Sometimes a blender can be a girl’s best friend.
Particularly during those phases we all occasionally encounter when time is tight, sleep is short and days are spent mostly running. Funny enough, it’s precisely during these hectic times that our nutrient needs are at their highest while our ability to tend to them is often at its lowest.
Blended bevvies are a practical and delicious way to help us stay hydrated and nourished while being adaptable to our dietary needs and preferences.
There’s no magic to a good smoothie – I generally focus on what’s accessible and affordable – which usually means seasonal or frozen (aka captured at the peak of freshness). Experimenting with new fruits & veg can be fun and a nice way to change the pace but you don’t need goji, acai or any other commercially hyped superfood to ensure your health. Variety and rotation are really the key. The wider the variety of color, the more protective the benefits. In other words, virtually everything in the produce aisle has the potential to be a superfood – we just need to eat it. Dietary diversity also helps populate our intestinal ecology with robust bacteria.
I like to incorporate the full range of macronutrients — fats (nuts/seeds/oils/avocado), protein (yogurt/nuts/seeds/nut&seed butters/tofu) and carbohydrates (fruits and/or veg which not only provide fuel but are also the primary source of antioxidants in our diet). Fruit delivers plenty of natural sweetness but a squeeze of maple syrup or honey can be nice when that extra touch is needed. Other flavor enhancers include spices (for example: vanilla/cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg/cardamom/anise), and the whole family of herbs (take advantage of all the beautiful herbs you’re growing in your garden or consider teas made from these herbs).
As for protein powders, there may be circumstances when it makes sense to supplement but most of us can amply meet our needs through food which is also the most bioavailable (absorbable) source. Too much protein powder can give rise to intestinal distress and something else to keep in mind are the synergistic properties of food – when we extract a particular component from it’s whole food source and put it into a pill or powder, it doesn’t always behave (or benefit us) the way we expect it to (it’s really hard to outsmart Mother Nature).
For today’s smoothie I’m taking advantage of some local gems. First off, if you’ve not yet discovered cara cara oranges, this is the ideal opportunity – the flavor absolutely sings here! Largely grown in California, this navel looks like any other variety of orange from the outside but when you slice it open, you will uncover a stunning coral hue (and chide yourself for thinking you bought a pink grapefruit instead!).
But the taste will have you believing… sweeter than traditional orange with a tangy counterbalance that is just delicious – this is a unique and remarkable fruit (a bit like the meyer lemon of the orange world ~ you’ve just got to try it!).
I’ve paired this seedless vitamin C packed beauty with some juicy seasonal strawberry, frozen mango, hemp seed (omega 3s + protein), Greek yogurt (protein + fat) and…because star jasmine is in full swing here – its beautiful distinctive fragrance wafting through the air everywhere we go – I decided to incorporate some water made from the essence of this flower into this smoothie (not to worry, green jasmine tea is a perfect sub!). If you do have access to star jasmine though, you might also like to try the jasmine water on its own where you can really identify its distinctive flavor – a new home spa water fave waiting to happen.
You will find more nutrition & health information in the Notes section of the recipe card.
- For the Afternoon Boost Smoothie
- 8-12 fresh strawberries
- 8-12 chunks of frozen mango
- 1 cara cara orange peeled and cut into 4 segments with most of pith left on the fruit (cara cara is naturally seedless)
- 2 Tbsp hemp hearts (shelled hemp seed)
- ½ cup or so plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ - ½ cup jasmine water or jasmine green tea or plain old water, as preferred
- For the Jasmine Water
- 1 liter (about 4 cups) water
- 8-15 star jasmine flowers
- For the Jasmine Water: Bring 1 liter (approx 4 cups) of water to a boil. Allow the water to come to room temperature in a bowl or container that you will be able to close with a lid. Once the water has cooled to room temperature, add 8-15 star jasmine flowers to the water and then affix the lid on the container and place it in fridge overnight. The next day you will have a delicately fragranced jasmine water to enjoy on its own or in smoothies!
- For the Jasmine Green Tea: if jasmine flower is not available to you simply brew a cup of jasmine green tea of choice and allow it to cool before incorporating into the smoothie.
- For the Smoothie: Place strawberries, mango, orange segments, yogurt and hemp seeds in a blender or processor. Begin by adding ¼ cup jasmine water or cooled brewed jasmine green tea (or simply plain water) to the smoothie and blend adding more fluid as needed to achieve desired consistency.
Jasmine - in aromatherapy, jasmine is known for its calming properties. The fragrance from the flower is strong (and I would not tolerate it in any perfume form) but as an extract in tea, water and essential oil it has a muted, delicate essence that I love. There are different types of jasmine flower - the one that I have used in this particular recipe is star jasmine also known as confederate jasmine.
Hemp Seed - hemp outshines chia and flaxseed in the protein department offering upwards of 11 grams of easy-to-digest protein per 2 Tbsp depending on - hemp is also a good source of fibre and magnesium and has a pleasing chewy texture and mildly nutty taste.
Greek Yogurt: I favor Greek yogurt for its exceptional protein content and texture. All yogurts, regardless of milk fat content, begin the same way - by adding bacterial cultures to milk. Greek yogurt begins this way but it soon departs from other yogurt brands in that the milk is strained to remove the liquid whey. According to manufacturers, this process of straining means that as many as four pounds of milk are required to produce one pound of Greek yogurt. The resulting product is a far more concentrated source of protein (from casein) and a thick and creamy texture characteristic of Greek yogurt (regardless of fat content - though I generally use 2%). You will pay more for Greek yogurt but I think you will find that you get what you pay for.
Green Smoothies - I have a number of smoothies that incorporate greens on the blog; simply key in smoothie in the search function to discover more.