Back to School Smoothies – Apple Carrot

back to school smoothies

Mornings can often be a rush and a challenge to get everyone a good balanced breakfast and out the door on time, it’s one of the reasons I love Back to School smoothies. They are a quick, easy way to pack a bunch of important nutrients into one glass and start the day right.

If you’re like me you have a love – hate relationship with this time of year. I love that the kids are occupied elsewhere during the day and I can focus on other things, the golden late summer sun and promise of fall in the air. I do not like having to make lunches or get up in the mornings and rush out the door, I prefer a slower pace and making lunch later.

As a result I get up in the mornings with the shortest amount of time I possibly need to get us all fed and out the door (I can do it in about 30 minutes), which often means prepping things the night before and getting creative with breakfasts (this is also why I love overnight oats).

You know what they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day! and I agree a good breakfast sets you up for a good, productive and successful day. This is why smoothies are a great solution. There are all kinds of varieties and combinations so everyone can have something they like; and I can easily make them night before (in it’s entirety or packing the blender and adding the liquid and blend in the morning). They are also portable, so if we’re running short on time we toss the smoothie into a to go glass and take it out the door and no one misses breakfast!

Tips for Making a Healthy and Balanced Morning Smoothie

It’s important to make a smoothie your child likes but it’s also important to keep in mind IMG_1593these few tips to make it a balanced, filling and energizing smoothie.

  1. Don’t make it fruit heavy – make sure it’s more than just fruit and milk
  2. Steer away from the juice – use non dairy milks, coconut water or just water itself to blend your smoothie
  3. Add in some protein – things like chia, hemp and flax seeds are all excellent sources of protein and when blended into the smoothie are not even noticeable. This also helps you feel fuller longer.
  4. Add in some greens if you can – I know some kids watch what you do like hawks and if they see one green thing going in there they won’t drink it even if they can’t see or taste it! If you can, adding a handful of greens like spinach, will give them that extra boost for the day.
  5. Change it up – have a few smoothie recipes on the go for your back to school mornings. Variety is good and keeps kids interested. It’s also helpful as the seasons change and what’s available in season in the grocery stores.

To get you going and inspired, we’re going to share some great Back to School smoothie recipes here on the blog over the next two weeks. Today we’re starting with my Apple Carrot Smoothie, which is a beautiful use of many of the things that are currently being harvested (like the sweet delicious apples from our apple tree).

Apple Carrot Smoothie

3 applesapple carrot smoothie (2)

1 stalk of celery

2 carrots

1 handful of spinach

2 tsp. hemp seeds

Water or *coconut water

Put all ingredients into you blender and mix thoroughly til smooth.

Enjoy!

Serves 3

*coconut water is high in carbohydrates, potassium, magnesium and fiber. It has a sweet nutty distinct flavor so test it with your kids (a small sip in a separate glass) before adding it to the smoothie

And smoothies aren’t just for kids or breakfast! These are great for adults too and as snacks or a pick me up during the day.

Coming up next… the Peanut Butter Smoothie


A Coffee Smoothie…yes!

warm capuccino-saidaonlineThere’s nothing like a good cup of coffee. That fragrant aroma wafting through the air, the warmth of your mug as you gently lift it up and breathe, pause, then take a sip. Ahhh…I love coffee. And lately I have been drinking a lot of it. Well a lot for me, comparatively to other people I really don’t drink much at all. I drink maybe a cup a day, and there are some days none at all, but for a girl who used to drink one cup of decaf maybe once a week, a full caffeinated brew every day is a lot!

It’s all those fantastic flavored coffees that have done me in, toasted coconut, cinnamon pastry. But they don’t come in decaf and it is the caffeine that sends me flying, high on energy and sometimes a little shaky, probably not so good for me. Yet when the german chocolate cake is calling…

IMG_4721Luckily there’s a smoothie for that 🙂 Yes a way to still get my coffee fix, cause really I think what I am looking for is the flavor, and make it a more healthy choice and experience. It consists of all kinds of good things, like flax seed, cacao, honey and almond milk, with that little splash of coffee to finish it off.

