Belle is definitely a creature of habit.
Everyday I wake her up at the same time, and then again ten minutes later, and again ten minutes later, until she finally manages to drag herself out of bed. Whilst she gets dressed I go downstairs and make her a smoothie, a sandwich for her packed lunch and get her out a multivitamin. Although I realise that she is perfectly capable of blending her own fruit, it makes me feel like I’ve ticked off ‘parenting’ for the day, and I can then go about my business with a clean conscience.
Her smoothie of choice is banana and strawberry, with a dash of Naturya lucuma powder, which she says tastes of apricots. I also slip in a little bit of liquid evening primrose oil in a bid to reign in her hormones, although I have to say I’ve not noticed the difference.
Belle is not impressed if I deviate from the standard smoothie recipe.
I, on the other hand, love variety, which is why I love writing a blog for a living. In the last fortnight I’ve written about my pelvic floor, baked rice crispy cakes in Camden, riden around London in a Volvo watching TV, and made a terrarium in the Hello Fresh offices, all in the name of ‘work’.
Hahaha! Someone is definitely going to cotton on one day and make me get a job at the council.
Smoothies are a super-duper way of getting a bit of variety into your diet. It’s dead easy to experiment with a smoothie, as you can just chuck in any damn thing you please. I’ve been having a play over the last week or so with the Breville Blend Active Pro personal blender. It’s one of those whizzy little blenders (quite literally), that act as a blender and flask in one. All you have to do in the morning, or before the gym, (ha!), is to pop your ingredients in the Blend Active Pro, whazz it up, and then pop on the lid. You’re good to go!
The Blend Active Pro is really good value, and perfect if you are new to smoothie making and want to have a bit of an experiment, which is exactly what I did.
Here are my four unusual smoothie recipes for you to try. The great thing about smoothies is that you can really add anything that takes your fancy, so consider these as just inspiration for your own creations. For each recipe, simply chuck all the ingredients into your blender, and hit blend.
Cherry and avocado smoothie
This one came about as I have recently discovered the joy that is frozen cherries, and I wanted to squeeze them in somewhere because they are amazing. If you’re never put an avocado in a smoothie before then don’t be scared. They give smoothies a lovely, creamy texture, and they are so good for you. They have about 2,783 different vitamins and minerals in, (slight exaggeration), and so are a very simple way to give your smoothie a big nutritional boost.
I really like adding nut butters to smoothies, as nuts are a great source of energy and protein. Almonds are rich in calcium and also high in vitamin E, a nutrient which helps to improve the condition and appearance of your skin. Go for a nut butter with no added oils or salt or sugar – you just don’t need them.
Top tip – add the nut butter last and blob it into the middle of the blender so that it doesn’t stick too much to the sides.
- Half an avocado, skin and stone removed
- About three quarters of a cup of frozen dark cherries (fresh are fine too, just make sure you take out the stones)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or powder
- One big blob of almond butter
- About a cup and a half of coconut milk (you can substitute for almond milk, regular milk, or whatever you fancy)
Banana chocolate smoothie
This is a great one if you want a little bit of sweetness, and the banana is a great smoothie staple – rich in fibre, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C and lots of other good things. Cashew nuts are one of my favourites, and I was very excited to find this cashew butter with cinnamon – it’s very tasty. Cashews are rich in ‘heart-friendly’ monounsaturated fatty acids that help lower harmful LDL-cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol in the blood. The mix of banana and nut butter is ideal if you need an energy boost.
I made this smoothie with water for a slightly lower calorie sweet treat but you could make it with milk if you wanted a richer flavour. As well as being very flavoursome, cacao powder is one of the richest sources of antioxidants found in nature. Fancy.
- One banana
- 2 tablespoons of cacao powder
- Blob of cashew butter
- Dash of extra cinnamon
- About a cup and a half of water
Super green matcha smoothie
Belle is NOT a fan of anything green, so I like the idea of this one for me, as it means I don’t miss out on all the green goodness. This was one of my favourites at it had a lovely fresh flavour that left me feeling really energised. The mint made this one for me – it gave the whole thing a real lift. Mint is great for your digestion, so this would be a good smoothie if you were needing something to soothe indigestion or tummy troubles.
Matcha has become very popular over the last couple of years, and with good reason. It’s full of anti-oxidants including the powerful EGCg. It has been shown to boost metabolism, calm the mind, relax the body, enhance your mood, aid concentration… Why would you NOT want this in your smoothie??
You could buy your own matcha powder and use that in the recipe with apple juice, but it can be a little bit pricey, so this ready mixed drink from teapigs is a good cheat if you’re not sure whether or not you’re going to like. Once you know you do, it’s worth investing in some matcha powder.
- Half a courgette
- Big handful of spinach
- Sprig of mint
- Teapigs matcha apple drink (or apple juice and matcha powder)
Butternut squash and date smoothie
I made this one as a bit of a wild card but it turned out to be my favourite of the whole lot. The dates and ginger combination is just amazing – sweet, but with a kick, and much creamier than I was expecting. You feel almost like you’ve blended up a delicious slice of ginger cake. I used frozen butternut squash for convenience, but if you’re doing this I’d recommend picking out the smallest chunks as butternut squash is pretty strong when it’s frozen! It would work fine with leftovers too. Butternut squash is a great source of A and B vitamins.
In fact, there’s loads going on in this smoothie nutritionally – dates are good for your heart and for healthy bowels, ginger is wonderful for nausea, helps digestion and protects against colds. And don’t even get me started on chia seeds. They may look small and insignificant, but they are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are packed with fibre, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids – they are tiny seeds of wonder.
- Cup of butternut squash
- 3-4 large dates, stones removed
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- Small chunk of fresh ginger (NOT as much as in the picture – about a half cm slice should do)
- About a cup and a half of almond milk
Do you have a favourite smoothie recipe? Which of these four smoothie recipes takes your fancy? Do let me know what you think if you try any of them!