Cheers, Karla! Finally, Molly’s Rainbow Smoothie Recipe

A few months ago, as part of my effort to change some of my habits, I started making a morning smoothie for the kids and I to drink .

I got the idea from my husband, Joe.  A few years ago, right after we moved back to the Northeast, he read in some random tourist brochure about a guy from the area who swore by kale-banana smoothies.  After realizing that the most nutritious greens are the cheapest, the man bought whatever greens were in season, froze them, and smoothied them year round.

Joe agreed that, especially for a meat lover like him, daily smoothies were a pretty simple way to boost veggie intake.  On our very next grocery trip, we bought the cheapest greens, which turned out to be kale.  And he started throwing kale, frozen blueberries and 2% unsweetened Greek yogurt into the blender every morning.  He’s at it most every damn day with them ever since.

I am not a lover of dark green vegetables.  And the word “unsweetened” has never been in my vocabulary.  But, honestly, while I feel like I’m aging on hyperspeed, my husband seems to be aging in reverse.  If there is something – – as he says almost every time he drinks them – – to these smoothies helping him look and, more importantly, feel good, I had to get over myself and give them a try.

There was no way I could go right to kale, plain yogurt and a few berries.

Instead, we tried protein smoothies.  We tried vegetable smoothies.  We tried fruit smoothies.  After about 30 recipes, we eventually landed on this recipe, which we call “Molly’s Rainbow Smoothie” because she was the one to tweak it for us.  This pretty much fills our blender and serves 1-2 adults and 3 kids, depending on how much we each feel like drinking.

My kids ask for these, that’s how good they are to drink.

After almost 6 months of trying to incorporate them into my diet, I’ve noticed that I eat less junk during the day, I have more energy, and I do think they are somehow filling in my wrinkles (kidding!  just making sure you are paying attention).

They are a little bit of a pain to make because they are best fresh and you have to clean the blender every day.  Even with that, I can honestly say that I miss them if we skip.  This small act really does make me feel good.

Molly’s Rainbow Smoothie Recipe

Blend together until smooth:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 apple, cored
  • 1 orange worth of juice or ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 lemon worth of juice
  • 2 adult-sized fistfuls of spinach or kale or 4 kid-sized fistfuls
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ cucumber or 1 cubed avocado
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened 2% Greek yogurt (optional, but Joe likes it for the added protein kick)

If you want it sweeter, add 1 Stonyfield yogurt drink, as I do for the kids.  If you don’t have all the ingredients, improvise.

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Cheers!

How to Homeschool With 1 Sick Child (Plus a Great Bread Recipe)

JohnJohn is so sick today, throwing up like he likes to do.  He needs me to hold him, clean him, and cuddle him.  I cannot put him down.  So, I am largely out of commission to actually sit with the older kids as they do “work”.

At the beginning of the day I thought this post would be about how to homeschool with 1 sick child.  There are certainly some things I could share with you that we do that make it easier like 1) picking activities that don’t require mom’s hands or her to sit, or 2) cutting yourself some slack.  Sick days happen.

As the day wore on, though, I realized something important.  We “homeschooled” today just like we “homeschool” every day.

While I definitely prefer my kids healthy, days like this are great reminders that homeschooling isn’t about “helicoptering” a child’s learning.  And it is not about a parent/caretaker being a teacher (although I am hopeful that I teach them a lot).

It’s about giving your kids the tools to learn so that they can do it by themselves.  And then actually letting them do it.

My kids and I all have lists of tasks and activities every “work” day.  Depending on what each day brings, we add to or delete from our task lists.  We prioritize.  And then each of us is expected to get through our work, asking for help as needed and offering help too.

Joseph started the day with what he calls “hedgehog math”.  He grabbed a math workbook, cuddled up next to the fire, and did 9 pages with his beanbag on his back (like a hedgehog).

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Little does he know I only would have asked him to do 4.

Molly asked to bake, which is something we are trying to do at least once a week together.  She’s competent enough to do it mostly on her own so I was able to bustle about with the baby offering help as needed (i.e., putting the pan in the oven).

She opted for King Arthur's Classic White Sandwich Bread.  Easy and delicious.

Is baking the perfect “school subject”? I think so. Baking teaches reading, addition, fractions, economics, chemistry, how to follow directions, nutrition, and patience (this recipe requires 2 hours of time to rise!).
In fact, what doesn’t it teach??

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Here it is, finished.
Molly opted for King Arthur’s Classic White Sandwich Bread.
Make this and you’ll never need to buy bread again.

We’re all still in our pajamas, marching through our lists.  Sometimes together.  Sometimes alone.  Sometimes fast.  Sometimes slow.

And we’re taking lots of breaks for interruptions.  That’s life though, right?  Whether you homeschool or not.

The Smell of Goodness (Banana Bread Style)

We made banana bread this morning.  I don’t even like banana bread (although I will eat it if left no other choice;)).  And I wasn’t sure I would have the patience to let the kids “help”.  Sometimes it is really hard to let my kids make mistakes, even ones that really don’t matter.

I did it anyway.  It took Joseph three tries to crack the egg without getting shells in the bowl and egg all over the counter.

We cleared out the shells and wiped up the mess.  We went back to work mixing, measuring, and adding (the skills one learns from cooking cannot be beat) and then popped the batter in the oven.

30-55 minutes later the world got just a little bit better.

  Banana Bread, Lincoln Roses, and Molly, the best-smelling of my children today

If only Google Nose really existed! Banana Bread, Lincoln Roses, and Molly, the best-smelling of my children today.

Here is the original recipe for Aunt Holly’s Banana Bread, which you can follow exactly and which is awesome.  One bowl!  The kids (or a novice baker) can do everything!  The reviews are very helpful for those interested in changing the recipe.  We modified it like this:

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Chocolate chips (as many as you want!)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Mash the bananas in a bowl.  Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon. Bake in a buttered loaf pan until a toothpick stuck into the bread comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Slice and serve.

P.S. Next to the roses is our apple seedling from last Fall and Joseph’s new Venus Fly Trap.  I’m hoping that last thing wipes out our carpenter ants.