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Smoothies

Sunshine Smoothie with Greek Yogurt and Orange

orangesmoothie-0243 I’ve got quite a few reasons to make a toast today. First and foremost I toast the beauty of life that shows itself in the form of a majestic sunny day here in Malaga. I love this city and I’m in love with Andalucia, a region in Southern Spain that gives us the most juicy and tasty fruits I ever tasted.  And great wine, food, music… etc… yes, I know I’ve already sung the praises of this country but I can’t help myself – I need to repeat positive things “out loud” so to remind myself how lucky I am.

Another reason to celebrate is the Pinterest Breakfast Club campaign I’m so honored to be part of. Make sure to check it out, it’s great inspiration!

I can’t believe PinterestUK is featuring my Smoothies Operator board together with the Pin Picks from prestigious foodies such as The Happy Pear, Great British Chefs, Pea Soup and Monica Shaw. Since I am contributing to the campaign with a collection of my favorite smoothies I thought this was a good occasion to share a breakfast smoothie I came up with while I was in Napoli. A creamy and light delight.

orangesmoothie-0221 If you read my latest post, you would understand why I am enjoying these lovely sunny days so much. I have to soak up the sun as much as I can. Desculpeme now, I gotta go. Off into the warm sunset I go….

Sunshine Smoothie with Greek Yogurt and Orange

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Tbsp flax seed
  • 1/2 cup sweet orange (pulp)
  • 1 medium banana, previously sliced and frozen
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp honey (or agave/maple syrup)

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.Taste and adjust seasonings/sweetness as needed.
  2. Add more banana or orange for added sweetness.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/sunshine-smoothie-greek-yogurt-orange/

Pinacolada Smoothie with Frozen Yogurt and Baobab Powder. And a Goodbye.

baobabsmoothie-0104 It’s not a secret that I used to spend (waste) a great deal of time on Pinterest. While I still moderately enjoy pinning and repinning from a board to another my latest recipes and, above all, the “creations” of other food bloggers, my new “silly” pastime is sliding a finger across the tablet surface to scroll through the photos of Instagram, a “place” that is becoming a source of inspiration, information, and beauty. I’m not ashamed to say that one of the last things I do before going to sleep is checking Instagram (because there’s always someone who, posting a funny selfie to wish everybody a goodnight, makes me smile).

I follow vegans and meat eaters, chefs, photographers, foodies, wise girls wisely healing from eating disorders, fashion bloggers, wannabe writers and food bloggers. In short, anyone who has something to say, with originality and personality  (I only exclude fitness fanatics because their perseverance is an annoying reminder of my laziness).

baobab-0099 Instagram as a source of inspiration. Why not? If it wasn’t for the “gram” I would ignore the existence of the baobab powder that ended up in today’s recipe, a refreshing smoothie I had for breakfast this morning.

Not long ago I discovered the profile of a food blogger based in London who loves natural, plant based food and, I found out, the 100% natural products of a company called Aduna. I was super curious to taste what she claimed to be a superfruit powder,  an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium and thiamin. A superfood that has also almost 50% fibre.

I quickly contacted Aduna and in a matter of a few days I got a few sachets of baobab and moringa powder to test. In the past I had to decline requests of reviewing products that did not fit with my blog’s interests; this time it was me to reach out to a company whose mission, combining together business and fairtrade, is highly laudable (every year, ten percent of Aduna profits go into a foundation that supports small-scale African producers and the communities they belong to).

So here is my Pina-colada Baobab Smoothie, containing the African fruit boasting the highest antioxidant capacities of any fruit in the world (five times the antioxidants of fresh acai berries and twice that of goji!!!). No honey nor agave added, this smoothie is naturally sweeten, refreshing and tasty. I used some frozen yogurt for a silky consistency and one banana for more density. Yum!

baobabsmoothie-0109 p.s. This is going to be my last post from London for a while. As anticipated here, I’m taking some time off from the Western World. It’s not a goodbye to the blogosphere (maybe a Goodbye to London). It’s my intention to open my little virtual home to you quite regularly, hopefully once a week (I’d miss you otherwise :)). If you want to follow my travel adventures and explorations more “closely”, make sure to check my Instagram profile! I’ll share there pictures, sensations and experiences of what is going to be the trip of my life.

