Category Archives: Smoothies

Bloody Mary Green Smoothie

Big TomatoLook at that bad boy!!  That’s a humongous Brandywine that came out of our garden.  I have no idea how it didn’t break the vine on which it was growing.  State Fair material, don’t you think?  But this fine specimen would never have lasted until September, and anyway, I had plans for it.  A savory smoothie plan, to be exact.

Bloody Mary Green Smoothie
Serves 2-4

5-6 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup parsley*
1/2 cup English cucumber (no need to peel if organic)
2 dates, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped, plus additional small stalks for garnish
1 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 tsp. horseradish (not horseradish sauce)
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
juice of 1 lemon
handful of bibb lettuce or try arugula

*fresh basil and/or cilantro would be nice, too

Put all of the ingredients (except the celery reserved for garnish) into a blender and process until very smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve immediately.

Bloody Mary Green Smoothie

Bloody Mary Green Smoothie

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Chai-Chocolate Green Smoothie

chai-chocolate smoothieMy favorite hot beverage transitions right into summer with a cool, creamy version that also features another favorite: chocolate.  Kale included at no extra charge.

You’ll need a spoon for this one.

Chai-Chocolate Green Smoothie
Serves 2

1 1/2 cups strongly brewed chai tea, chilled
2 tbsp. raw cacao powder
4-6 dates, chopped
2 bananas, chopped and frozen
1 avocado
1/4″ slice fresh ginger
3-4 leaves of kale
cacao nibs, for garnish, optional

Ingredients Collage

Combine all of the ingredients (except the cacao nibs) in a blender.  Stop blender and stir occasionally if necessary.  Process until smooth and creamy.  Top with cacao nibs, if using, and serve immediately.

Smoothie Collage

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Sunshine Smoothie: Anti-Cancer Superhero

Sunshine SmoothieWhen it comes to smoothies it seems like green gets all of the attention.  Don’t get me wrong, I think a proper green smoothie is a sight to behold, but every once in a while, I want something lighter and brighter staring back at me in the morning.

This drink features one of my favorite smoothie ingredients: fresh turmeric.  Under a brown, papery skin, the root is a bright, deep orange and adds a distinctive yet subtle zing.  Turmeric to me had always been just that yellow powder that I added to tofu scramble and mac-n-cheese – for flavor, sure, but mostly to get some color.  Fresh turmeric has me hooked and though I have to go into OKC to the Asian market to get the fresh variety, it’s worth the trip and the price is right – $1 for about 10 root pieces.

To be sure, the rhizomes are homely little cusses, but they are cancer-fighting powerhouses.  The active ingredient in turmeric is the antioxidant curcumin that slows the replication of cancer cells and helps protect healthy cells from damage. Colon, prostate, lung and breast cancer rates are lower in India where turmeric is a part of the daily diet than here in the U.S.

In this drink, turmeric is joined by these powerful anti-cancer Super Friends:
Ginger: helps curb genetic mutations that transform normal cells into cancer cells
Grapefruit: detoxifying; contains naringenin which slows the growth of breast cancer cells; the peel contains d-limonene which may help in keeping pancreatic and colorectal cancers at bay.
Orange: detoxifying; contains cancer-inhibiting flavonoids; the peel contains d-limonene which may help in fighting pancreatic and colorectal cancers.
Carrots: rich in protective carotene that stimulates T-cell cytotoxic capabilities; protects the skin from sun damage; helps protect against lung, bladder, stomach, prostate and colon cancers.
Bananas: high in potassium and low in sodium, they help reduce blood pressure and equalize blood sugar levels; there is some debate whether or not very ripe bananas with brown skin contain properties that protect cells from mutation.  Better safe than sorry – eat your nanners.

For an extra cancer-bashing boost, replace the water with chilled green tea – and by all means – add some kale in there if you like.  I shared this recipe on Healthy Vegan Friday!

Sunshine Smoothie
Serves 3-4

1 cup water
2 oranges, mostly peeled, but leave a little bit
1 large grapefruit, mostly peeled, but leave a little bit
1 banana
1 mango, pitted & peeled
1″ chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 cup baby carrots
2-3″ piece of fresh turmeric, peeled
2 dates, optional


Add all ingredients to a blender and process until smooth.  Tastiest served chilled.

