Happy weekend! And happy Fiesta Friday to my friends who join the blog party – congrats Angie and all your fabulous co-hosts on your first anniversary of a brilliant event! I’d not long started blogging all those days ago (365 to be precise) when you started the party, and it has been a great way to make friends with other bloggers, learn from their experience and not to mention discover hundreds of amazing recipes from around the world. Long may it continue. Thank you also to the anniversary party co-hosts, Hilda and Julianna, both a welcome presence at any party!
Conscious that I am a day late to the party, and by now you are all nursing Saturday morning hangovers, I thought my party contribution would be something to help you recover from last night and ease you into the weekend – my perfect breakfast smoothie.
Now lots of people probably crave a greasy fry-up or a McDonalds and Coke when hungover, but great though that temporary fix may be, your body won’t be thanking you for it. Bananas however, they’re the bomb, and the perfect hangover cure – sweet, creamy and full of booze-busting potassium. They are the way forward for your hangover. And actually, this is pretty much my favourite weekday breakfast too, even when not hungover! It’s filling, tasty, and easily keeps me going until lunch. Not to mention quick and easy to prepare.
So, enough of the waxing lyrical – what’s in this wonderful smoothie I hear you ask? It’s simple – banana, kale, fresh grated ginger and turmeric, oats, flaxseeds and almond milk. And that’s it. Blend, and drink! (Okay, I’ll give you some more precise measurements in a minute, but it’s as easy as that really).
Smoothies are really popular at the moment, but I often get asked when I post a photo on Instagram what I put in them. It seems people opt for strawberries and raspberries with banana and milk, and think they have themselves a superhealthy breakfast. Don’t get me wrong – it’s better than a bowl of processed cereal, but it could be so much more! There are six simple ‘smoothie rules’ you can follow to ensure your smoothie is always delicious and nutritious:
1) Choose your fruit.
Ideally your smoothie will have no more than one, maybe two fruits. Yes, fruit sugar is better than refined white sugar, but at the end of the day it’s still sugar, and you can make great tasting smoothies which only have one fruit in. Good options are: banana, berries, mango, peaches, pineapple, or apple (juiced or grated). Try different combinations, you’d be hard pushed to make any nasty ones!
2) Add your greens.
The idea of spinach in a smoothie might be a difficult one to stomach for many people, but I promise, it won’t taste like vegetables and you’ll be getting all the amazing nutrients from the veg without even noticing. My favourites are spinach, kale, cavolo nero, romaine lettuce, lambs lettuce – basically, anything green and leafy. Avocado is also a great one to add – it contains lots of healthy fat and makes a lovely creamy smoothie. Probably best not used in combination with bananas which also up the creaminess.
3) Make it creamy.
So, I covered this a bit with banana and avocado, but there are other ingredients which can give a lovely texture to your smoothie and bring added health benefits. My favourite is to add a handful of oats, which also helps keep me full up afterwards. You can also add nut butters such as almond or hazelnut (peanut butter too, but not the kind with lots of added sugar), chia seeds, or coconut cream. Peanut butter and banana with a spoonful of cacao is like the best milkshake ever!
4) Add a liquid.
Ordinary cows milk does the job, as does water, but there are lots of other magic, healthy ingredients you could add for extra vitamins, so be a bit more adventurous. I love almond milk (or any nut milk) or coconut water, but you can also use fresh fruit juice (preferably juiced at home, if not, the stuff with no sugar or additives) or even iced coffee for a super-morning hit! In terms of how much liquid to add, the first time, use a measuring jug and gradually add it until the smoothie is the right thickness for you. Then check how much you used, and you’ll have a great guide in future. Nowadays I know the line on my blender the liquid needs to come to for it to be about right!
5) Add some flavour.
This is where you can go a bit wild if you like. My favourite thing to add into anything is freshly grated ginger, for a super zing. Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla essence, dates or honey are also all great to add a little taste and sweetness.
6) Add a health-boost.
You can skip this step if you like because if you’ve followed the rules above, your smoothie is pretty darn healthy already! However, if you want a bit more protein for the gym, or just to up the nutrients in your smoothie, there are all manner of things you can add. Protein powder or coconut oil add protein and healthy fats, and grated fresh turmeric is great for reducing inflammation in your system (just a smidgen mind you, it’s strong!). You can also add whatever superfood powder is in vogue – spirulina, maca, lucuma, wheatgrass, bee pollen, flaxseeds (or any other nuts and seeds) or if you want a chocolatey hit, cacao powder or nibs. A teaspoon of any of these won’t add much to the taste (except cacao) and will be a great boost, especially if you’re hungover!
So – following these simple rules, you can pretty much make a smoothie from anything, and I’ve tried them with practically everything and never had one taste bad. When combining such great ingredients, what could go wrong?
If you want a little more hand-holding though for your first go at a smoothie, or you just want to give my favourite a whirl, here’s my recipe for my favourite breakfast smoothie!
Perfect Breakfast Smoothie Recipe
- 1 banana
- 2 large handfuls of kale
- 10g flaxseeds
- 30g oats
- freshly grated ginger
- freshly grated turmeric (a teeny bit!)
- 200ml almond milk
Add everything to the blender – blend for one or two minutes until your smoothie is, er, smooth! Pour into a glass (with ice if you like) and enjoy.
So that’s it – smoothies made simple. What’s your favourite combination? I’d love to hear in the comments.