Ashland’s Growing Green Baby store, featured in this month’s Oregon Healthy Living, offers much more than diapers and bibs. Among its products are food-storage containers and serving utensils, as well as Vitamix blenders, stocked at just a handful of retail locations in the area.
The business — new in March — first caught my eye last month among a list of events for the annual Eat Local Challenge. Owners Melissa and Jamie Syken decided to participate and promote their business by blending up green smoothies during the weeklong Challenge. Melissa Syken swears by this method for encouraging her son to eat leafy greens and for adding some nutrition to her own diet while pregnant.
“My 3-year-old son, he loves the green smoothies,” says Syken. “You can also make your own baby food with the Vitamix blenders.”
While this isn’t a novel idea, it’s one that more health-conscious families could take advantage of, myself included. My garden grows more kale and collard greens than I can eat sauteed or braised, anyway. The trick, of course, is adding seasonal fruit for better texture and sweetness.
Touted among the world’s healthiest foods, kale lowers the risk of cancer (another reason to eat it during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month) It’s packed with 45 flavonoids and is rich in calcium, magnesium and vitamins B6, A, C and K.
Remove and discard the ribs of raw kale leaves, finely chop the leaves and toss them with other ingredients into the blender (a typical model handles most ingredients just fine). And instead of sweetening with sugar or even honey, add a handful of dates, preferably the larger, sweet Medjool variety. Like greens, dates are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Mean Green Smoothie
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup frozen berries
1 banana, peeled
2 cups coarsely chopped kale (ribs removed)
1⁄2 cup pitted, coarsely chopped dates
Combine all the ingredients in a blender; process until smooth and creamy. Makes 1 drink.