Superfood Breakfast Smoothie

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Game on, breakfast! We’ve been working to perfect our morning smoothies to enhance their nutrition density and help us fuel up for our long runs. By George, I think we’ve got it! This smoothie has the taste and texture of ice cream with just a few healthy ingredients, plus the added benefits of maca powder and chia seeds–two superfoods that help with hydration, stamina and hormonal balance. Did I mention it tastes like ice cream? Yep. For breakfast. Seriously, we eat our smoothies with a spoon, they are so thick and ice cream-y.

These smoothies feature two superfoods–maca powder and chia seeds. Here’s a bit of information on each:

Maca Powder

This is our first attempt at using maca powder as a nutritional supplement. Maca powder is an Incan superfood sourced from a root grown in the Andes mountains of Peru. It is known to be high in calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin C and vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12. Maca also contains two essential fatty acids and is very high in fiber. Apparently, maca powder stimulates the endocrine system, which controls hormones, and it is thought to be a good hormone regulator for both men and women. Initial studies indicate that taking regular, small doses of maca powder can help significantly with hot flashes and hormonal fluctuations experienced in early menopause. There are also legendary stories about maca’s effect on the virility of men, but these have not been found to be true in scientific studies.

To be eaten, maca powder really needs to be mixed with something. I tried tasting it by itself and…well…it tastes like a dried root would taste. In the smoothies, though, you can’t taste it at all, so that’s an easy solution!

I can say that for me, I noticed a substantial increase in energy after my first smoothie with the maca powder. Rather than inheriting some Incan super power, I think I may be low in my B vitamins, but whatever works! I notice that I definitely have more energy in the morning and have cut back my caffeine consumption considerably. Maca is a keeper!

Chia Seeds

I’ve posted about chia seeds before with our chia pudding experiments this summer. Chia seeds are pretty incredible. They have tons of fiber, protein and omega-3s. As a matter of fact, they have the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids of any known plant source. And they absorb up to 10 times their weight in liquid, making them wonderful for folks trying to stay hydrated. I’ve never noticed any immediate improvement in my health or well-being when taking chia seeds, but I definitely feel fuller for longer after eating anything with chia in it.

We’re adding chia seeds to our smoothies to add some protein and help us stay hydrated as we add miles to our runs. If you are exercising a great deal, hydration begins before your workout. Like, days before. I’m pretty terrible about remembering to drink water, but I am trying to be more mindful (an alert on my phone helps). And staying hydrated helps keep your skin healthy looking and clear as well!

Here is our recipe for Superfood Smoothies. You could easily add spinach, kale or other greens and change it up the way you like! The goal is to use frozen fruit to get that thick, ice cream like texture. The yogurt adds protein and some thickness, which I like, but you could leave it out with no problem.

Superfood Breakfast Smoothies (makes 2 smoothies)

  • 3 cups frozen fruit (we use a combination of mango and berries)
  • 4-6 ounces yogurt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of organic, raw, maca powder
  • 1 tablespoon of organic chia seeds
  • 2 cups organic, unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  1. Put all ingredients in a high powered blender (Vitamix or Nutribullet work well).
  2. Blend on low, then switch to high until all fruit is pulverized and incorporated and the mixture is thick, like ice cream.
  3. Serve immediately.

Banana Pudding Refrigerator Oatmeal

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During our long, hot summers, I typically have sprouted grain bread/toast with homemade jam and a frozen fruit smoothie for breakfast. While I absolutely love steel cut oatmeal, the thought of making or eating hot oats before heading out into the humidity is just not appealing.

So I was intrigued by the experiments of a fellow blogger, Melissa at My Whole Food Life. She has been blogging all summer about no-cook refrigerator oatmeal recipes. I posted a list of links below! Like the whole chia seed thing, it took me a while to work myself up to eating cold oatmeal (yes, you can heat it in the microwave, but follow along with me here). Wouldn’t cold oatmeal be gross? Could the overnight process really soften the steel-cut oats? What would cold oatmeal taste like?

There was only one way to find out, and since I ran out of food a day short of grocery shopping day, this was the week for brave new discoveries! Armed with a very ripe banana, some steel-cut oats and some almond milk, I decided to put a southern recipe to the test with this Banana Pudding Refrigerator Oatmeal. In keeping with Melissa’s recipe proportions, I added chia seeds, vanilla bean and one chopped medjool date for sweetness. The date pieces dissolve a bit and taste like caramel. YUM!

How was it? Chock full of cold banana and creamy oats, this banana oatmeal won’t fool you into thinking it’s banana pudding, but it is clean tasting, filling and a little sweet. More like rice pudding? I am enjoying taking my jar of oatmeal from the staff refrigerator, to the great outdoors for some al fresco lunches. These late summer days are still pretty warm, so the cold oatmeal is appreciated. It is refreshing and not at all gross, like I feared. When winter comes, you can pop your jar of oats into the microwave and have a warm lunch in no time.

