Tag Archives: healthy

Creamy Coconut Milk Quinoa Pudding

I hope your week is off to a good start.  We started with a bit of rain this morning but the sun is shining which means I will take my furry friend Lucy for a walk shortly.  I love taking Lucy for a stroll during the day–she’s a good friend and walking buddy! Here’s she is enjoying some lake time this summer!IMG_8797

Summertime takes me out of my kitchen a bit….I am too busy outside enjoying the weather but…

I have been experimented with quinoa in a variety of different recipes.  Last week, I made a creamy quinoa pudding out of light coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla bean paste.

I added a dollop of whipped cream (the real stuff) and a few fresh local organic blueberries.

photo-36

I started with a tri-color quinoa that I soaked and drained to remove the bitter saponins on the outside of the quinoa grain.

I boiled the the coconut milk and added the quinoa and then simmered for about 30 minutes.  Stirring occasionally until a creamy pudding consistency.  Don’t overcook or it will be too dry and not very ‘pudding-like”.

I popped the mixture in the refrigerator and when it was cooled, enjoyed this yumminess as an afternoon snack. Quinoa (pronounced: keen-wah) is a great gluten free, magnesium and fiber rich grain.

YUM!

Creamy Coconut Milk Quinoa Pudding

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa (red, white, tri-color), drain and rinse
  • 1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • Garnish: 1 Tablespoon whipped cream and fresh blueberries

Instructions

  1. Bring coconut milk and quinoa in small sauce pan to boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low, add in maple syrup and vanilla and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes until mixture is creamy and pudding light consistency.
  3. Place mixture in bowl in refrigerator to cool down, a couple hours.
  4. Serve about 1/2 -3/4 cup serving of pudding in small dish.
  5. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and handful of fresh blueberries.
  6. Add some almond slices or walnuts if desired, 1 Tablespoon, chopped.
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Carrot, Banana & Kale FODMAP-friendly muffins

I slipped in a secret ingredient in my muffins this week.  Guess what it is?

Kale!

I know what you must be thinking… but really, most people love carrot cake and  zucchini bread…and these are sweet treats made with vegetables.  So, I say, give kale a chance!

I didn’t go crazy with the kale, just add some finely sliced kale to boost the nutrition in my muffins.

My first go around with this recipe was a fail.  Not a complete fail, I mean, I ate at least 2 of the muffins…but not good enough to post about it.   But…I think I got it right this time.

I know it’s a bit out there for some people to eat kale never mind put it into a muffin recipe…but sometimes you really do need to step out of your box, right?

I substituted in some quinoa flake cereal for some of the flour in this recipe.  Ancient Harvest makes quinoa flakes which you can also use to make a hot creamy breakfast cereal.  The quinoa flakes look like this…quinoa flakes

I tossed some almonds with cinnamon and sugar and put a bit of this mixture on top of the muffins before baking. Mmmmmm…nuts and cinnamonCheck out these babies…muffins in tin

Yup. So. Good.kale muffins done

 

Carrot, Banana & Kale FODMAP-friendly muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas, extra ripe and mashed
  • 2 Tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup Quinoa Flakes (I used Ancient Harvest brand)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Cinnamon, a few dashes
  • 1 cup finely chopped kale leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare 12 muffin tins with liners
  3. In medium mixing bowl, add bananas, maple syrup, eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla and water mixing to blend.
  4. Add in quinoa flakes, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and a good dash of cinnamon (1/2 teapsoon or so) and gently blend ingredients.
  5. Fold in kale and carrots.
  6. Fill muffins liners about 3/4 full.
  7. Mix almonds with sugar and a dash of cinnamon and sprinkle the top of each muffin with a little of this mixture.
  8. Bake for about 12 minutes.
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Slow Cooker Stir-less Risotto

I love risotto but cooking it can be cumbersome.  The process requires constant stirring and the addition of  hot broth every second–or maybe it just seems that way– and sometimes, I simply don’t have the time to spend over the stove.

That is why, I love my slow cooker.

Simple add your favorite risotto ingredients and slow cook while you run around picking up kids, get a walk in with the dog, create a blog post…or at least that is what I will be doing. :)  With just one child left living at home… I still find I am busy, especially at the dinner hour.

Risotto is made with arborio rice.  This rice has high starch kernels that are white, short and fatter than most short-grain rices.  The increased starch content lends itself to a finished creamy textured rice dish.  What’s not to love about that!

