I’ve been going through a serious smoothie craze lately. After all my travel last month and generally consuming too much cheese, I’m trying to eat more carefully and consciously (my hippie form of dieting). Since the weather has been hitting the mid-80s here the last couple of weeks, smoothies are the perfect afternoon snack to tide me over to dinner. Best of all, it fulfills that “sweet tooth” craving I get after lunch.
One of the best things about smoothie is how easy they are to mix-and-match. Since I’m trying to keep a variety of fruit and veggies in my fridge anyways, I can change my smoothie recipe every day depending on my cravings. Plus, my immersion blender means I can whip up a single serving drink and not need to fuss with cleaning an entire blender (seriously, the worst kitchen gadget to clean ever).
Here’s how I prepare the perfect smoothie recipes on a whim:
Yogurt and Almond/Coconut Milk
This is really the foundation of the smoothie. The yogurt is there for creaminess, probiotics, and the essential long-term energy that dairy gives to power you through the day. I go with kiefer, since I can just pour a quarter-cup in without messing with a spoon or a contaminated container. Almond and coconut are the best liquids, which should be approximately 1/3 of your cup. I typically start with that and add more, depending how thick I want it once its gotten going. Coconut is extra hydrating and has a deliciously tropical taste, but I prefer almond milk because of that long-term energy thing. Skip the juice – that’s just pure sugar.
Sure, ice works, but frozen fruit will get you that “frosty” element without watering your drink down. Of course, frozen fruit also stays ripe in your fridge indefinitely! My favorite lately has been frozen cherries because they’re such a strong flavor and taste so much like dessert.
While frozen fruit makes your drink cold and refreshing, fresh fruits get you the creamy texture we’re looking for. The best fruit for this is bananas, which also have a mild flavor that won’t overpower the rest of your drink. That said, I’m not a huge banana fan, so I reach for other choices that puree well like mangos and papaya.
If I’m feeling like I’m extra bloated and gross that day, I love to throw in a handful of spinach or another super-green. If I am feeling tired and in need of extra energy, I toss in a spoonful of a nut butter like almond. Get creative and think outside the box – for example, a handful of pomegranate seeds (ready-to-go from my beloved TJs) is pricy, but flavorful and packed full of healthy anti-oxidents.
I’m of the opinion that a squirt of citrus is absolutely essential for polishing off a smoothie – it really brings the whole thing together. Herbs, like fresh mint, and spices, like cinnamon and vanilla, can totally transform your plain-old drink into something totally unique. Even a spoonful of cocoa powder can make your beverage feel like a milkshake without the 500 calories.
Lately, my favorite smoothie recipe is frozen cherries, fresh papaya that I chop and store in tupperware, and a bit of lemon. If I’m craving greens, I’ll toss some kale or something in as well. What’s your favorite smoothie recipe?