After the gym, if I need a snack instead of a meal, then I always opt for a smoothie. Usually a banana and chocolate smoothie, as I’m not generally a fan of tropical smoothies. However, pear and chocolate is one of my other favourite chocolate combos- and so that’s that we’re doing today.
I used a mixture of cacao and pea protein powders to give me both chocolate flavour and protein, making this suitable for vegans and those who can’t eat dairy- but a chocolate whey protein is also an ideal substitute for these ingredients.
- 1 large pear, chopped into small chunks, microwaved until tender, and stored in the fridge overnight (ALTERNATIVELY, you can use 80g of canned pears for ease; this also gives a smoother texture- but make sure that they are chilled. As these blend more easily than fresh pear, you could even freeze them to ensure a super-cold and refreshing drink)
- 200ml unsweetened almond milk
- 1tbsp cacao powder (I used Seven Hills)
- 1tbsp pea protein (I used Pulsin)
- Pinch of cinnamon
- OPTIONAL: 1tsp maple syrup (if you really have a sweet tooth; I personally didn’t add this), ice
- Into a blender place all of the ingredients, and simply blend until smooth. My blender isn’t too high-tech, and so there were still some pear chunks, but as I’m not fussy this was no issue for me! (If chunks are an issue, then see the “alternative” in the ingredients).
I have yet to meet anyone who does not like nutella. This smoothie reminds me of nutella smothered over ripe banana. You have that chocolate-y, nutty taste, and sweet creamy frozen banana flavour.
Anyone who has a sweet tooth but wants a nutritious alternative: have I got your attention?
It might be a bit cold for smoothies in some people’s opinions, but not in mine. For this one I used Meridian’s hazelnut butter, but you can use chopped hazelnuts if you really want to- although, I have no idea how the texture of your smoothie would turn out. Probably fairly chunky. Though if you reduced the milk to just a couple of tbsp., you could make a nice-cream with chunks of hazelnut instead.
Anyway, this smoothie is ideal as a well balanced snack, or even a dessert: you have protein from your nut butter, plus a serving of fruit, fibre, and a hit of potassium from the banana. You also have any of the vitamins and minerals your milk is fortified with or naturally contains (I used almond milk, but use whatever floats your boat), and some beautiful antioxidants from the cacao powder. Also, I don’t know about you, but the taste of chocolate makes me feel happy.
Sound good? Let’s get going…
- 1 large, ripe banana (with ALL the speckles you can get)- sliced and frozen overnight
- 1tbsp cacao powder (I used Seven Hills)
- 1tbsp Hazelnut butter (I used Meridian)
- 250ml unsweetened almond milk
- OPTIONAL: A splash of REALLY cold water, depending how thick/thin you like your smoothies; 1dsp protein powder if you want to increase your protein intake
- Pour the almond milk into the blender first; this means the blades will be able to turn more easily. Add in everything else, blend, and serve with a straw if you’re feeling classy…
It’s that time of year. Am I jumping the gun a bit? If I am, I blame my Starbucks app, which conveniently notified me that the pumpkin spice latte was back. Damn you starbucks.
I have a confession to make before we go any further: I’ve never actually had a pumpkin spice latte. I know what they smell like, I know what they look like- but I haven’t been able to talk myself into trying one. I hate sweeteners in my coffee, I’m a cappuccino/Americano kinda girl, not a latte drinker, I hate whipped cream on coffee- and so the idea of pumpkin flavoured syrup, stirred into a latte, and topped with cream, doesn’t appeal to me. Perhaps this year I’ll finally bite the bullet and try one though- possibly wasting my precious coffee fund in the process. But hey, life is all about risks.
What I do know is that this Pumpkin Spice Latte Smoothie is amazing. It’s got actually pumpkin in it for starters. It has a subtle coffee taste, some spices, little bit of natural sweetness, and provides two of your 5 a day. Think of it as the healthier, more pumpkin rich, version of the pumpkin spice Frappuccino. That you can legitimately have for breakfast.
So, if you are a pumpkin spice fan, give this alternative a go and let me know what you think. And while we’re on it: should I finally try the pumpkin spice latte? Comment below if you have tried it (I get the feeling I’ll be in the minority here).
- 1/2 strong filter coffee, chilled
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (NOT the sweetened stuff, the 100% pumpkin stuff. I bought Libby’s 100% Pumpkin from Tesco) Continue reading
THE reason to get out of bed on a Monday morning…
This Monday morning I have a super fast breakfast (or even snack) for you to try out, which could really brighten the beginning of your week. A chocolate and peanut butter “milkshake” (it’s actually a smoothie, I know, but that super creamy and indulgent taste is just too “milkshake” to ignore). That is actually good for you. Which is great, because much as I love berry smoothies, I feel that they’re more summer appropriate- I’m still in winter mode, where chocolate and nuts are required. But I still want those chocolate and nuts to be good for me.
This drink contains frozen banana (you wont really taste it; it just adds sweetness and ice cream-like texture when blended) for one of your ‘5 a Day’, potassium, fibre, and they’re also a source of tryptophan, which is a mood boosting hormone. Cacao is rich in antioxidants, having undergone less of a refining process than cocoa. However, if you cant get hold of this, then no worries! Just use a really good unsweetened dark cocoa. Cinnamon: it helps to boost the metabolism and also balance blood sugar. And finally, peanut butter…healthy fats, fibre, protein, and just the most amazing nutty flavour. What more does your Monday need?
