Recipes: Beverages

Strawberry Rhubarb Mango Smoothie (gluten-free, vegan option)

Strawberry Rhubarb Mango Smoothie

As I write this post, I have sweat dripping down the back of my neck. I know that's not the most hunger-inducing way to start a post on a food blog, but seriously, it's hot in Minneapolis. Like, really hot. In classic Minnesota style, the weather abruptly changed from the cool, damp 50º F range to a sweltering 95º F with 55% humidity, all in about one week. And in fact, right now it is a whopping 101º F! And it will only get more humid from here, and soon, we'll all be sweating the minute we get out of the shower. It is a pretty intense shock to the body to undergo these kind of rapid changes, but that is the reality of living here. We experience a range of about 120º  throughout the year, from bone chilling, paralyzing subzero temperatures to heat and humidity so intense that you feel like you are walking through pea soup. Either it's too cold and too dry, or too hot and too humid, and you hear conversation about it everywhere and anywhere you go! Oh, but those few golden, perfect, glorious days we have in the brief window between the unbearably cold and the unbearably hot make all of it worth it (okay, okay, almost worth it). We're a tough breed here in Minnesota. 

That said, this morning when I woke to my bedroom feeling like a steam room, I had to remind myself out loud that somehow, this heat is still better than feeling like a popsicle. I put on a somewhat work-inappropriate black minidress (dress codes in weather like this lose all meaning to me) and went downstairs to make breakfast. I had absolutely no interest in fried eggs or a bowl of oatmeal. I hardly wanted to eat I was so hot! So, a smoothie seemed appropriate. Searching the freezer and refrigerator, I came up with a smoothie inspired by the foods of early summer in Minnesota, with a tropical twist: fresh rhubarb, fresh strawberries, frozen mango, organic yogurt, hemp oil, and hemp seeds. Creamy, sweet, tart, and most importantly, cold, this smoothie totally rocked my world. It's kind of like a Minnesota-version of a mango lassi! I know adding raw rhubarb to a smoothie sounds goofy, but you'll like it. Go with the flow. 

rhubarb strawberry mango smoothie

Strawberry Rhubarb Mango Smoothie

yield: approximately 3 cups

I used organic yogurt in this smoothie for a blast of probiotic bacteria, a boost of protein and a creamy, rich texture. If you live dairy-free, you still have lots of options for a creamy twist. Feel free to substitute yogurt with a non-dairy yogurt (or non-dairy kefir), of your choosing, such as store-bought varieties of soy, rice, or coconut milk yogurt or kefir (make sure to look at ingredients, most have added sugars or other additives). You could substitute homemade cashew-coconut yogurt (try this recipe, it is great), homemade nut or seed creams (soaked nuts/seeds blended with water), or full fat coconut milk. For a different direction entirely, add 1/2-3/4 cup sliced banana (either room temperature or frozen) in place of yogurt - it won't have the protein content, but it will be creamy, add body to your smoothie, and amp up the "tropical" flavor.

  • 2 cups frozen mango cubes
  • 8 large strawberries, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 1/2-3/4 cup organic cow, goat, or sheep yogurt (or a non-dairy substitute, see italics above for suggestions)
  • 1 tsp hemp oil or flax oil
  • optional: 2 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • water, as needed

Place all ingredients in a blender and add about 1/2 cup water. Blend on high until smooth, adding more water as necessary to reach desired consistency. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a well-sealed jar or bottle for up to 24 hours before serving. 


*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!

Gluten-Free Birthday Party Ideas: making "potions" at a Harry Potter party

Gluten-Free Birthday Party Ideas: making "potions" at a Harry Potter party

a happy child with his "potion"

A few weekends ago, I traveled to Northern Iowa to participate in a cob oven-building workshop. My friends were hosting the workshop at their home and I took advantage of the opportunity to stay the weekend with them and their three kids. One of the highlights of the weekend was participating in their 9-year-old son's Harry Potter-themed birthday party. 

The minute I arrived, my friend told me I was going to be the Potions Master and lead the kids in an activity to make their own smoothies (a.k.a. "potions") from fresh fruits. Awesome! We prepared the fruits before the party and displayed them in trays and bowls. To label each magic ingredient, I drew out the names of each on paper with a water insoluble pen, tore it around the edges, and lightly singed each torn edge to make it look old. We grownups came up with some fun ideas for the "magic" equivalents of common ingredients: 

After the kids finished a rousing game of quidditch, it was time for potions. Each child was given a goblet and instructed to fill it up with their choice of fruit and juice. I put the ingredients the Vitamix with a handful of ice, asking them (in a terrible British accent) to tell me what their magical "potion" will do, then flipped the switch. As it blended, I waved my wand (oh yeah, I had a wand) and made crazy sounds for dramatic effect. Then I poured their "potion" it right back in their goblet. A quick rinse of the blender container, and I was ready for the next one!

dragon hearts and eyes of giant newt

Creamy Hemp Milk (gluten-free, vegan, raw, ACD)d

Creamy Hemp Milk (gluten-free, vegan, raw, ACD)d

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This is my go-to recipe for a quick milk, a simple combination of filtered water, hemp seeds, and chia seeds. Hemp seeds do not contain phytic acid, are easily assimilate by the body, and do not need to be soaked for optimal digestion like other nuts, seeds, grains, and beans. Although you can make this recipe without the chia, including it lends a creamier, thicker consistency and better mouthfeel.  

