Cucumber-Pear Smoothie

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When I received small pickling cucumbers in my Boston Organics produce delivery, I knew I wouldn’t be making any vinegar-soaked, acidic pickles. Cucumbers aren’t my favorite salad addition, either. But they add a surprising flavor to smoothies without being strong enough to overpower the sweetness of the fruit.

This is one of the more unusual smoothie combinations I’ve tried. Since pineapples and most berries are too low in pH for the low-acid diet, I have to get creative! The cinnamon and ginger were a nice touch here, and the unexpected flavor combo worked for me. Try adding a spoonful of almond butter if you’re looking for a more filling, protein-packed snack.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pickling cucumber (or 1/3 of a normal cucumber)
  • 1 ripe Bartlett pear, cored
  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Peel the cucumber, and use a small spoon to remove the seeds. Roughly chop the cucumber flesh.
  2. Add the cucumber, pear, banana, and milk to a blender or mini-chop. Blend for about a minute until smooth.
  3. Add cinnamon and ginger to taste. Pulse to combine and serve.
Serves 1. Active and total time 5 minutes. Adapted from http://www.queenofquinoa.me/2012/06/cucumber-pear-smoothie/
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Raspberry-Avocado Smoothie

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As is obvious from the lag between blog posts, I haven’t been in the kitchen much this summer. The large box of produce I get delivered every other week from Boston Organics seems to make me cook less; I’ve been eating a lot of simple veggie wraps, salads, and smoothies.

I’ve heard that avocado is delicious in smoothies, but I don’t normally buy high-fat avocados. After getting one in the produce delivery, I experimented with eating a quarter of an avocado at a time. With a relatively low-fat meal, it didn’t cause any heartburn.

To store the rest of the avocado between uses, leave the extra flesh in the skin and wrap the whole thing tightly in plastic wrap. Be sure to push the plastic into empty space in the skin.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 of an avocado
  • 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • dash of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup soy or almond milk
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt OR more banana (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the first 6 ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.
  2. For an extra-thick smoothie, add yogurt or more banana and blend again.

Serves 1. Active and total time 5 minutes. Adapted from http://www.texanerin.com/2012/04/raspberry-banana-avocado-smoothie.html

Raspberry-Cucumber Smoothie

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It’s smoothie season! Spring is finally here in Boston, and I’ve been pulling out my smoothie maker almost every day. During the colder months I missed taking a swig of a cool drink and having it feel refreshing.

Since my discovery that raspberries have a high enough pH for heartburn sufferers, my smoothies have been even more delicious than before. You can improve any smoothie recipe from The Low-Acid Kitchen (except maybe the pumpkin variety) by adding tartness with a few frozen raspberries!

This was my first time adding cucumber to a smoothie, and I love the freshness. It was missing creaminess, though, so I added a few spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt. Yogurt can be acidic due to the fermentation process and the addition of fruit such as strawberry, mango, or lemon—but a few spoonfuls of vanilla won’t cause a problem. It makes a big difference in the texture, though, especially when you want to cut back on the banana to let other flavors shine.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 a cucumber, peeled and seeds removed
  • 3/4 cup almond or soy milk
  • 3 tbsp nonfat vanilla yogurt (dairy, soy, or almond)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender or mini-chop.
  2. Blend until smooth and enjoy! Serve with whole-wheat toast, almond butter, and the other half of the banana to make a full breakfast.
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Serves 1. Active and total time 5 minutes. Adapted from http://www.goodlifeeats.com/2013/10/minty-raspberry-banana-smoothie-vegan.html

Life Alive: The Alchemist Demi Bowl

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I am beyond in love with¬†Life Alive, a vegetarian restaurant and juice bar in Cambridge. The ambiance is pure hippie, with a kale dispenser on the wall and free ukulele performances in the basement. And the food is phenomenal! I don’t know what they put in the sauces, but they make a bowl of vegetables and grains more craveable than I thought it could be.

You can order any dish on the menu over a quinoa mix or as a wrap. Bowls come in regular size and half (demi) size. I recommend the demi bowl if you also want to try something from the juice and smoothie bar. On this visit I had the Thrive Alive, a juice with carrot, apple, and ginger.

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My¬†favorite meal at Life Alive is The Adventurer, but I’ve also enjoyed the Green Goddess. This time I wanted to branch out, so I had The Alchemist: a mix of corn, kale, carrots, sprouted legumes, sesame seeds, and Ginger Nama Shoyu sauce over quinoa. The Ginger Nama Shoyu sauce is by far the best on the menu, but I’ve never had a bad meal here. Everything is flavorful, and I feel energized after ingesting so many vegetables!

As long as you don’t overeat and you avoid the juices with citrus, Life Alive is a restaurant win. I’m sure the sauces contain some garlic, but it’s not overpowering and has never caused me problems. I recommend bringing visitors (who aren’t meat-obsessed) here to give them a food experience they may not expect to find in the Boston area.

Pumpkin Dessert Smoothie

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One can of pumpkin goes a long way when you’re using a few tablespoons here and a half-cup there. Since I opened a can to make granola, I’ve been getting into the fall spirit and experimenting with this ingredient. This smoothie is my most unexpected pumpkin-delivery method so far.

Pumpkin is so creamy that this smoothie tastes like dessert. It’s just as healthy as a normal fruit & veggie smoothie, though, so it’s fair game for breakfast! This recipe keeps in the fridge for a day, so you can split the smoothie into a couple of snacks or desserts.

To make this smoothie more decadent, add vanilla yogurt (dairy, soy, or almond). Then the texture mimics the custard filling of pumpkin pie.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 banana
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vanilla dairy/soy/almond yogurt (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth.

Serves 1 to 2. Adapted from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Acid Reflux Diet, p. 127, “Quick Pumpkin Smoothie”