Time for penance (not really)

While I love to bake and cook elaborate meals on weekdays and some weeknights, on a day to day basis I like to keep it light yet fun. These smoothies and juices are so easy to make, especially if you have the Vitamix (seriously, that thing could pulverize, well…anything)!

In my opinion, the best thing about the Vitamix is the convenience of keeping the smoothie/juice ingredients portioned-out, frozen and ready-to-go. The “frozen” part of it lends a great body to the juice/smoothie. The same result can be achieved without the Vitamix, but crushed ice will have to be used with chilled ingredients.

A great way to reduce the number of calories and natural sugar in these drinks, is by replacing regular milk with dairy-free alternatives, such as Almond Milk (Califia is a great brand, usually stocked in Lucky or Whole Foods) or Coconut Milk (can’t go wrong with So Delicious plain Coconut Milk).

Almond Milk has a great nutty taste that goes well with Bananas, or Figs (try roasting the figs before adding them to the smoothie with some coarse turbinado sugar for the extra jammi-ness).

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Roasted Fig and Almond Milk Breakfast Smoothie

Coconut Milk is much easier to pair because it makes everything taste so exotic! Add 1 or more types of berries (Strawberries are excellent with Coconut Milk: pictured below).

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Strawberry Coconut Milk Smoothie

And the most surprising combination of all: Cooked Beets and Coconut Milk! Tastes more like a chilled, refreshing soup and a nice way to switch things up.

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Cooked Beets and Coconut Milk Smoothie

If you want to splurge a bit, Coconut Milk pairs really well with Melons, Cantaloupes and Pineapples.

In the juice category, frozen grapes are a great way to sweeten/chill juices and give them that crisp freshness. They go well with carrots, oranges, cucumbers and apples (although apples are sweet enough and are used to neutralize the taste of bitter greens).

Smoothies.jpg

Side note: Frozen grapes are also a good way to keep white wine chilled without watering it down. But hey, we are talking about breakfast right now!

Speaking of overly-virtuous things, Kale and Spinach make a great base for juices. Costco sells a really convenient bag of Mixed Power Greens which works perfectly here. I usually add frozen apples or pears to cut the bitterness of the greens; to keep the sugar in check, you may substitute half the quantity of apples or pears with frozen, peeled cucumbers – they neutralize the taste without adding much sugar. Add a small piece of ginger, and a thin wedge of lemon (yes, with the peel) and you’ll hardly taste the greens!

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Kale Pear Juice with Ginger, Lemon Juice, Lemon Peel and Mint Leaves

If you are bored of sweet, or sweet-ish (in case of Kale), juices/smoothies, you can make the Beet Smoothie savory with a few grinds of black pepper and a pinch of salt. Or, you can make this delicious Tzatziki smoothie with Yogurt, Green Chillies, Cumin, Cilantro and Salt, for a lovely late afternoon summer snack!

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Are we all set to fill those mason jars? Kale yeah!

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