Things have been busy around here (or, as Kathleen would say, “wildly productive and living the dream“), but I wanted to pop in here to wish you a happy fall with this simple, satisfying, autumnal smoothie.
Last weekend we went upstate with friends for our annual apple picking trip. I left my camera at home so as not to pressure myself to document the experience, only to thoroughly document the event with my cell phone. Of course, we came home with a lot of apples, so I’ve been tucking them into every meal I can manage.
This apple pie smoothie is the way to keep my smoothie habit alive as we transition to cooler weather. It’s cold yet cozy, thanks to apple pie spices like cinnamon and nutmeg; it’s creamy yet vibrant, thanks to the marriage of soaked cashews and sweet-tart apple. I bumped up the nutritional value with maca powder, its maple-y flavor a wonderful complement to the dessert-themed snack.
Now, back to living the dream…
(PS – I’m sending out a newsletter tomorrow with another fall-inspired recipe. Sign up below if you’re not already on the list.)
Apple Pie Smoothie
1/4 c raw cashews
1 medium apple, quartered and cored
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp maca
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c water, plus more for soaking
handful of ice
Place the cashews in a small bowl and cover by an inch of water. Soak 4 hours or overnight.
Drain the water from the cashews and move the nuts to a blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on high until smooth. Serve immediately.
As this two kid, two adult, one bedroom scenario plays out before me, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that love grows best in little houses, but lately it feels like perhaps little houses just make you want to flip the freak out. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say we are a sleep-deprived household relying heavily on coffee to get through this difficult stage.
Looking over the list of personal recipes I’ve been working on, it struck me how strongly my current fog has influenced what we eat. I’ve been intentionally keeping things on the healthy side, choosing energizing and immune-boosting ingredients to combat the effects of too few hours of sleep. Almost every item on that list is also fast and easy, with a particularly heavy hand of smoothies. Whether I’m blending up breakfast, lunch, or a snack, I always take a moment to scan the fridge and cupboard for add-ins to increase the nutritional value of my lazy meal. This method produced the superfood tropical smoothie, this chocolate tahini smoothie, and a refreshing green smoothie I’ll be posting soon.
I am equally thankful to coffee and my Vitamix for getting me through the day in good spirits.
Today’s recipe is the most dessert-like of the three but doesn’t leave me with the crash effects of a refined sugar good. This one is date-sweetened with rich coconut milk and nutty tahini. Raw cacao powder, cinnamon, and maca contribute a host of nutrients and give it a sophisticated bitterness and spice. If the amount of fat in the recipe doesn’t work for you or you’re just feeling something a little lighter, replace half the coconut milk with water.
Chocolate and Tahini Smoothie
handful of ice
2/3 c coconut milk
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 Medjool date, pitted
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp maca
cacao nibs, to garnish
Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Serve cold, topped with cacao nibs.
It feels tired to write about life/career/parenting balance, but I’m going to anyway because 1) It’s on my mind all. the. time. and 2) A recent episode of After the Jump altered my perspective on the matter in a wonderful way.
If you’re not already listening to Gracey Bonney’s podcast, I highly recommend it. Her words are energizing, informative, and ideal for any creative or entrepreneur (current or aspiring). For her 100th episode, Grace recounted lessons she’s learned from hosting the podcast, one of which concerns the myth of achieving balance. I strongly relate to her old internal negotiations – If I just eat more greens, or better prioritize exercise, or carve out more time here or there, I’ll get it right. She says: “There is no perfect balance. Life and work are always a series of back and forth adjustments and a constant game of checks and balances.” Aha. A game. Now that’s an angle I can get behind. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it will still feel a bit like a round of Tetris where the pieces are falling too rapidly and landing in all the wrong places, but if I can get back to that place where I feel like it’s “just a game” then I’ll be okay.
And tomorrow I’ll be a savvier player.
Last week was characterized by more rounds lost than won. Ben was out of town, the weather was the pits, and I stress ate to the max, making me feel crappier and less on my parenting and work game. I muddled through it, but I’m glad to be on the other side and in a place where I can finally share these killer muffins with you.
If the combination of banana, peanut butter, bacon, and rye sounds strange to you, hear me out, because I’ve tested this recipe on plenty and to consistent commendation. They’re a mash-up of the ingredients in an Elvis sandwich (banana, peanut butter, and bacon), and a sandwich my dad introduced me to that layers peanut butter and bacon on rye bread. The addition of rye to the Elvis combo adds a deep, almost spicy undercurrent that grounds the other sweet, nutty, and salty flavors.
But as they say, you don’t have to take my word for it. Give them a try and let me know what you think. In the meantime, I’m going to get back to it, because I’m totally winning this week.
The muffins are best served warm or room temperature IF your home isn’t too cool. The heat in our apartment hasn’t been keeping up with the cold weather, so I popped these in a 200 degree oven for a few minutes before eating the next day. They need no adornment, but a slick of peanut butter makes them a heartier snack. Looking for something a little lighter? Try these strawberry and banana rye muffins.
Elvis Rye Muffins
1 c dark rye flour
1 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 large or 4 small overripe bananas
1/2 c peanut butter
1/4 c honey
1/4 c plain yogurt
1/2 lb bacon, fried and crumbled
2 tbsp caraway seeds
In a medium bowl, whisk together the rye flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Grease or line a muffin tin. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
In a large bowl, mash the bananas using a fork or potato masher until mostly smooth (it’s okay if a few small chunks remain). Whisk in, one at a time, the peanut butter, honey, yogurt, and eggs until each is just incorporated. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated, then fold in the crumbled bacon.
Add 1/4 c batter to each muffin cup and sprinkle with caraway seeds. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Makes about 16 muffins