We don’t like to abandon smoothies in the wintertime, even though some of you in the north might think we’re nuts. (Yes, I understand that an icy drink might not sit well in your heavily mittened hands as you stand shivering at the bus stop.) But as my husband keeps making his same old standby of berries and orange juice (I try to get him to use yogurt and milk, too, even if he won’t use nuts or nut butter), not only are the kids getting sick of it, but I am feeling seasonally disoriented. I didn’t grow up eating to the season, but I find that my body still likes it that way. So if I’m going to flaunt my southern status by whipping up a smoothie for breakfast (as well as some of you northern home-bodies, perhaps?), I want it to feature good, old-fashioned, winter ingredients.
Let’s think citrus, cranberry, even pomegranate. Let’s go with winter dessert staples, like egg nog, pumpkin pie, mint and chocolate. And let’s enjoy a protein-rich, super-simple breakfast (or snack), shall we?
A few words about my smoothies. They are not made from ice cream. That’s a milk shake. They don’t taste like you have put your lips around the agave bottle and are gulping. That is unnecessary. But they also don’t feature a scant list of beets, raw nuts, spinach, almond milk, and air. Those smoothies have a place, but not with the RealisticChef blog. My smoothies may be high in fat, but it’s fat you can handle in a healthy diet, paired with protein, vitamins, nutrients, and quality ingredients.
I like my smoothies icy. Not to say I like to add ice to my smoothies, because I don’t want the taste watered down. Therefore, I start a lot with frozen ingredients, including my bananas and fruit. It makes a difference.
I believe in dairy. Around here, we try to steer clear of added hormones and generally abused cows (aiming at free-ranging), and so we can live with full-fat milk and yogurt. If you need low fat, then adjust the recipes accordingly, even to the point of substituting rice-, almond-, or other grain- or nut-milk and similar yogurts (although I don’t recommend soy yogurts).
And one more thing; I know I said I was aiming for winter ingredients, but I am in love with the whole banana-smoothie thing. It creates extra creaminess and sweetens without sugar. So I take advantage of the banana boat deal, bringing home bananas all year round and freezing them up on every return grocery trip. If you object, you’re going to have to forgo these smoothies. Yes, all of them.
- In a blender which creates decent snow from ice, combine and blend 3/4 cup orange juice, 1 1/2 cup frozen cranberries, 1 cup plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional), 1 frozen banana, and 1 cup ice (optional). If needed, add extra orange juice to make the right consistency. If it needs a little sweetener due to tart cranberries, reach for the maple syrup or agave.
- In a blender which creates decent snow from ice, combine and blend 1 frozen banana, 2 cups plain yogurt, 1 cup pomegranate juice, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, if you want a special touch.
LEMON POPPYSEED SMOOTHIE
- In a blender which creates decent snow from ice, combine and blend 1 cup lemon yogurt, 1/2 cup milk, zest of 1 lemon, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 teaspoon poppy seeds (up to 1 tablespoon), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 frozen banana.
PUMPKIN PIE SMOOTHIE
- In a blender which creates decent snow from ice, combine and blend 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (or sweet potato or butternut squash), 1/2 frozen banana, 3/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/4 t vanilla, 2 tablespoons honey, 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice, 1 cup ice, and milk if needed to reach proper consistency. If you have orange juice or frozen peaches on hand, I don’t think those would hurt, either.
EGG NOG SMOOTHIE
- In a blender which creates decent snow from ice, combine and blend 1 frozen banana, 1 cup plain full-fat yogurt, 1 tablespoon chopped almonds, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, a pinch each of nutmeg and cinnamon, and 1/4 cup cream. If you are the type, you can go ahead and add in an egg (at your own health risk), or a pasteurized egg (for the less daring).
- In a blender which creates decent snow from ice, combine and blend 3/4 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 cup ice, 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (and/or a few torn peppermint leaves), 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and a hand full of spinach leaves (which don’t taste like much but sure look pretty and are healthy). It would also be a great idea to slide in 2 tablespoons cashew butter.
- In a blender which creates decent snow from ice, combine and blend 1 frozen banana, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons quality hot cocoa powder, and 2 tablespoons marshmallow fluff. It would be smart to add a few tablespoons of peanut butter if you swing that way, and also–if you are super daring–top with a few mini marshmallows.
LOW-CAL POMEGRANATE SMOOTHIE
Which also means less staying power and almost no protein. But sometimes I like a just plain refreshing, straight-up fruit smoothie, just not as a stand-alone breakfast.
- In a blender which creates decent snow from ice, combine and blend 2 cups frozen raspberries or blackberries, 1/4 cup pomegranate juice, 1/2 frozen banana, and 1 cup ice. Add honey to taste. Also, if needed, add water to make the right consistency, starting at 1/4 cup.