“Give It Time” Green Smoothie

green smoothie

Yes, I know this isn’t green!

I’ve been dealing with several health problems over the past few months and in my struggle to get my life back on track, I decided to commit to consuming green smoothies on a regular basis. I had tried several variations in the past and have to admit that healthy or not, they were just too “nasty” for me. However, when push comes to shove and your health is on the line, it is amazing how one can actually suppress the gag reflex and learn to enjoy these “puréed salads in a cup”.

If you landed here expecting me to tell you how delicious this healthy smoothie recipe is and that it is an absolute must try…this is not the post for you. I believe in being transparent and completely honest. When my friend passed this recipe along and I tried it for the first time, I was not a raving fan. In fact, when she asked me how I liked it, I said, “Okay, I guess…I didn’t throw-up”. And this was not really an exaggeration. If you are used to those creamy fruit filled dream like smoothie sensations like I was…brace yourself.

Green smoothies are not really that great tasting and the texture of mine don’t ever seem to get as smooth as in a fruit smoothie, but the strange thing is….within a couple of days you develop a taste for them. I mean I actually crave this cup of goodness. I can’t say it’s the flavour or the texture, but more so like I know I’m drinking a glass of nutrients or a cup of health…I can’t quite explain it, but I’m hooked. I now drink green smoothies most days (at least 5 days a week) and can honestly say I miss them on the days I don’t . Green smoothies are one of  the easiest ways to pack so many essential nutrients and vitamins into one meal.

Robin’s Original Green Smoothie Recipe:

What I love most about Robin’s recipe is that each and every ingredient that she uses was picked for its nutritional elements. To find out more about some of the many health benefits of the ingredients, just follow the links.

Dump all the ingredients in a blender and mix to desired consistency.

Green Smoothie Tips

My Variations:

In order for this “green smoothie” thing to work for me, I knew I had to tweak it so that it was more than just tolerable. Here is what I discovered:

I basically took Robin’s recipe and made a few adjustments so that it worked for me. For starters, I needed to change the colour and add a hint of sweetness to the mixture. I decided that frozen fruit would be the best option. Blueberries work really well because they are healthy, add that element of sweetness and above all create a deep purpley colour that looks delicious. For me, digestion is one of the problems I’m constantly dealing with, so cranberries and pineapple are also great options in terms of the health benefits. The downside is that neither do much for the smoothie in terms of colour. The cranberries create a smoothie that is a disgusting brownish green and the pineapples don’t adjust the green colour at all. When I add cranberries, I will often add in a number of blueberries as well, just to help with the colour.

I often find myself rushed in the morning and as much as I would like to have a fried egg along with my smoothie, I generally find, I just don’t have time to do both. So, if my smoothie was going to serve as my entire breakfast, I had to incorporate some protein into it. I decided to add chia seeds and flax meal to add a substantial amount of protein to my drink.

Although my recipe fluctuates and changes constantly, this is my basic plan:

Cindy’s “Give it Time” Green SmoothieGreen Smoothie

  • 2 cups of packed organic spinach (or baby romaine)
  • 2 stalks of celery (up to 3 with leaves on)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 a cucumber (if not organic, then peel it)
  • 1″ of fresh peeled ginger
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley
  • 1-2 mint leaves (when I have them on hand)
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • liquid (water or good quality fruit juice with no sugar added – usually pineapple or cranberry)
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons of flax meal (ground flax)
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup of frozen fruit (blueberries, cranberries or pineapple chunks)

One of the biggest challenges is not making too big of a batch. I have a 16 oz cup with a straw and lid and my recipe usually fills that plus about 1/2 more. I wish I could get it exactly right, but I never seem to be able to. Of course, if I actually measured each and every ingredient every time, I would be able to perfect this, but I am often in such a rush I just eyeball the amounts as I throw them in the blender. Robin will often place the prepared veggies in her blender and set it in the fridge the evening before. This way she just has to add her liquid (and berries for me) to quickly whip it up in the morning. I never seem to be that organized or have the energy left to prep it at the end of the day, so I am pulling it together last minute. I probably have the time down to about 5 minutes and always take my smoothie in the car, so it is still a quick and easy breakfast.

In summary, I am totally hooked on my green smoothies, but you really do have to “give it time”.  Play with it a bit and commit to a week before giving up. I actually have a hard time drinking fruit smoothies now. They just seem soooo sweet. Much like when I went from drinking double double coffee to cream only. At first, it is not easy to take, but eventually you can’t even stomach the sugary taste.


