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Not Your Usual St. Patrick's Drinks

by Kitty Kaufman
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green 4Just a year ago, Barbara Hebert and I were sitting on her stoop in what passes for early spring in New England. I was nursing a cold and she'd just made me a get-well drink. (I didn't know what was coming so I had a tuna sandwich at home first.) It was bright green and it certainly looked healthy and surprise, it tasted better than you think. I didn't know it then but I was hooked.

By way of introduction, Barbara's a health coach; we've been eating our way through kale, collards, chard, spinach, tons of celery, salad greens, cranberries, blueberries in and out of season, onions, mushrooms, lentils and beans of every description.

The ANDI system, aggregate nutrient density index, rates food from 1 to 1,000 evaluating its vitamins and minerals. For example, collards, kale and watercress come in at 1,000; spinach is at 740 and arugula's 560.

For the very green cocktails here, go organic and fresh over frozen, although frozen fruit works fine. We whipped these up on a Friday night. Although it's March, we are digging out from a foot of snow earlier and we were smarter this time to outsource the photos to Mr. J.

 

green 6Smoothie for Beginners
1 ripe banana, chunked
½ cup organic baby spinach, cut up
½ cup organic arugula, cut up
1 cup water

Into the blender goes the banana, then add the greens, then water. Blend until it's uniform. Yield: 2 servings. For St. Patrick's Day pour into a frosted beer mug. Garnish with celery stalk and holiday umbrella.

Yours will be different depending on the banana's size and ripeness which also gives it the froth. Once it's poured you'll notice it resembles an archeological dig with layers. Like arugula? Here it acts to cut the fruit's sweetness. We like fresh bunches of arugula along with Olivia's baby spinach in the box sold at markets like Whole Foods. Adjust the recipe to your taste with more or less water and greens. This one's my favorite although I've been wondering if I'm up to the challenge of watercress.

Green Machine
2 short stalks organic celery cut up, leaves included
1 cup organic arugula, cut up
1 cup organic baby spinach, cut up
1 cup water
1 cup frozen mango chunks
2 tablespoons Bob's Red Mill whole golden flax seeds, finely ground
Lemon garnish

Blend everything, except the seeds. Add seeds and blend again. Your drink is bright green, kind of what we imagine Ireland is like in spring. It's smooth, full-bodied and silky with lots of depth from the flax. Why do we add flax? It helps you better absorb green nutrients and it's loaded with omega-3s. As you can see, the more you experiment, the more interesting the drinks. While the green machine is similar to the beginner with arugula and spinach, it's more nutritional with flax seed. It's also a lot thicker. Pour into a frosted beer glass. Yield: 2-4 servings.

Barbara says, "Some people drink cocktails and of course, I like wine. For me, this is comfort food." (It was so comforting she was too full to eat dinner.) Organic greens are detoxifying. If you need a reason, think of them as tonic after heavy winter foods." And yes, they are energizing. You notice a subtle difference when you miss a day. When I first started having them, someone asked if I thought about using broccoli. Not really. Stick with leafy greens since they blend nicely and they help build bones and boost your immune system. See more @ Healthy-Impact http://www.healthy-impact.com - - Photos by Mr. J.

 

Kitty Kaufman is a writer based in Boston. See more of her food adventures @ Corporate Edge http://www.corp-edge.com

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