I am not a morning person. Like at all. Not even a little bit. Neither is Brody, for what it’s worth. He’d stay in bed all day long if I didn’t utter the word “breakfast”. But whisper that word from clear across the house and he’s out from under the covers and down a flight of steps in about two steps. All sorts of wide-eyed and (short) bushy tailed. Would I love to be able to be that perky the second my feet hit the bedroom floor…
But since I’m not, my mornings are ruled by ritual and habit. Thank goodness I’ve been brushing my teeth and putting on deodorant every morning for years – otherwise, there’s a good chance it’d never reliably happen. Like many of you, I like a good cup of very strong coffee. But even more than that, I love a good smoothie. Not the sugar-laden Jamba Juice disguised milkshake. A real, fruit and veggie smoothie. I made this one of my morning habits a few months ago, and it’s a fantastic way to start the day. Who eats two servings of spinach, two servings of fruit, and one of dairy by 8:00 in the morning? ME! And who feels good enough about the nutritional foot they started the day off with that they can eat a donut at 9:00? ME! er, um, just kidding.
To make your own pick-me-up morning smoothie, stick two big handfuls of spinach or (de-stemmed) kale in the blender. Top with a cup of frozen fruit, and then a cup or so of almond milk, coconut milk, old fashioned regular milk, or even juice. Push the blend button. Voila! Other nice add-ins are yogurt, peanut butter, protein powder, non-sweetened cocoa powder (for the health-conscious) or powdered hot cocoa mix (for the rest of us).
Now before you get all bent out of shape about drinking spinach or kale at 7:00 in the morning, let me make one very bold statement. I promise you, you will not taste it. Seriously. I have no idea how it works, but somehow the spinach taste is cancelled out, and it is all nutritional goodness and no vegetable taste. I love sneaking leafy greens in all sorts of food, because who doesn’t need more kale? But this spinach-in-the-smoothie is one pretty legit trick.
Here are some great tips about smoothies, in no particular order:
- If you use a banana (and I recommend that you do), only use a half of one. Unless you want a banana flavored smoothie. If you use the whole banana, no matter what else goes in the blender, it’ll taste like banana.
- Sometimes the smoothie plots against you and doesn’t want to blend. Just add a little more liquid and stir everything up (NOT with the blender running!) Once you get the smoothie blending consistently top to bottom, let it go for about a minute or two to make sure the spinach and fruit is completely chopped up.
- If you end up with a bunch of bananas that are ripe that you aren’t going to eat in time, peel them and stick them in the freezer. They’ll get kinda mushy and brown, but will taste perfect in smoothies (or any recipe for that matter).
- I typically make a blender full of smoothie, which is the equivalent of two pretty big glasses. I drink one and stick the other in the fridge for tomorrow morning.
- Your smoothie won’t look anything like the bubble-gum pink Jamba Juice smoothie. Spinach is dark green. Add some blueberries, and your smoothie turns a lovely shade of extremely off-putting brown. Don’t be scared. Typically, the darker the fruit or veggie, the more nutrients it has. That army green smoothie is jam-packed with goodness.
- Yes, you should make a spinach-milk-cherry-cocoa powder smoothie. Maybe immediately.
If you look closely at the first picture on this post, you’ll see the perky Brodster waiting patiently for me to whip up that smoothie. If you look really closely, you’ll see that he’s licking his lips. That’s because he always gets some smoothie, too. I pour some in his bowl and he licks it up lickedey-split. Dogs need spinach, too! I just really hope he doesn’t get brain freeze. Enjoy!