Tag Archives: apple

of wednesday optimism & tackling impossibilities before 8AM: the green monster smoothie

“There is no use trying,” said Alice.  “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

— Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Wednesdays can go either way – they can make you feel energized and excited (YES! halfway done with the week! And Wednesday is almost Thursday, and well – Thursday is almost Friday!) — or they can catch you off guard and put some glum in your hump (SERIOUSLY?! It’s only WEDNESDAY?! Harumph).

Today has me feeling pretty fantastic.  Apart from a very kind mention over at Katherine’s fabulous blog yesterday, I started off my day the best way I know how.  What with all that talk about meatloaf yesterday, it’s only fair to balance it out on “hump-day” with something a bit more conducive to a clear mind and healthy body.  I’ve never been one to be very good at fueling up my body in the morning; sometimes I find that when I eat a large breakfast, it can throw the rest of my day off kilter.  I’m well aware that this is not a good habit, as breakfast is “the most important meal of the day,” and that it’s the time to “eat like a king” (with lunch and dinner following as prince and pauper).  Even still, oftentimes I’ll ignore that, and find myself staring down high-noon with little more than a coffee in my belly to keep me going.

One way I’ve found to sneak some brainfood in before breakfast time is downing a “green monster” – a mashup of superfoods blended together to make a protein and vitamin packed power smoothie.  I started my love affair with the greenies while I was still living in New York, and often found myself with a tiny spot of time for breakfast just after a harried cab ride and just before our morning trading meeting.  There was a juice cart that was located on the ideal corner of Park Avenue (that would be the ‘near right‘ corner for those of you used to NYC cab lingo) which was perfect for ducking over to on my way up to the office.  I would order a green juice, which was essentially everything green on the menu with a bit of blueberries, orange, or banana snuck in to add some sweetness.

After I posted a picture of one such ‘monster’ in a weekend post I got no less than a dozen emails inquiring just what the heck was in it.  Though there are countless (literally – countless) incarnations that a green monster can take, it’s defining characteristic, that bright green color, always comes from some type of nutrient packed greens; usually, and my favorite choice, is kale.

This is one of my favorite morning mix-ups; I keep it simple with a limited amount of ingredients, and then alter it from there to suit what’s in our fridge or what I am feeling like.  I always add kale, and to temper the grassy flavor and add in even more nutritional badasses, I toss in blueberries, a green apple, and a cup of protein packed unsweetened-vanilla almond milk.  This is the best way I can think of to kick-start my day; it has enough to power me through to lunch, and sneaks in multiple servings of leafy greens and antioxidants before I’ve begun to tackle any impossibilies my day might throw at me.

The finished product is sweet from the blueberries and green apple, has a slight vanilla undertone from the almond milk, and has a fresh and bright edge from the kale.  This will make a sweet but still ‘green’ tasting smoothie, so feel free to play around with other add ins such as frozen mango or banana for extra sweetness, greek yogurt for creaminess (I add a scoop of 2% Fage quite often), or a bit of orange juice or lemon for a citrus kick.  Do not be fooled by it’s looks – this tastes much better than appearances let on.   If you closed your eyes and took a sip, you would never know that it was the same hue as Swampthing.

Green Monster
Makes 2 servings (About 12 oz each)

I don’t usually use ice in this simple smoothie; my berries, kale, apple, and almond milk are already cold, and I think it is perfect as is. Use this as a model; feel free to add in a scoop of greek yogurt for creaminess, or add in frozen mango or a dribble of orange juice for some extra sweetness.

4 leaves black kale (also known as lacinato or dino kale), washed & roughly torn into pieces
1 granny smith apple, sliced
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any variety you like)

optional: a few ice cubes

Combine the torn kale, sliced apple, frozen blueberries, and almond milk in a blender. Blend on high speed until the drink is smooth, with no visible lumps or chunks, about 1 minute. If you like your smoothie icy, add in a few ice cubes, and blend until they are totally crushed, about 30 seconds more.

Drink, and head off to do impossible things before breakfast!


spring greens: fennel, apple, and arugula salad with feta and toasted pecans & a lemon shallot vinaigrette

I have a confession.

In the middle of Spring time, so many nights I am tempted to be ultra-naughty and pack up and skip town when the dinner hour rolls around – even if I already have groceries waiting for me! After a long day of work and (supposedly) a trip to the gym, it always sounds so appealing to tie up my apron and tra-la-la my way down the street to dine al fresco at one of our favorite haunts – lack of dirty dishes and an excuse to wear open toed wedges playing no small part in my desire.

Can you blame me? Suddenly weeknight dinner dates beckon more than ever: it’s finally staying light out past the time of the ‘blue hair special,’ I’m favoring wispy scarves and gauzy tops over winter’s confining garb, and I’m thirsting for sparkling cocktails and iced wine over murky glasses of cabernet and dark beer. The trees lining the village streets are thrusting forth new growth and the maple tree in my backyard is once again shading it’s small sliver of precious NYC real estate with it’s newly sprouted leaves. The city is shrugging off the last lingering effects of months of hibernation, and slowly but surely she is emerging fresh, alive, and green.

All around me restaurants are touting their newest spring plats du jour – spring pea ravioli, poached wild salmon, and grilled rack of baby lamb.  And there, squeezed in at the top of the menu, right there in that inconspicuous spot where the chef always hides them, are the salads.  As much as I want to order the crispy pork belly appetizer, it’s in my best interest to refrain – especially when I can count on taking bites of my dining companion’s undoubtedly rich choice.  However one can only stomach paying $11 for a boring arugula and shaved parm salad so many times before losing their marbles and jumping up onto their seat screaming “LET’S SEE SOME CREATIVITY PEOPLE!!” while throwing fist-fulls of lettuce at the other patrons who, incidentally, are eating exactly what you wish you ordered.

{wait! there’s more…}

this cake…je ne sais quoi! marie-helenes apple cake

In another life, I was a Frenchwoman.

I lived on a crooked and cobbled street en provence, and wore a faded and flour-stained apron while I cooked things like coq au vin, madeleines, and cassoulet de canard. My kitchen overlooked my petit jardin which was cheerfully bursting with fines herbes, tomates rouges, haricots verts, et aubergines. I ate butter, butter, and more butter, took my coffee with cream and real sugar, and spent my mornings reading books in the sun with a French pug to my left and my Monsieur to my right.

Le sigh.

{But Wait! There’s More…}