recipes

Favorite Smoothies

Once upon a time, I thought that smoothies were too much work for our busy weekday mornings. Iโ€™m wiser now. ๐Ÿ˜Ž 

Pink Smoothie

These days, I make a smoothie almost every morning for my kids and truth be told, often itโ€™s all they want (and need) for breakfast. 

My general rule of thumb for smoothies is this: they contain whole fruits, usually a combination of fresh and frozen, they use plain, unsweetened kefir or yogurt (whole milk), they typically have an added kick of vanilla extract and cinnamon, which reduces the need for sweeteners, and they're sweetened with either dates or occasionally honey. For all smoothies, I pop everything into the blender and that's it. Easy peasy. Exactly what busy weekday mornings need! 

This Pink Smoothie is an instant smile maker โ€” and really, how can you look at this gorgeous color and not smile? The Pink is courtesy of pink pitaya, or dragon fruit. I buy it in frozen packets so I always have some on hand. 

Pink Smoothie:
1 packet of frozen pink pitaya
2 bananas
3 dates
2 cups plain kefir
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon hemp hearts

green smoothie

My Green Smoothie is also a family favorite. My kids are not loving spinach these days, except if I use it in smoothies or muffins. So this smoothie adds that nutritional powerhouse, which makes me happy. I don't sneak veggies with my kids, so while they may complain about spinach in other dishes, they're fully aware that it's included in our Green Smoothie. My hope is that because they enjoy it there, they'll be more open minded to trying it elsewhere. At some point. Parenting requires patience, right? 

Green Smoothie: 
1 avocado
2 bananas
5 oz chopped frozen spinach
1/2 mango
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups yogurt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey

Cocoa Banana.jpg

The third smoothie in constant rotation here is a Cocoa Banana Smoothie. I discovered this combo on a trip to Chicago last year, and when I recreated it at home, it was an instant hit. It tastes luxurious and sweet, but the sweetness comes from dates and banana, with no added sweeteners. My kids realize that it's not hot cocoa, but to them it feels like a breakfast treat! 

Cocoa Banana Smoothie:
2 bananas
4 dates, soaked in water to soften
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups plain kefir
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
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Do your kids love smoothies too? Drop me a line, I'd love to hear what you put in yours! 

3 Uses for Coconut Milk Yogurt

Are you a "phase" person? I definitely am. There are periods where I have oatmeal and a banana every morning without fail, and then suddenly I realize it's been months without it. There are weeks where I can't get enough eggs, and then one day I notice that there are still three eggs in the dozen that I bought ten days ago. This past summer I had a phase where I ate giant breaded chicken cutlet sandwiches for lunch several times a week, and now I can't remember the last time I had one. These phases begin and end unceremoniously and in between, I eat a variety of things like a regular person. 

It dawned on me today that I'm in a new phase: I'm currently obsessed with Anita's coconut milk yogurt (this post is not sponsored, I genuinely love this stuff). Coconut milk yogurt is dry and thick, like a strained Greek yogurt and has a pleasant tang that makes it perfectly suited for both sweet and savory dishes. The brand I've been buying lately has just 3 ingredients: coconut milk, coconut water and live probiotic cultures. It's rich and filling, with no added sugar which means it's great for everyone in my house, including my youngest who cannot have cow's milk  dairy. It's high in fat, low in protein and sugar. I'm not put off my the high fat content because even 1-2 tablespoons of this goes a long way and I believe in moderation of everything. I'm also not concerned by the lack of protein because my family gets a solid amount of protein regularly so I try to focus on the big picture. 
So what can you do with coconut yogurt? 

1. Coconut yogurt is a perfect soup companion. Today felt like a soup day so I prepared this quick red lentil soup before getting started with work and when hunger hit, I poured myself a bowl and immediately reached for the coconut yogurt to make it creamy and even more delicious. Hours later, I am still completely satisfied. 

red lentil soup with coconut yogurt

2. Coconut yogurt works wonders for breakfast. Last weekend I made my favorite batch of apple pancakes using coconut yogurt (instead of kefir or soy or goat milk, as I usually do). I had to thin the batter by adding some additional coconut milk and they were a huge hit with my kids. Other quick breakfast ideas include coconut yogurt with granola and fruit, or a waffle smeared with a tablespoon of coconut yogurt in place of a nut butter or other spread. 

4-ingredient vegan chocolate mousse

3. Coconut yogurt is terrific with dessert! Need a quick dairy free chocolate mousse? Coconut yogurt is your answer. Four-ingredient chocolate mousse is simple and delicious because it's not too sweet and the creamy texture is perfect alone or with fruit. You can also top a cookie with a dollop of coconut yogurt, or use two to make a sandwich! 

coconut yogurt with gingersnap cookies

If you can't find coconut yogurt in your neck of the woods, you can make it on your own.  

Have you tried coconut yogurt? What do you think? 

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