Spinach Smoothies Recipe; Room

I read somewhere that you could put spinach in a smoothie and not even taste it. And I thought: “Ha ha, yes; I’ll bet this is from the same people who told me that tofu is undetectable and that fruit makes a GREAT dessert.”

But then I read that Minnie puts spinach and even KALE in her smoothies. I was particularly persuaded by this part of her post:

…the added bonus of making me feel so very accomplished to have eaten 2 servings of leafy greens for breakfast. It’s like I expect some kind of angel of leafy greens to come down, bless me and give me a medal every time I have one.

So I tried it and lo, I will use the word “lo”: it was barely detectable, if at all, and indeed I DID feel as if I deserved a visit from an angel of leafy greens.

Smoothies are a “wing it” kind of recipe, but I can’t get behind any recipe that doesn’t even say if we’re talking about 1/8th teaspoon or 2 cups of an ingredient (see also: my late mother-in-law’s cinnamon roll recipe), so here is my Winging It Spinach Smoothie (measurements are approximate—but I HAVE approximated them):

2 T. flax seed meal

1/4 c. rolled oats

2 t. sugar

big firm 5-fingered pinch of spinach leaves, plus another 3-fingers pinch

about a third of a cup of yogurt

about a third of a cup of orange juice

something like 6 or 7 frozen peach segments

about a half a cup of frozen blueberries

(sub any frozen fruit for peaches/blueberries)

(you could also use fresh fruit, and then ice cubes)

(bananas work great, but I don’t like banana)

First blend the flax seed, oats, and sugar, until the oats are like flour. Then add everything else. The spinach will look like wayyyyyyyy too much spinach—like, practically filling the blender. Be brave! Trust Swistle. Blend it up.

This might make enough for two adult servings in some households, but at my house it makes enough for me to share with a child.


Elizabeth, with enthusiasm: “The best thing about pillow pets is you can use them EITHER as a pillow OR as a stuffed animal!!” Yes. Welcome to the point of this product.


I finally read Room. I consider myself more sensitive than average to stories of child endangerment, and yet I got through it fine. I did have one section in the middle where I thought I might have a heart attack, but I reasoned that MANY of us are sensitive to child-endangerment stories, and yet MANY of us had read the book and I hadn’t heard any outcry, so it must be okay. I think part of the reason it worked for me is that it was told from the child’s point of view rather than the mother’s: I didn’t have to think much about how SHE felt. And by the time it occurred to me to think of it, I’d finished that section. (I did a little skimming ahead, too, to make SURE.) The thriller part only lasted the first half of the book or so—and more like just the second quarter of it, since the first quarter is “figuring out what is going on.”

I did find it thought-provoking, as pretty much everyone who read it mentioned. Lots of interesting issues to mull while doing boring cooking or cleaning or exercising. Even though I’m someone who lies awake worrying about how we’d all get out in the case of a fire, I didn’t find that this book gave me fresh material to worry about. Instead, I found it reassuring/interesting: it said, basically, “Look, here is how someone took a terrible situation and made it livable.” And then you get to wonder if you would have made the same making-it-livable decisions. (Still, I guess it does make my heart pound afresh if I think about it too intently.)

A complaint: from time to time I felt like it veered into “And a little child shall teach us” territory. The child is supposed to be less than a month past his 5th birthday, and yet his thought processes seem unusually sophisticated/observant, and he makes sermon-quality remarks about how other people waste things, and fail to appreciate things, and consider themselves so stressed and busy. Yes, thank you for that lesson-for-us-all, Author-speaking-through-child. This was fortunately only a SMALL and OCCASIONAL issue.

29 thoughts on “Spinach Smoothies Recipe; Room

  1. Elizabelle

    I have heard of putting greens in a smoothie, and keep meaning to try it, but I have NEVER heard of putting oats in a smoothie! My interest is piqued.

  2. Jessica

    Elizabelle – oats in a smoothie is soooo good!

    Swistle – do you know if frozen spinach can be used in smoothies? It’s so much easier to keep around. And cheaper, too.