This recipe is easy and yummy and can be adapted to your own concoction by  adding in your family favorites–peas and chunks of ham, chicken sausage, shrimp, caramelized butternut squash and spinach, kale, golden raisins and toasted pine nuts….you can get fancy or keep it simple. And of course, FODMAPers, choose your add ins according to your own tolerance.

I saute a bit of oil with fresh garlic.  [FODMAPers remove the garlic after you infuse flavor]. Carefully add the oil right in the crockpot, and add in some chopped basil leaves. Love fresh basil!

Add some chicken or veggie broth[FODMAP followers use homemade] and white wine [can omit wine if you want-just up the broth] and put on high for about 2  hours.

Just prior to serving toss in cooked meats, if desired–shredded chicken,diced ham chunks, sautéed shrimp. And add in some favorite leafy greens or peas–just to wilt or lightly cook up.

Garnish with fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese–expensive but OH>>>so tasty. This Italian Parmesan cheese has a granular texture that simply melts in your mouth and adds a savory finish to the risotto.

And of course you can always toss more fresh basil or chopped chives for a flavorful garnish.

Here’s a peek of my spinach risotto–simply make the basic risotto and add in chopped fresh baby spinach.  YUM!

I also experimented with a kale, raisins and pine nuts mixture.

{Kale has not yet been tested FODMAPers}

I just tossed in some chopped kale, raisins, and toasted pine nuts on top of the almost cooked risotto and let simmer for about 2-3 minutes.

Get creative people!  I know you can!

But before I let you go, I have a give-a-way for my FODMAP followers.  I just received a 3rd edition Monash University low FODMAP diet booklet to give-a-way!

One lucky winner will be randomly picked! Just provide a comment about what types of recipes you are hoping to see on the blog.  I need your help for some creative inspiration!

And on another important note:  The Kate Klim CD winner is Nan!  Thanks for providing a nice comment about how you spend quality quiet time with those you love!  Love it!

Here’s the basic risotto recipe for YOU!

Slow Cooker Stir-less Risotto

Ingredients

  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut in slivers
  • 1 1/4 cup arborio rice
  • Splash white wine (about 2 TB)
  • 2, 14.5 oz cans chicken broth [FODMAP followers use 3 3/4 cup homemade chicken broth}
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • ADD ins of choice: 2 cups fresh spinach {FODMAP friendly}
  • OR 1 cup chopped Kale, 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts {not sure about FODMAP content of kale; limit raisins to 1 TB per serving}
  • OR Ham chunks and peas {FODMAP followers limit peas to 1/3 cup/ serving}

Instructions

  1. In medium size saucepan, add oil and garlic over medium heat to infuse garlic flavor. {FODMAP followers remove garlic}
  2. Add oil to crockpot carefully and add in chopped basil.
  3. Add in rice and mix to cover rice in oil mixture.
  4. Add in wine and broth. If not using wine, add 2 TB water or a bit more broth.
  5. Cook on high for about 2 hours or until rice looks creamy-not dry. DO NOT overcook or rice will become mushy.
  6. Add in cooked meats or green vegetables--just to warm up and blanch--about 2-3 minutes.
  7. Garnish with a generous amount of finely grated Parmesan cheese, chives and/or basil --if desired.
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Mediterranean Salad with Feta

I whipped up a pasta salad for a family picnic this past weekend but while I was chopping and dicing the vegetables to mix in with the pasta, I realized that I really liked the vegetable mixture all on it’s own.  A nice refreshing blend of summer veggies with a lemon dill dressing and topped with savory feta….and thought this would make a great recipe to share with you.

This Mediterranean Salad can be eaten as is, topped on grilled fish or chicken or tossed into your favorite pasta or rice to make a delicious summer salad.  Whatever way you choose, this mixture is quite dee—lish. The stars of this simple chopped salad are grape tomatoes, a yellow pepper and parsley.

Start with some chopped fresh curly parsley.

Dice up a nice bright yellow bell pepper.

Toss in a farmstand-fresh cucumber if you have it.  Today I grabbed one at the market but went organic.

Add the diced cucumber to the chopped salad ingredients.

Create a simple dressing of freshly juiced lemon, olive oil and some salt and pepper.  Mix it up with some feta, if desired.  I always desire feta.

Garnish with a bit of fresh or dried dill.

