I’ve always loved a perfectly ripe banana for a quick snack. On hectic mornings, I’d often grab a banana, a spoonful of peanut butter, a swig of milk and call it breakfast. Once, when my four kids were young, we all headed in a crazed mass exit toward the car where I would drive them to school. Realizing I’d forgotten to eat, I instructed my then-thirteen year old son, Zach, to “run back in the house and grab me a banana.”
I watched, perplexed. as he ran to the front door of the house then took an odd pose, his head slightly to the right, his arms to his side, and then ran back to the car in this weird position. “What are you doing?” I asked. He answered in all seriousness, “I thought you told me to go to the house and then run like a banana.”
I swear, when puberty hits our children their hormones start eating their brain cells. But I digress.
Back to bananas for breakfast. As some of you know, I’m determined to eat my way to lower blood pressure. One of the ways to do this is to eat more potassium rich foods. And a banana is loaded with potassium. In fact, I read that a bite of a banana has more potassium than most potassium tablets. Almonds, too, are praised for all sorts of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure.
Another new food craze I love is salted caramel anything. So I combined a simple banana smoothie with almonds and unsweetened almond milk (only 35 calories a cup!) then added a touch of caramel and sea salt. (Sea salt does not raise blood pressure the way iodized chemically produced salt does, and you need less of it to flavor your food since it so rich in minerals.) There is only 2 teaspoons of caramel syrup (about 40 calories) in each shake, but because you use one of the teaspoons to rim the glass and as a decoration on top, you get the feeling that it is much sweeter as you get a tiny taste of the pure caramel with each sip.
This new smoothie/shake is the breakfast of my dreams. I’m hooked. It also makes a wonderful mid-afternoon snack or a bedtime treat, since the ingredients also relax you for a good night sleep. It could be a fluke, but I have noticed my blood pressure has lowered since having one of these banana and almond treats per day.
Served in a martini or margarita glass not only adds more elegance but allows you to rim the glass in a bit more caramel and sea salt, and gives you more surface area to garnish the top with the same.
Becky’s Salted Caramel Banana Nut Shake (Healthy)
1 rounded T. roasted almonds (salted or unsalted both work)
1 banana, peeled and chopped into 2 inch slices (preferably frozen)
1 ½ c. unsweetened almond milk
4 t. caramel syrup, divided (There are several non-dairy alternatives for vegans, including caramel agave nectar, or google recipes for vegan caramel. )
½ c. ice
Sea salt – couple of tiny pinches
Into a blender put almonds, banana, and almond milk, 2 t. caramel syrup, ice and small pinch sea salt. Blend until smooth and almonds are just specks.
Pour about a teaspoon of caramel syrup around a plate, approximately the size of the rim of a martini glass. Sprinkle this circle with a tiny pinch of sea salt, lightly. Dip the rim of the glass into the syrup and salt, twisting and turning to coat evenly. Do this twice to prepare two martini glasses.
Pour half the smoothie/shake into each glass. Squiggle a bit more of the syrup (about 1/2 t.) to garnish the top of the drink, and sprinkle with one more tiny pinch of sea salt. Prepare to fall in love.
Variations: Add protein powder to buff up the protein and drink the whole recipe to make a complete breakfast smoothie.
Add liquor (rum, coconut or vanilla vodka) to turn this into a yummy frozen cocktail.
Try it with coconut milk instead of almond milk.
In a hurry? Skip rimming the glass.
Though most days, Jared and I adore and respect each other, not every day is marital bliss. Just like any other couple, we have our “moments.” Recently we had one of those “moments” on a lunch date. I was hungry and had hardly eaten breakfast. If you know me well, I am unpleasant to be around when I’m hungry. I try to never let myself reach hunger for this reason. The tiff was over something little and unfortunately left unresolved for the night as Jared had to head straight from lunch to scout a ballgame out of town. There is a good reason that we mostly aim to resolve arguments quickly. I’m not one of those people that “just needs time.” Jared is.
So a few hours after Jared left, the argument to him magically resolved itself. That magical dust must have passed over me though. While waiting on the ballgame to start, he sent me a Words With Friends (basically a Scrabble app for iPhones) game request. My first thought was “Yeah, I’ve got some words for you, buddy.” But then I realized I might be dealt letters for words like “love” or “apology.” It wasn’t a risk I was willing to take. So I instead rejected his game request. That will get him. We are not friends right now and I don’t want to play with you. So there!
This may be a new low for me.
The next morning before getting out of bed, Jared graciously apologized. I’m pretty sure that all of my maturity shifts to him during our arguments.
In an effort to keep from turning into a 4-year old again, I made myself sit down that morning with a healthy breakfast and a little quiet time.
I had cooked up some butternut squash for Jackson the previous day and used a cup of it to throw into a smoothie. I still wasn’t quite in the mood for being overly sweet or for an overly sweet breakfast. This smoothie paired with a little peanut butter and honey toast was the perfect not-too-sweet breakfast to start my day. Filled up in mind, spirit, and body, I was finally ready to be friends and play nice.
Banana Butternut Squash Smoothie
1 c. Butternut Squash (I’ve used acorn squash too), cooked and cooled*
1 c. milk of your choice
1/4 c. walnuts or pecans
1 t. cinnamon
A few grates of fresh nutmeg (optional)
1/2 t. maple syrup
A handful of ice
Put all the ingredients except for the ice in the blender, blend until smooth. Add a little more milk if needed. Add ice and blend again until it is finely crushed throughout. If you like a sweeter smoothie, you can add a little more maple syrup.
*The easiest way for me to cook squash is to cut it in half lengthwise and put both halves in a baking dish face down with about an inch of water in the bottom of the pan. Cook at 400 for about 30 – 40 minutes or until the flesh of the squash can easily be scooped out with a fork or spoon. For the smoothie, just scoop out the flesh when it cools down and store in tupperware in the refrigerator until ready to use (will keep for a few days). You can also freeze it in ice trays and then store the frozen cubes in a ziplock bag for at least a month. Just thaw a few whenever you need them. Steaming, roasting, or boiling the squash would work fine too if that’s your preferred method.
This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Not-Too-Sweet Banana Butternut Squash Smoothie
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/04/30/not-too-sweet-banana-butternut-squash-smoothie