Raspberry Smoothie

My daughter was in the middle of her Japanese lesson on Skype as I was rummaging through the fridge for breakfast. For someone who has never used Skype, I love it for all the resourceful connections my kid has found. I was hesitant to interrupt her lesson with the noise of my Vitamix.

I did it anyways. 30 seconds of noise pollution for a delicious breakfast to stave off that mid-morning blood sugar crash, which inevitably leads to binging, is so worth it. And my girl liked it, too. (I didn’t tell her about the avocado and chia seeds.)

1/4 pineapple
1/2 pint raspberries
2 cups grapefruit juice
1/2 avocado
1/4 cup chia seeds

Blend. Share. Love.

Pomegranate Green Smoothie

Incredible how these smoothie images tend to look the same after awhile. Well, maybe not that incredible, but what is impressive is how something that looks so identical, day after day, can taste so remarkably different.

Today, I let too much time pass before eating breakfast. Now it’s well after lunchtime, and after snapping at my kids a few times too many, I realize that I’m really hungry.

Time for a smoothie.

Smoothies are the lazy vegan’s fast food. I crave something more complex than an apple, but I need to prepare it in five minutes or less. So into the blender go a few select items, and whirl. This one turned out a bit sweet, so I added an avocado to mellow it a little. Perfect.

1 pomegranate
1/4 pineapple
2 cups grapefruit juice
1/2 avocado
1 cup packed spinach

Blend and drink. Store the leftovers for those snack attack moments.

Citrus Sanity


The smoke detectors began chirping at 4am, demanding battery replacement. After meeting that chore, sleep escaped, leaving me with an entire Saturday to parent through a foggy veil. Hopefully, this citrus charged smoothie will provide a little sanity to my day.

This delicious concoction was the result of cleaning my counter of citrus fruits that threatened to mold and a little Saturday refrigerator cleanup.

1/2 cup grapefruit juice
1/2 cup orange juice
6 clementines, peeled
1/2 avocado
6 kale leaves, stems removed

Blend. Drink. Embrace the power.

Mango Spinach Smoothie

I’m standing inside my warm home watching some determined kids across the park try to sled down a barely dusted hill. That was my boy last year. So what if Chicago didn’t grace us with snow, by god, we’re gonna put that sled to use!

Four o’clock. This is the time of day that I’m ready to eat straight from the cupboards for no reason whatsoever. I’m so glad I have this smoothie leftover from breakfast. So satisfying.

Satisfying a craving doesn’t always stop a binge. So it’s good to ask myself a few questions. Any 12 step junkies familiar with HALT? Am I hungry? A little bit. Am I angry? Not today. Lonely? Hmmm, not really. Tired? Yes! And for overeaters, am I dehydrated? Yes, most likely.

That water thing, unless I’m coming from a workout, it just never occurs to me to drink it. Yet, for some crazy, wonky reason, being thirsty often translates as I need to eat a box of Oreo cookies, along with some peanut butter smothered graham crackers with chips and whatever else I’ve got going on. Crazy, I know. It’s been awhile since I’ve done that, but not so long that I couldn’t imagine it.

Instead, my beautiful mango smoothie.

2 mangos
1 banana
1/2 cup cranberries
1 cup spinach
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

Blend. Drink. Love.

Raw Vegan Banana Bread

I’ve got a bunch of ripe bananas on the counter, beckoning me.  Instead of freezing them up, I’m in the mood for banana bread.  Here is a post from my former blog that I’m reprinting today to get me warmed up and in the mood for making up some raw-vegan banana bread.

banana bread

reprinted from mixedthreadsblog.com, March 6, 2012

Banana Bread.  I can’t imagine life without it.  But it doesn’t always make me feel so great in spite of all the healthy substitutions.  In fact, a warm, moist loaf of banana bread is the kind of Midwestern wholesome treat that seems like such a nice thing.  I would make it for the new neighbors.  I’d make it for the family with a new baby.  I’d make it for my daughter.  I’d make it just because that bunch of bananas are getting just the right amount of brown spots – ding – ripe enough for bread.  One delicious slice would soon turn into two, then three, then, hmmm, maybe I’ll just take a chunk of the crust, and then soon it would be over.  Not so great.  Several pounds later and I’ve got a problem, and I wonder, “was it the banana bread?”

Enter Victoria Boutenko.  I think I’ve written about her before.  She is one Raw Mama.  When she and her whole family were sick, she came home one day and put them all on a raw diet, cold turkey (but no turkey).  She tells her story much better than I and you can visit this amazing woman and her family here.  My mother and I have been enjoying her cranberry scones for quite some time, now.  In fact, we frequently make them together which I am convinced adds to the happiness it brings us both.  Absolutely.  Cook Prep together.  Eat together.  Love together.  Sharing good food strengthens bonds.

These scones have become my morning muffin with coffee (still working on that), so I’ve been anxious to mix them up a bit.  After spending many a fruitless hour looking for a good raw vegan banana bread to no avail, I decided to create my own.  This last week, I think I’ve got it.  My SIL and her family were the lucky ones to try them right out of the dehydrator.  I was so charmed as her little boy devoured them with gusto.  Oh, how I wish my kids ate like that, but that’s for another blog post.  The banana bread muffin had that warmth with a little crust on the edge that made me feel like I finally got it.  While making these, I didn’t pay specific attention to quantities, so I’ll give it to you the best I recall.  Next time, I’ll take greater care and update the recipe.
Banana Oat Muffins

  • 2 cups pecans or walnuts
  • 2 cups carrot puree, 2-4 carrots
  • 2 cups apple puree, 2-4 apples
  • 1 cup flax seed meal (or grind flax seed in high speed blender)
  • 4 tbsp agave nectar (or less depending on how ripe the bananas are, more ripe – more sweet – use less sweetener)
  • 3-4 ripe bananas

Now here is where I started mixing things in until the batter tasted just right.

