Posts filed under ‘Drinks’

Juicing Beets

Want beetroot juice but don’t want to buy it or don’t know how to juice?

Here is my first attempt with a video!  This is an illustration of juicing beets.  Tell me what you think!

Produced and Directed by Tad Nelson and Natalie Nelson!


May 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

Smoothies (Conclusion!)

My smoothie blog concludes with the recipe that includes the ingredients mentioned in the past three posts.  I hope you enjoy it!

Banana Spice Smoothie (Serves 2)

2 ripe bananas

2 cups vanilla kefir

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon allspice

12 ice cubes

Whir together the above ingredients in a blender.

This smoothie serves up 35% of your daily calcium needs.

February 24, 2012 at 10:14 am 4 comments

Smoothies (Part 3)

The final ingredients to our smoothie recipe are spices, namely cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.

Spices in a smoothie?  There are more reasons than taste.

Cinnamon is ground bark from the cinnamon tree.  It has healing properties derived from the oils of the bark.  Cinnamon can play a part in preventing blood clots.  It also has microbial properties because it prevents the growth of bacteria.  The latest research shows that cinnamon, as part of a food item, reduces the food’s affect on blood sugar.  This is important for all of us, but especially for those with Diabetes.  Cinnamon may also improve the body’s response to insulin, the hormone that signals cells to accept glucose.

Cinnamon smells good, doesn’t it?  Inhale deeply, because this aroma is said to boost brain activity!

Cinnamon is used in traditional Chinese medicine for its warming qualities.  It is often combined with tea and ginger as a relief for the symptoms of a cold or flu.

Two teaspoons of cinnamon provides almost half of your total daily requirement of manganese!

Stay tuned to tomorrow’s post for the final recipe!

February 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm Leave a comment

Smoothies (Part 2)

Ingredient #2:  Kefir

Kefir is a fermented milk product. It can be described as a drinkable yogurt. What makes kefir unique is that it contains many more probiotics than yogurt. Yogurt may contain several strains of live cultures, such as L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, and L. Acidophilus. Kefir, on the other hand, has 12 probiotic cultures.

What are probiotics? The literal meaning of probiotic is “beneficial to life.” They are live cultures that may have health benefits. They are “good” bacteria, which can promote a healthy environment in our intestines. Our intestines contain many bacteria, both good and bad, and kefir provides billions of good bacteria.

There are many things that can decrease the amount of good bacteria in our inestines. Antibiotics are prescribed when we are sick to kill the bacteria that causes the illness. The problem is, antibiotics kill both the bad AND the good bacteria in our gut. That is why antibiotics cause constipation. Other factors that can upset digestive health are infections, alcohol consumption, diarrhea, stress, and low fiber diets. Probiotics can be a way to keep the gut healthy by boosting good bacteria.

Being a milk product, kefir is a good source of calcium and Vitamin D.  Kefir is also a wonderful source of protein.  Additionally, this fermented product is gluten-free and 99% lactose-free.

Nutrition Information for lowfat strawberry kefir:

Serving Size:  1 cup

Fat:  2g

Sat Fat:  1.5g

Cholesterol:  10mg

Sodium:  125mg

Carbohydrates:  20g

Protein:  11g

Vitamin A:  10%, Vitamin D:  25%; Calcium:  30%

AND, it tastes good, too!

February 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment


I LOVE smoothies!  They are my favorite breakfast after a hard workout.  I swim with a Master’s Swim Team three mornings/week and I especially look forward to a cool, nutritious smoothie on these early mornings.

I define a smoothie as any concoction of fruit and/or vegetables and other nutritious ingredients all whirred together in a blender.  My basic recipe contains non-fat Greek yogurt (protein) and frozen fruit (carbs and vitamins).  After that, I add in any number of ingredients.  Whatever is on hand or whatever I am in the mood for.

I have been trying various recipes lately.  Some have fewer calories than others and these “lighter” smoothies might be more appropriate for an afternoon snack.

I purposely included the above image of a Jamba Juice smoothie.  While I enjoy their fruity fresh smoothies, it is important to check the calories before purchasing!  Some of their smoothies contain enough calories for an entire day!  Often I will make a quick substitution of non-fat plain yogurt for fruit sherbet or frozen yogurt.  Both the sherbet and frozen yogurt contain extra sugar which isn’t necessary when the fruit has all the sweetness you need.  I will also choose a smoothie that doesn’t contain any fruit juice – another unnecessary ingredient.  Also, purchase the smaller sizes and your smoothie will still have enough calories to satisfy!

I thought I’d talk about a different ingredient each day and on the last day we’ll “blend” it all together for the final recipe.  Then you can tell me what you think of this particular recipe.  I’m going to try other recipes as well.  If you have a favorite smoothie recipe, let me know and I’ll try it and publish it and give it your name!

