The Great Green Smoothie

Detox, hydrate, and fuel up with this delicious green smoothie.

the great green smoothieHelp. I’ve started the 30-day yoga challenge. (Kind of like Help me. I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.) I’ve committed. 30 days of yoga in a row.

Only 2 days done so far, and I have the sore muscles to prove it.

My fault entirely, since I haven’t attended hot yoga in over a year. After a torn rotator cuff injury, I was taking physiotherapy all last summer. But now it’s time to head back into it. I’m holding my breath and jumping right into the deep end.

I’ve missed hot yoga. I love the feeling of being in the sweltering, dimly-lit, steamy room, sweat dripping off me as if I’m in some kind of invisible shower – it’s like being in a womb (weird analogy, I know) where I feel safe and insulated from the outside world. While I’m in that calm environment, twisting and contorting to the Downward Dog, the Pigeon, and the Warrior poses, I forget all about the worries that usually plague my mind.

I step inside the darkened studio, unroll my yoga mat, and lay down in the utterly relaxing shavasana pose, my mind empties, and I float into another space.    Ahhhhhhhh . . .

Slowly we start to move and stretch, first this body part, then the other. Even as the intensity increases and I start to feel the sweat beading, then trickling, then dripping off my body, I love it. I imagine the toxins flowing out with every salty drip. I drink a ton of water.

And if I’m organized enough, I make myself a cleansing and refueling green smoothie to sip before I go and then again after I’m finished . . . lots of minerals and antioxidants, alkalizing fruits, natural electrolyte coconut water, protein-rich hemp hearts. It’s a detox in a jar.

the great green smoothie*Off topic, but I need to share – Notice the gashes in the melon? That’s my boys. I love them dearly, but ever since they were little, they’ve had this weird obsession with carving into fruits or vegetables in the fruit bowl or cutting ‘designs’ into the leaves of my house plants: apples with pinprick patterns, bananas with brown swirls scraped into the peels, plant leaves with Star Wars slogans scarred into them. It drives me absolutely bonkers crazy. And even though they’re both long past the stage of calling themselves ‘little’ (one is 18 and one is 28!) – it seems they still cannot restrain themselves from cutting a quick little slice or gouge into a fruit, or carving a pattern into a banana, which doesn’t show up until it turns brown, long after they’ve left the scene of the crime. I can never catch them in the act, but find the evidence later, when plant leaves scar into the designs they’ve carved, or sometimes even their brazen initials.

Anyone else have boys with this same infuriating affliction?

I think I’ll have another sip of my delectable green smoothie, take some deep, calming breaths, and forget about the things that can make mothers crazy. I’m heading off to hot yoga.


* * * * *

green smoothie

The Great Green Smoothie

  • 1 tart green apple (such as Granny Smith), preferably organic
  • 3 cups diced sweet, ripe honeydew melon (¼ of a large one)
  • ¼ cup (35gms) raw hemp hearts
  • 1½ cups (50gms) raw spinach leaves
  • 1 cup (240ml) coconut water (100% pure, no additives)
  • juice of 1 – 1½ limes (2 – 3 tablespoons)

Quarter the apple and cut out the core. Place all the ingredients (start with the juice of 1 lime) in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Taste, and add more lime juice if you think it needs more zip, then whiz for another couple seconds.

*If using a regular blender, you may need to peel the apple. Place the apple quarters, hemp hearts and coconut water into the blender and puree them first, then add the remaining ingredients, and puree until smooth.

Makes a generous 4 cups (1 litre), serving 2 (or one before-yoga smoothie and one for after!)

Guten Appetit!

You might also like:

Dieter’s Wonder Water

Nutty Monkey Smoothie

Refreshing Agua Fresca de Chia (Chia Limeade)

Cantaloupe Creamsicle Smoothie

Gingerbread Dough Boy Smoothie

the great green smoothie

Posted in Drinks, Fruit | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Power Patties – Like Breakfast Balls on Steroids

Fuel up with tasty, nutrition-packed little patties for extra power and energy!

power pattiesPart cookie, part energy bar, part meal-replacement deal, total delicious snack – these Power Patties pack a hefty punch of nutrition in each compact little disk.

I’m tired of buying expensive boxes of chalky energy bars or over-sweetened granola bars in the hopes of finding that perfect combination of energy booster and convenient snack – something I can feel good about throwing in a lunch box or packing for on-the-go travel nibbles.

power pattiesBreakfast Balls are still one of my favourite treats to toss in my bag when I don’t have time for a proper morning meal as I rush out the door to a hectic day at work. Their sturdiness makes them ideal for hanging around in my purse for a week, or being shoved into a book bag or backpack.