Love,

Daniela

Pinacolada Baobab Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 Tbsp creamed coconut
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3 Tbsp frozen yogurt
  • 2 tsp Aduna Baobab Superfruit Powder
  • Pineapple wedges, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients and, if desired, honey. Blend until smooth. Pour into a large glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/smoothie-yogurt-baobab-powder/

Berry and Turmeric Smoothie

Berry Turmeric Smoothie I just got back from the gym and I would like to tell you about my incredible records, of a long strenuous workout consisting of several exercises such as  ballistic swimmers stretch (!?), back extensions, abs, squats… and above all fast and long runs. Of all the activities I can do in the gym, running  jogging  is my favorite. Unfortunately I don’t enjoy running as much as I love the idea of running. I tried with any kind of music in my headphones, just to get distracted, to run pretending that I’m not running but neither the jazz of Nina Simone nor the rock of Guns ‘N Roses worked for me. I get bored: the time on the treadmill is the slowest time ever.

berries-turmeric-smoothie-1032 So, yeah, I would like to tell about inspirational workout sessions but I can only divulge a story of an unremarkable and middling 10 mins run at 8 km/hr (don’t laugh at me, I can see you) plus 10 minute rowing  I get through just because the rowing machine is placed in a room that’s usually empty, allowing me to close the eyes and dream of being on a boat along the Seine.

berries-turmeric-smoothie-1029 After this immense workout 🙂 a smoothie made with natural yogurt, berries and a half a teaspoon of turmeric comes to help me feel fresh and forceful again. Turmeric is a powerful but safe anti-inflammatory, historically used as such in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. I use it as a salvific powder in my smoothies (the one you see here was made after my previous tremendous workout), teas and curries. I need one right now. I do not know if as a consolation prize or as an invigorating drink for the tired body. Well, whatever.

Berry and Turmeric Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup plain natural yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and mix for 10-30 seconds. Add more honey if you like your smoothie sweeter.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/berry-turmeric-smoothie/

Snacks, the Nutritious Way: Papaya and Tofu Smoothie

Papaya and tofu blended together with diluted Greek yogurt and sweetened with a touch of honey. 

papaya-0197 I’m not sure why Tofu is not a popular ingredient for smoothies. So strange. I’ve just elected it “best smoothie ingredient of the year”. I’m kind of serious. The health benefits of Tofu are uncountable; moreover it does not have a distinctive taste so whichever ingredient I mix it with, Tofu will not overtake. On the other hand, it will disappear almost just dispersing its nutrients. What’s more versatile than Tofu? And what more bland than Tofu? It does not taste great to me so I make sure to season it well. Do you remember when I made scramble “eggs” out of it?

papaya-0211 Now it’s kind of hot in London (never thought I could put “hot” and “London” together in the same sentence) and my snacks between lunch and dinner – much needed food – are all about fresh things (in fact I keep booze and chocolate in the fridge). Also, my level of inactivity is reaching its maximum peak and getting myself a cute mini fridge to keep it on the bedside table (so to feed my body and sleep) is becoming a feasible option.

papaya-smoothie Unfortunately, to contrast this idea, there is this body weight and waistline which I measure by wearing old clothes of a 20 year old me (always keep a pair of old jeans in your wardrobe, it works way better than a scale). I’ve also got some voices in my mind, my mum’s voice shouting out “drink, Daniela, you do not drink enough”, therefore I turn to smoothies as a solution to my hunger. Win-win. They keep me trained with all the fruit cutting and peeling, they hydrate me quite well and satiate me properly till dinner. That’s what I do in the hope that fresh and healthy snacks will grow more on me and not on my waistline :). Any healthy snack ideas to suggest?

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Papaya and Tofu Smoothie

Yield: Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of tofu
  • 3/4 glass of water
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • half papaya
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Instructions

  1. Peel, seed and chop the papaya. Whizz the papaya, yogurt and water together in a blender until smooth. Add honey and swirl well before serving.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/papaya-tofu-smoothie/

Healthy Beetroot and Apple Juice: Love at First Sip

apple-beetroot-juice1-0093 One of my favorite spots in London is Richmond, a town in the south west part of the city. There the Thames is populated by small river boats, the atmosphere is almost the one of an enchanted village. The wildest park in London is a few hundred meters away and parallel to the riverside there is the main street where shops and restaurants offer plenty options for those who want to keep feeling the urban beat.

