Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Smarter Fitter Smoothies

If my twitter feed is to be believed, January has been all about the cleanses, juices and smoothies. I’ve even posted a couple of smoothie recipes on here myself so I’m just as guilty, and so it seems a fitting time to give a big up to the latest addition to my recipe book collection.

Smarter, Fitter Smoothies is the brainchild of Monica Shaw, a Chicago-born, Wiltshire-dwelling foodie. She writes an excellent blog and this is her second book, the first being Vegan Breakfasts (available as an e-book for just $0.99).
Mango, Mint & Kale
Even before you get to the recipes, this book is a wealth of information. Monica explains her background and some of the nutritional aspects of her approach to smoothies. As I’m currently studying nutrition I found this really interesting. By using a mix of healthy fats and proteins (nuts, avocado), fruits and vegetables you’re getting a good balance of nutrients. The only thing I might dispute is the fibre content. I’ve read that blending reduces the fibre content and changes the sugars from intrinsic to extrinsic, but other than that I’m well on board. The “5 Elements of a Great Smoothie” section will give you all the tools you need to start experimenting with making your own concoctions, something I’m yet to do.

The rest of the book is jam packed full of recipes and scattered with tempting photos. There aren’t loads of weird and wonderful ingredients; I think the most outlandish ingredient called for in the recipes I’ve made were ground flaxseeds. Tahini makes a brief appearance alongside coconut cream, neither are items I usually have in, but that’s the extent of it.
Green Mango Lassi
You don’t need to stock up on lots of fancy milks and fresh fruits and vegetables; although fresh is nice you can quite easily make these with frozen purees and fruits. I have a stash of frozen chopped banana, apple and blackberries in my freezer as well as an ice cube tray of pumpkin puree from times when I had gluts of fresh produce. The only things I have bought are avocados, because a lot of her recipes call for it.

I’ve made several of the smoothies so far:
  • Melon, mint and kale (substituting melon for mango)
  • Green mango lassi
  • Strawberry and mint
  • Pumpkin apple and ginger
  • Churro

I’ve made all of these using a stick blender, proving you don’t need a fancy gadget to do this, and all of them have been absolutely delicious. The recipes make generous servings and have been surprisingly satisfying. If you want to try smoothies I would highly recommend getting your hands on this book (via blurb) to get started with.

Thanks Monica, look forward to more recipes!

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