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How to Make Green Smoothie Freezer Bags

One of the biggest changes I have made to our family’s diet in the last few years has been to increase the number of vegetables that we eat – specifically leafy greens. I have done this by aiming to include vegetables (and greens) in every meal. A green smoothie is a great way to do this for breakfast. And knowing how to make green smoothie freezer bags has been such a time saver. There isn’t really an excuse if making the green smoothie takes less than 2 minutes to make.

Enjoy a healthy, fast and nutrient dense breakfast by making a green smoothie. And - speed up that process by prepping green smoothie freezer bags. They will make your mornings even easier and healthier!

Having a smoothie for breakfast is a really fast option for those mornings when I just don’t have the time to cook and then eat a meal. Sometimes there are mornings when my little one needs more Mama cuddles than usual – or when I just need those extra few minutes of sleep. We all have those mornings, right?

But a green smoothie means I am still getting all my nutrients, it is filling and healthy. And if I add some extra boosters like protein powder – I am getting even more nutrition that simply munching on some toast.

Green smoothie freezer bags make this process even easier. I prep these a week or so in advance and they are almost always part of my meal plan. I buy a heap of bananas, a huge bag of spinach and just make about 5-10 bags in a sitting. These then last me a couple of weeks.

I simply grab one from the freezer, throw it in the blender and add milk. At this point, I also add extras like protein powder or collagen powder or whatever I am needing that day. Whiz it up, pour it into a glass or drink bottle to go – and voila! Breakfast is served.

Keep reading for the step-by-step guide to making your own green smoothie freezer bags.

Decide what “greens” are going to be your base

I think baby spinach is the best choice for newbies. Kale is a great option but can be a bit of an adjustment if you are new to the green smoothie vibe.

Choose your sweetener

I use medjool dates and bananas. Bananas add a creaminess to the smoothie, and dates make it a little caramel-like.  You could use fruit – like an apple or pear (assuming you have a high speed blender).

Choose any other flavours

I like to add a few of these: blueberries, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, ginger. Whatever you think you might like. Just remember that they need to be able to freeze. You can always add flavours when you actually make your smoothie.

To prepare your green smoothie freezer bags

  1. Grab a few ziplock bags (I use the sandwich size). Label them if you like.
  2. In each ziplock bag pop a handful of spinach, banana, and a couple of dates (pips removed). Add any other flavours that can be frozen (blueberries and cinnamon are my favourite).
  3. Seal up the bags (removing any excess air) and pop in the freezer.

To make your green smoothie

  1. Grab your green smoothie bag from the freezer
  2. Empty the contents into your blender
  3. Add 1-2 cups liquid (I use coconut or almond milk)
  4. Add any protein powder, collagen powder or other non-freezable ingredients
  5. Blend. Pour. Enjoy.

 

And there you have it – breakfast is prepped and ready for the week ahead. Comment below and tell me if this works for you. Or share your green smoothie bags via social media and tag #theempoweredcook so that I can see them. Enjoy!

A to Z of Vegetables: B is for Broccoli

Welcome back to the A to Z of Vegetables series. You can read the rest of the series here. Today – we’re up to the letter B, and I’ve chosen Broccoli. Why? Because very few people in my house love broccoli – and I feel it needs some extra love and attention.

The Empowered Cook shares the A to Z of Vegetables: today is B is for Broccoli - including health benefits, recipe ideas and a personal loved recipe for broccoli.

We buy a head of broccoli every week. I eat it for breakfast with scrambled eggs, in my salad at lunch and in a multitude of ways for dinner. My toddler on the other hand, not so much. He will find the tiniest little floret of broccoli hidden in his mash potato. It is like he has a super power for finding this stuff. But – I persist. I always serve it to him, in the hope that he’ll eat it.

Health Benefits

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable – just like cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. It is now a commonly held understanding that these sorts of vegetables are high in cancer fighting properties. Broccoli in particular, is also reported to have many other health benefits like better wound healing, liver protection, and improved fertility. Not to mention, it is delicious and versatile in the kitchen. And – you only need to eat about 2 spears to have this count as one serve in your 5-vegetables-a-day quota.

Have I convinced you to add this to your shopping list yet?

Recipes to Inspire

Cheesy Broccoli – this combo is fast and delicious

Green Curry Broccoli Soup – I know this might sound weird. But really – give this a try. Please. And then let me know how much you love it.

Broccoli Noodles – I think this could be a great recipe for young kids. I haven’t made this – but I love everything that Heather at Beauty That Moves makes, so I’m confident this is a winner. Will be adding to my meal plan soon!

