Category Archives: Beverages & Cocktails

Frozen Blueberry Banana Green Smoothie

Frozen blueberry banana green smoothie

For those who follow this blog regularly, I apologize that I have been lax in posting recipes over the last couple weeks. My normal diet includes a lot of raw food. I was preparing healthy meals for my family during my visit, but many of them were cooked meals to make them more comforting and satisfying to them. After I returned home, I was just feeling that my body needed a rest.

As we are almost 5 months into the year and I have not done any kind of fasting since the first of the year (I did a 4 day water fast), I decided now would be a good time to give my body that rest. I have been making a lot of green juices and smoothies. I find that getting the extra nutrients from juicing and giving my digestive tract a rest while not stressing about what I’m going to make for dinner really helps me to clear my head and improves my energy levels. I like to do it 3-4 times a year. 

This next series of posts will contain some of the smoothie and juice recipes that I have been making for myself. This is one that I made for breakfast the other day – a blueberry banana green smoothie. I keep my bananas in the freezer (so I never have to worry about them getting past the perfect point of ripeness for my smoothies), and because it is so hard to find organic blueberries fresh in my area, I also purchase frozen organic wild blueberries. Frozen fruit gives the smoothie a really nice texture, and you can pretend it’s dessert for breakfast! =D

frozen banana blueberry green smoothie

Here are some of the benefits of the ingredients that are blended into this smoothie (which will feed two people or one person who will have two servings during the day – me!):

  • Bananas are a great source of potassium and inulin fiber, which feeds your gut flora. I’m a big fan of anything that encourages healthy gut flora, as healing mine has done so many wonders for my health. I have not been sick in a very long time, my digestion is better, and even some of my feed allergies have improved!
  • Bananas are also a natural source of tryptophan, which your body converts into serotonin. It makes you happy and helps you sleep better. 
  • Bananas are a good source of B6, which helps your body to create white blood cells. They are good for your immune system!
  • Bananas help to stabilize blood sugar.
  • Bananas are high in potassium and low in sodium, so they help to reduce blood pressure (if yours is high, but if yours is low, you will want to focus more on sodium rich foods like celery instead).
  • Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit. They help to prevent cancer and protect the eyes. They are especially good for the nervous system and the brain. 
  • Blueberries are low on the glycemic index, though with a whole foods plant based diet, I don’t really worry about the glycemic index anymore. 
  • Blueberries contain resveratrol, the same polyphenol that red wine is touted for having. Guess what? You can get plenty from blueberries, so put down that booze!
  • Like all leafy greens, spinach is an excellent source of plant protein.
  • Spinach is also a great source of potassium – providing more than bananas (per cup of each food)!
  • Spinach is one of the best dietary sources of magnesium, which helps to relax you – both your muscles and your nervous system. If you have asthma, it helps to relax the bronchial muscles, too.
  • Spinach is rich in iron. Goodbye, anemia!
  • Spinach is also high in potassium, and helps to reduce blood pressure. 
  • I tossed in a few bonus add-ins also: hemp seed, chia seed, and flax seed oil. The hemp seed is a complete plant protein with all of the essential amino acids, but it is still higher in omega-6 than omega-3, so I added some chia seed and flax seed oil, both of which are higher in omega-3 to help offset it.

Sources:

 

Frozen Blueberry Banana Green Smoothie
Serves 2
This blueberry banana green smoothie is a delicious and nutritious frozen treat, full of phytonutrients that prevent cancer, anemia, and iron deficiencies!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2-3 cups of water
  2. 3 large handfuls of spinach
  3. 2 frozen bananas
  4. 1 cup frozen organic wild blueberries (they have the most flavor, in my opinion!)
  5. 2 TB hemp seed (optional)
  6. 2 TB chia seed (optional)
  7. 2 TB flaxseed oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to blender until well combined. Water content can vary based on how thick or thin you would like the texture of the smoothie to be.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Vegetable Broth Juice Recipe

An easy vegetable juice recipe that can be used in place of vegetable broth to give your recipes an extra nutritional boost!

