my favorite green juice
as you might already know, my motto/tagline/mantra here at bananas + bellinis is “because it’s okay to chase that shot with green juice”. and I wholeheartedely believe this.
it’s all about finding the balance that works for you. balance is never going to look the same for two people because everyone’s bodies react differently to different types of food, exercise and lifestyle habits.
my tagline was born for a simple reason: i love being healthy and taking care of myself. many healthy foods are also delicious, i’m a yoga junkie and i’m really into natural, holistic wellness and beauty sh*t. but, it’s so important to remember that being healthy and eating a “perfect” diet 100% of the time isn’t exactly reasonable [or very fun] and for me, eating pizza every once in a while, celebrating a special occasion with some cupcakes and going out and drinking [sometimes a little more than i should] with my friends are things i’m just not willing to give up. it works for me, and that’s really all that matters.
so, today, in honor of my personal mantra, i’m sharing my favorite green jucie recipe. it’s packed with leafy greens, but still as delicious as a fruit juice. i always recommend using organic fruits and veggies for any juice or smoothie recipe, and this one is no different!
for one glass you will need:
- 2 handfuls of kale
- 1 handful of spinach
- 1 green apple
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 lemon
- 1″ of fresh ginger
first, you will need to prep the fruits and veggies:
- cucumber: leave the skin on, but chop into large chunks.
- apple: leave the skin on, but slice so that seeds and core are removed. [i don’t have an apple corer, but if you do – use it!]
- lemon: peel, slice and remove seeds.
- kale, spinach + ginger: no prep necessary!
next, run all ingredients through the juicer according to the appropriate settings [these should be listed in your juicer’s instruction manual and can vary from juicer to juicer].
don’t own a juicer? make it a smoothie! using all of the same ingredients, throw them into a blender with 3/4 c. of your favorite nut or seed milk, blend and enjoy!
photo courtesy of steph brescia photography
vodka lemonade with ginger, basil + chia seeds
happy memorial day weekend, everyone! i don’t usually post on saturdays, but i wanted to make sure i did something a little holiday weekend-themed for you guys since it is memorial day weekend, and what better way to kick it off than with a bananas + bellinis approved cocktail recipe?!
as we all know, based on the name of my blog alone, i love being healthy, but i also love having fun, enjoying life and throwing back a few cocktails every now and then. but, while i am all for going out with your friends and enjoying your poison of choice, what i’m not all for is the sh*t that often comes along with it… drinks mixed with soda, juice from concentrate, high calorie mixers, syrups, you get the idea.
with that being said, i’ve recently become inspired to start experimenting with mixing up my own cocktails using all natural ingredients. i really feel like i’m living the bananas + bellinis mission statement… seriously, being a mixologist might be my true calling.
so, here’s my first creation: a summer-inspired vodka lemonade recipe. i kept the ingredients natural, fresh and healthy. the chia seeds might seem like a weird addition, but trust me, as a superfood, they serve a purpose! the measurements below are what you will need for one drink.
- 1 shot of vodka
- 1/2 c. all-natural ginger ale [i love bruce cost]
- 1/2 c. club soda
- the juice from one large lemon [about 1/4 c.]
- 2-3 basil leaves, shredded into large pieces
- 1 tsp. chia seeds [optional]
- fill your glass about half full with ice cubes.
- add the vodka, ginger ale, club soda and lemon juice; stir well.
- mix in the chia seeds and basil [the chia seeds will float up to the top].
- garnish your glass with a lemon slice and a paper straw, serve immediately.
healthy lifestyle staples: detoxifying lemon water
one of my favorite, cannot live without healthy lifestyle staples is kinda weird [but that should be no surprise at this point]. i was introduced to this little concoction in college and would occasionally throw it into my routine here and there over the years, but only in the past year or so has it become a staple in my regimen.
hot lemon water. with apple cider vinegar. and turmeric. and cayenne pepper. every morning. before breakfast.
i knowwww what you’re thinking: no. but let me explain.
first, hot water with a little bit of lemon is a great way to wake up your digestive system and detoxify your body from the day before…essentially, you’re starting the day with a clean slate.
second, the apple cider vinegar will balance your pH levels aiding digestion, improving immunity and helping to clear up your skin.
finally, the turmeric helps reduce inflammation in the body, and the cayenne pepper gives your digestive system one last little boost.
now we’re talkin’, right? for this detoxifying lemon water elixir all you’ll need is:
- 8 oz. of water, brought to a boil
- the juice from half of a lemon
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- cayenne pepper to taste
all you need to do is boil the water, pour it into a mug and stir in the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, turmeric and cayenne pepper. drink this in the mornings before you eat or drink anything else and try to make this a daily habit if at all possible… that’s how you’ll reap the most benefits!
fall favorites: healthy pumpkin spice latte
the pumpkin spice latte has gotten a lot of attention recently. it’s a fall staple and a seasonal favorite of a lot of people [myself included]. this year, starbucks made it available a few weeks earlier than usual [well before fall officially started], but along with the hype has come quite a bit of negative press, especially among the health and wellness community. why? well, it turns out that a starbucks pumpkin spice latte actually contains zero pumpkin. yep, you read that right. there is no pumpkin in a pumpkin spice latte.
