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10+ Kale Recipes You and Your Family Will Love! Plus The Nutritional Benefits Of Kale

Have you already tried a green smoothie recipe with kale?

Kale —and other greens, including collard, chard, spinach, bok choy, dandelion, parsley, turnip and beet leaves — are true superfoods. They deliver a bonanza of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. They are loaded with calcium, essential for strong bones and healthy. They provide stress-fighting B vitamins and help our eyes with vitamin A. They even contain small amounts of Omega-3 fats. But when was the last time you had a bunch of kale?

The fact is kale (and other greens) is often neglected when it comes choosing your ingredients. It’s certainly not most people’s first choice when it comes to preparing salads or vegetable side-dishes.

Especially in winter, when there are fewer in-season vegetable choices — kale and other dark, leafy greens that thrive in cooler weather are a great addition to the menu. Plus, they are great for boosting immunity – so a kale smoothie recipe may be just what the doctor ordered ;-).


Green smoothie recipes with Kale

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Protein Blueberry Smoothie

This is a simple smoothie recipe that ups the protein content a bit. The result is a smoothie with a more “staying power,” so it will fill you up for longer.

I used tofu, but you can add any protein powder to your smoothie, or add some chia seeds, or hemp seeds. Blend all ingredients, pour into a glass, sip and smile!

blueberry smoothie recipe (with greens and tofu)

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Spiced Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe

This delightful pumpkin smoothie recipe is like chilled pumpkin pie in a glass, but without the unhealthy fats and excess calories.

This thick and creamy smoothie makes a delicious and filling liquid breakfast, snack or dessert. By the way, this recipe works beautifully with a squash puree too. (It will provide a nice break from all the green smoothie recipes for those of you who need it ;-). )

pumpkin-squash-smoothi

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Chia Seed Smoothie Ideas

I think I’m in love. With small black and white seeds, called chia.

I’ve been adding chia seeds to my smoothies for quite some time, but I’ve never tried them on their own. So recently, I made a few version of chia seed puddings – and I was amazed how much I liked them. (My son approved them too, which is also important!)

You can check out this chia pudding here, but you can also simply a teaspoon of seeds to any smoothie for a chia-enriched drink. You’ll reap the amazing health benefits (including lots of healthy protein and fats that will help you bring your blood sugar levels to normal and prevent heart disease), even if the taste and texture will be lost.

For a simple chia seed smoothie idea, combine blueberries, bananas, spinach and chia seeds combined to these pretty purple smoothie.

Out of bananas? If you’re out of bananas, don’t like bananas, or are just looking to reduce the sugar content of your smoothie a bit, add a tablespoon of chia seeds instead!
chia seed smoothie

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Chia Seed Pudding: Recipe with Vanilla and 100% Vegan

Chia seed recipes, such as this chia seed pudding, are all the rage lately, and for good reason. Chia seeds, when combined with water, juice, or milk, gel up and thicken, creating the most delightful smooth, tapioca-like texture that is perfect for puddings, smoothies and other desserts.

Chia pudding a quick and easy breakfast or snack (no cooking required!) is the perfect option when you are on the go. It features nutrient-rich chia seeds, rich in fiber, anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s a definite upgrade from processed breakfast cereals or commercial puddings!

What’s interesting is that chia is an ancient crop that is experiencing a renaissance. The little black and white seeds used to be a staple of the Incan, Mayan and Aztec cultures, along with the Native Americans of the southwest.

Many chia pudding recipes call for soaking the seeds whole, resulting in a tapioca-like texture. Another option is to simply blend all ingredients in a blender for a more uniform, creamy porridge.

chia-pudding056

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Banana Almond Butter Smoothie: Super Creamy Sensation!

Simple banana smoothie recipes are great, but wait till you try this banana-almond butter smoothie! I started adding nut butters to my son’s smoothies, and now I’m getting addicted to them.

If you never tried adding almond butter, or peanut butter or other nut butter to a smoothie, you are in for a treat!

The banana-peanut butter smoothie combination may be the most popular variation of this recipe, but don’t stop there. Hazelnut, macadamia, cashew butter, tahini, sunflower, pumpkin, etc. – adding any of this will make your smoothie deliciously rich, creamy and distinctly buttery. Plus, the fats in these butters will help with absorption of nutrients, and slow down the release of the fruit sugar into your bloodstream (great for people with high blood-sugar level issues).

banana nut butter smoothie

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Sample Plant-Powered Menu: Protein Blueberry Smoothie & Warming Carrot Soup

Some readers have been asking me for menu suggestions.

Here is a sample day’s menu that is loaded with healthy foods:

Morning/Breakfast: Protein Blueberry Smoothie, Oatmeal (if still hungry)

Lunch/Snack: Curried Carrot Soup (with a side salad or a slice of whole wheat bread)

Dinner: Veggie burger (store bought or home made), potatoes, salad

Dessert: Home-made banana ice-cream

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Curried Carrot Soup

Delightfully bright, this carrot soup recipe is packed with goodness. I like to add freshly made carrot juice, but it’s an extra step (and more cleanup), so feel free to skip it and just add a bit more water or non-dairy milk.

Freshly grated ginger gives this sweet carrot puree an extra kick of flavor and takes up the heat a notch (my 9-year-old didn’t appreciate that, so next time I’ll skip it for a milder taste). For some crunch, add a garnish of toasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or pine nuts.

carrot-soup04d

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Carrot, Beet, and Jicama Salad

Three colorful root vegetables – carrots, beets and jicama – combine to make this delightful, crunchy, and nutritious salad.

Raw beets taste similar to raw carrots in that they’re sweet, juicy, and crisp. Jicama, a Mexican root vegetable that looks like a large, pale, round potato (you can see it on one of the photos below), is crunchy and mild when peeled and eaten raw. If you can’t find jicama, skip it or substitute cubed cucumber in this salad.

This beautiful combination also happens to be extremely rich in antioxidants, making it a terrific choice for preventing a wide variety of diseases. Do your best to find a fresh jicama, as it adds a refreshing taste and crunchy texture to this recipe.

carrot-beet-jicama-salad

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Easy Berry Chia Pudding Pie (No Bake Dessert)

This weekend, I was looking for an easy recipe to make a fruit pie. I searched online and in my recipe books, looking at various traditional recipes, but then I came across this no-bake version made with berries, nuts and seeds, chia seed pudding and vanilla.

Since chia seed recipes have been on my radar lately, as well as I was looking for more ways to use my vanilla bean paste from Tahiti, I decided to give it a try.

It’s a quick and easy dessert, as no baking is required! This is nice, especially on a hot summer day (who wants to spend time in hot kitchen!)

Fruit-Tart003b

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Vanilla Bean Paste (straight from Tahiti, plus the story of vanilla)

I often use vanilla extract in my recipes, but I was not familiar with vanilla paste until a couple of weeks ago. The first time I heard and saw vanilla paste was a couple of weeks ago, when my husband brought me a jar of vanilla paste from his sailing trip in Tahiti.

It turns out that vanilla bean paste is delicious! It is much thicker than vanilla extract; it’s actually a like thick syrup. While the taste is probably a bit strong (not to mention expensive) to, for example, pour on your pancakes, but it’s delicious when added to baked goods or pancakes. You can use the paste in place of vanilla extract in any recipe where you want the beans to shine. Vanilla bean paste can often be found at specialty stores, and you can find it online easily, as well. It can be used in place of vanilla extract in any recipe. I particularly like to use it in things like banana smoothie with vanilla, vanilla pudding (like this chia seed pudding) and vanilla ice cream.

Tahiti - land of beauty and vanilla

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