Inventing the aircraft ejector seat would have been rather irresponsible before the parachute was developed. Likewise, the ability to prepare smoothies at home had to wait until the 1930s after the electric blender became widely available, although the term smoothie didn’t become part of the common culinary vocabulary until the 1980s.
The best feature of smoothies is that you don’t require the cooking skills of Julia Child to whip up a delicious breakfast. They can provide a nutritious start to your day by just tossing all the ingredients into a blender and, well, blending. Even I can do that.
There are hundreds of smoothie recipes online, often incorporating enough ice to reverse global warming. I omit the ice during blending – I must contend with brain freeze most of the day, so why start the morning with my head already frozen numb?
Popular recipes these days also contain quantities of leafy greens that would send Popeye into a chlorophyll coma. Nope. I’ll eat my rabbit food as nature intended – in a salad accompanying my lunchtime pizza.
So, I’ve concocted a smoothie blend that I like to prepare a couple of mornings a week. Is it the healthiest smoothie out there? No, but it is probably more nutritious than waffles drowned in melted butter and syrup, jelly-oozing donuts, or most breakfast cereals loaded with enough sugar to burn a cavity into cement.
Basically, it’s a mixture of fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries) together with some banana, peaches, and fresh orange juice all blended with milk, cream, coconut water, vanilla, honey, a little brown sugar, chocolate protein powder, yogurt, and some avocado. Yes, avocado, but you won’t see or taste it (and if you must, you can still add handfuls of kale if you’re determined to create a bilious green smoothie).
I also like to strain out the tiny berry seeds by blending them first with some of the milk and passing the contents through a sieve, pushing with the back of a spoon to extract all the fiber and flavor, then returning to the blender with the other ingredients. It takes a few extra minutes, but you won’t be excavating seeds from your teeth for a week. I include a little protein powder, too, just to provide a hint of grittiness to the texture. But not too much. I’ve had smoothies with so much protein powder they feel like you’re drinking a suspension of sand. Remember, it’s supposed to be a smoothie!
The milk can be any type, including almond milk, but I prefer full cream milk and you can adjust the quantity to make the smoothie more or less thick. The whipping cream and yogurt are certainly decadent but impart a richer consistency to the final product. And if you like your smoothies sweeter, add more honey. And finally, yes, smoothies should be cold. So add some ice cubes to the glass at the end. But blend them in if you like and it might (just) stretch out to two servings.
The ingredient list with quantities is shown below, but these can all obviously be adjusted to your own taste. While the predominant flavor is berry, the other ingredients blend well for a delicious and filling breakfast to see you through until it’s time for that pizza at lunch.
½ cup strawberries
½ cup raspberries
¼ cup blackberries
¼ cup blueberries
½ small banana
½ cup peaches
½ small avocado
Juice of small orange
½ to ¾ cup milk
¼ cup whipping cream
¼ cup coconut water
½ teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
½ cup yogurt (vanilla or berry flavored)
Nick Thomas teaches has written features, columns, and interviews for numerous magazines and newspapers. See GetNickT.org.