The Nutty Nana Green Smoothie

The Nutty Nana

As I was making my breakfast smoothie this morning, I was craving peanut butter and bananas. I tend to go on a throw-in fest when it comes to my breakfast smoothies, as it seems like such an opportune time to cram some nutrition into my body. But today, I stuck to my inspiration, and The Nutty Nana was born.

The Nutty Nana Green Smoothie

The Nutty Nana Green Smoothie

The Nutty Nana Smoothie

by Shelly

Prep Time: 5 mins

Ingredients (1-2 servings)

  • 1 C non-dairy milk (such as almond milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, or soymilk)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 5 strawberries, hulled
  • 1/4 C mixed nuts
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter or powdered peanut butter (such as PB2)
  • 2 Tbsp hemp protein powder or other unflavored protein powder
  • 2 C fresh baby spinach
  • 2 Tsp green powder (such as Veggie Magma), optional
  • 4 ice cubes

Instructions

Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender (such as the Vitamix) and blend on high for 30 seconds.

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Lite Brite

What’s That, Johnny Appleseed?

Today’s lesson includes a trip down Cyanide Lane and concludes with a tasty smoothie concoction!

We’ve all heard that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Turns out, there’s something to that. WebMD lists medical uses of apples that include prevention of cancers (particularly lung cancer), treatment of cancer, diabetes, and heart problems, and more. Say what?!

I’ve tried for years to get myself to eat more apples. I like apples. I’m just not a big fan of eating apples. I’ve wasted countless bags of red delicious, golden delicious, granny smith, gala, and local varieties as they’ve gone bad before I could finish them. I successfully finished my first full bag of apples recently, thanks to my Breville Juice Fountain Plus. With my new toy in town (the Vitamix 5200!), I’m hoping to keep the apple streak alive.

The store demo of the Vitamix used a whole apple, but when it came time to make my own smoothies, I couldn’t help thinking there was something wrong with eating the apple seeds. Of course, initial Google searches would have me believe that I’ll die a slow, painful death if I even think about eating an apple seed. There is, however, some truth to the notion.

Apple seeds contain amygdaline, a cyanide and sugar compound that, when digested, forms hydrogen cyanide [source, source]. Consumed in small quantities, the body can detoxify the cyanide and it poses little to no risk. In larger quantities, though, it is lethal (just like in the old murder mysteries). Stories about tell tales that even a cup of apple seeds can kill a man. (Considering there are 4-6 seeds per apple, it would take a LOT of apples to kill a man!). Still, the risk is even higher if the seeds are chewed or pulverized (like the Vitamix would do!) rather than swallowed whole, as whole seeds are generally passed without being broken down – and the cyanide compound is inside the seed, beneath its hard shell.

As likely as it is that the seeds from an apple a day would not kill me, I’m not a big fan of the idea of ingesting toxins just because my body can and likely will detoxify them. It’s the same reason I prefer organics over conventional produce. While pesticides on produce won’t likely kill me in small quantities, I don’t see the point of making my body work to detoxify the chemicals in pesticides when I don’t have to. The work the body does to detoxify all of these chemicals in the foods we eat and the air we breathe increases inflammation, and chronic inflammation can aggravate the immune system. Studies are beginning to show that inflammation is one of the biggest contributors to a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease [source].

So, why eat apple seeds if I don’t have to? I’ll leave the gambling to the poker table and keep it off my kitchen table.

That is why I slice my apples and remove the seeds before throwing them into the Vitamix.

But nevermind the cyanide and killer toxins – we’ve got a smoothie to devour!

I call this one the “Lite Brite PB Smoothie” because it turns out a less-than-scary bright shade of green and tastes sweet and peanut buttery but not heavy. Put light and bright together, and you have the awesome light-coloring toy of my youth:

Lite Brite

Lite Brite – Source

Once upon a time, a band called the Dyslexic Apaches put a Lite Brite on stage at one of their shows to wish me a happy birthday. It’s one of my top 10 memories of all times.

I digress…

This is a delicious smoothie and packs a great nutritional punch for breakfast or a midday snack! The entire recipe clocks in at 462 calories (one large serving), or can be split into two 8-oz servings for 231 calories each. (Full nutrition info follows the recipe). You can substitute peanut butter for the PB2 powdered peanut butter, but that will increase the calories and fat content.

