A friend asked me advice on my green smoothies because I said I liked mine… lol, that sounds like a request from someone who takes a sip of his and thinks “bleh!” Here are my tips:
Use a really awesome blender. We have a blendtec, which I see regularly at Costco for about $350. It’s really expensive but totally worth it. Totally, totally worth it. We’ve had ours for somewhere between 3 – 5 years. Vitamix is very similar, but they apparently infringed on a blendtec patent… I haven’t studied it to see if it was a coincidence that their engineers came up with the same thing, or if they maliciously stole technology… but I have a hard time supporting a company that infringed illegally.
Check out Green Smoothie Girl - we got her books, and she has a ton of stuff on Youtube. Reading her books made smoothies make a lot more sense… it was a discussion on food and nutrition that was somewhat new to me, and she had a lot of things she presented as facts. Not sure where she got her information, but sounded good enough to move towards this lifestyle.
I like kale in my smoothies. I hate kale raw… but in a smoothie I can’t really taste it because of the other stuff I put in, and I love that i’m eating a supposed super green. I have grown kale for the last 3 years and it’s so awesome to pull a few leaves out of your garden, as opposed to buying an overpriced wilting bunch from the grocery store. My family also loves sauteed kale… kale chips are too much work, imo, but they taste good enough to have made a few times this summer. I’ll put in anywhere from 3 to 5 leaves into my smoothie… the leaves can be almost 2 feet long. Lots of nutrition.
GSG recommends spinach as a green that does not hardly have a taste… and that’s what she recommends for those starting out. I get bags of spinach from Costco and put them directly in the freezer. Right now, since I don’t have fresh kale, I put in about 3 – 5 handfuls of spinach, so I can get the green.
I have learned to blend my smoothies in the blendtec twice (pushing the “smoothie” button). This makes a huge difference…
I like to buy ripe/old bananas, which are usually almost 1/2 off. I buy them because they sweeten the smoothie better than bananas that are not ripe enough. I usually put one in.
I LOVE apples in my smoothie… I usually put one apple in on the second round of blending, because I like the chunks… it’s like a treat to get a crunchy, juicy piece of apple in a smoothie.
We have ground up flax seed that we ground ourselves. Apparently you can’t put in whole seed, or it won’t digest… so we grind it, put it in the fridge, and then you can put a tablespoon (give or take) in each smoothie for added nutrition.
Here’s a typical throw-it-together “recipe,” which is an adaptation of doing this for the last few years:
3 cups of water
A bunch of spinach (3 – 5 handfuls) that was frozen, if I don’t have my kale. Next summer we’ll try to grow other “greens”
1 old banana (sans peel – I’m not that weird!)
Probably 1 – 2 cups of frozen fruit from costco – preferably blueberries, but sometimes I’ll go with less nutritional fruit for the taste, or for something different. Favorites are mangos and/or peaches.
About 3/4 cup of dry oats (yes, oatmeal! Weird, huh?)
Sometimes 1 – 3 carrots… I usually have to chop them into 2 – 3 inch pieces.
sometimes the flax seed.
I used to use a few drops of liquid stevia to sweeten it, but I’ve done without it for so long that it doesn’t matter anymore… but if this tastes like a dirty garden to you, then get the liquid stevia and it will transform your drink into a sweet, heavenly delight.
Hit the smoothie button. Then do it again. That’s it… it’s a big meal, or drink it throughout the day.
Also, most of the time I put in chia seeds since we have a ton of them here… but I do it only in the cup, after I have blended the smoothie. Putting them in the blender is a bad, bad idea (it is a huge pain to clean later).
There are a gazillion recipes, and really, when I make a smoothie I just look around my kitchen to see what should go into it… make up your own stuff based on nutrition and taste.
Here’s a picture from many, many years ago. My grandpa died while my family was were overseas – I must have been around 12 or 13 years old. Before that I remember seeing him a couple of times, but that’s it. We didn’t live close to where they were.
The stories of him and his family, though, are legendary. He had an impact on a lot of people, and apparently had this smile all the time.
As for me, I think I look a bit mischevious. Look at those cachetes! Chale. And that shirt. Geesh… where can I find one of those now?
Last night I went to the LaunchUp event (website admittedly stinks, but sign up on the top-right to get invites to the monthly events, starting again in January) and saw Josh Coates speak… he was pretty awesome. He got cut off for time, but if I ever hear of a chance to hear him speak again, I’m going.
Anyway, after all of the presentations, I learned about some new companies as I milled around. One guy (I can’t remember who) showed me what his company was doing with Google Cardboard. Haven’t heard of it? I hadn’t either.
He pulled a cardboard box out of his backpack and put his phone in it… and you now had your own virtual reality machine. It was super cool. I can’t remember what I was looking at – something with space, or a planet or something like that, but to use your smart phone as a screen, and a homemade cardboard contraption as the viewer… it really was geeky cool.
Here’s a short video on kind of how it works… on the Cardboard page you can learn how to make your own … (and develop apps for it):
A couple of years ago I blogged about a “brilliant About Us page“… I recently found another one that is just awesome. This is from Canvas, which provides software (learning management system, or LMS) for schools. Josh Coates is the guy who sold his startup to EMC for $76M, and he’s running canvas now. Check out the Canvas (aka, instructure) Our Team page.
It looks fun and playful, right?
If you mouse over each person’s image, it changes from the playful image (Steve’s playfulness is his clothes, which you’ll have to go to the page to see) to a serious corporate image. But it defaults to the playful one. Isn’t that cool?
Here’s what I love about this article: instead of a recipe (which there is, actually, at the bottom), it focuses on the science of making a good cookie. When you have words like creaming process, seeping, “run out,” hydrated, emulsify, brown the butter, etc. you know it’s going to be fun to read.
Check out this fantastically interesting article about a family that left for the Siberian forest to stay away from the harm of World War II… and they never came out (until they were discovered by some geologists doing research:
For over 20 years I’ve been intrigued by the story of Dr. William Beaumont. I heard this story when I was in middle school and I’m sure I was on the edge of my seat when I watched the movie in class. I think this was the beginning of my awe of the discovery of modern medicine… how did we figure this stuff out?
So I don’t spend another 20 years trying to remember the name or details, here are two resources:
I’m not sure how many homeschool families aspire to this (I’m guessing it is less than 1%). And honestly, getting my kids into school before they are 12 is not on my list. I love the dad’s line at the end: “Truly, we’re just average.” “Yeah, right,” most people would argue… average. That makes pretty much everyone else way, way below average :p
The haters come out and tell why it’s so horrible that these socially deprived kids have lost out on their childhoods, etc. etc. etc. All the lame, uninformed reasons why no one should homeschool.
Let’s get beyond those sophmoric, insecure whinings, and dig a little deeper. Those kids seem well-accomplished, driven, and pursuing passions and interests. Quite a bit different than what I saw in my schooling, with more of the glazed over look, or the socialization that I got, which was how to be street smart (read: not get beat up).
But that’s not why we homeschool. Here’s part of the article that touches on one thing we love about homeschooling:
“Hannah was whizzing through the math and saying, ‘Mom, do I really have to do the rest of this chapter? It’s so repetitive,’” Mona Lisa said. “And we’d say no just do the odd (questions) or the even ones or just skip the rest of that chapter because we know that you know that… and next thing you know, she’s ready for some advanced math.”
We love allowing kids to go at their own pace, learning what they are interested in… what an awesome part of life-long education!