  3. Temerity Jane

    I felt the same way about Room with regard to the lecturey child kind of thing. I think in my review on GoodReads, I said something about how I wasn’t too keen on the story being told not only from the point of view of a child, but in a way that wasn’t even really believable as being from the point of view of the child. If that makes sense. And it annoyed me until about halfway through the book, when I THOUGHT I just got used to it, but looking back over it, it was actually that the author couldn’t really seem to keep it going – I mean, she set a VERY specific writing style with the kid point of view thing, and wasn’t able to maintain it as strictly halfway through. That’s how it seemed to me, anyway, which was good, because it was downright irritating at parts. And not realistic.

  4. Michelle

    And, tell me how it made sense that this kid was so wise and astute, as well as having been immersed in television, yet had no freaking idea that touching a bee would be a bad idea?!? Huh?

  5. Heather

    Finally you’ve read a book I already read so I understand your thoughts lol.

    As far as the child’s thoughts being too develloped/lecturing…well I think that outside that situation it would be a stretch for a 5 year old to think that but born into that situation, every little thing WOULD become precious and you WOULD be careful about usage because it might be difficult to replace things. Therefore the situation would change the thought process of a child and it felt kind of normal for him to think that way.

  6. Swistle

    Temerity Jane- I wished that at the natural breaking point about halfway through, they’d switched to the mom’s point of view. The second half of the story, I was DYING to know what SHE thought of things.

  7. Lucy

    I spewed my coffee when I read Elizabeth’s comment about Pillow Pets….I’m still laughing…..wait…I have to go….going to read that again….

  8. Anonymous

    I couldn’t help but read that book in the light of the bullying AP wisdoms I’ve heard since I had my son four years ago. Hey, they co-sleep, they breastfeed, and mom is constantly and always available to her kid, and never more than a few feet away from him at any time! Apparently to be the perfect AP mom, you just have to be locked in a box with your kid.

  9. Stephanie

    About the smoothies: If your kids, like mine, “eeeew” at the sight of anything suspiciously green, frozen raspberries as a choice for the smoothie fruit really mask the green, and actually turn it to PURPLE.

  10. lifeofadoctorswife

    I am still VERY suspicious of the spinach-in-a-smoothie move, but I was calmed a bit by your admission that you don’t like bananas. Nor do I, so I guess I feel as though this similarity is an indication of other smoothie similarities.

    Room – yes. Heart pounding in some points, thought-provoking, but I felt that the kid WAS unbelievable in a lot of ways. I’ve heard some people argue that no one could possibly KNOW what a child would be like/how he would think if he were in that exact situation. But to that I think, Eh, kids will still have kid-like thought processes.

    What ALSO annoyed me were some of the other characters – like the mother’s parents. I felt like some of those ancillary characters were around just to make the point of “you may have gone through something heartbreaking and extraordinary, but some people will still be jerks.”

    I, too, wish that we’d gotten more of the mother’s perspective. Then again, that would have been a very different and MUCH more depressing tale, I’d guess.

    Also: thinking about you and Elizabeth today!

  11. Nik-Nak

    I don’t have the heart for Room but that was a very good review.

    I’m not sure I’ll be trying the spinach in a smoothie thing. I think just the thought of knowing what I am drinking when I’m drinking it would turn me off. I can’t trick myself easily apparently.

  12. d e v a n

    Even my KIDS love the spinach smoothies, although I usually use frozen because it’s just easier to keep on hand. Yum!

    I really want to read that book.

  13. Joanne

    It never occurred to me about the child as author thing in Room. I enjoyed that book, but I was mostly sold on the ingenuity of that mother so much that I might have missed it. I liked it but I am not a big thinker, ha!

  14. Shelly

    Hmm…will have to try the “spinach in a smoothie” thing. I would very much like to feel virtuous about my breakfast.

    My book club read Room and had a really great discussion about it. I thought the biggest mis-step for the author was the mother’s conduct near the end. One of our book club members said that she felt it was just a plt device to split up the two main characters, and I think she was totally right. That act was completely out of character. And yes, there were definitely some “a little child will lead them” moments.

  15. Nicole

    I might actually read Room, based on your review. Normally I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole, given my “sensitivity issues” (thinking about Of Mice and Men still makes me tear up, 17 years after reading it). But I think I just might give it a try.

    As for the spinach smoothies, I’ve always been a bit skeptical. I made chocolate mousse out of avocado though, so I should probably give the smoothies a try. For my recipe for chocolate mousse – if anyone is interested:


    But then, it IS chocolate mousse made out of avocado, so perhaps NO ONE is interested.

