No, this is not a cooking blog, but I’ve been cooking all the time lately. For instance, today I made the Beef curry wraps here. (They were very good, I replaced the peas with frozen edamame and ate the filling on the flatbread like a pizza!) I think I will occasionally share a recipe here.
I have never been a big fan of breakfast. I’m not a morning person, and I don’t want to socialize early in the day (and trust me, no one wants to socialize with me then either!) I also don’t like many breakfast foods – bacon, sausage etc, they aren’t foods I really eat. I do eat waffles and eggs, but I like to eat them for dinner (at least once a week!) because they make me sick in the morning.
Having said that, I’m trying to eat more often, which is really making me feel better (I am prone to blood sugar swings.) Breakfast was a challenge though. Here is what I try to do: I get up, have my coffee, and then I do my workout. After that, I’m awake enough to have a little something, which these days is usually a smoothie or some kind of energy bar if I’m leaving for the day. I buy various energy/food bars at Whole Foods, so what I eat there varies (I don’t like the raw ones though, like Larabars, which everyone seems to love… they all taste like dates to me, yuck!)
On the days I’m working at home, and on weekends, I have a smoothie. I was never into them, but I’ve discovered a few tricks that makes them much easier at home, so I thought I might share one of my recipes! I’ve had this one three days in a row, which I’m pretty sure makes it my favorite. I even made it for my husband today, and he loved it!
Ingredients (Makes one 16 oz or two 8 oz smoothies)
1.5 cups of unsweetened Almond Milk (you can use any milk you like, but I like the texture of almond milk in smoothies)
1 frozen banana (these go in almost all my smoothies – I peel, cut and freeze them when they start to get too ripe. Be sure to pre cut them unless you have a better blender than I do!)
1 Tbs dark chocolate peanut butter (Peanut Butter & Co Brand. Whole Foods and my local Kroger both carry it.. It is pretty much the best thing ever. The white chocolate is also great!)
1/2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder (Raise this to a full tablespoon if you aren’t using protein powder)
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I like the Designer Whey brand. It isn’t gritty and tastes great in smoothies. You can also use vanilla, just add extra cocoa powder. I like to add this because I am mostly vegetarian, and in the course of tracking my nutrients I realized that I don’t eat enough protein. I try to eat more now, but I also like to supplement. I notice a difference if my protein levels are really low! You can, of course, leave this part out.)
1-2 scoops coffee beans, finely ground
1/2 tsp Xanthan gum (more below on this!)
Ice Cubes (start with 2, but you may need more)
Optional: 2 cups fresh spinach (I promise you will not taste it! I was out, so none for me today, but I usually add some for the extra servings of veggies.)
You will want your coffee beans ground extremely fine – either buy them this way at the store, or use a burr coffee grinder set to really fine (that’s what I do.)
Add all ingredients to the blender except the xanthan gum
I usually pulse a few times to break up the ice, then use the mix setting until I don’t hear any more chunks. At this point you will add xanthan gum. This is optional, but I find that it makes a huge difference in the texture of smoothies. Ever wonder why yours turn out watery? Many restaurants use this ingredient (which is natural, not scary and chemically like it sounds!) It’s in lots of other products (salad dressing, toothpaste etc.) You can buy it at any health food store (I use Bob’s Red Mill brand, which I got in the natural section of my local supermarket.) It thickens and holds the mixture together. However, you don’t want to use too much! I start with 1/8 of a tsp, blend on liquify a few seconds and then check, adding more until I get the texture I want (this is generally around 1/2 tsp for me.) You may need to add more ice. That’s all – then it’s ready to drink!
Doesn’t everyone drink their smoothies out of a chalice?
I added 2 sweet n low packets, but they probably aren’t necessary. The coffee grounds add an interesting texture (similar to oreos in a shake) and aren’t bothersome at all. You could use decaf if you are concerned about caffeine, but I am pretty much on a caffeine drip all day (between coffee, black tea, and my sad Coke Zero addiction) so I barely notice.
My blender is a really nice KitchenAid, but I still lust after a Vitamix. I was at Whole Foods last week and they were doing a demo, and it was totally amazing! I have to tell you, I will be giving some consideration to buying a refurbished one down the line if I keep making so many smoothies and shakes!