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vegetarian

Drinks/ GF, Vegan & Raw/ RECIPES

How To Get 5 Plant Servings in One Delicious Green Smoothie

ball jar of green smoothie

Green smoothies are an easy and delicious way to consume 5 plant servings in one glass! I can’t think of a more efficient and purposeful way to get those nutrients and colorful plants in. 5 plant servings equal over half of the 8 (1/2 cup) servings of fruits and vegetables recommended per day, all in one delicious green smoothie!

 

mango kale in a blender for green smoothie

 

5 Plant Servings = 1 Green Smoothie Breakdown

Let me break it down and show you how one smoothie contains 5+ plant servings. Remember, a serving is 1/2 cup or approximately what can fit in palm of your hand.

 

1/2 frozen banana = 1 serving

1 cup baby spinach = 2 servings

1/2 cup frozen mango = 1 serving

1/2 cup frozen peaches = 1 serving

We are already up to 5, and we have yet to add nut butter and seeds, which are also both plant foods and will add even more amazing nutrients.

 

cupow lid and jar of green smoothie

Get Plant Servings in Early

Eat this for breakfast and feel proud that you have such a great head start in getting those fruits and veggies in.

Do you fast for breakfast? Then break your fast and have the green smoothie for an easy, portable, filling and ‘full-of-goodness’ lunch.

By the time dinner rolls around, you are on a roll and adding a simple vegetable side or green salad to dinner can easily get you to 8 servings.

Not quite there by the end of dinner? Munch on a carrot stick as an after dinner snack or before you consume any treats after dinner.

 

simple green smoothie recipe cards

 

Green Smoothie Goodness

It is no wonder that green smoothies are not a passing trend, but something that has been around for a while. I posted my first green smoothie recipe years ago, back when my girls were young enough to beg for green smoothie popsicles!

When green smoothies are made with the right ingredients, they can be a great snack or meal full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, healthy fats and so much more!

My goal lately has been seeing how far I can push the vegetable content in my green smoothies, always trying for more veg than fruit.

Balancing the fruit with veg, seeds, nut butter or nuts helps keep blood sugar stable as the natural sugars in fruit can cause spikes.

I’ve been experimenting with frozen greens, frozen zucchini, and even frozen cauliflower. Watch for more posts and recipes to come on this!

 

mason jar sipping lid cupow

 

Green Smoothie Tips

  • Any milk can be substituted for almond milk–coconut, dairy, cashew, etc.
  • Taste your smoothie before you pour. The sweetness often differs depending on how sweet your fruit is. If you want more sweet, add 1 T organic agave nectar, 100% organic maple syrup, raw honey, or a Medjool date (remove the pit first). My first choice is no added sweetness, but a date is my second choice as it adds some fiber along with the sweetness.
  • Use ripe bananas. This will make your smoothie super sweet!
  • If you don’t have a high-speed blender, blend the greens and liquid first, then add the rest of the ingredients. If you do have a high-speed blender, all ingredients can go in at the same time.
  • Use frozen fruit whenever you can to make smoothies nice and frosty cold!
  • The key to good consistency is seeing a vortex when blending. If you don’t see this, add more liquid.
  • Use organic ingredients as much as possible! The number of plant foods that go into a smoothie can really concentrate the number of pesticides if the fruit is not organic. This is especially important if you are drinking a green smoothie every day.
  • Have leftover smoothie? Do what I did all the time when my girls were young and pour into a popsicle mold and freeze. Can also freeze in a small mason jar and thaw to drink later. Just set out on the counter to thaw for at least an hour.
  • Any greens can be used instead of spinach. Baby spinach is the mild and the taste disappears. Baby kale is my second fav. Swiss chard, microgreens, etc can all be used! Mix it up!
  • To increase protein content and make your smoothie more like a meal, add protein powder. I like to use organic pea protein or any plant-based protein. But…my first choice is protein from natural food sources like nuts, nut butters and seeds.
  • Add 1 T of chia or hemp seeds to power up your smoothies even more and full of plant power! I love the ease of throwing in a couple of tablespoons of my make-ahead super seed mix.
  • Have good straws on hand. I love glass straws or metal straws. I’ve been eyeing these large metal straws because they are nice and wide for gulping those thick green smoothies down quickly.
  • I also love drinking my smoothies from mason jars. I have this Cuppow sipping lid that screws right onto the top of a wide mouth mason jar. I also have these lids that have an opening for a large straw.
  • Make green smoothie frozen ziplock packs to conveniently grab and throw in the blender. If I have these in the freezer, my family uses them up like crazy and I get the satisfaction of knowing all those nutrients went into the ones I love.

 

jar of green smoothie

 

2 Ways To Freeze Bananas Tip

  1. Peel bananas, half them, and freeze them in a ziplock.
  2. Throw ripe, unpeeled whole bananas in the freezer. The skin will turn brown, but the banana will not. Fill blender with hot water and place unpeeled frozen banana in it to thaw for a few minutes, but do not thaw completely. Empty the water, them slip and slide the banana right out of the peel.

