Our Favorite Smoothies

When looking for a quick grab and go breakfast or a protein packed snack a smoothie is something we often forget, but is super simple and takes little to no time!

My number one favorite smoothie is the green monster, you can see my exact recipe here.   It contains frozen peaches, frozen pinapple, a banana, spinach and orange juice.

Simply Living Green Monster Smoothie
The makings of a Green Monster smoothie

At this point I have made it so many times I don’t use measurements, but just eyeball it.  It’s a great way to get some leafy greens in, without even tasting it.  It may look green, but it tastes just like banana and pineapple.  This would be a great way to get your kids to eat some spinach!

Simply Living Green Monster Smoothie
The delicious Green Monster

My second favorite smoothie is the one we made during our Whole30 here.  This one contains banana, almond butter and coconut milk.  That’s it!  

8.3 Whole30 Breakfast
Almond Butter Banana Smoothie

Again, I don’t really use measurements, just more of an eyeball.  If I don’t like the consistency I just add a little extra coconut milk to loosen it up, or more banana to thicken it.  Since typically the 3 ingredients are room temperature, you can add a little ice if you would like to make it nice and frosty.  Packed with protein and good nutrients, but not a good idea around children with nut allergies!

My last go to smoothie is a triple berry smoothie. I like to use raspberry, blueberry and strawberry.  Pop them in a blender with a banana, a handful of hidden spinach, a scoop of vanilla yogurt and a splash of almond milk.  So delicious and beautifully colored!   

If you’re looking for an extra protein punch you can also always add in a scoop of your favorite protein powder.  I love that there are so many ways to get in fruits and veggies, and it’s nice to mix up the liquid.  A little OJ when you need extra vitamin C, or perhaps Coconut Milk or Almond milk of you are looking for a lower fat dairy free option.  The options are limitless!

Another tip is to stock up on fruit when it is on sale and freeze, then it’s ready to go!  We make baggies ahead of time of the fruits we need, then when we are ready to make a smoothie we empty a packet into the blender, add some leafy greens, our liquid of choice and you are ready to blend.

 These days we use our nutribullet. which was a wedding gift.  I think it’s great for making single servings when you are literally on the go.  If you use a single serving cup, you can just take off the blade and attach a lid and you take the whole thing with you.  They also have larger attachments if we are planning to share.  We also find that it is way easier to clean than trying to stick your hand inside a large blender without getting cut on the blade.  We highly recommend it!

What are your favorite recipes?

Whole30 Days 13-19

This week marked the halfway point of our Whole30 journey!  We are feeling good and I’m proud that we haven’t slipped up so far.  Here are our thoughts so far:

Pros:

  • Well Rounded Meals
  • Sitting Down to Breakfast starts the day off right
  • Making Healthy Choices
  • Becoming more aware of the hidden sugars and ingredients lurking in processed foods
  • No more headaches
  • Less Craving
  • Fewer trips to the grocery store with a solid meal plan
  • Discovered foods we didn’t know we would like

Cons:

  • Lot’s of meal prep
  • Expensive grocery bills – organic foods are killer!
  • Turning on the oven in 90 degree weather…
  • Lack of motivation to create a full meal after a long day (this is when we used to fall into the takeout habit)
  • So. Many. Dishes

Honestly we haven’t noticed any of the main things we were looking for, ie: more energy, better sleep at night, clearer skin, etc.  And we obviously won’t know whether there was any weight loss until the end.  Overall the pros outweigh the cons, but there certainly haven’t been any life changing moments.

On to the meal plan!

Whole30 Meal Plan
Weekly Meal prep for Whole30 Days 13-19
Whole30 Meal Plan
Whole30 Meal Plan for Days 13-19

We are continuing to use our meal planning app, which is a great way to keep us on target and share meals for the week.  This is not endorsed, but we are using the free version of “Meal Planner” from the apple store.  I give it 2 thumbs up.  You will see meals being repeated, we are falling back into comfort zones, easy meals, and ones we have found we really enjoy.  I don’t have photos for every meal, just the new or really great ones!

