Meatless Monday: Cottage Peach Smoothie & What we Are Eating

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When it comes to making breakfast for the family, I really try and ensure it is balanced.  I know there are a lot of smoothie recipes and people who use their vitamix and juicers to make a nice beverage, but when I make a smoothie I want it to be of high nutritional content.  This is one reason you will never find a smoothie recipe I create that uses water.  As a dietitian in a nursing home you start to learn a lot about puree food.  One of the most important factors in serving puree is to ensure you give your customers the most bang for their buck.  Appetites vary so you want to make sure even the smallest appetite is getting an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.  Water is great at thinning food when you need to change the consistency but it also lessens the nutritional content.  I prefer to use juice, dairy, or dairy alternative beverage.  This was how I taught cooks and dietary aides to make puree, and I use the same concept when I feed my family a liquid meal.

In addition to a nutritional beverage I sometimes add some yogurt as well.  I love greek yogurt but I know it has a tanginess that is not always ideal in all smoothies.  The other day I found some of the peaches we picked this summer in the freezer and decided it had been a few weeks since we had that summer flavor.  When I think of peach smoothies, I tend to think sweet as they are a sweet fruit especially when perfectly ripe.  As I began to add ingredients to the Vitamix, I was torn between greek yogurt or just using fruit in addition to the almond milk.  Then it caught my eye – cottage cheese.  Recently we discussed that I have a new found love for ricotta cheese and you find it in a lot of recipes where it is made to be sweet, but cottage cheese, I was not sure.  Of course then I realized I have a great kugel recipe that calls for cottage cheese and one of Little Miss Mixtures favorite things is cottage cheese with applesauce and cinnamon, so I figured it could not be too bad.  It definitely was not bad in fact it was really good. The cottage cheese helped to thicken the smoothie slightly while of course increasing the protein and calcium content as well.

As I sit here writing about this I realize how nice these same flavors would be using apple or pumpkin instead of peaches.  A perfect Fall flavored smoothie.

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Cottage Peach Smoothie

1/4 cup Almond Milk, Vanilla

1/3 cup Cottage Cheese

1 fresh banana

1 cup Frozen Peach Slices

1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon

 

Place all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix. Remember liquid on the bottom and frozen on top when using a Vitamix. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy.

 

What we are eating (September 14 – September 20) 

Sunday – Leftovers

Monday – Roasted Mushroom & White Bean Puree (Cooking Light)

Tuesday – Ground Chicken Tacos with homemade Taco Seasoning

Wednesday – A version of this Chopped Salad 

Thursday – Patty Melt with Waldorf Salad

Friday – Ham & Swiss Sandwiches, Organic Trader Joe Corn Chips, Fruit

Saturday – Night Out

Thanks for reading and have a great week.  Looking for some more Smoothies that are packed with protein.  Check these out.

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Protein Packed Smoothie

IMG_3192Protein Power Green Smoothie

 

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Peach Watermelon Smoothie

Image 3I promised summer recipes this week and I am not sure you can get more summer than a recipe that involves peaches and watermelon.   You also cannot get much easier than a fresh breakfast in less than 15 minutes.

So many fruits these days are available year round in the stores. But luckily for us there are some items that are not quite as easy to transport long distances. Thus peaches are rarely seen in the depth of winter, even here in the south.

However in between late June and August the peaches are abundant at the local stores and the farmers markets. I prefer to buy any local produce at the farmers markets, but in this case I went straight to the source. We are still enjoying the peaches that we picked ourselves in July. Of course peaches have a short shelf life, so our enjoyment of them now is taking them from the freezer. They still have a great flavor and in the case of a smoothie, in order to get the right consistency you need something frozen.

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There are quite a few smoothie recipes out their that incorporate ice to get a smoothie cold and slightly slush like, but as a dietitian and having a background working with puree food, I just cannot do it.  I see no reason to water down anything and decrease the nutritional value.  If I want a icy type item sure, but when it comes to breakfast and trying to get nutrients into my family I will always use frozen fruit.  In the case of this smoothie, I needed very little liquid as I knew the watermelon would provide plenty, but I wanted to add some creaminess so I grabbed the milk container.  Almond milk would also go nicely with this combination of fruit, adding a nutty undertone and keeping it dairy free.

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This morning I whipped up this smoothie for us to enjoy.

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Peach Watermelon Smoothie

1/4 cup Skim Milk

1 Cup Watermelon, in chunks

1/2 banana

1 1/2 cups frozen peaches

Blend and enjoy.

* Please note this measurements are approximate and yielded about 20 ounces.

