strawberry banana smoothie


strawberry banana smoothieI’m officially calling it snack week here at Marin mama cooks, so in honor of snack week I’m going to be posting two of my kid’s new favorite snacks. Yippee! I mean who doesn’t love a good snack, right? I figured this was the perfect week to focus on snacks, as the days are getting longer and spring sports are starting to ramp up.  As a result, kids tend to be hungrier this time of year (at least in my house) and need some fuel to power them through the afternoon until dinnertime.  I don’t mind feeding my kids a snack, but I prefer it to be on the healthier side when possible!  I think I scored with these two snacks, as they both satisfy their sweet craving, while providing them with a healthy snack.

The first snack I’m posting is this easy, 3-ingredient smoothie that gets a double thumbs up in my house by both kids!  Eli is a total smoothie kid, and he will happily down a smoothie for breakfast, lunch or after school.

Eli giving a thumbs up to the strawberry banana smoothieMy little friend Tatum helped me come up with this smoothie concoction!  We were making up smoothies one day and I asked her what type of smoothie sounded good to her, and she said, “strawberries, yogurt, banana and a bit of honey.” Bingo!  Well done Tatum! I love the simplicity of her recipe, as it only requires 3 simple ingredients, a ripe banana, fresh or frozen strawberries and some vanilla Greek yogurt! Easy peasy and super tasty! This is the perfect spring-time smoothie, as strawberries are starting to come in season, at least in Northern California.

This is also a kid tested and approved smoothie, as I’ve made this up for 8 different kids and all of them rate this a 10+. It’s the perfect smoothie to serve up for breakfast, lunch or as an after school snack.  It satisfies kid’s sweet craving while providing them with a healthy snack.  Can’t beat that!… 

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minty limeade

minty limeade (1 of 1)-4

minty limeade (1 of 1)-4Move over Bootleg, Mint Julep and Mojito, here come’s Marin Mama’s minty limeade, a perfect drink for the whole family on a hot summer day. Lately the kids and I have been enjoying limeades. Whenever we go to Sol Food, we all have to split their enormous limeade. We call it their virgin Mojito, it’s just so tasty and has a bit of a kick to it. When my hubby tried it, it reminded him of a drink he grew up in Minnesota, called a Bootleg.

We tried to recreate the taste of these refreshing summertime drinks for our backyard barbeques. We threw together some limes, frozen lemonade and fresh mint leaves and created a mix that brought together the flavors we were looking for. All we needed now was a catchy name. Zoe took a sip and said it should be called, minty limeade.  We all agreed that it was the perfect name, simple and sweet. Go Zoe!

This mix is super easy to throw together and can literally be made in 5 minutes. It’s the perfect addition for any barbecue or summer dinner. You can even add some alcohol and make it into more of an adult drink if you like. This mix is best day one and tastes great day two, but may not look as vibrant in color because you’re using fresh mint to make this, and it can discolor a bit. The leftover mix can be stored in the refrigerator in a glass jar with a lid, just be sure to give it a good shake before you use it. To tell you the truth, our mix never lasts past day 2.


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carrot, grapefruit and ginger juice – no juicer required

carrot, grapefruit and ginger juice - no juicer required

carrot, grapefruit and ginger juice - no juicer required I know, I’m a day late in posting and I’m not doing my usual weekly menu, Sorry! I know there are those of you that rely on the weekly menu for dinner ideas, so I promise I will be back with that next week. This week I’m taking a bit of a blogging vacation, as my kids are on spring break and I’m going to spend quality time with the family and re-energize and re-charge (I’m so in need of some re-charging). I didn’t want to leave you all hanging for a week without a recipe, so I’m going to show you this simple, 3 ingredient juice that you can make without a juicer or with a juicer if you have one!  Yippee!

Remember when I showed you all how to make a mean green juice without a juicer?  Well, I’m showing you another one of my favorite juices. This juice is both sweet and sour with a zesty and spicy kick to it from the ginger. I love downing one of these after a morning workout, as it reenergizes me and puts a kick in my step. John loves to have this in the morning before he heads off to work, as it wakes him up. This juice is packed full of fiber and chock full of vitamin C, and who doesn’t like or need a bit of that this time of year. You can make this juice in your juicer, but if you don’t have a juicer, don’t fret, I will show you how to make this juice without one.  Ok, let’s get this party started!


