Posts tagged ‘vegetables’

February 12, 2017

Green Smoothie Packs

I am always looking for ways to prepare for the week ahead and save myself some time. One of my biggest tips for success is making your morning as easy as possible with make ahead freezer Smoothie Packs. Our Vitamix is easily the most used tool in our kitchen. When both of us are home, we use it at least once a day. I like making green smoothies, but I hate making a mess in the morning. It always feels like a big to-do to get out a thousand ingredients, make sure things are fresh and pull it all together and then get it cleaned up before work. I was finding myself skipping it and opting for a yogurt that was quick and easy on my way out the door.

This is my solution; spend an hour to make 15 Smoothie Packs and stick them in the freezer. I find I don’t have to worry about wasting my fresh greens, I use almond milk or water and am on my way. Each pack makes two smoothies and I throw the extra in a Blender Bottle for the next morning. (Or great to share with someone else. :)) Let me tell you, that is VERY convenient on days when you need to be up and moving early. Those extra early days, I even grind my coffee beans the night before, set up my french press and fill the kettle with water to get myself a shot of caffeine without any fuss.

Now I know not everyone loves the idea of greens in their smoothie. I love that I can get a couple extra servings of veggies in before I start the day. We consider this about the Blue run version of green smoothies. My Green run starter version for newbies would use only spinach and ease into adding kale and other veggies. You will see that I include broccoli and carrots and I swear you will never know they are there. Sometimes I use the stocks of broccoli I am planning to cook and chop them into pieces, that way you are getting more bang for your buck. For a Black Diamond version, add Spirulina, Apple Cider Vinegar, or Cod Liver Oil (or all three!) This is a great way to hide healthy things in your diet, but beware, we have had a few versions that were a little too green.

In most cases, I hit up Costco and Trader Joe’s and get veggies that are already chopped to save some effort. One thing to pay attention to is trying not to let your frozen fruit melt as you build your packs. If you do, you end up with a giant fruitcicle in the bottom of your bags that can be tough to break up. (Trust me, I know!)

My mom makes her own non-green version, which we will share soon. Her’s are equally easy and super tasty!

Enjoy an easy way to get a healthy start to your day!


Green Smoothie Packs

Quart Size Ziplocks

Large Bag each Spinach and Chopped Kale

Variety of Frozen Fruit (4-6 Small bags)

Bananas, Sliced (Optional)

Bag of Broccoli Florets

Bag of Baby Carrots

Vanilla Protein Powder

Hemp/Chia/Flax Seeds (you can throw whole seeds into a Vitamix, for some blenders, use powdered versions)

Almond Milk


Lay out all your ingredients (pulling one or two bags of frozen fruit out at a time). Measure 1 cup of mixed frozen fruit and add to the bottom of your quart size bag. Put a couple broccoli florets and a few baby carrots next. Then add one handful of each spinach and kale. Next add 1 T of your choice of seeds and 1 scoop of protein powder. Carefully remove some of the air as you zip them closed. I tend to measure the ingredients that are high calorie and higher sugar and not worry too much about being exact with my greens. They are a great low calorie way to get lots of great things into your diet.


Put in the freezer as you complete them. (By putting the heavy ingredients on the bottom, when inverted into the blender, they will help push the greens down to the blades).


As needed, pull one smoothie pack out of the freezer and add to the blender. Add 1-2 cups of your choice of liquid. I like almond milk or water. Blend until smooth. Split into two portions, put one in a Blender Bottle in the fridge to be used the next day.

The great things about this is that you can use your favorite things! Whatever you prefer; throw it in! Get creative and adjust to your own taste. We started by replicating our favorite Whole Foods smoothies, and ended up removing the juice as we got used to drinking greens. If you prefer it, use a bit of juice too. All of these ingredients cost me about $25, that is less than $1.75 per smoothie! (The protein and hemp last through many more smoothies). Much better than the $8 Whole Foods versions. I always feel better and have more energy when I start my day with a green smoothie; I hope you enjoy too!

June 12, 2013

Summer Mixed Grill

One of the things that has always been a staple in our house is the mixed grill. As a kid, I remember my mom shopping on Sunday for the week and picking up veggies, fish, chicken and steak to cook that night. We always ate the fish the first night and set the chicken and steak aside for later in the week. The brilliance of this is that you can use the meat for anything! It could be as is with some veggies, or reworked into something like tacos, or pasta. It makes things so easy for planning and you can save yourself time on work nights. This is also a great thing to do for a group or a party as we did here. Throw in the veggies from the CSA box, and you are good to go. Everyone gets what they like and there are always leftovers! Buy whatever is fresh or on sale and throw it all together on the grill; the perfect summer dinner solution!


Mixed Grill

CSA Salad: Fresh lettuce, arugula, herbs, diced tomatoes and radishes, tossed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Tuna steaks marinated in Soy Vey Teriyaki grilled to medium.

Chicken legs grilled and basted with Grumpy’s BBQ sauce.

Teriyaki and pineapple sausage from Whole Foods…super delish!

