A little (food) inspiration…

So I have been a bad blogger. Seriously. Baaad. Like if this was my job we would have long since starved because I would have been fired. I admit, I succumbed to the frantic stress of moving, to the endless expectations of the holidays, the dark winter blues and the depressing realization (after getting my fancy re-furbished Vitamix) that smoothie recipes are made for people without food allergies.

Say what? How do food allergies and smoothie recipes equate to inspiration? Stay with me here… Talking about kids food allergies is pretty common but what about that other little dirty secret of pregnancy? I’m sure there are at least a few ladies out there that can attest to the fact that not only does your body change in physical appearance and your brain becomes eternally more forgetful, but your food allergies and sensitivities can suddenly be triggered, just like someone flip’in a switch. Lame, right? All those wonderful things you enjoyed pre-kiddo are suddenly trying to kill you (or at least make you feel totally miserable!) And adult food allergies are like a gift that just keeps on giving…and changing…and adding…soooooo annoying! My kiddos are 8 and 21, but my food allergies are forever!

Like lots of families, we are always on the quest to eat better, cleaner and greener. Enter the new-ish Vitamix to help us on our quest and the afore mentioned irritating discovery that a gazillion recipes call on a regular basis for things that are not my friends. (Friends don’t make your tongue swell, lips tingle, hives pop… so pretty). So after a little intensive, evasive- smoothie maneuvers and the quest for something other than the same-ole-same-ole winter grocery fare, I am happy to have found things great enough to wet my appetite and share! 

First up are smoothie thickeners! Most common for folks are avocados, bananas (both on my hit list), and oatmeal. They give smoothies that awesome creamy texture that let’s your kids pretend they are getting away with some kind of dessert item. However, (thankfully) you can also use frozen mangos, cauliflower, chia, and super green drink powder- yes! I also find that frozen fruit is better than adding ice for flavor and texture. Even better is that I can add some extra veggies like spinach (which we prefer taste-wise over kale) and anti-viral, mood boosting things like ginger, turmeric, and honey. My favorite smoothie recipes (kids tested and approved) right now are: Lemon, Mango, and chocolate berry (our current recipe is about a 1/2 cup of plain or vanilla yogurt, about a cup of frozen tri-mix berries from Costco, powdered, chocolate greens mix from Trader Joes- but you can find protein and greens mixes like this one on Amazon- and enough almond or regular organic milk to get it to blend up.)

I love hummus. I was pretty shattered when I realized that chick peas were out.  I just continued to eat it and deal with the red scratchy neck and puffy lips- sigh- until I finally gave up. Then, holy cow the answer to my prayers! Some amazing person at the San Diego farmer’s market came up with this beauty called Bitch’n sauce and we tried it in Hawaii but then couldn’t find it here. Until now!  A mix of these two recipes, Sassy Sauce and original,  and the addition of two adobe peppers (the kind in the can) make for chipotle dipping delight. We are totally dip people, and if you are, too, you might like these vegetable substitute’s for hummus, Beet and Sweet Potato. Two things I have discovered: kids enjoy brightly colored dips and pushing the buttons on the mixer!

Lastly, I have been playing with dairy subs. This is a problem for lots of kiddos and parents alike and while folks at my house seem to tolerate dairy pretty well, we have been trying to cut back. High quality, organic dairy is pretty spendy. Vanilla almond milk is pretty great in the smoothies, although toasted coconut soy is a sophisticated contender.  When you’re  done with making yourself a smoothie and have snacked on a little dip you will be ready for alfredo for dinner! Cauliflower and coconut both make super great substitutes especially if you add my other new love, Bragg’s nutritional yeast. I know that last one sounds gross, but it adds protein and it gives things a lovely cheesy kind of taste. Plus, you will need it for the Bitch’n sauce so just put it on the grocery list.

Winter blues + Food allergies + newish mixer = inspiration! I told you it would all make sense.