 

simple green smoothie recipe card

 

Sneak Peek New Nostalgia Shop Launch

Have you noticed the fun green smoothie cards in the photos? They are a little sneak peak of what is coming very soon from New Nostalgia! You will be able to purchase them once New Nostalgia shop launches the first week of October 2018!

Eek! We are almost there!

I have been working hard behind the scenes creating card sets that I know will be helpful for you! These cards on rings will be printable, portable and have themes for all areas of life that you will be able to refer back to over and over again.

Anti-Anxiety Cards, Green Smoothie Recipe Cards, Prayers for your Kids Cards, Room by Room Home Rescue Cards, 20 Favorite Essential Oil Blends–these are just a few of the card sets that you will find in the New Nostalgia shop.

They have been life-changing for me, allowing me to live life in an efficient and purposeful way.  I can’t wait to share more about them and offer them to you, too!

 

green smoothie jar

{to pin}

5 Plant Food Green Smoothie
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

This green smoothie is an easy and delicious way to consume 5 plant servings in one glass! I can't think of a more efficient and purposeful way to get those nutrients and colorful plants in. That is over half of the recommended 8 (1/2 cup) servings of fruits and vegetables per day in one delicious green smoothie!

Recipe Type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: green smoothie
Servings: 1 person
Ingredients
  • 1/2 banana frozen
  • 1/2 c mango fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 c peaches fresh or frozen
  • 1 c kale or baby spinach fresh or frozen
  • 1 c almond milk or milk of choice
Instructions
  1. Blend spinach and milk until smooth.

  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth and vortex appears. If vortex does not move freely...add more liquid. 

Meals/ RECIPES/ Sponsored

Creamy Tomato Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta With Arugula & Topped with Crunchy Breadcrumbs

CAULIFLOWER-ALFREDO-PASTA

I loved gathering my family around the table for this good-for-you but oh- so- creamy pasta dish.  They never guessed by looking at it that the creaminess of the tomato alfredo sauce comes from cauliflower & avocado!  When they saw pasta with creamy sauce and  crunchy breadcrumb topping, they were ready to dig in.

I’m finding it hard to believe that my girls are growing so quickly.  I feel almost frantic to get them to the dinner table every day, just to hold on to the moments of us all being together as a family before they are all grown up and out of the house.  I’ve found myself mentioning this quite often on the blog lately, but boy, with 2 of my girls already in high school, reality has hit that they are growing up fast and that time flies.

Thankfully it does not take more than pasta & a great sauce to make my girls happy to come to our family dinner table, and Ragu has made it really easy to obtain a great sauce with just a twist of a jar.

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For this recipe, I did a little bit more that twist a jar open.  I’m participating in the Ragu Ready. Set. Cook! contest, which is a contest that challenges home cooks to create new and unique recipes featuring a product from the Ragu line, plus a set list of other contest ingredients.

Ragu Ready. Set. Cook! Contest

Would you like to enter this contest? I will give more details at the end of the post, but the grand prize is $5,000, runner-up gets $1,700 & people’s’ choice gets $750.  How fun would it be to win some cash while getting creative in the kitchen & feeding your family a great pasta dish?

To align with the contest, your recipe must include 4 of the below ingredients + Ragu.  You may also use ingredients outside of the list in your recipe as well.

Here is the list of ingredients you must choose from:

  • Italian Sausage
  • Black Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Eggs
  • Feta Cheese
  • Goat Cheese
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Arugula
  • Cilantro
  • Pine Nuts
  • Bacon
  • Shrimp
  • Polenta
  • Pasta
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Cauliflower
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Avocado

For my recipe, I chose pasta, cauliflower, avocado & breadcrumbs. I decided to keep it meat free as I am always looking for a hearty pasta dish for our Meatless Monday nights.

 

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Cauliflower-Ragu-collage

I love that you can now find pasta that has protein in it.  The pasta I used in this dish had 17 grams of protein per serving in it, all from plant sources (lentils, chickpeas, flaxseed, barley, oats & spelt).

Between the protein in the pasta and all of the veggies that create the sauce, I did not serve this pasta with anything but a few sliced tomatoes, the last from our garden.  We didn’t even need a salad as the arugula greens were right in the pasta! It was such an easy, hearty meal.

The sauce starts out with an entire head of cauliflower.  This is the key ingredient to making a creamy, vegetarian alfredo sauce.  You simply cut up the cauliflower, put it in a pan with some garlic and water, cover & let cook until very soft.  It must be soft if you want your sauce super creamy!

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When I saw that avocado was an ingredient in the contest list, I knew it would add some good-for-you fats into the dish while upping the creamy factor even more! I added lemon for 2 reasons–to keep the avocado from browning & also to add some acid to the dish, which is always pleasing to the palate.

