food

Green Smoothie

I love breakfast.  I have nothing in common with people who say they just aren't hungry in the morning.  I wake up thinking about breakfast.  Then again, while I'm eating a meal, I'm thinking about what I'm going to have for my next one.  I guess maybe I just love food.

On the weekends I get really into making elaborate breakfasts.

Clockwise from top left: Huevos Rancheros, Bagels, Eggs Baked in Tomato Sauce, Rhubarb Kolaches, Ham Hash, Bananas Foster French Toast

However, at least five days out of the week I have the same thing for breakfast.  It's fast, it's delicious, and it makes me feel good.

It's a green smoothie.  I know this is hardly a revelation; smoothies have been around for a long time and I'm certainly not the first to share a recipe for one.  But since this is a blog about what I really do in my daily life, I feel compelled to share my take on this modern classic.

First, you'll need some greens.  I've tried many in endless combinations: bok choy, watercress, kale, chard, and so many others.  My favorite combination, though, is spinach and flat-leaf parsley.  They're both really high on the nutrient-density list and they're also nice and mild so they don't overpower the flavor of the fruit.  I wouldn't suggest using anything with a really strong flavor here, like cilantro, but go ahead and use whatever you like.

The next ingredient is coconut milk.  You can also use plain yogurt, but I tend to feel a little better if I start my day dairy-free.  This is completely personal and I don't advocate cutting out whole food groups unless you have a doctor's instructions to do so.  I get plenty of cheese and cream and yummy things later in the day.  If you do use coconut milk, get the kind in the can because it doesn't have added sugar like the stuff in the jug.  Just make sure to stir it before pouring off what you're going to use because the thick coconut cream rises to the top.  Click here to learn about the nutritional benefits of coconut milk.

Banana is the next addition, and a crucial one.  It adds texture, natural sweetness, and potassium and it really helps to fill you up.

In the interest of adding protein to the smoothie, I like to add sunflower seeds.  They grind up to a smooth consistency in the blender and leave just a slight, pleasant nuttiness.  Chris likes to use plain whey protein instead.  Here's a list of good protein sources for smoothies.

Lastly, you're going to need frozen fruit in whatever variety you like.  The reason it should be frozen is so that you don't have to use ice, which will dilute your smoothie.  Preserved at the peak of ripeness, frozen fruits are packed with as many nutrients as fresh and taste awesome.  We buy ours in bulk since we go through the stuff.  Peaches and blueberries are my favorite fruits, so the blend I use includes a lot of those along with pineapple, honeydew, and strawberries.

What we don't include is any kind of sweetener.  A lot of smoothie recipes call for honey or maple syrup which, while admittedly lower on the glycemic index than white sugar, are sugars still.  Trust me; the fruit is all this smoothie needs in order to be plenty sweet.

A powerful blender can whir this up in one minute.  Depending on the thickness of your coconut milk, you may need to add a splash or two of water to get the consistency you like.  The quantity in the blender above is more than one recipe will make.  While I used to spoon-feed some of my own smoothie to Susanna in the mornings, she now drinks from a straw and sucks down her own half-size portion.

I always feel great after drinking this smoothie.  If the day gets busy and I'm not able to get as many veggies as I'd like with lunch, I'm comforted knowing we had a big handful with breakfast.  Try it and let me know how you feel!

Just for Fun

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Next time I do a post about breakfast, I'd like to give the recipe for one of the dishes pictured above. Vote for your favorite!

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GREEN SMOOTHIE

makes one

  • 2 cups loosely packed greens (spinach, parsley, bok choy, watercress, kale, chard, etc.)
  • 1/2 can unsweetened coconut milk (1 can=13.5 oz.  1/2 can= 6.75 oz.)
  • 1/2 large banana
  • 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup frozen fruit
  • optional: up to 2 Tablespoons water

Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender and blend until smooth.