Creamy Chocolate-Banana Smoothie (Dairy-Free)

I have to say that smoothies are one of my all-time favorite foods. And this time of year just shouts “smoothies”—okay, let me just insert here that I will and do eat smoothies ANY time of the year, but summer is an especially wonderful time for these delicious cold treats. Warm weather; ripe, plump produce around and about; it just…goes together. Needless to say, I’ve been slurping up some kind of smoothie almost every day over the last month and there’s no sign of letting up any time soon. (My poor blender doesn’t stand a chance.)

I wanted to share with you one of my favorite combinations so far.

Creamy Chocolate-Banana Smoothie (Dairy-Free)—Taste and See

The banana, avocado, coconut milk and almond butter provide a creamy texture without the use of dairy (although you can definitely use dairy if you’d like). And the chocolate and honey make it taste amazing. This dessert-type smoothie is perfect for an after-dinner treat.

Creamy Chocolate-Banana Smoothie (Dairy-Free)—Taste and See

Creamy Chocolate-Banana Smoothie
(Makes 2 servings)

  • 1 frozen banana, extra-ripe
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of choice (I like to use homemade coconut milk)
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey (more or less to taste)
  • dash of sea salt
  • 4-6 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Enjoy!

Looking for a breakfast smoothie? Give this green breakfast smoothie a try!

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Homemade Coconut Milk

When I first eliminated dairy from my diet several years ago in order to manage some health problems that had crept up, and soon after this starting the GAPS diet, I pretty much avoided anything with milk (any kind of milk—dairy or non-dairy). Then a year or so in, I began tinkering with canned coconut milk for smoothies and ice cream and got really good results. But I still didn’t use it for anything else, mainly because I didn’t like having to open a can every time I needed a small amount of milk for a recipe.

Coconut Milk

Around this time, I tried once to make my own coconut milk. It didn’t turn out so well (a total flop), so I just gave it up and kept using the canned coconut milk here and there. Looking back, I realize I should have given it another go because it’s really quite easy and cheaper than buying canned coconut milk.

Now, I will insert here that I still like using canned coconut milk for certain things because the consistency is a bit thicker (more creamy), which works better for things like ice cream. But the homemade version is perfect to use in any recipe that requires milk and I love it in smoothies as well.

So what are the benefits of making your own? Like I mentioned above, the biggest benefit is that it’s cheaper. Secondly, you can avoid any additives that are included in many canned coconut milk brands.

And even if you still consume regular dairy, using coconut milk as a substitute every now and then is a good way to get more coconut in your diet (more on the health benefits of coconut coming soon!).

All you need to get started is 1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut flakes, filtered water, and a blender. That’s it! Directions are listed below.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing lots of ways to use this kind of milk. But you probably don’t need any help with that…

Homemade Coconut Milk
(makes approximately 4 cups)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
4 cups filtered water

Combine ingredients in a blender and allow to soak for 2-3 hours (optional—can omit if time doesn’t permit). Blend on high for several minutes (usually at least 4-5). Stop in between to scrap down the sides and test consistency. When finished, strain milk through a fine sieve; discard remaining pulp (or you can dehydrate this pulp to make coconut flour). Store milk in refrigerator and use within 4-5 days.

What is your favorite way to use coconut milk?

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Green Breakfast (or Anytime) Smoothie

green smoothie 1Over the past several weeks, I’ve been looking for more (and different) ways to get vegetables into my diet, preferably uncooked vegetables. I don’t have a problem with cooked vegetables, but I have gobs of ways to get those in. But raw veggies? Well, there’s salads..and more salads..and salads?…

green smoothie 2Don’t get me wrong—I’m a diehard salad lover. But I just needed a change-up. And I have to say that this green smoothie is now a go-to favorite in the morning, or really anytime of day. It’s not super original—there are a lot of green smoothie recipes out there. But it’s fairly quick, pretty tasty, and my personal favorite of the green smoothies I’ve tried.

Now this isn’t a super sweet smoothie (i.e., don’t bite into it expecting green fruit-flavored ice cream.) But it has a nice, slightly sweet flavor that isn’t super strong but crisp and fresh. Don’t worry though—if this doesn’t sound like your thing, there are ways to enhance the sweetness which are listed below.

Green Breakfast Smoothie (2 servings)

  • 1 sweet apple (Gala, Pink Lady, etc), cored
  • 1/3 cup avacado
  • 1/3 cup carrots
  • 8-10 slices cucumber
  • 3-4 cups baby lettuce mix (or leafy green of choice)
  • Splash of lemon juice (1/2 – 1 tsp)
  • 1-2 pieces of frozen fruit (handful of berries, piece of mango, etc)
  • 1 cup of water

Optional add-ins/substitutions: coconut milk (or milk of choice) instead of water; gelatin powder (for protein)

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately (or place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours for a colder result).

For a sweeter smoothie: add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of frozen fruit (mango, pineapple, bananas, etc) and reduce the amount of lettuce.

One additional note: I’ve found that the raw vegetables/fruit and lemon juice in this smoothie can cause a bit of a detox effect. Please keep this in mind if you plan to try this for yourself.

Have a favorite smoothie recipe? Please share!

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