Ultimate Green Smoothie (and a giveaway winner!)

“It looks better than it tastes.”
Fortunately in the case of this Ultimate Green Smoothie it’s the exact opposite. Before we look at the smoothie itself, let me be the first clarify. IT TASTES BETTER THAN IT LOOKS. 

See all of those pretty, colorful ingredients? Packed full of nutrients, I aptly named this an “ultimate” smoothie because it really can’t get much better. Greens, berries, healthy fats and more make this smoothie the perfectly well-rounded breakfast, lunch or snack. I suppose you can eat it for dinner or dessert too – no reason to discriminate which meal suits it best.

Okay, so now you see what I mean? It’s not the most appealing color once you blend everything together. If you’ve ever had a green smoothie before, I’m sure you’re familiar with a not-so-pretty result and are okay with this. If you have never had a green smoothie before and expect a smoothie to be bright magenta, pink or orange, then…well, it’s time to try something new. Don’t let the looks of this fool you. Just do it. (insert Nike swoosh here).

Changing subjects now.

Did you watch the Oscars? I know those award shows are always hyped up, but for some reason I felt like this year, the Oscars in particular, got a TON of attention. I get the past year has been full of great movies, but isn’t that always the case? Maybe I’m naive and this year really was much better than past years. To be honest, I haven’t seen many of the movies that were nominated – Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years a Slave, Wolf of Wall Street – I know, I have some catching up to do. So maybe that’s why I don’t fully realize what a great year it was. I enjoy seeing celebrities on the red carpet, being interviewed, and presenting and accepting awards. But still.

After an hour of watching the pre-show, I was bored. Plus Greg had about zero percent interest. So we turned on a movie, Nebraska instead (a Best Picture nominee after all!) and I didn’t even watch a minute of the award show. I figure I’ll catch the good stuff online and on E! News this week. I’m sure I can count on Robbin’s blog to keep me informed as well. Or you can tell me in the comments…what were the highlights?

Ultimate Green Smoothie

Makes 1 large smoothie

Ingredients:
1 ripe banana
2 large handfuls of spinach
1/2 medium yellow squash
3/4 cup frozen strawberries
2 tablespoons oats
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut milk

Directions:
1. Add add ingredients to a blender. Blend on high speed for 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrap down sides and stir as needed.
2. Pour in a large cup, find a straw and slurp away!

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GIVEAWAY WINNER

I want to thank everyone who participated in the Food Lion giveaway last week! I used Rafflecopter to run the giveaway and randomly select a winner:

Congrats, Shannon Finer! Please check your email for a message from me to claim your gift card!

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July Blog-A-Day #28: Super Green Quinoa Bowl for One

Monday. The start of a new week.  This means it’s time to get back to a regular schedule and a restocked kitchen. Put the two together and I have myself an easy, delicious and nutritious weeknight meal. Weekends lend themselves to increased eating out, which typically means less balanced/healthy meals. Weeknights on the other hand look more like this. Lots of veggies, especially greens, produce, and whole grains. And just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it’s not just as satisfying as those indulgent weekend meals. In fact, it’s usually even better. 
Super Green Quinoa Bowl for One
Makes 1 serving
Ingredients:
1/4 cup dry quinoa
1/4 white or yellow onion, sliced
1/2 cup broccoli florets, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable broth
3 cups raw spinach
1/4 avocado, diced
1/4 cup black beans, cooked
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Directions:
1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add onion and broccoli. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once vegetables are evenly browned, turn heat to low and add vegetable broth. Immediately add spinach to skillet and toss. Cook about 1-2 more minutes and turn off heat. Add salt, cayenne pepper and oregano. Toss to evenly distribute.
3. Add quinoa, cooked vegetables, avocado, black beans and goat cheese to a bowl and serve immediately. Top with hot sauce if desired. 

Nut ‘n Berry Salad

Has anyone else ever noticed that a standard package of bagged salad contains about two to three servings? Woah. That’s a lot of lettuce for one sitting. Most of the time when I eat a salad at home, it’s just a small bowl serving as a side dish to my main meal. When I do have salad as my main course though, I still have a hard time using half of a bag. I have been working on one particular bag of fresh spinach every day for a good week and still have some left. Two servings? I think not. I like a good salad, but what they (salad-packing people) call a serving is more than I can handle. 
I am determined to finish it before it goes bad, so I got creative and made a dressed up salad for lunch and dinner a couple times this week to get through it quickly. 

I tried slightly different variations each time, but this is my favorite. Nut and berries. One of my favorite granola bars is Nature Valley’s Chewy Trail Mix Fruit and Nut bar. I love the crunchy nuts with the sweet fruit and those were key factors in this salad.

Scroll to the bottom for the recipe 😉
A week full with spinach salads is actually not as bad as it sounds as long as you have the right toppings!
It also isn’t too bad if your boss buys you Moe’s in the middle of the week to spontaneously switch things up. 
I guess this kind of looks like a salad too, but don’t let the small handful of shredded lettuce on top fool you. There was plenty of rice, chicken sauteed veggies, black beans and pico in that bowl. Lettuce? Not so much of that.
I’m already predicting that my body will be ready for a light salad come Monday. My mom and step dad are in town for the weekend, meaning a lot of eating out! Especially since my mom never fails to have a couple of restaurant Groupons saved for her Charleston trips. It’s also the weekend for the Charleston Wine and Food Festival. I’m too poor to afford that at this point in my life, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have our own wine and food festival all weekend!
What are you guys up to?
Nut ‘n Berry Salad
Makes one salad
Ingredients:
2-3 cups fresh spinach leaves
5 medium strawberries, sliced in half
2 tablespoons walnut halves or pieces
2 tablespoons sliced red onion
2 tablespoons raspberry vinaigrette 
Directions:
1. Add spinach to plate or large bowl. Top with strawberries, walnuts, onion and vinaigrette. 
2.. Gently toss to combine all ingredients.
3. Serve immediately.