SMOOTHIES: A DELICIOUS AND POWERFUL WAY TO START YOUR DAY
Wake up, rise and eat! Powering up in the morning is an awesome way to get your day started off right. I firmly believe in the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It also happens to be my favorite meal of the day. I love food, cooking and most of all, eating. What better way to start the day than by enjoying a delicious meal?!
By choosing a nutritious and delicious meal in the morning, you are setting the tone for the rest of your day, getting your metabolism going and gearing your body for yoga, work or whatever else you might be up to. No matter what activities are on tap, breakfast will help wake you up and set a solid foundation for you to conquer the world…if that’s what you’re going for.
My all time favorite breakfast of the wintertime is miso soup with veggies. And while I’ll still dabble with miso soups in the summertime, I’ve found myself more interested in a cooler meal to start my day. I admit that first I like a cup of hot coffee or green tea in the morning but during the summer I also plug in my blender as I turn on the tea water.
Wondering what my magical summer solution to breakfast is? Smoothies!
Here’s the thing about smoothies…you really can’t go wrong. How beautiful is that?! In the mornings I like a heartier smoothie that can serve as my meal while in the afternoon I choose a lighter smoothie that I can sip as a midday snack. I love experimenting with smoothie recipes and often end up throwing a bunch of ingredients into the blender in a rather hodge-podge way.
Never has the hodge-podge method failed me. However, I realize that for the sake of reproducing delightful concoctions, some semblance of recipe is helpful. First I have a few key ingredients that I recommend stocking your fridge and freezer with before you get going.
Frozen fruit! It’s awesome to find ripe and local fruit at farmer’s markets during the summer but that’s not always the reality. You can often find great organic frozen produce at health-conscious grocery stores when you can’t find fresh fruit. I also think it can be great to slice and freeze fruit like bananas, blueberries, strawberries, etc. and have them on-hand in the freezer for instant
Almond milk! I prefer using almond milk because I like to avoid using a lot of soy and I enjoy the flavor. But, you can try out any variety of non-dairy milks and see what strikes your fancy—soy, rice, hemp, coconut, etc. Non-dairy milk adds body, protein and great flavor to a smoothie. Some non-dairy milks have more prominent flavors so see what you like best.
Fresh greens! Adding dark leafy greens to a smoothie can add instant nutrition (vitamin C, calcium, vitamin A, and potassium just to name a few), awesome color and earthly flavor to any smoothie. I personally love using fresh kale in the summer and when it’s not available I choose frozen spinach, which stays good in the freezer all year round.
Dried fruit! Having dried fruit around like apricots, dates and prunes can add some natural sweetness if you’re looking for a sweet start to your day.
Nuts! Using a little bit of nuts or nut butters can add some great flavor, protein and texture to your smoothie. I love using natural peanut or almond butters or chopped nuts like almonds or walnuts in my smoothies.
A few other fun ingredients that I have grown quite fond of…
Rolled oats: Oats add a great thickness and texture to a smoothie. They are also really filling and can be a great combo with nuts especially when making a smoothie as a full meal.
Hemp protein: If I’m feeling like I need some extra protein, I consider adding a small scoop of hemp protein to my smoothies.
Coconut: I find coconut delicious in every possible form. If I have it, I’ll always add unsweetened coconut flakes into a smoothie. I also like adding a little bit of coconut milk yogurt into fruity smoothies or coconut water in lighter smoothies. You can also try a bit of coconut oil or coconut milk ice cream for more decadent dessert creations.
Blender, of course. Know your blender, some blenders are more powerful than others. Some blenders like Vitamix blenders can pretty much blend anything into smithereens a.k.a., a smoothie. This makes experimenting rather easy. Others, like my sturdy but rather noisy Oster 12-speed blender, will need more assistance and might require adding more liquids and patience. If a smoothie is not blending, first see if you can pause and stir it around manually (blender off of course). If that’s a no-go, try adding ice or more of whatever liquid you were using.
Tasty ingredients of your choosing. The possibilities are endless.
Now, a few recipes to get you started:
Purple Passion Smoothie (serves 1-2 depending on the appetite)
I love the deep eggplant purple that this smoothie makes. The combination of wild blueberries and kale makes a stunning purple that could potentially fool a hesitant taster of green smoothies into thinking that there aren’t any crazy ingredients like kale (gasp!) inside their glass. Personally I love when it comes out greener and it also doesn’t bother me if a batch ends up looking grayer but for aesthetic purposes you can be mindful of the ratio of vibrant-colored fruit to dark greens to maximize the outer beauty of your smoothie.
1 handful of kale, roughly chopped (or frozen spinach if no kale is readily available)
1 cup wild (frozen or fresh) blueberries
1 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
a few ice cubes
1 tsp local honey (optional)
There is no magical secret to this smoothie although I would recommend de-stemming the kale if you’re using kale with thick stems. I often refrigerate or freeze my bananas to keep them fresh and cool for adding to my smoothies. The honey is totally optional; it can just be a nice sweetener if you are looking for a sweeter smoothie.
I also consider this the bare bones of the ingredients. Go ahead and experiment! Sometimes I’ll add some raspberries and unsweetened coconut flakes too.
Peanut Power Smoothie (serves 2-3 depending on appetite)
This is definitely a filling smoothie recipe. I love the density that the oats and nuts give this smoothie. You can also try using your favorite granola instead of the oats. Just be mindful that your granola is probably sweetened so it will definitely give the smoothie a sweeter edge.
½ cup rolled oats
1 ½ cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
2-3 Tbsp. organic peanut butter (or almond butter)
1 tsp. local honey (or other natural sweetner)
¼ cup dried fruit (dates, prunes, apricots) optional
¼ cup nuts (walnuts, almonds, peanuts) optional
2 Tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
a few ice cubes
Go Green Smoothie (serves one)
This is one of my easy go-to combinations. It can be jazzed up by adding fruit or enjoyed in its pure delicious simplicity. Blend and enjoy!
1 handful kale, roughly chopped (or frozen spinach if no kale is available)
1 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
a few ice cubes
Here is to summer and beautiful mornings! Blend a smoothie for yourself, friends, family, strangers, whomever. I promise they will be eternally grateful for the love that you serve from blender to glass. Enjoy every start to your day and treat yourself to a delicious, nutritious smoothie this summer—you deserve it!
Have any smoothie masterpieces that you’d like to share? Keep spreading the smoothie love and share your recipes here and with friends.