nutrient dense blueberry smoothie

nutrient dense blueberry smoothie
dried rose petals
nutrient dense blueberry smoothie
nutrient dense blueberry smoothie

So here’s a funny thing. As is the case with many foods, I tried my very first blueberry when I was close to 15. Not because I didn’t like them, but because I had never heard of them. Other than strawberries, I don’t recall having access to many berries growing up.

I was rather suspicious the first time my then step-sister insisted I try them. They reminded me of something poisonous so I passed the first few times they were offered. I don’t easily crack under pressure but eventually curiosity got the best of me and I decided to give them a shot.

And of course, it was love at first bite, okay, handful…no, bowlful. Without shame, I ate until I was stuffed. To this day that’s still the case. Blueberries probably rank as one of my favorite fruits next to cherries and watermelon. These three make me lose my mind and I will happily go into a fruit coma for them.

But in all seriousness, besides tasting wonderful, blueberries are packed with antioxidants and nutrients we could all use more of. And sure we are fortunate enough to be entering blueberry season, but it is awfully short and before we know it, it’s nothing but a memory. Though the great thing is, you can always (we are so very lucky) find organic frozen blueberries which have been picked at their peak.

And oh right, this post is about a nutrient dense smoothie. I wanted something that could be used as an actual meal, that would provide nutrients, give you energy and prevent sugar drops. So I kept this low in sugar but I promise you won’t miss it because the flavor makes up for it! Though if you’re trying to satisfy your sweet tooth, feel free to add 1-2 tsp of honey to the mix and a pinch of salt.

So here’s what goes into this smoothie: Nut milk of your choice, collagen, avocado, coconut oil, almond butter and frozen blueberries. A quick blend and you’ve got yourself a tasty nutrient dense blueberry smoothie to keep you full and satisfied for hours. If you wanted to, add the smoothie to a bowl and dress it up a bit with additional blueberries, chia seeds and toasted coconut flakes would match up perfectly.

nutrient dense smoothie
nutrient dense blueberry smoothie
smoothie lighter-6.jpg

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  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • blend: 1 minute

  • makes: 1-2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen bluebrries

  • 1/2 rupe avocado

  • 1 tbsp cacao

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 tbsp almond butter

  • 1 scoop collagen (skip for vegan)

  • 1.5 cups almond, cashew or coconut milk


Equipment:

  • blender


Directions:

Combine all ingredients and blend well for one minute. Serve right away.

* For a more liquid consistency, add in 1/2 cup more nut milk.


Smoothies are a perfect way to start the day, but even better when they’re rich in nutrients, low in sugar and keep you full and satisfied for hours. Frozen blueberries are mixed with almond butter, coconut oil, cacao, cashew milk, collagen (skip if vegan), and avocado. #vegan #smoothie #breakfastsmoothie #nutrientdensesmoothie #blueberries #calmeats #nutrientdense #whole30 #paleo #breakfast #snack #whole30breakfast #whole30snack #paleobreakfast #paleosnack













strawberry water kefir

strawberry water kefir
strawberries
strawberry water kefir

I've been trying to get this very simple water kefir recipe shot and written for over 6 months but kept putting it off. Other recipe ideas crept in and took priority and to be honest, photographing liquids simply hasn't always been my favorite. Sometimes photos do turn out but most often I find them to be a bit of a challenge. Light has to be just right and in the past when I've had a go at shooting this strawberry water kefir, it wasn't quite what I'd hoped, so I tabled the thing several times.

So for today I had an entirely different recipe planned. I was thrilled, loved the combination and was sure it would turn out just right. But after several tries realized it was not going to happen. It failed miserably. I was dissapointed and truly frustrated about the waste of time and ingredients but this is part of the process so I reluctantly had to accept it. After dusting the tapioca flour off my shirt, I had to come up with an alternative and fast.  

Serendipitously, in stepped water kefir. I'd just made a fresh batch and after staring at the bubbly, pink drink for a while, I realized today may just be its day. I couldn't quite believe it, my beloved water kefir was going to save me. 

