Breakfast Makeover: Smoothie Collection

Everyone loves smoothies! They’re super quick to make when you keep basics on hand, and they’re wonderfully portable for when you’re in a rush to get out the door (we’re always in rush on school mornings). Lately we’ve been making a big batch for breakfast and refrigerating the leftovers for an after school snack. I’ve also started adding smoothies to the lunch box this year (cleaned up, recycled small Odwalla containers work perfectly). As school lunch periods get shorter and shorter (don’t get me started!), this seems to be something my kids can successfully eat (along with a few other tidbits) in the teensy amount of time allotted for lunch.

If you start searching around for smoothies on the internet you’ll find tons of info– recipes, special containers, little tips and tricks. So…. to the collective oeuvre of smoothies out there I add our list of favorites with an international twist.

Mango Lassi_India Playdate

Mango lassis are by far the most requested smoothies in my house. We all love the creamy, sweet mango flavor, but that pinch of cardamom is what makes it special. For kids who insist they don’t like spices — this is a good place to start. Here’s our previous post with the recipe.

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A Snack for Your Next Epic Adventure: Hero Milk (aka Banana-Cashew Smoothie)

Fresh out of monkey skulls, the islanders sip their hero milk from the shell of a rare species of coconut which has been dried for exactly 17 days. The elusive gold-finned pyramid fish lurks out in the distance.

Did you ever find yourself canoeing rough seas amongst a horde of hungry sharks in search of gold-finned pyramidfish? Then you’ll certainly need this recipe for “Hero Milk”. Sometimes it’s the backstory that makes the dish, but in this case it’s also a healthy and super delicious snack — even for days when you’re not climbing a volcano. [Find the whole story by Eric Wolfinger & Mac Barnett on the blog, “The Daily Monster“.]

By the way…. experts say “one skull-full fuels three days of heavy paddling”. Good to know.

Hero Milk

Blend the following:

  • 1 Frozen Banana (if you don’t have time to fell a banana tree and drag it up the snowy peak of a volcano, your freezer will do)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 Spoon Flaked Coconut
  • 2 Pitted Dates
  • 1 Spoon Honey
  • A Handful of Salted Cashews
  • A Thimbleful of Vanilla Extract

Islanders bring bananas up the snowy peaks of the volcano using funicular carts. Down below, they guard their lava rock mortar and pestle.

Just Banana Ice Cream (1 ingredient, minutes to make, no ice cream maker necessary)

We saw this recently on The Kitchn and wanted to test it for ourselves. I was dubious — could frozen bananas in the food processor be anything but “frozen bananas in the food processor”? Turns out this is surprisingly ice cream-like while being healthy, easy and most importantly, super FUN. This could never replace honest-to-goodness ice cream, but it guiltlessly satisfies a sweet tooth and is a handy dessert to pull out of your pocket when your favorite vegan comes calling.

Just Banana Ice Cream (adapted from, The Kitchn)

  • Slice and freeze ripe bananas 1-2 hours, or until solid. One banana per person is more than enough.You may not believe it, but it tastes quite rich so a small scoop is all you need.
  • Blitz the frozen banana slices in a food processor adding other flavors if you like — maybe a spoon of peanut butter, a drizzle of chocolate sauce or honey or a splash of vanilla. (I think Ria would go for Nutella). Just keep pulsing until the banana starts to look crumbly, then smooth. Test with a spoon to see if it scoops like ice cream. If not, pulse it a little more.
  • You need make this right before you want to eat it and serve it straightaway. It’s not one to make ahead.

Rainy Day Crafting: Groovy Rainbow Fruit Salad Tree

This is the way most of our craft projects start… Luca says something like “mom… what if there were purple banana trees?”. We never seem to be organized enough to actually plan out craft projects in advance, so we just go with it when inspiration hits. Many times we don’t get much father than paper and crayons… but this time I just happened to glancing over at a pile of cardboard to go out with our recycling just as Luca was saying the words “purple banana tree”. Eureka!

We had a lot of fun cutting, painting, gluing and raiding our random craft supplies. Pretty soon our purple banana tree turned into a “work in progress” rainbow fruit salad tree. Luca has big plans to add lemons, apples and pigeons (?) to the other sides of our tree in the coming weeks. I may have to throw in a butterfly or two… just because. We’ll keep you posted on our progress. Our tree has already been called into service as a prop for Luca’s current favorite game “monkey circus”, and comes in handy for our imaginary restaurant where sparkly bananas are always on the menu.

Not only was this project fun and satisfyingly messy…. we got to talking about our favorite foods that grow on trees (and also animals who call trees home). I love how projects like these always spark curiosity and conversation.