Make a decadent and delicious smoothie this morning

smoothies for breakfast
© K Martinko -- Oatmeal & Almond smoothie made with strawberries

Smoothies are deceptively simple, yet pack a nutritional punch that will keep you going for hours. The key, I've discovered, is a good blender and not stopping to blend too soon.

When our ancient blender broke a few weeks back, my husband went to the kitchen supply store and upgraded to a far nicer model than I ever would have chosen (although it’s not a Vitamix!). At first I was irritated that he’d spend extra money on a blender of all things, but now I understand his rationale. Having a great blender means I’m inclined to use it more. As a result, our breakfast routine now involves frequent smoothies, which are a big hit with the kids.

smoothie ingredients in blender© K Martinko

When I need to transform into an energy powerhouse for the rest of the morning, I make this Kale & Cacao smoothie recipe from vegan cookbook “Deliciously Ella Everyday.” I love it, but I have to admit that my kids told me “it smells healthy” before they even took a sip!

Kale & Cacao Smoothie

Small handful of kale, coarse ribs discarded (or spinach, a milder and smoother alternative)
½ banana, peeled
½ avocado, peeled and pitted
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1-1/4 cup plant-based milk (I like full-fat coconut milk or almond milk)
1-2 tsp almond butter
a few ice cubes

Put all the ingredients in a powerful blender and blend until smooth. Be sure to blend long enough that kale breaks down fully.

Serves 1 generously

Another recipe that appeals more to the kids because it’s not green and has a sweeter, fruitier taste is this one, from the same cookbook. Thanks to the oatmeal, it's like a satisfying bowl of porridge in fresher form:

Oat and Cashew Smoothie

1 banana, peeled
Handful of frozen berries (we love blueberries, strawberries, and diced mango, which obviously is not a berry but just as delicious)
½ cup plus 2 tbsp plant-based milk (again, full-fat coconut milk tends to be my favorite – it’s so rich and filling)
big handful of rolled oats
small handful of cashew nuts (or raw almonds)
1 tsp tahini
some ice cubes

Serves 1 adult or 2 kids

Blend until smooth. Keep in mind that it may take while for the cashews to break down. You can presoak for a quicker, smoother blend.

Cookbook author Ella Woodward clearly knows her smoothies, as you'll discover after trying these recipes. In fact, her newest cookbook, "Deliciously Ella's Smoothies and Juices" is set to come out in September 2016. Her blog has other great recipes, too, if your breakfasts are in need of further improvement.

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