Chef's Corner: Smoothie

We go through many changes during our lives. There are births and deaths, marriages and divorces, youth and maturity. Old habits die hard, and bad habits die even harder.

When our son was 2, we moved to Barcelona, Spain, for my husband’s job. It was an incredible experience to be completely immersed in the local culture. While my husband was at work, I was left to the daily errands necessary to run our household, including taking and picking up our son, Laz, from preschool, shopping for groceries, picking up the dry cleaning … routine things at home, but quite different when you live in a foreign country! I spent more that a few moments reduced to tears of frustration when even the simplest tasks seemed to become monumental challenges.

The change was a little tough on Laz too. I would drop him at preschool for just a couple of hours a day. At first when I arrived to pick him up, he would jump into my arms more than ready to leave. However, it didn’t take long for him to adjust. Eventually he thoroughly enjoyed the time he spent at Caparucita Roja (“Little Red Riding Hood” for you non-Spanish speakers!)

While living in Barcelona, Laz developed a great palate as well. In Spain, children eat what their parents eat. In restaurants, there are no such things as “kids’ menus,” boxed macaroni and cheese or dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. He ate croquettes made of Bacalao, tortilla de patata and lots of seafood – finger food for a toddler in Spain. He continues to have a great palate. He doesn’t consider fast food a treat, and calls sushi his favorite meal. Because of our time in Spain, I didn’t have to break him of many bad eating habits. Although, if given the choice, I’m certain that if I offered him chocolate ice cream for breakfast, he’d jump at the chance!

My good friend Kristen and her friend Jamie co-author a beautiful blog site named “Feather and Nest” (featherandneststyle.wordpress.com). It is a collection of exquisite photos of rooms, accessories and people where they write about changes you can make to surround yourself with beautiful things that make your home and life reflect your personal style. Kristen happens to have more style in her pinkie finger than I have altogether, but I love to look at her blog for inspiration.

She gave me this recipe for a super healthy and fast smoothie that includes kale, banana, fresh pineapple and vanilla almond milk. Her kids love it! Just keep some frozen bananas and pineapple in the freezer and you can whip it up in minutes, even on the busiest morning. It’s a delicious and healthy way to start the day, and the vibrant green color (btw, you can’t even taste the kale) will make you know you are doing something good for you!

The summer is winding down, and we are all getting ready for the change to fall and our back-to-school routines. If frozen waffles and toaster pastries seem to be your only option, why not try something really good and good for you for breakfast. Change can be hard, but healthy eating habits are a change for the better. And you won’t have to move to a foreign country to avoid the drive-through!

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    Green Monster Smoothie

(makes two smoothies)

2 cups frozen cubed pineapple
2 frozen bananas
1 champagne mango, peeled and cubed (optional)
4 leaves dark green kale, tender leaves torn from center rib (see note)
1-2 cups vanilla-flavored almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Smoothies are not an exact science; therefore, I have listed the ingredients that I use to make this smoothie. But feel free to add any ingredients that you and your family like. Avoid red or blue fruits, as they will change the color of this bright-green smoothie. Freezing the bananas and pineapple allow you to make the smoothie without additional ice. My son loves mangoes, and I happened to have some on hand, so I threw them in. 
Note: This breed of kale is known as dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale or Lacinato kale. It is dark blu-ish green in color. It tastes very sweet, making it an excellent addition to Green Monster Smoothies.
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Lisa Glickman is a private chef and teacher who lives in Bend. She has made TV appearances on COTV in Central Oregon and recently appeared on the Cooking Channel’s The Perfect Three. She can be reached via her website at lisa@lisaglickman.com.

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