While your pasta is boiling & your cauliflower is getting nice and soft on the stove, prepare your avocado with lemon by smashing them together with a fork.

Breadcrumb-collage

This is also a great time to prepare your crunchy breadcrumb topping.  This topping takes the recipe to a whole new level!  Putting just a couple of butter into breadcrumbs and adding just a bit of parmesan cheese makes such a great cheesy & crunchy topping to the creamy pasta.  This is so much better for you than having cream, butter and cheese in large portions in the sauce like most alfredo sauce recipes call for.

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Pictured above are all the components to the recipe that I prepared while the cauliflower is cooking.

Ragu sauce adds a ton of rich flavor & aroma to the sauce.  Ragu has been an Assunta secret recipe since 1937 & is made with vine- ripened, slow- simmered tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. I love that there is no artificial color, flavor, or high-fructose corn syrup added to their sauces.  They let us smell, see & savor their long-standing tradition of fresh taste, and they even offer an organic sauce!

Cauliflower-Blender-Rag

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The cauliflower should be cooked soft enough to easy break up with just a spoon.  Look how amazingly creamy it is after blending! That is just cauliflower, garlic, water, salt & pepper.  This alone tastes amazing, but for the contest, I wanted to kick it up even further.

Avocado-Cauliflower-blender

I added the smashed up avocado & jar of Ragu sauce, then blended some more.

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Isn’t that a beautiful, rich, creamy dreamy sauce? Can you believe there is no dairy in it?

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I mixed the hot pasta and sauce together in a large pan, added the arugula and stirred until it wilted.

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I then put it into a baking dish and topped it with the prepared breadcrumbs.

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After just a few minutes under the broiler, the topping becomes a beautiful crunchy, golden brown & the parmesan cheese sizzles and smells SO good!

My family had no idea that the bread crumb mixture is the only place there is cheese in this recipe! They ate it up and asked for seconds.

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So what do you think? Do you think you would make this recipe for your family? Do you want to participate in the Ragu Ready. Set. Cook! contest too?  If so, keep reading for instructions after the recipe.

Creamy Cauliflower Tomato Alfredo Pasta with Arugula & Crunchy Breadcrumb Topping

1 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 head of cauliflower –  cut up

1-1/2 cups of water

1 lb pasta

1 avocado

juice of half a lemon

1 jar Ragu Sauce, Traditional

1 cup arugula

1 cup breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons of butter

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt & pepper

 

Directions:

Saute the minced garlic in the olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat.  Allow to cook for a few minutes, until the garlic is tender and fragrant, but not browned.  Add 1 cup of water to the saucepan, along with the cauliflower, and bring the water to a boil. (The water will not cover the cauliflower, and that’s okay.) Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot for 8-10 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork-tender and very soft. You may need to add a bit more water if it evaporates completely before cauliflower is tender.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta to al dente according to instructions on the box. Drain and set aside in the large pan it boiled and keep warm.

Meanwhile:

Smash avocado with juice of 1/2 of lemon. Set aside.

Mix breadcrumbs with melted butter & parmesan cheese.  Mix well and set aside.

When cauliflower is finished cooking, transfer all contents in the pan to the blender.  Blend until very creamy.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Season well!

Add avocado & lemon mixture. Blend again.

Add jar of Ragu sauce. Blend again.

Add sauce to the pasta & toss.  Add arugula. Heat gently and stir until arugula is wilted.

Put pasta into a 9×13 pan, top with breadcrumb mixture.

Broil for just a couple of minutes, until the breadcrumbs are toasty brown.

Serve immediately while hot.

……………

Ragu Ready. Set. Cook! Contest Information:

Ready. Set. Cook! challenges home cooks to create new and unique recipes featuring a sponsored ingredient, plus a set list of other contest ingredients.

 

Recipe Contest Elements:

  • Entry phase –4 weeks from 11/2 – 11/30- (you can enter on Food.com/Ragu page. Live on 11/2)
  • Rate and review phase –2 weeks
  • Judging phase –2 weeks
  • Winner announcement
  • People’s choice award

Prizing:

  • Grand prize $3,000
  • Runner-up $1,250
  • People’s Choice: $750

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ragu. The opinions and text are all mine.

Meals/ RECIPES/ Sides

Cheesy Tortellini Crockpot Soup

Cheesy Tortellini Crockpot Soup Ingredients

This recipe Cheesy Tortellini Crockpot Soup caught my eye on Pinterest. The pinner said this was “the BEST crockpot meal I’ve tried yet.”  That was enough to perk my ears up!

I’ve wanted an easy, go-to, just “throw it all together” vegetarian crockpot recipe, and this was just the thing. I was unable to find the original source of the recipe on Pinterest, but if I could I would thank the person who shared this awesome recipe.

I’ve made it twice in a few months, and it was a hit with my family. The flavor is really nice and the soup is filling and delicious.

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