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how to make a “mean green juice” without a juicer

mean green juice without a juicer

So, there’s this new juice bar that just opened in Corte Madera for all you locals called, Juice Alley.  It’s an amazing little juice bar that has tons of different organic juice concoctions, vegan snacks and bars. I’m so excited as I love green juices and I also love that it’s right next to my gym.  What a great and healthy treat to pick up after a hard workout, right?  So, I tried their kale and ginger juice.  Let me just tell you that it was amazing and the ginger just popped in my mouth. I knew I was going to have to figure out how to replicate it at home, as this daily juice thing was going to turn into a pricy habit.  I googled the ingredients, and of course, there were 100 different recipes.

So here I was looking to juice, but I didn’t own a juicer.  I didn’t let that stop me though, so again, I went on the Internet and googled, “how to juice without a juicer,” and I found exactly what I was looking for. OK, honestly, what did we do before the Internet?  I really can’t seem to recall how I found information.  Did I actually go to the library and look through encyclopedias for questions such as this?  I really don’t remember, and I feel like we were in the dark on a lot of things. I can only imagine what science is going to create next that will make the Internet seem obsolete like encyclopedias.

Getting back on topic here, basically if you have a blender, you can juice. Yes, you can, trust me. You don’t have to just drink smoothies or pulpy concoctions. You can drink a smooth and refreshing juice.  All you need is a blender and this handy little bag, called a jelly strainer bag.  You can find these at most kitchen or hardware stores that sell kitchen appliances.  I picked mine up at the local Ace Hardware in Larkspur, for those of you that are local.  They cost $ 4.99 for 2 bags.  BTW, don’t get the metal contraption that is sold with some of the bags, just buy the bags.

To clean the bags, just use some dish soap and rub the bag together till it’s clean and all the soap is off the bag. Then place the bag on top of a glass or something similar to air dry.  These bags should last quite a while.  I have used my 10x already and it still looks new.  
mean green juice without a juicer

how to make a “mean green juice” without a juicer:

recipe adapted from reboot your life
makes 22 ounces
printer friendly recipe

  • 6 to 8 kale leaves, washed and de-stemmed – I used 8 leaves and used lacinato/dinasour kale because it’s not as bitter tasting as curly kale, but you can use any kind of kale.
  • 2 green apples – cored and cut into chunks – There were not any organic granny smith apples, so I picked up some Mutsu apples, and they were perfect.
  • 3 – 4 stalks celery, cut into chunks – I used 3 stalks
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled –  I love ginger and think it adds a pop of flavor to the juice, so I put in quite a bit.  If you’re not a big fan of ginger, than start out with a smaller piece, say 1/2-inch to 1-inch piece.
  • 1/2 lemon – peeled, but you can leave on the white pith
  • 1 cucumber peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup filtered water

Below are the ingredients before they’re prepped.Here’s how the ingredients will look after they’re prepped.To peel ginger, just take a spoon and gently scrape off the skin from top to bottom.  The skin is thin, so minimal effort is required.Pour 1 cup of water into your blender.  Add in the chopped apple, chopped celery, chopped cucumber and peeled lemon, and blend away till liquified.  Add in the ginger and the de-stemmed kale leaves and puree till smooth.
Take your jelly bag and wrap it over a large measuring cup or bowl.

Pour your juice into the jelly bag.

Don’t worry if your bag slides off the bowl, you just want to make sure that your juice goes in the bag. You can aways hold it open with one hand while pouring with your other hand.Once all the juice is poured into the bag, remove the bag from the measuring cup or bowl and gently twist the top of the bag closed.  Slowly twist the bag so the juice escapes.  Keep twisting and squeezing the bag until all of the juice is released.

WARNING:  Ugly hand pictures below!Look at all that pulp that was left in the bag.  It’s a beautiful color, but not something I want to be drinking.  It actually looks like moss, doesn’t it.

