B-r-r. It's chilly outside — or at least it was. You might be wondering why I'm bringing cold smoothies to the table, right? Well, they're energizing, calming, and super delicious! So why not.
During springtime in the mountains even though we get snow, rain and some sunshine, it's a time for getting a move on like our hungry coyotes and mice. Blame it on spring fever.
And seasonal fruit smoothies are easy to make. Throughout the years living on the South Shore, I've had my share of the drinks that go back to the '70s. Yep, I've been introduced to mega health food types with the server asking me, "How many scoops of protein powder?" to ice cream parlor tropical flavors blended by workers who don't know what sugary syrups ingredients are being added to the colorful beverage.
So, after a while it hit me and I thought, "I can whip up a smoothie. How hard can it be?"
One spring after drinking a smoothie, I recall swimming at one of our local resort pools. A well-known psychic was in the pool. When I shed my sweats and inched myself into the water to swim with her I'll never forget what she said. "You look lean and healthy." I accepted the compliment and swam after her, "Read me! Read me!"
She told me, the health author, that I'd be on the Oprah show. Well, that didn't happen but my photo was featured beneath the celeb's pic in a women's magazine that ran my articles. And I can still fit into size 4 skinny jeans by eating a balance of nutritious whole foods — and super smoothies on occasion.
This week, for instance, I went swimming followed by a dunk in the hot tub before noon while I watched and savored snow flurries outdoors. (Off season, it was bliss.)
Back home instead of cooking, I made a quick smoothie with fresh fruit available at our friendly Safeway. It is good-for-you and tastes sweet and savory, too!
Seasonal fruit smoothie
1 cup strawberries, fresh, sliced
¼ cup pear, chopped
½ banana, fresh
5 small ice cubes
½ cup low-fat organic milk
½ cup all-natural plain Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sweeten with honey to taste (local preferably)
Add nutmeg and cinnamon to taste (ground from cinnamon sticks is best)
Whipped cream (optional)
Chopped almonds or walnuts (optional)
Basil or mint (garnish)
In a blender, combine fruit, ice, milk and yogurt. Blend until smooth. (All the better if your blender has a "smoothie" button.) Add honey and spices; blend quickly. Pour into a large milkshake glass. Top with whipped cream, nuts and serve with a straw and spoon. Serves one or two.
The texture of a smoothie, like this one, is thick and filling. Its mix of fruit and spicy flavors are like fresh crisp air in the spring.
While ordering a smoothie when out and about at Tahoe it's a treat. But doing it yourself is just as fun because you dish it up just the way you like it.
Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, and Tea) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is http://www.calorey.com.