sooo, what is? about 50 grams of sugar [double the recommended daily intake], caramel coloring [made with ammonia], artificial flavors [made with petroleum], g.m.o. milk, preservatives, sulfites, and pesticide residue. the diagram below from food babe breaks it all down.
so, should you cut the p.s.l. habit quick? yes. is there an alternative? who do you think i am? of course there’s an alternative. and i think you’ll be pretty satisfied with it! using ingredients that aren’t harmful to your health and real pumpkin, you can make a healthy pumpkin spice latte right at home. for one latte, you will need:
- 1/2 c. brewed coffee, hot
- 3/4 c. almond milk [or other non-dairy milk of your choice]
- 2 tsp. raw honey or pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. 100% pumpkin purée
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- a few shakes of cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- pinch of ground ginger
- place all ingredients, except coffee, in a blender and blend until slightly frothy [about 2-3 minutes].
- transfer mixture into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking, until hot. do not boil.
- combine with coffee and serve hot or over ice. enjoy!
there are also some health benefits that come along with consuming real pumpkin, including weight loss and immune support, a boost in your mood and a reduction of cholesterol levels. with this healthy pumpkin spice latte you can still indulge and enjoy your favorite fall pick-me-up, but you won’t need to worry about what you’re actually putting into your body and the impact it may have on your health. you’ll probably also save some money if you’re not running to starbucks one, two, maybe three times a day to get your fix.
it’s okay, you can thank me later.
homemade almond milk
last week, food babe kinda dropped a bomb on me with this article about a scary little ingredient found in many, many organic food products including most milk alternatives. we’re talking soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk, coconut water… the list continues… from all different brands, including the organic ones.
the ingredient is carrageenan, a food additive derived from red algae, and when it degrades in the digestive tract, it becomes a carcinogen a.k.a. it can cause cancer. after reading the article, i got pretttyyyyy pissed off. how are we supposed to know what we can and can’t eat anymore in a world full of processed foods and g.m.o.s? and, of course, my next thought was: “what am i supposed to make my smoothies with now?!”
i immediately started doing my research and while cornucopia released this [really confusing] list to help us navigate to the safe products, i decided my best option, everyone’s best option, was going to be making my own almond milk from scratch. yes, you heard me and yes, i have officially gone off the deep end, but it’s actually a lot easier than you would think.
i thought it would be fun to share with you guys the recipe and instructions for how to do this so you can all try it out for yourselves! i recommend reading through the whole post before getting started, as the almonds need time to soak and they are a few steps that seem strange at first. you will need:
- 1.5 c. whole, blanched, raw almonds
- 4 c. water
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1.5 tbsp. raw honey or pure maple syrup
- dash of cinnamon
- pinch of sea salt
- a blender
- nut milk bag or cheesecloth
*please note that all ingredients should be organic, if possible.
i followed the basic instructions provided on the nut milk bag packaging and modified it to my taste with the honey, cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt, which you can do, too, if you feel comfortable! the instructions are super easy to follow:
- place the almonds in a bowl and cover with water. let them soak for a minimum of four hours [I let mine soak overnight].
- after they have soaked, drain the almonds with a strainer and place in a blender with 1.5 cups of water and blend until you have a smooth purée [about 1-2 minutes].
- add vanilla, honey/maple syrup, cinnamon, sea salt and the remaining 2.5 cups of water to the blender and blend for another 2-3 minutes, until you have a smooth, frothy mixture.
- give it a little taste test and adjust the ingredients to your liking, if necessary.
- place the nut milk bag in a medium bowl so that the bag stays open. if you are using cheesecloth, you will probably need 3-4 sheets layered in the bowl.
- pour the almond mixture into the bag/cheesecloth, allowing the liquid to drain through, then gather up the bag/cheesecloth and gently squeeze all of the remaining liquid out. volià! you have made almond milk!
the final step is to transfer the milk to containers for storage [this makes 4-5 cups and will keep for four days] and refrigerate. i, of course, used mason jars!
see, wasn’t that easy?!
so, mondays are just the worst. mondays mean waking up to an alarm, endless catching up at work and more often than not, coming to terms with what you ate and drank over the weekend. weekends are all about indulging, especially when you consider how hard we all work during the week. if you’re feeling a little down on yourself [and your jeans are fitting just a little tighter] after the stack of chocolate chip pancakes and the 12 mimosas you had at brunch yesterday, give this anti-bloating tonic a try. the ginger and cumin will speed up your metabolism, the sea salt will help flush any water you are retaining, the turmeric fights inflammation and the fennel seeds support healthy weight loss. Iill be honest, it doesn’t taste great, but the benefits are worth it. you will need:
- 1 c. water
- 1 pinch of ginger, cumin, sea salt, turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. boil for 5 minutes, serve hot. you’ll be feeling like your beautiful, skinny self in no time!
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