Week One: 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge

Greetings everyone! I hope all is well and that the new year is treating you right! Like I mentioned a few posts ago, I embarked on a 30 day green smoothie challenge. I started off excited, nervous and mostly nervous. I was afraid. I thought, how in the world can I survive replacing one of my meals with a smoothie? I was convinced I was going to starve.

I must admit the first few days were NO fun. I started my challenge with a smoothie for breakfast. Now, if you don’t know already the time between dinner and breakfast is the longest time you really go without food (hence breaking the fast). Having a smoothie for breakfast made me feel a bit weak at first. I felt hungry again within a few hours. I also realized that I was obsessed with this idea of having a big breakfast. Breakfast is actually one of my favorite meals of the day. I love the infinite possibilities for breakfast food. I think I just made myself hungry.

I have switched up the times of day when I have a smoothie. Some mornings I can tolerate a smoothie for breakfast, as long as I keep my lunch satisfying and nibble on a palm full of almonds or cashews to sustain me. I have had smoothies for lunch and even have had it for dinner. I’m only a week into the challenge and I just CRAVE a smoothie whenever I’m hungry. I have stocked up on frozen organic berries, mangoes, bananas, kale and spinach. I plan on making use of the recipes SimpleGreenSmoothies.com provides each week.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes (tweak them however you like!):

Super Green Berry Machine

What you need:
2 cups raw baby spinach (or kale)
3/4 cup organic orange juice
1 cup frozen organic strawberries/blueberries/mixed berries (whatever you like)
1 banana
1 tablespoon Udo’s oil (a vegan friendly Omega 3/6/9 Oil blend)
1 level scoop of Gary Null’s Green Stuff
1 teaspoon of Organic Bee Pollen/Chia Seeds/Hemp Hearts (whatever you like!)

How you make it:
1. Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add a little extra liquid to the smoothie to get a better consistency. Keep your OJ on hand! Organic only please!


Power Protein Smoothie (compliments of Simple Green Smoothies)

What you need:
1 banana
2 cups spinach
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup frozen blueberries
10 whole almonds
2 cups water (or unsweetened almond milk)
4 tablespoons vanilla flavored protein powder (try: Spirutein)

How you make it:
1. Blend well and enjoy! This smoothie is especially great for breakfast.

I will be posting more smoothie recipes as the challenge continues!

Minus my 2 day encounter with the flu, I have really felt wonderful. The effects of having at least ONE green smoothie a day is incomparable. I have great energy, focus and feel phenomenally slim. I have been off of caffeine for a few weeks and I don’t miss it as much. The smoothies have really curbed the caffeine craving!

Keep on the look out for my updates on the challenge!

Peace, love, and green smoothies (and no beef duh!).

-Guramrit

Super Greens and Beans Stew

Need comfort on a cold day? Need another reason to get in the kitchen? Want a way to get your greens in without the hassle? Your search ends here. This simply delicious and delightful stew will not only ease those cold weather blues but also satisfy your need for greens! Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself! [P.S. This recipe comes with leftovers, so be prepared for a few days of stewy goodness!]

What you need:

2 cans cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained

1 32 oz carton of vegetable broth/stock

1/4 cup white wine [cooking wine works as well]

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper [I like it spicy!]

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

2 cups fresh kale, roughly chopped

2 cups rainbow chard, roughly chopped

1 15 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes [San Marzano is the best!]

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

How You Make It:

1. In a large pot, heat oil and saute onions until soft. Add garlic, red pepper, rosemary, basil and oregano and pinch or two of salt. Stir in the kale and swiss chard. Stir until kale and chard look slightly wilted.

2. Add in broth, tomatoes and beans. Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and stir.

3. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add white wine and reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Season with salt, pepper and serve with bruschetta or garlic bread.

Veggie Power

Getting in all of your veggies especially in the winter time seems to be a challenge. I am trying to at least eat some raw veggies here and there to maintain balance within my body. I have noticed quite a difference when eating raw vegetables as opposed to cooked. Though I do not have any intention to eat a completely raw vegan diet, I do plan on incorporating some raw food dietary practices.

As I mentioned earlier on in the week, I am participating in Elf for health, a 6 week challenge to keep me on track for the holidays. The support is phenomenal and my elf finally got in touch with me! YAY! One of the challenges this week was to incorporate veggies into every meal. I completely failed breakfast. It’s hard for me to associate breakfast with anything other than fruit. But I do plan on making a nice tofu scramble this weekend! Since I missed breakfast I made sure I noshed on some sugar snap peas, carrots and celery throughout the day. Surprisingly enough, I felt calmer, more content and more focused.

Who knew veggies could have such power? Well, I kinda did. But you’d be surprised how hard it is to really pay attention to the amount of veggies you are consuming. Have you really stopped to think about how many servings you are ACTUALLY getting each day?