Last year in Richmond I discovered this Apple and Beetroot Juice. A Jamaican street vendor was selling coconut water for £3.50 and this refreshing/energizer drink for a bit less. It was love at first sip.

apple-beetroot-juice1-0079 The sweetness of the apples is in perfect harmony with the slightly sour taste of the beetroot. The ginger adds a pungent and aromatic touch. The flavor of this drink won me over. Afterwards, when I read about the beneficial properties of the beetroot juice, I felt the “urge” to share the recipe with you all.  It tastes good but it is also very healthy (no added sugar!).

apple-beetroot-juice1-0097 If you are interested in knowing a bit more about beetroot and why it is so good for you, you can read the brief description of its nutritional benefits I’m providing below. If you believe – like me – that beetroot can be a cool addition to your smoothies have a look at my Antioxidant Beetroot Strawberry and Apple Smoothie.

Properties of the Beetroot

Beetroot contains 90% water, protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins (B1, B2, B3, traces of vitamin A) and minerals such as sodium, potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus. The characteristic red color of the roots of this beet is due to the presence of a real natural colorant, the E 162.

In the 1983 beetroot became more popular because some studies – published in the “International Journal of Cancer” – described the beneficial effects that it could have in regards to the colon cancer.

More recently a British study – published by the scientific magazine “Hypertension” and popularized by a BBC news article – found that half a liter of beetroot juice lowers blood pressure almost as an antihypertensive drug. This would come as a result of its high nitrate content, the substance used by our body to synthesize nitric oxide, a gas able to dilate the blood vessel walls.

p.s. My “healthy moment” will be soon “disrupted” by the coming Easter holidays. I can already see lots of chocolate on the horizon so this juice (I had this morning for breakfast together with peanut butter apple sandwich) is a sort of “fasting for feasting” to me. Are you also getting ready for the mighty Easter Feast?

Apple and Beetroot Juice

Yield: Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 beetroot
  • 1 apples
  • few slices of fresh ginger
  • half cup of apple juice (fresh, not from concentrate)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Cut the beetroots, the apples in pieces and the ginger in thin slices.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a blender. Easy peasy, you've got a tasty and healthy drink!
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/healthy-beetroot-ginger-apple-juice/

Chestnut & Yogurt Smoothie

chestnutsmoothie-0040 There are days, I know, I should refrain from sharing recipes. It’s not always a good day to switch on the laptop and send bits of yourself or your food everywhere (or nowhere; internet is a non space).

But I am coming to a point in my blogging adventures where I feel surrounded by lovely understanding souls: readers or bloggers to form a community of imaginary friends in my mind, and it doesn’t feel that wrong anymore if it’s not a day of great crafts or inspiration, if mobile stops working, laziness is taking possession of my body and out there is a city I cannot keep up with (this week I experienced “slips, trips or falls” on London tube escalator).

chestnutsmoothie-0033 So I can even share this with you today, which is same as sharing my laziness, my lethargy, my quality of being unwilling to get things done or use energy, all those things that led me to nothing more than a smoothie for lunch.

Considering that it was the outcome of my dullness, I am surprisingly delighted by its taste: good to drink/eat little creamy, dense and satisfying (for a couple of hours) smoothie. You know I LOVE smoothies, I can have a green tea pumpkin shake as a snack or a coffee banana smoothie for breakfast. But I still want my lunch to end up in a plate (possibly a large one) and not in a glass or cup.

chestnutsmoothie-0044 As suspected, I got hungry in the afternoon. This smoothie is not skinny but doesn’t contain sugars or heavy cream either,  it’s good to keep you going for a couple of (lazy) hours and provide minerals and fibers contained in chestnuts. Have I gathered my energy for feeding my body properly at the end of the “smoothie fuel”? Naaa, I just tried out another super lazy recipe (soon to come). Those “asleep on the job” days, you know…

Now please tell me – I’m curious – what do you prepare when you are extra lazy and can’t even raise a fork?

Chestnut & Yogurt Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons chestnut puree
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1 handful pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients together except the pumpkin seeds in a blender and blend at high power until smooth (about 30 seconds).
  2. Top it off with seeds and enjoy!
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/chestnut-yogurt-smoothie/

Green Tea Pumpkin Shake


I start my day with a breakfast smoothie sometimes and I blog about my smoothies every now and then. What I think about smoothies is that some work well as a meal replacement, and some others, especially if not homemade, are to be avoided (if your goal is weight loss).

pumpkinsmoothie-0084

Let’s take for example the Peanut Butter Moo’d sold in the US by Jamba Juice:  it’s 890 ml containing 169g of sugar and 1,170 calories. One Thousand One Hundrend and Seventy calories. Would you still consider this a smoothie or rather a bomb? Even worse to me are those little bottles – whether containing mango or spinach – hiding unsuspecting unhealthy sugars behind a healthful facade. Let’s say we come across a 250 ml bottle of “Pomegranate, Blueberries and Acai Superfood Smoothie”, produced by INNOCENT. Wow, the color is so vivid and the label claims “super-food”.

