My smoothies bring all the spinach to the yard!

(ok that was the lamest title ever, but it is a true statement.)

So, remember my first foray into the world of "green" smoothies? It did not go well. After that little episode I really and truly could not understand what all the fuss was about. Smoothies with veggies in them ARE GROSS.

I stand corrected. I gave smoothies another try. I did a little more scientific research (I posted on Facebook and my friends had some good suggestions. See! Facebook IS still good for something!). I tried a few new ideas. And finally? I had a smoothie breakthrough!!

First rule? Don't ever, ever put romaine lettuce in a smoothie. It makes it taste like dirt. I don't care how much peanut butter or honey or yogurt or chocolate syrup (just kidding! I make good choices now!) you put in there, it will not cover up the palatable taste of garden variety DIRT. Don't do it. I do not care how much they tell you your skin will glow after you put a head of romaine lettuce in there, PLEASE TRUST ME.

Second rule? 1/3 veggies to 2/3 fruit is a good ratio. If the scale starts tipping toward the veggie side, things get dicey and not in a good way.

Third, freeze your bananas! When my bananas are stating to get all brown and spotty and very, very ripe like so:

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I just peel them, break them into thirds and throw them into a plastic Ziploc bag and throw them in the freezer. I try to lay the bag flat on the bottom so they don't all stick together. Frozen bananas eliminate the need for ice cubes, in my opinion.

Also, do you buy those huge flats of strawberries at Costco like I do each week? I was noticing that we weren't getting through the whole container before the ones at the end started going bad so I just started freezing about half of the box at the beginning of the week for smoothies. I just rinse them, leave the hull on, and stick them in the freezer on a cookie sheet until they're frozen solid. Then just toss them into another Ziploc! Way cheaper than buying them pre-frozen and less waste! The hull blends right up in the blender and apparently it's good for you too.

Fourth? Make sure you have an awesome blender. If you have the cash for a Blendtec or Vitamix, more power to ya. I got a Ninja at Bed, Bath, & Beyond with a 20% off coupon and I LOVE IT.

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It was $80. You just go ahead and ignore that disgusting romaine lettuce in there and HEED MY WARNING.

Next, what is this, fifthly? Do not add juice! It's a lot of extra sugar and not much nutritional content. You can add water or milk, but we really like almond milk in our smoothies. IMG_7534

If you like your smoothies a little sweeter, try protein powder instead of honey or sugar. It's flavored, and it adds sweetness and flavor but also adds healthy junk to your smoothies. And isn't that the point of a smoothie anyway … Healthy Junk?

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I like Target-brand Healthy Junk. Vanilla is my poison in a fruit smoothie. This particular brand of protein powder does NOT contain creatine, which is why I feel fine about my kids getting a little of it in their smoothies. Please read the labels of any Healthy Junk you are going to feed to your children, though, okay? Some powders contain a lot of extra stuff and you probably don't want your kid to like randomly Hulk Out.

And finally! The leafy greens you must hide from your children (and yourself!) in the smoothie! I recommend 2 cups of spinach or kale. I use the prewashed, bagged stuff and throw it in first. I repeat: DO NOT USE ROMAINE LETTUCE SO HELP ME. Adding blueberries turns this whole shebang purple so this smoothie will not offend those of you who cannot stand drinking brown or green things.

SO! Finally! This brings me to the moment we've all been greatly anticipating! The recipe!

2 cups of spinach or kale
2 frozen bananas
5-ish large frozen strawberries
2 cups almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 large cup blueberries
handful of red grapes (if I have them on hand)

BLEND! Add more almond milk if necessary. This particular recipe makes enough for our entire family, mom and dad included (2 large cups for us, 2 small cups for kids). Reduce to one banana and one cup of almond milk and about half the blueberries and strawberries to make one for yourself.

The size of your head.

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Enjoy!

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No, really, they were enjoying themselves! Ah forget it.

And here is a really good green smoothie recipe. IF YOU MUST.

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