Although I still enjoy my smoothies, I sometimes find it hard to enjoy a frozen drink on winter mornings when the temperatures are hovering between minus 20 and 40 degrees! I presently tend to be opting for eggs most mornings. However, I’ve recently been doing some research on the benefits of juicing. I had never really given juicing much thought and still am not sure if I’m up to the chore of cleaning the machine after each use. (I can be lazy that way.) However, Dr. Josh Axe is a real supporter of juicing and I totally respect him and his opinions.

Juicing is an easy way to get a whopping heap of fresh veggies (and fruits) into your diet in one easy shot – or however many you want a day. You can consume far more of these veggies and fruits with juicing than you could probably eat in the same amount of time.

A fellow blogger recently shared a post written on Health Ambition that outlined the health benefits of celery. Their article:  7 Surprising Celery Juice Benefits absolutely substantiates the advantages of including celery in juices (and I suppose in my smoothies as well). I also love the fact that there is a free download for juicing recipes. I recently borrowed a juicer from a friend and can’t wait to try some of their recipes! Juicing is a great way to optimize the number of nutrients in your diet and research suggests it can also aid in weight loss. With the big 50 looming in the not so distant future, I have noticed how easy it is for those few extra pounds to show up on the scale and how much more difficult it has become to make them disappear again. If you decide to giving juicing a try, let me know about your experiences. Be sure to check out the article on the health benefits of celery! 


Yummy Italian Casserole

In all honesty, this post is much more about semantics than it is about getting a great new Italian recipe.

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce Healthy Style? No Dice!

Last winter, we went through a three to four month stint in which we followed a Primal diet (very similar to eating Paleo, with a few differences). The main thing with a Primal diet is the exclusion of all grains from your diet.  During that time, I had to get really creative as my family was not embracing our new lifestyle to the extent that I was.  Although they adhered to the plan, they were not pleased about the absence of grains, especially pasta.  Long before the Primal diet, I had tried to introduce my family to spaghetti squash as a much healthier alternative to pasta. They would have no part of it, so I would eat squash and meat sauce while the rest of the family would eat pasta. It was frustrating, but they simply did not like it.

Don’t Give Up ~ Your Family is Worth It

I am not one to give up on anything very easily.  I find that with most problems, it is at the point of highest frustration that one usually gives up. However, I have often found that if I persist just beyond that point, the solution is almost always around the next bend.  The key is really sticking with it long enough to reach the solution.  I really wasn’t ready to give up on the idea of substituting the pasta in some of our meals. I love this quote because I find that we often have the answer already, it is just a matter of thinking “outside the box” and looking at the problem from a new perspective.

“The problems are solved, not by giving new information, but by arranging what we have known since long.”
― Ludwig Wittgenstein

Such was the case of spaghetti squash vs. pasta.  In the end, I simply applied a strategy that has worked well for me in the past.  I changed up what I was doing ever so slightly and re-named the dish. So instead of spaghetti squash and meat sauce, we have Italian Casserole.  Same ingredients, with a different presentation and a new name!

What is Italian Casserole you may ask?

  • Homemade meat sauce (1 to 2 lbs of ground beef)
  • One cooked spaghetti squash
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Optional additions:  parmesan cheese, butter

Cooke spaghetti squash according to the directions on the sticker.  I generally poke it and microwave it for about 5 minutes before attempting to cut it in half.  I then cut it in half length-wise and scrape out the seeds (similar to a pumpkin).  The remaining “meat” is cooked (boiled, roasted or microwaved) until the flesh is soft and can be scraped away from the outer shell with a fork.  Slide the fork down the flesh to create spaghetti like strings.

You can stir in some butter and parmesan cheese at this point, if you wish. Grease a 9″ X 13″ casserole dish and line it with a small amount of sauce. Spoon all of the cooked spaghetti squash onto the sauce and spread it out. Cover with all of the meat sauce and then place grated mozzarella cheese on top. Cook for about 20 minutes.  You may want to broil for a minute or two at the end to brown the cheese.  Finally, the most important step…..tell your family that you are having Italian Casserole for dinner.  My family loves Italian Casserole, but continues to hate spaghetti squash and meat sauce.  It really is all in the presentation and semantics.  Ha! Ha! Mommy wins!

Italian Casserole


Cottage cheese and spinach

Mix one cup of cottage or ricotta cheese with frozen spinach (thawed and drained) and a few tablespoons of parmesan cheese.  Spread this layer over the squash, so it forms a middle layer between the squash and thick layer of meat sauce.  Yummy and quite like lasagna.  Enjoy!

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