Green Monkey Smoothie

When I started my health journey sometime seven (!!!) years ago, I was told I had to eat all of my veggies and fruits, stop eating sweets, eat less carbs, and do tons of cardio. I listened to that advice for most of my journey but thankfully, I snapped out of all that noise since then. Yeah, I still eat better than I did back then but my focus shifted. I eat what I want but watch how I feel when I’m eating. What do I mean by that? I eat what I crave when I’m hungry until I’m satisfied. Can you believe it took me seven years to figure that out? Such a simple concept that can change the way you eat and view food isn’t as widely known as “eat less carbs and sweets and do all the cardio.” Confusing.

One thing that stuck, that’s equally as important, is the veggies part. If you know me, you know that I loathe vegetables. Hate them with the burning intensity of a thousand suns. I’m not talking about all vegetables, but the ones that everyone usually preaches are the best to eat. Like broccoli and stuff. Yuck. The only way you can get me to eat a leafy green is if it’s covered in pasta sauce or in a smoothie.

Enter the Green Monkey.

Kale bouquet

What’s a “Green Monkey?” Only my favorite way to get my greens in! It’s a combination of spinach, kale, bananas, and peanut butter. The monkey part is obviously the banana (and maybe the peanut butter?) What I love about this combo is that it’s impossible to taste the greens. You wouldn’t even know they were in there if the smoothie itself wasn’t green. It tastes like bananas and peanut butter; the classic combo that most kids, like me, love.

The best way to make this smoothie is in a powerful blender. If you’re one of the lucky ones with access to a Vitamix, I’m officially jelly. I have my trusty Magic Bullet (which I actually broke when we got it but I fixed it, so we don’t talk about that anymore) to blend in, which works great in a pinch. I usually break up the smoothie in two batches because I love packing as many greens as I can fathom into my smoothies.

Smoothie Prep

Along with a boatload of greens, the banana is an integral part of the smoothie. It’s what gives it that thick and luscious texture. Bonus if the banana is frozen because it does double duty in chilling and making the smoothie thick. No frozen bananas? No problem! Use ice (duh)! Finally, the peanut butter. I love the natural, smooth stuff but feel free to sub with your fave smooth or chunky nut butter.

The result? The Green Monkey: a smoothie so delicious, you forget it’s healthy. Amp up the health content by throwing in a scoop of your favorite protein powder. Chocolate protein powder works pretty well; makes it taste like drinking a Reese’s. It’s the perfect post workout drink, along with a healthy snack to help refuel your body.

Green Monkey Smoothie

Consider the Green Monkey the next time you realize you could use more greens in your life but don’t actually want to eat them.

The Green Monkey Smoothie – a Lucy the Baker Original

Makes one smoothie

  • 2 cups of kale, rinsed and de-stemmed
  • 1 to 2 cups of fresh spinach, rinsed
  • 1/2 of milk or water
  • 1/2 to 1 whole banana
  • 1 to 2 tbsps natrual, smooth peanut butter

Directions:

  1. Rinse and de-stem your kale. If you’re using a small blender, tear the leaves into smaller pieces. Repeat with the spinach but don’t remove its stems (there are a lot of vitamins in spinach stems and they blend easy, unlike kale stems).
  2. Place the prepped greens in the cup of you blender. Add in the banana, the peanut butter and the milk or water. Add ice if using, and blend! Make sure greens are thoroughly blended until smooth (ahem, hence the name smoothie).
  3. Pour the smoothie in a glass (if you’re fancy) and drink!

Lucy’s Tips:

  • For the lazy, like myself, you can enjoy this smoothie straight out of the blender cup. Throw a straw in it (or not) and call it a day. 
  • You can add a variety of greens into this smoothie, just stick with mild ones so they don’t overtake the flavor of the smoothie. 
  • Use frozen bananas when you can!
  • Feel free to use the milk of your choice. I use soy milk but this smoothie would be fab with almond milk (and almond butter!), coconut milk, cow’s milk, etc. 
  • Also, use the nut butter of your choice. The options are endless!
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Thanksgiving: The Day After

Happy Thanksgiving! Or Black Friday, if you’re into that. I hope you all had a fabulous day full of awesome food and new memories with your families. At my house, we did it up like we usually do every year. We’re Dominican, so our Thanksgiving is nothing like the “traditional” American dinner. We don’t have green bean casserole, or mashed potatoes, or stuffing. Dominican Thanksgiving is actually interchangeable with Christmas dinner. The only thing that changes is the main protein; we have turkey (just like everyone else) at Thanksgiving, and pork for Christmas. Enough with the Christmas stuff, we’ll get to that next month. Let’s talk about yesterday’s dinner.

My mom and I are always the main cooks in the kitchen. My sister comes and goes, but it’s mainly us two. We plan a menu a week in advanced, but my mom always adds things last minute. My mom, or Mami as I like to call her, always says that she doesn’t know how to make small amounts of food. She’s right because even though we’re just a family of four, she always make enough food to easily feed at least 12. Thankfully, our neighbors join us for dinner, which helps take some of the food off the table and also gives us that ‘family’ feel that’s necessary during the holidays.

On this year’s menu, Mami and I made:

  • Moro de gandules: rice cooked together with pigeon peas (not pictured, unfortunately).
  • Eggplant casserole: a layer of tempura graffiti eggplant followed by tomato sauce, canned green beans, bell pepper slices, onion slices, mozzarella cheese, another layer of tempura eggplant which is finally topped of with more sauce and a final layer of cheese.
  • Pork pastelón aka starch casserole because it’s basically two thick layers of  shredded plantains, squash, taro root that have been mixed together with other seasonings, and a middle layer of cooked chunks of pork.
  • Potato salad aka my specialty: boiled then diced potatoes and carrots, chopped hardboiled eggs, diced onions and cubanelle peppers, mixed with mayo, salt, and vinegar.
  • Tri-colored macaroni salad: tri-colored macaroni, tossed with mayo, vinegar, salt, and diced onions and cubanelle peppers
  • Tossed green salad: shredded Napa cabbage, canned corn, chopped green and red tomatoes, and cucumbers
  • My whole wheat dinner rolls. I actually made them half white, half whole wheat.
  • Coconut macaroon and pumpkin pie from the Shiksa in the Kitchen, which is just me trying to introduce more “traditional” items into our holiday menus. It almost always fails, as my family doesn’t always like it. The pie was awesome, though. I just wish it were more coconut-y.
  • We also made piña colada; an amalgamation of canned pineapple rings in juice, canned pineapple juice, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, canned coconut cream, and as much Bacardi as you can handle (also not pictured).

Everything was awesome and I can’t wait to eat leftovers! I am just thankful for all the blessings I have and haven’t received. These past six months were kind of tough on me mentally and personally but I know that maybe things were just supposed to be this way for me, and that good things do come to those who wait ( I just need more patience). I’m also thankful for my mom’s awesome cooking!

Again, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and that you creatively enjoy your leftovers!