Without further delay… da photos:

Whole30 Breakfast
Sunday Breakfast, 2 scrambled eggs and trail mix. Dried fruit and nuts, lots of healthy fats.
Whole30 Lunch
Sunday Lunch: Zoodles with a cold heirloom tomato sauce and pesto
Whole30 Dinner
Sunday Dinner: Compliant Hotdogs, avacado oil chips and broccoli slaw with compliant ranch

We have received some skepticism regarding how there could possible be a “whole” hotdog, aren’t they super processed food?  The best brand we have found is Applegate.  Again, NOT endorsed, we just love them.  Applegate creates natural and organic meats.  Here is their label, which shows that the hotdogs are made from grass fed beef and other simple ingredients.  No preservatives, no antibiotics, no added sugar, no nitrates.  We highly recommend them, not the easiest brand to find, but we found them at Wegmans.

Applegate Hotdog, Whole30 approved
Applegate Hotdog Label, Whole30 approved
Whole30 Lunch
Monday Lunch, Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Mango Salsa, Avocado Oil Chips and Guacamole
Whole30  Dinner
Monday Dinner: Garlic Shrimp on a bed of Zoodles
Whole30 Breakfast
Tuesday Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs and chicken sausage (Also Applegate brand!)
Whole30 Dinner
Tuesday Dinner: Crockpot Pot Roast and potatoes. Seasoned with pineapple juice not from concentrate, coconut aminos, garlic and onion
Whole30 Dinner
Wednesday Dinner: Pan fried polish sausage, carrots and oven roasted sweet potatoes. We tried the sweet potatoes with cinnamon, not bad!
Whole30 Lunch
Thursday Lunch: Pico de gallo, avocado, bacon and hard boiled eggs wrapped in lettuce.
Whole30 Dinner
Thursday Dinner: Onion burgers topped with guacamole and a oven roasted potato medley
Whole30 Dinner
Friday Dinner: More Zoodles topped with Applegate Hotdogs. This was one of the hottest days this summer…I had to adjust our meal plan to avoid turning on the oven!
Whole30 Lunch
Saturday Lunch: Bed of arugula and spinach topped with cherry tomatoes, blueberries, red peppers and smoked salmon. Odd combination, but it was really very good.

We had a lot of really good meals this week, and a lot of repeated meals.  But I think that is ok.  I am finally getting comfortable with the ingredients I can use that I’ve been able to branch out from just strictly following recipes, which has felt pretty good.  Would you like to see some recipes on a later post?  Let me know if you do, I would be happy to share!

Whole30 Days 7-12

If you would like to read about the beginning of our Whole30 journey check out days 1-6 HERE.

Currently we are almost wrapping up week 2, which means we are almost half way done!  I still don’t feel any major differences, but my headaches are pretty much gone.  It must have just been from detoxing my body off of sugar and caffeine.  You are allowed caffeine on the Whole30, but without cream and sugar in my coffee I have virtually stopped drinking it.  My husband did notice that by Friday afternoon he was seriously dragging.  He gets up and does early morning workouts and then is pretty active all day long outside in the heat, so we are thinking we need to up his caloric intake.

I do think that clean eating has started to become a habit for us.  The extra time it takes to meal prep can be frustrating.  I have definitely had more than one occasion where after a marathon day at work I would so much rather stop for take out rather than coming home and preparing a whole meal.  And the dishes….SO MANY dishes.  But so far we have resisted, 12 days down without a single cheat.  We did go out to dinner once, I got grilled Salmon and broccoli and my husband got lettuce wraps…so impressed with us!

I downloaded a free app this week called “Meal Planner Pal” and it has been great!  You can add in Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks for a whole week.

meal plan1
Meal Planner Pal from the App Store

Then, you can choose who to email it to.  So I was able to share the whole week’s worth of meals with my husband.  It has definitely helped us stay organized and stay on plan.  Here is what it looks like when you receive an email:

meal plan 2
Meal Planner Pal free email…sharing our weekly menu with the hubs just became that much easier!

I also made a big pitcher of green tea to last us through the week.  I just brewed mandarine green tea and then added frozen peaches and fresh mint from the garden.  It was a great morning replacement for my normal cup of coffee.

peach tea
Mandarine Green tea with frozen peaches and fresh mint

Now onto some of our meals!

Breakfast:

breakfast 1
Sweet potato, onion and compliant sausage hash. It was nearly impossible to find a compliant sausage, but it was well worth the hunt! We added a fried egg on top a couple times this week for a breakfast choice.
breakfast 3
Any tupperware fans out there have the egg cooker? This has been a saving grace for us with on the run breakfasts! It will cook your scrambled or poached eggs in under 2 minutes in the microwave. That’s why so many of my omelets have this shape
breakfast 2
Banana and a Larabar. Larabar’s were our best find this week. They are all natural fruit and nut bars, perfect for a meal addition or snack on the go and totally compliant.
Breakfast 4
Two fried eggs and a fruit salad
Breakfast 5
2 friend eggs and a trail mix (dried apricots, raisins, almonds and cashews)

I think we are starting to get a little bit sick of eggs, and I’ve been trying to limit our fruit intake and replace with more vegetables.  So I need to really do some research on breakfast ideas for this week!