Smoothie with Toast

Sunshine Smoothie

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Hibiscus-Cherry Cooler

Hibiscus-Cherry CoolerFor months a friend of mine had been extolling the virtues of a daily cup of hibiscus tea. He told me that drinking it regularly could lower one’s blood pressure and some studies have shown that consuming the tea could help fight cancer – in particular brain and skin cancer. I finally broke under the strain of his sales pitch and asked him where I could pick up some. Not long afterwards a big box arrived in the mail. He sent me three pounds – three pounds – of hibiscus tea. I had my work cut out for me.

Kel and I have a cup of hot hibiscus tea a few times a week and I also occasionally add it to our morning smoothies. The combination of hibiscus and cherry pleases me the most. Hibiscus straight up is quite tangy – like on the lemon juice side of tangy – but the cherries, dates and bananas tame the tart. And the color is lovely.

Now for a few disclaimers. Keep in mind a couple of things: if you already have low blood pressure (as I do), you may want to limit your intake of hibiscus tea. Also, this tea can lower estrogen levels – if you’re on hormone replacement therapy or are on birth control pills, this tea is not for you. If you are undergoing chemotherapy – check with your physician before making this tea a regular part of your day. Finally, some folks experience an extra special little buzz after consuming hibiscus tea. If you find yourself having an unusually deep and meaningful conversation with your houseplants, you might want to gift the remainder of the tea leaves to a friend.

There’s still plenty of voting days left in Ethical Ocean’s Eat What’s Good vegan recipe challenge – and my Mango Sticky Rice Cake needs help!! Click on the image below to go to my recipe. And thank you!

Sharing this recipe on Healthy Vegan Friday!

Eat What's Good Banner

Hibiscus-Cherry Cooler
Serves 2 generously

1 1/2 cups hibiscus tea, chilled
2 oranges, peeled
1 lime, peeled
2 bananas (yes, peeled)
2-4 dates, chopped
2 cups frozen cherries (strawberries are mighty tasty, too)
1 tbsp. hemp protein powder, optional

Combine ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serve.

Hibiscus Leaves

Hibiscus Cherry Cooler

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Not-Too-Sweet Pear & Parsley Smoothie

Pear & Parsley SmoothiePear & Parsley sounds like a big American retailer’s idea of a quaint British shop (or should that be shoppe?) opening soon in a mall near you that sells soaps, pretty tea towels and cocktail napkins printed with every conceivable form of “Keep Calm and (fill in the blank).”  But in fact, it’s just another kind of green smoothie.  When one has committed to consuming a green smoothie (or two) each day, one also has to commit to trying different ingredients so as not to get bored of the usual smoothie ingredient suspects (not that there is anything wrong with my good friends, kale and oranges).  I especially like this combination because it isn’t too sweet and it’s very refreshing.

One year ago today: No-Knead Anadama Bread
One year and one day ago today: Save-the-Piggies-in-a-Blanket

Sharing this recipe on Healthy Vegan Friday at Veggie Nook!

Pear & Parsley Smoothie

Makes 2

1 1/4 cups water
2 pears, cored and chopped
1 banana, cut into chunks
1 large stalk celery, cut into chunks
big handful of parsley
2 dates, chopped
1 kiwi, peeled
2 large leaves romaine lettuce

Place the ingredients in a blender and process until smoothie, thick and creamy.  Serve immediately.


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“I Survived the Green Smoothie Challenge” & Lunch in Las Vegan

Tropical Colada Smoothie

Tropical Colada Smoothie

Not only survived – thrived.  From January 7 through January 13, Kel and I joined Somer and lots of other folks in the first Green Smoothie Challenge of 2013.  This was a positive, healthy and delicious way to kick off the new year.  The hardest part of the Challenge?  Banning my much-loved carbohydrates: whole grain bread (slathered with almond butter), brown rice, potatoes, hot rolled grains in the morning and my evening snack of Cheerios or Weetabix.  (Actually, it wasn’t that hard.) The easiest part was not having to think about what I was preparing and eating and that’s because Somer did all of the work by providing recipes and detailed instructions.  And since she’s an incredible cook, I knew the recipes would be really delicious.  Throughout the Challenge I snapped photos with my phone and shared them via Instagram.  As you can see, we did not go hungry.

