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).
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.
I have an intense dislike of ripe pears. You know that point that some call “juicy”, when they’re actually basically a pear-flavoured mush in a green jacket? I eat all of my fruit (other than avocadoes and berries I suppose- and bananas, they have to be super-ripe. And there’s probably another couple of examples) slightly under ripe. I love the crispness of a fresh pear, and the crunch of an apple. My nectarines need bite, and my peaches must be crunchy. But those over-ripe pears…they have no place in my life.
As a result I try to use them up before they reach this point, and I yesterday I happened to find a pear just beginning to move past “juicy”, into the mush zone. I popped that little bugger in to the fridge overnight (to cool him down and give me a better end product), then threw him into a blender for breakfast. Problem solved.
Ingredients (Serves 1-2. I drank it all.)
- 1 ripe pear, chilled in the fridge overnight, and then chopped
- 1 handful blackberries (6 large to be precise)
- 200ml plant milk (I used Alpro coconut, but feel free to use almond, oat, soya…)
- Really cold water (enough to thin the smoothie out if you so choose to)
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 1 ripe banana, sliced up and frozen overnight
- Throw all of the ingredients into the blender, and then blend. You may want to pulse the blender a little at first, and then let it run for a longer time; I find that this results in less chunks.
- You can add water to thin the smoothie to the desired consistency, and then pour into a glass. Feel free to violently skewer a blackberry on a cocktail stick for garnish. Enjoy!
Yesterday I was browsing the ‘World Foods’ isle in my Tesco’s, wondering how much stuff I could buy and smuggle into the house without my mum being aware of it (I have one cupboard in the kitchen, which I share with the dog, for all my own food. Think nut butters, oats, tea. I’m almost out of space, and don’t think that my family would take kindly to five different brands of Japanese tofu turning up in the pantry). A can of 100% pumpkin caught my eye. I haven’t ever had pumpkin pie (I know, deprived childhood. I hear Americans all over the world gasping in horror), due the fact that it doesn’t seem to be a popular dessert here in the UK- I know it has major food status over in the USA, perhaps we’re missing out? Anyway, I know the basics of what a pumpkin pie should taste like (creamy, pumpkin-y, spiced), and thought that it sounded as though it would translate into a smoothie pretty damn well. Which, believe me, it really did…
This smoothie is a brilliant orange colour, and has a great balance of spicy cinnamon and ginger, with creamy texture and taste. It is also super healthy. Pumpkin is a healthful ingredient that we seem to ignore; it’s low calorie, filling, contains betacarotene (a potent antioxidant for cell development, and so healthy skin), and is rich in vitamin C and fibre. On top of this you have the potassium from the banana, a metabolism boost from the cinnamon, and some vitamin B12 from the Alpro coconut milk (feel free to use another plant milk; they all have their own benefits). So, I hope that you enjoy this healthy, vegan and vegetarian friendly, liquid take on pumpkin pie- I sure did.
- 150g canned pumpkin (I used Libby’s, which I found in Tesco. Make sure that the pumpkin that you buy is purely, 100% pumpkin. No added sugars, flavours, spices etc.)
- 200ml planned based milk (I used Alpro coconut)
- 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4tsp ground ginger
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1/2-1tsp vanilla (I used 1/2tsp, but you may want more)
- 1 banana, sliced up and frozen overnight
- 2-3 ice cubes, optional
- Measure all of the ingredients out; I was feeling lazy and so placed the blender onto the scales and threw them all in there.
- Turn the blender on, and blend the ingredients until smooth. You end up with a very cool orange colour.
- Drink, and enjoy!