One day I felt like playing around with the recipe. I used less oats and added some nut butter for more protein, a few hemp hearts and chia seeds for their magical properties, a hint of spice. These cookie-like patties are really just a dressed-up version of my popular Breakfast Balls – a bit softer and filled with more good stuff. They can be changed up in all sorts of ways to make them nut-free, or refined-sugar free, too.

These little snacks are real food.

The main sweetness comes from the bananas, so make sure they are very ripe, well past the stage of appetizing-to-eat-fresh (unless you are my husband, who eats them when they are so brown his coworkers gag to watch him!) I generally have to hide a bunch of bananas in the basement to ripen, so the monkeys in my household don’t eat them all before I can bake with them.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: to make the Power Patties nut-free, use sunflower seed butter or melted coconut oil instead of peanut butter, and use an extra ½ cup shredded coconut instead of chopped nuts. To make them refined-sugar-free, use raisins, currants, or cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips (cacao nibs being the least sweet option) and use natural peanut butter that has no added sugar.

Instead of mini chocolate chips you can finely chop a bar of dark chocolate.

power patties

Power Patties

(gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, nut-free option, refined-sugar-free-option)

  • 4 large, super-ripe bananas (more brown than yellow)
  • 2 cups (200gms) old-fashioned, large-flake rolled oats (gluten-free, if necessary)
  • ½ cup (60gms) peanut butter or other nut/seed butter
  • ½ cup (45 gms) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup (65gms) raw hemp hearts
  • ½ cup (60gms) chopped walnuts or pecans
  • ½ cup (90gms) mini chocolate chips, or dried currants, chopped raisins or cacao nibs (65gms)
  • ¼ cup (40gms) chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Peel and mash bananas well with a potato masher.

mashing banana for power pattiesmashing bananas for power pattiesAdd the rest of the ingredients and mix well until combined.

dough for power pattiesYou can roll the patties right away, but the dough is a little less sticky if you let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour to let the oats and seeds soak up some of the moisture.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or grease them with coconut oil.

Take 2 tablespoon portions of the dough, and roll it into balls. A cookie scoop makes the job easy. Squeezing and gently tossing the ball from one had to the other several times helps form it into a neater ball. Place one inch apart on prepared cookie sheets.

Flatten the balls slightly with your fingertips to make 2 inch/5cm patties.

power pattiesBake for 12 -14 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottoms. Remove to a rack to cool.

power pattiesThese patties freeze well. I like to pack them, 2 or 3 to a plastic baggie, then freeze them so I can pop them into lunches or grab a baggie of patties and dash out the door. By the time I need a snack they are defrosted and ready to devour.

Makes 36 patties.

Guten Appetit!

You might also like:

Breakfast Balls

Healthy One-Cup Cookies

Homemade Granola Bars with all Kinds of Variations

Healthy Fudge with a Wicked Alias

power patties

Posted in Cookies & Candy, Dairy-free, Grains & Seeds, Snacks | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Broccoli Lentil Salad – for the Best of Spring in Wintertime

Crisp broccoli and smoky lentils are the stars of this refreshing salad.

broccoli lentil saladAs soon as I see the first primroses for sale in their little pots in the grocery stores, my heart cannot help but sing and start to feel the stirrings of spring.

primroses, broccoli lentil saladNo matter that, outside, everything is covered in a deep blanket of snow and the calendar and thermometer say we are still  solidly entrenched in winter’s clutches. I am feeling that little flutter that starts me dreaming of things a-greening. It’s getting just a teeny bit lighter in the mornings now (I can see the the yellow of the schoolbus in the grey haze of dawn), and the air has a brighter feel to it. I’m starting to think of seeds, and gardens, and flowers.

I know winter’s far from over, and we’ll have a few good snowstorms yet, but I have that hopeful feeling.

So I fill my longing with bright bouquets and inhale their essence and promise.

It’s coming.

pink tulips, broccoli lentil saladBuzzing around in my kitchen is so much more fun when I have these sunshiny petals to cheer me.

And buzzing I have been, coming up with all kinds of lentil-lovin’ ideas for the Canadian Lentils Recipe Challenge. It’s been a lot of fun, and here is my latest recipe for a fresh and springy salad that suits our winter world.

