Super Green Smoothie

Super Green Smoothie

Super Green Smoothie

 

Smoothies are a fantastic way to get a lot of nutrients into you in one go, simply due to the volume of fruits and vegetables you are able to consume this way. Take a green smoothie for example, you can literally pack an entire salad or plate of greens into one glass, yet it’s easy to finish and you don’t feel overly full afterwards. The reason for this is the smoothie ingredients and their nutrients are partially broken down by the blender blades, which means they are more readily digested and absorbed by your body. This in turn means your body doesn’t have to put as much time and energy into digestion and can turn its attention to other important processes such as detoxification and healing.

The other great thing about smoothies is the ingredients are entirely raw so all the nutrients are in their original, unprocessed state. All the antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals remain intact, along with the foods inherent living enzymes which are often killed by heat. These living enzymes assist in the absorption of the nutrients which also helps to take some of the load off your digestive system. So by eating raw food in the form of a smoothie, you can maximise your nutrient intake in a very easy way.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing food that you’ll be eating raw is to consider buying organic, spray-free produce. Or an even better, much more affordable option is to grown your own if you can. The reason for this is produce that is covered in pesticides creates more work for your digestive system and liver, which essentially defeats the purpose of eating raw (easily digestible) food.

Making your own smoothies is much more cost effective than buying them and allows you to control the quality of ingredients and flavour combinations. One important thing to look out for if you are buying a smoothie (especially the pre-packaged type from the supermarket) is to check the label for added sugar. This can often be disguised as “fruit juice” or “juice concentrate” which is essentially fruit that has been stripped of it’s fibre and nutrients leaving a high concentration of fructose and not much else. Fructose can’t be used for energy by the body and can only be metabolised by the liver, which turns it into fat and stores it in the body. Alternatively by using whole fruit in a smoothie, the fibre and nutrients act to slow down the fructose absorption and the benefits of the vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and minerals far out weigh out any negative effects from fructose. Therefore if you are going to buy a smoothie, the best places to do so are those where you know the smoothie is being made from scratch using whole, raw fruit and vegetables, such as quality cafes, raw food eateries or smoothie bars.

If you are new to green smoothies you may prefer to ease yourself into them by starting off with a fruit base, rather than going straight to an entirely green vegetable smoothie which can be an acquired taste. A good way to start is by adding a little fruit like a pear, a small handful of fresh pineapple or half a banana.

The following minty green smoothie recipe is one of my favourites and is a nice mild option to start with. It’s a mix of greens, tropical fruit and coconut water. It tastes best when chilled, so one of my top tips is to chop up a bunch of fruit and store it in your freezer. That way your smoothies will always come out chilled, even after high speed blending, and you will always have a stash of frozen fruit ready for the next one!

Use this green smoothie recipe as a base, swapping in different fruits and greens to create your own favourite smoothie combinations. Enjoy!

 

Super Green Smoothie
 

Green Smoothie

Makes: 1 large smoothie
Prep time: 10 minutes

1 cup of coconut water or filtered drinking water
1 cup of spinach or kale, washed
1 2inch/6cm piece cucumber
1 cup of pineapple, chopped, preferably frozen
1 kiwifruit, peeled, chopped, preferably frozen
1/2 frozen banana
1 handful of fresh mint
1 handful ice
squeeze of lemon or lime

Place all the ingredients in the blender and slowly work up to maximum speed. You may have to stop the blender and give the ingredients a stir if you’re using frozen fruit, or use the blender stirring stick. Blend until smooth, pour into a tall glass and drink immediately. Alternatively this smoothie can be stored in the fridge in a sealed bottle for up to 2 days.

Note: This makes quite a thick, icy green smoothie. For a more liquid version just add extra coconut water or filtered drinking water, or leave out the ice.

 

Green Soup with Adzuki Bean Topping

Green Soup with Adzuki Bean Topping

Green Soup with Adzuki Bean Topping

 

This is indeed another soup post, but this soup is so delicious I had to share it!

Soup is definitely a go-to recipe when I want something delicious and warm in a short amount of time. I also love the idea of soup toppings which I first talked about here as they really lift a bowl of soup into something way more interesting and flavoursome, and the combinations really are endless!

In my last soup post I talked about the different coloured soups I’d been making and this is the green soup in that series. You may have noticed when making green vegetable soup that it starts off a vibrant green colour but by the end of cooking it turns murky olive green. A vibrant green soup is so much more appetising than the latter, so with that in mind I adjusted the way this green soup is cooked to try and keep it as fresh and green as possible.

By cooking the hard green vegetables, such as broccoli and celery, very lightly so they remain a little crisp, they’re more likely to retain their green colour. For softer green vegetables, such as spinach, add them at the very end so that they’re only lightly steamed, and any fresh herbs can be added straight to the blender. The result is a very vibrant green soup, which also happens to be better for you as the nutrients aren’t subjected to quite so much heat! The other bonus about the cooking method is it only takes 20 minutes to make, making it a realistic week day meal.

The topping I created for this green soup is a crunchy adzuki bean, sunflower seed and coriander combination, with a little middle eastern spin from sumac and ras el hanout. If you don’t have or like these spices, this topping recipe is definitely open to variations so feel free to use whatever spices you like. Likewise, the soup recipe is a basic starting point. Feel free use whatever green vegetables are in season and that you have on hand, using the basic cooking guidelines detailed below.

