When Life Keeps Me Running, My Strawberry-Mango Power Smoothie Never Fails

Surprise! It looks like I haven't run away from this blog permanently, after all. This summer has really been kicking my butt - it seems like if I'm not packing my bags to go somewhere, I'm either working or playing laundry catch-up. Sometimes, though, I find a spare second to eat - imagine that! - and it's times like these that call for a smoothie like this one. This is a sizeable powerhouse beverage, on the powerhouse beverage scale. There's no whey protein or anything like that, but it does incorporate (undetectable) amounts of Healthy Stuff like spinach and flax seeds.

Occasionally, I worry about some of my nutrient levels, particularly iron ever since I gave up non-grassfed beef and therefore consume less red meat in general. By sneaking trace amounts of non-heme iron (the bountiful but pitifully absorbed kind of iron) into unexpected places and meals, like this breakfast smoothie, I feel a little better nutritionally about my decision to cut back on the sad-but-affordable cows.

I highly recommend trying to start your day off (or end it) with a nice smoothie. By using a base recipe like the one below and getting a little creative, you can create a naturally sweet, nutrient-dense, filling and satisfying meal that is both portable and delicious. It's also a great way to sneak things like spinach and flax seeds into unsuspecting childrens' bellies, or so I hear. The one I made didn't even turn green from The Green Stuff, so you really can trick them if necessary. But really, once they taste it, I don't think you'll have much of a problem getting them to come back for more.

Strawberry-Mango Power Smoothie

Yield: 1 serving
The Ingredients
1 mango, cubed
1/3 C strawberries (an approximation - I used 4), hulled & halved (if small) or quartered (if large) + 1 for garnish
1/4 C spinach, loosely packed
6oz. fat free vanilla greek yogurt
2 tsp. flax seeds
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. dried lemon peel or fresh zest

The Method
1. Layer the strawberries, yogurt, spinach, and mango in a blender. Sprinkle the flax seeds on top.
2. Starting on high and alternating to medium pulses if necessary as it gets more liquidy, blend the ingredients. Pause every so often to scrape down the edges to ensure that all of the components get thoroughly chopped up and mixed together.
3. When everything looks well blended, add the nutmeg and lemon peel/zest, and pulse on low until they are fully incorporated.
4. Pour into a glass and place in the freezer to chill for several minutes. While I waited for this to happen, I cleaned up and prepared my strawberry garnish.
5. For the strawberry garnish, vertically slice the strawberry into thin strips without fully detaching them from the hull. Spread apart with your fingers, and slip the strawberry onto the edge of the glass.

The Verdict? Very filling, very satisfying, and no - you don't taste the spinach or the flax seeds. Using greek yogurt keeps the smoothie thick and creamy, plus it gives you a nice dose of protein. I would have loved to have added maybe half of a frozen banana, to both cool it and add an extra dimension to it. After all, what smoothie doesn't have banana in it? However, ours were beyond ripe several days ago, and I didn't think quickly enough to chop them up and freeze them before they met their trash can fate. I also think a little extra strawberry would have been nice here.

As a whole, this is a fast and satiating recipe that really helps me get through those busy days without feeling weighed down by fast food or starved because all I had time to grab was a bag of grapes or an apple. There's fiber in this, vitamins galore, vegetarian sources of protein, and most importantly, a whole ton of flavor. Check it out sometime. In the meantime, I'll try not to run away so much. I still have a ton of recipes to share!

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