Part of my February goals for my happiness project includes having a smoothie for breakfast during the work week. So far, it has been going pretty good. I’ve posted some pictures on Instagram (yes, I’m that person who posts pictures of their food…) and have received lots of questions about the smoothie operation. I’m sure there are lots of other ways to make them, but here’s what I’ve been doing…
I went to the grocery store and bought a few essentials – blueberries, bananas, spinach, a fresh pineapple, frozen strawberries, and frozen pomegranate seeds. (Side note: Why didn’t anyone tell me that frozen pomegranate seeds existed?!?! I have been scraping them from those darn fruits for MONTHS, turning my hands and all my cutting boards bright red!)
I looked around online and found that most recipes included only a few ingredients. When I have done smoothies in the past, I crammed everything I could find down in them, but they never really tasted very good and so I hardly ever finished them. This time around, I’m going with the simple recipes and they are turning out much better.
Mornings are a bit of a rush around here, and so any breakfast for me has to be quick and easy. And sometimes smoothies are neither. To streamline the process, I have made smoothie bags ahead of time. I bought quart-sized bags, and have prefilled them with everything it takes to make one smoothie.
Then, I threw all my bags into my freezer. Be sure to lay them flat so that the ingredients don’t freeze into a big giant ball. Those are harder to blend.
In the mornings, I put about a cup (I think, I don’t measure) of strawberry Greek yogurt in the bottom of the blender, then I empty out the contents of the storage bags, and I blend away! I don’t have a fancy blender, either, so don’t worry that you need to go out and buy one. Although, I’ve heard smoothie blenders are the way to go, you can definitely get by without one. When things get a little stuck in my blender, I just add a little bit of milk. I’ve heard you can add almond milk and it is delicious. I also used to add a little orange juice instead of milk, and that’s pretty good, too. But I had milk this week, so milk it was.
You can really throw anything in a blender to make a smoothie, and you’d be surprised what you can “hide” in your smoothie and never know the difference. I always have two big handfuls of baby spinach in mine, and sometimes I add kale, too. The spinach is perfect because it fills you up more and it’s really good for you. Plus, it has zero taste. None at all! The kale is not for the weak, though. It has a little bit of a bitter taste, and it adds some serious grit to your smoothie. But the health benefits can be worth it, if you can get used to it.
Here are the combinations I made for smoothies this week:
Spinach, blueberry, and banana
Spinach, blueberry, and pineapple
Spinach, blueberry, pomegranate, and pineapple,
Spinach, banana, and strawberry
Spinach, blueberry, banana, and strawberry
Need I go on? Just about any combination is good when you stick with the fruits and veggies you actually like. I have carrots pictured above, but I ended up not including those. I usually have carrots with my lunch, plus I didn’t want my smoothies to be too big.
I wish I could claim this next step as my own brilliant brain child, but I can’t. Actually, it was a blog reader who suggested adding an Emergen-C packet to my smoothies. As a teacher and the parent of small, germy children, Emergen-C packets are always at our house. This also solved the problem of my daily vitamin. I now add a packet to my smoothie every morning instead of taking a vitamin. Brilliant!
Another stroke of borrowed brilliance came from this website that I found on Pinterest. I actually got a ton of good info from this article. It’s great for a person just starting out in the smoothie world. She suggests that instead of having to wash your blender every day, you should just rinse it out immediately after use and then wash it only every other time. I am always looking for shortcuts like this. I added the step of storing the “unclean” blender pitcher in your fridge. I just feel like that will keep it cleaner than sitting on my counter? Not sure, really. But it seems like the right place in my weird science head.
So, there you have it. Smoothies on the fly. A little planning and you can start your day off with a good dose of vitamins and minerals. All of which are essential to happiness…