much of a juicer. Never have been. I’ve always been a little down on what I see as a glorified consumption of sugar. That might sound a little harsh, and I admit that it is. But more often than not I’d rather drink a smoothie with all of its fiber, or just eat a piece of goddamn fruit.
But, last week, there I was. I felt a tickle in my throat. Oliver had just finished reading me a news story about how the flu was out of control this year. And I decided I needed a boost. Green juice.
Have you been there? The “please, please, please don’t let me get sick,“ feeling? That’s what this juice is for.
It is SUPER high in Vitamins C, A and K. Like nature’s Emergen-C! But, 100% natural.
I drank that green juice down (and loved it, citrusy, with a touch of ginger). The next morning, The tickle at my throat was gone, but two days later Oliver complained of a sore throat too, so there I was again making green juice again--the same green juice I had made for myself just a few days before.
Now, I’m still not that into juice. You'll find no recommendations on juice cleanses here. But this juice is like a multipurpose vitamin... like an insurance policy. You drink it with a wholesome breakfast and you get all those extra vitamin packed in.
So far, I'm still flu free: maybe it had something to do with this juice, or maybe not. Either way, I fell in love with green juice somewhere along the way. At least this green juice. The insurance policy.
The day you read this, it will be the fourth day of 2018, and I will be headed to Monterey, California, but as I write it's only a few days after Christmas.
My office closes for the holiday, and I have the entire week to do whatever I want. A week ago I had tried to corral friends into organizing a trip to Red Rock Canyon (we went last year, and it was so so beautiful), but I had been late to the punch and it seemed everyone already had other things going on. Still, I didn't give up on my wanderlust: even early on Christmas eve, and I pieced together a half-baked plan to go to Santa Fe. Drive time, a place to stay, and a list of possible climbing spots. And of course, swooning over images of turquoise doors, cliff dwellings, and desert sun.
I could almost feel the heat, even there sitting at my computer. But instead of warming in the sun, hot air was blasting from the vents as our thermostat worked to combat the dropping temperatures outside. Wanderlust had me riveted, and begged me to go. Visions of a simpler time, when I was ten or so, floated through my mind: I had dreamed of being a National Geographic photographer, but at some point convinced myself that it wouldn't work. I liked traveling, sure, but I like being home too. I knew I would tire of being on the move. Plus, adults had bills to pay, and art wasn't stable...even my overly mature ten-year old self knew this. But right then, looking at images of Santa Fe, regret poured over me. I wanted--no, needed- to go.
My bubble deflated as the coffee set in and I came down from the clouds: a six-and-a-half hour drive on icy roads and in a foot of snow? "Fun" isn't the right word for a road trip like that. And I had been craving snow, fiercely. So instead we bundled up (long under wear, wool socks, snow pants, down coats, snow boots, gloves, and hats) and made our way through the white winter wonderland just outside our door, to hike through the foothills.
The cold preserved individual snowflakes, creating the fluffiest snow possible: not a spot of slush or sludge. Overcome with a childlike happiness, wanderlust momentarily forgotten, I wanted to plunge straight into the snow and make snow angels. Frozen pine needles glowing in the winter light; sparkling hills; the smell of winter in the air. Such beautiful things, right here under my nose. Besides, in just one short week I'd be in the California sunshine.
This smoothie takes the freshest, brightest flavors of winter and throws them all into a jar. The result is a gradient of pinks and magentas--a bold spot of color on a winter morning. When you're stuck looking at images of exotic places, or find yourself wishing for some adventure, try this smoothie. It's a rejuvenating splash of bright and bold that reminds you that there's no where better to be than in the now.
Serves: 2 | Total Time: 10 minutes
- 1 banana, frozen
- 1 grapefruit, peeled, plus two grapefruit wedges of garnish (optional)
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated on microplane
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup 100% pomegranate juice
- Combine first four ingredients in a blender (affiliate link) and puree until smooth. Divide evenly among serving glasses.
- Slowly pour half of the pomegranate juice into each glass. It will sink to the bottom, creating a gradient effect.
- Garnish with grapefruit wedges and serve immediately.
Exhausted from holding on and worn out from trying hard, I yell "take!" to my belayer. The slack in the rope tightens and I can sit back in my harness. I stare at the rock wall, analyzing it's seams, and it stares back at me, full of tricks and secrets and history. My forearms ache from holding on: my endurance for sport climbing is lacking right now.
Three feet from me, a spot of golden yellow with a tinge of red catches my eye.
There, in the middle of the rock, a miniature tree grows, it's leaves turning orange with fall. In fact, an entire micro ecosystem sits within the crack in the rock. A tiny but steady stream of water from above trickles across a pile of dead pine needles, and a bug crawls up to see the view from the edge of the crack.
I imagine a bird visiting that spot a year ago. He drops a seed, and flies off. And then I imagine that seed getting just enough water to sprout--and a bit more, enough that the sprout grows into a tree right there, on the side of a rock face. It's no larger than 1 foot tall, but it clings on to the side of the rock with might and patience. It doesn't have a belayer; it can't call "take."
There is a breeze and I am reminded of the task at hand. I climb on while that baby tree just stays there, clinging for life. Imagine the view from it's home!
This pumpkin smoothie bowl is the breakfast to eat when the leaves are crunching underfoot and the air is crisp but still not too cold. It's spiced with fresh ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, and is super creamy. Top it with toasted pecans, and for an extra special treat add a dollop of whipped cream (coconut cream for dairy free!).
In the ingredient list you’ll find an outlier (cauliflower) and if you’ve never put cauliflower in a smoothie, this might make you run and hide. BUT I promise you: once that cauliflower is all blended in, you will not taste it. What you will taste: pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. Toasted pecans if you choose to put them on top (please do!). And it will be a thick, creamy smoothie. That texture? That’s because of the cauliflower, which at this point you’ve forgotten is in there.
Serves: 2 | Total Time: 10 minutes
- 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/3 cup cottage cheese (or plain greek yogurt, or non-dairy yogurt)
- 1/2 cup milk of choice
- 2 frozen bananas, sliced
- 1 cup frozen cauliflower florets
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus more for serving
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Optional: 1 scoop vanilla or unflavored protein powder
- Dollop of whipped cream (or coconut cream for dairy-free)
- 2 tablespoons raisins (I use this brand)
- 2 tablespoons toasted pecans
- Add pumpkin, cottage cheese, milk, bananas, cauliflower, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and protein powder to blender. Puree until no chunks remain. Pour smoothie into two serving bowls.
- Top with a dollop of whipped cream, raisins, pecans, and a sprinkle of extra nutmeg. Enjoy!