Smooth Operator

 

A friend refers to me as the Smoothie Queen.  Indeed, I do make a lot of smoothies.  They are easy, delicious ways to get a lot of nutrients, including a good deal of protein, and there are so many delicious flavor combinations that they never get boring.  This morning’s dominant flavor was banana/almond/strawberry. I made it with frozen organic bananas and strawberries, almond butter, almond milk, a splash of OJ and a little coconut.

Image

I keep certain ingredients on hand at all times to make the smoothie-making process faster and easier.

Image

Bananas are the main staple of all of my smoothies.  I buy fresh organic ones and toss them into the freezer. Frozen bananas are used instead of ice cubes, because ice cubes can water down the flavor of the smoothie.  Frozen bananas whip up smooth and creamy and because they are frozen, they chill the drink.  Adding bananas makes it unnecessary to add any other kind of sweeteners, too. Yum.  Oh, and if you can’t get your child to eat green veggies?  Throw some of those in the mix.  A couple of stalks of broccoli cannot even be detected and the child will, most likely, gulp the whole thing down with great enthusiasm!

Image

I use almond milk in all of my smoothies.  Almond milk contains ground almonds and water. It’s a healthy alternative to high-fat, mucous-producing cow’s milk, and contains more vitamins and minerals than soy and rice milks. Many people who’ve tried almond milk prefer the flavor of almond milk to that of soy and rice milk.  I know I do.  While soy milk contains a lot of protein, it doesn’t contain the high levels of vitamins and minerals found in almond milk, so it’s often fortified with calcium and vitamin D to bring is nutritional quality more on a level with fortified cow’s milk. Rice milk doesn’t contain much nutrition at all, so it’s usually also fortified with vitamin D, calcium and other nutrients.  Because almonds are naturally very nutritious, almond milk doesn’t need to be fortified. You can make almond milk yourself at home, and it will have the same nutritional value as the almond milk available commercially.

Image

Whey.  I use French Vanilla Designer Whey that I pick up at Trader Joe’s.  It contains 100 calories and 18 grams of protein.  Adding whey to a smoothie increases the amount of energy that the smoothie imparts and makes it more nutritionally satisfying.  After you’ve had a smoothie containing whey, you feel great….unlike the feeling you get after drinking a milkshake or malt.  This stuff is packed with nutrients!

Image

Frozen fruit is another frequent addition to my smoothies, be it stone fruit, such as cherries or peaches, or frozen berries.  Why frozen?  Freezing foods helps maintain their nutrients and, like the bananas, serves as a great substitute for ice in a smoothie.  When berries are in season, I will sometimes use fresh, organic ones that are not frozen, just because they have such a wonderful flavor, but most of the time, I use frozen ones.  You can get a great deal on organic frozen strawberries at Trader Joe’s.  I used those in my smoothie this morning.

Here are some recipes for my favorite smoothies.  I am not going to put amounts of ingredients.  Just add the amounts that you like.  If you want a stronger flavor, add more stuff.  Easy rule to follow, yes?  🙂

Peanut Butter Smoothie

Crunchy, salted peanut butter

Whey

Almond milk

Frozen bananas

Tahitian vanilla or fresh vanilla bean (split the bean and scrape out the insides.  Add THAT to the smoothie, but not the outer pod.)

Coconut Almond Smoothie

Frozen bananas

Dried, unsweetened coconut

Raw almonds or almond butter

Almond milk

Dash of vanilla

Whey

Optional:  Make it taste like an Almond Joy by adding a tablespoon of high quality dark cocoa. No sugar!

Strawberry-Kiwi Smoothie

The inside of a few kiwis…discard skin

Frozen Strawberries

Frozen Bananas

Almond Milk

Whey

Pina Colada Smoothie

Fresh pineapple

Unsweetened coconut

Whey

Almond Milk

Frozen Bananas

Image

The different flavor and ingredient combinations are endless!

Enjoy your smoothies!  (Kate enjoys hers!) 🙂

Hoo! Hoo! for the Owl’s Brew and Other Booze News

Image

The jury is still out on this new artisanal mixer treat called, “Owl’s Brew” by Jennie Ripps and Maria Littlefield.  I protested when green tea started showing up in everything from shampoo to dog food, and the concept of mixing tea and booze is a new one for me.  However, I have to admit, it does taste good…unique, light, refreshing.   These mixers are concocted from fresh herbs, whole spices and fruits to create something different…something fun to mix 2 to 1 with a shot of booze.  I think I like them!

Image

The Pink and Black mixer is  handcrafted in small batches and consists of a blend of black tea, hibiscus, lemon peel, and agave, splashed with strawberry and lemon juices. Just add your favorite liquor and you’re all set.   The Coco Lada is a blend of black tea, coconut, chai spices, pineapple juice and agave.

Image

Who is to say that you have to use them with booze, however?  How about a splash into a glass of tonic water or club soda?  How about adding some to one’s morning orange juice?  To limit these great flavor concentrates to booze is doing them an injustice.  However, if one does decide to use them in booze, they can count on the concoction to be about 1/3 fewer calories than drinks made from their usual mixers….and that’s a good thing!

While we’re in drinking mode, here are some other tips to help you hack your booze, courtesy of this website.

Image

1. Keep your pitcher cold yet undiluted with a plastic cup full of ice.

Image

2. Cut a hole in an orange, and poke the insides gently to open up the pulp. Then pour in your miniature vodka bottle and leave it in the fridge overnight. The next day you will have a delicious, boozy vodka orange!

Image

3. Freeze grapes to chill wine without watering it down

Image

4. Freeze your leftover wine in a ice-cube to use in sauces

5. It doesn’t quite seem like a genius idea, but using a CD to protect your clothes and others around you can and will work.

Image

6. Add a few sprinkles of salt to a bucket of ice, place your booze of choice inside and then watch it cool off, right before your eyes!

Image

7. Drunken gummy bears: Place in baking dish, cover with vodka. Leave in fridge for a week.

Image

8. Did you know the lines on the Solo cups are measurement marks? Solo said it actually isn’t true but to us, and social drinkers around the world, it makes sense. First line, liquor, second wine, third beer. Cheers!

Image

9. If you ever lose your bottle opener, you can always open your next beer with a stapler

Image

10. Or open wine with a drill like a pro.

Image

Cheers, dears!  🙂

Day #24 – Can’t Wait

Image

Photo a Day – MARCH

Day #24 – CAN’T WAIT!

© Stacy Alexander – 2014