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Food & Recipes

A Smoothie A Day

January 5, 2016


Immediately after having Ainsley, I started on a major smoothie kick. I’ve always loved smoothies, but with a little one they became a necessity for getting a lot of nutrition into one easy-to-prepare meal.

I’m planning on doing a post later in the year on protein powders and how to choose one that’s best for you, but until then, I thought I would share with you my g0-to smoothie. I drink one almost every day for either breakfast or lunch, although usually lunch since I like a hot breakfast like oatmeal most days.

The protein powder I like contains both greens (including spinach, kale and broccoli) and protein so it’s filling and I like knowing I’m getting a few servings of greens in the middle of the day! Sometimes I’ll even use this as a dessert replacement when my sweet tooth is a little out of control. Here’s my go-to recipe below.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie
1 cup milk (either almond or whole/2% milk, depending on the day)
1 handful ice
1 medium frozen banana, cut into pieces
1 scoop chocolate protein powder 
1 tablespoon PB2 powdered peanut butter or natural peanut butter

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Add additional ice to reach desired consistency (I like my smoothies super thick, almost like milkshakes!) Enjoy immediately.



Berry-Orange Smoothie with Heritage Reserve Oranges

March 17, 2015

Heritage Reserve Naval Oranges

A number of weeks ago, before Ainsley arrived, the sweet people over at Heritage Reserve Naval Oranges offered to send me a case of their oranges for review. Joe loves oranges, so he was as excited as could be, but I was a little hesitant. You see, I’m not really a fan of oranges. There, I said it! It’s not that I mind them, but I rarely sit down and eat an orange for a snack because I always find the flesh a little tough and unappealing. Clementines on the other hand? I could eat five or six at a time!

Despite my hesitation I agreed to sample the oranges, and they couldn’t have arrived at a better time. They showed up at our doorstep a few days before Ainsley was born while we were battling horrible colds and we were eager for the extra dose of vitamin C. Honestly, I didn’t expect to be as blown away by these oranges as I was, but they are truly amazing. Since the team sent us a box of 72 oranges, we gave them away to everyone who visited us in the weeks following Ainsley’s arrival and everyone who tried them had the same reaction.

The flavor of these oranges is incredible and the flesh is soft and tender, almost like a giant clementine. I think it may have something to do with the age and quality of the trees? The trees they are grown on are anywhere between 50 and 112 years old. Dare I say these oranges were my version of citrus fruit heaven? They’re only available from February through April, and for you Twin Cities residents, word on the street is that they’re available at Cub Foods right now, so look out for them when you’re at the grocery store!

Orange Berry Smoothie (1) | Espresso and Cream

We’ve been working our way through our giant supply, finding ways to incorporate the oranges into meals and snacks. Joe has even taken to making smoothies with them in our Vitamix! I thought I would share with you our favorite combination as of late. Since Ainsley arrived, smoothies like this one have been a staple in my diet because I’m able to get a bunch of nutrition into a single meal.

Berry-Orange Smoothie with Heritage Reserve Oranges
Recipe type: Smoothie
Serves: 1
  • ½ cup milk or non-dairy milk of choice
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries (I like the antioxidant blend from Target)
  • 1 Heritage Reserve Naval Orange, peeled
  • 3 to 4 ice cubes
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on medium high speed until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes to really break up the flesh from the oranges. Serve immediately.



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!

Tropical Coconut Smoothie

June 9, 2011
Thanks to everyone who entered the Larabar giveaway. The winner is Roxy who said: 
E-mail me at and I will get your Larabars in the mail! 
On Tuesday I had the pleasure of visiting the dentist and having four fillings done. It was, as you can imagine, about as fun as it sounds. Two new cavities and two old repairs makes for one awfully sore mouth and some pretty numb lips. 

I really should do a better job at brushing my teeth at night. Typically, I laugh at Joey for taking so darn long to brush his teeth. Guess he got the last laugh this time.

When I got home, I decided a smoothie was the best plan of attack for lunch, along with a salad and a veggie ‘hot dog’. The whole process of trying to eat was comical, to say the least. I’m just glad there wasn’t anyone around to see the little drops of smoothie dribbling down my chin. 
Attractive. Joey has sooo much to look forward to when we get married. 
This smoothie, on the other hand, is a real beauty inside and out. To keep things interesting I’ve been switching up what types of milk I buy: rice milk, almond milk, regular milk and coconut milk beverage. And when I found myself with some coconut milk in my fridge last week and a half eaten bag of frozen tropical fruit mix in the freezer, I knew a beautiful smoothie was about to be born.
Tropical Coconut Smoothie
*1 cup frozen mixed tropical fruit mix (I get mine at Target)
*3/4 to 1 cup coconut milk beverage, such as So Delicious brand 
*1 teaspoon stevia or other natural sweetener
*1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
*1/4 cup vanilla or coconut flavored yogurt (I prefer Dannon Light and Fit)
*Combine all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. You can add an ice cube or two, if an even thicker consistency is desired. 
Happy Cooking!

Berry-Love Smoothies

February 9, 2011

Inevitably, as Valentine’s Day creeps closer, I start to think about people I love and cherish. I’m fortunate to have quite a few of those individuals in my life, and on February 14th I plan to make sure they all know how deeply I care for them. And while it’s so important to love those around us, I think it’s time we start showing our bodies a little bit more love, too.

Body-image and weight isn’t something I’ve talked much about on Espresso and Cream, since I’m not an expert on either accounts, but it’s something I hope to talk more about in the future. Like many people, I struggled for years to make peace with my body, food and how I see myself in the mirror. Throughout college (and on my weaker days in the present) I played the comparison game with the women around me: she had skinnier thighs, prettier hair, better arms, you name it. And you know what? None of it made me any happier, thinner or prettier. Instead of building up those around me, I was quietly tearing them, and myself, down.

This isn’t to say forget about healthy living and self-improvement and be happy with your unhealthy self. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, because self-improvement starts with loving the body, mind and heart you’ve been given. (excuse me if I sound like a self-help book) A little over a year ago, I saw things I wanted to improve about myself, like my eating habits, exercise routine and the way I treated myself. And while I may not be completely there yet, I’m a whole lot closer than I was 12 months ago.

So no matter where you are at emotionally, take a little extra time this week to be good to your body. Maybe that’s as simple as thinking kind thoughts about yourself when you look in the mirror, or perhaps it means making a commitment to eating more veggies or making your trips to the gym a priority. Big or small, every step is worth taking. And if you’re looking to be extra good to yourself, this smoothie is an excellent and pain-free way to do so.

Tell me: What do YOU love about yourself? Come on, don’t be modest. I really want to know!

Berry-Love Smoothies
*1/2 cup mixed berry juice (I have been using Naked Juice Blue Machine thanks to Joey)
*1/4 cup water
*3/4 cup frozen raspberries
*1/4 cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
*1 tsp. Stevia or other natural no-calorie sweetener

*Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and creamy.

Happy blending!