Hippocrates lived around 460 B.C.; amazing isn’t that we still haven’t learned this lesson – at least I always need to keep reminding myself! One thing I do right is to make Green Smoothies on a Budget.
“Let Food be thy Medicine, and Medicine be thy Food.”
I start off nearly every morning with a green smoothie – some hopeful family members call Green Smoothies “tongue in cheek” Shamrock Shakes. In my mind, Green Smoothies are “Pond Scum” and here’s why:
I make no attempt to make my Green Smoothies on a Budget taste good. I chug them down like the medicine they are. If there is an ingredient that seems like flavoring, don’t be deceived: any flavor is incidental. Things like cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and citrus are in my Green Smoothie for health reasons only.
When I started drinking green smoothies, I was a little horrified at the expense! I was following the little instructions that came with my blender, peeling things and so on. It took about two days to realize that what I normally tossed or composted would be put to better use by feeding me!
Just because a piece or part of a vegetable or fruit isn’t attractive to eat or serve doesn’t mean it is any less nutritious than the rest of it. Most of what we discard is just as rich in vitamins, nutrients, and fiber, and some of it more nutrient dense, than the parts we eat. Citrus peels & pineapple cores, for example.
I’ve also learned to toss in any leftovers that I think will just sit in the fridge, the water they’re cooked in or bits of sauces or salsas. If I have four Brussels sprouts or a dab of pesto or anything else I know from experience might languish in the fridge, it’s a prime candidate for my blender.
As long as it’s good for you and not used for something else, the majority of my food waste gets recycled in my Big, Fat Green Smoothies. The rest I normally compost, though admittedly, I’ve been really lax about composting since I got back home from the folk’s house where I was helping them out in South Dakota.
Other ways I cut kitchen waste in addition to Green Smoothies on a Budget
If you’ve spent time with me here on my site, you know I live frugally and dislike waste! It makes me cray cray. I have pages of ideas on how to use leftovers (see the sidebar to the right),
I make Spa Water from bits of fruit & some veggie peelings, and save several items, peels from garlic, onions, parts of celery that most discard and use along with chicken bones for my lovely Chicken Stock.
More recently, I’ve been using the tops of radishes, carrots, and beets in Pesto. I happen to have become a pretty big fan of making simple refrigerator or other pickles and marinating vegetables. Both methods can buy you time so a veggie isn’t wasted & turn them into home-made versions of expensive store-bought specialty items.
Check my lists under the recipe, below, to see what does & doesn’t go in my green smoothies!
My Big, Fat, Green Smoothies – on a budget
My Green Smoothies might not taste great but they’re going to be one of the most nutritional, power-packed green smoothies you’ve ever had. Here’s an outline of how I make them. See my post for details.
- Greens, any kind, a big handful
- Kitchen scraps as outlined
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon or turmeric
- 1/2″ knob of ginger, unpeeled
- 1/2 citrus fruit or 2 citrus peels
- 1 or 2 mushrooms or a few stem ends
- Liquid of choice
- Ice if desired
The base of my Big Fat Green Smoothies is almost always some kind of green: kale, spinach, Swiss chard. I take my blender cup and add a big handful. Then I fill it up with whatever I’ve saved throughout the day, whatever leftover scraps I have from cooking, well washed of course.
I usually add a 1/2″ piece of ginger (peel and all), a teaspoon of cinnamon or turmeric, 1/2 of a citrus fruit, unless I’m using leftover rinds. I’ll add a mushroom or two or a bit of tomato unless I already have scraps to use.
The next morning, in goes my liquid of choice: water, cooking liquid, green tea, whey if I have it, maybe yogurt and if there’s room, a little ice. The cold helps to dull the flavors. Then I blend it.
What I save for Green Smoothies on a Budget
- Any stems from healthy greens that I’m not using in cooking.
- Dried kale or other greens that I’ve dehydrated.
- Pieces, skins and/or seeds of tomato, but not stems or leaves.
- Peelings and ends of broccoli.
- Stems cut off mushrooms.
- Core of cabbage or cauliflower.
- Citrus that has been juiced.
- Leaves and stems from any greens or herbs (I save some parsley and cilantro in my freezer for soups)
- The skin of kiwis, apple, pear, peaches, etc., unless I am using them for Spa Water.
- The core of pineapple, which is the most nutrient dense part, but not the skins.
