The art of smoothie making

I am a dedicated smoothie drinker.

Almost everyday I guzzle down a 16 oz concoction of awesomeness juice. And because you can make a smoothie out of pretty much anything, the flavor profile is extensive. I have a pretty strict list of base ingredients tho, for different reasons.

I build the base of my smoothie pretty much the same way every time. I aim for 32 oz total, and split it in between two servings. I start with my supplements, juices, yogurt and leafy greens. For this smoothie, I used the following:

  • Stoneyfield plain whole milk yogurt – I don’t believe in low fat hype. In researching for myself, I have found that the fats in whole milk products, are good for you in moderation. I don’t eat dairy at every meal, but I don’t actively keep it out of my diet. I believe in the power of real, whole fat yogurt, cheese and butter. Even better when raw.
  • Pineapple juice- has a nice sweetening quality. It has also been known to help aid in digestion, has anti inflammatory properties and lots of vitamin c
  • Bolthouse Farms 100% carrot juice- carrot juice is shown to help in breast milk production. I like this type because there is absolutely no additives. It’s really just carrots.
  • Brewers yeast- this is for the help in breast milk production as well. It gives the smoothie almost a malt like texture. It’s also a good source of vitamin b, protien and chromium.
  • Chia seeds- I get this bag at SAMs club for under ten bucks. They’re a true super food. Omega 3s, Antioxidants, proteins, Vitamins… And they help you feel fuller longer.
  • Baby spinach- I just really like spinach. You could use really any greenery. Kale or a mix of spring greens would be good also.

This is the first round

First things first- juice. I immediately put in a total of 8 oz of juice. Next I add one tablespoon each of Brewers yeast and chia seeds.

By putting the juice in first and then the supplements, it will help get it well mixed

Next, I add a cup of spinach and a half cup of yogurt.
The weight of the yogurt holds the powder, seeds and spinach down so they get really well incorporated.

This way the spinach will be weighed down by the yogurt and will get completely chopped up

So, at this point I give the blender a quick pulse, to start chopping the spinach. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than spinach bits.
Now it’s time to really play with the flavor. At this point, I use only frozen fruits and berries. This way I can skip the ice, still have a nice thick smoothie and it’s gonna be cold.

I also save a lot of money by only buying stuff like Avocados, ginger, mangos, etc on sale. I only buy bananas when they’re “overripe” and are on deep discount. We also pick our own berries every season- this way they are cheap, plentiful and we get to choose our own. This is extremely valuable to us as most berries you buy in market aren’t actually ripe. A perfectly ripe strawberry is red all the way thru and much sweeter, compared to a market strawberry.

We process and freeze all of these things. It really cuts down the cost of eating healthy.

In this smoothie I decided to go berry berry banana – taste has a big to do about this but so does nutrition.

  • Avocado – healthy fats, vitamins a, b, c and k
  • Strawberries – manganese, dietary fiber, more vitamins
  • Raspberries – Vitamin k and magnesium
  • Banana – more manganese, vitamins, fiber and obviously potassium
  • Ginger – vitamins and minerals. Also adds a nice spice to it.

Here is my round of frozen add ins.

I also put the smaller stuff on bottom and my banana on top. Just breaks up more easily in my experience.

Here it is preblend…. not very smooth.

When using a blender, always go for the vortex. When you have a vortex, you know your blender is doing its job.

Not quite the amount I was aiming for

Since I didn’t get the 32 oz I was aiming for, I grabbed my apple juice. I add this in to get the desired amount and help thin it out a bit more.

Taa Daa! I’ll get what I want now

Add in the juice, and blend until completely smooth.

The smoothie vortex- this means the blender is doing it’s job

And here it is, the finished product. Two thick, cold smoothies.

I drink one and store the other in the fridge over night to have as brunch the next day.

I got these cups from Kmart, and the straw and lid from Walmart. Both are Ball products. We use them a lot- like when we are having a fire out back. The lids keeps any ashes or bugs out of the beverage in question and look pretty snazzy. Best part of the lid and straw is that they fit any regular mouth jar.

