PB&J Smoothie

Calling all PB&J fans — this is YOUR smoothie!  It captures the taste of a childhood favorite sandwich in a grownup friendly (ie: less sugar) smoothie.

PB&J Smoothie

I love it for breakfast before heading out on a bike ride, as it has a great balance of energy for sustained activity.  Peanuts* are a fabulous source of protein and healthy fats, easy on the environment and the budget.
Probiotic drink
I started with frozen berries, added a Yakult probiotic shot for flavor and nutrition, and rounded it out with peanut butter and lowfat milk for healthy protein and fats.  And flavor?  YES please.  Enjoy!

PB&J Smoothie
(serves one)

1 cup frozen berries (blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
1 heaping TB smooth natural peanut butter*
1 Yakult drink (omit for vegans and dairy-allergic folks)
1/3 – 1/2 cup lowfat milk of your chosing (dairy, almond, coconut, hemp, soy — it’s up to you)
2 packets stevia (optional.  may use honey to sweeten to taste if desired)

Blend all ingredients in a blender until thick and creamy.  Adjust amount of milk to create the texture you prefer.  Enjoy!

*for those avoiding peanuts due to allergies, simply substitute a smooth nut butter of your choosing

Zingy Strawberry Smoothie

This delicious, zingy smoothie is one of my favorites, and for several reasons.

Zingy Strawberry Smoothie

Zingy Strawberry Smoothie

Most important to me, it tastes fabulous — tart, sweet, creamy, a little spicy, and richly scented.  And it’s a quick charge up for those mornings when I need to eat and go.  But here’s the fun part — it has health benefits that match its taste.  Turns out that the culinary magic of combining sweet tart strawberries, zingy black pepper, and floral fresh turmeric is powerful for reducing inflammation and calming gut issues.

Fresh turmeric and whole black pepper

Fresh turmeric and whole black pepper

Adding full fat Greek yogurt makes these health benefits even better, and gives this smoothie a serving of high quality protein.  For me, getting the great nutrition my body needs is always best in tasty, fresh food rather than in a pill.  Eat to your health!  Enjoy!

Zingy Strawberry Smoothie
serves one for a meal, or two for a snack

1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (use non dairy yogurt or milk if you prefer)
small knob fresh turmeric – sliced, or 1 tsp. powdered
1/4 to 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
water
2 TB chia seeds (optional)
sweetener (optional.  I use stevia for natural sweetness without added sugar)

Put all the ingredients in a blender, adding just enough water to create the consistency you enjoy.  Blend until smooth, and serve.

Cocoa Granola

True confession:  this recipe came about because I ran out of cinnamon.  This culinary constraint propelled me to create a new granola flavor — and it worked beautifully.

Cocoa Granola

Cocoa Granola

When you let this granola sit with milk for a minute or two in your bowl, the chocolate milk result is delightful — just like back in the day with Coco Puffs.  But this one is gonna be good for you with sustained, balanced energy, awesome fiber, serious crunch, AND chocolatey flavor.  Enjoy!

Cocoa Granola

8 cups (28 oz) rolled whole oats
3 cups (11oz) sliced raw almonds
1 cup (3 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
3 TB vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) avocado oil
1 cup plus 1 TB (13 oz) honey
1 cup coconut flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 300.  Heat honey in saucepan or in microwave until it is warmed through and is runny.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, cocoa powder, and salt.  Add warm honey, vanilla extract, and oil, and blend until combined.

Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.  Spread the granola mixture evenly onto the two parchment lined baking sheets.  Lightly tamp down the granola into the pans into even layers.  Bake for 17 minutes.  At the 17 minute mark, rotate the pans so that the pan that was on the top rack is now on the bottom and vice versa.

Bake for 17 more minutes.  You want the granola to be chocolate brown and lightly toasty, but not too dark.  Use your nose as a guide – if it smells toasty, then the granola is likely just right.  The granola will become crisp and clumpy after it is cooled.  Don’t worry if it’s a little soft when it’s hot out of the oven.  Allow to cool until room temperature before disturbing the granola to get some nice clumps.  Store airtight.

This granola is only very lightly sweet tasting without milk, and is best with dairy or non-dairy milk.