Let’s get to blending!

PB Lite Brite Green Smoothie

by Shelly Hokanson

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Keywords: blender beverage breakfast vegetarian vegan gluten-free kale pb2 zucchini apple

Ingredients (1-2 servings)

  • 1 small apple, seeded
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • 1 large handful kale leaves
  • 1/4 of one zucchini, ends removed
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (soymilk, almond milk, coconut milk, etc)
  • 2 tbsp PB2 powdered peanut butter
  • 2 tsp spirulina or barley grass juice powder, optional
  • 1 cup ice

Instructions

Blend in a high powered blender or Vitamix for 45 seconds. Enjoy!

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Lite Brite PB Smoothie Nutrition

Lite Brite PB Smoothie Nutrition

double decker french toast

Double Decker French Toast

This, my friends, is a vegan recipe that I declare is better than the “original” – and this is no April Fool’s joke!

Double Decker French Toast Plate

Double Decker French Toast Plate

The Magic Brown Truck Fairy stopped by yesterday and dropped off a new cookbook – Vegan Yum Yum. I’m a fan of the blog, and finally decided to break down and get the book. As I poured through it last night before bed, I had visions of wonderful breakfasts dancing in my head.

I had some surprise good news on the scale this morning – I’ve officially lost 100 pounds since December 2009 – so I had even more reason to make a special breakfast today!

It was a bit of an adventure making this French toast; it was my first time cooking with a cast iron skillet. Needless to say, my first few pieces weren’t pretty! (That won’t stop me from eating them!) I got better at the timing and the flipping as I went along, but it’s still probably a good thing that the French toast is mostly hidden by fruit.

My only complaint about Vegan Yum Yum is that some of the recipes have a lot of things that I try to eat only in moderation – margarine (i.e. Earth Balance), all-purpose flour, etc. So I decided to try to health-up the Stuffed Banana Berry French Toast recipe, and dare I say, it turned out wonderfully!

My modifications from the original recipe were to use almond milk instead of soy milk, agave instead of sugar, half whole wheat flour/half all-purpose flour instead of all all-purpose flour, and to add some ground flax seed. I also used nonstick cooking spray instead of margarine to grease the skillet.

It rolls in around 427 calories (you could lay off the fruit some to drop that number, but this is pretty much my standard breakfast, in the 400-600 calorie range).

One last note: if you’re still soaking your pancakes, waffles, and French toast in fake maple syrup (I’m lookin’ at you, Aunt Jemima!), for the love of whatever you love, stop it! Get yourself a bottle of real, 100% pure maple syrup. It tastes ridiculously better, and is – must I say it – real food, instead of a bottle full of chemicals. And you won’t need to drown your poor breakfast to enjoy it. Just a drizzle will do, because it’s so naturally sweet!

Double Decker French Toast Nutrition

[recipe-show recipe=”double-decker-french-toast”]

Grilled Banana Sandwich

Oh, you sweet, decadent thing, you. You naughty, naughty thing… or maybe not so naughty! A naughty imposter.

Behold: the grilled banana sandwich.

grilled banana sandwichOr, the bottom half of the grilled banana sandwich.

Sweet, delicious goodness. This brunch sandwich was inspired by Caitlin’s Grilled Banana Sandwich over at Healthy Tipping Point. The only real difference is that I vegan-ized mine to avoid using eggs and dairy. This thing is like french toast and bananas all wrapped up in a sandwich!

I figured this would make a good post-run meal, as it’s got a good amount of carbs (and readily-available sugars via the bananas), and a little bit of protein. (I actually pumped mine up a little by adding a tablespoon of hemp protein powder to the liquid mixture, but didn’t add that to the recipe as it was pretty specific to my workout recovery goals – but for the record, it worked just fine!)

grilled banana sandwich

The whole thing clocks in around 300 calories, and makes for a pretty darn huge breakfast! You could even eat it like french toast – though I don’t think any syrup would be required, as the warm grilled bananas offer plenty of gooey delicious topping. I have visions of tossing warm blueberries on top next time. This one is definitely entering the regular rotation 🙂

[recipe-show recipe=grilled-banana-sandwich]