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Banana Pudding Refrigerator Oatmeal (makes one pint-sized serving)

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats (you can use rolled oats for a softer texture)
  • 1 teaspoon organic chia seeds
  • 1 large banana (or two small), peeled and slightly mashed
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 organic medjool date, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups almond milk

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or in a pint sized jar. Shake well. Refrigerate overnight or up to three days.

Want some more ideas? Check out these recipes from My Whole Food Life!

Almond Butter Chocolate Overnight Oats

Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats

Coconut Vanilla Overnight Oats

Skinny McMuffin

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Some days, I want more than Ezekiel bread for breakfast. And some mornings are game days, and I want to fuel up my player with something healthy and satisfying, but not too heavy. These breakfast sandwiches are based on a popular fast food offering, but healthified. They have less fat, less cholesterol, less sodium and more protein than the drive-thru version. I could have these for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are so good. And they are quick. From start to finish, about 5 minutes. For mine, I also add a few pieces of roasted asparagus and some arugula pesto. Ahhhhh, breakfast!

Skinny McMuffin (one sandwich)

Per sandwich: 390 calories and 24.8 grams of protein

  • 1 whole grain English muffin
  • 1 farm egg
  • 1 slice prosciutto
  • 1 slice cheese
  • 1 teaspoon organic mayonnaise
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a toaster, toast the English muffin lightly.
  2. Heat a non-stick pan to medium heat.
  3. When muffin is lightly toasted, put on a plate and top one half with the slice of prosciutto. Top the other half with the mayonnaise.
  4. Crack the egg in the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Flip egg over and top with the cheese, so cheese will melt while egg cooks.
  5. Cook egg 1-2 minutes more and add cooked egg and cheese on top of prosciutto.
  6. Top with remaining muffin half and serve!

Gingerbread Oatmeal

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When the high for the day is going to be 32 degrees, toast just doesn’t cut it for breakfast. I love steel cut oats both for their flavor and for their satisfying warmth. But plain oatmeal gets, well, boring after a while. During the chilly mornings of last fall, I fell in love with THIS recipe for pumpkin pie oatmeal. But winter is a time for gingerbread, peppermint and chocolate, so I was looking for something a little different. I figured if I could make gingerbread pancakes, muffins and bread, there must be a way to bring that flavor profile to oats, right? Right!

After some experimenting with spices, I think I have a good balance of spice and sweetness. Note: I like my gingerbread pretty spicy. If you like a subtle taste, cut back a bit on the spices. I love this oatmeal and although you can add some brown sugar, this recipe just uses molasses for sweetness and a little kick. I also added some chopped organic dried apricots and that was delicious! Enjoy!

I’m including the crock pot recipe here, but you can make this the normal stovetop way as well.

Gingerbread Oatmeal (4-6 servings)

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. dried, ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • Dried apricots or apples (optional)
  1. In the bowl of a crock pot, add the water and spices. Use a whisk to combine.
  2. Add the molasses and stir.
  3. Add the oats and stir again.
  4. Set your crock pot to its lowest setting (I use the “keep warm” setting on mine).
  5. Cook overnight for 6-7 hours.
  6. Top servings with dried fruit, if desired.

Get Your Smoothie On!

Low-Fat Strawberry-Banana Yogurt Smoothie 1 cu...

If you’ve followed us for a while, you know I scored a wonderful VitaMix blender by getting the last year’s model on sale on amazon.com. I love that blender. While it was still about $250.00, that was far less that the $400 commanded by the new model, so you know, it seemed like a bargain. And since I’ve used it almost every day for three years, I feel I’ve gotten some good use out of it! That thing will crush, pulverize and liquefy just about anything in seconds flat, I tell you. Because of that, we have smoothies pretty much every morning. I’m wondering now with the new year if I should vary our smoothie offerings a bit. I’ve read about oatmeal smoothies and kale smoothies, but I just haven’t committed to making any smoothie menu alterations.

Today, I found this great Smoothie Flowchart on the Eating Rules blog (www.eatingrules.com). I love it because it takes some of the total guess-work out of the process (and guessing is not good for me before coffee). Feeling sweet? Go with fruit and other ingredients. Feeling savory? There are menu ideas for that, too! I printed a copy and will post in on the fridge for quick smoothie making.

Here is our tried and true recipe for awesome, thick fruit smoothies that are really like having ice cream for breakfast without the guilt 🙂 Using frozen fruit definitely works better than using ice cubes–I think they really water a smoothie down. If you are using small berries, use the 3 cups. For frozen strawberries or frozen mango, go with 2 cups. You can play with the proportions to see what you like best!

Mitchell Family Fruit Smoothies (makes 2 smoothies)

  • 2-3 cups frozen organic fruit
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 cups of organic soy milk or almond milk
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (optional)

Put all ingredients in a blender. Blend until creamy. Add more soy milk if the mixture is too thick for your blender. Scoop into glasses and enjoy!

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