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Sweet Cherry Smoothie

IMG_3219As I mentioned yesterday, it is the peak time to get cherries, so we stocked up.  I finally got some washed, pitted, and frozen so that we can use them in smoothies in a couple of weeks.  Talk about a mess.  I may rank pitting cherries up there with my least favorite kitchen task.  Boiling chicken is still # 1.  Regardless of how few or how many, I end up having to split some open because the pitter does not always work perfectly, so there is juice on my hands.  My fingers begin to look stained by the end of the process and the clean trash bag is now stained as if there was a horrible kitchen accident.  Luckily this time around I managed to not get the juice on my shorts.  As I complete this process, I keep picturing the episode of “I Love Lucy” where they crush grapes with their feet.  Okay I just dated myself some, but as a kid I loved to watch the “I Love Lucy” reruns that TBS aired.

Having made a really nice adult drink with the cherries, I decided to start our day on Monday with a family friendly drink.  Little Miss Mixture and I had somewhere to go, so it was a great morning for smoothies in the car.  Thank goodness the car is old enough I do not care about cherry juice and in a nicely topped cup the likelihood of a cherry juice mishap is slim.  I would never have fresh cherries consumed in the car in any other form.  Honestly I have often thought of serving them outside as I constantly fear the juice ending up on the upholstery or the walls.  I know too much information about how I may be a little too type A, but at least I can admit it.

We had fresh pineapple from Sunday’s dinner which gave me the idea for the smoothie; however I ended up using frozen to get the consistency I wanted.  This simple fruit smoothie had a bright and somewhat tropical flavor to it.

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Sweet Cherry Smoothie

20 Pitted Cherries

1/2 cup Skim Milk

3 Tbsp. Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1 cup Frozen Pineapple

Place all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix.  Remember liquid on the bottom and frozen on top when using a vitamix.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into about a 12 oz glass or split into two smaller servings and enjoy.

Printable Recipe & Nutrition Info

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Protein Power Green Smoothie

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We all know the saying that you are what you eat and the best way to start your day is with a healthy breakfast.  Well I have never been a big breakfast person and I know my mom struggled to get me to have breakfast when I was a kid.  I luckily do not have that problem with Little Miss Mixture.  Sometimes that is her  best meal of the day, but breakfast is a meal that seems to be on the go in our house.

Mr. Mixture only sits down for breakfast on the weekends and typically grabs his coffee and a breakfast bar or smoothie and heads out.  During the school year Little Miss Mixture wants to sit and eat, but generally only leaves herself about 5 minutes to get her breakfast in.  In an effort to fuel them up, I try and make healthy smoothies and other on the go items for them at least two -three times a week.  Now with Little Miss Mixture sleeping in and enjoying her summer my motivation to turn on the vitamix is waning.

I have made a couple of smoothies in the last few weeks and though I constantly write down recipes of different ones, typically I just find items and toss them in and blenderize.  I almost always add peanut butter to my smoothies.  I find my taste is drawn to smoothies that include peanut butter and they stick with me longer than all fruit smoothies.  Mr. Mixture enjoys creamy fruit smoothies where yogurt is included as an ingredient.

In our house we like green smoothies.  There are certain flavor combinations that we enjoy more than others as I find spinach is a great green in almost any smoothie. Spinach is also so versatile as I use it in salads, on sandwiches, pizza, etc.  If i notice some needs to be used before it begins to wilt, I simply sauté it or toss it in a smoothie.  Here is a quick smoothie I tossed together the other morning.

1 cup Spinach

1 Banana

1/2 frozen Banana

2 Tbsp. Greek Yogurt

3 Tbsp. Peanut Butter

1/2 cup Milk

Place all ingredients in blender and puree.  If using a vitamin start with liquid and top with greens and frozen fruit and puree until smooth.

Printable Recipe IMG_3191

Wake Me Up: Cantaloupe Strawberry Smoothie

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The internet can be a wealth of knowledge if you want to make a smoothie.  I have always been a milkshake girl.  Aside from cookie dough this is probably one of my top weaknesses.  I have never argued with replacing a meal with the thick cool richness of a milkshake.  When I want to be healthier I have a smoothie.

Years ago I started making smoothies and they typically consisted of the more mainstream combinations – yogurt, banana, and a frozen fruit, most likely of the berry variety.  But when I caved and got my vitamix, I was determined to get my money out of it.  I would glance through the refrigerator at the fruits and vegetables on hand and enter a couple into my google search.  See what people have posted and get ideas on what to make.  Sometimes the results were spot on, others I made notes on what to add and what to alter.  Unfortunately for me having not been a person who measures or follows recipes it continues to be a game of trail and error.  Luckily it works most of the time.

Recently I purchased a cantaloupe, and this year it has either been my bad luck or the melons just have not been the greatest.  We have eaten some cut up, but then they seem to sit becoming lost in the refrigerator and on the verge of slimy.  Cantaloupe is not something I would typically put into a smoothie, but I was pleasantly surprised with the result.  It was a definite win since it would have most likely been tossed otherwise.

The taste of cantaloupe though is refreshing and light so it blends well and provides a nice start to the day.DSC_9938DSC_9939

Wake Me Up

1 oz Almond Milk

1 banana

3/4 cup cantaloupe

5-6 strawberries

Blend the above together and enjoy one 8 ounce smoothie.

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 Printable Recipe & Nutrition Info