Carrot Apple Spice Smoothie

Carrot Apple Spice Smoothie

It’s Thanksgiving week, and I’m already leaning into a relaxed holiday pace. I took my time getting ready for work this morning, and had breakfast with my 2-year old, Toby, at home. As the little guy enjoyed his banana and trail mix in his jammies, I tossed some fruits and veggies into the blender for a breakfast smoothie.

My smoothies usually start with unsweetened vanilla almond milk as the liquid, and fermented vegan vanilla protein powder. Today I added vanilla almond butter for extra nuttiness. Frozen banana and avocado provide creaminess and healthy fats, rounded out by plenty of fresh raw carrots and an apple.

This smoothie reminds me of the thick, creamy consistency of a layered pumpkin dessert my mom used to make, without the pumpkin. I used apple pie spice because that’s what was handy, but you could substitute cinnamon, nutmeg, and just a hint of cloves if you have them. Pumpkin pie spice wouldn’t be bad, either.

I use a Vitamix for smoothies, and the high-speed motor handles roughly-chopped raw carrots. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, using shredded or chopped carrots may help make it easier to blend.

Carrot Apple Spice Smoothie
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Carrot Apple Spice Smoothie


Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp light agave nectar
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/8 tsp Apple Pie Spice see note below
  • 1/2 frozen avocado
  • 1 frozen ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp Nathan's Vanilla Almond Butter
  • 1 cup carrots roughly chopped
  • 1 small to medium apple cored but not peeled

Instructions

  1. In a high-speed blender, add ingredients in order (almond milk first.)

  2. Blend at high speed or on smoothie setting for 50 seconds, until smooth.

  3. Makes 2 servings.

Recipe Notes

I use Penzey's Apple Pie Spice. It's a blend of two types of cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and cloves. A good substitution would be 1/8 tsp cinnamon, a bit of grated nutmeg, and a dash of ground cloves.

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Three Sisters Breakfast Bowls with Black Beans, Hominy, and Roasted Butternut Squash

Three Sisters Breakfast Bowl with Black Beans, Hominy, and Roasted Butternut Squash - view recipe at birdseedkitchen.com

Hominy is an ingredient that you don’t hear about often, unless you are making a Mexican dish like pozole, or you want to make your own Corn Nuts. (Yes, you can. This could be dangerous.)

Hominy, also called as nixtamal, is made from field corn that has been treated by a process called nixtamalization. Field corn is cooked and soaked in an alkaline solution (usually a dilute solution of calcium hydroxide know as limewater), washed, and then canned or dried.

Is hominy nutritious? The alkaline soaking solution in which hominy is process gives it a substantially higher calcium content than maize or corn. The nixtamalization process also makes the grain’s niacin more easily absorbed by the body. Hominy is also a whole grain, containing about 4 grams of dietary fiber per cup. I would treat it like any other starch or grain in a balanced diet.

I’ve been working on solutions for nutritious breakfasts which are pre-cooked, pre-prepped, or grab-and-go. In the past, we’ve relied on frozen burritos and breakfast biscuits, but I am a big fan of a homemade breakfast – and the small frozen meals were not cutting it for my pre-teen’s growing appetite. He gets on the bus just after 7 am, and needs a hearty breakfast to keep him going through first-hour gym class, until his late lunch period. And so, the first in what I hope is a series of breakfast bowls was born.

These bowls feature the “three sisters” – corn, beans, and squash – the three main agricultural crops of Native Americans in North America. This bowl has quite a few components, but the stovetop prep can be done while the squash is roasting. I prepped the squash first, using the bulbous ends of two butternut squashes, left over from recent spiralizings. To make the squash easier to peel, prick it a few times with the tip of a knife and microwave it for one minute.

The chorizo I use is from our local meat shop, Old Time Meat and Deli. It’s not a truly authentic chorizo, but I like it for what it is: leaner and milder than its more authentic counterparts. Once browned and crumbled it in the pan, drain it on a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil. Then, use those delicious browned bits left over in the pan to add flavor to the black beans, with the help of a tablespoon of water for deglazing.

After the beans, give your pan a rinse, heat it on the stove to dry it out, add oil, and sauté the hominy. It has a tendency to pop in the pan, so if you have a mesh splatter shield, you might want to keep it handy. I blotted mine lightly with a paper towel after thoroughly draining it to cut down on spattering.

The remaining components – cilantro, avocado, and scrambled eggs – come together quickly. Next time I make these bowls, I might swap the scrambled eggs for a runny fried egg.

Whether you go fried or scrambled, let me know what you think of these bowls! They were liked by everyone in my house, and I look forward to creating more bowls soon.

Three Sisters
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Three Sisters Breakfast Bowl with Black Beans, Hominy, and Roasted Butternut Squash

Course Breakfast
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 3 tbsp canola oil divided
  • 1/2 tsp Penzey's Southwest Seasoning see note below for substitution
  • 1 pound chorizo
  • 1 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 29 oz can hominy drained and patted dry
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6-8 grinds white pepper
  • 1 avocado peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp red onion, minced optional, for garnish
  • 4 lime wedges optional, for garnish
  • sliced jalapeño rings optional, for garnish
  • hot sauce optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Peel and seed butternut squash. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes. On a baking sheet, toss squash with 1 tbsp canola oil, spread out evenly, and season with Southwest Seasoning. (Note: if you don't have Penzey's Southwest Seasoning, you can substitute chili powder, salt, and black pepper.) Roast squash for 25-30 minutes, until fork-tender.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, brown and crumble chorizo. When thoroughly cooked, remove from pan and drain on paper towels. 

  4. Return pan to heat. Add rinsed and drained black beans, along with 1 tbsp water. Season with a little salt and black pepper. Stir gently, scraping up any browned bits of chorizo. Cook until nearly all water has been evaporated. Remove from pan and set aside.

  5. Clean the skillet, and return to the stove over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp canola oil and heat until nearly shimmering. Add hominy. Sauté, seasoning with salt and pepper, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

  6. In a non-stick pan over medium heat, melt butter. In a bowl, thoroughly whisk 6 eggs together with 1/4 tsp salt and 6-8 grinds of white pepper. Add eggs to pan, and stir frequently until fluffy and cooked to your preference.

Assembling the Bowls

  1. Arrange squash, beans, and hominy in 4 bowls. Top with eggs and chorizo. Garnish with slices of avocado, chopped cilantro, red onion, jalapeño rings, and a lime wedge.

  2. If making meal prep bowls, store garnishes in small, separate containers. Microwave the bowl for about 2 minutes, add garnishes, and serve.

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