So, it is going to be hot again this week in Chicago. I don't know about you, but when it's hot, cooking, and even the thought of putting together a salad for myself, can be unappealing.
Yes, some laziness I take full responsibility for, but also there is the desire for savory and cool and a little sweet mixed into one. This is when a "meal" in a jar becomes an alchemical challenge for me.
Veggies, fruit, savory, sweet, flavorful, thick, cool... playing with variables and throwing them into a blender to see what happens!
This post was inspired by a friend who made a smoothie and wasn't satisfied.
I love smoothies. I HAVE to experiment and see what combinations I can come up with using whatever is in my fridge or pantry. Really, it's almost an obsession of mine.
So, when a friend of mine told me of her unsatisfying smoothie, it provoked this thought process...
What ingredients do I have around the fridge and pantry/cabinets to add to a smoothie to make it more interesting. Looking in those places, here's the list I came up with.
To begin, you need a "base" liquid:
yogurt / kefir (or dairy of your choice)
nut milk of your choice
coconut water (plain, or frozen into little ice cubes to add the chill and some hydration)
And - some veggies of your choice (carrots, spinach, kale, and cucumber seem to work well)
These are what I like to add for some creaminess (or, as Mrs. Felix, my grade school teacher liked to call it, some pithiness!)
Also to add thickness, and some healthy fats, there are avocado, almond butter, and raw coconut oil.
For a deeper, more layered, flavor, adding some flavored extract (like vanilla, almond, or chocolate), goji berries, and a sour fruit such as lemons and limes seems to add a bit of a punch to it. Even a dash of apple cider vinegar can add a layer of flavor you never thought of. Caution - not too much vinegar here - you still want it to be palatable.
As for sweet:
Tropical fruits such as mangoes, papaya, cherries, pineapple and oranges are great. If you choose mango, be sure to use a good tangy base - like a yogurt or even kefir is great! (to disarm some of its sweetness.)
Last, but not least - Savory: lets go for herbs like basil, lemongrass (if you can't find fresh, they carry this in a jar with Thai foods), anise, cinnamon, summer savory, turmeric, ginger, mint, and cardamom. A little goes a long way with fresh, and especially dried herbs. I suggest minimal, and adding in more for your taste buds as you try your concoction.
Now it's time to play and see what combos we can come with!
It helps to think like a bartender.
Maybe your going for a "tiki" like drink - try coconut water, a handful of cashews, handful of spinach, a dash of apple cider vinegar, bananas, 2 dates, some lemongrass, a few mint leaves, and some pineapple. Voila! Yummy!
Stay cool wherever you are, and enjoy life to the fullest you can possibly imagine...
Blessings, Lisa Kai
Lisa Kai is a licensed bodywork therapist in Chicago Illinois. She specializes in transformational bodywork including Lomi Lomi and Craniosacral. This blog contains her insights on bodywork and everyday tips for practicing Aloha for the body, mind, and spirit. Lisa also practices Aloha, is a nature loving tiki freak, digs jazz, double dips her veggies, is an artist, and embraces change.