So let's talk about this bubbly, delicious strawberry water kefir. If you're a soda drinker and are reading this blog, I'm going to go on a limb and say that maybe you're trying to make some sort of change and improve the health of your gut. Well you're in luck; this probiotic drink is a delicious and healthy alternative to the conventional stuff. But there is a commitment involved. Every 2-3 days, you have to switch the grains from their current water to a fresh batch of sugar water. Your grains will continue to grow and expand and eventually you will have to split and add them to other containers or if you have any takers, give some away.

Sound intimidating? It's not. I was sure I was going to mess it up when I first tried it but you'll see just how simple it is. In my opinion, the water kefir gets better after several batches once the grains really get used to the new environment. I've made this recipe many times with a variety of fruit and have settled on strawberries as holding up beautifully, fermenting well and though naturally losing their red color, they flavor the water perfectly. 

Since I can't find grains locally, the next best thing is Amazon. I've ordered from this company several times and can't say enough about their quality and consistency. 

strawberry water kefir
strawberry water kefir and strwberries
strawberry water kefir
strawberry water kefir

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strawberry water kefir

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • fermenting time: 2-3 days

  • makes: 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup raw organic sugar

  • 1 batch water kefir grains (this varies from 3 tbsp-5 tbsp)

  • 4 cups spring water (it's important to use spring water)

  • funnel

  • 3-4 sliced strawberries

Equipment

Directions

Combine sugar and water in wide mouth bottle and stir with wooden spoon until sugar dissolves. Add water kefir grains, cover with coffee filter or cloth and secure with rubber band. Store at room temperature for 2-3 days. 

Once water kefir has finished fermenting, strain liquid in bottle with stopper and reserve grains. 

Add strawberries to the freshly poured water kefir, secure stopper and let water kefir sit on the counter for 1-2 days until you start to see bubbles and strawberries have lost their color. (You may not see a lot of bubbles until about the 2nd or 3rd batch)

Wash wide mouth bottle well and start the process all over again. 

You can do this indefinitely. Once you have about 1/2 cup grains, you can start dividing them into 2 batches. 

Here's a healthy, delicious & probiotic rich soda alternative that's inexpensive to make and lasts as long as you want it. Water kefir grains grow and multiply and yield a perfect drink for anyone who's looking for a soda replacement. #waterkefir, #kefirgrains, #guthealth, #calmeats, #paleodrinks, #paleo, #probiotics, #probioticdrinks, #kefir, #vegan, #digestion, #healthydrinks, #sodaalternative

 

 

instant pot bone broth

Instant pot bone broth

I'm sure if you're at all into healthy eating and gut health, you've probably been hearing a lot about bone broth. Truth be told, I didn't know what the hype was about until I had to make significant changes in my diet which included lots of gut healing foods, bone broth being one of the top foods (or liquids).

I know, I know, the sound of bone broth doesn't seem particularly sexy but in all honestly if you like chicken soup, you're probably going to like bone broth. The idea of making it myself seemed a bit daunting when I started down this gut healing road since the proper way of making bone broth is to let it simmer for 12-24 hours (or more) on really low heat but I resolved to give it a shot. And to my surprise it was great. 

Instant Pot bone broth
Instant pot bone broth

As the instant pot is a time saving and clever contraption though, I decided to make it my staple bone broth maker. Since hopping on the Instant pot train, I have to say, 2-3 hours is a pretty sweet deal compared to 12. But again, the method for making bone broth is entirely up to you.

Now let's talk about bones. Yes, I'm the creepy one who has bags of bones in the fridge and freezer. But honestly when it comes to making bone broth, you need free range organic bones so whenever you make any sort of chicken, save the bones. Got an organic rotisserie chicken? Don't toss the bones. Save everything and be weird like me. Remember that everything that goes into a chicken, ultimately goes into you.  

So why is bone broth so good for your health? 

Digestion - Bone broth contains important amino acids such as glycine, proline and glutamine which aid in healing and sealing the lining of the gut, improving the function of the entire digestive tract. Drinking bone broth regularly also improves diarrhea as well as constipation.

