Sunday, October 14, 2012

Green smoothie and hoop tunnels in the garden

Garden ready for fall and winter weather under hoop tunnels

The fall/winter garden has been snugly tucked under it's blanket hoop tunnels as recommended in Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman.  These hoops will protect fall greens, broccoli, beets, carrots, onions and all the rest from frost until we get to a hard freeze.  Then we'll add a layer of plastic for more protection to stretch our growing season well into the winter months.  Last year's mild winter allowed us to harvest hearty greens all through the winter months from our tunnels so we added more this year.  Even if this winter is harsher than the last, we'll extend the growing season long enough to have some fresh produce for holiday meals.

Swiss chard and beets ready to be covered in the tunnel

Herbs in one of the tunnels

To help keep me going all morning long, I prepared a green smoothie for breakfast.  Don't let the color scare you away!   It tastes great, provides an energy boost and is loaded with vitamins and fiber.  Even though you'll be getting in a full serving of green vegetable in each glass, you can't tell it's in there -  it just tastes delicious.

This meal in a glass comes together in about 5 minutes and makes 2 generous 12-14 oz servings.  I'll often have one serving for breakfast and save the other for an afternoon pick-me-up when my energy is starting to flag and the craving for a snack kicks in.  This chases away the cravings and holds me until dinner time.   Here's a great video from one of my local creativity gurus that shows how quickly this comes together.  It isn't really necessary to measure precisely, and I've given rough estimates in the recipe below.  This recipe adapts easily to whatever you have on hand.

Basic Green Smoothie

2 handfuls of greens (spinach, chard, kale) = approximately 2 cups
1 banana (frozen if you have it, it makes it more like a milkshake, but fresh is fine)
1 cup of fruit (berries, mango, pineapple, apple, anything you like, pumpkin or sweet potato also work well)
2 cups liquid (dairy or non-dairy milk, tea, water, juice)
2 tsp flax or chia seeds (optional)
2 Tbsp oats (optional)
Spices and flavoring (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla or almond extract) (optional)
Splash of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar (great with berries)
Sweetener to taste (honey, agave, stevia, dates, maple syrup)

For the smoothie pictured, I used a fresh banana, pear, 1 and 1/2 cups almond milk plus about 6 ice cubes (because I wanted it thick and frosty, but my banana wasn't frozen), flax seeds and oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, 2 quarter sized pieces of ginger, small squeeze of lemon juice and agave nectar.  This one reminded me of a pear crisp or crumble and the oats and flax seeds added protein and fiber that kept me satisfied until lunch time.

I hope you were able to find some time to be creative in even the smallest way this weekend.

Thanks for reading!

Flower growing along the curb

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