I make a lot of smoothies. They work well for a weekday breakfast on the run and any leftovers make perfect mini-tubs of smoothies to sneak into packed lunches for the next day.
It's fair to say that I'm the biggest smoothie fan in the family, closely followed by #2 teenage son - but let's face it, he's always keen to eat fruit in whatever form. With the exception of this Healthy Chocolate and Peanut Butter Shake (it's our 'go-to' girls home alone treat), Hella is a different story. She doesn't drink enough of anything (even when the Dubai weather is roasty, toasty) but with smoothies in particular, she's often less than enthusiastic to drink to the bottom. Even with the bonus of the 'straw slurp' at the end.
But with this Summer Strawberry Smoothie it was a different story. "Mummy, that was completely delicious", she declared - just before reaching an impressive, slurping crescendo at the bottom of the glass.
And I've got to admit that I agree. You know when you have a really, sensational strawberry ice cream? Not one of those that's overly pink and mildly chemical tasting but the real deal - well think of that. In a glass. With a straw.
Like a really sensational, healthy strawberry ice cream. In a glass. With a straw.
This was the second outing for the bag of frozen strawberries that had been hanging around in the freezer for a couple of weeks. My first strawberry escapade was a monumental, catastrophic, vile and hideous disaster - a Strawberry and Kale Smoothie. I know, I know - what was I thinking? It even looked revolting ... a sort of sludgy, browny green. But oh my word - the taste was earthy, musty and utterly vile - the stuff of witches' cauldrons. Just add tongue of newt and a fermented ear lobe. Three sips and it was down the sink and even 2 lots of teeth cleaning didn't get rid of the taste. I CAN confirm however, that a large piece of Dairy Milk Chocolate finally did the trick. Good to know.
So this time the strawberries were going to be centre stage ... no well-meaning, superfood green vegetables allowed. But I did have a bit of quinoa milk that needed using and some quinoa powder that I often throw into my smoothies (that protein keeps those hunger pangs at bay). Tempting. I gave it a go ...
As a quick aside, we played a family game of Scrabble at the weekend and my first word on the board? QUINOA. A 'Q' worth 10 points + a double letter score + a double word score. KERCHING. Nobody could touch me ...
So back to the smoothie ... Those sweet, summer strawberries were sensational, but the addition of the quinoa was also pretty special - a kind of malty flavour. And with the creamy effect of the frozen banana too ... a perfect balance and a family winner.
And why is this Summer Strawberry Smoothie worth a try?
- It's quick and easy. Not even any chopping required.
- Feels like ice cream for breakfast. And that means life is good.
- A good way to use up strawberries that have gone a bit too mushy to use as fresh. Cut off the leaves and lay them on a tray covered with baking parchment in the freezer. Transfer the frozen fruits to a bag when they are rock hard.
- I made my smoothie at 10am and I didn't even start to feel hungry until after 2.30pm. Honest.
- It's super healthy - even without adding any kale! I added a drizzle of maple syrup to slightly adjust the sweetness level but when your strawberries are super sweet, you may not even need that. Maybe keep the quinoa as our secret.
- You could replace the quinoa milk with whatever you have to hand - dairy, soy, almond ...
- And you could replace the quinoa powder for your favourite alternative protein powder. Or miss it out all together. Your choice.
So there you have it - another quick, easy, healthy but most of all delicious way to start the day. Or to end it. Or for somewhere in the middle ...