  16. Lawyerish

    I agree with you about the flawed aspects of “Room.” I was very drawn in by the “figuring out what is going on” part and by the heart-attack-inducing part, but then it got kind of heavy-handed with the commentary (which was unrealistic to come from a child, as you say) about how crappy the modern world is and all that. I also, as others have said, found some of the characters to be unbelievable, especially the jerky grandparents.

    And it’s funny, sometimes I wondered, as Anonymous commented, if the author was trying to make some kind of point about extreme attachment parenting, or if not that then about helicopter/overprotective parents; but if she was, I don’t think it really worked given the story as a whole.

    All that said, I did like it overall and it was a page-turner for the first two-thirds. I thought it could have gone on longer, and I agree with you that a shift to the mom as narrator would have been great about midway through.

  17. Maggie

    I just don’t think I can pull the trigger and read Room. Maybe when my kids are older. Right now I don’t even watch the news lest I be randomly blindsided by some child injured/in peril/damaged story. Occasionally my job forces me to have to deal with issues involving kids in bad situations and that is enough for me for now.

    Have never heard of masking spinach in a smoothie, but am going to try it tonight since both my kids have a smoothie as a snack nearly every evening when I get home before I make dinner and we have frozen spinach on hand AND I know they are probably not getting enough leafy green vegetables. Excited to try this!

  18. ssm

    I haven’t read Room for the reasons you mention. Just the IDEA of it gives me tiny panic attacks. But if you could get through it, maybe…
    I drank spinach smoothies for my entire 2nd pregnancy, and now I cannot LOOK at the blender without getting round ligament pains.

  19. Alice

    HA. i would have assumed that the people who assure me you can’t taste spinach in smoothies were THOSE PEOPLE as well. the ones who tell me that i “won’t notice” if i use whole wheat pasta or only 1/2 the cheese a recipe calls for. but i do believe YOU, swistle!

  20. Mary

    The way the narrator’s voice changed so much in Room bothered me enough that I didn’t finish it. The first half of the book held my interest very well, but the second half started to irritate me, so I quit reading and didn’t finish the last 30 pages or so. I don’t even care what happened because at that point it didn’t seem to be going anywhere new. I think it would have been a fantastic book if it had ended around the halfway point with maybe a chapter of follow up.

  21. JCF

    Re: Elizabeth’s pillow pet remark.

    My kids (3, 2, and 1) are OBSESSED with the pillow pets kiosk in the mall, and they always clamor to go look when we walk by. My 6 year old nephew has a pillow pet, so I decided to ask him about it, since I just did not get why Pillow Pets are so awesome.

    Me: “So D, do you like that pillow pet?”
    D: “I love it! It is my new favorite thing!”
    Me: “Great. So tell me, what is so great about pillow pets?”
    D: “Well, look! First, it can be a pillow! Then it’s a pet!”
    Me: “Uh, duh…”

  22. TinaNZ

    Thank you for your comments on ‘Room’ – I was worried about reading it for exactly the same reason. I’m not Very Sensitive but child-in-peril things can still blindside me (could NOT finish ‘Charlotte Grey’, omg).

    I hope things went well for Elisabeth today, and you are both enjoying some post-anxiety chilling.

  23. clueless but hopeful mama

    I have never used actual spinach, I always use green powder, as it’s easier to hide at the bottom of the blender because I still sneak it in. My kids won’t drink it if they know there’s something remotely green in there. But with dark berries on top, they never know.

    RE: Room, I loved it, was riveted, sweaty and breathless during the …middle. I spent a lot of time wondering about the choices the mother made. All of them.

  24. Slauditory

    I love putting all kinds of veg in a smoothie. Have you tried avocado and carrot smoothie? Cut up half an avocado and shred a carrot. Put these in the blender with some plain fat-free yogurt and some sugar-free apple juice. I also like to add banana, but you can leave that out. Yum yum! And extremely virtuous!

  25. Susanica

    Hi Swistle! Another great use for spinach is to make green eggs and ham! Sautee the spinach for a few minutes, blend it and add to the already beaten eggs. Scramble and serve with ham. Quite delicious and nutritious and our 4 and one year old love it. I’ll have to try that smoothie…Monica

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