Monday Meditation: Two Year Old Frank’s Berry Good Smoothie – Made With Love & Smiles

011DD6C8-E951-4474-BE0D-59A3DD11B990Two year old Frank watching his Berry Good Smoothie blending in the  Froothie Optimum, he has his own special ear defenders just for creating smoothies 😊 As soon a I mention making a smoothie he’s there like a shot, dragging the kitchen stool up to the counter, washing his hands and ready for action. Just like his dad at the same age, though he likes to make chilli-with-everything these days!

When cooking with Frank, I am always glad to have the opportunity of this time together, one on one: yes, it’s messy and yes, he can get a bit over-enthusiastic – I think we got about a third of a tub of baobab powder in there! – but I love watching him taking it all in, soaking up whatever I tell him and storing it away. I love his enthusiasm. I know that at some point in the future he will use it all and hopefully remember some of these times together.

He (and his older sister) have been cooking since they were literally babes in arms. They have always been willing to taste anything, and although they still go through the picky two-year-old stage, the fact that they have always been encouraged to be present in the kitchen and help with preparation means that they are familiar with cooking from scratch, using a wide variety of fresh foods.

They are already creating their own recipes: Frank’s four-year-old sister decided to try banana on her pizza and Frank likes the idea of dipping carrot sticks in strawberry spread! He loves homemade chips with balsamic vinegar and juices that contain ginger and turmeric. Olives and almonds are also favourites. The fact that actual vegetables are not allowed on his plate at the moment is irrelevant (except cucumber and raw carrot), he gets everything he needs in other forms* and is slowly acquiring the knowledge and skills to transform them into healthy meals when he does eventually give them house room. I have seen a photograph of Emily standing on a stool at the counter rolling pizza dough and chopping vegetables, and Frank sitting on the counter chopping cucumber! Children love to be involved in the kitchen and will be all the healthier – and self-sufficient – for it. Emily recently sliced a mushroom so thinly and precisely, with perfect control of the knife, just by copying her dad.

This is Frank’s smoothie recipe:

Large handful of frozen cherries, large handful frozen mixed berries, more than we wished for baobab powder, about 3 tablespoons oats plus what he spilled 😉 most of a medjool date minus a bite for tasting, a banana, a carefully tilted amount of cashews from the jar (with ‘help’ from Grandad), 2 tablespoons soya yogurt and a lot of coconut milk! It made enough for 3 of us and he had seconds and thirds, he said it was ‘berry good!’ Unfortunately, he doesn’t do washing up, our dishwasher is defunct (and so is my husband after a weekend without it!).

7F0B0417-D0FB-484D-87C0-1FEBCCD91140

*Frank doesn’t eat vegetables – apart from raw carrot and cucumber – but he will have juices and smoothies, even green ones, so seeing him have so much fun in the kitchen leads us to hope that one day he will be as much of a foodie as his dad and grandma.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Advertisements

Frozen Mango, Banana & Passionfruit Protein Smoothie

E1AC46C3-BBEF-4EBA-952B-FBEDCC1F62C7It’s January, it’s freezing cold and blowing a gale that is shaking the rafters and here I am writing out a recipe for a frozen smoothie! Well, the reason is, we did an inventory of our freezer because we just couldn’t squeeze any more into it, and I was astonished at how much frozen fruit there was in there. No wonder there was no room! I have a habit of saving some of the summer fruits and freezing them for the winter when they’re not available or very expensive, but inevitably they get covered with other foods and I forget about them.

I found lots of frozen mango and frozen banana, I had a passionfruit in the bottom of the fridge that was too small to use on its own and in danger of going off before long, so in the blender they went.

The colours are uplifting in these grey January days of endless rain and winds and this smoothie is full of antioxidants to help ward off winter viruses. I love the smell of passionfruit, so delicately subtle but cheering. It has plenty of protein too for a post-workout drink, it’s quite thick though, so you may want to add more coconut water.

Ingredients

(Vegan, Gluten-free, can be Nut-free if you substitute with seeds)

Half a Frozen Mango

Small Frozen Banana

Passionfruit

2 Tbsps Buckwheat Flakes

Approx. 200mls Coconut Water

1 Tbsp Pulsin and Beond Pea Protein Powder*

Small handful Cashew Nut Pieces

Heaped Tbsp Live Soya Yogurt

Blend all ingredients except for half the passionfruit which is served on top of the smoothie along with any reserved juice.

Enjoy, then go and sit by the fire to thaw out! (With apologies to my readers in the southern hemisphere).