This green soup with adzuki bean topping makes a delicious lunch or dinner, and it keeps well in the fridge for about 5 days. Hope you give this one a try, and would love to hear from you in the comments section below. Enjoy!

 

Green Soup with Adzuki Bean Topping
 

Green Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes  Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes: 6 bowls

1 head of broccoli
6-8 stalks of celery
4 cups filtered water
10cm piece of ginger
3 cloves garlic
4 bunches of spinach
1 large handful coriander
1 large handful Italian Parsley
1/2 lemon
salt & pepper to taste

Wash the broccoli, celery and spinach well. Cut the broccoli into florets and place in a large pan along with the water and roughly sliced celery. Roughly slice the ginger and garlic and add to the pan. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and gently simmer for about 5 minutes. The broccoli and celery should still look green and have a slight crunch. Add the spinach and place a lid on top. Don’t worry if it doesn’t totally fit. You are just aiming for the steam from the water below to wilt it a little. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

While the soup is cooling you can prepare the topping – see recipe below.

Once the topping is ready the soup should be cool enough to blend. You should be able to do this in two batches. Start by blending the first half of the soup until smooth, then add half the herbs and blend until you can see they are just mixed in. Repeat for the second batch. Combine the two blender batches again in the cooking pot you used, add a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper to taste. Give it a good stir to ensure everything is evenly mixed then divide the soup up into your serving bowls and add the topping to the centre.

 

Adzuki Bean Topping

Prep time: 10 minutes  Cook time: 10 minutes

1 400g can adzuki beans
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp ras el hanout
freshly ground salt & pepper (to taste)
1/2 tsp coconut sugar
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1 large handful coriander, roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil

Open the can of adzuki beans, place them in a sieve to give them a good wash and then let them drain.
Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan and add the crushed garlic. Cook for about a minute and then add the sunflower seeds, sumac, ras el hanout, salt & pepper & coconut sugar. Cook stirring for a few minutes until you hear the sunflower seeds start to pop. Add the adzuki beans and stir a few more minutes until the beans are heated through. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and coriander. Give it a good stir and then add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve piled into the centre of a bowl of green soup.

 
Green Soup with Adzuki Bean Topping

 

Blueberry, Apple & Buckwheat Muffins

Blueberry, Apple & Buckwheat Muffins

Blueberry & Apple Buckwheat Muffins

 

 

These blueberry, apple & buckwheat muffins have such a lovely light delicate crumb, you would never guess they don’t contain any butter, wheat flour or refined sugar!

The idea for this healthy breakfast muffin occurred to me after I found a delicious looking recipe in a cook book, and tried out an adapted (dairy & gluten free) version while we were on a weekend away with family. Despite being located on Kawau island (which has no shops and is only accessible by boat) the pantry at the Bach (beach house) surprisingly had most of the required ingredients, although the only gluten free flour was coconut flour. Unfortunately the first batch of muffins was a crumbly disaster, but my 1 year old niece still thought they were pretty great. I concluded coconut flour on it’s own is not a great choice for a muffin recipe.

 

Blueberry, apple & buckwheat muffins - swoonfood.com

 

I tried the recipe again when we got home with a gluten free flour blend but the recipe still wasn’t amazing when adapted in this way. Determined to conquer this muffin idea, I next tried adapting my faithful blueberry muffin recipe by replacing the dairy, gluten and refined sugar. To make them more breakfast-like I used buckwheat flour for a light crumb and added apple to keep them moist and to reduce the sugar content. The result was…. a winner!

These muffins are best eaten fresh, although will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container. They are perfect for a weekend brunch, lunch or afternoon tea and any leftovers make a great weekday breakfast on the go. Hope you give these blueberry muffins a try and if you post any photos to social media be sure to tag @swoon.food #swoonfood so I can come and admire them! Enjoy.

Any questions or comments about this blueberry, apple & buckwheat muffin recipe? Leave a comment in the section below, I love to hear from you!

 

Blueberry, apple & buckwheat muffins - swoonfood.com

 

Blueberry, Apple & Buckwheat Muffins

Makes: 12
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

200g stewed apple (see note below)
80g coconut oil, melted
80g coconut sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla powder/essence
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
100g buckwheat flour
100g brown rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp hot water
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat the oven to 180ºC and lightly grease a 12 hole non-stick muffin tray.

Combine melted coconut oil, sugar, apple, egg, vanilla powder and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and beat with a hand held beater until just combined. Sieve the buckwheat flour, brown rice flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir to combine. In a separate small bowl combine the baking soda, hot water and cider vinegar – it will fizz up, so stir it briefly before adding to the mixture and stir well to combine. Lastly add the blueberries – if using frozen there is no need to defrost first.

Drop spoonfuls of mixture into the muffin tray until all holes are filled evenly. Place in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for approximately 20minutes, until muffins are nicely risen and a knife inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Leave the muffins to cool on a wire rack before carefully running a knife around the edges to release. Store in an air-tight container once cold. These will keep a couple of days, however they taste the best when eaten fresh on the day of baking.

 

Note: To stew apples: peel, remove the core and cut into small pieces. Place in a saucepan with about 1cm of water and simmer until the apples have broken down and are easily crushed with a masher or fork. Alternatively you can buy stewed apple in a tin which is usually called “apple pie filling” or similar. Look for the kind that has no additives in the ingredients – just apples. 

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Blueberry, apple & buckwheat muffins - swoonfood.com