There are two things I despise: washing dishes and preparing vegetables for human consumption. I know veggies are good for me but geez...You want me to spend 40 minutes washing, peeling, and chopping before I even get to eat? No, thank you. Buttttttttt, since my now-middle-aged skin and overall health really do see benefits from eating lots of vegetables each day, I think I've found a great solution to my laziness and my need for fiber, chlorophyll, Vitamins C and A, and mood-boosting minerals.
I've had many flings with the Paleo Diet and even tried Whole 30 a few times and I appreciate the way my body transforms when I limit my sugar intake according to these dietary camps. Accordingly, when I make green smoothies I try to load them with veggies and keep the sugar to a minimum. This creates quite a conundrum, though, because as a result, I end up drinking a salad which is just every kind of wrong. After lots of trial and error, I feel like I've finally struck a good veggie/fruit ratio that tastes sweet but has lots of vegetable nutrition in it.
Remember how I said that I hate washing dishes? Well, Rachael Ray imparted some kitchen wisdom that has stuck with me for years: "A cook's best tools are two clean hands." So wash those hands before you start, use them to measure the smoothie ingredients, and spare yourself the trouble of having to wash seven measuring cups later. Brilliant, right?! What's even better is that this recipe doesn't need a $700 blender to turn out deliciously. My $40 Osterizer can handle these ingredients so there's no need to be intimidated by equipment issues. And now, without further ado, I present to you my favorite green smoothie recipe:
Makes approximately 30 ounces
2 cups cold water
3 handfuls baby spinach
1 handful baby carrots
1 lemon, peel and pith removed
6" cucumber, peeled
1/2 ripe avocado, scooped from skin
1/2 ripe banana, frozen (slice bananas into zip bags and freeze them for quick access)
When mixing things in a blender, order matters. Whatever your ingredients, always add liquid first, then solids, and finish with frozen items. So begin with 2 cups water (most blenders have measuring guides on the side--just use that!), then add spinach, carrots, lemon, cucumber, and avocado in that order.
In case you're wondering what it means to remove the peel and pith of the lemon, simply slice off both ends of the lemon, flip it around to rest on the cut side, and gently slice off the thick peel so all that's left is the lemon pulp and seeds. Toss that remaining lemon straight in; the seeds will get pulverized in the blender.
Add the frozen bananas and fruit, put the lid on tightly, and fire up the blender. I like to use the pulse feature a few times just to get things moving. Once I know that nothing is stuck, I the switch to high and blend until everything looks homogeneous (about 30 seconds). Pour the smoothie into a large cup and prepare to drink in the goodness.
Now, I know that cold, frothy, green-ness staring up at you from a huge cup can be a bit frightening but never fear! Straws are my saving grace when it comes to me knocking back a boatload of liquefied vegetables. Try it; you'll be surprised how much easier it is to drink a green smoothie through a straw than in is to chug it from the edge of the cup. And if that green color is still freaking you out a bit, throw some aluminum foil over the top, poke the straw through, and you have your very own spa-like, delicious smoothie in the comfort of your own kitchen (and you'll save yourself about $10 as well...bonus!).
Do you have any genius ways to eat more vegetables in a day? Comment below and let me know; I'm always on the lookout for sneaky tricks!