Happy St. Patricks Day Green Smoothie – have a Shamrock Shake the healthy way!

So I have been dying to get myself a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s. But then I realize that the last time I had one, I wasn’t thrilled.  I rarely indulge in a McDonald’s milkshake, but I don’t think they have been the same since they started putting whipped cream and a cherry on top.  I mean, this is McDonald’s, not an ice cream parlor, or even a diner.  Their food isn’t supposed to come with garnish.  Then I saw someone post the list of what is in a Shamrock Shake.  Not that I don’t ever consume those ingredients – I do loves me a McDonald’s Ice Cream Cone, and the ice cream is the main component of the shake – but it wasn’t worth the calories or chemicals for something I don’t really like.

Shamrock Shake Green Smoothie in sunlightBut it is St. Patrick’s Day, and for some reason, I still thought a Shamrock Shake for breakfast was the way to celebrate, since the rest of my plans for the day are decidedly NOT Irish.  I’ve seem a lot of versions posted on various blogs this week, but most involved ice cream.  So I decided to make one that was breakfast-worthy (but definitely still yummy enough for dessert).  And it does not involve any green food coloring.  Or added sugar. I think I will be making one for The Bug for snack.  Throw a banana in your freezer in chunks, and it’ll be ready to make this for an after dinner treat.

I am not a huge mint person.  I regularly think to myself that I wish they made peanut butter-flavored toothpaste.  So this is admittedly a little light on the mint.  If you like things really minty, go ahead and add more mint extract.  And no, you can’t taste the kale, and if you blend it up, you don’t even know it is there, other than the lovely green color it gives the smoothie.

What are you doing for St. Patrick’s Day?  Eating or drinking anything green?  Or Irish?

Shamrock Shake Green Smoothie from top

Shamrock Green Smoothie (serves 1)

Ingredients

Shamrock Shake Green Smoothie1 frozen, really ripe banana

1 c milk (I used Almond Breeze Almond Coconut Milk, but you can use any milk you choose)

1/2 c kale (or other dark, leafy green of your choice)

1/2 t vanilla extract

1/4 t mint extract

ice cubes – I used 4 regular-sized ones.  This was probably aboutn3/4 c.  Adjust accordingly based on the size of your ice cubes and how icy you want it.

Directions

1.  Put all ingredients into a blender (I used my trusty Magic Bullet), and blends until smooth.

2.  Pour into a glass to serve, and garnish with a strawberry, if you want to be all fancy.

Enjoy!

shamrock green smoothie from iphone

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Recipe Without a Recipe: PB&J Yogurt

So what is a Recipe Without a Recipe?  Well, I’m always looking at what we have in the pantry and fridge to come up with quick and easy breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for The Bug.  I want to make his meals and snacks as nutritious as possible, focusing on “real foods”, plus the same-old-same-old gets boring.  I mean, how many times can you give a toddler apple slices or grapes or carrot sticks or cheese or raisins before it gets totally boring?  So I’ve tried to come up with some alternatives to packaged crackers, cereal, and mac & cheese, but that still require little effort.  These are my Recipes Without a Recipe, and I will share them with you from time to time.

The Bug has pretty much been eating yogurt almost everyday since I first gave it to him when he was, oh, about 9 months old.  Other than the occasional treat of going out for or making pancakes or waffles with syrup, I try to avoid giving him a dose of added sugar for breakfast, which you usually find in those little yogurt cups.  Even the ones made for kids have 12 or more grams of sugar.  And they are teeny-tiny – The Bug could probably polish off two or three at breakfast.  Plus, for little ones, at least until they are 2 or 3, full fat dairy is what they need.  Those prepackaged yogurts are usually low fat, and the Day-glo colors that some of them come in freak me out a little.  Plus the extra cost and extra trash kinda bugs me, too.  So unless we are traveling and need the convenience of pre-packaged yogurt cups, I tend to buy a big container of Stonyfield Farms Organic Whole Milk Yogurt, and mix in fresh or thawed, frozen fruit.  But since he does eat A LOT of yogurt, I try to at least keep in interesting by coming up with some different combinations.  Plus it is a way to sneak in some other good-for-you ingredients to increase the protein, fiber, and flavor.  Here is one of his faves…

PB&J Yogurt

1.  Spoon some plain yogurt into a bowl.  I pretty much always give The Bug Stonyfield Farms Organic Whole Milk Yogurt.

Put yogurt in bowl

2.  Add a spoonful of your favorite nut (or non-nut, a.k.a. sunflower seed) butter.  This is almond butter, but I usually use peanut butter.

Add nut butter

3.  Add some finely chopped fruit.  I usually go with strawberries or grapes – kind of a classic PB&J combo.

Put fruit in bowl

4.  If you like, top with your “nutrition booster” of choice, such as wheat germ, ground flax seeds, chia seeds (I haven’t tried these yet, but I want to), granola, chopped nuts, etc.  This is wheat germ here.

Add wheat germ

5.  Stir it all up.  Then smell it.  I always do.  Smells so yummy!

Stir it up

6.  Enjoy!

The Bug eating yogurt

Clearly this is Bug-approved!

Empty bowl

What do you usually eat for breakfast?  Is there something that you eat pretty much everyday?