Mango Spinach Banana Smoothie

It took falling in love with this smoothie to get me writing again. Not that this is the only delicious food I’ve eaten in the past 5 months but it a unique enough drink that I had to share. It all started when my coworker Angela had me taste a spinach mango smoothie she made with chia seeds. I had one sip and literally thought about it for the next two days until  I picked up frozen Mangoes to make it myself.

I spent some time researching mango spinach smoothie recipes and put one together based on what I like in smoothies (I prefer frozen fruit without any ice for a smoother consistency).

After much anticipation out came my new favorite smoothie that my daughter loves as well. Delicious and loaded with nutrition which makes me happy for myself and the baby I’m feeding in my womb. The chia seeds are a great touch to thicken the smoothie and the banana is a great subtle addition to the tropical mango flavor. If you don’t finish the whole smoothie you can put it in the fridge and the chia seeds will thicken it so you can still enjoy it the next day. That’s right it doesn’t turn to liquid mush like most leftover smoothies do.

Mango Spinach Banana Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen mangoes
  • 1/2 cup packed spinach leaves (with stems if fine)
  • 1/2 fresh banana
  • 1/2-1 Tbsp chia seeds (I usually use 1 Tbsp)
  • 8-10 ounces of vanilla almond milk (soy or cows milk would work here too)

Directions

  • Place all the ingredients into a Magic Bullet Blender (or other blender) and emulsify until all the spinach and mangoes are pureed and ENJOY!

Fighting Fruit Fatigue

You may remember I talked about fruit fatigue at the beginning of the month in my choose cherries post. Well today I discussed ways to fight fruit fatigue on Twin Cities Live. Try new ways to to eat fruit instead of only eating apples, bananas, oranges and watermelon. Many fruits are available year round in dried, juice, frozen or canned forms. The recommended amount of fruit for adults is 1-2 cups per day. Only one if 5 Americans are getting enough fruit each day, are you? I hope so and if not read on for some great ways to increase your fruit intake for a long, healthy life.

I showed viewers ways to cook with dried cherries, tart cherry juice, pears, grapefruits and grapefruit juice! I was also lucky enough to be accompanied by my cousin Jess who took so many lovely pictures during the segment.  Check out the finished dishes below (recipes linked at the bottom). I highly recommend the cherry chili for a delicious warm winter dish, the smoothie for breakfast or a snack, the baked brie as a Christmas party appetizer, the salad as a dinner party starter, the grapefruit slaw served with tilapia or cod and the ginger grapefruit spritzer as a party cocktail!

Prepping the food before the show
Cherry Chili and the Yogurt Cherry Smoothie ingredients ready to make live
Candied Walnut, Pear and Leafy Green Salad and Baked Brie en Crout with Pears
Grapefruit Slaw and Ginger Grapefruit Spritzers
 

Twin Cities Live Segment: Fruit Fatigue Link

Recipe Links

Cherry Chili
Cherry Yogurt Smoothie
Candied Walnut, Pear and Leafy Green Salad – try topping with goat cheese
Brie en Croute with Pears – I used croissants in place of the frozen pastry puff
Grapefruit Slaw – I topped it with grated fresh ginger
Ginger Grapefruit Spritzer

Choose Cherries

Fall is upon us which means colder weather, falling leaves and for many back to the routine cold weather fruits. Nearly half of the fruit Americans eat are from oranges, bananas, apples and watermelon alone. While I love all four of those I also find myself searching for more variety and trying to avoid the dreaded fruit fatigue. Whether your 20, 30, 80 or a small child, we can all benefit from fruit so don’t let your intake go down this winter because of boredom! Only one in five Americans currently reaches their recommended intake of fruit each day (1-2 cups). One easy way to increase your intake is to try new fruit and recipes and fight off fruit fatigue. That’s why November’s food of the month is tart cherries.

Cherries are known as a super fruit for their powerful antioxidant properties that help reduce inflammation and in turn may help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease or decrease the symptoms of arthritis. They are also a great source of potassium and recent research shows they may relieve muscle pain for active adults.

It’s no surprise that eighty-seven percent of Americans put taste as their number one consideration when purchasing food. Cherries sweet, tart and juicy flavor will keep you coming back for more. Another plus for cherries are the many forms available year round (fresh, frozen or dried) making it easy to add them to your daily intake. They’re also a great fruit for the holiday season; their bold red color can brighten any dish and add flavor to meats, stuffings, sides and desserts.

