Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Smoothie-Tastic Mornings!

One of the first moves I made toward a plant-based lifestyle was adopting smoothies into my morning routine. I love them because, well, they're delicious! But also because I know I can easily make them into unique nutritional power-punches! Now that I know I can cram about 8-10 healthy ingredients into a cup (from kale, to chia seeds, to flax, to 3 kinds of fruit), it seems sad to settle for just a slice of toast or one piece of fruit in the morning.

Cuisinart CPB-300 15-Piece Blender

Thankfully I have this wonderful Cuisinart single-serve blender that I got off of Amazon for $50 (it's gone up a tad since then) that has made smoothie-making criminally convenient. It's been a God-send and worth every penny! I use it literally everyday for smoothies, dressings, soups, chopping, etc. Plus, the travel cups are BPA free!

And while there's enough that you can play around with smoothie-wise so that you don't have to get bored of drinking from a cup everyday, we can't always be complete creatures of habit. Every now and then I will mix up my menu with some oatmeal (oat or quinoa) for breakfast with some combination of seeds and fruit mixed in (more on oatmeal options coming).

Here's my FAVORITE smoothie! Why? Because it has three wonderful God-given things: Chocolate, peanut butter, and bananas! It doesn't seem like breakfast at all... more like dessert!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie (single serve)
Put ingredients into a single serve blender in the following order:

- 1.5 - 2 cups packed greens (spinach, kale, etc.)
- 1 frozen banana, sliced
- 3 dried dates
- 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1 tbsp wheat germ
- 2 heaping tbsp of raw cacao powder (love this brand: Navitas Raw Cacao)
- 1 tbsp natural peanut butter (only one or two ingredients: peanuts and/or salt)
- 1 tbsp chia seed gel
- 8oz or so (eyeball it) plant milk (I use almond or coconut)

Run blender until ingredients shrink down then add a handful of ice and run blender again for creamier texture.

Rainbow SmoothieThis one I concocted yesterday morning. I was amused to realize, as I was happily drinking it on the way to work, that it actually had all the colors of the rainbow crammed inside! A definite plus since the more variety of colorful food we eat, the better!

- Frozen cherries (red)
- 8oz carrot juice (orange)
- 1 frozen banana (yellow)
- Packed kale (green)
- Frozen blueberries (blue/violet)
- Chia seed gel ("indigo")
- 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 5oz or so plant milk
- Water (to help blending)

And voila: colorful, tasty antioxidants galore! :)


  1. Replies
    1. Me too! I have to discipline myself not to make it EVERY morning!

  2. I love that you are including meal recommendations! Thank you, thank you, thank you! My husband wants to eat more smoothies for breakfast. These recipes will come in very handy!

    1. You're very welcome, Sarah-Dear! More are certainly on the way. Part of this blog's function is to help me track and share my culinary adventures. :) If you try or modify anything, let me know how it goes. :)

  3. Where do you get chia seed gel? I looked for it at Trader Joe's to no avail...

  4. I make my own! I buy the chia seeds from Wegmans (Bob's Red Mill brand) and simply combine 1/3c chia seeds with 2c water in a jar and in about 12-24 hours a thick gel forms. I can keep it in the fridge for 3 weeks, but if it starts to smelly fruity before then I throw it out. Those measurements actually make quite a bit of gel, so I cut the amount in half last time I made it.

  5. Had a smoothie this morning. It was filling and lasted me through lunch. I'd like to mix it up a bit and try others. Oatmeal each day was getting a bit boring...

    1. I know, it's crazy how filling liquid breakfast can be. I find that having the greens and seeds added in there definitely help the smoothies hold me over until lunch. Let me know if you come up with any fun concoctions (there are so many possibilities!)

    2. I'd like to add more veggies...and maybe some nuts. I'll probably see how shredded carrots go, maybe some cucumber?

      My parents saw forks over knives, too, and they're not sold on it entirely, either, but she did add some celery and other veggies to the chili she made yesterday.

  6. Hey Lydia - can one do batch and then have it for a few days so one doesn't have to do it every morning?

    1. Hi Alyssa! You could do that, but you might not like what happens. Fruit and veggie smoothies quickly begin to oxidize and separate, and I've noticed that even after leaving my smoothie out for 30 minutes or so, it begins to look lumpy, watery, and unappetizing. Plus, when you macerate/cut/blend fruits and veggies, they are exposed to oxidization and sensitive nutrients quickly dissipate. Some sources suggest consuming a blended fruit/veggie beverage within 20 minutes of making it and storing it in your fridge for no more than 24 hours. There will definitely be SOME fiber and nutrients left in a smoothie or juice after several hours, but not much. And like I said, it will begin to look less and less yummy as time goes on.

      Although this seems like a bit of work, it usually takes me about 10 minutes in the morning. If you get a smoothie system set up, it's really simple! I keep a bag of frozen sliced banana in my freezer at all times. As soon as bananas begin to brown on my counter, they get sliced and put into the banana bag. Also in my freezer are containers of ground up flax seeds, wheat germ, and chia seeds so all I need to do is uncap and scoop. I wash, despine, shred, and store my kale as soon as I get home from the store so all I have to do is grab handfuls from the tupperware throughout the week. I have the single serve blender you see above that I keep on my counter so I'm not lugging a blender around in the mornings. If you make smoothies routinely, you begin to have all the little ingredients/accessories lined up, on hand, and ready to go - so it becomes really easy!