Dinosaur Smoothie

Dinosaur Smoothie Recipe - Under the Monkey Bars Blog

Since I got my Vitamix last year, I’ve been making more smoothies than ever. I love trying different recipes. Over time, I’ve developed a few of my own. Our favorite lately is this Dinosaur Smoothie!

Did you read about my cleanse? This is the homemade smoothie I added to my nourishing cleanse. I started making it in the summer with coconut water for extra hydration. Now that it’s winter, I really love how it tastes with almond milk. They’re obviously really different, but the flavor and texture only changes a bit so use whatever you have on hand. 

The star of this smoothie is lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale. Those deep green leaves make the smoothie color super bright. Kale adds tons of vitamins to this smoothie including vitamin K, A, C, and manganese. It’s cancer fighting, anti-inflammatory, a natural detoxifier, and it helps support your brain, heart, and eyes. When you shop for kale, try to buy organic as it is one of the most heavily pesticide-sprayed crops. 

I love this Dinosaur Smoothie recipe because there’s no sweetener. Most healthy, non-dairy smoothie recipes call for honey, syrup, agave, dates, or nut butter. Pineapple sweetens up this smoothie naturally, while aiding heathy digestion. Did you know pineapple also supports a glowing complexion? More pineapple please!

Cut up a whole pineapple and freeze it into chunks. You’ll have plenty on hand for the next time you make a Dinosaur Smoothie. Use the hard pineapple’s hard to make flavored water. It’s one of the monkey’s favorites after school!

Try this smoothie and let me know how you like it in the comments. Cómelo todo!

Dinosaur Smoothie
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 3 leaves dinosaur kale (lacinato), rib removed
  2. 5 chunks frozen pineapple
  3. 1/2 banana
  4. 5 oz coconut water or almond milk
  5. 5 ice cubes
  6. 4 inches of cucumber, sliced
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
Notes
  1. - Yields 16 ounces.
  2. - Buy organic ingredients when possible.
  3. - Freeze the other banana half for another day’s smoothie.
  4. - Substitute any leafy green for the kale: bok choi, swiss chard, curly leaf kale, spinach, etc.
  5. - Avoid almond milk that contains carrageenan. Always read labels!
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Blender vs Juicer

Blender vs Juicer - Under the Monkey Bars

People ask me all the time which I prefer: blender vs juicer. They say, “Which should I buy? Which one is healthier?” Both appliances will boost your fruit and vegetable intake and add more nutrition to your diet. It’s tough to eat six to eight servings a day without a smoothie or fresh juice. Let’s break it down to help you decide which appliance is best for you and your family.

Blending produce into a smoothie preserves the beneficial fiber of the fruits and veggies. You might hear nutritionists say that fresh smoothies are healthier for this reason. I find it easier to pack a smoothie to go because most recipes keep for several hours and sometimes even overnight. These mason jar tops are perfect for traveling with smoothies! 

Smoothies are a great way to hide veggies! Sometimes smoothies can be more fruit based, obviously depending on the recipe. Be mindful to add at least one veggie to every smoothie. Cucumbers taste so fresh in a smoothie and avocados will  make your smoothy really creamy. No excuses! You can add healthy fats, seeds and protein to your smoothies, like coconut oil, almond butter, chia seeds, ground flaxseed and natural protein powder.

Beware that smoothies can increase the sugar in your diet if you use sweetened yogurt, store bought juice, frozen yogurt, or ice cream. That’s called a milkshake, people!

Juicing can help you transition off store bought juices. This totally worked for us so it can be done! I haven’t bought juice at the store in 4 years. To maximize the nutrients of your fresh juice — especially green juices — drink them within 15 minutes of juicing. And fresh juice is best on an empty stomach, like first thing in the morning or 2 hours after a meal.

Juicing is better at getting larger quantities of veggies into your belly. I’ve never sat down and eaten a raw beet, 8 raw carrots, an apple, 2 celery sticks, 4 leaves of raw kale, and a slice of fresh ginger — but I can drink it in my juice! My monkeys love fresh apple and ginger juice when they’re sick. Much better than a bottle of chemicals (not pointing any fingers but you know what I’m talking about!).

You may have heard that some of the fiber is removed from the fruit or vegetable in the juicing process. This is true. However, you can use the fiber-packed pulp for other things. I don’t like to waste anything so I frequently use my juice pulp to bake, add to soups, rice, or meatballs. When you pay extra for organic produce, don’t waste it!

Which appliance will you will use more often? Don’t let a big blender or juicer take up precious space on your counter if you’re not going to use it. I juice about twice a week and make smoothies at least 4 to 5 times a week. I also use our blender to make sauces, soups, pesto, and pancake mix.