So there you have it- my fool proof how to smoothify your fruits and stuff.

I’m off to the next thing. Not sure what it is, but I’ll figure that out soon enough.

Until next time, have a wicked good afternoon.

“Lactation cookies” is not a very cool name.

I love breastfeeding my little girl. I feel like a nature goddess earth mama, capable of performing miracles. However, it’s not as easy as that. I had to really work hard to get my supply going. I tried EVERYTHING that I heard that seemed at least a little reasonable. Including about 4 different cookie recipes. They all worked, but not for my taste buds.

The first had SO much butter that the cookies were oily. The second ended up kinda bland. The problems kept going from there. So I did what any competent adult would do. I started playing.

What resulted is a cookie that is kinda cake, kinda oatmeal bar, kinda trail mixish. But in the end, if it looks like a cookie, call it a cookie. A lactation cookie.

Sounds delish, right?

They totally are.

Even my husband eats them. And he knows what they are for. And he could care less.

That’s a winning recipe in my book.

So, for this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups flour- I use unbleached all purpose white.
  •  4 tbsp brewer’s yeast
  • 4 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 & 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup regular peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup raisins

I like to get all my mixins together before starting.

Preheat your oven to 350. Don’t forget to do this, especially if your oven is a 30 year old electric oven that thinks it’s running 50 degrees hotter then it actually is.

I recommend this type of brewers yeast. It has a very mild flavor. I find this brand at an all natural grocer.

In a small bowl, combine brewers yeast, ground flax seed and water. It will become a thick paste. Make sure to mix this thoroughly.

Pretty appetizing, right?

In another medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Put this aside for now.

I use King Arthur brand flour, store brand baking soda and Morton salt.

In a large bowl, combine the softened butter, applesauce and brown sugar. Use a blender on low speed to mix these together.

I regularly substitute applesauce for oil or butter in recipes.

We make our own applesauce every year. In fact, we noticed that apples are starting to ripen already. We have quite a few things we do with apples every year. But that’s some other time.

I think that a regular hand blender is best for this type of job.

Next is to add the eggs, and blend those in completely.

Those eggs are literally 24 hours old. Perk of owning backyard chickens

After those are mixed in, grab your yeast and flax seed mix. Throw that in and use your blender to mix well.

oh so yummy.

Now, put in the tsp of vanilla extract and 1/2 cup peanut butter. Use your blender, one last time and make sure this is all mixed in very well.

It gets better looking, I swear

Ok, so it’s time to to ditch the blender in favor of your handy rubber spatula. Mr. Gillis and I own 5 of these in different sizes and shapes, for good reason. They are awesome. I am personally obsessed with the fact that it’s one solid piece.

You want to have nightmares? Go grab your two piece spatula, and take it apart. Proceed to throw it away and go get yourself some silicone or rubber ones like ours.

Wait for it…

Fold it in, slowly at first so you don’t end up with a face full of flour. It will take a couple minutes, but soon it looks like this.

Almost normal looking cookie dough!

Put in the oatmeal, raisins and chocolate chips. Fold these all in until they are really well incorporated. And there is a lot of wiggle room with the chocolate chips and raisins. I think craisins and walnuts would be worth a try. Or butterscotch chips and pecans. Ohhhh, we have cinnamon chips that I think would be worth a try….

Just make sure you use the three cups of uncooked old fashioned oats. The dough needs the stability.

This is when it looks more granola bar then cookie to me

Once everything is all mixed in, get ready. This recipe makes a lot of cookies, so I bake a dozen and portion and freeze the rest. The cookies are best fresh so don’t make them all at once. Seriously. This yielded 77 cookies total.

Here it is, finally ready to be baked

Grab a spoon and dish out your cookies on a VERY LIGHTLY greased cookie sheet.

Bake in your totally preheated to 350 degree oven, for 12 to 15 minutes. While your cookies are baking, get out another cookie sheet, line it with freezer paper, and portion out cookies. Since you’re freezing them, you can put them a lot closer to eachother.

