A few weeks ago I came across an article by Lindsay on The Lean Green Bean about her simple method of getting spinach into her smoothie by making frozen spinach cubes. As we wrote to you before, we already freeze greens as a way to save money – we purchase them in bulk and immediately freeze a large amount.

For some reason, we don’t always freeze the greens ahead of time when we know we want to put them in a smoothie – as opposed to cooking them or using them in a salad. You would think that freezing them in preparation for a smoothie would make perfect sense, but we seem to underestimate the amount that we actually have.

Making Frozen Spinach Cubes For Smoothies

We will normally buy either a huge bag of spinach or a mix of spinach, kale, and chard. Even though we eat or freeze the majority of our greens, we found ourselves throwing some away from almost every shopping trip.

Earthbound Farms Organic Power Greens

Well, that was until I read Lindsay’s post! Now we just turn the greens into ice cubes as soon as we get them in the house. Here is our weekly procedure:

1. Wash the Greens – no matter what the package says 😉

Washing Power Greens

Even though the package says “triple-washed”, we still wash them ourselves (usually with vinegar)!

2. Blend the Greens – you’ll have to add a little water to the greens

Blendtec Classic 570 Power Greens Inside Blendtec Classic 570 Spinach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this we use our Blendtec Classic 570 blender. It handles greens and other soft things (like medjool dates) extremely well and doesn’t leave any pieces – if you don’t have or choose to buy a Blendtec, you can use any blender for this initial step since you will blend the ice cubes again when you make your smoothie.

3. Pour Into Ice Cube Trays

Blended Greens in Ice Trays Blended Greens in Mason Jar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, we didn’t have enough room in our ice trays (we won’t have that problem any longer…see below) so we poured the remainder into a mason jar to freeze the next morning.

Frozen Spinach Cubes Smoothies

4. Crack Open Your Ice Trays & Enjoy Your Frozen Spinach Cubes

Spinach Kale Chard Ice Cube

Frozen Spinach Cubes

Having these green cubes around makes things so easy for us. I put a few in a bowl so  you could get an idea of the size of one of them (the ones in the bowl were made with our new trays, see below).

Our New Trays!!

We purchased a few (actually, 6) silicone trays from Amazon the other day and they work so much better than the traditional ones. We’ll post a full review of them with video included, but for now I’ll just say that they make it much easier to pop out the cubes.

Silicone Ice Tray Spinach

Frozen Spinach Cubes Makes Smoothies Easier

Pre-made Smoothie Pack

This is a preview of our smoothie preparation. A few of the solid items have been frozen ahead of time so we don’t have to prepare them when we want a smoothie. What you see in this picture is a banana (cut up and at the bottom), strawberries, avocado (the light green cubes), and the spinach/kale/chard cubes.

Even when we want to make ice cream, we can easily throw in a couple of these cubes to get in more greens into our diet.

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If you have been reading this blog for at least a year, then you’ll know that I have been suffering from pains and severe muscle tightness in my lower back, which have prevented me from exercising for over a year. Well, 2 weeks ago I had my worst experience with my back as of yet, and it ended with me having to be taken by ambulance to the emergency room!

My Trip To The Emergency Room

The “Incident”

It started off like any normal Sunday; I spent the morning in church and was able to have a couple of meaningful conversations after the service ended. Because we were having home groups that afternoon, I stopped back home for a few minutes to pick up Sherrian. As we were about to leave, I decided to run the dishwasher (which was already packed). I reached down into the cabinet to get the soap pellet (what do you call those things, anyway?) and once I stood back up, I head and felt a pop and then immediately dropped to the floor in pain!

The sensation that I felt was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It wasn’t the worst pain I’ve ever felt, but for the next 5 minutes there was a very strong burning sensation at the base of my spine and every time I moved – even an inch – it felt like my spine was separating at the base.

It took me a few minutes to be able to crawl to one of our dining room chairs, but no matter how I sat the pain wouldn’t subside. I don’t know how long I sat in that chair while my wife let the people in home group know that I was running late – I really thought I would be able to get up and go within a few minutes – but it had to be at least an half hour!