  • Oat flour
  • Ground almonds
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg

1.  Using a food processor, grind up the pecans.  Add to large mixing bowl.
2.  Cut carrots into chunks and puree in processor.  Add to bowl.
3.  Cut apples into chunks and puree.  Add to bowl.
4.  Add flax seed meal to bowl.
5.  Mash bananas (leave one aside) and add to bowl.
6.  Add agave.

7.  Mix with hands – very squishy.  This is where I thought it was too wet, so I started adding stuff.  First a little oat flour (I know, not totally raw, but not such a bad thing to have in your diet), then some ground almonds.  Add a little cinnamon and a bit of Nutmeg, then a little more oat flour until it was wet enough to form a ball, but not so wet that it turns into a blob.  I thought raisins would make a nice addition, but I’m getting a little bored of raisins in my morning muffin, so I took another banana and broke it into smallish pieces and mixed it in.
8.  Place a Teflex sheet or pieces of parchment paper on top of dehydrator screens.  Make balls of batter using an ice cream scoop or spoon.  I got about 55 scoops out of my batch and used two trays.  Dehydrate for up to 24 hours.  If you’re not hung up over the food being truly raw, these might work by baking at the lowest oven temp possible.  I haven’t tried it, so if you do, drop a line and let me know how it goes.
The true joy of “cooking” raw vegan foods by dehydrating is that you can check it anytime, eat one, think, “hmmm, needs a little more time” and put the rest back in – all without getting salmonella (okay, I know it’s possible, just a lot less likely).  Also, if the phone rings, the dog is barking and the kids are flooding the bathroom, I know I’m not going to burn anything.  Whew.  Love that.Now I’d like to get them to look a little more like muffins.  Important?  Probably not, but there’s nothing like the power of suggestion when trying to get fussy eaters to try something new.Oh, and these are so great the mornings that I go to yoga.  When on my stomach while working through all those back poses, the cobra, locust and bow, it makes a huge difference what I put in my belly that morning.  This is a nice, calming, bite to eat that I can grab easily first thing the morning.  Just enough fuel to get the kids ready for school, fight traffic, and work my way through a class.  My favorite breakfast.

Eat and share with love.

Very Berry Smoothie

My little one surprised me this morning by asking his papa to take him to school.  That surprised us both, and while my husband whisked him away in a taxi, I dragged myself back to bed.

Sleeping in when sick always sounds like a good idea, but in practice leaves me feeling even more groggy throughout the day.  At around noon I finally pulled myself together to come downstairs, but with a seemingly thick coat of bubble wrap about my head.  Hungry, unfocused and aimless, I was already stuffing easily accessible, junky food in my mouth without thinking. So when my daughter made this a special request for lunch today, I was happy to oblige.


Very Berry Smoothie

  • 1 cup Strawberries
  • 1 cup Blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Raspberries
  • 1/2 cup Blackberries
  • 2 cups fresh squeezed Orange Juice

Blend and Drink.

After pouring her serving, I blended in a chunk of ginger (about an inch) for my own for that extra zing.  I love ginger.

Making this smoothie brought me back to Arizona where my mother-in-law has a freezer full of frozen fruits.  She picks or purchases them when they’re in season and stores what she has room for.  What a treat it was to open the packed freezer to pick a delicious add-in for our smoothies.  Every summer I think of doing that, but never quite get it done.  When I paid the high prices at the grocery store for all these off-season berries that I imagine have traveled thousands of miles to get to chilly Chicago, made me really appreciate her frugality and preparedness.  Next summer.  Strawberries in June.  Blueberries, July.  Blackberries and Raspberries in August.

Cranberry Kale Juice

The flu is still hanging in here. With most of Chicago hospitals filled to capacity with flu victims, I am grateful that I’m not worse. Because I woke up again with the chills and heavy congestion, I’m going to keep it light today with juices and smoothies.

This juice was inspired by a leftover bag of cranberries from the holidays. About half were still good. And the juice turned out neither too tart or bitter.

1 Bunch Lacinato Kale (Dino Kale)
1/2 Bunch Celery
1 Large Cucumber
1 Inch Chunk Ginger
2 Apples
1/2 Bag (abou 6 oz) Cranberries

Juice. Drink. Share.

Cantaloupe Smoothie

So stuffy, lightheaded, feverish sick today. This smoothie is light enough and easy on my fickle tummy.

1/2 Cantaloupe, cut in chunks
4 Coconut Water Ice Cubes

Blend. Share. Love.

Sunrise Juice

3 Big Carrots
2 Apples
2 Pears
1 Big Chunk of Ginger (about 2 inches)

I need some zing to clear my throat this morning and the ginger was perfect.  This hearty drink will surely last me until lunch.

Juice, drink, share, and love.

Cilantro Citrus Smoothie

(see full image)

1 Avocado
1 Bunch Cilantro
1 Orange
1 Grapefruit

Blend and glug, glug, glug. Tasted great but a bit thick. Oh, and gave me the most horrible gas. That could have been the nachos from last night, though (not raw vegan, shhhh). My 12yo is so fortunate to be completely stuffed up today.