Pomegranate Banana Smoothie

I’ve been so busy with year end activities for both of my kids, I really haven’t had much time to pull anything together—even breakfasts.  It’s safe to say that smoothies have become my go to this week as a change up to our breakfast routine.  Smoothies are quick fix to your morning breakfast scramble and not only are they tasty, if you use frozen fruit and no added sugar, they’re healthy too!

So, here’s the deal my friends. You don’t really need a recipe to create a good tasting smoothie. In fact, they should be called “Kitchen Sink Drinks” because you can take the liberty to add in a wide range of ingredients and chances are, the final product will be flavorful.  If there’s one time in the kitchen you should be teaming with kitchen confidence, it’s when you’re making smoothies.

I have been making a very refreshing Pomegranate Banana Smoothie that has bumped our Blueberry Flaxseed smoothie out of the coveted best tasting spot.  And, guess what?  I just improvised the recipe.  We had some left over POM juice in the fridge, an over-ripe banana on the counter, and lots of honey in the pantry.

This drink is a must try.  Put it on a list–we won’t distinguish which one.  It’s as good for breakfast as it is post workout. If you don’t have all of the ingredients, just add in new ones (and document it)—that’s how smoothies were created in the first place!

Remember, smoothies are way too easy to pass up.  If all you have to do is hit blend, you should be blending morning, noon and night!

So, drink up.  And enjoy!

Fruit & Avocado Smoothie

fruit smoothie

Smoothies have become our breakfast au choix in the mornings.  They’re fun, beyond easy to make, and the whole family can participate.

The best part of smoothie making is watching the most seemingly random ingredients blend together to make the most unusual flavorful drinks.

Our new favorite appliance is our handy NutriBullet.  We are able to make single serve smoothie portions and take it with us on the go on the way to school drop offs.

I’ve never been a fan of “sneaking” veggies into meals.  However, I’ve discovered that smoothies are the ideal conduit for adding greens into your (kids’) diet.  The sweetness of any fruit like: strawberries, bananas, blueberries, pears or pineapples will dominate the drink so much, the vegetables will get consumed virtually unnoticed.

You can either use fresh fruit or do what I did and go to your local store and purchase a bunch of frozen fruit that will last a long time.  Every other morning, we’re concocting new smoothies that not only taste great but, are healthy too.

We’re not adding in any artificial sweeteners or any calorie-laden toppings.  Just  the basics: fruit and milk and maybe some healthy powders….that’s it!

Do you drink a smoothie in the morning?  If so, what’s your favorite?

Hope you enjoy our latest family concoction:

 

Melon Slushie

This weekend we traveled to our hometown to celebrate Father’s Day with our extended family.  While we no longer have three generations of Dads around the table, we still fervently support every Hallmark occasion that recognizes family (and  food).  And, like all other Father’s Days, we indulged in a festive dinner outdoors- enjoying the picture perfect summer evening with the traditional BBQ fare: burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken and all the sides you can imagine.

Luckily I was off the hook for any of the meal preparation since I’m considered an “out-of-towner” who’s “away from my kitchen.”  I did agree to bring my homemade wholly guacamole dip but,  I also wanted to try to make a version of an easy, non-alcoholic drink I found in Food Network Magazine- Melon Slushies.

The recipe intrigued me. It sneaks a healthy-dose of antioxidant-rich green tea into the mix (remember the green tea risotto recipe I made a few months earlier)? Since the drink is non yogurt, non milk-based, it’s also a welcomed addition as a refreshing summer drink that doesn’t necessarily fill you up but, rather, quenches your thirst.

Slushie ingredients

I was so excited to make my first drink batch that I broke my first rule of thumb for cooking — I never read through the entire recipe.  I simply glanced through the ingredients, went to the store and purchased the items, and assumed the prep time included BLENDING in the blender.  I never bothered to read the instructions to learn that the fruit and ginger need to freeze at least 2 to 4 hours prior to blending.  Oops!

Also, when cooking in another kitchen, make sure you’ve confirmed it is stocked with any appliance and materials needed- don’t assume anything.  For the slushies, ice cube trays are recommended for proper freezing.

Frozen honeydew melon

Not only did Dad not have any trays, he had some items in his freezer that looked like petrified relics from the Stone Ages. And, since he had no ice trays, the prospect of him owning a blender seemed inconceivable.  As I rifled through his kitchen closet, much to my surprise, I discovered an old-school blender, the kind with the raised buttons, that takes twice the amount of time to liquefy all the ingredients. Yes, I’m openly admitting that I’m spoiled with my new 6-blade Ninja Blender.

Regardless of the antiquated machine or the lack of ice trays, in just 10 minutes the honey dew was chopped, the ginger syrup boiled, and the two items placed into the freezer to freeze. Two hours later, I hit “blend” and created an amazing, powerfully refreshing slushie drink.

The combination of the ginger ale, melon and mint laced with a minor hint of green tea creates a very unique flavor.

I’d recommend adding ¼ cup of lime juice to the mix and even an extra tablespoon of sugar to enhance the sweetness.

Get a little sassy and add a ¼ cup sliced water melon or pomegranate seeds.

And of course, get a little tipsy and add some vodka!

Either way, your melon slushie will cool you down to beat the summer heat.

Enjoy.

Banana Basil Smoothie

Since receiving my new Ninja blender, I’ve been in smoothie heaven.  In fact, we’ve now deemed Sundays (at least Sundays in the summer) as Smoothie Days.  I’ve found that designating days with certain “themes” gives my kids anticipatory excitement that gets them invested in the food theme.  In fact, it’s amazing how simple french toast, or even a mere bowl of cereal can take on a totally different persona when it’s served at Breakfast for Dinner nights on Wednesday nights.  Same goes for smoothies.

My kids have happily slurped Pomegranate Smoothies which are bursting with spinach. They chugged  Blueberry Banana Smoothies with a nice teaspoonful of flaxseed, and today we concocted a Banana Basil smoothie for conspicuous consumption.

Remember, the beauty to smoothies is that they’re fluid, literally and figuratively.  You can invent and taste test as you go along.  Need to clean out your fridge?  Make a smoothie. Got over-ripe bananas and don’t have enough time to make Judy’s amazing Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf? Make a smoothie.  Have veggies you need to get rid of?  Make a smoothie.

For today’s smoothie, I decided to combine bananas and a bowl of wilting basil that was sitting on my counter top.

Captive Bananas

Basil leaves

While we usually don’t think about using herbs in smoothies (except for mint as a garnish), it’s the perfect way to get them into our diet.  And, how can we deny basil’s many health benefits.  It’s known to have antioxidants that protect the body from premature aging and age-related problems and even types of cancer. Basil contains the flavonoids orientin and vicenin, which are plant pigments that block your cell structures from oxygen and radiation damage. Basil can help with constipation, stomach cramps and indigestion. It can also be used to give relief from the common cold, flu, asthma, bronchitis and sinus infections. But, if you’re still squeamish about tasting basil, I’ve found that the banana’s flavor will dominate any smoothie.

Smoothies are so easy to make so you really don’t have any excuses (except if you don’t have a good blender– then you should click here).  Seriously my friends, all you have to do is throw the bananas, basil, honey, milk and ice into your blender and mix away!  In just 2 minutes, you’ll have a very satisfying, healthy drink that is  perfect for breakfast, midday or for a post work out refuel.

Refreshing, frothy, tasty

Of course my kids gave our frothy drink two thumbs up.

However, my husband said the smoothie tasted too much like veggie.   Obviously, I’ve still got my work cut out for me.  Basil, a veggie?

 

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