First of all, a sincere apology to all those men out there whose wives are making them go meatless one day per week. One of my health conscious colleagues told me that she really enjoyed last week’s meatless menu, but her husband groaned, “What? Meatless Monday AGAIN? Wasn’t it only yesterday we had Meatless Monday?” No, honey, it only happens once a week, just like regular Mondays….and be grateful that your wife cares about you enough to cook these healthy meals for you. So I would like to retract that apology, and instead say to you guys: Suck it up, buttercup!
Well, spring has finally sprung, and in honor of my favorite season, I have chosen “Go Green” as the theme of this week’s Meatless Monday Challenge.
While I start every day with a fruit smoothie, I recently started adding some greens to give it an extra boost of nutrition. This Green Smoothie is a great starter smoothie for beginners. It’s full of iron, potassium and vitamins galore— and it tastes like a tropical treat!
5 REASONS TO LOVE GREEN SMOOTHIES (taken from http://www.simplegreensmoothies.com)
1. Natural energy booster
2. Natural weight loss drink
3. Simple way to boost your immune system
4. Full of disease-fighting antioxidants
5. Hands down— The best fast food
Breakfast: Easy Green Smoothie
2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups water
1 cup pineapple, frozen
1 cup mango
Makes 4 – 5 cups (about 2 servings)
TIP #1: Blend your greens and liquid first to avoid leafy chucks, then add the remaining fruits.
TIP #2: If you aren’t a big fan of bananas, feel free to substitute another fruit. I like to freeze the bananas first to reduce the flavor and also add some extra chill to my smoothie.
Lunch: Cream of Broccoli Soup
I first tried this delicious soup with my friends, Don and Phyllis and it was love at first bite! Soon after I made a pot for me and my daughter, Kaitlyn and we devoured the entire pot in one day! While it is a CREAM soup, it contains absolutely no cream or dairy. It gets its rich creaminess instead from the potatoes, which also makes it a very satisfying and filling meal. While white potatoes are not high on the list of cancer-fighters, broccoli is one of the heavyweights, so you can eat your spuds guilt free. (Impress your friends by serving this as a starter at your next dinner party!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 3/4 pounds broccoli, thick stems peeled and diced (about 2 cups), tops cut into small florets (about 1 quart)
1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes (about 5), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 cups vegetable stock
3 cups water
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
In a large pot, sauté the onion in olive oil; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, broccoli, potatoes, broth, water, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are cooked, about 15 minutes.
In a food processor or blender, pulse the soup to a coarse puree. Return the soup to the pot and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Dinner/Supper: Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers:
As I mentioned in a previous post, quinoa is packed with protein, and is one of the only plant based foods which is considered a complete protein. I buy mine at Costco, pre-washed, as trying to rinse these tiny seeds can be a pain!
1 cup water + 1/2 cup quinoa rinsed
4 medium green peppers, cut in half & seeded
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup black olives sliced
1/2 cup corn kernals
3/4 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup prepared salsa
Daiya (cheese substitute) or cheese slices optional but highly recommended
oregano for garnishing
Bring water to boil in a small sauce pan, add rinsed quinoa, cover and cook on low for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prep your green peppers by cutting them in half. Mix together corn , olives and tomatoes place in a medium bowl.
Arrange green pepper halves on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side up. Add cooked quinoa to the veggie bowl along with prepared salsa, mix well. Fill each pepper half with as much quinoa mixture as you can.
Top with slices of pepper jack daiya, (which is a cheese substitute) OR slices of your favorite cheese if you are doing dairy – bake in a 350* pre heated oven or toaster oven for 20-25 minutes.
Garnish with oregano.
(Credit for this recipe goes to http://sundaymorningbananapancakes.blogspot.ca)
So, there you have it my friends, three tasty green meals to kick off your week the healthy way! And remember, no animals were harmed in the making of these meals.