Banana-Almond Smoothie

So this smoothie really isn’t much to look at, but its humble looks are deceiving. This is a speedy, satisfying, and healthy drink that is perfect for a weekday morning breakfast, snack, or post workout treat. Just 3 or 4 ingredients, a quick whirl in the blender, and bam, done. You could totally customize this to your liking- swap in peanut butter for the almond butter, use coconut milk (or other milk of your choosing) for the almond milk, add a handful of spinach, add a dash of cinnamon, the possibilities are endless!

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Banana-Almond Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 banana, broken into 3-4 chunks, frozen
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/8 tsp almond extract (optional)

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients in the blender, and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Source: Bon Appetit

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Almond Date Breakfast Bars

This is another winner of a make-ahead weekday breakfast recipe! They are the second breakfast recipe I’ve made from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and once again Deb doesn’t disappoint. I loved the combination of oats, almonds and dates, and this is a recipe that is open to endless adaptation. You could change up the nuts, the dried fruits, the nut butter… just make sure you keep the ratios the same. They are way healthier than the prepackaged granola bar as there is relatively little sugar (just the honey and dates), and the fats are healthy olive oil and almond butter. There’s no high fructose corn syrup, no processed sugar, and no unpronounceable ingredients. I will definitely be making these regularly, and I will be trying some adaptations as well. I’m thinking dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried apricots…. walnuts, pecans… maybe a little coconut… there are just so many possibilities!

Almond Date Breakfast Bars

Almond Date Breakfast Bars

Almond Date Breakfast Bars

Makes 16 2-inch square bars

Ingredients:

1 cup (150 grams) dried pitted dates, chopped

1 1/4 cups (110 grams) quick rolled oats (or old-fashioned oats)

3 Tbsp (22 grams) barley or whole-wheat flour

1/3 cup (35 grams) wheat germ

1/2 cup (55 grams) thinly sliced almonds

1/2 tsp table salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup (65 grams) almond butter

1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil

1/4 cup (85 grams) honey

1/4 tsp freshly grated orange zest

1/4 tsp almond extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper- one sheet in one direction, and one sheet in the other direction, to form a parchment sling with which to remove the bars when they are finished.

2. In a large bowl, add the dates, oats, flour, wheat germ, almonds, salt and cinnamon, and stir to combine. In a separate small bowl, add the almond butter, olive oil, honey , orange zest and almond extract, and whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir together until well combined.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, and spread out evenly. (Deb recommends using a piece of plastic wrap to cover your hand so that you can press down on the mixture firmly without making a mess.)

4. Place in oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until brown around the edges. When you remove the pan, the top will still be soft and might seem like it isn’t completely baked, but as it cools, it will set.

5. Remove from oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack. You can also remove the bars using the sling after about 20 minutes, and let cool on the rack and not in the pan. This will speed up the cooling process. You can also place them in the fridge to cool faster. Cut into 16 pieces with a serrated knife. They may be a bit crumbly (as mine were), but will mostly hold together! Cutting them when they are cold will help them stay together better.

Source: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Another good oat-bar recipe: These Cherry-Date Oat Bars from the Whole Living Action Plan