Just Chilling: Green berry smoothies


It's been about zero degrees outside this weekend, and chances are the contents of your freezer aren't beckoning so much as the likes of hearty soups and stews. I mean, unless they are. Because actually, as you'll probably know, winter is a fabulous time to break out the frozen fruits and vegetables. Not only is fresh, seasonal produce sparse; nutritionally, frozen fruits and vegetables are  an economical and nutritious choice. Typically, fruits and vegetables in the freezer aisle have been processed at their most nutrient-rich peak.  Blanching in hot water to kill bacteria will break down some of the nutrients, but the ensuing flash freeze will lock in a fairly rich level of nutrition, in contrast to the majority of canned options. Sometimes chilly days do  call for ice cream and similar, and lately, I've been enjoying my fruits and vegetables fresh from the blender. This is partially down to getting acquainted with my new kitchen tool, a Cuisinart hand blender my Mom got me for Christmas. Everyone likes playing with new toys. It's fun to compare and contrast the potential and efficiency of the chopper/grinder versus the blending attachment. And then there's the whisk attachment, wanting to play but thus far being just a little left out.

Another thing, my friend Kristin has been trying out this food lover's cleanse from Bon Appetit, and it goes without saying I think everything Kristin does is pretty awesome, or at least interesting. So, I couldn't resist peeking and sneaking a taste of a few of the bright, healthy recipes. One that stood out immediately was this Parsley, Kale and Berry Smoothie:

  • 1/2 cup (packed) flat-leaf parsley (leaves and stems)
  • 4 kale leaves (center ribs removed)
  • 1 cup frozen organic berries (such as strawberries or raspberries)
  • 1 banana (cut into pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
Puree ingredients in a blender with one cup water until smooth, adding water if too thick. (serves 2)
 This is very green, and surprisingly good. I think I prefer when my greens blend in less dominantly, though, and right now my personal favorite is any variation on a typical smoothie recipe, with the bonus punch of spinach or kale:
Green berry smoothie
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 cup frozen berries (love mixed, raspberry, or blueberry)
  • 1 frozen medium banana, cut into pieces

Puree ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth, adding juice or water as needed to achieve desired consistency.

OK, these aren't the most adventurous or surprising recipes. But I'm loving my (lately) daily doses of them, and they do add some cheerful zing to your day, which are very handy if you're susceptible to winter blues. There are zillions of green-berry smoothie recipes out there I would love to try. Send me your favorites!