MAP Wellness

MAP Wellness
Spreading the Health

Friday, October 12, 2012

Apple Smoothie TWO Ways!

It’s apple season!

It has been a rough year for many Ontario fruit growers – especially apple producers.  The exceptionally warm winter which led to an early spring, meant early blossoms on the trees.  But along came a cold snap in April and the poor flowers’ stamens were frozen, making tough work for our provinces’ hard working. It has been estimated by some that Ontario has lost nearly 85 percent of the crop this year!  

Sad indeed.  I grew up on a small farm where we enjoyed fresh apples every fall.  In our orchard we had about ten apple trees, and one lone pear tree. I have fond memories of climbing to the top of the branches to shake the limbs so that the tree-top treasures would tumble to the ground where my sister Stephanie would be waiting to gather the bounty before one of our resident horses got to them.  I recall a few years when, as a family, we would conduct a full day harvest of the fruit, and then ship most of the bushels off to become jars of tart juice or sweet cider.  Mom’s fruit cellar would be brimming with the cloudy, all natural beverages for months, even years to come, all from just our small family farm.

Living in the city, I now depend on farmers’ markets and my local supermarket to supply me my apple a day habit.  We can rest assured that even with the lack in Ontario this year we will still be able to find Mutsus, Red Delicious, Ambrosia and more.  They will most likely be seconds from last year, or shipped in from BC or Washington State.  I am the first to support the idea to eat-local when possible, but when it comes to apples (and bananas) I can not see myself giving up my loves simply because they need to travel a wee bit further to arrive in my kitchen.  Or in this case, my blender.

Here, I celebrate the in-season, albeit somewhat absent apple, in two ways:

Very Green Apple Smoothie
2 kale leaves, stems removed
1 lrg apple (any variety you favour) chopped
1/4 cucumber cut in chunks
1 generous t cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 C fresh OJ (you can omit and add more water, coconut water, steeped tea, cooled or other fresh juice)
1/2 C cold water

Add all ingredients to high power blender.  Blend until smooth.  Slurp it up!

Apple Pie Smoothie
1 lrg apple (any variety you favour) chopped
1/4 C rolled oats*
1 C nut milk (almond, cashew, hemp etc.)
3 soft dates (or 2 Tbsp of maple syrup or agave syrup)
1/2 T chia seeds or flax seeds
1 t of cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1 t vanilla extract
4-5 ice cubes
pinch of sea salt

*PREP: Soak oats in the nut milk for about 20-30 minutes to soften them up

Add all ingredients to high power blender.  Blend until smooth.  Slurp it up!

Simple Sunflower Seed Sammie for One

Sometimes I just want a plain old sandwich. A lot of folk insist that what makes for a really good sammie is the bread. I used to think this same way. However, ever since I went gluten-free (mostly) I have been on the hunt for the best wheat-free slice, and have yet to discover a real gem. Although, the weekly home-baked loaves that my once-fiancé-never-turned-husband used to bake me were definitely up there...but that is a different blog entirely...

In my experience, most rice breads are bland, buckwheat can be heavy, and overall, most celiac-friendly loaves crumble at defrost. What I have found however, is that with the proper golden-toast, and stellar fillings, you CAN produce an outstanding stack of flavour to pack for a brown bag lunch. 

I do adore PB & J. And a layered piled of grilled veggies with a nice pesto and a sprinkle of nuts is nothing to scoff at either. But what I have been loving lately, is a simple concoction inspired by a pre-packaged snack I saw at a local supermarket. It delivers all the necessary lunch-time desirables: flavour, texture, energy, and portability. This slick stacker will deliver substantial midday protein, and a solid serving of vegetables.

Simple Sunflower Seed Sammie for One
•    2 slices bread of choice
•    1/2 carrot, grated
•    2 T raw sunflower seeds
•    2-3 generous T homemade or store-bought hummus
•    1 kale leaf
•    1 t tamari
•    Salt &plenty of pepper to taste

1.    Toast your bread (gluten free, or not)
2.    In a small bowl, combine the carrot, sunflower seeds, tamari and hummus.  Season with salt and pepper.
3.    Spread 1/2 of the carrot spread on each slice of bread, top one piece with the kale leaf, and sandwich together.
4.    Serve with a piece of fruit, a tall glass of almond milk, and then make it through to dinner craving-free

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

I am super excited about the upcoming holiday season.  And as we all know, Thanksgiving is the kick-off to the official season of festive feasting.  As much as I truly adore summer, I do also love this time of year.  The leaves changing colour, the crisp clean smell in the air, turtleneck sweaters, knee high boots, and comfort food.  All good things.  I am already plotting my meals for the cold nights ahead, and Thanksgiving menu ideas have been long taking up space in the far back regions of my noggin.  There is nothing more “grounding” for the soul than a rich, warm, seasonally spiced meal, and to me, pumpkin pie simply screams fall feasting! 

By now, I am sure that if you pop into your favourite coffee shop for a warm drink, the baristas behind the counter are already pushing their roster of frothy and festive concoctions.  Yes these may taste like the holidays, and yes it’s nice to sip up dessert in a cup.  Feels naughty and nice all at the same time, right?  Well, I’m here to tell you that you can have your cake – err, pie – and drink it too!  Just make it at home and avoid all those nasty added sugars and fake fillers!  Here’s how:

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1/2 C pumpkin puree*
1 C coconut milk (canned, or recipe to follow)
1/2 C almond milk
2 dates
1/2 agave nectar
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t vanilla

Optional add-ins:
1 T hemp hearts (good fats & protein)
1 T chia (fibre, protein, richness)
Any GREENS you desire (but keep in mind your smoothie won’t keep its pretty orange pie-like hue)
1.    Add all ingredients to your blender and whirl away!  If you prefer a hot drink, simply warm the milks in a pot on the stove pre-blending.
2.    Pour into a large glass or mug, top with a dash of cinnamon and consume the comfort.
* You can use fresh or canned pumpkin, just be sure that if you use canned that you buy 100% pumpkin purée, NOT pie filling!

Homemade Coconut Milk

2 C unsweetened shredded coconut
4 C water

Blend together until very creamy and smooth.  It will be a bright white colour.  Strain coconut from liquid and store in the fridge in a tightly sealed container. 

The fats in the milk may solidify when cooled, so if you choose to drink the milk straight up, be sure to remove form the fridge in advance and let come to room temp.  Give it a good stir and enjoy!