It is quite yummy and satisfying. In fact, I made it for a friend of mine a couple of years ago, an avid coffee drinker and an avid smoothie avoider, and he loved it! He now enjoys them regularly. I also shared it with my mother this past weekend who is very much a smoothie drinker and loves her coffee, so it wasn’t really a hard sell, but she loved it and immediately asked for the recipe.

The recipe is quite simple, combining all the ingredients in the blender, mix and ready to serve. It can easily be made ahead and drunk later in the day, or right away, as I am sure you will not be able to wait.

Chocolate Mocha Smoothie

3/4 c. unsweetend almond milk

2 tbsp. cacao powder

1-2 oz. coffee (you can use decaf if you prefer, or any flavored coffee that you feel goes well with chocolate)

1 tbsp. flax seed oil

1 tbsp. vegan protein powder

1 tsp. honey

optional: 2 ice cubes (this thickens up your smoothie if prefered)

Put all ingredients into a Vitamix blender. Mix until smooth. Enjoy!

For the Love of Fall… and a peek of what’s to come

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Camping in Drumheller

It’s that time of year again, back to school, back to routines and also time to try new things.   We had a fantastic summer full of camping trips, days at the lake and all kinds of other adventures. You may have noticed I was suspiciously absent during the month of August. This is because I packed up the kids and went to Australia for 3 and a half weeks! My sister is there for a year with her family as her husband is on a teacher exchange.

I couldn’t resist the opportunity, as Australia is a place I absolutely love! And even though I have been before there is so much to see and do, it was time to go again. Plus this time we included a week in New Zealand, which I had not been to before.

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Sydney Harbour, Australia

As a result I have tons of things to share with you and lots of blog posts to write about where to go and what to see in that area of the world. So this Fall I will include a weekly feature about some fabulous place in Australia or New Zealand. Giving you the scoop on how it works for families and children and what recommendations we have.

Also this Fall I will continue with sharing fabulous recipes that I have found and tried, that are sugar and dairy free, and sometimes gluten free. There seems to be an endless stream of yummy recipes out there! and I have a big bag (literally) full of them to try. For instance this morning I made Apple Cinnamon muffins again, which I tried last year and we really enjoyed. This year I tried something a little different, using leftover almond mash from making almond milk. They were so moist and yummy… Of course I promptly shared them with my neighbor and friends this morning over coffee as we sat outside amongst the beautiful fall leaves.

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Apple Cake Muffin

These are the posts I will guarantee in amongst all the joys, trials and insights of having 3 children, whether it be tips on how to get them out the door in the morning or programs and crafts that I would recommend. And sometimes whatever moves me, whether it be a good book I’ve enjoyed or a moment I need to share. This is the joy of blogging!

Right now I am up to my ears in apples, like last year, we have reaped an abundant crop from our tree and are enjoying apple everything. I have made more crumbles than I can count, as well as pie, muffins, smoothies (ever tried an apple pie smoothie? Yum!), juice, etc. Though I have recently discovered apple butter – OMG! delicious and might try making that.

Fall is also my most favorite time of year! and I get super excited and motivated at this time of the year. Seasonally it is a time of ending, getting ready for a period of ‘rest’, but I see it as a time of new beginnings with all kinds of things that I want to try, or the kids want to try. Plus I love the warm golden sunny days, and the crisp Fall evenings. Gorgeous.

IMG_4087With that, I will leave you with the promise of what’s to come, and thoughts of what you’re favorite things about Fall are, or famous apple recipes you love. May you enjoy all that the season has to bring and more.

What are your favorite things/ activities in Fall? Have any good apple recipes? I’d love to try them. Please post in the comments below.

Holiday Delights Sugar and Dairy Free Egg Nog

One of the many things I love about Christmas is the fun holiday drinks you can have. Things like hot apple cider, Christmas Jones, Angels Delight and my favorite Egg nog. It is a rich creamy drink that you can have virgin style or add a dash of rum if you like. Either way it is delicious, especially if you sprinkle a little nutmeg or cinnamon on top.

