Showing posts with label Beverages. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beverages. Show all posts

April 22, 2013

Dairy-Free Breakfast Smoothie: Choco-Banana Peanut Butter

Still life with smoothie.

If you've been following my breakfast posts, you'll know that my usual pattern is a quick, simple breakfast on weekdays, and a more comprehensive breakfast on weekends. I am inordinately fond of toast, so a lot of my breakfasts are simply toast with some manner of topping. I don't have cereal more than a couple of times a year (other than my oatmeal at work), and I almost never have sweet things for breakfast (especially not without a savoury side). However, one sweet thing that I've always loved at breakfast is fresh fruit.

Smoothies incorporate my love of fruit into breakfast in a way that makes me incredibly happy. But! The thing about having fruit for breakfast is that I sometimes get quite hungry before I even arrive at work, and have to get into my first planned snack of the day right away, throwing my schedule off. So, I like to add a bit of oomph to my smoothies up front, which in this case is provided by peanut butter, and that usually does the trick of adding enough staying power to keep me in good shape until snack time.

I use an immersion blender for this, which is quick and simple to clean (or to simply rinse and leave for later, if you're that pressed for time). You could use any blender/food processor, large mortar and pestle that you have on hand.

Oh, and the dairy free bit? I have been experimenting with Almond Coconut "milk", and it adds a lovely Caribbean note into this particular version. You could absolutely use dairy milk of your choice, too, or one of the many other drinking-milk substitutes on the market.

Choco-Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

Serves 1

1/2 medium banana
3/4 cup unsweetened almond-coconut "milk"
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter (smooth)
1/2 - 1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder

Break the banana into chunks and place in your blender cup.

Add the peanut butter, cocoa powder, and then the "milk" last.

Blend until smooth and a little foamy.

Taste, and add sweetener to taste if necessary (may depend on your banana's ripeness).

Decant into drinking vessel, if necessary, and enjoy.

I don't usually sweeten this one, but my suggestions for a mild sweetener would be a teaspoon or so of maple syrup, agave syrup, or honey, depending on your needs. I once used some whiskey syrup that was leftover from weekend pancakes. Your call.

What to do with the remaining half banana, you might ask? I generally just put a cover on the cut end, pop it into my banana keeper and take it to work as one of the aforementioned planned snacks. The short time between slicing it in half in the morning and oh, say, ten o'clock, makes it a perfect follow up. Or, of course, you could just make two servings of the smoothie, and use up the whole banana. You can also add the whole banana to a single serving, although it does make it much thicker, and more...banana-ier(?). I have done this on occasion (usually whilst half asleep).

June 01, 2008

I Think I'm Ready For Summer (Iced Tea)

Even if summer isn't quite ready for me.

In summer, I'm always fighting dehydration. Water is essential, of course, but really, a girl can only drink so much water without wanting something flavourful, not to mention wanting to be able to move about without sloshing sensations.

Sugar, however is the issue. I like real sugar. I approve of sugar, especially where the alternatives and fake sugars are concerned. I do not, however, need large quantities of it. For some reason, most summery drinks are filled to the brim with sugar, far in excess of the quantities I find desirable, or worse still, "sugar-free" sugar substitutes which may or may not lead to health problems unto themselves, while still tasting uncomfortably sweet. Juices, lemonades, iced teas, and "virgin cocktails" are all quite sweet...usually, too sweet.

In parts of the United States, one can blessedly get iced tea that has not been pre-sweetened. That does not appear to be the case in most places in Vancouver. I can, however, make my own so that at least when I return home, hot and exhausted from tripping around farmers' markets and beaches, I can drink something delicious that doesn't feel like it's going to kill me in one way or another.

Despite my crankiness above, I do like a little hint of sweetness in my iced tea. A little simple syrup, or even a couple of teaspoons dissolved in a half-cup of hot water and then added to the steeped tea as it cools does the trick nicely, and doesn't leave me feeling like I've just mainlined a candy bar. I can get it just to my taste, and just to my comfort level.

I have a couple of favourite iced tea recipes that are both easy to make and delicious, and a little unexpected. Make the tea as strong or as weak as you generally like it hot. If you like adding ice to your drinks, but don't want to dilute the flavours, make a batch of iced tea just to freeze into ice cube trays and use them in place of ordinary ice cubes.