Blueberry Soaked Oatmeal Smoothie (gluten-free, vegan, ACD, raw

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The secret to this smoothie's magical color is frozen blueberries. Whenever there is an abundance of natural color, there is usually an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other great stuff. This smoothie is no exception, and I feel lucky to have access to such nutritional wealth! And to top it off, the opulent indigo hue makes me feel fancy, like I'm drinking some kind of beverage fit for royalty. 

In addition to the rich color, this smoothie boasts a wonderfully creamy texture, a result of blending the blueberries with soaked steel cut oatmeal and hemp seeds.  Soaking does more than soften the oats for easier blending -  it also breaks down the phytic acid and allows for easier digestion.  Hemp seeds to not contain phytic acid, and are easily assimilate by the body and do not need to be soaked. 

If you've never used hemp seeds, this smoothie is an easy way to start.  For more information about hemp seeds, I recommend reading this post by Food Renegade. According to the post,

Hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids — those building blocks of protein which our body can not manufacture on its own. Flax seed also contains all the essential amino acids, but unlike flax seed, 65% of the protein found in hemp seeds is globulin edistin.  What is globulin edistin? It’s a simple protein that our bodies need to build the immunoglobulins necessary to repel infection. The best way to ensure your body has enough amino acid materials to build these globulins is to eat foods high in globulin proteins.   [see References for source]

Pretty cool, right?  With each sweet sip, you are getting all sorts of things your body needs.  It has a beneficial balance of complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat, and provides bioavailable nutrition that will keep you satisfied. I love this smoothie as a breakfast-on-the-go - as long as you do a little planning ahead the night before to soak your grains and nuts/seeds, it takes mere moments to prepare in a busy morning. It would also make a great recovery drink for after a good exercise routine.

I'm including this recipe in February's SOS Kitchen Challenge, which features stevia. My co-host Ricki and I are encouraging our readers to use stevia in delicious, sugar-free recipes this month. Four lucky participants will receive a stevia prize from NuNaturals, our favorite brand of stevia. 

Each prize contains:

For full Challenge guidelines, please see this post, then check out the Linky below the recipe to enter your recipe in the round-up and be eligible for the giveaway! Good luck, and we can't wait to see what you make with stevia this month. 

This recipe is linked to  Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, written by Amy Green. As a side note, Amy just released her new cookbook and it looks fantastic, so check it out!

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Blueberry Soaked Oatmeal Smoothie

yield: 2 cups 

I use hemp seeds in this smoothie.  Hemp seeds are high in protein, omega fatty acids, and amino acids, and have a nutty, warm flavor that I love. Unlike other nuts and seeds, they do not contain phytic acid, an antinutrient that can inhibit digestion. If you do not like, have or tolerate hemp seeds, feel free to use 2 Tbsp of any other nut or seed, and soak them with the oats to break down the phytic acid and allow for optimal digestion (and creamier blending).

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free steel cut oats, soaked for 6-12 hours in 1 1/2 cups water and 1 tsp raw cider vinegar, raw coconut vinegar, whey, or lemon juice
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 Tbsp finely ground flax seed or chia seed
  • 2 tsp flax oil or hemp oil
  • plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to taste (I like NuNaturals brand)

Place steel cut oats with 1 1/2 cups water and acidic medium in a bowl, cover lightly with a cloth, and let soak for 6-12 hours. Drain and very rinse well.

Place soaked oats and all remaining ingredients in blender, and blend on high until smooth. Sweeten with stevia to taste. Serve immediately,  or refrigerate until ready to serve.

February SOS Kitchen Challenge: Stevia


*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!

Sweet Green Juice (gluten-free, raw, vegan, ACD)

sweet green juice

I love my Vitamix and the wonderful fiber-filled smoothies I make with it, but sometimes I just want juice.  And during those times, I pull out my old hand-me-down juicer and whip up something tasty.  Someday, I will buy a juicer that allows me to juice greens as well as fruits and veggies (I'm rather fond of the Omega and Samson juicers). But in the meantime, my old Juiceman and I are making due. 

Here's a tasty little juice I whipped up this morning. It was lovely; sweet, minerally, tart, and fresh. It was the most lovely, easy, and nourishing way to re-enter the world of food after five days of liquid fasting for Blessed Herbs Colon Cleanse. I loved the cleanse and feel it was very effective, but drinking only vegetable broth and apple juice psyllium drink was getting a little old. Adding in solid food and green juices is a wonderful change. I'll be writing up a full review of my experience with the cleanse soon.

I think you'll like this juice, and it couldn't be easier to make. I like that it isn't terribly sugary, relying mostly on green veggies with a touch of apple. The fruits and vegetables in this juice are not terribly expensive and are easy to find, so it is affordable and easy to shop for. As always, try to use only organic fruits and veggies when you juice. If you have a limited access to organic produce or are on a very limited budget, check out this list for a suggestion of how to prioritize your organic purchases.

Sweet Green Juice

yield: about 4 cups

Use organic produce when juicing if possible!

  • 3 medium apples (I used Braeburn)
  • 3 large celery stalks
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 large cucumber
  • juice from 1 large lemon

Wash all ingredients well. Cut in a size that fits your juicer's feeder tube.  Remove rind from lemon if putting in the juicer, or if your juicer doesn't handle citrus well (like mine), juice manually with a citrus reamer and reserve juice.  Run everything through the juicer. If you juiced the lemon manually, add to the juice and mix in. Serve immediately, or chill until ready to drink. 


*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!