At the beginning of January, I was feeling a bit run down – most likely due to excess sugar consumption over the holidays! I had three intense weeks of recording preparation ahead of me and with 18 other singers in the group, none of us could afford to get sick. One of the Sisters made me this super smoothie to help boost my immune system. I’m always a bit hesitant to try “trendy’ drinks, but because she was being so kind, I thought I should give it a whirl. Wow! It was refreshing, light, tasty and really did up my game in the energy department. I started drinking this as a part of my daily routine. It takes discipline to eat healthy, but after 3 weeks of eating a low sugar and low carb diet, I feel so much better and haven’t gotten the flu!
This recipe makes two large drinks – one for you and one to gift (or save it for later). You can use any combination of fruits you like (3 cups in all). It’s packed with antioxidants and a quick on the go meal with no nasty taste – Enjoy!
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Super Smoothie with Super Taste
- 2 cups fresh spinach packed, (or other leafy green)
- 2 cups water coconut water, coconut milk, or almond milk - whichever you prefer
- 2 cups fruit mango, pineapple, berries, oranges, peach, pear, apple, grapes
- 1 banana or a cup of other fruit if you don't like banana
- Blend leafy greens and liquid base together in a blender until smooth
- Add fruit and blend again until smooth
- Boost it with chai seeds, almond butter, flax seeds etc
**If you want your smoothie to be extra chilly use frozen fruit and not ice.
I have been exploring “superfoods” for a while now, wanting to incorporate some healthier eating habits into our Convent diet. We live a very active life-style within our Benedictine motto: Ora et Labora (Pray and Work). My task is to make sure we are all eating well and taking care of our bodies (since we are called to be temples of the Holy Spirit).
In my research, I learned about the wonderful nutty grain-like seed quinoa. Quinoa is native to Bolivia and a relative of swiss chard, spinach and beets. We usually think of quinoa as a grain, but it is actually the seed of a plant. It’s also a complete protein, which means it provides all nine essential amino acids necessary for good health, hence the name “essential.” Your body can’t produce these nutrients itself, so you have to get them frequently through food. Quinoa’s slow-releasing carbohydrates help to maintain blood sugar levels. It can be eaten on its own as a side dish, with a bit of butter or oil, salt and pepper, or other seasonings. Quinoa also makes a great breakfast dish mixed with dried fruit, cinnamon, milk, and maple syrup or honey. A healthy substitute for rice, it also makes a tasty pilaf.
I found and adapted this flavorful and surprising salad side dish recipe for the Sisters and everyone loved it. Last weekend we served it to our Oblates who were here on retreat, and promised that we’d share it with all of you. Enjoy!
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Quinoa Salad with Pears, Bacon and Baby Spinach
- Prepare the quinoa according to the package directions. 1 cup dry quinoa should yield over 4 cups of cooked quinoa. Cool quinoa.
- In a large bowl add the cooled quinoa, diced pears, green onions, spinach and bell pepper. Reserve the crumbled bacon and toasted almonds for later.
- For the dressing: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and pour over quinoa mixture. Toss gently. You might not want to use all of the dressing depending on how wet you want your salad so add a little at a time. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving so that the flavors can meld.
- Mix the crumbled bacon and toasted almonds into the salad just before serving, reserving a bit to garnish the top as well.
Note: To toast almonds, brown them for a couple of minutes in a skillet over medium high heat. To roast them, bake them in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. When you smell them, they are done!