Imagine if you could satisfy your hunger and be nourished by gulping down a glass of chilled liquids instead of eating what could potentially be a heavy, nutritionally dubious meal. What if breakfast, lunch and dinner times didn’t have to mean a hassle in the kitchen or that unpleasant feeling of bloating after eating? Suppose all you needed were a few ingredients and a functional blender. Then the world of flavor is all yours. To create glass after glass, jug upon jug of thick, chilled, brightly colored, filling smoothies. The oppressive heat of our summers makes these beverages a welcome relief from cooking.
New to the smoothie world? Smoothies are essentially blended beverage made with fruit/vegetables, sweeteners such as honey or agave, dairy such as milk or flavoured yogurt, and add-ins such as protein powders. Smoothies are usually made in a blender and contain the whole fruit or vegetable (as opposed to just the juice). Which basically means that you can blitz up 2-3 of your favorite fruits in flavor combinations that appeal to your personal tastes. If you’re just starting out in the world of smoothies, then here’s a familiar flavor: mango-yogurt smoothie. This drink combines the best of summer with the comfort of a chilled beverage. Blitz a whole, chopped banana with chunks of a ripe mango, milk and crushed ice. Serve with a mint leaf and a sprinkle of cardamom powder. For a healthier, breakfast smoothie, combine the goodness of spinach & pears with lemon juice, flax seeds, honey and mint. Blitz these ingredients with some water or coconut milk and drink it chilled. The flax seeds add bulk and fibre making the beverage more filling. For a high powered breakfast drink, whip frozen berries with handful of kale leaves, avocado, water and honey.
Once you get the basic hang of making smoothies, then expand your horizons to include nut butters, spices or dairy like soy milk. Another great way to amp up the protein quotient of your smoothies is by adding in toasted oats. To make sure they integrate well into the drink, just run them through the blender before adding any other ingredients. It will also make for a thicker smoothie with the faintest, nutty hint.
In case you get the sense that a smoothie is exclusively a healthy, green affair then you are sorely mistaken. Make a dessert smoothie with naturally sweet ingredients like dates. Or whip up a peanut butter-jelly smoothie or try making a pina-colada styled smoothie with pineapple cubes and frozen coconut water. If it needs thickening, add some coconut milk. Flavor it with a squeeze of lemon juice and honey. You can float a pretty, colorful umbrella in it for that holiday feel!
The beauty of smoothies is in their versatility, their colours, flavours and that a glass of a chilled smoothie is usually just the perfect thing in an exhausting summer. So go on and get blending!