Isis Tea

1 litre freshly brewed black tea, cooled
2 tablespoons simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, boiled for one minute on the stove, then cooled)
1 teaspoon rosewater
Juice of half a lemon

Chill thoroughly. Serve in a tall glass, with a mint sprig

Lavender Iced Tea

1 litre freshly brewed lavender-scented black tea, cooled
2 tablespoons simple syrup
2 drops 100% pure lavender essential oil

Chill thoroughly. Shake well before serving.

I wouldn't keep either of these for longer than a few days in the fridge, due to the botanicals added, but that's not usually a problem, for me. I drink these up pretty quickly.

Basically, any tea, whether black, green, or herbal, can be made into a delicious iced tea. It just takes a little preparation to have some on hand, and a jug to keep it in.

August 07, 2006

Looks Can Be Deceiving (Cherry Smoothie)

This is a cherry smoothie.

Unlike my previous, Bing cherry smoothies, this ones uses the ridiculously sweet Rainier cherries of the Pacific Northwest. It looks as though it should be a peach or apricot drink, because of its pale, golden, red-flecked appearance, but the only fruit in there is cherry. The rest of the smoothie is vanilla yoghurt, 1% milk, and a little lime cordial. Five minutes, tops.

I'm a big fan of smoothies for breakfast (or pre-brunch). These little darlings, though, are so incredibly sweet, that it feels more like dessert, or some particularly naughty snack. Full of fruity goodness, but startling as a breakfast food, particularly to someone who has severely cut back her sugar intake this past year.

I also tried a chocolate cherry smoothie, by adding a tablespoon of cocoa powder to the mix (for two). Still shockingly sweet, of course, still not really breakfasty, of course, but tasty - and not entirely unhealthy, really!

I think I'll save the rest of my Rainiers for dessert, perhaps simply pitted cherries doused in a little brandy, and go back to blackberries and raspberries for my drinkable breakfasts.

March 05, 2006

Most Important Meal of the Day

I'm a breakfast kind of girl. Always have been. I know a lot of people who say that they cannot face food until they've been up for an hour or two, but I cannot really imagine it. I wake up hungry, and I usually want something involving eggs.

Weekdays are a bit rushed for much of a meal, since we both work, but I usually have something - toast is probably the most frequent flyer, although sometimes I find myself on a cereal kick. Lately I've been having oatmeal once I get to work, which certainly helps me through the morning without getting the munchies. Occasionally, I'll scramble up a single egg to top a piece of toast on a weekday breakfast, but it probably doesn't happen more than once a month. In the summer, my primary breakfast and snack is slices of fresh tomato on dry toast with a hit of salt and pepper, but tomato season is still a way off.

Weekends is where breakfast is really at. We usually go out for breakfast for one of the two weekend days, when the budget can stand it, and the other day(s) we make breakfast at home. We have our favourites - the scrambled egg quesadilla with hot sauce is both popular and relatively speedy, and we're quite fond of the fritatta. We both tend more toward savory rather than sweet breakfasts, so while I'll occasionally order pancakes or French toast in a restaurant, I don't often make them at home. I do go on little kicks - we'll have poached eggs with hominy grits a few weekends in a row, or I'll make a strata, if I have some time on my hand the night before. If you've read any of the preceding posts, you'll know that we're not vegetarians, so bacon and sausage are not infrequent players, although in the interest of preserving our arteries we don't default to them.

This morning, with a fridge full of raspberries from an unexpected sale-discovery and a hankering to use the blender-cup that came with my Christmas Multi-Quick, I set about making breakfast smoothies to fortify us while we sliced, diced, and whisked our fritatta into being. I was cooking without a recipe, just making it up as I went along, and we were pretty pleased with the results. I may decrease the yoghurt and increase the milk next time, as this was quite thick, but it didn't really suffer for the thicker texture. The inclusion of lime cordial was Palle's brilliant suggestion.

Raspberry Smoothies

170 g fresh raspberries
1 ounce lime cordial
1 1/2 cups low fat vanilla yoghurt (I use Astro)
1/3 cup 1% milk

Place all ingredients in your blender, or better still the blending cup of a hand-held immersion blender. Blend until smooth. Serves 2

I confess that I have always pooh-poohed the idea of breakfast smoothies as a quick-fix, but that is because using the traditional blender meant that there was quite a bit of clean-up. With the immersion blender, which cleans up lickety-split, all you dirty up is the blending cup, the stick from the blender, and measuring cups, if you use them - you could freehand pretty easily, I think.

We sipped away at our smoothies and chopped mushrooms, green onions, and peppers for the fritatta, and made some coffee to round out the meal. This ought to hold me through the day, or at least until we get back from the afternoon wedding we're attending.