*I have recently begun using pea protein as an alternative to hemp protein powder, I ring the changes also with moringa powder and Vivolife Thrive for Her in Wild Berry flavour. Here is a £5 discount code for Vivolife products:  

http://vivolife.refr.cc/chrismcgowan

Apparently, your body can get used to the same brand and the same type of protein powder, so it’s best to alternate for optimum absorption.

(The candle burner was inspired by a mushroom and made by my 14 year old grandson).

E19D8D15-6D5F-4BB4-9DF7-D00803E1ED1C

*Aduna Moringa Powder

Pulsin Protein Powders

The Raw Chocolate Company Hemp Protein Powder

Vivolife Perform Protein Powder & Thrive Raw Green Superfood

Copyright: Chris McGowan

The Mood Booster: Raw Chocolate Mulberry, Banana & Walnut Smoothie

29666928_UnknownI was feeling a bit sorry for myself when I came downstairs, suffering horrible back pain, no sleep, gloomy sky, prospect of rain, drop in temperatures. I was also very hungry, having gone to bed early evening and not getting up until 14 hours later. That did it, I needed chocolate and I needed it fast. Chocolate? For breakfast? Absolutely!

Let me emphasise, we’re talking raw chocolate, not commercial sugar-laden, highly-processed chocolate.

Raw cacao is naturally mood-enhancing, anti-inflammatory, contains 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries, more absorbable calcium than cow’s milk, iron, zinc and heart-healthy magnesium, needed to prevent muscle cramps and depression, and for gut health – see link below.

I had recently bought a whole kilo, yes a KILO! of The Raw Chocolate Company raw chocolate mulberry chips and this was a good excuse to use some. These are tiny bits of dried mulberries covered in raw chocolate, great for sprinkling on desserts, making raw treats or in this case smoothies. They are vegan, gluten-free, dairyfree, organic.

The rest of the ingredients are also nutrient-dense: mineral-rich, B vitamins, omega oils, protein, Vitamin E, fibre, anti-inflammatory. The cinnamon helps control blood sugar spikes. All in all, a healthy, tasty breakfast or dessert.

Ingredients

(All amounts very approximate, I just chucked in a few of this and a handful of that, so I’m basically guessing!)

1 Banana

Small handful Walnut Pieces

2 Dried Figs, stem removed, chopped

2 Tbsps Raw Chocolate Mulberry Chips + A sprinkling for serving

2 Tbsps freshly ground Golden Linseeds

1 Heaped Tbsp Hemp Protein Powder

A good shake of ground Cinnamon.

Glass of homemade and chilled Almond Milk* or other nut milk/ Tiger Nut Milk**

*

Blend on fast for 40-60 seconds. Add more milk if you want it a little thinner.

Serve chilled. With a spoon!

Gorgeous.

29666944_Unknown

*Nut & Seed Milks & Smoothie Recipes

How to Make Cashew Nut Milk & Why You Should!

Horchata (aka Tiger Nut Milk)

Magnesium: Are You Getting Enough?

Copyright: Chris McGowan

 

Frozen Mango & Passionfruit Smoothie – yum!

29401088_UnknownI love mango, all smooth, exotic and tangy with a delicate aroma, and I adore passionfruit. It doesn’t look up to much, all wrinkly, dark and swarthy, and when you slice it open, what do you get? No juicy flesh, just a spoonful of less-than-appetising crunchy seeds covered in what looks like yellow frogspawn! But the smell and the flavour are gorgeous, and they are so good for you, so putting them together in a breakfast smoothie was a no-brainer, why hadn’t I thought of it before? This particular week we’d found a pack of four in the supermarket greatly reduced as they were close to their use-by date, so I used two of them in this smoothie.

IMG_4461

It was a sunny morning and looked like it was going to be a hot day, I wanted something fruity and refreshing for breakfast, but that would fill me up as well.

This smoothie ticks all the boxes (that one’s for my husband who hates buzzwords and phrases!), plus it’s lovely and creamy and smells wonderful too.  It has lots of nutrients: vitamin A, magnesium, calcium, protein, healthy fats (omega oils), vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin E, dietary fibre and lots lots more. The baobab powder has a lightly citrusy taste and adds more vitamins and minerals – it has 6x more Vitamin C than an orange. It promotes a strong immune system, healthy skin and a healthy gut. The Aduna brand supports small African businesses harvesting and exporting baobab, many of them run by women.

Ingredients

Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, can be nutfree if you use seed, rice or soya milk but it will taste a little different.

Organic where possible.