One of the ingredients I initially struggled to replace in recipes as my diet became more raw was vegetable broth. It adds so much flavor to a recipe, but destroys heat sensitive vitamins like vitamin C in the process of making it. Most animals on the planet can synthesize their own vitamin C, but humans are among the mammalian species that cannot. Therefore, I like to get as much as I can from my food, a la the Hippocrates way of thinking: Let thy food be thy medicine!

One day, after thinking about it for a bit, I realized that making broth is kind of like making tea – you simmer the plant matter in water and allow it’s juices to permeate the water, via heat. Then I thought… I can do the same thing without heat if I use my juicer to extract the vegetable juices and then just dilute them in water. Tada! 

This juice recipe works well in place of vegetable broth if you are trying to make a raw version of a recipe and you feel stumped on that particular substitution. It is also good by itself if you just want something like a V8 or need to use up some leftover ingredients. After all, that is usually how broths come about – use up the scraps and leftovers! Personally I love any juices where the tomato flavor is apparent, so I will frequently just toss one into my vegetable juice blends. 

Vegetable Broth Juice
Serves 1
A quick and simple vegetable juice blend that works well to replace vegetable broths in recipes for an added nutritional boost! It's also a great way to use up leftover vegetables.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 large tomato
  2. 1 cup shredded carrot
  3. 1.5 cups chopped celery
  4. 1.5 cups chopped sweet pepper
  5. Pinch of sea salt
  6. Pinch of black pepper
  7. Pinch of any additional herbs or spices you would like (e.g. garlic or onion powders)
  8. 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Run vegetable ingredients through a juicer.
  2. Mix in spices
  3. If using for a broth, slowly dilute with water until desired flavor strength is reached.
Notes
  1. Regarding juicers, I have the Omega Vert, and in my opinion, if you don't want to spend crazy amounts of money on something like a Norwalk, this one is the best option for the money in terms of juice output, speed, ease of cleaning, and durability. Check it out: Omega VRT350 Heavy Duty Dual-Stage Vertical Single Auger Low Speed Juicer
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Anti-Inflammatory Juice

Anti-inflammatory juice blend of pineapple, cucumber, turmeric, and cinnamon

Inflammation is something we all deal with on a daily basis. We lead stressful lives that weaken our adrenal glands, we consume too much omega-6 fatty acid in proportion to omega-3, and our world is becoming more polluted every day. All of these things lead to inflammation in the body.

While a little bit of inflammation is necessary to protect the body’s cells from foreign pathogens and is part of the healing response, chronic inflammation is a bad thing. There are many diseases and conditions of chronic inflammation: arthritis, asthma, chronic sinusitis, Chron’s disease, allergies, fibromyalgia, etc. This anti-inflammatory juice is a potent blend of foods and nutrients that assist in reducing the inflammation levels in the body.

Below is a breakdown of the ingredients and how each acts to sooth the inflammatory pathways in the body.

Pineapple

Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain. In addition to aiding digestion, bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties and is especially good at reducing inflammation related to infections and injuries. Some studies have shown it may also be helpful to reduce sinus inflammation and mucous as well. 

Cucumber

Cucumber is newcomer to the list of anti-inflammatory foods. Of course, cucumber has always had these properties, but we are only recently discovering what it can do. Fresh cucumber extract is a potent antioxidant that combats free radical damage (it is also very good for the complexion) and inhibits the action of certain enzymes that cause inflammation. It also helps to prevent overproduction of a molecule that plays an active role in inflammatory diseases. 

Fresh Turmeric

Turmeric has been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medic as an anti-inflammatory for thousands of years. It contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, and is particularly useful for those that suffer with arthritis. Because of the specific ways that turmeric acts against inflammation, it has also been found to be potent at treating and preventing certain types of cancer, such as that of the colon, prostate, and breast. 

Cinnamon

As cinnamon is a bark, you can’t really juice it, so you can either mix ground cinnamon into the juice from the other ingredients, or you can make a strong cinnamon tea to mix into the juice. 

Cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory effect is due to it’s blocking of an inflammatory fatty acid from platelet membranes, which reduces the formation of inflammatory messaging molecules. There is also evidence that cinnamon reduces muscle soreness after athletic activity.

Pineapple and turmeric juice.

Pineapple and turmeric juices mingling together, fresh out of the juicer.

