Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie (aka The Healthy Girl’s Milkshake)

January 7, 2014


Now that our first full week of January is underway, I’m finding myself with a serious case of winter blahs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not seasonal depression or anything of the sort, but I find it incredibly difficult to jump from the warmth, glow and excitement of the Christmas season to the bone-chilling routine of January. Maybe if 2013 was a little less wonderful I wouldn’t be so sad to let it go and would have anticipated the arrival of 2014 a little more.

Of course, some of this probably has to do with the fact that we’re experiencing record-breaking cold temperatures in our neck of the woods, with wind chill temps that hover in the -50°F mark with a high of -20°F. No, that’s not a typo, that’s just Minnesota winter for you. It’s this time of year that I really start to long for long nights filled with tennis matches with Joe, walks with the dogs, our weekly CSA delivery and cooking everything on the grill. Summer’s pretty sexy, and it’s hard not to long for it in the depths of winter.

I tend to get really wrapped up in the big moments, the next fun event or the next mini trip or vacation that’s on our calendar. I look at our schedule and think about how many days until our trip to Idaho or our long weekend away just the two of us. There’s nothing wrong with anticipating fun events, but I’m beginning to realize that real life is more about the everyday living and ordinary events than it is about the next big thing.

Last week on Monday Joe and I made plans to have a beginning of the week date night. Since we’re working on being disciplined with our finances (and because we have a puppy who needs our time an attention after work) we kept it simple by picking up two brownies from our favorite restaurant and ordering drinks at Starbucks, where we had lots of Christmas gift cards to burn. We sat for about an hour at Starbucks, eating and sipping and talking about life things that we don’t normally talk about at home, when there are things to do and dogs to play with and TV shows to watch. We got away from our phones and all other distractions, and looking back, that Monday date night in all its simplicity was the highlight of my week.

I think, more than anything, the reason I love summer is because I savor every moment. A Tuesday night feels special when it includes a tennis match and a trip with Joe to get froyo. But when I’m hibernating all winter, a Tuesday night just feels like a Tuesday night. So this year, I’m setting a goal for myself to make weeknights, even those in the winter months, feel a little more special. We’re already off to a good start since we had friends over last night to watch the BCS Championship and we have dinner plans with Joe’s parents tonight.

My lack of creativity means I really have no nice transition from one subject to the next. I guess this smoothie recipe, which is on regular rotation at our house, isn’t really related in the least bit to savoring the weekdays through the winter. But perhaps if you think about it as a milkshake (it really tastes like one!) then perhaps a regular smoothie at home can become something a little more special. Milkshake and movie night, anyone?



Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie (aka The Healthy Girl’s Milkshake) 
Makes 1 smoothie
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice
1 medium banana, peeled, cut into chunks and frozen
1 packet Stevia (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (make sure it’s high quality vanilla)
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 to 3 cubes of ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, adding more milk if necessary to reach desired consistency.

Happy Cooking!

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  • Reply Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    I love smoothies like this!

  • Reply Rea January 7, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I always let my bananas get nice and ripe before freezing them, it makes them sweet enough that I’ve never felt the need for extra sweetener. My 9 year old loves this type of ‘milkshake’ and I’ve made lots of different fruit combinations for him (minus the peanut butter). Banana Mango is my favorite!

  • Reply Shanna January 7, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    I just said something similar to Tim this week about how I’m doing so much anticipating (real talk, it’s cookbook deadlines), waiting for this to pass, ready to move on and enjoy regular life again, and it gets me where I stop appreciating this moment, right now, working at my laptop on a Tuesday afternoon. It takes intention to savor every moment! I am learning this, too. Oh, that I would take every cold and winter day with the same gratitude that I take the bright and happy summer ones.

  • Reply anonymous January 7, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    This really hit home. I am feeling the post-holiday blues fiercely this year, for the first time ever. Usually I love the holidays but feel okay when they’re done, but this year I just long to set back the clock several weeks and go through all the special times again. I guess I just had a particularly good holiday season this year! Which is great, except for the let-down when they ended. And maybe I’m just having a harder January than usual, at work and in my personal life. Just feeling kind of ‘blah’ about the day-to-day routine, and the bitterly cold dark winter weather isn’t helping raise my spirits. I do agree with you that we need to live in the moment and find joy in a random Tuesday evening as much as in a celebratory event or a trip or some other big occasion. I am trying to change my attitude but it’s hard (sometimes it’s hard to go from just feeling something to really living something, you know?).

  • Reply Micah @ Unabashedly Me January 8, 2014 at 1:34 am

    I love your inexpensive date nights. Still a treat and still quality time together but not breaking the bank. Sounds perfect. And I definitely want to try this smoothie.

  • Reply Urban Wife January 8, 2014 at 2:40 am

    Oh, date night you elusive thing. 😉 Ha, but seriously what a great way to make each day special and beat the winter blahs. In the past years I’ve always thought of January as my least favorite month but this year I’m certainly trying to take a different approach. I love what you said about real life being in the ordinary daily things. Something I’m definitely trying to keep in mind this month! And this smoothie sounds delicious…I’ve certainly had my fair share of this combo. 🙂

  • Reply Cindy Germann January 8, 2014 at 4:02 am

    I love your weekday date night idea! I really struggle with this time of year, and I think making the ordinary moments special is a great way to get through it. Well, more than get through it. Learn to enjoy it! Plus, we really struggle with date nights. Maybe that should be a February goal for us.

    That smoothie looks delicious, too! That’s one of my favorite treats and it’s perfect because I am always freezing bananas since I never eat them fast enough.

  • Reply seven hundred words January 8, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    The sentiment in this post really resonated with me. It is so easy to wish the days away waiting for the next special occasion, when in fact it is much better to find special occasions in the every day. Love your idea of a coffee date, so simple. We find walking the dog together gets us away from the house, and gives us time to talk but it isn’t feasible every day.

    Love this smoothie also, definite one to try soon!

  • Reply Jenna January 23, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I’ve been enjoying this smoothie every morning after doing my yoga. It’s so good!

    • Reply Madison Mayberry January 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      It’s seriously decadent tasting, isn’t it? Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it. It’s always so fun to hear!

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