Only available at Christmas, as soon as it came out in the stores I would buy it – sometimes as early as October – to enjoy and savour my first cup. Matthew also really likes egg nog and was asking me to buy some for him as soon as he saw it in the store. Unfortunately egg nog has the two things our family doesn’t anymore, dairy and sugar; therefore I was in a bit of a quandry. Some things I could live without, egg nog did not seem to be one of them, so I went on a hunt for one that would meet our needs. I knew there had to be one out there.

There are quite a few non-dairy options out there, Vita-soy makes a Holly Nog from soy milk, as does Earth Balance, Silk and So-Delicious (coconut milk) as well as nogs with almond milk. I even discovered a rice milk egg nog made by Rice Dream. But though these are all great dairy free options they are still sweetened with evaporated cane sugar, which we can’t have; we needed one with a natural sweetener.

Since I couldn’t find one in the stores,  I came home and hopped online to see what recipes I could find on the internet. (I love the internet it has opened up a whole new world for me and I often wonder how we ever got along without it). My preference was an egg nog made with almond milk so that is what I looked for; and I found 2 really good recipes that I have made and we all tried.

The first one I found on Incredible Smoothies, a website founded by Tracy Russell who eats a high raw vegan diet. She has all kinds of great smoothie recipes on her site. The recipe for egg nog, I really liked as it does not contain eggs, (which I was concerned about for the twins as egg nog usually contains raw eggs), and it was all made in the blender, sweetened with frozen bananas! It was fast, easy, simple and delicious!

The second recipe I found on Healthful Pursuit by Leanne Vogel, who shares recipes, travel, food and life experiences on her site. This recipe for egg nog contains egg yolks as well as coconut milk, but is cooked on the stove. At first I thought that this would not turn out so well as I thought “Warm egg nog? Really?” but it turned out to also be delicious! And the fact that it was cooked on the stove eliminated my concern about the twins having raw eggs, so they could have it too. It was also really good warm. Leanne says you can let it cool and enjoy it, but I found due to the coconut milk, it congealed in little chunks when it cooled, and though not bad you had small pieces of coconut milk in your egg nog. I have leftovers in the fridge that I will be heating up when I enjoy it.

The kids enjoyed both recipes too. Matthew’s favorite was the one from Incredible Smoothies, I really liked the one from Healthful Pursuit (I found it a little bit creamer and lighter) and the twins, well they liked both and didn’t seem to favor one or the other (they are so easy to please those two 🙂

Dairy free egg nog with almond milk

The only downside with the stove top recipe is you end up with leftover egg whites and unless you have something to use them for they end up going to waste.

Either way we now have 2 delicious, dairy free, sugar free egg nog options, which even John tasted and said is “Way better than the store bought stuff.” We can easily make them at home whenever we like, and as much as we like 🙂

So if you’re looking for a non dairy egg nog that you can make yourself or simply wish to try something new, these recipes are great (and they also happen to be gluten free as well). Once you’ve tried them come back and comment letting us know what your favorite is, or if you’ve found another egg nog recipe that you like and are willing to share!

Have fun and enjoy that glass of egg nog!

Raw Vegan Egg Nog with Almond Milk

1 1/4 c. plain almond milk (you can make your own almond milk, it’s super easy)

2 frozen bananas, peeled and sliced

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

dash of clove

dash of sea salt

1 date (soaked for 10 minutes)

1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Put all ingredients in a blender. Start on low speed and move up to high. Blend on high for 20-30 seconds until mixture is smooth. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired.

Almond Nog

4 egg yolks

2 1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk

1-400 ml can of coconut milk

1/4 c. coconut palm sugar

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch all spice

Separat the eggs and place the egg yolks in a bowl. Set aside.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan on medium heat bringing mixture to a simmer. Once simmering reduce heat to low.

Slowly add 1/4 c. of the hot liquid to the egg yolks in a bowl, whisking continuously. Continue adding liquid to the egg yolks until you’ve added 1 cup, then transfer new mixture to saucepan. Turn heat back up to medium and simmer for 4 minutes, whisking continuously.

Remove from heat and serve immediately or put into a mason jar and refrigerate.

Sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired.

*note recipes have been reposted with permission of the original authors