Time for a midweek pick-me-up? Apparently baby hippos and chocolate smoothies do it for me.
Seeing this picture just affirms my belief that all baby mammals are adorable, though perhaps I’m just a vain mammal. Does this not just make your heart melt a little? Even though you know the little guy will one day be a veritable destructo-tank on four legs? Well, I may not want a hippopotamus for Christmas, but I know a cute one when I see it.
Anyone agree that occasional cute animal pics are in order? I mean, c’mon, cute animals + yummy food help make every day a little brighter.
I also think smoothies in general can upgrade a day. In college, I used to work at a smoothie shop, and… getting free lunch-break smoothies was actually the main reason I applied there. Actually, it’s not really surprising that a college student would do a thing like that to get more free food, is it?
Anyway, nowadays I frequently make smoothies at home, and also for (practically) free.
On the mornings that I make myself a chocolate smoothie, I feel just a little bit more ready for the day, a little more ecstatic than usual. It’s gotta be the chocolate. Well, and it’s milkshake-creamy. And it has some bonus protein + antioxidants! Okay, and I often wake up thirsty, so the liquid in the smoothie is extra refreshing. That was the last one, promise.
A note about the recipe: This is a recipe I started making at random with ingredients I had on hand, and haven’t found one I like more for all the great healthy-benefits-to-amazing-taste ratio. The format is in ounces to be more precise for your ease in creating, inspired by Alton Brown’s Buff Smoothie Recipe.
A note about Alton Brown: This man is awesome. You should be watching his Good Eats, especially if you’re a nerd like me!
Chocolate Powerhouse Smoothie
Makes two 12 oz smoothies (about breakfast size for me) or one 24 oz smoothie (which could be lunch!)
8 oz (1 cup) vanilla, chocolate, or plain almond milk. I use u nsweetened plain, but if you prefer sweeter smoothies, pick one that is sweetened! And get with the program already. Almond is the new dairy milk. ;}
6 oz banana (Peeled. Sliced. Frozen.) If frozen bananas can be blended to make banana ice cream, they can be added to a smoothie to make a milkshake.
4 oz frozen blueberries, strawberries, and/or blackberries. Antioxidants + fiber, yall!
6 oz nonfat vanilla or plain Greek yogurt. Again, I still use plain + unsweetened, but start with your preference + over time you may start to reduce the sweetened ingredients. This is where the protein comes in!
2-3 heaping Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder. This adds more antioxidants and makes it chocolate.
Dash or two cinnamon for an extra flavor dimension, and hey – more antioxidants!
Alton Brown suggests using a heavy-duty blender with a mixer that does not detach from the power unit. This is a good idea if you want your smoothies to blend easily, but don’t want the occasional smoothie-leakage from the bottom of a detachable one, although they aren’t as easy to clean.
Pour the milk in first. This makes it easier on the blender. Then add the yogurt, cocoa, cinnamon, and the frozen fruit.
If you are absolutely bleary-eyed and incoherent in the mornings, like I often am, you can put all the ingredients in the blender, and the blender with lid on in the fridge, to blend when you wake up.
Otherwise blend once or twice until completely smooth, and enjoy – I want to make this a requirement – with a twizzly straw. It, like baby hippos and chocolate, adds to that good day-making power.