Which appliance will you be willing to clean? My blender is super easy to clean. Fill it half way with cold water, add a drop of soap, and let it run for a minute. It literally cleans itself! On the other hand, juicers are a little more complicated to clean. I rinse the juicer parts off immediately and then wash them by hand when I have a chance, usually a few hours later. It’s not hard to do, just takes extra time. I’m willing to clean it because fresh juice makes me feel so good.

What kind of blender should you buy? I can’t recommend one over another because I have not tested them all. But I can say that I totally love my Vitamix! I have this model. Make sure you buy one that fits under your counter (some don’t!). You can use a high-speed blender to make juice, but it will be very thick and pulpy even with extra ice and water.

What kind of juicer should you buy? I have a Breville Juicer. It’s one of the fastest on the market because of it’s wide feed tube. I can literally drop a whole apple in there — no chopping required! This high-speed juicer leaves less pulp in your juice (perfect for little monkeys!). You do loose a smidgen of the fiber and nutrients with a high-speed or centrifugal juicer, but I don’t have the patience for the slow or masticating juicers. A few of my friends have this juicer and love it. I’m willing to loose a bit of nutrition for speed. It’s literally only a small percentage.

The Verdict? Both appliances serve a purpose in our home. They allow me to mix it up on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. We can make a breakfast smoothie one day, a green juice the next, and a chocolatey treat smoothie another day. Ask yourself: Which would you use more? Do you have room for both? Blending and juicing your fruits and veggies will make sure you get your six to eight servings per day and leave you feeling healthier than ever! You’ll have extra energy and less cravings. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Pumpkin Pie Spinach Smoothie 

VitamixSpinach

All green smoothies taste like grass: true or false?

False. Not this smoothie! It’s bright green like fresh, spring grass but it tastes like dessert.

I’ve been a smoothie girl forever. There’s just something about drinking a big, cold glass of goodness through a straw. When the monkeys were little, our neighbor would come over a few times a week for “smoothie time.” I used to make smoothies with yogurt and milk, which I can’t have anymore. So I stopped making smoothies for a while. And then Don saved the day with a Vitamix for Christmas. It’s been smoothie-ville over here since, and this is my absolute favorite recipe. I’m so excited for you to try it. If you don’t have a high speed blender, pack up the ingredients and head over to a friend’s house to try it out.

GreenSmoothie

The original recipe calls for a frozen banana and fresh spinach; it was good but the kids wouldn’t drink it. It took me a few months of tweaking to finally find the perfect balance of ingredients. The spinach must be frozen! But if your spinach is frozen sold like an ice cube, throw it in the blender to sit and soften up for a few hours before you make your smoothie.

I order most of my spices from Spicely Organic, and this pumpkin pie seasoning is no exception! We also use it on oatmeal and baked sweet potatoes. Spicely Organic products are free of the top allergens and easy to order online with fast, free shipping.

Baked sweet potatoes are a staple in our fridge. Loaded with vitamins (A, B6, C, E), beta carotene, and fiber, sweet potatoes are a fast, healthy snack with a drizzle of avocado oil and some pumpkin seeds on top. Add a sweet potato to a bowl of quinoa with some spinach and a drizzle of maple syrup for a quick lunch.

If your kids come to my house after school for a play date, chances are they will come home with a green mustache. This recipe is kid tested and approved. Not to mention packed with nutrition and whole, real food. Give it a whirl!

Pumpkin Pie Spinach Smoothie
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large banana (not frozen)
  2. 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  3. 1 generous cup cooked skinless sweet potato
  4. 10 ounce package of frozen spinach
  5. 3 tablespoon almond butter or sunbutter
  6. 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  7. 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie seasoning
  8. 1 tablespoon flaxseed or protein powder
  9. 2 dates, pit removed
  10. 1 cup ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a high speed blender.
  2. Whirl away for a few minutes until there are no bits of green or brown.
  3. Yields 48 ounces.
Adapted from Andrea Bemis, Dishing Up the Dirt
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/
Notes:
– Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
– I use this raw protein powder. Why? Because OhSheGlows recommends it and she knows her stuff! I alternate between this flaxseed and the protein powder, sometimes a combination of both depending on what I think we need.
– Barney brand almond butter is not processed with peanuts and is gluten free. I use the bare kind because it only contains two ingredients with no added sugar.
– If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, try a combination of mostly cinnamon with nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice to make 2 teaspoons.
– Try this smoothie with any kind of milk (cow’s milk, coconut, almond, rice, etc.).  Make sure to check the ingredients and don’t buy almond milk with carrageenan; here’s why. 
– Make the smoothie whenever you have time and store it in these covered glasses.
– Don’t be afraid of frozen vegetables; they have just as many nutrients as fresh ones (per a nutritionist!).

 

Cómelo todo!