Joint, skin, hair and nail support - Bone broth contains collagen, which is one of the most important amino acids making up nearly a third of the proteins found the human body. It is responsible for maintaining and rebuilding skin and is found in the connective tissue throughout the entire body. It's also been shown to assist in reducing cellulite and accelerating hair growth. Sign me up! 

Immune support - It's no surprise that our grandparents insisted on eating chicken soup when we got sick. Bone broth contains an abundance of minerals and an important amino acid, arginine, which is vital for immune health and optimal liver function. 

Aside from dinking bone broth daily, you can use it in:

  • Soups

  • Stews

  • As liquid for rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth or any other type of grain

  • Risotto

  • Cooking vegetables

Instant Pot bone broth
Parsley
Instant pot bone broth

instant pot bone broth

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cook time: 2.5-3 hours

  • makes: 10-12 cups

Ingredients

  • Bones of a roasted pasture raised chicken (rotisserie chicken works great)

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 3-4 large carrots, washed and roughly chopped

  • 1-2 celery stalks, washed and roughly chopped

  • 1 whole clove garlic, peeled

  • 1 tsp peppercorns

  • 2 tbsp good apple cider vinegar

  • 3 tsp dry parsley

  • 1 tsp dry thyme

  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

* I use chicken bones for this recipe but if you're using organic beef bones, they're best if you roast them in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees first. 

Equipment

  • Instant pot or large stock pot

  • jars or bottles of your choice

Directions

Place bones, water and apple cider vinegar in the Instant pot (lid off). Let sit for 30 minutes (the vinigar helps to draw the nutrients out of the bones). Then add the rest of the ingredients, seal your pot according to instructions and set it to the "SOUP" setting on "LOW PRESSURE" for 120 minutes. It will take time to get up to pressure so the total cooking time will be more like 2.5-3 hours. 

Once the bone broth has finished cooking, turn off the Instant pot and let it naturally depressurize. This will take roughly 15 minutes. 

Store in refrigerator for several weeks or freeze. 

*Reheat when ready to drink it again

Stovetop alternative

In a large stock pot, add bones and cover completely with water (don't over fill the pot, as you still need to add the vegetables), add the apple cider vinegar and let sit for 30 minutes - the acid helps to draw additional nutrients out of the bones.

Add the rest of ingredients and bring bone broth to a boil. Then reduce and simmer for 12-14 hours. (I recommend starting first thing in the morning)


Instant pot bone broth is an easy way to make one of the most nourishing foods at home. If you don't have an instant pot, no problem, there is a stove top alternative. #bonebroth, #whole30, #gaps, #paleo, #instantpotbonebroth, #homemadebonebroth, #calmeats #instantpot #guthealth

blood orange, carrot and ginger smoothie

A simple blood orange smoothie fIlled with vitamins and minerals. An invigorating drink anytime of the day

I admit I spend quite a bit of time at Whole Foods. It may be a good thing that it's not located near my house but close to work. It works out since I only travel to the office twice a week and therefore have only two opportunities for doing serious food shopping damage. But there's something about that place - the layout, the feeling, it's just different than your typical grocery store. Some would say it's snobby and overpriced and I'm the first to agree but damn it they have those cool salt lamp balls that are heated and...off topic.

A simple blood orange smoothie fIlled with vitamins and minerals. An invigorating drink anytime of the day
A simple blood orange smoothie fIlled with vitamins and minerals. An invigorating drink anytime of the day

But in all seriousness, it's still winter and my farmer's market is quite sad at the moment so this is the next best thing. Being in the presence of fresh food inspires me since most of the time, I have no idea what my next recipe will be. I plan to a certain extent but I like the thrill of finding an ingredient and letting the natural discovery process unfold. That kind of intuitive shopping feels rewarding and I can't imagine doing things any other way. 

I realize most of the time I look like a crazy person investigating produce, smelling it, hopelessly staring into a blood orange's soul...you know, looks weird as can be from the outside, but perfectly acceptable to me. 