It’s a combination of all the best elements of our favourite broccoli salad – crisp broccoli of course, and red onions, raisins, and smoky lentils instead of bacon, combined with the great elements of a classic Waldorf salad – apples, celery, and walnuts. When you tie it all together with a creamy dressing laced with a hit of lemon – it’s light enough for spring and sturdy enough for winter.

Just right for where we are now.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Cooking the lentils with a touch of smoked paprika gives them a lovely smokiness – you won’t even miss the bacon. (Plus, lentils have tons more fiber than bacon, less fat, and a great amount of protein and nutrients!)

While toasting the walnuts, make a few extra and have them on hand for my favourite breakfast with Greek yogurt and honey.

For vegan salad, use egg free mayonnaise and a non-dairy yogurt. I’ve made it that way, too, and it was delicious.

broccoli lentil saladBroccoli Lentil Salad

  • ½ cup (100gms) French green lentils
  • ½ teaspoon smoked mild paprika
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 cup (240ml) water
  • 4 cups (1 litre) broccoli florets, about 2 crowns, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup (half of a medium) diced red onion
  • ½ cup (70gms) raisins
  • ½ cup (50gms) toasted walnuts* (see below)
  • ½ cup diced celery, about 2 stalks
  • 1 crisp apple

for the dressing:

  • ½ cup ( 120ml) mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup (60ml) plain yogurt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Combine the lentils, paprika, bay leaf, and water in a small saucepan.

broccoli lentil saladBring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and simmer the lentils for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are tender. Remove the lid, and cook for several minutes longer until you can see that all the water has been absorbed, when you stir the lentils.

Leave the lentils to cool. The lentils can be prepared up to several days ahead and kept refrigerated.

*While the lentils are cooking, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the walnuts in a small pan and toast them for 10 to 12 minutes, until they turn golden and fragrant. Allow to cool. Break the walnuts into smaller pieces with your fingers (chopping makes them too fine).

Chop the broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces.

broccoli florets cut for the broccoli lentil saladDice the onion and celery, and core and dice the apple into ½ to ¾ inch (1 -1.5 cm) pieces.

Place the cooled, cooked lentils and the rest of the salad ingredients into a large bowl.

ingredients for broccoli lentil saladPrepare the dressing by whisking together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

dressing ingredients for broccoli lentil saladPour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss it all to coat everything.

broccoli lentil salad ingredients with dressing poured overThis salad is best if it has an hour or two to rest and meld flavours, and can be kept up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

Serve on lettuce leaves and with extra lemon wedges, if desired.

Serves 6.

broccoli lentil saladGuten Appetit!

I created this recipe for the Canadian Lentil Recipe Revelations Challenge. You would absolutely make my day if you’d support me in this contest by leaving a comment on this post, below, or heading over to the Canadian Lentils Pinterest board and liking, commenting on, or pinning, my recipes there. Thank you!!!!


You might also like some of the other lentil recipes I created for their contest:

Chocolate Lentil Truffle Cake Pops

Lentil Taco Tartlets

Creamy, Cheesy, Lentil Mashed Potatoes

Lentil Polenta with Mushroom Ragu

tulips and primroses, broccoli lentil salad

Posted in Beans & Legumes, Salads & Dressings | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

‘Po-lentil-a’ with Mushroom Ragu

This creamy, cheesy, lentil ‘polenta’ is a wonderful base for flavourful mushroom ragu.

polentila with mushroom raguThe more I cook with lentils, the more I am in awe of the versatility of this nutritious little legume. I mean, what other food can so easily jump from being the star of a decadent sweet treat to the base of a savoury main course, like this German stew or these crispy fries? Lentils are amazing chameleons in the kitchen.

And today, they dazzle in another unexpected variation – lentils shine as the main ingredient in this sumptuous and satisfying polenta (or polentila, as I like to call it :) ). The smoothness and mild, earthy flavour of split red lentils adapts easily to this normally corn-based dish. Grinding the lentils in the blender to a coarse flour creates a creamy texture with a bit of ‘nubbiness’ that is a lovely foil for the rich and toothsome mushroom ragu. The result is a satisfying, soul-warming dish.

