happy new year!

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Did you make any resolutions?

I’m not a fan of resolutions, just like I’m not a fan of big New Years Eve parties.  There’s something about the forced sentiment doesn’t appeal to me.  All the expectation and build-up and if it doesn’t measure up, the letdown hits even harder.

The same goes for resolutions.  Making a decision to do something-big or small- is a very personal conviction.  Starting it on the first day of the year because “that’s what people do” isn’t going to be motivation enough for anyone.  A person knows when they are ready to start an exercise program, a diet, or quit smoking and until they are REALLY ready…there’s just no point.  We set ourselves up to fail.

To me the New Year is about self-forgiveness.

Forgiving myself for over-indulging over the holidays, not taking as many photos as I think I should have this year, and withdrawing a little socially because I suffer from seasonal depression.

Once I make peace with the woulda-coulda-shoulda’s, I can move ahead with an affirmative fresh start:  I will tackle another 365 photo project, I will do my best to make it to the gym a couple times a week despite not wanting to bear the cold weather, I will take responsibility for what I put into my body to keep it healthy.

Breakfast is one of those habits that I force myself to partake of because I know it’s good for me.  I get on food “kicks”, eating the same thing every day until I get sick of it and move on to the next.  For a while, it was steel cut oats.  Then it was one egg (over medium), cut up on a piece of whole grain toast.  After that, plain Greek yogurt with fruit and crispy brown rice.

For whatever reason, my stomach’s preference is to wait until I’ve been up an hour or two before eating.  When I don’t have this luxury of a late breakfast, like the mornings I’m rushing out the door to yoga class, a smoothie is my go-to breakfast.  Smoothies are delicious, transportable, filling and easy to make with a few ingredients you should have around.

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Several friends received new blenders for Christmas, so I felt like it may be a good time to share my basic formula for making a breakfast smoothie as well as one of my favorite smoothie flavor recipes.  The beauty to this formula is the possibility of tailoring it either to taste or inventory of ingredients.

Let me start by telling you about my blender, the Ninja.  This is, by far, the best blender I’ve ever owned.  The spiral, steel blade allows for even blending, making it so you hardly ever have to stop and scrape the pitcher.  The pitcher is heavy duty plastic, making it much lighter than blenders with glass pitchers (a definite advantage if you don’t leave it out on the counter all the time and have to pull it from a shelf or cabinet).  I’ve made everything in this blender:  soups, salad dressings, and cocktails.

the ninja

But the very, very best part of this blender is that it comes with two single-serving cups for smoothies that fit directly onto the blender.  You can toss your ingredients into the cup up to the fill line, screw on the lid with the blade attachment, and mix.  You don’t have to dirty the large pitcher to make an individual smoothie.  When finished blending, remove the cup from the base, remove the lid with blending blades and put on one of the included travel tops.  There you go…out the door!

ninja smoothie

What do I typically include in a smoothie?

Non-fat plain Greek yogurt

Liquid – non-fat milk, almond milk, or coconut milk (amount will vary to taste)

Sweetener – agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup

Flax meal – 1 or 2 teaspoons

Green, leafy vegetable such as kale or spinach

Fruit – varies greatly but I typically use a berry variety or banana/berry mixture.  Other choices include apples, peaches, kiwi…be creative!

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Banana Almond Butter Smoothie (I usually don’t add a green vegetable when I make this, but you could)

1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 small ripe banana, cut up

1 Tbsp almond butter

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 Tbsp flax meal or ground flax seed

1 tsp honey (or more to taste)

2/3 cup milk (any kind)

Blend until smooth.  Add a pinch of cinnamon to the top.

Now, GO PUNCH TODAY IN THE FACE!

banana almond butter smoothie

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6 responses to “happy new year!

  1. Forced sentiment – a good description of the whole shebang.

  2. Man!! I didn’t think anything would make me want to trade in my blender (Vitamix)!! I wonder if they have a similar attachment? And I am totally with you on the resolution thing. Mine usually kicks in around September. ;o)

    • I think the thing that first sold me was how lightweight it is compared to my old cuisinart with the glass bowl. Man, that thing was a bear to lug out everytime I needed to use it!

  3. Mark gave me a new blender for Christmas this year too. It’s the Waring Bar Blender 150 I am loving it! I leave it out all the time, as Matt usually uses it daily and I use it frequently, but now that I have this one, smoothies are becoming more of my daily eating. I’ll definitely try this recipe. One thing that I heard, I think on the Today Show, was 2 veggies for every fruit. I’m going to try that ratio and see how it works.
    I get you on the whole New Years Eve thing too, and forced sentiment is exactly the right term.

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