peanut butter chocolate milk

peanut butter chocolate milk

I told Tim the other day,

you know,

the best things in life

really are free.

____

Like sunlight in the morning:

morning sunlight

And sunsets at night:

sunset

Parks filled with trees:

parks filled with trees

Views like these:

windows in my kitchen

views like this

A day at the lake:

a day at the lake

And the man that I love:

tim

I mean, I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded of this. Because, as much as I talk about simplicity here, the truth is: I am easily swept away into opinions and concerns that are anything but.

That’s why I’m starting a new series here at the blog (in life?) focused on simplicity—starting with a recipe that’s so easy, it’s honestly ridiculous. Those of you who wanted more Vitamix recipes, here you go! Those of you who don’t have a Vitamix, a regular blender still works.

Behold: time-tested, always delicious, peanut butter chocolate milk.

making peanut butter chocolate milk

peanut butter chocolate milk

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Peaches N’ Green Smoothie

Back when I was keeping regular office hours, breakfast was always tough. I don’t know why it was easy to prepare lunch the night before but then over and over again forget about breakfast, but it was. There were months of quick grabs on the way out the door—a muffin, some leftovers, cookies whenever they were around. (Of course.)

And honestly, even though nowadays I’m most likely still in my pajamas past 10 AM (and you’d assume that such a fact would imply leisurely gourmet breakfasts), I’ll just be honest: in actuality, the biggest thing that’s saved me is the smoothie.

See, sometime last year—around the same time that all kinds of other changes were happening—I started making smoothies. I had made them before (a certain blueberry-orange-banana one made its appearance around here just weeks before my diet change), but this was different.

peaches and greens smoothie

There were bags and bags of frozen fruit, for starters, blended in all kinds of new combinations. In the beginning, it was strawberries, bananas and raw milk. Maybe with cocoa powder added, maybe with yogurt or kefir if I were out of milk. Strawberries turned to blueberries turned to mixed berries and back again. Sometimes there were mangoes or kiwi or pineapple added in. At some point I started adding raw eggs for protein. And a few times, I tried greens like kale—but it wasn’t until this year that greens became a staple, thanks to a few experiences of intensely green shakes (as inspired by the nutritional research and consultation being done by these guys). I felt my tastebuds changing and grew to really want vegetables in my smoothies, too.

Then there was one more thing: last month, when Tim and I went to visit my family for a few days, my dad surprised me with the perfect gift:

a brand-new Vitamix

(I know, I know, but I told you, he is crazy generous).

I almost cried.

Vitamix

So I tell you all that to say, or to explain, that somewhere along the line I became someone who has a smoothie every. single. morning. Like many changes, it happened gradually, naturally, the way changes often do, but when I look back, I’m kind of awed by how different things look.

You know, it’s like the way that you stand your kid against the wall and mark his height each year or, you water your tomato bush every day but then suddenly notice it’s bloomed!. Sometimes it’s not until the looking back that we see change best.

banana

Today, my morning routine is pretty simple: throw ingredients in the Vitamix, pour into glass or old kombucha bottle, and head out the door.

There is always fruit:

frozen strawberries

peaches

and a few big leaves of greens (kale, collards, chard):

collard greens

with liquids—milk or kefir/yogurt with water:

kefir

then I throw in some cod liver oil for Omega 3s (you won’t taste it anyway, and it’s easier than trying to remember to take a spoonful every day) or a few probiotics:

cod liver oil

The possibilities are endless, so things never get boring. And the particular version I bring you today is the one I made Sunday, filled with the flavor of fresh peaches (which were $0.69 a pound last week) and the grassy kick of greens. The name’s a little hokey, but the taste—and the nutritional value—definitely isn’t. Peaches N’ Greens: now that’s a good breakfast.

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Kombucha 101

You know, I was thinking, when my diet changed earlier this year, so did this place. And along the whole journey, from the early stages of removing refined flours and sugars, to the next steps of incorporating new ingredients (from whole wheat pastry to spelt to buckwheat flours), and even recently as I’ve started soaking flours overnight, you’ve stuck with me. You may have been shaking your head or laughing out loud, but at least a few of you have jumped right in, and those of you that haven’t: you’re still here.

I was telling my brother yesterday that I really value people who will stay, who will stick by you and not run when things get uncomfortable or hard to understand, who are willing to put a little effort into relationship. And while of course every relationship is valuable because every person is, I have to say: those people who will fight through the rough stuff? They’re few and far between. They’re the best ones. They’re you guys.

So that said, I’ve got a real treat for you today, one that friends on Twitter or Flickr will probably have already seen coming, and one that friends in real life have already heard about. Buckle up: it’s time to talk about kombucha.

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this shell (POM-banana smoothie)

skies

It is the strangest thing to look at the shell of a person, the body without the soul, and to comprehend how someone could be here and then, not here at all. I spent some time thinking about that this last weekend, surrounded by people who were bonded only by the shell we were standing near, the shell of someone who had lived long and with infectious charm.

I’m thinking about it now as I type, the fingers of this body punching keys on a keyboard, forming words chosen by my mind, my thoughts, my sense of reason and understanding. Someday, these fingers won’t type, my body will cease to work, the breath of life will be puffed out of me but, what is inside of me—what is most me—that will never die, that will just move somewhere else. I will move somewhere else.

POM

Right now, as I’m typing, I’m sitting next to a window, feeling with my body the slight chill of the air outside that leaks through into this room. I can hear the buzzing of someone mowing grass. I can see clouds streaking the sky through the window. These days, there are signs of life all around me—green lawns, budding branches, even new babies being born. There is that paradox: all around us, death and life. Here then gone. Alive then not.

Saturday, I made this easy smoothie, part POM Wonderful and part frozen banana, and slurped it down to the bottom, drank every sweet and icy bit until I felt it go down deep and chill me, too.

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all you can do (banana blueberry orange smoothie)

making smoothies at night

Since I left work two hours early Friday, I’ve gone through a few boxes of tissues, several packets of Emergen-C, four bowls of chicken noodle soup, twice daily rounds with the neti pot, hot compresses on my eyes, Vicks on my chest, an entire season of a television show online, some reading in Best Food Writing 2009, a little bit of Food Network and, mercifully, an entire 15-hour block of sleep from Saturday into Sunday that, I’m pretty sure, is a miracle in itself considering all the constant nose-blowing.

I mean, I knew it was cold season, but, people, I haven’t taken sick time at work since Saint Patrick’s Day. A few months ago, when everyone was sniffling and sneezing, I somehow was fine, and so I kind of thought I must have a pretty great immune system or something. Cue the line, Pride cometh before a fall.

frozen blueberries
orange and banana
making a smoothie
banana to smoothie

The thing about getting sick is it reminds you how weak and vulnerable you can be. It doesn’t really matter how much you want to clean the bathroom or go out shopping or meet your friend for brunch; you can’t do it. Your body can’t do it. And so, while you tuck yourself beneath a pile of blankets and think about all the things you were planning to do, you become content to do the one thing you have to do: nothing. Or at least nothing besides the above-mentioned list of home remedies and entertainment/distraction. (What do you all do when you’re sick?) That, and make smoothies.

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