Baby CSA artichokes steamed and drizzled with olive oil, pink flake salt and freshly cracked pepper.

CSA root veggies sautéed with onions in butter, then sherry vinegar to deglaze.




P.S. Up next is our CSA dessert: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie!

April 21, 2013

Birthday Dinner

Firsts together in a relationship are always memorable and sometimes a little stressful. (Remember the first time I cooked for BF?) After being treated to dinner at one of the premier restaurants in town for my birthday, I needed to take good care of BF for his! When I asked what he wanted to do, I was asked to make dinner. “Anything you want to make.” No pressure! We generally eat pretty healthy so I tried to find a way to keep it healthy and kick things up a bit. Thanks to Mary’s suggestion, I ended up finding a great idea in the lovely book “In the Royal Manner” by Paul Burrell. I chose Baked Sea Bass in Filo with Julienne Vegetables. Seriously DELICIOUS! It is such a nice way to put a twist on our usual baked salmon. It is festive and relatively easy and something that will be sticking around in the future. Try it out; you won’t be disappointed!



Baked Sea Bass in Filo with Veggies

Inspired by “In the Royal Manner”

3-4 T Butter

Several Handfuls of Fresh Spinach

2 Sheets Filo Pastry

2 5-Oz Portions of Skinless Sea Bass Filet Steaks

3 Carrots (varied colors if available)

1 Zucchini

1 Small Leek

1 Clove Garlic

Salt & Pepper


Preheat oven to 400°. Julienne or shred the vegetables to equal sizes. Heat a frying pan to medium heat and sauté chopped garlic and a bit of leek until softened. Add washed spinach to the pan and cover for about 3 minutes until wilted but still bright green. Remove from heat, squeeze some lemon over, top with salt and pepper, and allow to cool.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Spread filo out on workspace and brush with melted butter. Fold the sheet over on itself and brush again.

Place fish in the middle of the sheet and top with spinach.

Carefully fold the opposite corners of the filo up around the fish. Gently press to seal and brush with butter.

Repeat with the second piece of fish. Place the fish in the oven and allow to bake 20-25 minutes until golden and baked through.

About 5 minutes prior to the fish being done, heat remaining tablespoon of butter and sauté the vegetables until tender.

Divide the vegetables on two plates and top with the fish. Serve and enjoy!

Note: We did serve with brown rice, though you may not need it.


July 8, 2012

Purple Artichoke

We are having a bit of a lazy Sunday evening with another rainstorm moving through Colorado tonight (hooray!!) I was just thinking about this lovely gem I made one day; a purple artichoke. It was so pretty sitting on the shelf that I just couldn’t leave it. I think artichokes are great to begin with. They are a lot of work to eat and present a challenge to get a little reward, but so worth it. Artichokes are one of the few foods that we actually use the microwave to cook (even if it seems like sacrilege.) Let me tell you, it is super easy and you will be enjoying your artichoke in mere minutes. In our experience, this method is more consistent than boiling.

First, wash and clean the artichoke. Trim off the top to remove most of the points at the tips of the leaves. (You can trim the leaves you miss with scissors if you feel like it, though when it is just us we don’t.) Wrap the whole artichoke in plastic wrap and place in the microwave on high for 4-6 minutes or until the leave easily pull away from the artichoke. You can test it after four minutes, but be careful when removing the plastic wrap because that is some hot steam! After the artichoke is done, allow to cool while you melt a couple tablespoons of butter. Add a pinch of salt, fresh cracked black pepper, a bit of thyme, if you like, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the melted butter for dipping. Serve immediately or cold later, it will be delicious either way!


PS – If you have never cleaned an artichoke, once you have eaten all of the leaves, remove the soft center leaves and you will see the fibrous choke. Take a spoon and carefully remove the spiney part and enjoy the heart. J

June 20, 2012

JUICE! It’s good for you!

I was sitting in the house this morning, hungry for a smoothie. Found no frozen fruits and no FRUITS at all! So instead I took this weeks CSA food and BLENDED it into my morning drink! YUM!

I took:

4 full carrots, 4 small radishes and 1 beet and finely chopped them.


What PRETTY colors!

I added Coconut Milk and some Orange Juice to get the goods to blend. I also added a scoop of Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator for an added boost.


Tossed everything in the Magic Bullet (*As Seen on TV) since I still don’t have the JACK LALANNE POWER JUICER and the juicing began!


This turned into a beautiful orange smoothie juice drink with lots of nutritional value! I don’t think I added quite enough liquid, but I like the thicker consistency of this drink. Plus its a vegetarian delight!

Now I am enjoying my juice and listening to Jimmy Buffet—Q97pG4

What a good morning/afternoon!

*no animal biproduct was hurt during the making of this drink.

