greens . . .

by mulberryshoots

washed watercress, kale, ruby lettuce and swiss chard

washed watercress, kale, ruby lettuce and swiss chard

While I was researching how people use their Vitamix machines on YouTube, I came across a fellow who took out a long plastic bin from the fridge filled with fresh Swiss chard and flat leaf kale that had been washed, dried and then stored. I thought this made sense because the greens would be handy to use, stay fresher longer and not languish in their plastic bags still full of grit. Besides, the bins stack easily in place of random bags piled on top of each other. The idea of an orderly fridge with space around things is a forever fantasy for me.

So, yesterday, I picked up medium and large size BPA-free plastic storage containers at the local grocery store; rinsed clean the fresh greens, let them drip dry and then placed them in the bins lined with clean paper towel.

I was a little apprehensive about using the Vitamix for the first time since it seemed to me like having a little black Lamborghini on my kitchen counter. For my first smoothie, I planned to make an almond kale mixture in the morning for breakfast, soaking some raw almonds in water overnight. The idea of a two-flavor smoothie appealed to me more than putting a Noah’s Ark full of fresh vegetables and fruit in all at once.

My thought was also to come up with combinations that appealed to my palate that were simple, clean tastes that I would want to have regularly for breakfast and lunches. Less is more feels like the right approach to develop my own vocabulary for how to use this machine. Otherwise, I’m afraid that it would just be a novelty for awhile, mixing together other people’s recipes for different sorts of things, but not with an intention to truly integrate new foods into our eating lifestyle. So, I’m developing my own “Zone” of concoctions, so to speak. The almond kale smoothie was light and tasty, thicker than just juicing and a lot less milk-shakey than some fruit smoothies I’ve had in the past.

Here are the ingredients if you’d like to try it yourself:

Almond-Kale Smoothie (adapted from “It’s All Good”, page 207)

a packed cup of kale leaves torn off the stem
a cup of almond/coconut milk (unsweetened)
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon soaked raw almonds (let sit in water overnight in the fridge)
1 teaspoon Xylitol (sweetener, or a pitted Medjool date which I didn’t have on hand)

For lunch, I’m going to make a smoothie with fresh fruit. I peeled each of the bananas I have on hand and froze them individually, broken into thirds. My trusty little Oster juicer has worked well and I’ll make the liquid base for my lunch smoothie by juicing a pink grapefruit and two navel oranges. Then I’ll add some fresh pineapple, hemp seeds, a frozen banana and four ice cubes.

"primp"~grapefruit & orange juice, fresh pineapple, banana, hemp seeds and ice

“primp”~grapefruit & orange juice, fresh pineapple, banana, hemp seeds and ice

I began thinking I might make up names for these concoctions if I decided to keep them on my menu. Something like “Kayla” for the almond kale breakfast smoothie and “Primp” for the pineapple/citrus/banana lunch smoothie.

For dinner, I’m making leek potato soup, a (very) small lemon-grilled center cut piece of salmon, with a light green goddess dressing served on a green salad. So for today’s meals, I’ll have had a “Kayla” smoothie for breakfast, a “Primp” smoothie for lunch and one of my favorite soups with a salad and a couple of bites of fish for dinner. For dessert, there’s still a smidge of strawberry-rhubarb compote left to eat with a dollop of plain yogurt.

While I was out grocery shopping, it occurred to me that these kinds of meals might be akin to ones that are offered at those very pricey spas in Bali, the Golden Door or Canyon Ranch out here in the Berkshires. Except that having it at home was a heck of a lot less expensive than it costs for a three-(@$3000) or a 7-(@$8000) night stay (not including travel costs!) Of course, the spa experience also includes massages of all kinds, hikes and horse-riding. But massages and a walk around the neighborhood are easy to do at home–the horses, well, are more of a stretch. With this renewed perspective, I am now definitely edging towards thinking that buying the Vitamix was a BARGAIN (LOL!) rather than an extravagance!

In any case, I’m so inspired by how glowingly healthy Julia Turshen looks after losing sixty pounds that I feel I have just taken, as Lao Tzu* says, the first step in my personal journey to more radiant health and well-being!

Footnote: *A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”