I’ll admit when Carrie introduced the Ninja and tried to motivate us into drinking juices and smoothies, I wasn’t interested. Juices and smoothies just didn’t seem appealing. Well thank goodness my husband listened. He immediately went out and bought a Ninja and I now hear that little motor buzzing in the kitchen at least once if not twice a day.
He whoops up breakfast smoothies of all types and throws in ingredients that sound gross – spinach, kale, chard…. yuck. I reluctantly tried one and it was —- amazing. Tasty, sweet and refreshing. The magical thing is – you can’t taste the vegetables at all!
Now I am hooked. I have gone Ninja crazy and drink at least one fruit & veggie blended drink a day. My vegetable intake has increased from 1-2 servings to a 3-5 servings a day. (Carrie, I should have listened to you sooner– I love my smoothies and feel so healthy and great!)
The process is pretty simple. Load in fruits of your choice and then throw in healthy things you would never usually eat like rough leafy green vegetables. It is virtually impossible to make a smoothie that tastes bad! They all taste delicious. Somehow the fruit overpowers the less tasty healthy stuff and blends it into a frosty sweet goodness.
My husband and Carrie love to drink them in the morning. I have found that my favorite time of the day to drink them is in the afternoon. It is great afternoon snack or after work out recovery supplement. Depending on the ingredients, some smoothies can even be used as a meal replacement.
We have played with a huge array of ingredients: protein powders, vegetables and greek yogurt.
Our newest love is Green Matcha Powder.
Matcha is finely milled tea ground from Japanese green tea leaves. The health benefits of matcha tea exceed those of green tea because when you drink matcha you ingest the whole leaf, not just the brewed water.
One glass of matcha is supposed to be the the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of its nutritional value and antioxidant content. I am not a nutritionist but for maximum nutritional benefit, matcha tea seems unparalleled.
And tastes great in blended smoothies and drinks!
Here is more specific information from Tufts University: Green teas contain a high amount of antioxidants, chemically compounds known to forestall aging. Antioxidants are found in many fruits and vegetables – even chocolate. A testing method known as ORAC – short for oxygen radical absorbance capacity, evaluates the antioxidant levels found in food. The ORAC capacity of matcha green tea is exponentially higher than other foods known for their high antioxidants levels such as blueberries and spinach. The ORAC rating of matcha is 1300 units/g, compared to 105 units/g for pomegranates and 91 units/g for wild blueberries.
We have been using a delicious green matcha powder recipe :: Green Tea Watermelon Super Punch.
It is a new recipe out of Rocco Dispirito’s new cookbook Now Eat This!
WHAT’s IN IT:
2 cups ice
4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, such as 0% Fage Total
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup agave nectar
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
4 teaspoons unsweetened matcha green tea powder
TIPS: The ingredients listed above are the original quantities listed in Rocco’s recipe. I cut these ingredients in half because the original recipe makes a full blender full which is at least 4 drinks. I also throw in a little extra matcha (about a teaspoon).
And…unlike the recipe, we used sweet Matcha Powder because it what we found available in the store. Rishi Sweet Matcha was purchased at Whole Foods and came highly recommended.
Toss all ingredients into a blender and blend for 5 minutes to increase volume. (I also sometimes add more ice to make it thicker).
After it’s well blended, it doesn’t actually look like much – or green for that matter – but it tastes great!
Also, since we are on the subject of smoothies, I have a few extra tips to share with you:
1) We bought the larger Ninja that can be used as a blender. My blender was a piece of junk so we paid a little more so we could have the benefit of having a smoothie maker and a complete blender. You might want to shop around because we spent $99 at Target and later saw it for $89 at Walmart. There are a lot of blenders and smoothie makers on the market but the Ninja is tops in my book because of one main reason – it has 3 separate blades spread out on the shaft. Ever have to stop the blender and push the ingredients around with spatula because the food was jammed in a lump at the bottom? That won’t happen with the Ninja – the two upper level blades will help ensure everything in the blender has blade exposure.
2) I am new to the whole protein smoothie craze but I have heard there are a lot of protein powders out there that are disgusting. Some have a horrible taste and others are course and grainy like sand. The protein powder my husband uses tastes like vanilla ice cream :: Nu-Tek Pro MRP Vanilla. I love it and throw it in most of my smoothies.
3) Cleaning out the blender or smoothie maker can be a pain and the blades are fiercely sharp. It is important to clean immediately because fruit and vegetable pulp quickly turn to cement. A fantastic trick I learned was to run the blender filled with water after using. Just a few quick pulses really help clean that sucker out!
Happy Juice & Smoothie Making!
…and let me know what you think about the Green Matcha!