Kel and I went strong throughout (even bringing my Vitamix, soups and loads of greens, veggies and fruit on a road trip we took) but fell off the wagon in a spectacular way on the last day of the Challenge during a day trip to Las Vegas.  I’d heard that Vegas is a very vegan-friendly town and indeed, it offers a lot of plant-based dining options.  I call it Las Vegan now, as a matter of fact.  While I have ample will power to bypass the slots and gaming tables, I just didn’t have the strength to say no to lunch at 100% vegan bakery and bistro, Pura Vida.  Photos below.

Binge eating in Vegas aside – - there’s no need to wait for the next challenge  - – start one today!  Click here to get the information and all the recipes you’ll need.

Big salad for dinner.

Veggie-loaded, big salad for dinner.

Moroccan Lentil Soup, Hummus, Salsa, Raw Veggies

Moroccan Lentil Soup, Hummus, Salsa, Raw Veggies (a.k.a. Lunch!)

Blueberry Vanilla Smoothie

Blueberry Vanilla Smoothie in the Works.

Lunch at Pura Vida:

Whole Grain & Flaxseed Pancakes with Berry Compote & Bananas.

Whole Grain & Flaxseed Pancakes with Berry Compote & Bananas.

Tofu Scramble and Soyrizo Burrito.

Tofu Scramble and Soyrizo Burrito.

Green Salad & Chili.

Green Salad & Chili. Thanks, Kaylie, for letting me photograph your lunch! It was great meeting you!

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40 Days of Green Smoothies: A Review & Giveaway

All spring and summer long, I dutifully made and consumed a daily green smoothie – loaded with fruit and either spinach or kale.  I felt strong, healthy and virtuous.  Then the cold weather came along and with it, distractions, long To Do lists and prior commitments that turned my days into relay races in which I was always behind.  Enter Becky Striepe and her new e-book, 40 Days of Green Smoothies and an email request to write a review.  At about the same time, I picked up Super Immunity and Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD who advocates consuming bucket loads of raw greens each day.  Becky’s smoothie recipes plus Dr. Fuhrman’s advice…I think the universe was trying to tell me something.

Becky came up with the idea of 40 straight days of green-smoothie-sipping during Lent.  If she was going to give up something, she decided to add something – something good for her body.  Luckily for us, she also decided to share her recipes.

Smoothie Ingredients

Week One
Committing to a daily smoothie can feel daunting, which is why it’s very handy to have a guide that takes you through a full 40 days of beverages.  You don’t have to think too much, you just have to get the ingredients listed at the beginning of each week.  Becky helps you get your kitchen in order so that you are stocked with the smoothie basics like chia seeds, flaxseed meal, bags of frozen fruit, nut milk, cocoa powder and some fresh greens, avocados and bananas.  Gotta have bananas.  She kicks things off with a basic and simple green smoothie and builds from there.

Cocoa Smoothie w/ Avocado

Week Two
Week two’s shopping list (including parsley!) is much shorter because you will probably have leftover fruit and greens from Week One.  Although Becky lists almond milk as the smoothie liquid, you could choose any other non-dairy milk.  There are so many different varieties out there, it’s fun to experiment and see what works best for your taste buds.

mangoWeek Three
If you like the combination of chocolate and a little bit of heat, the first smoothie of Week Three includes cocoa powder, cinnamon and cayenne.  Yee-haw!  This week also includes one of my favorite ingredients: ginger.  I put a little bit of ginger in nearly every smoothie I make.

Week Four
Whoa!  Collard greens make an appearance – love how Becky includes a huge variety of greens in her smoothies – not just the usual suspects, kale, spinach and romaine.

parsleyWeek Five
Out with the collards and in with the beet greens – something I’ve never tried in a smoothie before.  You’ll also find pineapple, peaches and blackberries. 

