I’m not much for working in the vegetable garden when it’s hot. Instead, I prefer to head out early in the morning – sometimes as early as 5:30 am. But I’m also a firm believer in starting every morning by fueling my body with healthy nutrients. Naturally, I found it difficult to do both.
That is, until I developed my own fruit smoothie recipe. To me, fruit smoothies are the healthy alternative to a milkshake. And what’s more refreshing on a hot summer day than a cool drink? For many, that cool drink may be a lemonade or iced tea, but I prefer a thicker cold beverage that “sticks to the ribs.”
Unfortunately, fatty milkshakes tend to stick to other places as well. Hence, my desire to make a creamy, cold drink to beat the heat of summer, yet still provide plenty of nutrients to get my day started right. I’m a bit lazy, so it had to be super-easy to make and I didn’t want a pile of dirty dishes when I was finished.
I discovered hand-held mixer-blenders are the perfect tool for making homemade smoothies. These devices have a sharp blade to pulverize fruit and chop ice, plus the mixing jar doubles as a drinking cup. I picked up an inexpensive generic model and found it easy to use and only had a few items to wash.
I tried ready-made mixes and perused recipes across the web as I perfected my own version of a smoothie. The key ingredient is, of course, fruit from my garden. Everbearing strawberries are wonderful in smoothies and this type provides a small amount of fruit on a daily basis throughout the summer season. I’ve also used homegrown blueberries, peaches and raspberries. Fruit picked at the peak of ripeness provides the richest fruity flavor.
To give my smoothies texture, I start by slicing a banana into the bottom of the large mixing “cup.” If I could grow my own bananas, I would. But my climate is much too cold for this tropical fruit, so I’m stuck using store-bought ones. I then add about an equal portion of my homegrown fruit. This fills the mixing cup about two-thirds to three-fourths full.
As you can tell, I don’t carefully measure my ingredients. (I want it to be quick and easy with few dirty dishes so I can head out to the garden before it starts getting too hot outside.) I then pour in about one-third cup milk – just enough to cover the bananas. On top of this, I add two to three heaping tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt.
I finish filling the mixing cup with crushed ice, screw on the cap with the mixing blades and proceed to blend the ingredients until smooth. It’s that easy! The yogurt provides protein and my fresh fruit contains vitamins, minerals and fiber. Using homegrown berries also gives me a morning boost of antioxidants.
I sip on this fruity concoction as I put on my shoes, gather my tools and stroll out to the garden. I love how the cool, creaminess of the smoothie chills my tummy because even at 5:30 am, summer days can start off hot!