Valentine’s day is approaching, and inspiring me to favor anything that’s pink or red or leaning towards one of these two colors.
I added some beautiful frozen red raspberries to my morning smoothie, combining them with frozen blueberries, tangy lime juice, and refreshing green mint leaves. The result was a beautiful maroon concoction full of antioxidants.
This drink is delicious and energizing; in other words, it’s the perfect smoothie to blend up before stepping out the door for a busy day.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and happy cooking!
It's Almost Valentine's Day Maroon Antioxidant Smoothie
After you blend the smoothie, adjust the lime and sweetener of your choice to taste. Try a teaspoon or two of regular sugar or honey or agave if you don’t like stevia. Honey will add another element of flavor to the smoothie; I haven’t tried this variation yet, but I can see it being delicious!
– 1 1/2 cups frozen mango chunks
-3 or 4 fresh mint leaves. Since mint leaves vary in size, I would just have a small bunch on hand, so that you can adjust the mint to your taste
-1/2 to 1/3 of a cup of water
-Stevia or sweetener of choice
Put one and a half cups of frozen mango chunks into a blender with 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of water, depending upon how thick you like you smoothies.
Squeeze the juice of 1/4 of a lime into the blender and 1 packet of stevia. Then add 3 to four mint leaves.
Blend and adjust the lime juice and the sweetness to liking. Add more mint if you want even more kick!
I am not a fan of the idea of a massive spaghetti squash exploding in my microwave; this is one reason I’ve held off trying this method of cooking it for so long.
Also, I was skeptical that the texture of the squash would turn out correctly if microwaved, as i’ve never been a fan of preparing any vegetable in this way.
Well, I tried it, and the squash did not explode! And, to my delight (and surprise), the texture was as it should be: al dente and stringy.
There are some recipes that this method of cooking probably won’t work for: for example, when trying to obtain a crunchy or caramelized texture, as this isn’t the texture one will produce via this method of cooking.
For some dishes though, like in those that use the squash to replace pasta, this cooking technique will be a time saver; the microwaved squash mimics the texture of pasta wonderfully.
My favorite method to eat the squash–which the microwave method works perfectly for– is to simply shred it and top it with a hearty tomato sauce and parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast. Sometimes i’ll add vegetarian “meat” balls for extra protein.
If you want to save even more time: microwave the squash and store it shredded in the fridge. When you are ready to eat it, put the squash into a pan and it heat up with some good pasta sauce, and then serve it up!
Step 1: After cleaning the squash, puncture it a few times with a knife. This step is important;it stops the squash from exploding in the microwave, which wouldn’t be a pleasant experience for you or your kitchen.
Step 2: You’ll want set the timer according to the size of the squash being microwaved. Spies suggests four to five minutes per pound of vegetable.
Step 3: Cut the squash open, do away with the seeds, and use a fork to remove the flesh; the spaghetti-like strands should form easily when you run a fork over it.
When I have a busy yoga schedule it can be hard to figure out how to feed myself a satisfying meal without weighing myself down on the mat.
If I need energy for an intense session, and I feel that a piece of fruit just isn’t going to cut it, I chow down on cold farro and sweet potatoes with vegan pesto and sea salt an hour or two before I head into the studio.
I usually bake some sweet potatoes to store in the fridge and I boil farro to stash away as well. This way, if I’m in an “I need food now” state if mind either before or after practice, I can just pick up some fresh vegan pesto from the store and put the dish together in no time.
The farro: I can’t remember when I was introduced to this nutritious ancient grain, but since it’s been in my life, I’ve loved it more than any other grain. Its delicious, nutty flavor, lends itself well to both hot dishes and cold salads, and it’s similar to pasta or rice in how versatile it is; the flavor and texture of farro is distinct, yet it can easily act as a base for many dishes. All you need to do to prepare the farro is to boil it in water.
The sweet potatoes: These are easy to make. I just scrub each one well, puncture the skin with a fork, and place the potatoes in the oven on some foil. Set the oven at a high temperature. The sweets are done when you can easily puncture the potatoes with a knife; the sugars will start caramelize.
The pesto: If you have time to make everything on the spot, creating your own pesto is very easy. The base of a traditional pesto is fresh basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese. All the ingredients are simply blended in a blender, a food processor, or with a mortar and pestle.
Today, I made my own pesto with a bit of kitchen improv, using some fresh spinach along with the small amount of basil I had in the fridge. It worked well. I used a blender to combine the following items:
Two garlic cloves
A good few pinches of sea salt
A few grinds of pepper
Toasted pine nuts
A few good glugs of olive oil
Lemon juice (about 3/4 of a lemon)
An absurd amount of greens (basil and spinach today). Because I love greens.
A good few sprinkles of nutritional yeast. WHAT IS NUTRITIONAL YEAST?! It’s not scary, I promise. If you aren’t familiar, it’s a great alternative to using parmesan, as it lends a similar flavor and it has no lactose. Those who are lactose intolerant know that parmesan is much lower in lactose than other cheeses, so if you can tolerate it, as many lactose intolerant people can, go for it! Add it right into the blender!
Pesto is one of those sauces that is easy to alter to suit your taste, just like dressing. If you like a bit more kick, use more garlic and lemon juice; season to your liking with salt and pepper; make the pesto thinner or thicker by adding more olive oil and/or greens.
If you are hitting your yoga mat in less than an hour, i’d suggest waiting to eat the meal until after. I’d snack on something light, like apples (or bananas) and peanut butter; dried fruit; some clean granola (and by that I mean not laden with sugars and fats) or even dark chocolate!