Lunch:

lunch 1
Home made chicken salad (left over roasted chicken, compliant mayo, red onions, red grapes and celery) avocado and strawberries
lunch 2
Spinach salad topped with grilled chicken and a light italian dressing
lunch 3
Black olives, banana, smoothie, larabar, sweets and beats and guac. A snacky meal but surprisingly really filling!
lunch 4
Sweet romaine lettuce, tomatoes and broccoli topped with grilled steak tips and light italian dressing
lunch 5
Cobb Salad…sweet romaine lettuce, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, avocado, bacon and left over grilled steak tips.
Lunch 6
Turkey burgers topped with pineapple mango salsa, avocado oil chips and guac

Dinners:

Dinner 1
Beef and bacon stuffed orange peppers, black olives, home made kale chips
Dinner 2
Sweet potato and zucchini latkes and baked white fish
Dinner 3
Home made guacamole on taco meat
Dinner 4
Oven roasted potatoes, steamed broccoli and grilled chicken
Dinner 5
zucchini noodles with homemade marinara sauce and meatballs
Dinner 6
Grilled salmon with steamed broccoli

Overall our meals have been time consuming but pretty filling and delicious.  One of my favorites were the sweet potato and zucchini latkes.  I shredded 2 zucchinis and 2 sweet potatoes and added one egg.  I sprinkled in some almond flour, onion flakes, and a few spices to taste.  Formed them into pancakes and fried in light olive oil.

zucchini latkes
sweet potato and zucchini latkes

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a huge sweet potato or zucchini fan, but these were delicious!  I have also really enjoyed the zucchini noodles we have made.  Maybe my tastes are changing after all…

And for a sweet treat on a night when I needed dessert we cut up a granny smith apple and added almond butter.  Yum!

Dessert
Granny Smith apple and almond butter

2 more weeks to go!

Healthy Treats for Kids – Thanksgiving Theme

At our school we have completely turned the corned with special snacks that are allowed for Birthday Celebrations and class parties.  We now only encourage healthy options, and are starting to cut back on homemade treats as well.  Even when parents provide a list of ingredients, we can’t be certain that their kitchen is a “Peanut Free” kitchen.  If they used the same cutting board that they used to make a PB&J sandwich on earlier, disaster could strike.  Allergies are a huge thing to be aware of these days, and the risks are just too high.   But I often times miss the days of homemade cupcakes and ice cream parties.
With the holidays coming up many families still want to do something special for their child’s class.  Even though we offer suggestions like donating a book in the child’s name, or sending in party paper goods so that the children can have their normal snacks and lunch on special plates, there are always a host of parents who demand food treats.  Coming up with healthy options to offer seems to have been our most successful approach.  Below are some of the best ones I’ve found for Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!

What a perfect Holiday Snack Idea!

Turkey_Snack_Bags_Thanksgiving_Kids_Activity_with_thatswhatchesaid.net_-650x434

That’s What “Che” Said has these adorable Turkey Snack Bags.  Kids would get a kick out of getting these!  You could fill them with a number of different healthy treats, like whole wheat cheerios or chex, raisins, craisins or other dried fruits.  I can already picture their sweet faces when they receive something fun like this!

What a special festive snack!

turkey muffin

The Foodies featured this adorable turkey muffin.  I mentioned that we don’t always allow home-made treats because of the risk with allergies, but this would be a great cooking project our classes.  Parents could provide the muffin ingredients, or a mix, and the apple slices.  Children would have a great time helping their teachers measure, mix and stir.  Snacks are even more enjoyable when children help accomplish them.

How fun would this lunch be?

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Bliss Tree features a number of great Thanksgiving Snack ideas for kids, but this one was one of my favorites.  It is more of a lunch option, but would be such a great surprise to slip into your child’s lunch box.  Who doesn’t love to play with food?!  Simple quesadilla, apple slices and a carrot for the middle.  This is a great lunch idea, and incorporates many healthy elements.

Turkey!

vegturkey_lead_jdubien

We do Peppers with Ranch Dressing on a regular snack basis, but theres no reason not to dress them up!  How hilariously cute is this little turkey!  This was featured over on CBC Parents.