- Beet greens and stems, unless I’m using the leaves for pesto.
- Radish pieces and leaves, unless I’m using the leaves for pesto.
- Carrot stems and leaves, unless I’m using the leaves for pesto.
- Just about any fruit or vegetable that I happen to be using will be likely to contribute something to my green smoothie unless it’s on the list below.
- Leftover vegetables and sauces.
- Cooking water from vegetables.
- Peelings from Ginger.
- Nut butter.
- If in any doubt that a portion of a fruit or vegetable is not ingestible, look it up!
There are a few things that don’t go in my Green Smoothies on a Budget
- Pits or seeds that might be dangerous or not good to eat, like the seeds of cherries and apricots, plums, and apples, as well as pits and seeds that aren’t blendable. I avoid all pits and seeds just so I don’t have to remember what is what, with the exception of celery and tomato and melon.
- Potato or sweet potato skins; they go in the compost.
- Parts of lettuce that aren’t used (too little nutritional value to make it worthwhile, so it would displace other more important vegetables.) Compost.
- Celery, carrot, and onion that I save for soup.
- Fruit or vegetable peelings that I love in my Spa Water. One is cucumber, the rest is usually fruit or berries.
- Parts or pieces of vegetables or fruits that are rotten.
- Parts of items that are waxed, although the wax probably wouldn’t cause harm.
- Seeds and stems from Bell Peppers or Hot Peppers – The stems don’t blend well, and of the seeds, the first is extremely bitter, the second, awfully hot. They go in compost unless I’m drying the hot seeds to use in recipes.
- Parts of peppers that aren’t used in a recipe – like a bit around the stem – I usually chop it up to flavor cream cheese for spreads or toss in salads.
- Apple Cores: they just get awfully nasty, and the seeds can form cyanide in the digestive tract: they go in the compost.
- Melon rinds: I don’t usually save or blend, they would displace much of the other items in my smoothies. I may add a bit of watermelon rind, and use some for Spa Water, and compost the rest unless I happen to be making watermelon pickles.
- Banana Peels: they absorb lots of chemicals, so unless it’s organic, I don’t bother blending them – they go in the compost.
- Stems of tomatoes, which contain an unsavory chemical.
- Rhubarb leaves, which are poisonous.
- If in any doubt that a portion of a fruit or vegetable is not ingestible, look it up!
Here are things that almost NEVER go in my Green Smoothies on a Budget
- Commercial Fruit Juices
- Protein Powders that are full of chemicals
- Weird “power” or “healthy” formulations
- Anything Chemical
- Most Dairy, sometimes I add whey when I make yogurt or cheese
- Soy, although this is a personal choice
- Large amounts of fruit – maybe a few peels
- Any sweetener, whether real or man-made, in whatever form. I think that covers it all…stevia, agave, maple syrup, white, brown, turbinado, palm. I just suck it up and drink it!
- Any dried fruit: dates, raisins, etc.
- Trendy and expensive items that may become all the rage, but may not be well thought out additions: Flaxseed, high in Omega 6, is a perfect example.
Here’s what I Mix my Green Smoothies with:
- If I happen to have it around, I may use some of the whey left over from my yogurt in my smoothie. Sometimes I add a little yogurt.
- Sometimes I’ll use green tea.
- If I think to save it, the water I’ve steamed my vegetables in.
- Usually, I use plain old water.
- Sometimes I add a few ice cubes – the cold helps to dull the taste a bit.
More about my Green Smoothies on a Budget
My Green Smoothies are plain, simple, wholesome and good for you, but fair warning: they taste pretty awful.
- The spices and mushrooms are chosen because of their great anti-inflammatory properties.
- Because the amounts I make may vary in volume, if I have any left over, I’ll put it in the fridge in one of my favorite screw top jars.
- I’ve recently started drying kale and other healthy greens to add to my green smoothies. Buy (or grow) in the summer, dry to use all winter long.
I’ve heard a few things:
- Kale is best a few minutes after being blended, so don’t drink immediately, but wait five minutes. See the link from the World’s Healthiest Foods.
- I’ve also heard that green smoothies are best used within 20 minutes. For me…well, drinking one that’s been refrigerated is better than not drinking one at all. If it’s there and at the ready, I will drink it.
So how about you guys? Does anyone out there have great tips on what to add to their green smoothies on a budget and how to keep costs reasonable?