Once I got tired of being stuck in the chair unable to get up, I decided to make a dash – more like hunched over stumbling – to the bedroom. It was very painful, but I was able to make it to the bed. The only position that I could tolerate was lying on my back – I wasn’t even able to lift up my head!

My Neck and My Back

I stayed in that position for over 4 hours as we tried to decide the best course of action. I was hoping that the pain would just die down after a little while, so I took a muscle relaxer and an N.S.A.I.D. (both prescribed by my doctor for my back) and waited. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t even lift my head!

Any deviation from lying flat on my back with my knees up caused a lot of pain and a return of that spinal separation sensation. A few calls to my doctor’s office were no help, and since I was worried about this new pain and that odd sensation, we decided that I should take a trip to the ER to make sure it wasn’t serious and possibly getting worse by the minute.

The Trip To The ER

At first we called a good friend of mine, but after talking with him and considering the fact that I couldn’t stand on my own we decided that it would be safer to call an ambulance. By the time they got to the house, I was able to stand while holding myself up. I was afraid that if I sat down to rest, I wouldn’t be able to get back up.

Two EMTs showed up and one of them helped me down the hall while the other one went to get the gurney. It’s hard for me to put into words how helpless I felt while being wheeled out of the house on that thing. 😥

Stretcher

As we drove to the hospital, I received a couple of shocks. First, the driver didn’t know how to get to the hospital and was using GPS – he is from a different region and was filling in for someone who was out.

Second, the suspension system on an ambulance is not any better than what you have on your car! That second point combined with the abundant potholes (courtesy of all the winter storms and subsequent plowing) was a nightmare for my back, as the pain fired through it with every bump we hit. 😐

Not The Worst Experience, But I Still Dislike ERs

Once I got to the ER, I was sent to “fast track” and immediately had a bed (even though sitting up was more comfortable). However, it took over an hour before they did anything more than take vitals. They ended up taking an x-ray of my spine – that was extremely painful because of all the angles I had to get into so they could get all the necessary shots – and gave me the same muscle relaxer that I took earlier in the day, along with a pain medication (percocet).

Like always, the percocet did nothing for me, so they decided to give me something stronger (?). They gave me a shot of toradol in my thigh, and eventually the pain went from a 9 (on a scale of 0-10) to an 8. The x-rays were all normal, so they sent me home and told me to follow up with my doctor.

By the time I got home it was a little bit better, but I ended up missing most of work the next week because of the pain, tightness, and fatigue.

I’ve been to the doctor twice since then, and in the next post I’ll tell you all that was done in that time, how I feel right now, and what’s next regarding my treatment.

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Groupon Coupons: Improving On An Already Great Service

March 31, 2015

I don’t know about you, but a great Groupon really makes my day! Most recently I used one to get movie tickets really cheap. We don’t usually go to the movies, and seriously, the price is the major deterrent! What happened to $5 matinees!?!  Ugh, my age is showing. 😳 Another thing that makes me […]

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An Update On Our Debt After 2014: Down 13k!

March 10, 2015

Last year we posted every penny that we owe in an effort to be 100% transparent about our debt repayment. I wanted to wait until all of the numbers were in from our 2014 transactions before giving you an update on our debt repayment plan (the debt avalanche). Below you will find the opening balances […]

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The Stress of Paying Back Student Loans, & How To Avoid It

February 24, 2015

College students, no matter what age they are, can feel the stress when it comes time to paying back college loans. College isn’t cheap, no matter where you go, and unless you have a full ride or some good scholarships (or maybe some savvy parents that saved up money for your college fund), you will […]

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Sweet Potato Spinach Quiche Recipe

February 19, 2015

I was thumbing through my Pinterest boards the other day, because I was feeling guilty for “pinning” things that I never follow up on, and a recipe called to me! Unfortunately, it was one of those pins that had 3 pictures that pretended they were instructions but no website to back it up. Anyways it […]

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