Health

Green Smoothie Recipe: Pennsylvania Ingredients

This smoothie recipe is two years in the making. I tried my first green shake a few years ago and I immediately felt invigorated. At 6 weeks post-partum, this was not a sensation I was used to feeling. Drinking a salad was not something I ever thought I would enjoy, but I couldn’t discount the fact that my body responded so eagerly to the green super-food. Amazingly, my whole family has started drinking the wonder-beverage along with me. With the help of my critical taste testers, I have perfected the recipe for an unbeatable smoothie. The best part? It is made with all locally grown ingredients, including one from my own backyard.

Allow me to introduce the Spipple. I call it a Spipple because the primary ingredients are spinach and apples. Look out Pop-eye, the only thing better than a can of spinach is a blooming bunch of ripe, raw produce. This Spipple is so healthy, in fact, that I would wager the only thing better to drink comes from a nipple. I am not a dietician, doctor, or nutrition expert, but I have made some eye-opening discoveries about the quality of food in the last year and this drink meets all of my priorities. It is raw, local, and sustainable. The sources use minimal packaging and organic farming methods, although they are not always certified organic farms. First, let’s talk about the spinach.

Spinach does not grow in a can. It also doesn’t grow in a plastic container. However, those plastic containers do conveniently fit in the refrigerator, I keep one around in case I pick up a head of spinach from the market. This is a cold weather crop that comes up first in the spring and lasts longer into the fall. Next year, I’ll plant some in late April and late August. For now, I happily fork over the $3 at the market in exchange for these protein and calcium-packed leafy greens. (Did I just say that spinach has calcium? Yes, I did.)

After I wash all the ingredients in the plastic basin, I toss them into the Vitamix and thank the blending technology geniuses for saving me the trouble of having to chew any of my fruits and veggies. I try to remember not to drain the water because I can use it in my herb garden, but usually I end up kicking myself halfway through the pour. What can I say, I’m learning how to be more green each day and old habits die hard.

In goes 1/2 C Water, a handful of spinach, 3 or 4 basil leaves, 2 whole apples, a handful of frozen blueberries, and 1/2 cup ice. At this point I am literally salivating over the green smash that is before me. This is because I am starving. The beauty of eating healthy foods all the time is that you are always hungry so everything is appetizing. Even pureed salad. Luckily the apple makes everything better. Until…

My apple got stuck. I was so enthused about the idea of using the whole apple and not discarding the core that I forgot to chop it up. So, I reached into the sludge to retrieve the apples and got to chopping. (Editor’s note: remove the apple seeds.)

My childlike inner voice asked, “will I grow an apple in my stomach if I eat the seeds?” Of course not silly, back into the blender you go!

I passed the mixing responsibility to my trusty-monkey sidekick. She had already climbed onto the counter top, so it was only fair to put her to work. I have to tell you, TODZILLA goes bananas for the green smoothies at the right time and the right place. If she can open the refrigerator and find one as soon as her hunger pangs kick in around 9:15, she will drink it with no hesitation. However, any distraction or alternate food option will sway her.

My liquid luck is fully emulsified after about 1 1/2 minutes in the Vitamix and ready for the pour, but it’s a little thick. I can either blend more and add extra water or strain it. I opt for the straining method because I have a plan for the pulp.

This particular smoothie was not a hit in the heat of the moment since TODZILLA had to wait for the prep, so I poured the sifted sludge into a bowl under some granola and doused it with water. She couldn’t wait to get her hands on it, and I thought… Is this really my kid?

Whenever Hannah eats something like this, I think back to my childhood. I still remember the aftermath of a Doctor’s visit when I was 2 years old. To his question, “Do you eat your green leafy vegetables?” I replied, “My Mom never makes me those.” She was mortified. My punishment was a lifelong sentence of consumption of overcooked, canned green beans in order to make up for the embarrassment. It’s funny that at the age of 2, I knew that she had never served me a leafy green despite her desperate attempts to get me to consume pseudo-veggies each day. Now is my opportunity to change things. I can explore, experiment, and enjoy all the vivacious green smoothie concoctions I want thanks to the inspiration of a few creative Mom-chefs leading the way.

 

Before the unveiling of the shake, I have to tell you guys that I did remember to reserve the water for my garden. Do you ever think that it’s a little cannibalistic to put the basil-infused water back on the basil? Either way, the basil seems to like it and I credit all the green shakes with improved mental clarity so it can’t hurt them either. How else would I have remembered to conserve water and water my plants all in the same morning? Without further ado…

Ta Da! My beautiful green smoothie is ready for me to drink as a mid-morning snack. It is full of fresh, raw, local ingredients and it literally makes me sing throughout the day. I love sharing this treat with my family each morning with various additions or substitutions based on the produce selection at the market.

Perfect Pennsylvania Green Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C Water
  • Handful of spinach
  • 3 or 4 basil leaves
  • 2 whole apples
  • Handful of frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 C ice

Instructions

  1. Throughly rinse all ingredients, then place in the mixer in the order listed.
  2. Blend on low speed for 10, then slowly increase speed until high.
  3. Blend for 30 seconds on high.
  4. Strain and reserve the pulp for a super add-in ingredient for another snack.
  5. Serve chilled.
  6. This recipe is adapted from the Vitamix recipe book to include local, fresh ingredients from Chester County, Pennsylvania.

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