The obligatory St. Patrick’s day green food post – Belated!

Our internet was as slow as molasses this weekend, so I get to continue my tradition of posting seasonal recipes too late. Enjoy!

A lot of food bloggers do a St. Patrick’s day thing. Accuse me of jumping on the bandwagon, but I felt like posting about my own dairy-free version of the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake.


Green and Creamy

There are a bunch of other recipes out there, using bananas/spinach/protein powder/artificial sweetener/ice/milk/whatever. This is just what I’ve done, again with my mission to keep it cheap and keep it relatively healthy.

I used spinach to make it green. My no.1 tip for people who want to use spinach in smoothies, but don’t have a vita-mix, is to use thawed FROZEN spinach. Freezing and thawing breaks down the leaves, meaning it blends more easily. Freezing retains nutrients: 1/4 of a regular box contains 20 calories, 2g of protein, and 6% of your RDA of iron. Not bad, considering a box of spinach usually costs one or two dollars. I partially that the box, divide it into quarters, and re-freeze the lumps to store in a ziploc bag in the freezer. The night before I make a smoothie, I just thaw out a lump overnight in the fridge, or even microwave it for 20-30 seconds.

So, back to my recipe. The key is a long blending time, to really dissolve the protein powder and to get a smooth, milkshake-like texture.


  • 1 scoop vanilla soy protein powder
  • 1 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1/4 package frozen spinach (75g), at least partially thawed  
  • 1/8 tsp mint extract
  • 1 small, frozen banana
  1. Add powder, milk, and spinach to the blender in the order listed above.
  2. Puree on highest speed for 2 minutes, until spinach is in tiny flakes (think the size of dried oregano).
  3. Add the mint and banana.
  4. Pulse for 30 seconds (if your blender has an ice crushing button, use this)
  5. Puree for another 2-3 minutes until completely smooth.

What do I eat for breakfast?


Bowl of oatmeal

I mentioned a few posts back that I’m trying to eat protein-packed, inexpensive meals all day long.  I love eating oatmeal in the morning, but have had to tweak the recipe so that I don’t feel hungry soon after. I got the idea from Sprint 2 the Table to add TVP to my oatmeal for low-calorie, high-protein breakfast. TVP, or Textured Vegetable Protein, is dehydrated soy protein crumbles. If you’re a habitual oatmeal eater, and are familiar with the taste/smell of TVP already, this might taste a bit weird to you at first, so start by adding lots of fruit and spices (frozen blueberries are excellent). I found after a week or so of this, I got used to the taste. Mrs. Minty, wo doesn’t have oatmeal as often, didn’t even notice the addition when I made her a bowl of steel cut oats plus TVP.

Note: you can use rolled oats instead, but I find steel cut ones have a closer texture to the TVP and so everything blends together nicely.

Again, this is super cheap (about 50 cents per serving, not counting whatever fruit you might add).

While I won’t assume you’re incapable of figuring out how to make oatmeal, I’m going to post how I make it in case you’re curious:


  • 3 Tbsp steel-cut oats
  • 1 c water
  • 1/4 c TVP
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • shake of cinnamon and nutmeg

1. Combine the steel-cut oats and water in a small pot. Bring to a simmer.
2. Simmer for 10-15 muntes, until the oats are tender.
3. Add the remaining ingredients. Cool until the water is absorbed and the TVP is soft, 2-5 minutes. Stir frequently. You may need to add more water to prevent the oats from sticking to the pot.
4. Serve with fruit (in the photo above I have added a chopped apple), brown sugar, and almond milk.

This is also pretty good made the night before and heated up at work the next morning.

Diet FYI: the combo listed above (without milk, sugar, or apple) has 280 cals and 19g protein.