- 1 cup plant based milk (as always, I used my coconut-rice milk; feel free to use any milk you have. Yes, that includes cows milk, although I find that when I’m using milk in large quantities, say, in a drink, plant milk lies less heavily on my stomach)
- 1 frozen banana (chop it into chunks and whack it in the freezer overnight)
- Dash of cinnamon
- 1tbsp cacao
- 1 tbsp. smooth peanut butter (I used the Meridian peanut butter)
- 2-3tbsp ice cold water
- Chuck everything into the blender, and blend. Pulse the blender at first to break everything up, and then for longer periods to smooth it all out.
- Pour it into a glass, add a straw, and sip away. Alternatively, if you have my level of finesse, then gulp it down in less than five minutes.
Tip! To make your smoothie with minimum Monday morning struggles: put the liquid ingredients in FIRST, closer to the blades, and then add in the solids and blend. The liquids lubricate everything, making the blending process easier.
Let’s be honest: however delicious a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte sounds, it’s not something you want to be drinking every day. I nievely thought that it might be made with actual pumpkin until I looked it up- and I hate to break it to you, but it’s all syrup. And that coconut milk they’ve just introduced? Turns out it may not be like good old Alpro- but I’m still waiting for confirmation on that one. Do keep your eyes peeled on my IG and over here for when they email me back with the ingredients list…
So, here I have an iced, healthy version of that autumnal drink for you. Ready in minutes, and filling enough to be breakfast when you’re in a rush. Two of your 5 a day are provided by this drink as well. Starbucks, eat your heart out.
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I used Libby’s 100% pumpkin- Tesco’s sell it now)
- 1/4tsp each ginger and cinnamon
- Small pinch of nutmeg- tiny guys, I mean it!
- 200ml plant based milk (I used Alpro coconut)
- 1/4cup cold water
- 2tsp instant coffee
- 1 small banana, sliced up and frozen overnight
- 50g Greek yoghurt
- OPTIONAL: 1-2tsp honey or agave, if you like your coffee with sugar usually
- Basically, throw everything into the blender. And blend. If your blender is a bit rubbish like mine, then be sure to pulse it at first, before blending for longer periods of time, to achieve the smoothest consistency.
Ginger is great when you have a bit of a queasy situation going on in that stomach of yours. When I was feeling a little less than luscious this week I ended up making this smoothie, and now feel it shall be remaining firmly within my smoothie repertoire. Pear and ginger happens to be one of my favourite combinations, and so what better way to enjoy a couple of my 5-a-day, and a gingery kick, than in the form of a thick, creamy, and refreshing drink? The pear gives you the sweetness you need to balance out the ginger, and keeps it tasting light- meaning I could probably drink a dangerous amount of this in one sitting.
So here is your super easy and quick, sweet craving kicking, and queasiness quenching, recipe. As usual, all ingredients are easy to find (you probably already have the majority of them), and you can always adapt the recipe to make it vegan friendly…
- 1 pear, chopped
- 1 banana, chopped up and frozen
- 150ml milk of choice
- Large pinch of ground ginger (I used about 1/2 tsp)
- 50g thick Greek yoghurt
TIP! If you want a dessert version, then why not add in a couple of teaspoons of cocoa?
- Throw everything into the blender, and watch with glee as it all gets whizzed up into a creamy smoothie.
- Pour into a glass, add a snazzy straw, and enjoy.
I blame Juice smoothie bars for this current obsession. I was in Leeds with friends a few weeks back and happened to see that they sold a coffee smoothie. One of those, and I was hooked. However, at £3.45 a pop it wasn’t the cheapest way of getting my iced caffeine fix. Plus the fact it costs me £4 to get into Leeds. So it’s a pretty expensive little luxury. Queue frantic kitchen experimentation in order to make the perfect iced coffee cooler.
Now, I came up with different ways of making my coffee cooler, and then settled on two recipes. One is vegan, and one is not. The vegan one is actually my favourite. Although as I typed that I realised that this is grossly unfair to my other recipe- because that tastes pretty damn good too. The perks of the vegan one are that it also provides one of your 5 a day, uses all natural ingredients, and no refined sugar- such as is difficult to monitor when adding the frozen the yoghurt to the other version. The vegan cooler feels more breakfast appropriate, as it’s more filling, and the non-vegan feels more like a healthy treat/dessert. So that’s my verdict, but you can decide on your own. You can always prepare the fro-yo coffee cooler using a vegan alternative, however I know these can be expensive and difficult to get hold of, and so I wanted to offer an alternative…
Vegan Iced Coffee Cooler
- 1-2 level tsp instant coffee
- 150-200ml plant based milk (unsweetened almond or rice milk with coconut are my picks)
- 50ml cold water (if you want a thinner consistency)
- 1 large ripe banana, sliced up and frozen
- Dash of cinnamon (a tiny dash; you don’t need to be able to taste it)
- OPTIONAL: 1/4-1/2tsp agave/maple syrup
- Throw everything into the blender and pulse the blender until the mixture is nearly smooth, then keep it switched on until completely smooth.
- Pour into a glass and sip away…
Fro-Yo Iced Coffee Cooler
- 1-2tsp instant coffee )
- 50ml cold water
- 150ml plant based or cow’s milk
- 2 large scoops of vanilla or natural frozen yoghurt (I recommend YooMoo, or Snog)
- OPTIONAL : Dash of cinnamon; 1tsp runny honey/ maple syrup/ agave (I didn’t find I needed it with the sweetness of the fro-yo, but if you aren’t used to strong coffee, or have a sweet tooth, then add it in)
- Make it the same way as the vegans my friend: blend and sip.
TIP! If you’re a vegan who hates bananas (not that I’ve come across one yet), and you can afford it, then make the Fro-Yo version using a dairy free alternative. I personally think this would be delicious, and the texture super luxurious. I’d recommend a vanilla ice cream alternative, or a chocolate one to make a mocha flavour.