What more would you want?  Well, perhaps some toasted walnuts or pine nuts would make it a bit more interesting….and I do like to add some kalamata olives too. 

Mediterranean Salad with Feta (FODMAP friendly)

Ingredients

  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut tomatoes in half
  • 1 yellow pepper, trimmed, de-seeded and diced
  • 1 cup curly parsley, washed and diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 large lemon juiced (about 1/4 cup juice)
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • optional add ins: 1/4 cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts to garnish top of salad (YUM!) and/or 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives chopped and/or 1 TB chopped chives

Instructions

  1. Mix veggies and drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper mixing to infuse dressing.
  2. Sprinkle with dill and feta.
  3. If, desired, add 1/4 cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts, kalamata olives and chives on top as garnish.
  4. Serve as side salad, as salsa to grilled fish or chicken, or toss with your favorite rice or pasta to create a flavorful summer salad. (FODMAP followers use gluten free pasta)
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Hope your week is going GREAT!

Homemade Trail Mix

Hope you enjoyed the weekend!  We visited with our extended family in New Hampshire and enjoyed a little lake time.  I love watching the kids hanging out together…even though they don’t see each other that often, they re-connect like no time has been lost.

We finished our evening with a campfire…we experimented with a few different marshmallows…toasted coconut was the group favorite. It’s the little things in life, right?

Gearing up for the week, I mixed up a little trail mix that I can grab and go on the run.

Let’s face it, we our a generation on the move.

Personally, I like to pack a few snacks with me at all times…I hate being hungry ( perhaps I get a little cranky :)) and I don’t typically like the options available at convenience stores, the airport etc. and I’m really kind of a picky eater.

So I whipped together this quick ‘trail mix’ that I can bring with me to my office and when I am on the go.

YOU can definitively get creative with this recipe and create a mixture of  goodies.

I made my trail mix with banana chips, pretzels, pumpkin seeds and a smattering of dark chocolate chips.

Storing the mixture in a mason jar will keep it fresh for the week.  This makes a great little mixture to pack in your kid’s brown bag lunch too!

I hope you enjoy the week ahead! And here’s a thought about joy and happiness for the start of the week…

Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Homemade trail mix (FODMAP friendly)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pretzel sticks (FODMAP followers use Snyders gluten free pretzels)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (Chocolate remains untested for FODMAPs so try small amounts to assess tolerance)
  • 1/2 cup banana chips

Instructions

  1. Mix and store in mason jar and enjoy as desired.
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Sweet Teriyaki Chicken Salad with Grapes

Every summer we try to visit Saratoga Springs, NY and connect with our dear friends, Neil and Dianna.  Dianna and I go way back to our dietetic internship days at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

One visit Dianna packed a picnic lunch with chicken salad sandwiches that were outrageously good.  I remember she started with a grilled teriyaki chicken breast and added some grapes [YUM] so I decided to re-create the recipe today.

First I whipped up a homemade teriyaki sauce.  I decided to add some fresh pineapple to my sauce.

In my Ninja-blender that Russ purchased for me :), I whirled a bit of pineapple, soy sauce, sesame oil, minced ginger and brown sugar.  Then I cut some chicken breasts in half to make them thinner for quicker cooking and covered them with my homemade teriyaki sauce.  I allowed the chicken to marinate in the fridge while I headed to visit with a few clients in my nutrition consultation practice. [Yes, I was whirling marinade at 7 AM in the morning!]

When I returned home, I was so happy to find Chelsea and Russ grilling up the chicken.

I purposely marinated extra chicken so that we could use half for our evening dinner, and use the extra to make chicken salad. Tonight we ate the chicken with a side of my Tomato Lime Quinoa recipe!  Deelish.

After dinner, I diced up the extra chicken to make the chicken salad.  I like the sweet and salty combo of teriyaki, grapes and a scallions.

What a delicious way to use extra chicken.  Mmmmmm…..

I added green grapes because that is what we had in our crisper, but red grapes add nice color too!

