May 24, 2012

Green Monsters

As much as I love cookouts and playing outside, I don’t handle heat especially well. In elementary school, I had a tendency to throw up on the back of people’s heads under the stage lights during chorus concerts. I only had to mow the lawn once as a child, because Dad found me lying pathetically in the shade of a tree, valiantly trying to muster the strength to go on. And I've recently discovered that I’m willing to abandon entire relationships to temporarily escape NOLA’s intense heat. Under pressure, air conditioning means more to me than love or friendship. I’m not proud of that, but it’s my personal truth.

I’ve developed coping mechanisms since moving South, some of which have the neighbors questioning my sanity.  I’ve been known to freshen up in sprinklers on private property, for example. My eating habits also change. Fresh fruits and crisp, crunchy veggies rule the day. I’m still a sucker for a sandwich or a big bowl of cereal, but what I really want all day long is green monsters!

No, I’m not eating the tiny lizards that live on my porch (and sometimes die in my house. Sorry, lizards!). I mean smoothies! Creamy, light, refreshing smoothies. A big handful of spinach turns the whole situation an exciting green and adds a wollop of nutrition without changing the flavor. I can't think of a better way to start the day. Or finish the day. Or, y'know, be part of the day. The boy thinks I have a smoothie problem, but how can something so full of goodness ever be a problem?

My basic smoothie is super simple, just four ingredients including the ice. Slightly sweet and very mild, it's perfect for an exhaustingly hot day. But if you want a bigger/ more flavorful/ more substantial smoothie, it’s simple: Just add more stuff!

Don't knock ANY of this until you've tried it!
Lots more stuff if you want, but I suggest only one or two extras at a time. So below, you have my crazy easy basic recipe, followed by a list of my favorite additions. But don't let me hold you back, follow the blender in your heart!

Green Monster

I know what you're thinking, because I thought it once, too. But a smoothie's not a big commitment, so why not try it?

1 very ripe banana
Splash of milk (I use almond milk, which is slightly sweetened)
6 ice cubes 
A BIG handful of spinach

Blend and enjoy!

Optional Additions
Almond or peanut butter
Carrot (they're very sweet; just trust me on this one!)
Coconut (shredded OR milk)
Fresh mint
Honey (especially if your banana isn't very ripe)
Orange slices or juice
Big scoop of Ovaltine
Protein powder (this will thicken your smoothie like crazy)
Any mild lettuce (in place of spinach)

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