March 19, 2013
Mint Chocolate Green Smoothie + Green Ice Cubes
I have a little secret to share! I'm sure you have all heard about the green smoothie craze that's everywhere. Maybe you've thought they're gross, or maybe you've wanted to try them, but are overwhelmed by all the fresh greens you'd need to keep on hand.
If you think they're gross, I promise you they're not! Start small, with just a handful of spinach, and I guarantee that you won't even notice it's in there. Even if you never add any more than that, at least you're still getting in some greens & all the nutrients that they hold!
If you're in the second group & overwhelmed by the vast quantity of greens you'd need to keep on hand, this tip is for you!
Whether you're a gardener or shop at farmer's markets, there's no question that greens are fresher, tastier, & cheaper when they are in season. I grow kale, Swiss chard, spinach & mixed lettuces each year. They're easy to maintain & they produce quite a lot! Toward the end of the season, I always have an abundance of kale & Swiss chard that I hate to see go to waste when the first frost comes. I take an hour one day in the fall to pick as much as possible, clean it, and make green ice cubes for our winter smoothies. It's easy & I'm always so grateful to have them when greens aren't so abundant.
Taking the time out to make the green ice cubes encourages me to make more green smoothies in the winter. I never have to worry about whether I bought fresh greens or how expensive they might be. I just reach in the freezer, pull out a handful of green cubes, & my smoothie is suddenly full of extra nutrients! I love knowing that these greens were freshly picked & frozen right away, straight from my garden.
I know that now isn't the best time to be making green ice cubes, but I hope that you'll remember this & try it in the fall. If you start now, you could even try growing some kale yourself! Plant the seeds, water them occasionally, & watch them grow. You can dine well this summer/fall + have green ice cubes during the winter. In the meantime, if you want to try this smoothie, just use a couple handfuls of whatever greens you have on hand.
I thought this smoothie tasted like mint chocolate chip ice cream, so I just had to share. I think that if the Bup wasn't eagerly awaiting his half, I might have drank the whole thing! :-)
Mint Chocolate Green Smoothie
2 frozen bananas
6 green ice cubes (or 3-4 handfuls of spinach/other greens)
1 tsp. chia seeds
1/4 tsp. mint extract
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I used vegan, non-GMO Pure Matters Chocolate Pea Protein)
2-3 c unsweetened almond milk
Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender & process until smooth. Pour into 2 glasses and serve immediately. Smoothie can also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days. Shake/stir before serving.
Green Ice Cubes
3 bunches of kale, washed
3 bunches of Swiss chard or collard greens, washed
Remove the tough bottom part of the stems (about 1/3 up the stalk - the rest should blend just fine). Working in batches, tear leaves into pieces and blend in a high speed blender* with just enough water to allow the greens to move around. Once the first batch is blended, pour 2/3 of the greens into ice cube trays. Add more torn leaves into the 1/3 remaining mixture and blend again. By leaving some of the mixture in the blender, it allows the greens to blend more easily so that you don't need to add as much water. Continue this process until all greens are blended. Place filled ice cube trays in freezer. Once frozen (to be safe, allow at least 10 hours), remove cubes and store in zip lock freezer bags in the freezer. Remove cubes as needed, making sure to reseal the bag. Frozen green cubes should last about 6 months.
*If you don't have a high speed blender, I think you could use a food processor or a regular blender. You may need to completely remove the stems & add more water to get the greens properly blended.