Even a vegan, like myself, can dive off the deep end and eat complete junk. Hey, momentary lapses of judgment are all part of being human. We live in a society where junk food surrounds us and lingers around every corner. And let’s face it, sometimes that chocolate chip cookie really doesn’t seem all that bad. 

I try my best to avoid diving off into that end of the pool because I know how it impacts my health. I may be a little uptight about my dietary lifestyle but that is because I know what my body needs to feel lively, healthy and satisfied. But giving in on a rare moment is A-OKAY! [And besides, it keeps you from binging later on. Your hips will thank you later ;)]

Peace, love and no beef here!

Guramrit

What are you doing to make sure you get your veggies in today?

Green Goddess Pasta (Adapted from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch)

Hello beautiful beloved ones!

I had to share this phenomenal recipe with you. In all honesty, this may probably be up on my list with my favorite pasta recipes. This dish was full of flavor and color with different textures to satisfy the palate. I made a few swaps to the recipe (as usual, DUH!) and cranked up the flavor by adding in thyme, organic extra virgin olive oil, baby sweet peas and took out the kale and zucchini (since I didn’t have any on hand). I promise you this recipe is super easy and it’s great to take to work or school for lunch the next day (if there are any leftovers).

Green Goddess Pasta

Serves 4

What you need:
5 cloves garlic, minced (set one clove aside for sautéing veggies)
4 tablespoons refined organic extra virgin olive oil (set one tablespoon aside for sautéing veggies)
6 tablespoons vegan butter
3 quarts water
About 5 teaspoons fine sea salt
8 ounces whole wheat or brown rice elbow macaroni (I used brown rice spinach spaghetti)
1 broccoli crown, cut into bite-sized florets (about 2-1⁄2 cups)
1⁄2 bag frozen baby sweet peas
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
1⁄4 cup pine nuts (pan roasted, roast with no oil in a small sauté pan until slightly brown and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside).
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed

How you make it:
In a 1-quart saucepan over low heat, combine the garlic, thyme, and olive oil and cook, swirling occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the butter, swirling until it melts, and set aside.

In a 4- to 6-quart stockpot over high heat, combine the water with about
1-1⁄2 tablespoons salt. Bring the water to a boil, add the macaroni, and cook according to the package directions until about 1 minute shy of being done.

In a sautee pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and one clove of garlic. Let the garlic get fragrant then add broccoli. Add baby peas at the end. Cook until veggies are tender.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1⁄2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and stir in the veggies, garlic butter, pepper, 3 tablespoons of the roasted pine nuts, and the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt. Transfer the pasta to plates or a platter, garnish with remaining 1 tablespoon of pine nuts, and serve. For a little extra garnish, add a handful of pea sprouts. Delish!

Peace, love and green goddess pasta for all!

Guramrit

Nourish Your Soul With Minestrone

This week has been incredibly intense. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. I feel immensely blessed that my family and friends are safe from harm and that we have our home, food and water. 

On top of the craziness of this week, it has been COLD. Winter has come early and I am NOT ready. One of the only things I get excited about for the winter is the cooking. Winter time means feeding yourself with comforting foods. BUT! This year I am turning those overly fattening, hibernation-causing, overly-cheesy, super decadent winter foods into healthy, nutritious and DELICIOUS meals. One of the recipes I played with was a minestrone recipe from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust by Ina Garten. Of course, I always turn a recipe into my own to suit my vegan needs. Well, here it is. Enjoy!

What You Need: 

1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion

2 cups (1/2-inch) diced carrots (3 carrots)

2 cups (1/2 inch) diced celery (3 stalks)

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 cup of purple kale, chopped (remove the spine and wash thoroughly)

1 large zucchini, sliced into half moons

26 ounces canned tomatoes (1 small can of whole peeled tomatoes, 1 large can roasted diced tomatoes)

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups cooked small pasta (you can cook it in the soup!)

8 to 10 ounces of fresh baby spinach (2 big handfuls)

6 cups of vegetable stock

1/2 cup dry white wine (or cooking wine)

2 tablespoons store-bought pesto (I got pesto paste- no cheese!- has more concentrated pesto flavor)

1 bay leaf

Salt, Pepper to taste

How To Make It:

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onions, garlic, celery, carrots, thyme and cook until vegetables soften. Add zucchini and stir. 

2. Add tomatoes, vegetable stock, bay leaf, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil and low the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender. 15 minutes into the simmering process add the kale, let it wilt slightly. Toss in pasta and allow to cook. 

3. Disgard the bay leaf. Add the beans and heat through. Toss in spinach and stir in until leaves are wilted. Stir in white wine and pesto. Add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste. 

4. Serve with your favorite crostini/bruschetta/croutons and ENJOY!