Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Martha likes it! And it's good for you...

When I first started telling people we drank green lemonade, they looked at us strangely and almost suspiciously. But apparently, green drinks have become vogue. Martha Stewart is pictured holding a pitcher of a very green beverage in one of her recent magazines. I suppose that means the green drink has arrived. And, much to the surprise of people who taste our green lemonade, green drinks can be really delicious. My grandsons love the stuff. When I offered some to my husband, he scrunched up his nose at it, but went ahead and tried it. When I glanced over at him less than a minute later, his glass was empty and he was scraping it with a spoon to get out the last bits of green foam!

We routinely have other healthy drinks that might seem strange to many people, too. The green lemonade is made daily, and we'll have at least one of our other drinks every day, too. Two of the drinks have kefir in them. Kefir is extremely nutritious, and it's easy to make. It's a cultured milk drink (like yogurt), so it's full of healthy stuff. Melissa is lactose intolerant. She becomes quite ill when she consumes milk, but she can have some yogurt and some cultured cream cheese, and kefir never bothers her at all. The cultures in kefir consume most of the lactose in the milk, making it one of the easiest to digest milk products there is.

To make kefir, you can either use (reusable) kefir grains, or you can buy little packets of kefir starter powder (I use Yogourmet) at a natural foods store (or online), which is what I'm currently doing. This is so easy: fill a quart jar with milk. Stir in one packet of kefir powder. Let the mixture sit on the counter overnight and until the kefir is as thickened and as tangy as you want it. I leave mine a good twelve hours, giving the jar an occasional tip to check for thickness. When it's almost as thick as homemade yogurt, I put it in the fridge. It's now ready to use.

Here's a line-up of four of the drinks we currently drink most often. (Sorry we only have photos for two of them. We just don't think of snapping pictures when we're having our drinks!) Three of them call for a bit of maple syrup (not much). If that bothers you (it doesn't bother me), just drink them when you're craving something sweet. The drinks are definitely satisfying!

Serves 1

(This is really thick and cold, like a real milkshake. I make smallish servings.)

1 frozen banana, sliced
1/4 c. kefir (cold)
1/4 c. whole coconut milk (cold-- I just dump a can or two into a jar and keep it in the fridge)
a drizzle of maple syrup (may not be needed since banana sweetens)
a little bit of pure vanilla extract
1 T. cocoa powder (or more if you want really strong chocolate)

Put in blender and whizz it all together til it's blended and thick.


Serves 2

(We have this every day. We crave it. You need a juicer for this. I have a Breville-- the cheapest. An ultra-high powered blender like a Vitamix might work, too, but don't try it in a regular blender. This is supposed to be a clear, clean drink, though, so, personally, I'd only use a juicer. Oh, and all of the ingredients should be cold when you make this because it tastes better that way.)

1 head of romaine or other green lettuce
A big bunch of other greens-- kale or spinach is what I use
2 fuji apples (or braeburn or, if needed, whatever non-sour apple you have)-- unpeeled
1 juicy lemon, peeled
sometimes I put some Italian parsely in with the lettuce
sometimes I add half a cucumber (peeled)

Run everything through the juicer. Stir in some cold water (not too much).


Serves 2

(Lissy and I think this tastes like cheesecake!)

3/4 c. frozen strawberries (or other berry)
1/4 c. yogurt (all natural, whole milk)
1/4 c. kefir (cold)
1 T. (or more) pure maple syrup
a little bit of vanilla
1 1/2 T. coconut oil

Put all but coconut oil in blender. Blend til smooth. While blender is running, drizzle in coconut oil.

(Serves 3 or 4)

(This is my favorite non-dairy smoothie. I love this. Melissa says it reminds her vaguely of grape bubblegum. I cut this recipe in half when I make it for just Lissy and me. It helps to have a juicer, but I think a person could make due without one.)

1 1/2 c. frozen blueberries
1 1/4 c. crushed ice
1 banana
1/2 c. fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 T (+) maple syrup
1/4 t. vanilla
1 braeburn or Fuji apple, juiced (not sure how much juice this is)
juice of 1 small lime

Put all in blender and blend til smooth. You may need to add a bit of water if it's too thick to move around in the blender, but you do want to keep the smoothie thick (we use spoons when we consume this), so add just enough water to keep the blender moving.