A Superfood Smoothie Primer

*This post was created in partnership with Sephora inside JCPenney. They believe that not only do the foods we eat affect our skin but they are also a great ingredient to cleanse and revitalize from the outside in. Read more to find how we can better care for our skin through superfoods.

A couple weeks ago I enjoyed a glorious few hours alone. That in and of itself would have been a great gift but I also got to sit and be pampered in Sephora while I learned all about how to care for my skin using superfoods. In my case, charcoal. I’ll spare you the details but since having babies my skin has been one continuous hormonal break out. Real cool. But I was cleansed with charcoal, put on an amazing charcoal peel off mask (hopefully you caught the amazing imagery on my Instagram story), and was moisturized with charcoal. Charcoal is an all natural purifier as it draws out bacteria and impurities helping fight against breakouts. (See the resources below for specific products used).

In this space I often focus on food as a gift in an intensely satisfying way. Like the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies when you open the front door. Or a rich mug of hot chocolate after a morning in the snow. Or the crackling skin of roast chicken on a bed of crisp roasted potatoes. The food that draws us to the table.

I tend to avoid riding the trends that tout the best way to glow, or lose weight, or whatever the thing is to be in that moment. I have my own history of food obsessions and I have come to a healthy place of eating anything and everything free of guilt and shame. The moment you say this one way is the best you immediately mark every other method as bad. Or if this way of eating is “clean” then the alternative must be dirty.

My food philosophy is simple; eat as much real food as possible. Real food meaning the sort that is as close to the dirt as you can get – not processed. To me that’s quite loose because cheese is real, cream is real and butter is very, very real. And if I happen to dip into a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos then so be it. Balance and forgiveness play a big part of my daily food beliefs.

I also listen closely to my body. If I’m very honest my body often craves greens and vegetables and I am always happy to oblige. But there are days when I feel my body needs a reset or at least a fighting chance to start the day off right. Perhaps there were too many chips, or, as is often the case with summer – there were a good bit of fruity, frozen cocktails. So we start the next day with a smoothie.

I attempted to write down a recipe or at least create one but I went my own way. Which is always how we smoothie around here. But there are a few things we have learned along the way that have really improved our smoothie game.

A real person’s guide to making smoothies.

  1. Balance is key.

As with cooking you want a balance of flavor in your smoothie. Sweet, sour, a touch of salt, and perhaps of bit of bitter. Often I’ll add lemon or lime juice then offset the tang with a natural sugar like peaches, honey, dates, prunes, etc. A pinch of salt is always a good idea.

 

  1. Be healthy but maybe not too much so.

I don’t know about your family but I have one family member in particular who can spot health a mile away. I try and sneak as much nutrition into the smoothies as possible through seeds (flax, hemp, sesame) greens (kale, spinach) and vegetables (avocado, carrots, etc.). One time she turned down her oatmeal so I threw a bit of that into the smoothie. She was on to me with one sniff. I find that strong flavors like fresh ginger, passion fruit pureé and fresh mint mask a lot of health. Greens like spinach and kale are nice because they don’t have strong flavors. A strong blender really breaks down seeds and nuts too so it’s easier to hide.

 

  1. Stock your freezer.

We’ve gotten to the point where my kids thank me for making smoothies. They see it as a delicious treat rather than mom’s attempt to make sure they are getting a good bit of nutrition. I think in part that’s due to the frozen berries and fruit often used to give the smoothie a bit of a milkshake consistency. Also, the cold temperature does wonders to mask any unsightly green flavors that may arise. 🙂

 

  1. When in doubt, make popsicles.

If there is any leftover smoothie or perhaps a batch received less than rave reviews I’ll pour the smoothie into popsicle molds then surprise the kids with a sweet after school treat. I don’t really try to deceive my children into healthy eating as I teach them that all food is a gift and it’s important to care for our bodies. But for the sort of children who don’t buy that (of which I have one) popsicles help.