Sources:

Pineapple and Turmeric Anti-Inflammatory Juice
Yields 6
A highly anti-inflammatory juice blend of pineapple, turmeric, cucumber, and cinnamon.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pineapple
  2. 2 cucumbers
  3. 15 three inch (appx) pieces of fresh turmeric root
  4. 1TB ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Juice pineapple, cucumber, and turmeric.
  2. Stir in cinnamon after juicing is completed.
Notes
  1. If you have a masticating juicer, the juice will keep for 72 hours, and you have 3 full days to drink it. If you have inflammation problems, I recommend 1 cup of the juice 3 times per day.
  2. If you have a centrifugal juicer, the juice will need to be consumed within 24 hours. I recommend cutting the recipe in half and portioning it out into 3 servings.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Tropical Super Green Smoothie

Tropical super green smoothie with pineapple, banana, kiwi, coconut water, and hemp seed

What is a “super green smoothie”? It’s a super charged green smoothie with a stronger taste of the greens either from using more of them or using more potent bitter greens. I enjoy making these about once a week to get an extra boost of nutrition. 

Some of the most nutritional greens are those that grow in the wild. People look at me funny when I tell them that I like dandelion greens in my smoothies. Thankfully, others realize the health value of these wild edibles and have begun to cultivate them instead of spraying them to kill them or yanking them out of lawns. 

Dandelion greens are not only good for you, they are good for the earth. The leaves are a good source of beta carotene and the roots are good to cleans and strengthen the liver. They also put nitrogen back into the soil! Our soil and crops would be so much healthier if we practiced crop rotation with dandelions. 🙂

The other ingredients in this smoothie are not nutritional slouchers either. I added tropical flavors to help tone down the bitterness of the dandelion greens, but they can stand on their own as well.

  • Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and inulin fiber. Inulin is a great prebiotic and feeds the bacteria in your intestinal tract. Eat your bananas!
  • Pineapple and kiwi are both great sources of vitamin C, which will keep your immune system strong. Humans cannot synthesize their own vitamin C as other animals can, and must consume it from plant-based foods. Pineapple also contains an enzyme called bromelain, which aids digestion. Anecdotally, I also find it to be good for my lungs.
  • Coconut water is a good source of electrolytes.
  • Hemp seed is a good source of plant-based protein, good fats, and magnesium. It contains all 10 essential amino acids, omega fatty acids 3 and 6, and gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Source: http://manitobaharvest.com/hemp_nutrition.html

Given the balance of protein, fat, and electrolytes in this smoothie, it would be great as a companion to your plant-fueled workout!

Tropical Super Green Smoothie
Serves 3
This is a nutritious super green smoothie that will assist cleansing and strengthening your liver, supporting your lungs, and providing protein, fat, and sustained energy and electrolytes throughout the morning or after a workout. It's also high in vitamin C! It makes 3 servings, which means my husband gets 1, and I get 2. 😉
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 c coconut water water
  2. 3 handfuls dandelion greens
  3. 4 kiwi fruits
  4. 1 banana
  5. 2 c. chopped pineapple
  6. 1/2 c hemp seed
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix).
  2. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Dandelion greens have a strong bitter flavor. This is a "super green" smoothie because the ratio and flavor of greens is strong than someone who is new to green smoothies might enjoy. If you are "an old pro", this one is for you!
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Green Smoothie for Beginners

Green Smoothie with peanut butter, banana, and chocolate protein powder. Perfect for people who don't like greens.

I’ve been regularly drinking green smoothies for about 4 years now, and I have never felt better or healthier in my entire life. I had such dramatic benefits from them (such as completely reversing thyroid disease to the point of getting off my medication) that my husband started drinking them too! =D

He makes them himself and he does a great job of rotating his greens. He seems to have more energy when he drinks them on a regular basis. We both make a habit of drinking our green smoothies in the morning for breakfast. Most of my green smoothies consist of greens and fruit, and I find that fills me up adequately, but my husband likes to add some additional fat to his so that he feels fuller for a longer period of time.

