On Eating Local + Layered Smoothie

In my previous blog and Instagram posts, I've dropped here and there little tidbits about eating local and seasonal whenever possible. Here are my consolidated thoughts, and a recipe for a layered smoothie! I somehow have managed to not post a single smoothie in the almost two years I've had this blog... but alas, this balmy April weather is calling for it. On top of this, Seal the Seasons was kind enough to give me a free bag of their frozen produce! They are a local startup that flash-freezes local, North Carolina grown produce right when they're in season. Flash-frozen fruits and vegetables tend to retain the same nutrients present in fresh fruits and vegetables (and often test higher in nutrient content), which is a perfect reason to incorporate them into your cooking wherever they fit. In addition, frozen fruits and vegetables are available all year round! Consuming them allows you to diversify your diet in off-seasons and helps you maintain a well-balanced eating pattern. I personally love to appreciate the texture and flavor of fresh produce, but I also love to incorporate frozen fruits in my smoothies or yogurt, and am quite fond of steaming frozen vegetables.

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What's also great about Seal the Seasons is their support of local agriculture. As a consumer, I find that one of the best ways to invest in the community I live in is to buy food grown locally. There are different definitions for what "local" really means, but for me, I interpret it as anything grown or raised in North Carolina. Not only does eating local allow me to support the local economy, but it is often (definitely not always, do what you can!) more affordable because less money is spent on packing and shipping the food across long distances. Because it has traveled less, the food tastes SO much fresher. It has also taken less energy to produce! All around, eating local when I can is better for the environment, better for the local economy, and better for my taste buds. Local food can be found anywhere from the supermarket, the farmer's market and the local co-op grocery store, to restaurants and coffee shops. Local food is often advertised, and you can always check the label or ask for help.

So, on to the food-making! While I do try to eat a lot of local food, it'd be a little over the top to ONLY eat local. It's all about balance. In this combo smoothie, I incorporate some local ingredients and a few non-local ones for flavor and texture.

Let's start with smoothie #1: Green Drank. Jk... idk what to call it, but it's got kale and it's delish.

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The first step was blending 1/2 grapefruit with 1 cup of ice to make the smoothie... well, ice cold. I used a really juicy whole grapefruit instead of just grapefruit juice so that I could get in some extra fiber from the whole fruit. Try to get as much juice into the blender as possible!

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Next, I packed in quite a bit of kale. It was four full leaves, roughly chopped. You might have to push it down with a spoon to get it to blend properly. Blend on high for a bit until it's smooth.

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I then added 1 Tablespoon of honey-- raw kale is bitter!

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Next, the creamy factors: yogurt and banana. I added 1/2 6 oz container of whole milk yogurt. You could definitely add more for extra protein and calcium, but I was going for that super bright green color. This yogurt is from Carolina Farmhouse Dairy. I chose whole milk mostly because it was the only local yogurt on the shelf, but also to really give a bit of a creamy boost to my smoothie. If there was a low-fat option available, I probably would have gone for that instead. Greek yogurt works great too!

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I blended it one last time on high until it was fully smooth and then set it in the freezer to stay cold.

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And smoothie #2: Berrylicious! This is where I used Seal the Season's perfect frozen berry blend of blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. I rinsed my blender quickly and got started.

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I used a similar process as in smoothie #1. I first blended together the frozen component (berries) with the juicy component (grapefruit). This definitely took a little bit of alternating between stirring and blending, just because of the large frozen chunks of berries.

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After adding the other 1/2 of the yogurt, and another full banana, I blended the smoothie until it all the visible chunks had disappeared.

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How fabulous are these?? They would be so tasty to drink separately...

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...or, we could layer them! I did this by holding the glass mug at an angle while pouring in one smoothie, and holding it at the opposite angle when pouring the other. I kept alternating until I got to the brim.

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Top it with your favorite granola, chia seeds, nuts, or whatever! There was definitely enough to make two full smoothies; just freeze the extras. This is perfect for breakfast or an anytime snack. If after a workout, you could definitely up the yogurt content and/or add a scoop of your favorite protein powder.

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Cook often, eat local when you can, and whatever it is you eat, enjoy it!

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