There is something about winter that leads me down the path or unbridled consumption of sweets and carbs. Besides the festival of holiday sweets that seem to roll from Christmas straight through Valentine’s Day, part of the problem is the lack of delicious fresh produce. I love to buy local produce when it is in season and I have a tough time wrapping my head around paying a small fortune for a carton of strawberries during the off season.
So we drink smoothies. Smoothies laced with spinach.
WAIT. Where are you going?! Come back! I promise - spinach smoothies aren’t scary.
Most people gobble down smoothies all summer long - we do too - but our summer smoothies are inspired by the desire to beat the heat and the availability of fresh produce. Our winter smoothies are more about packing superfoods into our daily diet.
-2 spinach cubes OR a BIG handful of fresh spinach leaves
-1 cup frozen blueberries
-1 cup orange juice
Directions: Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. This recipe makes enough smoothie for for one adult (12 oz) and one child (6-8 oz).
Wondering what on earth a “spinach cube” is? Here they are, waiting to be blended.
To make a batch of spinach cubes, simply blend fresh spinach leaves with a small amount of water (1 teaspoon or so) in a food processor. Transfer spinach paste to ice cube trays and freeze over night.
[Forgive the lousy camera phone image.]
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Remove cubes from tray and store in a freezer bag. Make sure to date the cubes as you don’t want to keep them longer than 3 months.
This was my solution to how to make the most out of my fresh spinach purchases. Costco has a great deal on large containers of organic spinach, but holy smokes...good luck eating it all in time!
Smoothie Substitutions and Notes:
This recipe is my “base” and the sky is the limit on the possible variations.
-Any frozen fruit will do. I like to use blueberries because of their superfood status and because you can get a killer deal on a 72 oz bag at Costco.
-Bananas are great, but you can easily make this smoothie without them. Just adjust the liquid to make sure you can blend it properly.
-Add yogurt. We like the zing of plain yogurt.
-Add Whey Protein powder for a more substantial, meal-like smoothie. I like Bob’s Red Mill.
-Nothing is better than a smoothie made with fresh fruit. You’ll need a lot less liquid when using fresh berries or peaches, for instance, so adjust accordingly.
-For a child that isn’t quite ready for a cup and straw, here’s a trick I used with my daughter. Use a pair of sharp scissors to make a slightly larger opening in a silicon sippy cup spout. But don’t let them wander the way you might with a regular sippy cup. I still have blueberry stains on my carpet.
-You can pour any unused smoothie into popsicle molds. (Don’t do this with smoothies made with Whey Protein...they seem gritty when frozen.)
Clearly, they’re a hit.
*This post was sponsored by my love a smoothies and hiding spinach in creative places.