His most frequent combination involves adding bananas and peanut butter to his smoothies, but sometimes we also add a good quality vegan nutritional supplement in there too. I really like the one made by Vega One because I can also slip him some probiotics, extra greens, and plant-based protein. 😉

I thought I’d share the recipe here for anyone that might be living with family members who are not vegan. This green smoothie goes down nice and easy for them and they don’t even have to know there are greens in it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Green Smoothie for Beginners
Serves 2
A protein-rich green smoothie that goes down easy for the chocolate lover or omnivore who might be afraid of a "green smoothie". 😉
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 c water
  2. 2 handfuls romaine (or other green of choice)
  3. 2 bananas
  4. 2 tb peanut butter (make sure it is all-natural with no sugars added)
  5. 2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I like Vega One Shake - Chocolate)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredient to a high speed blender (such as a Vitamix) and blend until smooth.
Notes
  1. Add ice for an instant chilled or frosty beverage.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Herbal Wheatgrass Juice for Beginners

Green juice blend with wheat grass

Wheatgrass juice is a very potent medicinal food. It reduces blood pressure, cleanses the blood, alkalizes the body, stimulates the thyroid, detoxes the liver, helps to protect us from carcinogens and environmental pollutants, fights cancerous tumors, and slows the aging process. (Source: http://hippocratesinst.org/wheatgrass/benefits-of-wheatgrass).

As it is highly detoxifying, if you have never tried it before, you will have to start with a very small amount in a single sitting – no more than 1/2 a shot. If you are not used to it and you take too much, it will probably nauseate you, especially if you aren’t already following a healthful lifestyle. If you are a an old pro at wheatgrass juice guzzling, then you know how much you can add to this juice blend. 😉

True story: the few shot glasses I actually own are used most frequently for measuring my wheatgrass juice and sprouting avocado pits.

I am highly sensitive to gluten. I had read about the wondrous benefits of wheatgrass juice, but was afraid to try it until I was actually able to find some credible sources of information that could confirm or deny the existence of gluten in wheatgrass. The summary of what I learned is that the grass itself contains no gluten, as the gluten is in the seed. Wheatgrass is safe, provided that (1) it has been harvested in a manner that leaves no part of the seed attached to the grass; (2) it has not sprouted any new seeds; (3) there has been no cross-contamination in a facility which also processes the gluten-containing seeds. 

My local Whole Foods Market carries wheatgrass that is locally grown here in Florida, and I have not had any issues with it thus far. If you purchase it, look for one cut end at the base, and one pointed end, indicating that is the top of the grass blade. If there are two cut ends, it is impossible to know how tall the grass was and if it started to sprout new seeds.

It is actually very cheap and easy to sprout yourself at home (and easier to remove the cross-contamination problem)… unless you have a cat. Cats love wheatgrass and when I purchase it, my cat, Georgia, frequently gets some as a treat too. If I try to sprout anything inside, she will find it and eat it. 🙂

Anyway, if you would like to read more about wheatgrass and gluten, here are some links you can look at. Ultimately, if you are unsure, you should either not try it or try it in a very small amount to see how you react. 

  • http://hippocratesinst.org/nutrition/wheatgrass-is (#48)
  • http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/everydaymedicalissues/f/Are-Wheat-Grass-And-Barley-Grass-Gluten-Free.htm
  • http://livewell.jillianmichaels.com/can-wheat-grass-gluten-sensitive-4931.html
Cucumber and Herb Wheatgrass Juice
An herbal green juice blend that helps wheatgrass juice go down a lot easier.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cucumbers
  2. 1/4 lemon (no peel) - lime also works well
  3. large handful fresh mint
  4. large handful fresh basil
  5. 1/2 - 1&1/2 shots wheatgrass juice
Instructions
  1. Run cucumbers, lemon, mint, and basil through a juicer.
  2. If you have a juicer that is capable of extracting juice from wheatgrass, juice enough to acquire the desired amount. If this is your first time trying it, take only 1/2 a shot. If you are an old pro, try 1 whole shot or even 1.5 shots.
  3. Mix wheatgrass juice into green juice blend.
Notes
  1. Wheatgrass juice is highly detoxifying. If you drink too much at one time or more than your body is used to, it will nauseate you. It is very important to only take 1/2 a shot if you have never tried it before.
  2. Wheatgrass has a very earthy and slightly sweet flavor, but it is very strong. The cucumber juice helps to mellow it out a lot. I frequently enjoy wheatgrass, but I still can't drink it straight. I need the cucumber juice.
  3. If you buy wheatgrass, juice it fresh. If you let it sit in your refrigerator for too long, it will start to yellow and dry up, and you will not be able to extract as much juice from it.
  4. In order to extract juice from wheatgrass, you will need a single auger or slow juicer that is capable of performing the task (I have an Omega). There are also special wheatgrass juicers. A centrifugal juicer will not work for this.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Pineapple, Golden Beet, and Carrot Juice

