ingredients we are adding this quickly balances it out and stabilizes the higher sugars that you get from the higher fruit content. Plus because we are blending and not juicing you still get the fiber from the fruits which also helps to counter balance the sugars. And well let’s be honest, it tastes good! And every once in a while we deserve a little treat.

This is also a great smoothie if you are trying to introduce smoothies to your kids but not having as much luck as you had hoped so far. Because of it’s higher sweet content you may have more success, knowing that you did successfully get that spinach in there to, without them even knowing. Then later you can work on the green ones…

Classic Berry Smoothie

1 banana

5-6 fresh strawberries

1/2 c. blueberries

berry smoothie1/2 c. raspberries

1 1/2 c. non dairy milk (we usually use unsweetened almond milk)

*1-2 tbsp hemp seeds

1 healthy handful of spinach

Put all ingredients in the blender and mix until smooth. Now if you prefer more blueberry to strawberry or raspberry, feel free to adjust the amounts accordingly. You may also substitute chia seeds for hemp seeds, just be aware that with chia seeds they can make it much thicker especially if not drunk right away.

Serves 3

Perfect for the morning and to add that variety to the morning smoothie menu.

Coming up… a yummy Green Smoothie (honestly it’s delicious! and your kids will love it)

Back to School Smoothies – Peanut Butter

peanut butter smoothie

Peanut butter smoothies are a staple for my kids at our house. Even though I recommend changing things up and giving the kids variety, they go for days if not weeks in a row where they only want this smoothie.

I really like the peanut butter smoothie because it is a super quick and easy recipe – with simply peanut butter, banana and milk. It is a nice thick creamy smoothie that is high in protein, filling and a great way to start the day!

We tend to add in a few other ingredients to this smoothie like dates and oatmeal for a little added sweetness and nutrient boost. Dates are high in fiber and a good source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin A. They are also high in natural sugars which provide an immediate and sustainable burst of energy (sustainable because it also has the high fiber content).

If you’re not a peanut butter fan or have an allergy, it is easy to substitute any nut butter in this smoothie or you can use Wow Butter, which is a soy based product (but does have added sugar) that has similar taste and texture to peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Smoothie

1 bananapeanut butter smoothie

1 tbsp. unsweetened or natural peanut butter

2 c. non dairy milk (we like almond but choose your favorite)

2 medjool dates, pitted

1/3 c. dry oatmeal

Put all ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Serves 2

Coming up… the Classic Berry Smoothie