Cherry Hemp Smoothie

by Maja Lukic


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My mornings are typically reserved for green smoothies but with the cooler weather -- and pie season and flu season -- already here, I've been craving sweeter and more substantial snacks throughout the day. The standard afternoon dose of an apple (as much as I love them) seems woefully inadequate in these times of aggressive pumpkin and sugar consumption. 

In the interest of satisfying my cravings while remaining reasonably healthy, I developed this smoothie: a cherry/apple/pear/hemp concoction that sort of reminds me of a cherry dessert. To be perfectly honest, it tastes nothing like cherry cobbler and it would be completely absurd for me to claim that it does. Nor would I dare suggest that you abstain from pies and other tantalizing desserts during the upcoming holidays. All I can say is that this is a very sweet and delicious little drink to savor now, early in the month, before the onslaught of poultry and pumpkin spice. 

 

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The best thing about this recipe is that it makes use of seasonal, dried, and frozen fruit, which is a completely respectable combination in the colder months. Frozen organic cherries are my favorite item in the frozen food aisle and I always have some in the freezer. It's a great and ridiculously overlooked product. And the hemp seeds are a solid addition to basically anything. I really like them in smoothies because I avoid synthetic protein powders and hemp is a great natural source of plant protein. (By the way, if you find yourself with an abundance of hemp seeds, put them to use in a salad or chocolate bars).

Hope you like it -- happy snacking. 

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Cherry Hemp Smoothie

Serves approx. 2

1 large organic apple (or 2 small), peeled, cored, and chopped

1 large organic pear, peeled, cored, and chopped

2 organic celery stalks, chopped

1 lb. bag frozen organic cherries  

1 frozen banana, chopped

3 tbsp raw shelled hemp seeds, plus more for topping

1 tbsp ground flax seeds

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

water or coconut water, as needed

unsweetened dried cherries, for topping

In a large blender, blend apple, pear, celery, and lemon juice with enough water to roughly combine the ingredients. Add the hemp seeds, cinnamon, vanilla, frozen cherries, and frozen banana. Blend until fully incorporated, adding water as needed.  

Evenly distribute the smoothie between two 16 oz. jars or glasses (you may have some leftover) and top each smoothie with a teaspoon of hemp seeds and a small handful of dried cherries. Serve. 

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a day. 

Note: Take the cherries out of the freezer about 20-30 minutes before you prepare the smoothie and allow them to slightly defrost on the counter. Peeling the apples and pears is optional -- I usually don't. 

 

Music this week? I've been toggling back and forth between the new Arcade Fire album and vintage Leonard Cohen and Lou Reed but I will leave you with the latter. 


Peach Turmeric & Ginger Smoothie

by Maja Lukic


It's July and we're playing with fresh ripe peaches. Today, in smoothie form. Smoothies are a little obsession of mine. Even in the height of this insane juice craze, I think there is a solid place for blended drinks. There actually seems to be quite a lot of unnecessary smoothie vs. juice debate. Personally, I consume both and do not believe you should ever have to choose between the two as long as you incorporate them in ways that best serve you.

A smoothie can be a standalone meal. A juice, on the other hand, because it's not as filling, is better used as a component of a meal or a healthy snack. In a smoothie, you're consuming the whole fruit or vegetable, with its fiber intact. The juice is processed and stripped of fiber so it may not keep you full for very long. (That is actually a considerable advantage to drinking smoothies - whole foods are generally preferable to processed foods. And fiber is great -- why throw it away?).

As a breakfast item, smoothies have another, and to some people, more important, advantage: time and convenience. Unlike juices, smoothies can be prepared ahead of time and stored for later. They do not oxidize as quickly as juices. I typically make a smoothie the night before and store it in the fridge overnight. (Juices should not be stored. Unless you're lucky enough to own a cold press juicer, drink your juice within 15-25 minutes of making it to preserve its enzymes.).

On to the recipe. I only have two rules when it comes to smoothies:

1. No dairy. Don't worry - I'll take care of you. We will use a frozen banana instead, which gives you that smooth, creamy mouthfeel that you would otherwise get from dairy (but I bet you already knew this about frozen bananas).

2. No ice cubes. Ice will just dilute the flavor, especially as it starts to melt. Bon Appetit concurs: How to Totally Screw Up a Smoothie. For a chilled smoothie (and you will want it chilled), some frozen fruit is a much better option. You will need the fruit anyway. I usually add a frozen banana (see no. 1) but frozen cherries, mangoes, and pineapple are all great choices.

As for the ingredients, it's all pretty straightforward. Try not to leave out the turmeric. It's good for your skin and, curcumin, an antioxidant flavonoid found in turmeric, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. You probably have some lurking around in your cupboard - put it to work.

Peach Turmeric & Ginger Smoothie (v/gf)

Serves 1

2 large organic celery stalks, roughly chopped

1-2 fresh organic peaches, quartered (no need to peel)

1 organic pear or apple, chopped inner core removed (no need to peel)

1 frozen banana, chopped

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

juice of 1/2 lemon

water/coconut water/fresh fruit juice, as needed

Blend all of the ingredients together, start with veggies and lemon juice (with minimal water or coconut water or even fruit juice) to get everything moving, followed by fruit and grated ginger. Add the frozen banana last and blend everything until smooth.

Parsley Variation: Because I find pure fruit smoothies to be a little too sweet for my tastes sometimes (especially in the morning), I like to add greens. Same as above but add 1/2 cup chopped organic parsley (or other herbs).