Way back in my salad days. . . . (Come on, now, who am I kidding? Okay, let’s start again):
Way back in my cake-for-breakfast, Snickers-bar-for-breakfast, leftover-nachos-for-breakfast days, I was seemingly able to get it all done: work at a burger joint until 1:30 AM, sleep five hours, get up and make it to school for an 8:30 class, get my groceries done, clean my apartment (ah, the days of the bachelorette apartment–only one set of dishes to wash!), pay my bills, wash out 44 pairs of socks and have ‘em hanging on the line! Starch and iron 2 dozen shirts before you can count from one to nine! Cause I was a woman–W-O-M-A-N–I’ll say it again!. . . . oh, wait a sec, wrong memory. Excuse me.
What I mean is, I was able to get everything essential done, eat whenever I wanted, and still remain relatively healthy. Of course, in those days, I didn’t appreciate how resilient my body was (looks like George Bernard Shaw had a point), and never worried about consuming a “healthy” breakfast. Or a healthy any other meal, for that matter.
These days, I am living proof of the adage that one really must have a good breakfast. On the days I don’t, my day is off to a horrendous start and I feel lethargic for the next 15 or so hours. What to do, then, when you’ve got papers to mark, classes to prepare, blogs to write, dogs to walk, HH’s to hug, dinners to cook, 44 pairs of socks. . . etc.? (Actually, one thing I don’t have to do any more–hallelujah!–is my laundry; as Elizabeth Gilbert marveled at the beginning of Eat, Pray, Love, I, too, am blessed with a guy who does the laundry in our house, skivvies and all).
As I may have mentioned before, breakfast is actually my favorite meal of the day. Something about breakfast foods just appeal so much: they jump start your day, they’re cakelike or crunchy, they’re either sweet or fruity-tart or scramble-spiced, it’s bright and sunny out, you’re well rested, the birds are twittering in the trees (well, in another 8 months they will be, anyway). . . and so, I love breakfast.
I’ve got a fairly large repertoire of morning “regulars” I rely on to break my fast, all of which are quick and easy. One of my favorites is a smoothie. So versatile, you can throw anything in a blender and just whizz away; then, presto, change-o!, a delicious, nutritious breakfast magically appears. And it doesn’t hurt that it resembles a milkshake in taste and consistency, either.
Today’s recipe is what I called a “Mystery Smoothie” when I taught it in my cooking classes. These days, what with Jessica Seinfeld’s bestselling cookbook (I’m not even going to link to it; she’s got enough attention already), the concept of spinach in a smoothie is oh-so-passé, but for many moms who are new to alternative or vegan cooking, adding hidden spinach in a sweet and kid-friendly breakfast drink can be a revelation. It’s a great way to infuse your drink with vital minerals and protein, as well as Omega 3 fats (yes, in spinach!). Which, of course, makes it the perfect recipe for me to submit to Cate at Sweetnicks ARF/5-A-Day Roundup on Tuesday.
In addition, it’s infinitely variable according to your own tastes, since you can substitute pretty much any greens for spinach and add any other fruits. I’d recommend still leaving the blueberries in, though, unless it’s St. Patrick’s day, Halloween, or your kid thinks s/he’s a Martian.
This smoothie can be served as a full meal or a dessert/snack–it all depends on the quantity. This smoothie combines the rich nutrient content of spinach with its creamy, fruity base. No one will ever know!
1-1/2 to 2 cups soy milk, rice milk, or almond milk (regular or vanilla)
1/2 cup blueberries or mixed berries, fresh or frozen
1/2 banana, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup chopped mango, peaches or apricots, fresh or frozen
1-2 tsp. agave nectar or honey
1 tsp. carob powder (optional)
1 tsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2-1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves (or try other greens, such as chard, kale, or lettuce)
Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth and no lumps remain. Pour into glasses immediately and enjoy! Makes 2-3 servings.
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“You know we love this smoothie, Mum. Can we help clean up the leftovers?”