I AM IN L♥VE. Madly, deeply, addictively in love. Who, you may wonder, is the lucky object of my affection? Well, it’s not really a “who” – it’s a “what.” And that honor goes to an invention of my own creation: the Irresistible Chocolate Banana Coconut Smoothie.
“What?! Have you gone insane in the membrane, Greta?? Has hanger finally cannibalized your capacity for rational thought? You’re in love with a smoothie, you friggin’ nut-covered fruitcake?!”
Look. You needn’t resort to name calling. And yes, I’m in love with a smoothie. If my childhood role models – like Pee Wee Herman – have taught me anything, it is this: “IF YOU LOVE IT SO MUCH, WHY DON’T YOU MARRY IT?” After witnessing Pee Wee’s marriage to fruit salad in 1987, I can say with confidence that the Irresistible Chocolate Banana Coconut Smoothie definitely is worthy of matrimony.
While I work on creating my save-the-date cards, I would like to properly, formally introduce you to my new love. My raison d’etre. My motivation to rise and shine before my alarm awakens me.
- 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 Tablespoon hulled hemp seed
- 1 Tablespoon raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 4 walnut halves (finely chopped)
- 2 Brazil nuts (finely chopped)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut (My brand of choice: Bob’s Red Mill.)
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (My brand of choice: Silk)
- 1/2 ripe, FROZEN banana, sliced (see “Deep Banana Freeze” below)
- 2 squares of Ghirardelli 100% cacao unsweetened chocolate, chopped (see “Chocolate Choices” below)
- 1 Tablespoon almond butter
- OPTIONAL: A handful of ice if you prefer a thicker, shake-like smoothie
- OPTIONAL: Rounded teaspoon of Stevia in the Raw or 1-2 packets of Truvia (You may need to add this sweetener if you prefer sweet smoothies or you are used to eating sweet foods as part of your diet. If you follow a sugar-free diet as I do, the banana likely will lend enough sweetness to the smoothie.)
1. Put the first five ingredients – the nuts and seeds – in a small bowl, and soak them in about ¾ c. water for at least 30 minutes in order to activate their enzymes. (I prep these ingredients before I go to bed and let them soak overnight in the fridge.)
2. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or large cup. (My blender of choice is a hand-held Oster mixer.)
3. Blend the ingredients for about 60 to 90 seconds.
LUXURIATE IN SMOOTHIE BLISS
The symphony of mouth-watering taste opens with bold notes from the banana, coconut and chocolate, blending harmoniously to offer a lusciously rich flavor. The earthy, chewy texture – courtesy of the nuts, seeds and chocolate – makes this smoothie as substantial and indulgent as a gourmet dessert. Pair it with a cup of freshly brewed coffee, and the Irresistible Chocolate Banana Coconut Smoothie becomes the most sublimely satisfying breakfast to start to your day.
Since I eliminated refined sugars from my diet, I only use 100% cacao chocolate. There is another, slightly embarrassing reason I use 100% cacao: I am a chocoholic. When I am in the presence of sweetened chocolate, which is more addictive than heroin mixed with crack cocaine, I can’t control myself. Put me next to sweetened chocolate during my special “lady time” of the month, otherwise known as PMS, and I look EXACTLY like Audrey Griswold in National Lampoon’s European Vacation.
Here’s the beautiful thing about chocolate made from 100% cacao: It is delicious in recipes but on its own, a 100% cacao bar is bitterer than 1,000 lemons coated with a mixture of pure quinine and old coffee grounds. Try 100% cacao chocolate, and that bitterness will linger on your tongue until you scrub it with a Brillo pad. The flavor will make your taste buds cringe and recoil, leaving them wondering what they have done to forsake you. Thanks to this bitterness, I could stand next to a box of Ghirardelli 100% cacao bars during a tsunami of pre-menstrual hormones, and I wouldn’t give it a second glance. So if you’re a chocoholic like me, go with 100% repellent cacao.
For the rest of you who can exercise restraint around sweetened chocolate, I would like to offer words of advice from Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly, to help you make the healthiest chocolate choices:
“You want cacao with just enough sugar to make it palatable. The majority of chocolates sold are chocolate-flavored sugar. The best choices contain 85 percent or more cacao. Lindt and Ghirardelli are two widely distributed brands that make delicious 85 to 90 percent cacao chocolates. Some people need to get accustomed to the slightly bitter, less sweet taste of high-cacao chocolates. Shop around for your favorite brand, as some are winey tasting, others earthy. The Lindt 90 percent is my favorite, since its very low sugar content allows me to enjoy just a bit more. Two squares will not budge most people’s blood sugar; some can get away with four squares (40 grams, about 2 inches by 2 inches).”
DEEP BANANA FREEZE
I like smoothies to be so thick and creamy that the mere thought of using a straw to drink it is laughable. I like smoothies that are as viscous as wet cement, capable of holding pruning shears in their full and upright position. I like smoothies that have more rib-sticking power than a bucket of roast pork and potatoes. To achieve this caliber of consistency, YOU GOSTA GET YO FREEZE ON, SON.
There aren’t many ingredients in this smoothie that can be frozen ahead of time, so I recommend adding 5-6 ice cubes. I also highly recommend freezing your bananas in order to increase the smoothie’s viscosity. The best time to freeze them is when the banana skin is more speckled with freckles than an African spotted hyena. That’s when bananas achieve their highest level of sweetness. I peel them, cut them in half and then individually wrap them in cellophane before storing them in the freezer. When it’s time to incorporate these frozen beauties into a smoothie, I slice them up to prevent the hand mixer blade from seizing up.
10 PERCENT RULE
If you have read other posts by Natalie and me, you know that we’re proponents of the 90/10 rule: Strive to make healthy choices to control hanger 90 percent of the time. What do you do with the remaining 10 percent? Whatever you want. Go nuts. Cut loose. Be naughty. Eat a slab of cheesecake dipped chocolate fudge, rolled in toffee. Or modify this I.C.B.C. Smoothie recipe thusly: Do not use the first five ingredients (chia, hemp and pumpkin seeds and walnuts and Brazil nuts); instead, replace those ingredients with five ounces of cold vodka.
You think I’m kidding. Please. I don’t joke about the 10-percent rule. And I would never share a recipe with you that I have not tested myself; therefore, I want you to know that as I type, I am enjoying this 10-percent variation of the I.C.B.C. Smoothie. IT IS OUT-FREAKING-STANDING. Given the contortionistic flexibility of this recipe, I think my marriage to this smoothie is imminent. Oh! Oh! And would you look at this! Our save-the-date cards just arrived! Don’t worry – you’re all invited.