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Broccoli for Breakfast — or saying ‘No’ to mindless grazing

I went shopping yesterday, like they say on Downton Abbey, “for a frock” and was a bit shocked at my appearance in the mirror.

Well. Golly, that’s why none of my pants are fitting!

It’s funny, when you’re happy and busy and focusing on many other things besides your appearance, it’s easy for things to slide. It’s not a matter of weight or even inches, but that I recognize this as a sign of what I’ve been doing … and not doing.

Grazing on this and that throughout the day: chips, chocolate chips and being rescued from cooking in an unfinished kitchen by Costco meals and cheap restaurant food.

What I’ve not been doing: eating a diet heavy in vegetables and non-sugary items.

The result is, well, what’s in the mirror.

My health and also happiness can be very much helped by reigning this in now. Best to not let these habits set in as we move into the holidays, where willpower is strained at its utmost.

Thankfully, I have a blender. If you don’t have a Ninja or a decently powered blender, get thee one! A blender truly is the key to getting a healthy dose of veggies into your diet easily and quickly.

GKS_COVER_FINAL.inddGreen Kitchen Smoothies comes from one of my favorite cookbook-writing couples, David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl of the blog Green Kitchen Stories.  Their recipes are simple, flavorful and packed with all sorts of veggies and goodness. The book is pretty too, with Frenkiel’s lovely photography.

Cleaning up my act has never tasted so good.

RECIPES TO TRY: Goodnight Smoothie // Blueberry Power Smoothie // Goji, Mango & Turmeric Smoothie // Green Gazpacho Smoothie // Virgin Mary Hangover Cure

Don’t miss the smoothie bowls! These things are all over Pinterest, but none do them better than Green Kitchen. And don’t worry about nut milk or nut butter ingredients, they help with these too. Taking it one step further they even give a tasty cracker recipe for using up all that nut pulp. There’s tips on developing your own killer smoothie and also recipes for dessert smoothies (of course) so my sweet tooth needn’t feel neglected. Hello, Rosehip ‘Affogato’ with Crumbled ‘Amaretti.’

Green Kitchen Smoothies: Healthy and Colorful Smoothies for Every Day
by David Frenkiel + Luise Vindahl
Publisher Hardie Grant
Price $19.99

Who should get this? If you’ve been able to look at these photos and think, “mmmm … yum” or even a sort of “oh, that would make my body so happy” acknowledgement while debating another dip into that leftover Halloween candy, this is a book for you.

green-kitchen-smoothies_blueberry-power-smoothieBLUEBERRY POWER // post-strength training
Serves 2 or 1 large serving

Focussing on fueling your muscles after strength training is almost as important as the workout itself, because it helps your muscles to recover and grow. The body needs a combination of carbohydrates and proteins right after exercise and this smoothie has got those covered! A protein smoothie doesn’t sound very sexy, but this drink actually tastes a lot like a bottled blueberry pie. You can use any protein powder you wish, but look for a high-quality one with only a few pure ingredients. You can always ask your local health food store for advice.

1 ripe banana, peeled
150 g (5 oz/1 cup) frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons Nut Butter (page 26)
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon whey protein powder (or other protein powder of choice)
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) almond milk (or unsweetened milk of choice)

Roughly chop the banana and add it to a blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend on a high speed until completely smooth. Pour into two medium-sized glasses and serve, or store in a large airtight glass bottle to pack into your gym bag.

gkgreengoodnessGREEN GOODNESS BOWL
Serves 2 or 1 large serving

Frozen vegetables are not exactly the choicest of ingredients as much of their texture is lost when they are thawed. But they are perfect in smoothies as they are often cheaper, available all year round and make them thicker than fresh vegetables do. In this smoothie bowl, the sweet flavour of the pear and dates balances out the savoury taste of the vegetables just beautifully. The avocado adds creaminess, while the ginger, lime and coconut water provide a fresh twist. I add algae or grass powders to my bowl as they provide extra nutrients and have a stunning deep green colour. Beware, though, as they can become overpowering in flavour. Start with just ½ teaspoon and then add more if you prefer.

1 medium-sized ripe pear, seeds removed (approx. 130–150 g/4½–5 oz)
½ ripe avocado, stone removed
50 g (2 oz/½ cup) frozen broccoli florets
50 g (2 oz/¾ cup) frozen spinach (organic if possible)
2–4 soft dates, pitted
½–1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated (or ¼–½ teaspoon ground ginger)
½–1 teaspoon spirulina powder (or chlorella, wheatgrass or barley grass)
250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) coconut water (or milk of choice)
juice of ½ lime
For the Topping
pistachio nuts, finely chopped
toasted raw buckwheat*
desiccated coconut
hemp seeds or bee pollen
green kiwi fruit, finely chopped
passion fruit or golden kiwi fruit, pulp (mashed)
edible flowers, optional

Roughly chop the pear and add it to a blender along with the flesh of the avocado and the rest of the ingredients. Blend on a high speed until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the sweetness and spiciness to your liking by adding more dates or ginger if necessary, as well as more spirulina if you prefer. Pour into two small bowls or a large one (as featured in the photo). Finish with a sprinkling of the nuts, buckwheat, coconut and seeds, as well as the fruit and flowers, and serve.

* Toast raw (greenish)buckwheat in a dry frying pan (skillet) on a medium heat for approx. 5 minutes or until golden. If you have a sweet tooth, try adding a drizzle of pure maple syrup to the pan. You can also purchase sprouted and dehydrated crunchy buckwheat in health food stores.

Recipes and photography excerpted from Green Kitchen Smoothies by Luise Vindahl and David Frenkiel, published by Hardie Grant Books, $19.99 hardcover, available now from bookstores everywhere.

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