It’s Green….eewww

IMG_4568Greens, greens, greens, one of the first things I hear when talking about diet is that we should eat more greens. There certainly is a variety to choose from like spinach, lettuce, kale, chard, dandelion, etc. all fall into this category. They are rich in fiber, vitamins (like vitamin C, K, E), minerals and have many disease fighting benefits.

But honestly, greens are not always that appetizing. Seriously, I can only eat so many salads, so many different ways and then my body is craving something else. A totally different texture and sweetness even. I don’t care how good for you they are, I get to a point when I cannot possible eat another leafy thing. (You’re with me aren’t you?) Salads can get boring even after you have come up with all different kinds of ways to spice them up! Whether it be nuts, dried fruit, salad dressing etc. You need a change!

So how do you get those oh so beneficial greens in on a daily basis? In fact vegetables in general sometimes I can find a challenge. They recommend 5 servings of veg a day and often I get to supper and may not have had even one.

What I have discovered is the magic of smoothies! They are a great way to get all kinds of things into your body in a quick, easy and yummy way. There are all kinds of great recipes and combinations out there that are absolutely delicious. And sometimes you may not even notice the ‘good stuff’ (like spinach) that’s in there because you can’t really taste it.

IMG_4309Every morning I make a delicious tasting green smoothie that includes a bunch of greens and some fruit to sweeten it up. That way first thing I am getting not only some vegetables, but some green vegetables right away! I make it religiously and even my kids love it and enjoy it as well, asking for some when I make it. (Score!) I miss it on the odd day that I do not make it, usually because I am out of some ingredient and haven’t gone to the store yet.

Now there are lots of variations on a green smoothie out there an honestly some of them are not very good. They look a gross colored green when mixed, they don’t taste that great, and though good for you I end up choking it down, trying not to bring it back up. Gross! Who wants to drink that! I don’t care how good it is for me.

IMG_4573I had tried one before that was cucumber, spinach, celery, parsley, lemon, banana and water. It was ok and I drank it, got the health benefits, but honestly it was not that tasty. And seriously if I am going to eat healthy then I want it to taste good to. I am not a believer in healthy having it taste like cardboard, or having to choke it down. Food is supposed to taste good, we are supposed to enjoy our food. It is one of pleasures of being on this planet and being human, food! So I did this first version for a while and then gave up, it just didn’t provide the taste I was looking for. So good for me or not, I ditched it. (Though for someone else this may be totally the kind of taste and smoothie you are looking for! To each his own right?)

It was when I was in Hawaii a couple of years ago that I discovered my recent combination for a green smoothie. Spinach, mint, papaya and more this smoothie not only looked a lovely vibrant green it tasted absolutely delicious! I was sold. I wrote down the ingredients and came home to create my own. I played a little bit with the amounts, got it how I wanted and now everyday I enjoy this yummy, sweet, nice looking green delicious smoothie. I even have both my mother and sister (and sometimes even my Dad and that’s saying something because my Dad is not really a smoothie guy) enjoying this smoothie everyday. Once I shared it with them and they tasted it, they were hooked as well.

Now of course, I am going to share it with you, and I hope you love it! If you’re not a sweet kind of person it may not work for you but give it a go and see. Kids for sure will love it and it is such a fabulous easy way to get in those vegetables and fruits that we may not be getting in daily. Smoothies in general  have endless possibilities…. but that is another post.

Green Smoothie

1 c. spinachIMG_4567

3-4 stems of parsley

1 sprig of mint

*1/2 c. papaya

1/2 c. pineapple

1/2 c. mango

1/2 -3/4 c. apple juice

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

*I usually 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

Makes one glass of yummy green smoothie

 

Leprechaun’s, Shamrocks and More – St. Patrick’s Day Crafts for Kids

 

Chloe and Luke making their Shamrock Man

St. Patrick’s Day is one of those fun unique holidays that you can really get into if you choose to. I’ve always loved the concept of green beer, (as an adult of course), shamrocks and leprechaun’s and pots of gold. And it is the one day that you can never get too sick of the color green!

I always find holidays like this so much more fun when you can celebrate with kids, whether it be your own, nieces, nephews or children you work with. As usual there is a plethora of St. Patrick’s Day crafts that are fun and colorful to make surrounding this holiday.

I had planned to make a couple of these crafts with the kids only to find when I went to our craft supplies that we were missing a few things. No matter, tomorrow a trip to the dollar store will remedy that. We were able to make Shamrock Men, which is one of my favorite crafts due to the accordion arms and legs (I have done a similar heart man for Valentine’s Day).

Luke and Chloe enjoy making crafts and as soon as I announced that we were making one they ran into the kitchen and sat down at the table. I had precut the shamrocks and strips of paper but I let them do all the folding and glueing and Chloe even drew a face on her shamrock’s by herself. Chloe was very into it, while Luke though interested got easily distracted with trains and playdoh, but he did finish it.

Both Luke and Chloe squealed with delight when they were done and started making their shamrocks dance and sing. It was pretty cute to watch. Tomorrow I would like to make the pot of gold which will probably end in a lot of glitter everywhere, but that’s ok we can all sparkle for a while.

I love the make your own Blarney Stone idea as well (below,) but we needed to gather a few supplies to do that one and could easily get away with making it after St. Patrick’s Day. I myself, have been to Blarney to kiss the Blarney Stone, set high up in the castle of Blarney; and it is quite a unique experience. I am not going to spoil it by telling you what happens as I think half the fun is experiencing it for yourself, but let’s just say it was not what I expected! Needless to say if you have the chance go and do it, it’s worth it. In the meantime you and your little ones can enjoy your own little Blarney Stone at home.

I imagine the kids will love creating their own and will be kissing them in no time (reminds me of kissing frogs for some reason – ha ha).

St. Patrick’s Day Crafts

Pot of Gold

black and green construction paper

white glue

gold glitter

scissors

paper plate

something small and round to use as stamper to make gold coins

Draw and cut out pot on black construction paper. Glue the pot onto a piece of green construction paper, centering it and leaving enough room at the top to make the ‘gold coins’.

Pour glue on paper plate, dip stamper into glue and press it onto paper above pot. Pour gold glitter on paper until glue is completely covered. Gently tap the back of paper to remove any excess gold glitter. Tip – tap it onto another paper plate or piece of paper so you can use excess glitter for future crafts. 

St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Man

green construction paper

white paper

googley eyes

glue

scissors

black marker

Draw a large shamrock on green construction paper and cut it out. Draw 4 small shamrocks on green construction paper and cut them out (these will be for hands and feet).

Cut 4 strips of white paper about 1 inch wide. Fold the strips back and forth like an accordion. Glue 2 strips either side of large shamrock for arms, glue the other 2 at the bottom for legs.

Glue small shamrocks on the ends of each strip for hands and feet. Glue googley eyes on large shamrock and draw in mouth with black marker.

Blarney Stone

Blarney Castle, Ireland

smooth clean river rock

brush

green paint

glue

markers

glitter, sequins, jewels, bits of yarn

Make sure rock is clean and dry. Paint it green. Let dry.

Once paint is dry decorate with glitter, sequins, etc. When glue is dry from decorating draw on face using markers.

Luke folding his accordion arms

Voila! Your own kissable Blarney Stone.