Smoothie A

The first ingredient for this week’s smoothie is bananas.  Bananas definitely add a creamy smoothness to any smoothie.  It also adds a lot of calories, so I don’t always include them.  But there is no doubt that a smoothie tastes better when it incorporates a banana!  If you are a Triathlete, you probably need those extra calories, so pile them on!

1 large banana (8″ – 9″ long) contains the following:

Calories:  121

Carbohydrates:  31g

Fiber:  4g

Protein:  1g

Nutrients:  Vitamin C – 20%; Iron – 2%; Vitamin A – 2%; Calcium – 1%.

Bananas are a good source of potassium, Manganese, and Vitamin B6.

Banana Trivia:  The banana plant originated in Malaysia.  The plant isn’t really a tree, it is actually the world’s largest herb!

February 21, 2012 at 2:43 pm Leave a comment

Cranberry Sunrise Drink

Cranberries, along with blueberries and Concord grapes, are the only 3 fruits native to the US and Canada.  In case you didn’t know, cranberries grow on a vine.  And another interesting fact, the first commercial bed of cranberries were planted in Dennis, MA in 1816!  Just down the road from me!

Most of the production of cranberries occurs in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Quebec.  This red, tangy fruit is mostly harvested between September and October.  Water is used during harvest to float the fruit so it is easier to pick.  The water also protects the plants in the winter from freezing.

Cranberries, along with all fruits and vegetables, are antioxidants and contain phytonutrients.  Phytonutrients are organic compounds in plants that are believed to promote human health.   Grains, legumes, nuts and teas are also rich sources of phytonutrients.  Phytonutrients are further categorized into carotenoids, flavonoids, lignans, and more.  The phytonutrient found in cranberries is called a polyphenol and specifically, proanthocyanidin (PAC).

Current research is being done with phytonutrients and their ability to support health.  At present, polyphenols may protect against some health problems and possibly the effects of aging.  Polyphenols have been shown to block the action of enzymes that cancers need for growth and they have also been shown to deactivate substances that promote the growth of cancers.  They also protect the lining of cells from the adhesion of LDL (bad) cholesterol, a cause of coronary heart disease.  PAC’s can also prevent the adhesion of certain bacteria, including those associated with urinary tract infections, onto the urinary tract wall.  The PAC’s in cranberries may also inhibit bacteria associated with gum disease and stomach ulcers.

The National Kidney Foundation suggests that drinking 10oz/day of cranberry juice cocktail may prevent urinary tract infections.  It is important to note that cranberry juice COCKTAIL contains sugar.  Just go for the 100% pure cranberry juice.  Or, an easier way to eat cranberries is dried.  They taste great in salads.

As part of eating 5 fruits and vegetables/day, one serving of cranberries is ½  cup of whole fruit, 1/3 cup of dried fruit, or ¾ cup of 100% juice.

Nutrition information for 1 cup of whole fruit (I don’t know how anyone could eat it this way, but OK!):

Calories                       30

Carbohydrates            7g

Fiber      2g

Cranberries contain 10% of a day’s worth of Vitamin C.

Nutrition information for 1/3 cup dried cranberries:

Calories                         120

Fat                                           .5g

Potassium                        15mg

Carbohydrates                 33mg

Fiber      2g

Dried cranberries contain 2% of the daily supply of iron.

100% Cranberry juice

Calories                        130

Sodium                          20mg

Carbohydrates              32g

Calcium                        100mg

Fresh, frozen cranberries will keep for 1 year.

Cranberry Sunrise



6 cups Spiced Cranberry Syrup (recipe follows)

6 cups fresh orange juice

12 oz. (1 ½ cups) Campari (optional) *

Ice Cubes

Seltzer or Soda Water  (or lemon-lime soda)

6 orange slices, halved

*I omit the Campari.  Personally, I think it’s Yukky!!  Bleh!

In a large pitcher, stir together cranberry syrup, orange juice and campari, if using.  Place several ice cubes in tall tumblers.  Pour in the cranberry-orange mixture to fill half the glass.  Add fizzy water to the top.  Garnish with a slice of orange and serve immediately.

225 calories/cup, 1g protein, 0g fat, 58g carbs, 2mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol

Spiced Cranberry Syrup

The cranberry syrup can be made in a large batch and kept refrigerated.  It makes a nice pancake or waffle syrup as well.

3 ½ cups sugar

2 lemons

3 lbs. cranberries, picked over

6-8 thin slices fresh ginger

3 cinnamon sticks

Combine sugar with 6 cups cold water in a large heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.  Squeeze the juice from lemons, reserving rinds.  Add the juice and rinds to the syrup, along with cranberries, ginger and cinnamon sticks.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, until most of the berries pop, 10 to 15 minutes, skimming any froth that rises to the surface.  Remove from the heat and let stand for about ½ hour.  Strain the syrup through a fine sieve, pressing down on the berries to release as much juice as possible.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled.  (The syrup can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)

Makes about 8 cups.

26 calories/tablespoon, 0g protein, 0g fat, 7g carbs, 0mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol

December 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

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