Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chocolate Banana Green Smoothie

     Looks yummy, no?  Okay, it looks pretty gross but hear me out - for those of you who haven't joined the green smoothie movement, you have got to give it a try.  I promise you don't taste the spinach...  I was first exposed to green smoothies when I was at a friend's house for dinner a couple of years ago and his mom made a "green drink".  Apple juice, strawberries, spinach, and ice.  I'm adventurous so I gave it a try and loved it.  At the time I didn't realize it was the new craze.  I didn't start making them until after I got married and started shopping at the farmer's market which inspires me to eat more wholesome foods and that 1 lb. container of spinach is just too hard to resist anyway.  With only 2 of us, I have to do something with all of that spinach!  I just had my first baby so I'm trying to run off the last 8 lbs. of baby weight and these smoothies help me start my day off with the energy I need to do that! This is the smoothie I threw together today and I think it is the best one yet!  What a healthy way to satisfy that chocolate craving!  I used unsweetened cocoa powder - it's full of fiber and no sugar! These are estimates of how much of everything I used since I just threw it in the blender until it looked and tasted right... which I encourage you to do as well! 

Handful of spinach
1/2 - 3/4 c. vanilla yogurt
1/2 c. almond milk
1/2 to 1 Tbl unsweetened cocoa powder
1 banana
1 tsp flax seed - or more if you want
dash of honey
large handful of ice

1.  Put spinach in first - this ensures it doesn't get spit up from blending and stick to the sides.  Put everything else on top except ice.  Blend.  Add ice and blend again on the ice crush setting.  Enjoy!!  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Corn Chowder

     Corn Chowder.  When I decided to make this, I remembered I like chowders but must have forgotten how much.  This is out of this world satisfying and delicious.  It's weight watchers approved but I think my husband and I missed the point because it was supposed to make 6 servings and by the time we left the dinner table there was only enough left for one more bowl!  It also has no meat - I've been cooking more and more meatless meals because it's budget friendly and helps with our weight loss goals.  But anyway, my husband gave this a ten, which is a rare honor.  Whip this one up the next time you're in the mood for soup!  

1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 potato, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 12-ounce can nonfat evaporated milk
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pinch cayenne pepper

1. Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add celery, bell pepper, garlic and cumin; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

2. Add corn and potatoes, return to a simmer and cook until all the vegetables are tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Place cornstarch in a small bowl, slowly add evaporated milk, stirring until smooth. Stir into the soup and return to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne.

Makes 6 Servings (1 Cup Per Serving)

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 200 calories; 2 g fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbs; 10 g protein; 4 g fiber; 208 mg sodium