My Favourite Broccoli Recipe

I have always loved broccoli. And when I discovered roasted broccoli – oh my. A whole new level of love opened up for me. This recipe now forms part of my weekly prep. I use the roasted spears in my salads for lunch and I throw a few in with my scrambled eggs in the morning. Roasting the broccoli adds a wonderful depth to the sometimes bitter broccoli – and once you add a few extra spices, it takes on a life of its own. Enjoy.

Roasted Broccoli Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 

  2. Chop your broccoli into individual florets. You might like to chop the larger ones in half or quarters - until they are all about the same size.

  3. Scatter these onto your baking tray and drizzle with olive oil.

  4. Season with the onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Then, using your hands, gently toss the broccoli to coat it with the oil and seasonings.

  5. Place in the oven and cook for 20-30mins. Keep an eye on it - and when it is nice and brown around the edges, remove from the oven and serve immediately.

  6. Note: you can store this in the fridge for about 3 days. Add to salads or reheat for a later dinner. 

 

 

How to Eat Brussels Sprouts

Knowing how to eat Brussels Sprouts is important. No more soggy, boiled sprouts. No one likes those. Brussels Sprouts can be delicious – you just need to know how to eat them.

I grew up with steamed or boiled sprouts. I still ate them. But not many others did.

Today I’ll share my favorite options for how to eat Brussels Sprouts. Even if you try just one – do it. Buy some sprouts and enjoy them. You’ll be surprised.

Three delicious options for how to eat Brussels Sprouts - stir-fry, roast and hash. All easy and fast - to help your family eat their Brussels Sprouts!

#1 – Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts

When I was at University, I lived with a Thai flatmate for a while and she made the most delicious sprouts. They were stir-fried with garlic and fish sauce – and served with rice. Wow. I still salivate thinking about them.

You’ll need to chop up your Brussels Sprouts for this one. I chop the bottom off, and then slice into quarters. Yes, the leaves may fall off – but that’s ok. You’ll also need to chop about 4 cloves of garlic.

To cook: start by heating your wok (or frypan) until hot, and then add a dash of oil (I use rice bran oil or coconut). Add your Brussels Sprouts and stir-fry until they are softer but still crunchy. Add your garlic and quickly stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Then season with fish sauce. About a tablespoon is how I like it. Alternatively, you can use some soy sauce.

Serve immediately over some steamed rice.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

#2 – Roasted Brussels Sprouts

While working on the options for how to eat Brussels Sprouts – I knew I needed to include a roasted option. This is probably my favourite way to eat them. Firstly, because it is easy. And secondly, because I’ve had success with others this way. My little one is still pretty hesitant – but he has eaten them this way.

To roast them, I cut the bottoms off, and slice in half. I put these on the tray (lined with baking paper) and then drizzle with a good amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You can throw on some garlic cloves if you like too.

Roast in a hot oven (200 degrees celsius) until crispy brown on the edges.

I particularly like these served with something creamy. They are super delicious served alongside a creamy pasta – like a macaroni and cheese. Trust me. They are yum.

Also – feel free to simply add Brussels Sprouts to your tray of roast vegetables. Nestled among potatoes, pumpkin and carrots – they are a great addition of greens and another bonus option for how to eat Brussels Sprouts.

#3 – Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Hash

Bacon makes everything taste better, doesn’t it? Adding bacon can entice even the most hesitant family member to try these.

To improve my chance of success even more – I like to make hash. This means shredding everything up, nice and fine and cooking into a big delicious mess.

To make this dish, I shred my Brussels Sprouts in a food processor using the grater attachment. You can finely slice them by hand of course, but the food processor just makes the prep faster.

I also slice some leek (or onion), and some garlic. Chop a few slices of bacon too.

In a hot frypan, add a little olive oil and start to cook your bacon. After a couple of minutes, add your leek or onion. Cook until the onion is soft. Next – add your garlic, quickly followed by the Brussels Sprouts. Now, keep stirring this, but press it down as you cook it. You want the sprouts to fry off in the bacon fat, and to start to crisp up.

This should take around 10 minutes or so.

I like to serve this hash with a poached egg. Again, the runny egg yolk with the bacon becomes the dominant flavour – and the Brussels Sprouts simply become a dose of green in the background. Really yum.

How do you eat your Brussels Sprouts? What do you think of my options? Are you going to give it a go? Add it to your weekly meal plan? Tell me in the comments below.