Fruit cup, hold the ice cream 🙂

THHC1785930D57_cone

And one more just because.  Not really a Thanksgiving treat, but this is a great snack to send from home for a birthday or special occasion.  We often times do recommend fresh fruit with whipping cream, but adding them to an ice-cream cone is a sure way to have some very excited little ones!  Why didn’t I think of that!

What are some healthy alternatives that you use to help make snack time special?

Fall Themed Snacks – Healthy and Delicious!

Nobody loves a theme more than me!  I think a great way to introduce healthy foods to some of our children is to make it fun.  So I decided to round up some of my favorite Fall Themed snacks for children, or grownups!  Some of them are easy and take no time, other’s take more prep time.  But they look so fun!
We provide two snacks a day for our children, and create a snack menu based on healthy choices.  We no longer allow families to bring in cupcakes or other sweets for birthdays, so we like to provide a “Birthday Alternatives” list.  I think some of these healthy options would be awesome for making snack fun and special, while still keeping it healthy.
It would be even better if you can get the little ones to help you prepare these snacks.  You can turn a cooking lesson into discussions on healthy foods, turn taking, measuring, cause and effect, and so much more.  Plus, children of all ages like to help out in the kitchen!  Take a look at some of my favorites below.

Candy Corn Popsicles – Delicious and Nutritious! By Girl Inspired

Candy-Corn-Popsicles-3-of-5

Girl. Inspired created these delicious looking homemade popsicles.  She lets each layer freeze for at least 5 minutes before pouring in the next layer.  This does require a popsicle mold, but I can think of so many other combinations that would be just as delicious.  This is a fantastic alternative to real Candy Corn, and all of the high sugar candies that start to come out this time of year.  Kids will feel like they are getting a special treat, since we don’t do popsicles very often, when in fact they are getting a healthy alternative to candy or treats.

Microwave Sweet Potato Chips by Baked by an Introvert

Sweet-Potato-Chips-in-the-Microwave

We generally don’t offer potato chips as a snack for our children, but these all natural sweet potato chips would be awesome.  And since all you need is a microwave kids could definitely help make them!  How easy are these, you literally slice, rinse, microwave for 3 minutes on each side, sprinkle with salt…and enjoy.  Anyone could do it!  I can’t wait to try!

Fried Cinnamon Sugar Tortillas by Mondo

tortilla-chip-website-2

While on the topic of chips, look at these delicious looking friend cinnamon sugar looking tortillas.  With fall themed shapes, like these leaves, you can make something extra special for the kiddos.  Children can definitely help cut the tortillas with cookies cutters to make fun fall shapes.  But then you will need a separate space to safely fry them in oil.  Sprinkle them with a cinnamon sugar mix and serve immediately.  These look so tasty!

Baked Apple Chips by The Beach Body Blog

Beachbody-Blog-AppleChipsRoundup

Now this recipe will definitely take more preparation and time, it takes over 2 hours to bake.  But you could always prepare them the day before.  During this time of year the majority of my students have recently gone apple picking.   They come in after a weekend excited to tell all about their time at the orchard, and many of them bring in bags of apples to share.  This is a really great way to use some of those apples!  These Baked Apple Chips are extremely easy, just time consuming.  Slice the apples, sprinkle with cinnamon, and bake.  Ta-da!  I think children will be excited about a new way to enjoy their apples!

Other great apple recipes are apple bran muffins or home made applesauce.  We do this with the crockpot in my classes almost every year.  The children love being able to measure ingredients, check throughout the day to see how the apples change, smell the smells, and then get to enjoy the finished product.  This is a wonderful science experiment for them as well.  How do apples go from solid to liquid?  And the classroom smells unbelievably delicious All. Day. Long.

Very simple pumpkin snack by Surviving A Teacher’s Salary

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So simple, but this brings new life to boring snacks!  How adorable is a peeled clementine or small orange and a stick of celery?!  I love how easy this is, but will excite children for a fun Healthy Pumpkin Snack.

Fall tree with Carrots, pretzels, and raisins

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Fall tree with Pretzels and Tomatoes

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These last two I found while looking around but don’t have a source to send you to.  I love how both of these snacks incorporate vegetables for a healthy snack.  There is no way that they would stay looking this nice and neat, but they sure do make a statement!  I think that children would also enjoy making their own food art, and changing up the pictures as they eat parts of the snack.

Do you have any go to snacks for the fall time?  How do you make eating healthy fun?