All amounts are very approximate.

2 Tbsps Oats

1 Small Mango, chopped and frozen

2 Passionfruit, scooped out, but save half of one for serving

1 Tbsp freshly-ground Golden Linseeds

Glass of chilled Homemade Almond Milk*, more or less depending on how thick you want it

1 Tbsp freshly Ground Almonds

1 Tsp Baobab Powder **

 Blend everything except one half of a passionfruit, pour into a glass and top with remaining passionfruit seeds.

Serve and enjoy 😊

*Nut & Seed Milks & Smoothie Recipes

**Aduna

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Post-Election Wake-Up Nectarine Smoothie/ Dessert

28863056_UnknownThis lovely smooth nectarine chia pudding was just what I needed the morning after the General Election when I felt exhausted and strung out after all the highs and lows of the long night before. I needed energy, but most of all something to give me a lift. Like the rest of the country, I didn’t know which end was up and needed the certainty and stability (sic*) of a reliably healthy, and refreshing breakfast to keep me going through the inevitable long drawn-out hours of bemused debate and analysis to come, while everyone figured out who was running the country (we’re still not sure!).

It can be served in a glass as a smoothie for breakfast or with slightly thicker consistency in a dish for dessert.

I’m not sure why I’m publishing it so long after the election, I think I thought there were rather too many smoothies stacked up together or it may be because the weather got so cold I thought soup was more appropriate!

Anyway, here it is:

If you use frozen fruit it will be thicker and chilled, lovely for a warm day or to perk you up in the morning, or just use more or less coconut water for the desired consistency.

We had some lovely juicy nectarines in our organic veg box recently and whilst I normally prefer to eat them as is (despite the juice inevitably dribbling down my top!), a couple were becoming over-ripe in the fruit bowl and were sliced up & frozen, so I decided to put one in this smoothie. They were small, so we used just half a medium banana to go with it.

This pudding has lots of healthy ingredients and beneficial nutrients: protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, Vitamins A, B, C, E, omega oils, probiotics, fibre to name but a few.

Ingredients – Serves 1

(Vegan, Glutenfree, Organic)

1 Nectarine (fresh or frozen)

Half Medium Banana (fresh or frozen)

2 Tbsps Plain Live Yogurt of your choice

1 Heaped Tbsp Peanut Butter

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds**

1 Tbsp Buckwheat Flakes

1 Tbsp ground Golden Linseeds**

Small to Medium Glass Unsweetened Coconut Water

1/2 Tbsp Baobab Powder**

Blend for about 40 seconds and serve, sprinkled with a few chia seeds or a slice of nectarine.

*For the non-Brits, ‘Strong and Stable’ was the Tories’ campaign mantra.

28862992_Unknown

**See also: Three Cheers for Chias! What Are Chia Seeds & How Do I Use Them? Recipes included

Golden Linseeds (aka Flax Seeds): The Original Superfood?

The Benefits of Baobab, a Fruity Protein Smoothie + Review of Aduna Bars.

 

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Kumquat & Cacao Protein Smoothie

28596160_UnknownNo, that’s not a slice of tomato on top, it’s a kumquat!

Kumquats have a two-tone flavour: sweet peel, tart juice and are so full of a variety of beneficial nutrients including essential oils.

We had some in our Abel & Cole veg box recently and have used them in salad, a juice and today a smoothie.

This delicately chocolate-orange flavoured smoothie is so yummy and is vegan, gluten-free, nutfree, organic and dairy-free.

It contains protein, potassium, magnesium, iron, B vitamins, Vitamin A and C, calcium, omega oils, probiotics and fibre. Cacao is nutrient-heavy, including iron and anti-oxidants, and is reputed to be mood-enhancing. What more could you ask for?

(You eat the whole fruit, but be sure to remove the pips first and give the skin a good rinse),

Ingredients

2 Kumquats

1 Small Ripe Banana

1 Heaped Tsp Raw Cacao Powder*

1 Heaped Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Heaped Tbsp Hemp Seeds*

2 Tbsps CoYo Live Plain Coconut Yogurt

1 Heaped Tbsp Buckwheat Flakes

Unsweetened Coconut Water, according to how thick or thin you like your smoothie

Deseed and rinse the kumquats, add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend on fast for approximately 40 seconds.

(We used the Retro Superblend, see here for my review).

28596048_Unknown

The Raw Chocolate Company

See also Three Cheers for Chias! What Are Chia Seeds & How Do I Use Them? Recipes included

Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?!

Copyright: Chris McGowan