Pineapple, Yellow Beet, and Carrot Juice

One of my favorite and oldest kitchen tools is my juicer. I have done several juice fasts and I find them to be quite enjoyable. I also like to sip on fresh juices throughout the day for their therapeutic benefits and to get an extra boost of vitamins. 

This pineapple-beet-carrot juice recipe is great to stimulate digestion and support a healthy liver, which performs hundreds of metabolic processes in your body! 

Pineapple Juice

Believe it or not, this last month has been my first time tasting pineapples again in about 2 years because I used to be allergic to them. After making and eating my own cultured foods to rebuild my damaged gut flora, I now have healthier immune and digestive systems and I can eat pineapple again without any asthmatic flareups! This is probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me, you know besides marrying my wonderful husband. 😉

The health benefits of pineapple are numerous. You may have heard of an enzyme called bromelain that is contained in pineapple. It is naturally anti-inflammatory, and helps your body to break down proteins, facilitating the digestive process.

Pineapple is also high in vitamin C, which is good for your immune system, and supports a healthy stress response. Unlike many animals, humans cannot synthesize their own vitamin C. We need to acquire it from our food, so drink up!

Yellow Beet Juice

I’m going to share a secret with you. I’m not a fan of beets. The President doesn’t like beets either. He banned them from the White House garden. However, I know they are full of health benefits, so I have been making an effort to try different methods of incorporating them into my diet anyway. I am happy to say this juice was a success. The beet flavor is mellow and it co-mingled with the pineapple and carrot nicely. This is progress!

Beet juice promotes healthy blood flow and helps to reduce blood pressure. It also helps to improve exercise performance! The nitrates in beet juice reduce oxygen uptake, which means you don’t get as tired when you exercise. This is great news for endurance athletes. Indeed, I made and drank a beet juice cocktail last year when I ran a half marathon.

Beets are also high in iron, which assists the red blood cells in delivering oxygen to your body. Finally, beets have long been known to protect and strengthen the liver. They contain a chemical compound called “betaine”, which helps the liver to move out toxins and heal itself. 

This is why I’m willing to give beets a chance! 🙂

Carrot Juice

Carrots are another food that I have a long and finicky history with. Growing up, I hated them. When I started exploring healthier eating habits and was looking for natural ways to reduce my high cholesterol, I decided to give them a try. I found there are many foods they pair well with, particularly citrus and other tangy fruits. Carrots and pineapple were meant to be together. Over the years, I developed quite a taste for them, and carrot cake is my favorite dessert now! They are quite versatile in raw food preparation too. 

Most people think of beta-carotene and the eyes when the topic of the carrot’s health benefits comes up. They are not wrong, but there is so much more to the carrot. It is also a good digestive aide. If you drink carrot juice 20 minutes before your meal, it helps to stimulate your digestive juices and detoxify your liver.

Combined with pineapple and beet root, this juice blend is a great pre-meal drink to facilitate optimal digestion and a healthier metabolism! As an added bonus, the carotenoids also help to protect you from cancer.

Pineapple, Yellow Beet, and Carrot Juice
Yields 20
This juice blend is a power digestive aide and liver cleanser. It is best taken 20 minutes before mealtime to stimulate the digestive juices. The recipe will make appx. 20 ounces, so feel free to spread it out across multiple meals.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups fresh chopped pineapple
  2. 2 yellow beets
  3. 8 medium sized organic carrots
Instructions
  1. Run ingredients through juicer in the order shown.
  2. Strain if desired.
Notes
  1. It is best to juice softer ingredients first and harder ingredients last so that the harder ingredients will move all of the pulp from the softer ingredients through the machine.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/