We are still in the deep of winter here in northern Alberta (and I turn green, green, green with envy when I hear that the cherry blossoms have already appeared in Vancouver – there is just no justice!)

snow on the greenhouse in February, 2015

the greenhouse is still deep asleep

snow at the firepit in February, 2015

it’s a while yet before we can sit and have a fire in our firepit

stone angel in the snow, February 2015

the little stone angel is getting tired of holding up its snowy load

So, as you can see, winter warming dishes are still in order around here, and a steaming bowl of this hearty lentil polenta with mushroom ragu is just the thing to fill our bellies and keep us toasty.

a bowl full of polentila with mushroom raguYou can have this delicious dinner on the table in half an hour – more time to hibernate and curl up with a good book.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: I’ve used dried mushrooms to intensify the flavour in this ragu. I buy them in a large quantity from Costco, but they can also be bought in smaller packets, often in the produce section of the grocery store, or in Asian food markets.

When grinding the lentils in the food processor, it’s best to do them in two batches. I’ve specified to transfer them to a small bowl or spouted measuring cup so they can be poured in a steady stream into the boiling water. If you try to pour them from the blender, they will clump – I know from experience! There will also be less chance of clumping if you make sure to use a large enough saucepan to cook the polenta in, so that you can quickly and vigourously whisk the mixture. However, if you do get a few clumps, they can usually be whisked out, and don’t affect the rich, delicious flavour of this unique ‘polentila’.


mushroom ragu

Mushroom Ragu

  • 1½ ounces (43gms/about 2 cups) dried mushroom, any variety or a mixture
  • 2 cups (480ml) boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 lb. (450gms) button mushrooms (or a mixture of whatever is available)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (gluten-free, if necessary)
  • ½ cup (120ml) red wine
  • 2  large plum tomatoes or 1 cup (240ml) quartered  cherry tomatoes
  • Parmesan cheese to garnish, optional

dried mushrooms for raguRinse the dried mushrooms and place them in a bowl. Pour over the boiling water, and let soften for at least 15 minutes.

In a dutch oven or heavy bottomed deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Dice the onion and celery and add to the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft – about 5 minutes.

Mince the garlic and add it to the onions. Cook for 2 more minutes.

Slice or quarter the mushrooms – cut small ones in half.

mushrooms for raguAdd the mushrooms, salt, and pepper to the onions in the dutch oven. Cook for 5 minutes, until the mushrooms release their juices.

polentila w mushroom raguScoop the soaking dried mushrooms out of the soaking water and squeeze them lightly to drain them, reserving the soaking water. Place the mushrooms on a cutting board and chop them coarsely.

dried mushrooms for raguAdd them to the sauteing vegetables. Then add the reserved soaking liquid, pouring in all but the last tablespoon or so, to avoid the sandy grit that has settled at the bottom.

Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and wine. Bring the ragu to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, until the liquid has thickened to a sauce. Turn the heat to very low and keep warm while you make the polenta.

Just before serving, add the diced tomatoes, and turn the heat back to medium. Cook for 2 minutes, just to heat the tomatoes through.

Serve over Lentil Polenta. Garnish with shavings of Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4.


lentil polenta

Lentil Polenta (Po-lentil-a)

  • 1½ cups (280gms) split red lentils
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 3½ cups (840mls) water, plus more to thin the mixture if needed
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (120ml) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter

In a blender, process the lentils until they are like a flour with some coarser, cornmeal-sized bits. Blend them in 2 batches, if necessary. Pour them into a spouted measuring cup or a small bowl. Stir in the onion powder.

grinding lentils for polentaPour the water into a large (2 or 3 quart) saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium, and remove the saucepan from the burner. Whisking vigourously and continuously with one hand, pour the ground lentils into the water in a steady stream.

Replace the whisk with a wooden spoon and return the saucepan to the burner. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. The mixture will be quite thick.

Add the salt, Parmesan cheese, and butter, and stir until well combined.

Serve immediately. If the mixture sits too long before serving, it thickens up considerably, but can be thinned out again by stirring in more water until it is creamy again.

Ladle into bowls and top with Mushroom Ragu.

Serves 4.

Guten Appetit!

I created this recipe for the Canadian Lentil Recipe Revelations Challenge. You would absolutely make my day if you’d support me in this contest by leaving a comment on this post, below, or heading over to the Canadian Lentils Pinterest board and liking, commenting on, or pinning, my recipes there. Thank you!!!!

