Sunday, March 6, 2011

Green Smoothies: Breakfast Cheat-Sheet

My Favorite Green Smoothie
I wouldn't call myself a health-nut.  I find people who obsessively eat things ONLY for their caloric or lack-thereof content and or vitamin value kind of annoying killjoys.  To me, focusing on those things saps the beauty, excitement and serendipity out of creating new things to eat every day - there are just too many calculations involved.  I generally go with whatever "sounds good" to me that day, and happily, that is usually a good combination of the 5 (6?) food groups.  I love vegetables, especially green ones, and always have.  I also really love seafood, whole grains, fruit, and dairy.  So with all that on my side, I'd say I provide myself and my family with a well-balanced, freshly-prepared and preservative free diet.

These days, being pregnant and all, I've admittedly had a harder time eating a well-balanced diet, because a lot of things haven't seemed appetizing at all.  I tend to crave sweet things when I'm pregnant anyway, but the weirdest thing that has happened to me this time around as that I can't stand the thought of grocery shopping.  For some reason I feel a gag coming on the second I think of the meat section at the supermarket, and I'm not one to test my personal theory  that I probably won't throw up because I'm more-gag-than-vomit when it comes to pregnancy, in public.  For this reason I've mostly been shopping at the closest, cleanest supermarket to me: Abela. 

Abela is expensive because it's a specialty supermarket - one of the only places in Abu Dhabi where you can buy pork products, as well as many other international (mainly American and British) imports.  This is a big deal (especially for us bacon-eaters).  It's also a big deal that it's a 2-minute drive from my house.  But because of this "big deal" the prices are inflated at least 25-30% as compared to Carrefour or Lulu.  Nevermind.  The produce is usually a lot nicer, and they are one of the only places that seems to sell baby spinach.  Mmmmm, love me some baby spinach.

So speaking of baby spinach, I've been buying the $5.00 / box baby spinach lately.  Yes, shamelessly.  And in order not to waste a single leaf, I started making green smoothies.

My favorite color is green, but I first got my idea for green smoothies from this blog post at Naturally Nina, a blog I've recently taken to following.  My interest was piqued by her comment that she too had some hesitance in adding green things to her morning fruit smoothies, thinking it would introduce an irreversible grassy element to them.  But when she claimed that actually you couldn't even taste the spinach, and that you got a great green color and all the natural vitamins and minerals along with it, I couldn't resist trying. 

I am pretty boring when it comes to smoothies - I always make banana, vanilla and milk smoothies.  But since the introduction of "green" into my smoothies, the variety has exploded.  I would highly recommend experimenting with your favorite flavors (Nina uses Mango and Spinach), but here's my favorite so far - an easy, delicious, gag-free, and coincidentally quite healthy way to start the day.  No calculations necessary.

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My Favorite Green Smoothie

Serves 1-2

I have listed amounts as complete approximations.  I usually eyeball it with smoothies and recommend you do the same. 

As an unrelated bonus: kids actually like this too.  Roman had a half cup of it, much to my surprise and delight. :)


 1 banana, in large chunks
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 - 1 cup whole milk (adjust to your liking)
1/2 Hass avocado
10-15 baby spinach leaves
1 small handful of whole almonds
1-2 tbsp natural sugar (I use brown cain sugar)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whizz it all up in a blender until the nuts are in smithereens and you have a nice, even green color. 

Drink cold for breakfast or as an accompaniment. 

You can also make this thicker by reducing the milk and eat it as a yogurt-y type thing with granola or muesli.  Yummers.
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