My compost was very happy to receive all that pulp.
Pour the juice into a large glass, canning jar or Lifefactory bottle, and refrigerate it, as it will be a bit warm.  I was anxious to drink my juice, so I threw it in the freezer for a few minutes to cool.
Make sure you shake it (if you have a glass with a lid) or stir it before you drink it, as some of the juice will settle.
It helps to have a glass or bottle with a lid so you can shake your juice when it settles.
It’s recommended that you drink the juice the day you make it.  It really goes down easy and tastes great. It actually tastes sort of sweet and citrusy, at least to me.  What’s great about juicing is that you’re in control of the ingredients. You can add to or delete any of the ingredients you wish.  My friend Yvonne loves the taste of celery in her juice, so she adds more celery and less ginger, as she’s not a fan of ginger.
I do recommend you try it with the 2-inch piece of ginger sometime.  I’m not a huge fan of ginger, as it reminds me of my early pregnancy days, but that first juice from Juice Alley was packed with ginger and that flavor stuck with me.  The original “mean green juice” recipe called for a teaspoon of ginger, but when I tried the juice, it just didn’t have that “wow” factor I was looking for, so I added more ginger and I got the “wow” factor.
mean green juice without a juicer
Ok, I really want to know how many of you are actually going to buy the bags and make the juice?  I had lunch with my friend Andie yesterday and she asked what this new juicing contraption was that went with my vitamix.  I excitedly told her about the bags and she said, “Oh, I think I’ll just stick with my juices from the Bay Club and save myself the work.” I had to laugh at that statement because honestly, it’s what most people will do!  I love you Andie.
Do you like to juice?  If so, then you have to try my carrot, grapefruit and ginger juice.
carrot, grapefruit and ginger juice, no juicer required
Happy juicing everyone!

homemade Arnold Palmer

homemade Arnold Palmer

homemade Arnold PalmerI’m making a toast to my dad, aka, Papa Bear today. Cheers Dad, this post and recipe is dedicated to you. This iced tea recipe came from my dad, and it was one of my favorite growing up summertime drinks. You knew it was summer when my dad made up a pitcher of this sun tea.  I think my dad created the Arnold Palmer before everyone knew what it was.

So, you’re probably wondering what’s up with the name Papa Bear? My brother and I gave my dad the nickname “Papa Bear” because he’s always had this year round beard, and he’s the most lovable and huggable person. He truly reminds us of a big lovable bear. My friends chimed in and soon my dad was known by all as “Papa Bear.” The name has stuck with him through the years, and my kids only know him as Papa Bear. My dad loves the name, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

I had forgotten all about this sun tea until my recent visit to NY. My dad served up this tea alongside some amazing homemade strawberry shortcake that my stepmom, Rita, had made. The fist sip took me back in time. All those happy childhood memories came flooding back. Camping each summer at Lake George and Schroon Lake, whitewater rafting, tubing, canoeing and just sitting outside on a hot summer night sipping this iced tea with my dad on our back yard picnic table. We would sit out there for hours just reminiscing and enjoying those long summer nights.

This is a great drink to bring to any 4th of July party or picnic. It’s refreshing and super easy to make, and isn’t that what you want in a summer beverage? I let a batch of this brew on the deck in the morning so that it’s nice and cool come dinner time.


homemade Arnold Palmer:

  • 7 cups filtered water 
  • 7 normal sized tea bags such as Lipton or your favorite tea – If you’re using the family sized tea bags then you will want to use around 4 bags
  • 1/2 container (6oz) frozen lemonade concentrate

Get a large glass container and fill it up with the 7 cups of filtered water. If your container can’t hold 7 cups, then just fill it up and add 1 tea bag per cup. If your container can hold 8 cups (2 quarts), then just add one more tea bag to the mix. Tear the tags off of the tea bags and then tie the bags together in a knot.Add the teabags to the water and cover with a lid. I did not have a lid for my glass container so I used some plastic wrap and put a rubber band around it so it wouldn’t blow off.

Sit the tea in the direct sun for about 2 hours or until the tea looks dark.

Add 1/2 container of frozen lemonade concentrate and stir to blend.  If you like it sweeter, then add more lemonade.

Refrigerate the tea till cooled. Pour some chilled iced tea in your favorite glass and add a lemon wedge if desired.

Tip: Want to put ice in your iced-tea but don’t want to water it down?  Make a second batch of tea and pour it into some ice-cube trays and throw those in your tea.

You can totally change up the recipe by adding a flavored tea as well as flavored lemonade.  
homemade Arnold Palmer I hope my kids have the same happy memories when they make this iced tea for their kids someday.  Cheers to you Papa Bear!  I love you!