Ok, so it might not change your life, but this smoothie will indeed make your mornings a little sweeter.
Last summer I got both a Vitamix and Nutribullet (which I LOVE incidentally– read more on that here), and my go-to morning brew is now this simple smoothie. It’s filled with good stuff and the splash of apple juice and ice (surprise–who says green juices need to be room temp?) make it refreshing and oh-so-good.
Kid Tip: Sometimes, after I pour out half for me I’ll throw in some banana and a few frozen berries and blend up the rest for Aria. Totally toddler approved.
1-2 Celery Stalks cut up.
1 Persian Cucumber (or about 3-4 inches or so off a regular one. I find the persians sweeter and tastier).
1-2 cups of baby kale or spinach or mixed smoothie greens (often baby kale, chard, and spinach).
1/4- 1/2 cup of Apple Juice (depending on sweetness desired)
1-2 ice cubes
*go organic on as much as you can!
Throw it all in blender of choice and blend! Pour into a pretty glass (adds to the enjoyment) and indulge in the deliciousness.
So, peanut butter is a staple in our house. A big staple, and Aria’s daily request. However, I’ve realized (as of late especially) that all peanut butters are not equal. We’ve always been an all-natural kinda family, but after a little investigation I learned that there may be a better route to go than our standard Smucker’s All Natural (good, but not best) peanut butter choice. In fact, peanut butter is a bit of a sticky topic when it comes to which is best. Here’s a quick breakdown.
Standard: Standard peanut butters are the majority of what you see on the shelf. Big brands like Jif and Peter Pan, etc often contain added sugar, oils, etc. So incredibly unnecessary. Choosy moms do not choose Jif.
All Natural: (like Smuckers, etc) are better. All natural versions should be just peanuts and sometimes added salt. They are often not-organic unless stated. Be careful though because some brands make a “natural” peanut butter (um…Jif) but they still are only 90% peanuts and the rest salt, palm oil, sugar, etc. Not much better than the standard.
Organic: Our go-to these days. It’s worth choosing an organic because peanuts are harvested from the ground and have a porous shell which means pesticides can seep into the nut themselves. Lately, we’ve been eating Trader Joe’s Unsalted Organic, which is just blended peanuts. Again read your labels carefully. We were recently on the west coast and I bought an organic brand called Simply Truth, and was shocked when I got home and realized that it had added organic cane sugar, organic palm oil and salt. Note to self: Read labels carefully!
The peanut butter debate gets a bit trickier and stickier because of Aflatoxin, a fungicide sprayed on all different types of peanuts (because they are prone to mold). To avoid it, you need to buy peanut butter that is sourced from peanuts from New Mexico (Valencia) or another region where they don’t spray it. If your child is a peanut butter addict like Aria, you may also want to think about substituting in another nut spread once in a while (safflower or almond nut butter are good alternatives).
There are a bunch of good articles with more details. It’s like everything else I reading these days, where what you thought of as “good for you” may not be the best.
So, the other day I met my fabulous friend Ana for lunch at one of my-go spots in the WV (top photo courtesy of her– she just has this way of capturing the best pics!) My lunch and coffee dates have not ended now that baby is in tow, but they definitely require a bit more thinking. Suddenly I gravitate towards the “baby friendly” spots that I know will have room for the stroller, high chairs, etc, but still have good food and some degree of atmosphere.
On of my favorite lunch w/baby spots here in the West Village is Le Pain Quotidien on Hudson. The Belgium bakery chain has a wholesome menu of good salads (my fav is the quinoa salad), tartines, organic options and breakfast items . They also have a kid’s menu with great healthy options including hummus, turkey, guacamole, etc. Aria is a fan.
The thing I like best about this spot is that it indeed is very baby friendly. There is a ramp to access (steps and double doors are my biggest stroller annoyance here in the city), plenty of room to park the stroller table side, high chairs, crayons and a usually cooperative & friendly staff (no noses in the air when mom friends and I truck in with 3 little ones — although I waitressed in my younger days so there is no way I am leaving behind a mess). As an added bonus they also have a very large & clean private bathroom with a changing table (suddenly, and somewhat sadly, now a very important detail in my dining life). Oh, and in summer they also have nice sidewalk tables outside. Très bon indeed.
I’d love to know your favorite spot in the city. Please share!