We may be led to believe that this drink could upgrade us to a stronger version (I am always hopeful to get to “Daniela 2.0” at some point). No super-food effect has ever occurred, though: that little cute smoothie is not INNOCENT at all. It provides as much sugar as 3.5 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donuts (buuuuu).

pumpkinshake

The Food Standards Agency has set a limit of 10 g of sugar per 100 g. Many smoothie drinks now on sale in the UK have sugar levels higher than this value. Less than a coke, but definitely not lower enough for these drinks to be classified as “superfood”.

And yet we find more new shelves exclusively dedicated to smoothies. Big retailers understood that there’s a great deal of interest around “not from concentrate drinks” and fresh juices make up a big part of the market. It has been calculated that Britons are spending more than £100 m a year on smoothies.

pumpkinsmoothie-0087

Whether we are aware of the high fructose content in a smoothie or not, one fact holds true: the best fruit-based drink cannot be just as good as eating a fresh apple or peeling a ripe banana. So if we really want to be on a super healthy diet we should start using our teeth and bite an apple or two.

We should at least make smoothies/shakes/juices ourselves, limiting the amount of sugar and selecting the best ingredients. In my kitchen it goes like this: fruit and veggies sweetened with cinnamon and honey and blended with soy milk or yogurt. Honey doesn’t dissolve well in cold shakes that’s why I’m very happy to use this Organic Coconut Sugar as a way to keep refined sugars away and sweeten smoothies and desserts naturally. Coconom, a company I discovered in occasion of the Vegan Festival that took place in London last month, produces this magic product supporting organic, biodynamic farming and sustainable agriculture.

pumpkinsmoothie-0124

If you wanna know more about coconut sugar visit their page or just google it. I wasn’t paid by the producers to write about it, so please feel free to regard my words as the opinion of a health-conscious consumer (with a moderate sweet tooth). For what I know, this sugar comes from the golden nectar of the coconut palm tree, which is collected by family “tappers” and slowly evaporated and reduced to crystal form. It’s a 100% natural product that tastes like brown sugar but doesn’t contain palm sugar and chemicals of any kind.

pumpkinsmoothie-0125

In conclusion, to sum it up:

1) Little bottle of smoothie I see everywhere during lunch time (in Tesco, Boots, Starbucks…): you are deceiving me! You are little more than a concentrate of refined sugars!

2) I still cannot live without you so I am willing to make you from scratch, and when I think I’m on diet (something occurring in my imagination only) I make you with green tea instead of milk/coconut milk and add honey or a bit of coco sugar instead of refined sugars.

3) Nothing against you – even if you are high in calories – as long as you don’t claim to be “superfood” or slimming.

Green Tea Pumpkin Shake

Ingredients

  • 1/4 can pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup green tea
  • 1 tablespoon Coconom Sugar
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Prepare a green tea from green tea leaves. Combine pumpkin, banana (sliced), green tea and coco sugar in a blender and puree till smooth.
  2. Pour into glasses and top with cinnamon.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/green-tea-pumpkin-shake/

 

Antioxidant Punch Beetroot, Strawberry and Apple Smoothie


This is the week of “smoothie cravings” for me. Whatever the reason is, I found myself fancying fruit during the whole week. Every evening, once at home and always before dinner so to soothe my hunger, I quickly prepared a shake by blending all the fruits on hand. Most of my smoothies comprised orange, apple and honey.

beetsmoothie-0256

One day I included a different ingredient, a root in place of a fruit. The outcome is this beautifully colored, dense and flavorful smoothie. A concentrate of antioxidants (both beet and strawberry are on top of the list of highly concentrated antioxidant foods).

beetsmoothie-0269

I’ve already written about beet in a previous post, where I outlined the benefits of including this betaine-packed plant in our diet. You know what? I regret I haven’t consumed beet as much as I should. Now it’s time to make up for the time lost and with the handy help of a blender I have no excuse anymore not to get my antioxidant punch from a tasty, quick and healthy smoothie.

beetsmoothie-0275 beetsmoothie-0284

Beet Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium beetroot, peeled
  • 1 red apple
  • 3 strawberries
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 2 tsp honey

Instructions

  1. Peel the beetroot and the apple. Wash and then cut all the fruits in pieces.
  2. Blend all the ingredients together.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/antioxidant-punch-beetroot-strawberry-and-apple-smoothie/

Dense and Nutritious Coffee Banana Smoothie


This year, the lengthening of the day surprised me as never before. Or maybe just like every year, when after a couple of hours of daylight more it feels like a new change is about to come. Many months of darkness and freezing weather made me feel like an automaton adapted to live in black and white, wear heavy clothes and drink hot tea. So now that the nightfall runs late and the days become brighter everything looks different.