Week Six
It’s a short one and so is the shopping list.  The 40th smoothie is full of amazing flavors: chocolate, ginger, pineapple, peaches, blackberries and holding it all together – the green of avocado and spinach.  A powerhouse beverage to wrap things up.

By the time you’ve made it through all forty days, you’ll be a smoothie expert and will be creating delicious, healthy greenies all by your lonesome.  And you’ll have Becky’s e-book for suggestions and guidance down the road.

Strawberry Kale Ginger SmoothieMy Impressions
Green smoothies are Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations encapsulated in beverage form – or blended salads, as he calls them.  Fruit, especially berries, have powerful anti-aging and anti-cancer attributes, not to mention they satisfy one’s cravings for sweets.  Nut milks, avocados, chia and flax seeds provide necessary fats and help our bodies absorb the good stuff from the plants we’ve processed in our high-speed blenders.  Greens are loaded with phytonutrients that repair damaged cells, lower cholesterol, help us fight off disease and infection and give us energy – all while providing the protein our muscles need and fiber that fills and satiates our bellies.

Becky’s e-book fits in perfectly with the nutritional goals I have for 2013.  But beyond the recipes – I really love how this book is laid out (I have mine on my iPad).  The fonts are large, clean and easy to read.  Weeks are clearly broken down and are even color-coded.  The cover (image below) is bold and colorful and the “inside” of the book is bright and cheerful.  It’s just plain well-designed.  Becky keeps the instructions short and sweet – perfect for those of us with limited attention spans.  Here and there she sprinkles in tips about add-ins or how to get things moving if your blender bogs down.  I also appreciate how simple these smoothies are.  I sometimes go a little crazy when improvising my smoothies and I end up with everything in there but the kitchen sink (plus a gigantic, over-sized drink) – making it difficult to pin down specific flavors.  Sometimes you want that big hit of raspberry or mango flavor.  If you are already smoothie convert or are looking to dip your toe into the thick, green waters – this would be an excellent resource for you.

You can purchase your electronic copy of 40 Days of Green Smoothies here or here - but before you do, be sure to enter the giveaway at Virtual Vegan Potluck for a chance to win a freebie copy!  I’m also sharing one of Becky’s smoothie recipes – -

The Scoop:
Title: 40 Days of Green Smoothies
Author: Becky Striepe
Publisher: Self-published, Cattingon, Inc.
Website: Glue and Glitter
Available on iTunes: iBooks ($4.99)
Available elsewhere: ($4.99)

P.S. I want to send a big ol’ thank you to Jenn Jennings for publishing an article about An Unrefined Vegan on Natural Health Examiner and for sharing my recipe for Pop’s Chocolate Chip Cookies with Grapefruit and Anise.  Please follow Jenn on Facebook and/or sign up on the Examiner site to receive alerts each time she publishes an article.


40 Days of Green Smoothies iPad

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VeganMoFo: Peanut Milk, Banana & Cocoa Smoothie-Shake

Shake-smoothieYou knew this was coming, right?  What’s the first, most logical thing one would create with peanut milk?  Exactly.  Nothing earth-shattering here, folks, just the usual rock-solid-delicious smoothie suspects paired with their new friend, peanut milk, all mixed up together into an irresistible shake-like consistency.  Spoon required.

Hey, you!!  Have you signed up for the Virtual Vegan Potluck?  No?  What are you waiting for?!  I’m looking for vegan and vegan-friendly bloggers to contribute a dish for the world-wide, plant-based Potluck shindig happening on November 1.  Go here to sign up!

Virtual Vegan Potluck

Peanut Milk, Banana & Cocoa Smoothie-Shake
Makes enough for 2 

~1 cup homemade peanut milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. cocoa
1/4 cup plain coconut milk yogurt
4 dates, chopped
3 ripe bananas, cut into chunks and frozen

cacao nibs & chopped unsalted peanuts, for garnish

Place all ingredients except for cacao nibs and peanuts in a high-powered blender.  Blend until smooth, thick and creamy – add more peanut milk if mixture is too thick.

