Monday, March 7, 2011

My Favorite Smoothies

I make a lot of breakfast smoothies at my house for my husband and myself. They're relatively inexpensive, quick to make, and easy to eat on the go if you're in a hurry. They are a great way to get liquid nutrition into your body since part of the digestive process is already started in the blender. Plus, because you use whole fruits, nuts and seeds, you get the complete nutritional profile, fiber and all. A few basic rules of thumb are to pay attention to the color palette of what you're blending (color is a major factor in how appetizing smoothies are, especially for kids) and to manage the consistency and sweetness. Soaked nuts can add a great, creamy texture without depending on dairy, or you can use yogurt and honey to help bind ingredients together. Sweetness is an important part of the taste and can be achieved with natural, unrefined sweeteners such as agave nectar, real maple syrup, dates or simply ripe fruit. Here are three of my favorite smoothie recipes.

Strawberry Cashew
1/3 Cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
18 to 20 large strawberries, hulled and frozen
2 Tablespoons flax seed
4 Dates, pitted and roughly chopped
3 to 4 Cups apple juice

Rinse the cashews well and add everything to your blender. If your dates are not very soft, you can soak them in hot water for about 15 minutes to give your blender a break. Blend well, usually 1 to 2 minutes to make sure everything gets smooth. Adjust the amount of apple juice depending on how thick you like it and how powerful your blender is. This recipe makes about 6 cups.

Green Apple Kiwi
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
3 or 4 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1/2 Cup plain or vanilla yogurt
2 Tablespoons flax seed
1 large handful of spinach or kale
3 to 4 Cups apple juice
Alternative sweetener, to taste

Wash your greens, if necessary, and add everything to your blender. You might want to hold off on the sweetener until you taste it. I usually add a couple tablespoons of agave nectar or honey to this one because it can be a little tart, depending on the ripeness of your fruit. This is a nutritional powerhouse and is more palatable than most green smoothies. And since all of the major ingredients are green, the color is far more appetizing than mixing ingredients from across the color wheel. This recipe makes about 6 cups.

Banana Berry
2 Bananas, peeled and broken in pieces
1 to 2 Cups frozen mixed berries
1/2 Cup plain or vanilla yogurt
2 Tablespoons flax seed
1 Cup orange juice
2 to 3 Cups apple juice

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend well for 1 to 2 minutes, adding more juice if needed. I love the orange juice in this one because it really adds a lot of brightness and flavor. This recipe makes about 6 cups.

Any other smoothie addicts with favorites to share?


  1. I'm not generally a smoothie fan, but I have my own healthy breakfast recipe. Originally, this is Mom's recipe for granola, but I've tweaked and edited it so much since I inherited it from her that I think it's fair to call it my own:

    In saucepan, boil:
    1 cup vegetable oil
    3/4 cup honey
    3/4 cup maple syrup (get the good 100% pure stuff - much better than the maple flavored crap)

    Combine in large bowl:
    1 canister (42 oz) rolled oats – quick or old fashioned, doesn’t really matter (or about 9-10 cups)
    1 cup wheat germ
    1 cup ground flax seed
    3 cups of other goodies (pick your favorites, I like dried cranberries, golden raisins, sunflower seeds and cashews)

    Pour oil and honey mixture over other ingredients in bowl. Mix well. Spread on two cookie sheets and bake for about 10 minutes at 275 degrees (longer if you like your granola crunchy rather than chewy). Cool and store in an airtight plastic container. One batch usually provides me with daily breakfast for 3-4 weeks.


  2. Thanks for the reminder about granola. I've been working on a ways to use oats because they're so cheap and healthy.