I ended up with three of these baking sheets full .

Check the cookies in your oven often after the ten minute mark. You want them to be brown at the edges before you pull them out.

Just out of the oven.

Let them cool on the pan for five minutes and then transfer them to a wire cooling rack. Enjoy one, or three, while still warm with a cup of coffee or tea.

Seriously, eat a couple of these right off the wite rack. they are best fresh and warm

Meanwhile, don’t forget your freezer cookies. I store mine in a Tupperware container. I’ve had them keep for up to three weeks, but that’s because I eat them by then, not because they go bad.

To cook the frozen cookies, heat your oven to 350. Pop the still frozen cookies on your baking sheet. Cook for 15 – 17 minutes or until edges are browned.
Do not let these cookie thaw before cooking.

So there you have it. I keep these around as a healthier-ish snack instead of grabbing for other stuff (I’m looking at you Nutella fudge). I still have a whopping 30 lbs to lose to get to my pre-pregnancy weight… But breast feeding is hungry business. So these help and I don’t feel so bad indulging a little.

Another way I pseudo indulge is my brunch smoothie. But I make it in a way that it’s super healthy. And that is the topic of my next blog- the art of making a perfect smoothie. It’s a little more complicated then throw stuff in a blender and smash some buttons. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Until next time- have a wicked good day.

Some like it hot, some like it cold

Our little girl is almost three months old now, and we have been a breastfeeding success story so far. But it didn’t start out so well. The first 10 days were terrifying to me. She was losing weight instead of gaining. And I knew, deep in my gut, my milk wasn’t coming in. So I took matters into my own hands. 

I researched all sorts of old timey wives tales about what foods and supplements would help me. The same basic things kept popping up.

  • Fenugreek
  • Steel cut or old fashioned oats
  • Flax seed
  • Brewers yeast
  • Mothers milk tea
  • Lots of water

Fenugreek didn’t work for me or izzybug, it made us both feel gross. Plus I found one website that said not to take it if you were on any kind of thyroid medication. So I discontinued use immediately. 

I invested in a couple boxes of mothers milk tea, and settled on an organic one. I just sweeten it with a little bit of honey. I do only drink one cup a day, but I make it a 16 oz cup made with two tea bags. 

I also drink a brunch time smoothie everyday. The art of the perfect smoothie will have to wait, but it is important for today’s post to point out that I use whole milk yogurt, ground flax seed and Brewers yeast in my smoothies. 

I make a point to drink AT LEAST 64 oz of water every 24 hour period. This is extremely important, and the more you drink the better.

But for today I am giving up one of my two lactation recipes. I think eating this porridge for breakfast most days, really boosts my production and also gives me a nice full feeling. 

Honey Raisin Porridge

For this recipe you’ll need 

  • 1/2 cup Old fashioned or steel cut oats
  • 1/2 cup rinsed Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup Raisins
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • Honey 

 

Not pictured is the honey- it doesnt come in til the end

  
In a medium sauce pan, on medium to high heat, mix together the old fashioned oats, rinsed quinoa, milk, water, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg with a wisk until they are thoroughly incoporated. Get the mix to a high simmer, wisking pretty frequently. 

Once at a high simmer, turn the heat to low and cover. Let this go for 15 minutes, stirring every couple minutes. 

You want to make sure the spices don’t lump together, they are almost impossible to break up once it thickens

 
 If you like a softer porridge, let it go another minute or two. I like mine a little stiffer so I only go 14 minutes.

Once the porridge is cooked, wisk in your ground flax seed and raisins. Mix together well.

I could almost eat another bowl just looking at it

  
Serve warm with a little additional milk to thin it up and some honey. This recipe makes 4 portions equaling out to about 275 calories per portion. 

  

Typical breakfast for a weekday

 
I put leftovers in some sturdy Tupperware and it lasts nicely. It reheats easily in the microwave. 

So this is my nice, sensible breakfast recipe. For my next post I’ll be doing something a little more fun. Cookies!

So until then, have a wicked good afternoon.