* [Absolutely no relation to the reality show of the same name] ##
[That is one MoFo huge smoothie!]
Now that the holidays are over and a new, fervently hopeful year has begun, I’ve decided to simplify my life.
It might have been the post-apocalyptic array of file folders, sticky notes, to-do lists (to-do lists ON sticky notes), drafts of recipes for the cookbook, empty interoffice envelopes, glasses (of both types), half-filled mug, pens, pencils, scotch tape, daybook, boxes of tissues, assorted and sundry notes-to-self, a stapler, checkbook and magazines and paperbacks and various other items that seem to have settled randomly, like nuclear fallout, on my desk.
Or perhaps it was the never-quite-cleared kitchen table, the kitchen counters encumbered with bins of flour and Sucanat and oats, bottles of agave nectar, cannisters of raisins and dried cranberries, bowls and spatulas and whisks and pans and measuring cups and spoons (okay, I do have an excuse: the aforementioned cookbook).
Still, it could have been the closet full of wayward shoes, or the three distinct, mostly unworn wardrobes (that would be “slim”; “gaining weight”‘; and “fat”), assorted scarves, out of season accessories, fuzzy slippers and terrycloth bathrobe.
No, no, no–it must have been the 14 unanswered emails, 27 unanswered voicemails, three scheduled doctors’ appointments, two scheduled vet appointments, one hair appointment, one dog training appointment, as-yet to be determined appointment to set up an appointment with myself to get it all together and finally organize all my appointments. . . .
Okay, I may be exaggerating a tad. But just a tad. It’s true what they say: the older you get, the more complicated your life becomes. (Or was that, the older you get, the louder you turn up the volume on the television? Same difference.)
[Simplicity at its finest.]
A while back, my friend Eternal Optimist informed me that she’d completed a total purge of her abode, sort of like an emotional smudging. She tossed boxes of garbage, shredded reams of old papers and files, donated countless bags of clothes to charity, and repurposed old posters, kitchen chairs, picture frames, unused shelving, CDs and books, and various and sundry other long-neglected items courtesy of Freecyle. It felt great, she averred.
And while I’ve never been a huge fan of the magazine Real Simple (it seems too self-consciously austere and geometric for my taste, reminiscent of Dieter on Sprockets), I have frequently nurtured a dream of chucking it all and moving to a one-room cabin in the woods, complete with wood-burning stove, 100 acres of surrounding forest, and plenty of space for The Girls to gambol to their hearts’ content.
Just think of it: freedom to do what you like, at one with nature, fresh air, green grass, no schedules, no time-stealing technology. On any given day, I could just wake up, throw open the door and inhale a long, deep breath of unpolluted, pristine country air. . . well, after I chop the firewood for that stove, I guess. And after I shoo the raccoons out of the food bins at the end of the cabin. And I guess I’d have to chase a few mice from the cupboards, too, which would mean cleaning up mouse poop. And also swat those spiders in the corner above the bed–oooh, I hate spiders! And snakes. I hope there aren’t any snakes out there. And I’m scared of mice. And don’t raccoons have talon-like claws? I’ve heard they can be really vicious if cornered. And I bet they don’t serve Triple Mocha Lattes at the intersection of Pine Tree and Deciduous.
But it did make a lovely reverie, didn’t it?
(“Yes, Mum, a perfect reverie! But does this mean we don’t get to gambol in the woods now? Oh, and would you mind turning down the volume on that TV?“)
I also failed miserably at organizing my life over the holidays. My initial zeal to reorganize my desk, clear out some boxes from our basement, organize the garage, draw up a Five-Year Plan, and resume my lost habit of daily meditation never materialized (oh, and let’s not forget: get my finances in order, secure a retirement plan, start a new workout regimen, finish a cookbook, and clip Chaser’s nails–nothing too onerous, you understand. Well, excepting Chaser’s nails.). All I managed was to clear off the desk–and that task alone took two weeks.
Still, the sense of accomplishment and buoyancy I felt prompted me to seek out other ways to simplify. After the recent holiday excesses and toppling with a (very heavy) thud off the healthy-eating wagon, I’ve decided to pare down my diet as well. So I’m afraid you won’t be seeing much fudge, or pecan pie, or marzipan-topped shortbread, or any other dessert that, for some strange reason, seems to spike my blog stats exponentially for a while. The blog stats will just have to wait until I get my body stats in order.
Which brings me to today’s recipe. Coincidentally, over the holidays one gift I received was a book called The Healthiest Meals on Earth, by Jonny Bowden. It contains breathtaking photographs of really healthy foods, along with pertinent nutritional information and great recipes. This smoothie is one I adapted for breakfast the other day. It features one of my all-time favorite foods–sweet potatoes (yes, for breakfast!), and is both simple and quick to make. The potatoes confer a natural, light sweetness, and the oranges add a bit of tang. I loved the cheery color and the thick, almost pudding-like consistency (I was tempted to eat this with a spoon, in fact).
If simple living can taste this good, I may have to reconsider that cabin in the woods.
On second thought, nah.
Sweet and Simple Sweet Potato Smoothie
adapted from The Healthiest Meals on Earth
Unlike many smoothies, this really does feel like a meal. The sweet potato provides a substantial density and nutritional profile here (both beta carotene and antioxidants), along with vitamin C in the fruit. I used eggnog flavored soymilk for a festive touch, but you can use any milk you please in this.
1 medium sweet potato, baked until very soft, peeled and chilled overnight
3 mandarin oranges (or one small seedless orange), seeded, peeled and broken into sections
1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) ground chia seeds
1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) ground flax seeds
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) whole old-fashioned rolled oats
1-1/2 tsp. (7.5 ml.) cinnamon
2 cups (480 ml.) eggnog flavored soy milk, or flavor of your choice
Cut the sweet potato into chunks and place in a blender with all the other ingredients. Blend until very smooth and thick. Adjust the amount of milk to desired thickness. Drink immediately. Makes 2 breakfast or 4 snack servings.
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Last Year at this Time: Smooth Operator (I detect a theme here. . . )
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