Shake-smoothie 2

Vegan MoFo

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Sweet Potato Nachos & The Incredible Hulk: The Unprocessed Giveaway

The Incredible Hulk SmoothieThe Incredible Hulk (as a smoothie rather than a juice) and Sweet Potato Nachos from Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight, by Chef AJ.  Today is your last chance to enter the giveaway – for details on how to add your name, see below.

Refried Beans


Here’s how I make refried beans:  rinse, drain and lightly mash two, 15-ounce cans of pinto beans.  Set aside.  Chop an onion and sauté in veggie broth or water until tender.  Stir in a couple of cloves of garlic (minced,) a 4-ounce can of mild green chiles, 5-6 slices of jarred jalapeño peppers (minced), cumin, coriander and chili powder to taste.  Stir and cook for a a couple of minutes.  Add the refried beans and a splash of Bragg Liquid Aminos.  Simmer for a few minutes.  Serve.

To make sweet potato “chips” (courtesy of Chef AJ):  peel and wash one sweet potato per person.  Slice about 1/4″ thick.  Place slices on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpat.  Sprinkle with smoked paprika.  Bake in a 450F oven for 20 minutes, turn the slices and bake for another 5-10 minutes, checking to make sure the chips aren’t turning too brown.

To assemble nachos: divide sweet potato chips amongst plates, pile on the refried beans, chopped tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and anything else you love on your nachos.

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below or on any other Unprocessed blog post describing what you find most addicting: sugar, salt or oil.  Or, share your story of how you have cleaned up your diet and changed your life.  For additional entries you can also Like my Facebook pages, An Unrefined Vegan and/or Virtual Vegan Potluck.  The giveaway ends today!  I’ll announce the winner within the next day or two…

The Deets
Title: Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight
Author: Chef AJ (aka Abbie Jaye) with Glen Merzer
Publication Date: 2011
Page Length: 178 pages including 100+ recipes
List Price: $19.95
Publisher: Hale to the Kale Publishing

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A Real Orange Julius is Green

Orange Zest

Orange Green SmoothieSometimes after dinner on summer evenings, when the days stretched into 9 pm, mom and dad would herd us kids into the burgundy-colored station wagon and we’d drive the 15 miles or so over to Mentor and what passed in those days for a mall.  Malls were special places back then.  Rarities.  Imagine: people actually enjoyed spending time in them.  We’d walk past the shops, but rarely went into them.  We weren’t there to shop.  It was all about dessert.  We were there for either Baskin-Robbins or Orange Julius, both of which were tucked away in one of those “side streets” that malls have; the dead ends and backwaters.  Where the neglected step-children of the “anchor” stores were.

Do you remember Orange Julius?  The chemists there concocted bright orange drinks that had the after taste of St. Joseph’s Aspirin for Children – a taste, I confess – that I loved.  Maybe it was supposed to be vanilla, maybe malt.  I have no idea what was in the powder they added to the orange-flavored beverage, but whatever it was, it sure tasted good.  I’d bet that if I sipped an Orange Julius today, I would find it overly sweet and about as close to tasting like an orange as a green apple Jolly Rancher candy tastes like a fresh Granny Smith.

My version of the Orange Julius is the real deal: real orange, real vanilla and a healthy pile of spinach to help us get our daily dose of green.  No funky powder.  By the way, you’ll probably be seeing a lot of smoothie recipes coming down the pike.  I’m working my new Vitamix like crazy.

PS See you at the Potluck tomorrow!

The Real Orange Julius
Serves 2

A big handful of green or red grapes
2 oranges, peeled and quartered
1 apple, quartered and cored (I used a Gala; a frozen banana would be good, too)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. orange extract
zest of  an orange
3 big handfuls of baby spinach

Place the ingredients in a good blender or Vitamix in the order shown.  If using a Vitamix, start on Variable 1 and turn to 10 (of if you are a Spinal Tap fan, crank it to 11 to get that extra little oomph) and then flip the switch up to High.  Let it process for 30-45 seconds.  Serve pronto.

Smoothie Ingredients

Smoothie Closeup

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