January 27, 2016
I love recipes. They are a source of inspiration — new ideas, new ingredients, new techniques. Sometimes the hardest thing about cooking is figuring out what to make, and having a good collection of recipes to turn to can eliminate the mind-wracking search for a lunch, brunch or dinner idea. As much as I admire creative recipes, though, I often cook on the fly, inventing as I go. Or fall into a rut. The rut is especially apparent when it comes to breakfast. I can find an interesting recipe or create my own at dinner, but breakfast usually finds me in a muddle.
I'm not a morning person, and never have been. As a child, I could never bring myself to eat breakfast before leaving for school — it was just too early. Even, more recently, when I used to rise at 6 a.m. to get ready for work, it was only so I could leave the office earlier in the afternoon, not because I was at my best in the morning, or because I wanted time to make a good breakfast. Breakfast? Hardly. I'm all in favor of brunch recipes, but breakfast ideas are usually lost on me. If I can drink it from a mug or spread it on a cracker, it might get consumed. Most of the year, when it's relatively warm out (and in the house) smoothies are my breakfast of choice — throw stuff in the blender, pour it into a jar, and drink it. I have my set list of favorite add-ins, and vary the fruit a bit, but my smoothies don't change much from day to day.
Not long ago, on a mild winter day, I came across a recipe for a healing banana split smoothie at Lexie's Kitchen and Living that sounded so delicious I was willing to break out of my breakfast rut to try it. I had it three days in a row, but then I began to miss all the foods I had been adding to my smoothies to make them healthier and more filling, and I decided to incorporate my old smoothie ingredients with the new ones, and fall into a new, delicious smoothie rut. To the banana split smoothie ingredients in the blender, I added one tablespoon of chia seeds, two tablespoons of hemp hearts, 1/3 cup of uncooked rolled oats and a handful of raisins. I didn't add the thick slice of organic lemon (with skin) that usually goes into my smoothies because I didn't think the flavor would go well with the peanut butter and cacao. And I used an unfrozen banana since the cherries I added were frozen. It tasted great and kept me full for hours. This is my new 'in-a-rut' smoothie, and I love it!
Notes: When I make my usual breakfast smoothie, I use water or a combination of water and homemade soy yogurt for the liquid, though I've been using almond milk as called for in Lexie's recipe. And I use frozen organic fruit (from Costco) such as cherries, mango, blueberries, strawberries or cranberries, singly or in combination. If the smoothie is too thin, I add a few cubes of ice. My preferred brand of almond milk is 365 organic almond milk from the refrigerated case at Whole Foods because it seems to have the fewest noxious additives of the refrigerated almond milks. I should make my own, I know.