 

The recipe pictured (which I was sort of hoping would be a more appetizing color) has banana, mixed greens, dates, passion fruit pureé, mint, lime and assorted frozen fruit. If you need a bit more liquid to get your blender going I suggest a bit of coconut milk, regular milk or even a touch of water. I use the blender plunger to help push down the ingredients and usually that gets things moving.

 

Resources from Sephora:

Before walking into the iconic black and white striped Sephora inside JCPenney I was able to tell them what I have been struggling with regarding my skin. I chose the focused makeover which is why the products heavily feature charcoal. I sat down under the skillful guidance of Danie, the area education manager, as she walked me through the products and process to help clear up my skin. I’ve now been using several of the products since that visit and here are a list of my favorites. She knew that I spend my day focused around food so she focused on all natural products with some even being completely food grade.

These are my favorites that we used that day.

Boscia Make Up Melter Cleanser

Boscia Peel Off Charcoal Mask

Boscia Pudding Mask 

Boscia Charcoal Moisturizer 

Bite Lip Treatment

Bite Sugar Scrub

Bite Persimmon Lip Color 

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Broiled Cheese Toast with Tomatoes and Coriander

*This post is in partnership with Dietz & Watson. They believe that one of the best choices we can make is the table. To gather friends, family, strangers and sit at the table in the presence of good food.

A couple weeks ago I did just that. Surrounded by old and new friends we enjoyed a feast cooked for us by Top Chef alum, Giselle Wellman. We enjoyed the best tomato soup I’ve ever had along with thick cut grilled cheese croutons for dipping. There was crisp bacon over buttery lettuce, pastrami with duck breast, and a goat cheese stuffed blintz. Dietz & Watson would like you to enjoy that experience too. Enter here for a chance to win a private dinner with Giselle Wellman, September 9th in Gig Harbor Washington.

“We don’t come to the table to fight or to defend. We don’t come to prove or to conquer, to draw lines in the sand or to stir up trouble. We come to the table because our hunger brings us there. We come with a need, with fragility, with an admission of our humanity. The table is the great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking everywhere for. The table is the place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed, and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children. We allow someone else to meet our need. In a world that prides people on not having needs, on going longer and faster, on going without, on powering through, the table is a place of safety and rest and humanity, where we are allowed to be as fragile as we feel.”

Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes

 

No matter where we are in life or what’s happening in the world around us I always come back to the table. Never once have I questioned the importance of the table. The act of sitting down to enjoy a meal, abundant or meager, looking into the faces of those you love or people you’ve just met. To come weary or strong, our humanity unites us. We all are hungry. Food is the medium to draw us together to refuel, connect, and attempt to make sense of the world or perhaps set that aside for a few hours to laugh until your stomach hurts.

With summer produce at its peak there is very little I feel I need to do before gathering people at the table. This toast, simple in its creation, is a cozy and satisfying way to highlight the glut of tomatoes currently bursting in the garden. A smokey horseradish adds a bit of warmth under a blanket of cheese, melted until bubbly and golden. Fresh tomatoes are showered on top with a crunch of toasted coriander seeds and flake salt. Bring a platter of warm toasts to the table and a simple salad of peppery arugula leaves slick with olive oil and lemon juice and you are set.

Let’s all choose the table as often as we can. Good things happen there.

Broiled Cheese Toast with Tomatoes with Coriander

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4

Ingredients

4 pieces of thick cut bread

2 tablespoons Dietz & Watson Smokey Horseradish Sauce

8 pieces Dietz & Watson artisan cheese (I like a mix of havarti and muenster)

2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

2 teaspoons toasted coriander seeds

Flake salt

Instructions

Set an oven rack just under your broiler. Place the bread on a sheet pan. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes or just until golden. Remove from the oven then spread the untoasted sides with a bit of horseradish sauce. Top with a couple of pieces of cheese then return the tray to the oven. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Add the tomatoes, coriander seeds and a pinch of flake salt to each piece of toast.

Serve straightaway.

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