To start out this month I made a new cherry smoothie recipe from Choose Cherries. I really enjoyed the hint of cinnamon mixed with the sweet honey and tart cherries.

Cherry Berry Smoothie

Ingredients

1/2 cup frozen tart cherries, pitted
1/2 cup 1% low fat milk
1/4 cup plain lowfat yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon cherry juice concentrate
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
8 ice cubes

Garnish

1 tablespoon slivered toasted almonds
1 tablespoon chopped dried tart cherries

Directions


Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth. Pour into two chilled glasses
Another one of my favorite ways to eat cherries is in a pork dish my mother in law makes. If you like savory with a touch of sweet I highly recommend trying this recipe.

Pork Roast Tenderloin with Dried Cherries and Rosemary

Serves 6
Source: The Foster’s Market Cookbook by Sara Foster 

Ingredients

Two 1-pound pork tenderloins
½ cup dried cherries
1/3 cup dry red wine
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¾ cup good-quality, all-natural cranberry juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 shallots, cut in half lengthwise
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Directions

1. Rinse the pork loin, pat dry, and place in a shallow glass or ceramic baking dish.  Set aside.
2. Whisk together the cherries, wine, vinegar, cranberry juice, shallots, and rosemary in a bowl.  Pour this mixture over the pork, cover, and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight, turning the pork several times.
 3. Heat the olive oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat.  Remove the pork from the marinade (reserve the marinade) and place the pork in the heated skillet.  Cook the pork on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes total time, until light brown.   (I browned in my electric skillet then transferred to a baking dish).
 4. Pour the reserved marinade over the pork and place the skillet (or baking dish) in the oven.  Roast, basting several times, 20 to 25 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 150 to 155 degrees.  The meat will be a very light pink color.  (NOTE:  The pork will continue cooking after it is removed from the oven).
 5. Remove the pork from the baking dish and place on a grooved carving board.  Cover the pork loosely and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before carving.
 6. Season with salt and pepper.  Slice into ¼-inch pieces and spoon the pan juices over the pork.  Serve immediately.
I’m also really excited to try Cooking Light‘s Wild Rice Stuffing with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pecans from the November 2011 issue.
For more information and numerous great cherry recipes go Choose Cherries

Coffee and Banana Smoothie

Ever since I talked my husband into buying a Magic Bullet in December I’ve been on a smoothie kick, trying recipes I find in magazines and perfecting my own concoctions. My last Health Magazine featured a Coffee and Banana smoothie that I’ve been wanting to adapt and try. I’ve always loved the creamy combination of peanut butter with bananas and coffee sounded like a nice new way to enjoy one of my favorite fruits. My initial thought was this could either turn out great or disgusting. I was lucky to find it was the latter. Initially I made this one for myself only since my husband doesn’t like coffee but it was so delicious I made a second one for him so I didn’t have to share mine.  It was filling, rich, creamy and caffeinated!  This would be the perfect breakfast before a morning workout or long day of work and I can just picture how great it would be during the afternoon blues when hunger and drowsiness kick in.

I did learn a few things from making it twice back to back.
Number one: Use a frozen banana (I always toss bananas in the freezer if they start to brown or “over ripen” to use in baking or smoothies). I only had one banana in my freezer so the second smoothie had a fresh one. Truly, the one with the frozen banana was noticeably better to both of us.
Two: Chill the coffee before you add it. We have an espresso machine so I made 3 ounces of coffee with espresso beans and then added ice to get to 1/2 cup and chill it quickly.
Three: Choose your sweetener. The original recipe calls for 2 tsp sugar but sugar isn’t my favorite sweetener. You could choose Splenda or Truvia to decrease the calories or a natural sweetener like honey.

COFFEE BANANA SMOOTHIE

Ingredients

  • 1 sliced, peeled FROZEN banana
  • 1 cup soy milk or other low fat milk (I used a light vanilla soy milk)
  • 1/2 cup cold black coffee
  • 1/2 cup of ice
  • 1/4 cup plain low fat yogurt (regular or Greek)
  • 1 packet of Splenda or 1 tsp honey or 2 tsp sugar (Note: if you use a flavored soy milk you may not need to add sweetener)

Directions

Add all the ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth and Enjoy!