Refreshing drinks, colorful clothes, trees in bloom, clear sky and sunshine are a bless in London. However I can’t stop thinking of Italy and in particular of the first hot days of the year in Italy. It’s when you breathe something wonderfully vital in the air, a breeze that’s  like a maternal breath, warm and reassuring. Any garment is way too many, heat sticks to the skin and you sweat and melt. The first hot day in Italy is also a day when you feel particularly free.

If it happens to you to be late, public transport will multiply your delay and any bus will be much more hotter than you can bear. Wherever you go nothing is worth rushing, no one can respect deadline and be punctual under such a melting sun, all the birds chirp in the air and all the light dazzles and enchants you. When it’s really hot in Italy you have to take your time, slow down, maybe pop in a bar for a cold coffee, have a chat with someone about a football match of the day or the political scandal of the moment. Nothing special happens on those days of  summer in Italy, however a peaceful state of mind can sprout up in you.

It must be because of my almost mythological memories of the Italian weather  that I started dabbling with coffee based recipes. An espresso to grab in an Italian bar where to stop, alone, to take a concentrate break, tells more about Italy than thousand books. I know that this tasty Coffee Banana shake will not revive the Italian summer I am sure it has already settled down in the “Bel Paese”, making everybody sweat and, I like to think, happy. But it is a good way to start the day off.  It’s fresh and energizing because of the coffee and useful to normalize blood pressure because of the potassium-rich food it contains, the banana. For the time being, considering that a chaotic tube ride is waiting for me, that’s more than enough.

coffeee- coffeesmoothie smoothiecoffee

Coffee Banana Smoothie

Serving Size: 2

Ingredients

  • 3/4-1 cup fresh brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 -2 tablespoon honey (or sugar, to taste)
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Cool down the coffee placing it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Meantime slice the banana onto a plate and put that in the freezer as well, to chill.
  2. Combine the coffee, banana, ice and honey to taste in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Add the yogurt and any of the remaining ingredients you wish to use.
  4. Transfer to the glasses and serve cold.
http://www.foodrecipeshq.com/dense-and-nutritious-coffee-banana-smoothie/

Popeye Smoothie: a Spinach and Strawberry Shake

I’m Popeye the sailor man, I’m Popeye the sailor man, I’m strong to the finish because I eats me spinach

Do you know Popeye the Sailor? I’m quite sure everybody knows this brusque and good-hearted comic strip character. The cartoon was born in the 30’s, in the midst of an economic crisis that strongly affected the american agriculture. Popeye was meant to help the local economy by advertising the production of spinach.

100 grams of fresh leaves contain about 3.6 g of carbohydrates, 2.2 g of fibers, 2.2 g of protein and 0.4 g of fat. Low in calories yet very high in vitamins, spinach provides vitamin S, K, A, C, B2 and B6. However, despite this nutrient richness, when Popeye become popular spinach was claimed as a very healthy vegetable only because of iron, which was credited with mythical strength-giving properties. Now we know that, when E. Sagar created the newspaper comic strip, the iron content of spinach was mistakenly believed to be 10 times higher than it really is.

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A more recent study carried out at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in Sweden, found out that the strengthening benefits from spinach would be instead due to nitrates. Forget about iron, which is after all contained in spinach as much as in other vegetables. Just nitrates and truly nitrates, those compounds mostly known as potentially harmful constituents in food and drinking water, are responsible for a powerful effect on muscles. Scientists now claim that, once processed during the digestion, even modest quantities of nitrate would be beneficial on muscular efficiency.

spinach-0087

Do you understand why when I read this article I decided to dedicate a whole shelf in my fridge to spinach? I used it to make a frittata and this easy smoothie. The creamiest smoothie I have ever made! I mixed strawberry, spinach and oats in the blender together with soy milk. I obtained a sugar free and hearty shake that managed to keep at bay my hunger for long.