Mango Parsley Smoothie

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1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
2/3 cup mango
1 1/2 cups mixed greens
handful of parsley, about 1/2 cup
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tsp ground flax seeds
water

246 calories / 28g carb / 11g fat / 13g protein / 19g sugar

I thought the mangoes and coconut would complement the parsley, which I had leftover from dinner. Peaches would have been better than mango, and I couldn’t really taste the coconut. I don’t think it was worth it to add the coconut milk. This smoothie was very mild in flavor, very green tasting.

Cherry Smoothie

Today’s smoothie:

cherry smoothie

1/2 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
1/2 cup frozen cherries
2 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 of a banana
1 Tbps flax seeds, ground
Water

248 Calories / 7 g fat / 16 g protein / 19 g sugar

This was my first time using frozen cherries. They weren’t very sweet or flavorful, even by themselves. I’m guessing the lack of flavor is a due to the low quality of fruit and it being frozen, which mutes flavors on things. So I added banana instead of more cherries.

How am I getting all of these fruits? Target has the best selection of frozen fruits for cheap. I didn’t know you could buy frozen mangoes, pineapples, peaches, or cherries. During the spring and summer, I try and stick to my farmer’s markets. Up here that means only berries, pears, or peaches. Now that I have discovered Target fruit, I went all out with frozen, non-organic tropical fruits. It’s the little luxuries in life.

Blueberry Protein Smoothie

I make green smoothies a few times a week when I can get my shit together in the morning. It started by trying Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie and then I moved on to doing my own thing. Adding lettuce or spinach to your smoothies is doesn’t make a big difference in the flavor. Any time you can add more vegetables to your diet is a plus, and it makes me feel good to know I’ve already had a salad by breakfast. Another benefit is that the added fiber makes you feel fuller. I don’t even have an expensive Vitamix or Ninja; I can get it smooth with just my average blender.

Usually I just throw ingredients together and mentally guess at keeping the calories and sugar low. I think I should start keeping track of my recipes and actually look at nutritional breakdowns.

Here is what I made today:

blueberry protein smoothie

3/4 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
1/2 cup blueberries
2 cups mixed baby greens
1 Tbsp flax seeds, ground
water

236 calories: 23 g carbs / 8 gm fat / 20 g protein / 12 g sugar (I don’t count the calories in the lettuce)

I always eat fat yogurt because it’s more satisfying and the extra calories are not killers. I’m not sure if I should switch to nonfat for smoothies though, since I am getting fat from the flax seeds. The Cabot Greek Yogurt I tried this week was very sour tasting. I didn’t taste the shake until I got to work and it was too sour so I had to add a packet of splenda. Since 20g protein is rather high, I could adjust it to only 1/2 cup Greek yogurt + 1 cup blueberries, which would bring it to:

233 calories: 30 g carbs / 7 gm fat / 14 g protein / 17 g sugar

I’ve only recently started using flax seeds. Question for you: when a recipe says “ground flax seeds” am I supposed to measure the tablespoon and then grind it? Or grind it first, then measure it out?

Beets and Goat Cheese with Pasta or Cabbage Noodles

The pickings at the farmer’s market are slim this time of year but the root vegetables and squash are still available. There are always beets available, but every time I look at a beet, I think about the work it takes to peel them, the mess they make, and the time they take to cook. I also only know a couple of ways to eat them. Tonight I found a new way to cook them: Spaghetti with Beets and Goat Cheese. It’s a new variation on the usual old beet & goat cheese salad.

I wish I had found some miraculous solution to how much work it takes to cook beets, but I did not. My beets were a little soft from being in the fridge so thankfully they were easy to peel. Shredding them was not fun but at least there wasn’t too many to do, and it made them cook very quickly. The recipe called for 10 ounces of goat cheese (!) but seriously, I used half the amount and it tasted just fine. What’s neat about adding lemon juice is that it mimics the sour taste of cheese, so you’re kind of faking the flavor of cheese without having to add a ton. If you are trying to eat low fat or stretch your budget, try adding lemon juice or mustard to recipes that involve melty cheese sauce.

Brian got the original beet pasta recipe. Doesn’t it look wild?

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I made a version for myself with cabbage noodles. It looks more like zombie guts but it was still yummy.

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I’ve been eating a lot of cabbage lately – it’s plentiful at the farmer’s market even in February, keeps for a long time in the fridge, has a lot of savory flavor, and fills you up. The best thing is to eat cabbage with a delicious meat like corned beef or ham but I can’t do that every day so I’ve been making a lot of cabbage “noodles” for easy dinners. Cabbage noodles are so much more satisfying and filling than zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.

To make cabbage noodles: Cut the cabbage in half, then slice into thin strips. Then saute or lightly steam until the shreds are soft. Since cabbages are usually so large, you can make a lot at once and use it throughout the week.

The day before I made this beet dish, I topped the noodles with marinara sauce and “meatballs” made out of lentils.¬†Other things I’ve done with cabbage noodles: baked with eggs and parmesan for “spaghetti pie“, made Asian-ish sesame peanut noodles, and subbed for noodles in a cheesey casserole.

DIY Instant Oatmeal Packets

When I’m at work I get jealous seeing people make those little packets of oatmeal, so I decided to make my own! I saw Mark Bittman do this but I can’t seem to find the video anymore. The best tip he gave was to put some of the dry oatmeal into a coffee grinder and pulse it a few times. Then add a little bit of this “oatmeal powder” to each serving. It makes the oatmeal thicker and creamier without having to use cream.

oatmealpack

Homemade oatmeal packets

Each little baggie contains:

  • 1/3 cup of quick cooking rolled oats
  • 2 tsp of oatmeal powder
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped pecans
  • pinch of salt

Bam. Instant oatmeal with no chemicals or artificial flavorings. Just add water and microwave.

One serving comes out to just about 200 calories so you might want to make it a little bit bigger if you want a larger breakfast. It was also cheap to make: a two pound bag of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Oats was $3. That’s roughly similar to the cost of one box (8 packets) of organic instant oatmeal packets. The sugar and pecans brings up my cost a little but I will get at least 20 servings of oatmeal from that bag.

I didn’t know that there were so many different types of oats. I used “quick cooking” which will cook in the microwave. You can also get “instant,” which means the oats will cook by just adding boiling water.

It only occurred to me after I made five packets that I could have put it in a mason jar so that it would be reusable and have its own bowl. This project is old news to the interwebz but its new to me. What other flavor combos can I make?