So…I don’t know where you live, but where I live we had a MONSTER winter season. That gosh darn Polar Vortex hit NYC pretty freakin’ hard. Remember…none of us have cars here….we kinda have no choice but to walk around in glorified sleeping bags and hope we don’t topple into a giant slush puddle.
BUT IT’S OVER!!! The birds are chirping, the trees are growing big, fat leaves, and our city is once again close enough to the sun to maintain our vitamin D stores! Life is beautiful!
Gone are the chilly, dark mornings of oatmeal (I love oatmeal….I. Love. Oatmeal. But I can’t help but associate it with gettin’ cozy in the cold!).
It’s time for something refreshing!
We don’t want to forget where we’ve been- so we’ll keep a bit of the frozen- but we wanna flaunt the fact that we can drink it! Outside! While walking carefree down the street in a t-shirt dammit!
Smoothies are a fun way to pack a lot of nutrition into an easy to make, easy to transport, yummy bundle. They remind me of those “coulda had a V8!” commercials- but are way better because YOU are in complete control over what goes in there! And you get to keep all that fabulous fiber that gets so cold-heartedly discarded in juice.
While I’m sure we’d all love to munch leisurely on a good old-fashioned breakfast spread while perusing the paper and lingering over a second cup of coffee…that’s just not a thing in the general work-week-grind of it all. Smoothies are quick to prepare, can be consumed anywhere, and are kind of treat-like! Especially as we move into the warmer months, smoothie-time can be a nice moment to stop. And savor. Like stopping to smell the roses….except the roses are bananas & peanut butter….or greens spiked with ginger….yum…
I’ve had the Peanut Butter & Banana Bliss (see recipe below) for breakfast pretty much every day since the thermometer struck 500. It’s a joyful protein & healthy-fat filled delight.
I use a hand-me-down (from my mom) ‘looks-like-Donna-Reed-should-be-using-it’ Oster blender that withstood the test of undergraduate margarita parties…and still lived to blend on! Roughly 10 years since it was handed into my care, and the thing still dices with gusto! Sure….the sucker’s noisy, but it gets the job done.
Here are a few smoooooth options with which I’ve been experimenting:
*Each recipe makes one smoothie
** If you prefer to go dairy-less feel free to sub almond milk where appropriate, though it may alter the consistency.
the Peanut Butter & Banana Bliss Smoothie
1 medium banana, frozen (apprx. 4-6 oz)
¾ cup of plain yogurt- Greek or regular (I use Stoneyfield Farms or Fage greek, low-fat versions)
2 tbsp. peanut butter (I use Brad’s Organic Smooth)
2 tbsp. flax meal (I’ve been using Bob’s Red Mill brand)
¼ – ½ cup of cold water
Toss all ingredients into a blender (I layer mine as listed above), and blend for 30 sec. – 1 min. (depending on your blender) until smooth.
If you forgot to freeze the banana, just toss in a couple of ice cubes to get a similar consistency.
(This being my current breakfast of choice…I keep a Ziploc bag of peeled bananas in my freezer…)
the Nuts for Basil Smoothie (adapted from the Pineapple-Basil Smoothie here in NYTimes)
1 cup of chopped pineapple (I totally cheat and get the pre-sliced package from the produce dept.)
¼ cup snuggly packed with fresh basil (I know…weird….but try it! You may be surprised!)
a generous handful of spinach, romaine, or other mild flavored green (optional)
¾ cup of plain yogurt (I use Stoneyfield Farms or Fage Greek, low-fat versions)
1 heaped tbsp. shelled (unsalted) pistachios
1 ½ tbsp. flax meal (I use Bob’s Red Mill Farm brand)
Toss all ingredients in a blender, and blend for 30 sec. to 1 min. (depending on your blender), until smooth.
Okay, this one sounded odd to me too. But I thought…I like all of those things independently…I wonder what they taste like all mangled together! The answer? Totally refreshing…
I add the optional extra greens merely to up my general green veggie intake. It does very little to influence the flavor so long as you choose something that isn’t potent. So go-ahead…sneak in a wee bit more of that nutrient-dense veggie-goodness!
the Berry Pleasant Smoothie
1 cup of berries (of mixed variety or a single type)
1 cup plain yogurt (I use Stoneyfield Farms or Fage greek, low-fat versions)
1 tsp. honey
1 – 2 tbsp. flax meal (optional)
2-3 ice cubes
This one’s super simple. It honors the fact that berry season is nearly upon us! (I’m currently using strawberries for this one, as that’s what’s coming in looking irresistible at my local market). Change it up as the season progresses and we get more options! I’m excited! Summer!
The honey is potentially optional- depends on what sweetness you like. The berries will also be quite sweet, so you may want to taste-test before adding the honey. I dig a little dollop.
The flax meal is for fiber and omega-3 purposes. It adds a bit of bulk, making the smoothie more meal-like. But feel free to omit if just looking for a light treat, or an antioxidant-rich dessert!
the Drink-ALL-the-Greens! Smoothie
½ granny smith apple (I chop mine coarsely and leave the skin on—no wasting fiber here!)
½ inch of ginger root, peeled
½ small to med banana- (for consistency)
½ cup spinach, loosely packed*
½ cup swiss chard, loosely packed (this one adds a seriously BRIGHT pop of color)*
½ cup green leaf, red leaf or romaine lettuce, loosely packed*
the juice of half a lime (optional)
1 tsp. honey (optional)
¼ – ½ cup of cold water (+ an ice cube or two if you like it extra chill-ay)
Toss it all into a blender (if using ice cubes, it can be more efficient to put them at the bottom), and blend until smooth (30 sec. – 1 minute, depending on the blender).
*Now…. you can totally do this with just 2, or even 1 type of green. It’s just as tasty, and it’s certainly still good for you! But if you’re planning to have the same smoothie several days in a row, there’s no harm in buying a few varieties to up your veggie consumption.
If you DO buy ALL the greens, plan ahead! Make your significant other drink some! (haha…kidding…sort of). You can also toss any extra into a soup, steam it as a side dish, or use it in a salad. Portion it out from the start so you know it won’t go to waste (though wait to wash each portion until just before using).
*I sometimes put kale in this smoothie, but by the time spring rolls around, I’m pretty kale-d out. But by all means, if ya gotta have kale, you go and get that kale.
This is just the beginning….I’ll be testing out many more smoothie recipes as the climate continues to evolve. (I made a promise…publicly….after the winter vortex lifted….I promised that I wouldn’t complain about the heat at all this summer. In other words- I’m gonna be needing some frozen treats if I don’t want to renege).
And of course, I’ll share the findings of my yummy research here!