Sweet Teriyaki Chicken Salad with Grapes (FODMAPs friendly)

Ingredients

  • 2 full chicken breasts, cut in half to create thinner cutlets
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 15-20 grapes, cut in 1/4's
  • 2 scallions (FODMAP followers use green part only)
  • 2 TB Mayonnaise (I use Hellmann's light)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in medium size glass or ceramic casserole dish or bowl.
  2. Blend soy sauce, pineapple, ginger, sesame oil and brown sugar in blender.
  3. Add water to mixture and drizzle over chicken, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight or for several hours to marinate.
  4. Prepare grill when chicken is fully marinated, and grill until thoroughly cooked.
  5. Set chicken in refrigerator to cool down a bit for about 5-10 minutes, then slice into bite size chunks. In bowl place chicken, grapes, scallions and mayonnaise and blend.
  6. Season to desired taste.
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Cooking School

This past week, I joined my sister Dee in Miami!

Dee was the recipient of the President’s Award from her employer which included an all expense paid trip to Florida.  This was a very prestigious award and the company provided 4 days of the royal treatment.  The best part… I was invited as Dee’s guest!  Yes, I am one lucky sister!

We had the luxury to select two excursions as part of our experience in Miami.  My top choice was to enroll in a culinary class at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, a beautiful and historic landmark in Southern Florida.  The cooking class was a kick and exceeded my expectations.  I love cooking and hoped to learn a new trick or two.  Our fabulous teacher and chef was Jeannette Stefan-Ozga… here she is with my sister Dee!

There were about 15 of us present for the class and we were divided into 4 groups: Team Spring Roll, Team Crab Cake, Team Asparagus and Team Tuna.  I really wanted to be on Team Spring Roll as I had never cooked anything using spring roll wrappers.  Plus, I was intrigued by the recipe! 

Here I am with my teammates.  Team Spring Roll rocks!  We worked very well together and made a mean spring roll. Check these beauties out….

For those of you on a gluten free diet or low FODMAP diet, these rice spring roll wrappers are a wonderful way to enjoy an Asian style spring roll without wheat.

Team Crab Cake made an amazing crab cake, which was crispy on the outside and light, fluffy and flavor-infused on the inside.  To create this great texture, the crab cake mixture was dipped in flour, egg and finally the breadcrumb mixture and then cooked up in a skillet with oil. [Unfortunately not FODMAP friendly :( ]

Dee was on Team Asparagus, here they are… They sure like they are having fun, right? 

Team Asparagus made a delightful phyllo dough asparagus dish with parmesan and prosciutto.  Here the rolled asparagus awaits their trip to the oven.

My sister Dee and her teammates did a wonderful job plating their phyllo dough rolled asparagus…beautiful, right?

One of the little tricks we learned in class was how to curl up sliced scallions and turn them into little curly-Q’s.… cut scallions in small strips and drop into ice water.  The small green threads curl right up.  Adding the curly-Q’s onto your plate for decoration looks very cute!

Here is our  GREAT group…we had so much fun! 

NOW that I am back home with my family (Yay, I missed everyone!) and I now know how to use rice spring roll wrappers, I thought I would create a heartier spring roll.  My daughter Chelsea was home thankfully so she gave me a hand with this project.

First we used this little gadget to julienne cut the veggies, this is simply called a  julienne peeler. I learned how to properly use one of these gadgets at my cooking class!

I cut up some carrots, cucumber and summer squash.  To infuse color into the spring roll, use primary the julienned skin of the summer squash and cucumber rather than the mushy white center. [I learned this trick at my cooking class too!]

Then I briefly marinated some chicken breast and cooked it up with some Asian seasonings and sesame seeds.  Whipped up some rice stick noodles and then hydrated the spring roll skin in hot water which just takes a minute. Here Chelsea is about ready to roll the cooked chicken, noodles and veggies…

How deelish does this spring roll look?….YUM!

Here’s my recipe!

Asian Salad and Sesame Chicken Spring Roll [FODMAP-friendly]

Ingredients

  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced in 10 even strips
  • 2 TB and 1 tsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1-2 tsp sesame seeds (I used a mix of black and white)
  • 1 TB peanut oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and ends trimmed
  • 1/2 English cucumber, end trimmed
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash
  • 3 TB fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 oz rice sticks (about 1/3 of 8 oz container) [I used kitchen scissors to cut out portion of noodles I needed and reserved the rest for another recipe.]
  • 10 spring roll wrappers

Instructions

  1. Marinate chicken by placing strips in small glass bowl and drizzle with 1 TB reduced sodium soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp ginger and sesame seeds. Set aside to marinate for about 15 minutes.
  2. Julienne carrots, cucumber and summer squash keeping each vegetable separate-slicing primarily outer skin, not mushy center using julienne peeler.
  3. Add peanut oil to medium skillet over medium heat. Lift chicken out of marinade with fork to allow marinade to fall back into bowl. Add chicken carefully to skillet. Cook until chicken is cooked through about 6-8 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Make dressing for carrots by mixing 2 TB cilantro, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp rice wine vinegar and 1/2 tsp sesame oil. Drizzle over julienned carrots in small bowl.
  5. In large saucepan, boil water in preparation for rice sticks. Cook according to package directions.
  6. Drizzle 2 tsp. sesame oil over noodles and set aside.
  7. Hydrate spring roll wrappers by adding individually to large bowl filled with very warm-hot water. Remove from water when fully pliable and place on plastic cutting board.
  8. Place chicken, noodles and veggies near edge of wrapper and roll up burrito-style.
  9. Create light dipping sauce with remaining 1 TB soy sauce, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp rice wine vinegar and sprinkling of cilantro to taste.
  10. Cut spring rolls on diagonal and enjoy.
  11. (Recipe based on the Biltmore's Vietnamese Summer Roll recipe)
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Weigh to GO! Nutrition Services

Who wouldn’t want 2 registered dietitians to come into their home and teach you how to cook a wonderfully healthy family meal?

Meet Liz and Jeanne…of  Weigh to Go! Nutrition Services.  Weigh to Go, a Massachusetts area service, offers in home cooking classes- teaching basic cooking skills or menu planning for someone with a specialized dietary requirements, think…allergies or celiac disease or perhaps just an family that wants to eat healthier.  Not only do these two enthusiastic culinary talents provide personalized cooking instruction in your own home, they also take the show on the road and provide corporate workshops as well. Check out this deelish dish…

Have a few girlfriends interested in learning how to cook a healthy meal, invite Weigh to Go and have a cooking party!

For more info, contact Liz and Jeanne at info@weightogons.com or check out there site here!  Fees vary so best to consult with them directly to design your personalized menu.

And FODMAP followers, this crew can help you cook up some tasty belly friendly dishes too!


 
smoothie

Blueberry Kiwi Minty Groovy Smoothie

I am into smoothies lately so I decided to post another recipe. I love concocting all types of smoothies adding fresh herbs (mint, parsley and basil), various fruits and sometimes yogurt for some healthy probiotics and a protein boost.

Todays concoction….a Blueberry Kiwi Minty smoothie which was totally scrumtrulescent if I do say so myself!

Recently our blender broke….perhaps too many smoothies overworked the poor thing.  So, Russ decided he and my son Brennan would pick up a new blender.  And what blender did the get?

They picked up a blender called the Ninja!  Does that sound like something 2 boys/men would buy? Well, yes, of course it does! Ha! It does not simply have one blade in the bottom of the blender like traditional blenders… NO… this blender has a whole row of blades…it is serious stuff.

I am a bit technically challenged.  So, at first I hated the new blender. Why?  Because it requires details in setting it up to work.  1) It has to be sitting on the base –just so- 2) the top has to be aligned–just so–3) and honestly, I am way too busy for these details!  But, the good news is I now know how to use it properly and LOVE it! It’s so strong, I think it would blend rocks.

So my Ninja made a nice smoothie for me today….First, I grabbed a kiwifruit.

Do you like kiwifruit?  I do.  They taste like sweet tarts…sweet and tangy all in one.

I also added mint to the mix. I  have mint sprouting rampantly in my garden.  And I love the fresh taste it adds to recipes.

Here’s the mixture in my NEW NINJA mixer!  Thanks Russ and Brennan!!I had some frozen blueberries and a small scoop of Greek yogurt, so tossed them in with the other ingredients.

Blueberries are a rich source of antioxidants, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), blueberries are near the top when it comes to antioxidant activity per serving, a rich source of Vitamin C and manganese (important for bone development), plus are low in calories and a great source of fiber.  Kiwifruit provides a nice dose of Vitamin C and potassium! Blending these nutrient rich fruits together with the yogurt, rich in calcium and protein, my body is gratefully nourished.

Blueberry Kiwi Minty Groovy Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 small kiwifruit (peeled)
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (sub in lactose free yogurt if on low FODMAP diet)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 fresh mint leaves

Instructions

  1. Blend away to a creamy texture. Enjoy!
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It’s best to drink this smoothie right away as kiwi has protein degrading enzymes that will make the smoothie gloppy is you wait too long to drink!