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The key to the perfect smoothie

September 5th, 2014 No Comments

smoothie with protein

Ideally a smoothie is packed with nutrients, satisfies our hunger, and tastes great.  So…how do we go about making that happen?  Well, taste is a matter of…taste.  I tend to think if you add a little banana it will be manageable.  In this post, I’m focusing on the other two parts.  However, should you make the smoothie above, I can assure you it’s yummy.

As we learned years ago, each meal and snack needs to have the same number of protein, carbs, and fat to fill us up and keep our metabolism in gear.  (Click here to read about figuring out portions) For my body and activity level that’s:

  • 20-30g of protein
  • 25g carbs
  • 7-10 g of fat
  • About 250-300 calories total

After a workout, we need to get this in our body within 45 minutes.  Honestly, the sooner the better.  It’s also important we feed our body with protein it can easily absorb and dispatch to our muscles asap. A smoothie is our best option!

So let’s break down my smoothie:

Protein: Grass-fed organic whey is 20g of protein. If you ‘re dairy free, look for pea protein and avoid soy.

Carbs:  1/3 of a banana (9g carbs and potassium), a few frozen blueberries (10g carbs and antioxidants), and 1/2 pack of sugar-free Acai (superfood with 2g carbs, 2.5g fat).

Fat: 1/5 Avocado is 4g fat.

You need the fat to satiate your hunger.  It also slows down your digestion so your body has time to absorb the nutrients.  Since I’m incorporating two handfuls of spinach (one veggie serving for the day), I use avocado as my fat source.  Besides the fact it makes the drink super smooth, avocado has also been proven to help your body absorb 200-400% more of the nutrients in vegetables.  Another option is a dollop of coconut oil or flax seed oil.  (I try to stay away from nut butters because I eat almond butter and nuts throughout the day.  They’re really hard to digest and high in calories.)

Now that the nutritional portion is taken care of, I can add on things like glutamine or Philosophie  superfood powders which taste so good on their own.

Vega Protein Performance Pack

If I’m on the run and can’t get home to make a smoothie, I take a Vega Sports Protein Performance pack and a bottle and shake it up with cold water.  Don’t worry, it tastes great!

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“Eat a banana, not a cookie.”

December 5th, 2013 No Comments

Banana Infographic

 

That’s what I tell myself when my sweet tooth starts to rage!  I keep Trader Joe’s flattened bananas in the car for that very reason.

(Click the image to enlarge.)

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Banana Creme Deliciousness from Scratch! None of that Jello crap here.

December 1st, 2011 2 Comments

My mother dies for banana pudding.  If you’ve been with me for a while, you know that she uses the boxed version of just about everything and I stay as far from processed foods as possible.  So when she wanted to serve banana pudding for our gold party, I insisted on making it from scratch.

I found this unique recipe for banana creme pie from Bon Appetit on Epicurious and have made it three times in a month for several different occasions.  It’s been a unanimous hit!

My three experiences allowed me to play with the recipe.  Below the original is intact with my notes. I’ve made this as a pie, pudding in a bowl, and pudding in individual cups for a party.  All three worked beautifully.

Banana Creme Filling

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 ripe bananas

This list will make one pie or  8 servings as pudding. If you’re going to make a pie, make crust first (see recipe below). I prefer it as pudding!

Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in heavy medium saucepan to blend. Gradually whisk in whipping cream and whole milk (I combine the two beforehand), then egg yolks. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add vanilla bean or 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Whisk over medium-high heat until custard thickens and boils, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in unsalted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Discard vanilla bean if you used it. Transfer custard to large bowl; cool completely, whisking occasionally, about 1 hour.

**MR NOTES:  Initially I thought the vanilla bean would make the pudding rich and more flavorful, but the opposite was true.  From now on I will just use vanilla extract while it’s still simmering.  While it’s simmering, make sure to whisk often so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.  After you remove the custard from the heat it will thicken quickly so don’t overcook it.

Pie Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and mashed banana in large bowl to blend. Add unsalted butter and stir to moisten evenly. Press onto bottom and up sides of 10-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.Bake crust until set and pale golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Spread 1 cup custard over bottom of prepared crust. Top with half of sliced bananas, then 1 cup custard, covering bananas completely. Repeat layering with remaining bananas and remaining custard. Chill banana cream pie until filling is set and crust softens slightly, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day. Cut pie into wedges and serve.

Pudding

I prefer just the pudding with Nilla waffers because it reminds me of the recipe my mom’s bf used to make when I was little.

Simply make a layer of waffers, then a thick layer of bananas, then a layer of pudding.  Repeat until you get to the top.  I think it also might be nice to cut chunks of banana and mix it with the custard, but I haven’t tried that yet.

I have also used little plastic cocktail cups to make individual portions at a large party.

Fresh Whipped Creme (via)

After all of this work, don’t top it off with Cool Whip, PLEASE.  Take one more step to make it perfect!

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar or regular sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
  • Electric mixer

Place a medium glass or metal bowl along with your mixing attachments in the freezer for twenty minutes.

Whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like.  Add more sugar if you want to make it sweeter.

Spread 1 cup custard over bottom of prepared crust. Top with half of sliced bananas, then 1 cup custard, covering bananas completely. Repeat layering with remaining bananas and remaining custard. Chill banana cream pie until filling is set and crust softens slightly, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

 

 

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