Ultimate Green Smoothie (and a giveaway winner!)

“It looks better than it tastes.”
Fortunately in the case of this Ultimate Green Smoothie it’s the exact opposite. Before we look at the smoothie itself, let me be the first clarify. IT TASTES BETTER THAN IT LOOKS. 

See all of those pretty, colorful ingredients? Packed full of nutrients, I aptly named this an “ultimate” smoothie because it really can’t get much better. Greens, berries, healthy fats and more make this smoothie the perfectly well-rounded breakfast, lunch or snack. I suppose you can eat it for dinner or dessert too – no reason to discriminate which meal suits it best.

Okay, so now you see what I mean? It’s not the most appealing color once you blend everything together. If you’ve ever had a green smoothie before, I’m sure you’re familiar with a not-so-pretty result and are okay with this. If you have never had a green smoothie before and expect a smoothie to be bright magenta, pink or orange, then…well, it’s time to try something new. Don’t let the looks of this fool you. Just do it. (insert Nike swoosh here).

Changing subjects now.

Did you watch the Oscars? I know those award shows are always hyped up, but for some reason I felt like this year, the Oscars in particular, got a TON of attention. I get the past year has been full of great movies, but isn’t that always the case? Maybe I’m naive and this year really was much better than past years. To be honest, I haven’t seen many of the movies that were nominated – Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years a Slave, Wolf of Wall Street – I know, I have some catching up to do. So maybe that’s why I don’t fully realize what a great year it was. I enjoy seeing celebrities on the red carpet, being interviewed, and presenting and accepting awards. But still.

After an hour of watching the pre-show, I was bored. Plus Greg had about zero percent interest. So we turned on a movie, Nebraska instead (a Best Picture nominee after all!) and I didn’t even watch a minute of the award show. I figure I’ll catch the good stuff online and on E! News this week. I’m sure I can count on Robbin’s blog to keep me informed as well. Or you can tell me in the comments…what were the highlights?

Ultimate Green Smoothie

Makes 1 large smoothie

Ingredients:
1 ripe banana
2 large handfuls of spinach
1/2 medium yellow squash
3/4 cup frozen strawberries
2 tablespoons oats
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut milk

Directions:
1. Add add ingredients to a blender. Blend on high speed for 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrap down sides and stir as needed.
2. Pour in a large cup, find a straw and slurp away!

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GIVEAWAY WINNER

I want to thank everyone who participated in the Food Lion giveaway last week! I used Rafflecopter to run the giveaway and randomly select a winner:

Congrats, Shannon Finer! Please check your email for a message from me to claim your gift card!

Triple Berry Smoothies

Smoothies may be more of a summer drink, but when I have a fridge full of the ingredients for a perfect smoothie I don’t have another choice!
Seriously, just LOOK at those strawberries. B-E-A-utiful. 
After my Saturday morning workout this past weekend, I came home sweaty, red face and all. I knew exactly what I could make. Just a few short minutes later, I had a flavorful, fruity smoothie to cool me off.

I spent a lot of time at Planet Smoothie in high school. Captain Kid anyone? Brooke–I know you know what I’m talking about 🙂 There is a Planet downtown, but not any place like it too close to me anymore. I really miss those smoothie days. 
While smoothies can be full of added sugars and pack on the calories, a homemade smoothie can be very low cal and a great way to start the day. This particular one comes out to around 180 calories.

Triple Berry Smoothie
Makes 1 medium smoothie
Ingredients:
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup low fat raspberry yogurt
3/4 cup Almond milk
Splash of cran-grape juice (optional)
Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth, stopping to stir occasionally. 
2. Pour into glass and serve cold. Top with extra berries and whipped cream if desired.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Ahhh. Fall is officially here. Cool weather and all. Ok, not quite cool weather. But it’s only been around 85 degrees! Compared to 95 or 100, it feels pretty nice.

With the start of fall, like many many others, I am looking forward to all of the pumpkin coming back into my life. Or should I say, I am looking forward to all of the pumpkin that will be in. my. belly.

I haven’t yet purchased my first Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte this season (although I did buy a pumpkin scone last week). Since it is still fairly warm outside, I wanted to find a more refreshing way to enjoy pumpkin without the heat of a hot latte.

Enter: Chilled Pumpkin Spice Smoothie.

I was hesitant to open a whole can of pumpkin when I knew I would only need a portion of it for this smoothie. I hate letting food go to waste more than ANYTHING. I figured it would be worth it and I would just have to come up with something pumpkin again tomorrow. And the next day if necessary. 
For this smoothie, I researched some different recipes, but came up with my own combination of ingredients. 
I have had trouble with smoothies in the past–mostly not being able to get the right consistency. Either too runny, too icy or too bland. 
The smoothie angels were on my side with this one though. Without using any ice, I was able to make a truly smooth smoothie. It was thick enough not to suck it down completely in a matter of seconds, but thin enough to drink through the straw at a leisurely pace. 

Yes, consuming at a leisurely pace is an important factor in determining the quality of a smoothie. Of course you want it to be enjoyable, but that also means you want it to last for as long as possible, right?
Because when drinking a relatively healthy smoothie tastes like eating a big slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, that is something worth dragging out as long as possible. 
Drink this precious pumpkin treat sitting on your couch in your pajamas, or take it to work in a travel mug. Either way, enjoy every last sip.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Makes 1 smoothie (about 12oz)
Ingredients:
1 banana, frozen and sliced
1/3 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (I used non-fat)
1/4 cup milk (I used skim)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
2 tablespoons whipped cream for topping (optional)
Directions:
1. Combine first five ingredients in blender. Blend on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, or until fully mixed.
2. Add pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend on low speed for another 10-15 seconds. 
3. Pour smoothie into glass and top with whipped cream. 
(For a chilled smoothie, pour into glass and place in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before drinking)