Easy Breezy Breakfast Smoothies

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lately, I've been waking up without much of an appetite ... but a girl's still gotta eat, especially breakfast (the most important meal of the day). The solution is, obviously, a breakfast smoothie.

You really can't go wrong with these ... and it's so much fun to experiment with the ingredients you can find in your kitchen cupboard. A dollop of yogurt, a splash of milk, some fresh fruit, a spoonful of honey, a dash of cinnamon and a sprinkle of old-fashioned oats and you've got a filling and relatively nutritious breakfast or snack!  I absolutely love this as a light breakfast, because you can fool yourself into thinking you're having a milkshake ... and also because you can control the portion size depending on the size of your appetite in the morning, or what you have lying around.

I've read quite a bit about smoothie making, and green smoothies have been pretty big. Everyone and their mother seems to be throwing raw spinach and kale in with their fresh fruits to make their smoothies "green." I've even read about adding an avocado to the mix. I haven't gotten that far yet, but I'm looking forward to it, especially as the weather begins to warm up. Spinach is pretty much flavorless, so it won't interfere with the other flavors. The key to these smoothies is to NOT take a shortcut and make it the night before if you're using fresh ingredients, because all of the good things in fresh fruits and veggies (the vitamins, etc.) break down as time passes. You want to have your smoothie as soon after making it as you can.

Here are some of the combinations I've tried so far ...

Your run-of-the-mill strawberry and banana smoothie. This was made with: half a banana, four fresh strawberries, a spoonful of wild honey, about a third cup of milk, some strawberry yogurt and a tablespoon of raw old-fashioned oats. I've found, in my experimentation, that adding half a banana really helps with the consistency of the smoothie. I really, really enjoyed the flavor of the raw oats in the smoothie, though it made the consistency a little "crunchier." The oats made the smoothie a little nutty in flavor, and I felt that it was made healthier with the addition of fiber.

Banana and peanut butter smoothie
This one was a lot thicker from the peanut butter. With this smoothie, I soaked the old-fashioned oats in a little warm water before gathering the rest of the ingredients. This resulted in a smoother consistency, but perhaps a little stickier and less nutty in flavor. 

I bought one of those "Magic Bullet" sets for about $25 a few years back, so I have a bunch of personal blender-sized cups and lids with blades -- perfect for personal-sized smoothies. (Not to mention perfect for easy clean-up.)

I added cinnamon (cinnamon sugar by accident, actually) and a dash of ground ginger as well. I read that ginger in the morning is a fantastic way to start the day and get your system and metabolism going. Plus, it warms you up in the winter months.

Add the soaked oats and milk, and ... blend!

Last but not least was my chocolate banana smoothie. I had a box of powdered cocoa in my cupboard from my baking endeavors and added a (very) generous spoonful to the mix. Half a banana went into this, honey, cinnamon, milk, cocoa powder, and oats. Really love the oats, for some reason. If I weren't so lazy, I'd have old-fashioned oats with milk and sugar every morning.

In the summer, I'll probably nix the milk and maybe even the oats and start adding more tropical fruits, like mango and pineapple. If you don't mind your smoothies being a little icy, you can do that now with frozen fruits -- I still have some frozen mango and pineapple chunks from Trader Joe's in my fridge.

Happy sipping and snacking!

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