**inspired by Juicing Vegetables 


June 6, 2012

Shrimp Stir Fry

Looking for something quick and easy for dinner? Look no further! By combining some of this week’s CSA items with some extra veggies and lovely shrimp, we got an easy stir fry. I found a bottle of sweet chili sauce in the fridge and thinned it with a little wine and fresh orange juice. We used our CSA garlic scapes for some fragrance and bite, some amazing CSA sugar snap peas (I wish I had a whole bushel!), organic red bell pepper, some CSA greens, an artichoke heart, and an orange left over from a race goodie bag. Try to keep the veggies the same size. Cook on medium high heat starting with the garlic, then larger veggies, then shrimp, then greens. Toss in sauce when you add the shrimp. Try not to overcook, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Serve over rice or on its own and enjoy!


May 27, 2012

CSA Soup

As we told you earlier this week, we got our first CSA box of the season! Participating in CSA is amazing for so many reasons: it means fresh local food all summer, you get to support local farmers, and you get a surprise in a box every week! Because we don’t know what is coming each week, it presents a challenge of creating something out of what you bring home. This week’s box included braising greens…LOTS of greens. I have wanted to make white bean and escarole soup for a while, so was born my CSA version. Fresh greens + spring onions + spring garlic + a few pantry items = healthy bean and veggie soup! Great for a cool spring evening. Add whatever veggies are your favorite for some variety. You can make this a day or two ahead and it makes great leftovers for lunch. J


White Bean and Braising Greens Soup

Inspired by Bon Appétit via Epicurious

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 large carrots, cut into small dice

6 spring garlic bulbs, peeled, finely diced (or 5 cloves of garlic flattened to be removed after sauté)

4 cups (packed) 1-inch pieces braising greens

4 cups (or more) canned vegetable broth or low-salt chicken stock

2 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained

1 14 1/2- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (for garnish)

Heat oil in heavy large Dutch over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrot and garlic and sauté until onion is golden and tender, about 7 minutes.

Add braising greens; stir 3 minutes.

Add 4 cups broth, beans and tomatoes and bring to boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until escarole is tender and flavors blend, about 20 minutes. Thin with more broth, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve with an arugula salad dressed with lemon and enjoy!

May 23, 2012

First CSA of the Season!

Got our first CSA box of the season from our local Red Wagon Farms…

Hmm… what will we do with our broccoli rabe, garlic, walking onions, turnips, braising greens and arugula?

We’ll see and let you know. P.S. Any ideas?



March 10, 2012

Asparagus Frittata

I’ll be honest, I hate eggs. I do think that they stick with me better than oatmeal, so I like to eat them once in a while after a workout. I put goodies so the eggs aren’t in the forefront.

So here’s my post-workout frittata.


Asparagus Frittata

6 whole eggs

1 egg white

Cheddar cheese


10 Asparagus spears, blanched and chopped, reserve the 6-8 tips for decoration.

1 tomato, chopped

½ small onion, chopped

Butter or olive oil


Salt & pepper


Preheat broiler.

Sauté onion, till translucent. Add chopped tomato and cook till the liquid is evaporated. Remove from pan and set aside. Clean pan and melt one Tbsp butter.

At the last minute, crack eggs and egg white (to make it puffier) into blender or magic bullet. Add a splash of milk, herbs, Tabasco, salt and pepper and 1Tbsp of cheddar cheese. Blend a couple seconds till puffy. Put half the tomatoes and asparagus in the pan. Add blended eggs and cook over medium low heat. Add the rest of the veggies, ending with the asparagus tips in a spoke pattern.




July 7, 2011

Summertime Succotash

As I mentioned in our Americana Steak post, we made succotash as our accompaniment for our fabulous steak. Now, I have been reminded several times, that succotash means lima beans. Lima beans don’t really top my list of favorite foods. It’s not really that I don’t like them, I just haven’t had any great lima beans…so when I saw this recipe, I knew it was right up my alley. The lima beans are replaced with green beans, yum! This was a quick and easy way to switch up our regular vegetable options. We did adjust this recipe a little based on the vegetables we had available. The big changes we made to this were that we threw the corn on the grill before adding it, we left the peppers fresh, and we were lacking zucchini (but I am sure that would be awesome). We left the corn a bit on the underdone side so it wouldn’t be overdone when added to the pan. This was a great way to round out our meal.

One other thing—If you struggle with corn going everywhere when you cut it off the cob, try this little trick. Get out your Bundt pan, yes the one for baking, place the corn cob vertically in the center of the pan and cut the kernels off as you normally would. All of the kernels will fall into the pan, keeping them contained. It is like magic! (Sorry I don’t have photos, I will remember next time!)


Summertime Succotash

Based on the ‘Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook

1 to 1 ½ c green and/or yellow wax beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces

2 T olive oil

1 T butter

¾ c minced scallions (white and light green parts only)

1 zucchini, diced

1 yellow or orange bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced

1 ½ c fresh corn kernels

¾ cup corn stock, chicken stock, or fish stock

¼ c heavy whipping cream

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Blanch the beans in boiling salted water for 5-7 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and cook gently for one minute, until slightly soft. Add the zucchini, pepper and corn kernels (reserve if grilled) and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the beans, stock and cream (and corn if grilled) and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the liquid is reduced to a thick, creamy consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

%d bloggers like this: