When I was a child, my mother could not get me to eat anything besides hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese. As an adult, my culinary preferences could not be more opposite. I crave healthier, whole foods and love tucking into a massive, satisfying salad. Inspired by the left overs in my fridge, here is a quick and easy salad that I whipped up recently over the weekend featuring kale, sweet potato, avocado and grilled chicken.
I’ve always enjoyed healthy versions of breaded chicken. There’s something about the slight crunch and texture that just works for me. While I’ve mastered breadcrumbs or panko toppings, the thought of adding in walnuts and rosemary had not occurred to me until I saw this recipe from Cooking Light.
With the temperatures increasing, I’ve been craving smoothies again. There are so many ways to craft a delicious smoothie, but for me it’s typically a mix of frozen berries or bananas, spinach, non-dairy milk, coconut water and protein powder. For my most recent smoothie, I went with a classic favorite. Jam-packed with frozen berries, banana, unsweetened vanilla almond milk and my secret ingredient, vanilla chai Vega One nutritional shake, this smoothie is equal parts nutritious and delicious.
Vanilla Chai Berry Banana Smoothie
– 1 cup frozen mixed berries (raspberry, blueberry, blackberry)
– 1 medium banana, chopped & frozen
– 1 scoop vanilla chai Vega One nutritional shake
– 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
– 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water as needed for blending.
I have a regular blender and find that using the ice blend setting works very well. The trick to the creamy, frozen consistency is using frozen fruit and frozen banana. I actually peel and chop ripe bananas up and store them in sandwich baggies in the freezer for smoothies. I’ve never liked the slushy-like consistency of ice cubes in a smoothie, so this works perfectly for me.
Note: You can absolutely sub the unsweetened vanilla almond milk for any other milk, or coconut water. Vega One is sweetened with Stevia and is pretty sweet, so my preference is to not add additional sugar or sweetener to this smoothie.
In case you’re wondering, the stats on this smoothie are pretty decent. It clocks in at about 350 calories and 9 grams of fat.
For readers not familiar with Vega One Nutritional Shake, it’s a personal favorite. It’s a vegan protein powder that’s free from dairy, gluten and soy. I know what you’re thinking – why would I use a vegan protein powder if I’m not vegan? For me it’s two things – taste and nutritional stats.
If you look at the nutritionals, it’s pretty impressive that one scoop contains 50% daily intake of vitamins and minerals, 15 g protein, fiber, Omega-3, Antioxidants, Probiotics and Greens. At $39.99 for a small tub it’s definitely pricey, but the contents make it a great solution for me to get the nutrients I need while trying to manage my busy life. For my readers in Boston, I purchase Vega One locally at Whole Foods, but you can also order on their website, or Amazon (affiliate link) for slightly cheaper. I’m also a huge fan of the chocolate and vanilla chai flavors!
What’s your favorite smoothie combo? Leave a comment and let me know – I’m always looking for good new ideas!
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As an equal opportunity foodist, I’ve been hearing and reading about the health benefits of green juice for ages. While in Whole Foods, I stumbled upon BluePrint’s Raw Green Juice featuring a healthy-sounding mix of kale, apple, ginger, romaine, spinach, cucumber, parsley and lemon and couldn’t help but wonder….but how does it taste?
The answer – not terrible, but definitely not great. It tastes, well, like you might expect a healthy green juice to taste. It’s mild enough and the mix is well done so that none of the ingredients are overpowering, but I’m not sure it was for me. I actually found that adding a small splash of agave helped. But, at the $10 (yikes) price tag at Whole Foods, I probably won’t be hopping on the green juice revolution. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing which is supplementing my frozen berry and banana smoothies with spinach, kale, Vega One and/or other green goodies. Not as nutritionally sound, but pretty darn tasty.
However, BluePrint also has other juice varieties that feature beets, etc., so I may have to try something a little less intimidating next time…
Now that we’re having consistently cooler weather, I am craving homemade soup. I’ve never been a fan of brothy, chunky soups, but thick pureed soups are right up my alley. Featuring creamy butternut squash, broth, a mix of comforting spices and a hint of tart granny smith apple, this soup is incredibly easy to make. In addition to being delicious and flavorful, did I mention that it’s also healthy?