You might also like some of the other lentil recipes I created for their contest:

Lentil Taco Tartlets

Chocolate Lentil Truffle Cake Pops

Creamy, Cheesy, Lentil Mashed Potatoes

Broccoli Lentil Salad

polentila with mushroom ragu

Posted in Beans & Legumes, Soups & Stews | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Creamy, Cheesy, Lentil Mashed Potatoes

Add nutritious lentils and luscious cheese to mashed potatoes to turn them into the star of your next meal!

lentil garlic mashed potatoesMy mom has never really liked potatoes, so all the years growing up, I thought I didn’t like them either.

It’s not that we never ate them. She cooked them often because my dad liked them, and because we grew them in the garden, and because they were a filling, cheap staple, and because she had a large family to feed. You just ate potatoes because they were an expected part of most meals. They were on every farm family’s table. It wasn’t until I became an adult and started cooking potatoes myself, that I learned they are much more than just a starchy side dish. I realized how wonderful potatoes can be.

Now I crave potatoes. I can’t get enough of them. They are the ultimate comfort food. Boiled, baked, fried, roasted, hashed, smashed, scalloped, french fried, chipped, pancaked, noodled, or mashed . . . especially mashed – creamy and warm and deeply soul-satisfying.

Mashed potatoes are the perfect vehicle for all sorts of wonderful additions: a blob of melting butter, lashings of rich cheese, a sprinkle of spices, a handful of garlic and onions mellowed to subtle savoriness, and lentils – earthy, nutty little lentils. The two go together like a couple in love.

Red lentils cook into a soft mass that melds beautifully with the creamy potatoes. Lentils are a truly welcome guest in the potato bowl; the kind of guest that comes bearing useful gifts, like abundant fiber, iron, folate, minerals, protein, and low-fat full flavour.

You might want to invite a few lentils to your next dinner gathering . . .

creamy lentil and garlic mashed potatoes. . . they always behave themselves, taste great, and get along well with all the other guests.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: These potatoes can be made several hours or a day ahead. At serving time, reheat them at a low temperature in the saucepan, and add water, milk, or chicken stock until they are creamy again.

For vegan/dairy-free version: use olive oil or vegan margarine instead of the butter, and replace cheddar cheese with 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast.

creamy, cheesy, lentil and garlic mashed potatoes

Cheesy Lentil Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 lbs potatoes (900gms/about 4 medium-to-large-sized ones)
  • 1 cup (180gms) red lentils
  • ¼ of a medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups (480ml) water
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 cup shredded extra-old cheddar cheese (120gms/4 oz.)
  • sprinkle of parsley or snipped chives for garnish, optional

Peel the potatoes and cut them into about 1½-inch (4cm) chunks. Dice the onion and peel the garlic cloves.

Place the potatoes, lentils, onion, garlic, and water in a medium-sized saucepan.

lentil garlic mashed potatoes

Bring to a boil, then cover the saucepan and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking the potatoes until most of the water has been absorbed, and there’s only a bit of mushy liquid left at the bottom of the saucepan, about 5 minutes longer, watching that they don’t burn. You should be able to scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon and see a clear path that doesn’t fill back in with liquid for a few seconds.

Add the salt, pepper, mustard, nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Mash with a potato masher until the potatoes and lentils are smooth and creamy.

lentil garlic mashed potatoeslentil garlic mashed potatoes

Add the shredded cheese and mash until it is incorporated into the potato mixture. If the potatoes seem a bit dry, add a few tablespoons of water or milk to loosen the mixture.

Place into a serving bowl and add the remaining tablespoon of butter on top. Sprinkle with parsley or chives.

Makes 6 cups, serving 6 to 8 generously.

Guten Appetit!

I created this recipe for the Canadian Lentil Recipe Revelations Challenge. You would absolutely make my day if you’d support me in this contest by leaving a comment on this post, below, or heading over to the Canadian Lentils Pinterest board and liking, commenting on, or pinning, my recipes there. Thank you!!!!

You might also like some of the other lentil recipes I created for this contest:

Lentil Taco Tartlets

Chocolate Lentil Truffle Cake Pops

Lentil Polenta with Mushroom Ragu

Broccoli Lentil Salad

. . . or these lentil recipes from last year’s contest:

Lentil Fries with Currywurst Dipping Sauce

Garlic Lentil Soup

Lentil Rice Bowl Salad with Pecans, Cranberries & Knock-your-Socks-Off Dressing

German Style Sweet and Sour Lentil ‘Eintopf’ (One-Pot)

Confetti Crepes with Chocolate Lentil Cream, Pears, and Hazelnuts

Posted in Beans & Legumes, Potatoes | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments