When I opened my refrigerator the other day, I was greeted by an abundance of fresh herbs. My garden is thriving, and producing more herbs than I can possibly use! My tarragon and savory are both over 2 feet high. My basil plants are on track to be small bushes. And my thyme, rosemary, parsley and lemon balm are growing very nicely, yielding plenty for frequent harvests. I've been adding herbs to salads and sauces, throwing them in smoothies and soups, and adding them to cooked meats and roasted vegetables. Oh, herbs, beautiful herbs! I had never grown lemon balm before, and am really excited to try using it different ways.
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family, and has been traditionally valued for its sedative, anti-spasmodic, and naturally anti-bacterial properties. It can be prepared as a tincture, an essential oil, a tea, or an injection. It used to treat a variety of autoimmune diseases as well as thyroid issues, amenorrhea, anxiety, and viral infections.
Since I had it, I decided to just throw the whole darn bunch right in the blender. Its light, bright hint-o-lemon flavor complimented the sweetness of the apple and cucumber, and balanced the bitterness of the kale. For an extra boost of protein, I added a blob of homemade sunflower seed butter, which added a nice, toasty flavor. As usual, I included protein powder; feel free to omit if you don't want it!
LEMON BALM-APPLE-KALE-CUCUMBER SMOOTHIE (gluten free, vegan)
1 Granny Smith apple
3-4 inch chunk cucumber, seeded
4 kale leaves
1 large handful fresh lemon balm
1 blob sunflower seed butter
1 T flax meal
1-2 scoops protein powder of choice (I use a rice-based powder)
1-3 tsp cod liver oil, flax seed oil, coconut oil, or mix
- Wash all fruits and vegetables, coarsely chop, and place in blender with additional ingredients.
- Blend on high until smooth.
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