Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Breakfast Smoothie

Alton Brown has inspired me to start the morning off with a smoothie again. I used to make myself a smoothie all the time but about a year and a half ago I stopped for some reason or another. He recently lost 50 pounds and stresses that eating breakfast is vital to sustained weight loss and health. We all know this, but for some reason when I heard him say it, something clicked. Back in the day, I used to blend my smoothie up with 2% milk, plain yogurt and various fruits. Nothing is wrong with that per se, but it's not exactly the most efficient fuel for your body. There's little protein in that concoction and lots of sugar (albeit natural) and sorry to say, the base, the liquid if you will, was just fattening with little nutritional value per calorie.

The smoothie Alton inspired me to make however is improved and I'm happy to report very good for you, with the protein I need to run until lunchtime. Here's the recipe for 1 smoothie: (4 oz is the equivalent to about a 1/2 cup)

Breakfast Smoothie

4oz plain soy milk (that's the protein)
4oz pure purple juice (either pomegranate, acai, or grape)
4oz frozen wild blueberries (or another berry, but blueberries are especially good)
4oz frozen yellow fruit (either mango, pineapple or peach)
1 banana (frozen or fresh)

Blend together, pour in a tall glass, sip through a straw and enjoy!

What's that? You think you hate soy milk, huh? Especially plain? I thought the same thing! But I promise you, you can't taste it. This smoothie tastes no different from my old go to one made with milk. Oh, and hey, one more thing...When you drink the smoothie, chew on it a bit. I do this naturally because of the seeds involved and you probably do too, but it is important because when you chew you make saliva and saliva is the stuff that helps to break down your food and absorb it into your body. I think that's how it works, so without the critical chew, if you were to just swallow it down, your body wouldn't use the nutrients as effectively. For added protein, add a handful of almonds into the blender, its good.

When it comes to ingredients in smoothies, I like to stay with fruits that go together. Although I have been known to just throw whatever I have into the blender, usually smoothies with purpose taste better. Some great combinations I have tried include

-pineapple, mango, banana with chunks of coconut (if they are available, just crack the husk away and put a few chunks of the flesh into the blender, it will have a brown outer layer and that's fine. It gives it a wonderful milky texture and I love the consistency, but I like to chew a bit)
-Strawberry, blueberry, peach and banana
-Peach, mango, banana, strawberry
-blueberry, banana, pineapple

I would blend all of the above with plain soy milk and a juice of your choosing as long as it's not a commercial sugar bomb of a juice (apple, pineapple) and also, don't use too much juice. Also, as a little side note: I absolutely LOVE raspberries, but only for eating and not necessarily in smoothies because the seeds get stuck in your teeth.

Some other out of the box idea's for smoothie's:

-Peanut Butter oatmeal smoothie

peanut butter
vanilla yogurt
chocolate whey protein powder
skim milk (or soy)
a bit of cooked oatmeal
(thanks Angie, for the idea!) Blend together until smooth

-Strawberry-Watermelon Smoothie with Ginger

1 1/2 cups cubes of seedless watermelon
1 cup frozen quartered strawberries
3/4 tsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Process all until smooth

-Honeydew-Kiwi Smoothie with Mint

1 cup cubed honeydew melon
3/4 cup peeled kiwi
5 large mint leaves
1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 cup crushed ice
Process until smooth

-Ultra Chocolate Smoothie

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk, or regular unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup chocolate low fat frozen yogurt
Process until smooth

This last one is more of a dessert smoothie in my opinion, but whatever floats your boat...

Oh yeah, one more thing...If you are feeling daring you could turn any average breakfast smoothie into a version of a "green smoothie" for added nutrition. Just add a big handful of baby spinach to everything else and blend. It sounds gross, but honestly you can't taste it that much. If you are oddly intrigued with the green smoothie, google it. I'm not a huge fan of the authentic ones, but a handful of spinach is OK.
Besides the smoothie, I haven't been cooking too much lately. Well, nothing worth noting anyway. We had "vegetarian tacos" last night. I flavored black beans with taco seasoning. It was kind of bland to be honest, but I didn't have much time to put into them because of cheer leading practice, so I can't complain. I can tell if I would have put some more effort into flavoring each ingredient and had better salsa they would have been killer. I also cooked dinner for 50 people last week. It took 2 days, but I got er done. It was for sk8 church. I made 2 huge sausage lasagnas (my Grandma Burgos' recipe because she makes the very best lasagna) and 2 portabello mushroom lasagnas made with bechemel sauce (white sauce). Then I rounded it out with multiple huge Cesar salads that I made with romaine, roasted cherry tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and pancetta wheels with homemade dressing. For dessert, coconut cupcakes. The mushroom lasagna, salad and the cupcakes were all Ina Garten's recipes. She is one of my fave's.
TTFN ta ta for now!