And speaking of blood oranges, as they're in season for only a few short months, I decided to get a few and see what I could make with them. Moro blood oranges evidently are only in season through March so buying them felt all the more special. 

A simple blood orange smoothie fIlled with vitamins and minerals. An invigorating drink anytime of the day

When I cut into the blood orange I was in awe at the surprinsing color. I've seen blood oranges before but these had to be the most beautifully marbled shade of deep red with a few specs of orange peppered throughout. I immediately had to photograph it and since it was 9am and I wasn't quite prepared to whip up any particular dish at that point, I decided to opt for a smoothie. It is a preferred way to get a healthy dose of vitamins in liquid form. My daughter who's a smoothie aficionado, was delighted to try something new. 

If you can't find blood oranges, using a regular orange is perfectly okay, you just won't get that orange creamsicle color but will get all the taste. 

A simple blood orange smoothie fIlled with vitamins and minerals. An invigorating drink anytime of the day

blood orange, carrot and ginger smoothie

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond, cashew or coconut milk
  • 1 medium carrot peeled and chopped 
  • 1 blood orange, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 1 knob grated fresh ginger (about 1")
  • 1 frozen banana 
  • 1 /2 cup pineapple
  • optional: toss in 1/2 apple, peeled and cored
  • optional: 1 scoop collagen

Equipment: 

  • blender

Directions: 

Combine all ingredients and blend for about one minute until everything is fully incorporated. 


basil pineapple ginger smoothie

smoothie (1 of 15).jpg
smoothie (2 of 15).jpg

I was kind of a late comer to the whole smoothie movement. I found them intimidating. I know, I know, what's there to be intimidated about? You take a bunch of ingredients and put them in a blender and go. But I found the myriad smoothie options bewildering. So many different possibilities. What if I get it wrong? And I don't even own a decent blender. Those were my feelings towards smoothies before January 1st, 2013. 

I was nearly 4 months pregnant. The night before, I'd spend New Year's Eve in the bedroom binge watching Netflix. My husband mid making the newly purchased house livable was busy tearing sheet after sheet of wallpaper off the living room wall. It felt like living in a bit of a war zone and the safest place was as far away from the chaos taking place downstairs. 

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After spending a good 14 weeks of my pregnancy consuming cereal, mozzarella cheese and marshmallow fluff as the only sustainable fuel I could stomach, I felt a returning to myself. I was craving vegetables, fruit. I wanted all of it. Bring on the greens!

While I find new years resolutions to be absurd and most of the time a big fat lie people tell themselves for a temporary respite from their usual behavior, here I was making one. I decided on January 1st, I'd get up and get myself a good blender and would eat more fruits and vegetables in the form of smoothies. I came home with my shiny new machine and about $50 worth of produce. 

I played it safe with the first. Banana - check, spinach - check, blueberries - check, water + ice - check. Two weeks later and I was blending expert. No holds barred. 

As the months wore on and my enthusiasm diminished, I scaled down on the ingredient list I had initially worked up to. Several types of greens, multiple fruit and nuts - it was overkill. So I stuck to some basic recipes I actually enjoyed making with only a few ingredients. I wanted the benefit, liked the taste but didn't want to go broke in the process. 

So here is a recipe that dates back to my smoothie obsession. For it, I use basil, pineapple, ginger, frozen banana, cashew milk, collagen and coconut oil. It's invigorating and fresh and a fantastic way to get your vitamins and fiber.

smoothie (12 of 15).jpg

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basil pineapple ginger smoothie

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • blending time: 1 minutes

  • makes: 1 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pineapple

  • handful of fresh basil

  • 1 frozen banana

  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1.5 cup cashew milk

  • 1 tbsp collagen (omit if vegan)

Equipment

  • blender

Directions

Blend all ingredients, pour and enjoy. 


This is a refreshing and super speedy basil smoothie you can whip up anytime you want a burst of energy. It's paleo, whole 30 approved with a vegan option. #greensmoothie, #vegan, #whole30, #paleo #calmeats #smoothie #realfood #greendrink #collagen #basismoothie