Tag Archives: drink

Thick Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

This is the smoothie of my dreams, and I have to have it every night or I shrivel up into a mere shell of a human. If there are no bananas and our grocery budget is maxed out, I make a small sign which reads “Please help. Bananas needed asap for frightening shriveled condition” and sit on the sidewalk to terrify passerbys into dropping a banana in my hat. My addiction to this smoothie is a sickness, people–a sickness. And we all know that sickness likes company. Or was that misery? Anyway, I want everyone to experience the wonders and horrors of a lifelong dependence on this fruit-laden, creamy treat.

I used to make smoothies all the time in high school. Then I forgot they existed. And then, on a recent trip to my sister Heidi’s house in Alabama, she made one that I would have killed for. But instead of killing (which might not go over well with my pastor) I bought the ingredients myself upon my return home and I whipped one up. And then another. And then another. After wasting a decade of my life not consuming smoothies, I had to make up for lost time.

One of the best things about it: the only thing you dirty is the blender and the glass you drink it from. No chopping involved! And no ice involved—my blender can’t handle it. It jams up and the motor catches on fire. Or at least it starts smelling like it’s caught on fire. The frozen fruit does the trick of cooling the whole thing down. Since we’re in the midst of beautiful, summery, strawberry-laden days, I like to stock up on cheap strawberries, take ‘em home and freeze ‘em whole so that they’re always on hand. But in the winter, I may have to revert to the pre-frozen bags.


(2 servings)

1 ripe banana

1 TBS brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/3 c milk (or half & half if you’re like me)

1/3 c plain yoghurt

6 medium frozen strawberries

Toss everything in your blender. Take a leap of faith and use the half & half instead of the milk (then tell yourself it’s just this once). Blend! Drink.

If you don’t like your smoothies so thick (i.e., my husband), just add more milk. If you like ’em fruitier, just add more strawberries. If you want to exponentially add decadence, spoon in some vanilla ice cream–it’s versatile! This really is the easiest thing you’ll ever make.

Use this recipe as a base to switch up the fruit. I like to use frozen peaches, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, mangoes, etc. Get crazy and switch up the flavor of yoghurt you use. You can also spike it with some vanilla vodka if you so choose. Will you have chosen wisely? That’s for you, your tastebuds, and your ethics to work out.

After my 3rd photo shoot with this smoothie recipe trying to capture something that didn’t look like a washed-out pile of mush, I discovered 2 very important tricks. If you’re willing to put in a little extra effort (read: 2 more minutes of prep) and want to make the smoothie EXTRA delicious, try this:

-Heat up 2 frozen strawberries in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes. This will turn them into a schmushy, liquidy pulp. Put the whole shebang in the blender with the rest. It adds something, it really does. Probably something about chemistry and the heat reacting with the sugars of the fruit. Let’s call it “microwavization of the strawberriohelix sugarchronicon.”

-Chop up some chunks/rounds of strawberry and banana, and mix those in at the end. After photographing the garnishes (I never use garnishes on a normal night–does anyone??), I plopped ’em in to the smoothie right before drinking (read: inhaling) it. And you know what? Finding those chunks of fresh fruit as I gulped it down was DELIGHTFUL. I can sense you’re dubiousness–but please trust me! I wouldn’t lie to you! (sob of genuine-ness and sincerity catching in throat) In fact, it’s SO GOOD I MUST WRITE IN CAPS TO DRIVE THE POINT INTO YOUR MINDS!!

OK, now that we’ve seen the pretty pictures, let’s get real. This is how I really drink it: all 3 servings in one beer glass. Mmmmm.

A beer glass full of delights

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Jamaican Latte

Jamaican Latte: I'll take 3.

My friend Carrie and I met for coffee last week at a cafe here in Chicago called “The Bourgeois Pig”. I departed from my default order (a mocha) and decided to try their Jamaican Latte, which according to the menu had allspice and honey. It was delicious! During the week I drink office coffee, which as we all know can be slightly lacking (ehem, ehem–gross understatement alert)–so over the weekend, I like to spruce things up by adding any combination of the following: Baileys, Kahlua, hot chocolate mix, vanilla, cinnamon, almond extract, flavored creamers, and gratuitous amounts of heavy whipping cream. This past weekend, I recreated the Jamaican Latte at home. It’s so simple it doesn’t really count as a recipe, but I never would have thought to use the allspice/honey combo, and I must pass on the simple brilliance.


(1 serving)

2/3 cup good quality espresso (makes all the difference!)

1/3 cup half and half + foam

1/8 tsp allspice

2-3 tsp honey

1 TBS bourbon (optional)

Make your espresso. Buy some of the good stuff! Yes, it’s more pricey, but for a treat over the weekend it’s definitely worth it. Be forewarned–I tried using some cheaper stuff, and it was so far from cutting it that I decided to give it to an unsuspecting friend and make a new pot for myself (yes, this is how I treat my friends). But he liked it, OK? OK? (defensive panic setting in quickly)

Ye ole coffee maker

Ye ole coffee maker a-brewin’

Heat and froth half and half. I use my awesome hand-frother, but my sister Heidi has a cool little electric one that looks like a miniature immersion blender. You should buy one. And then you should send it to me, since my husband doesn’t think I need any more kitchen gadgets. I’ll do the right thing and listen to him . . . but if one shows up in the mail, we can’t exactly turn it down, eh? (nudge nudge wink wink)

Combine espresso and half and half in a cup of your choice, and stir in the honey and allspice. Taste it and adjust to your desired sweetness level. Add the foam and sprinkle a little allspice on top. After drinking it plain, I tried adding 1 TBS of bourbon–it added a fun bite, but I like it best whiskey-less.

Make it on a rainy day! Or on a hot sunny day with your AC turned up full blast to simulate the coziness of winter. And grab a good book while you’re at it–I’d be a fool if I didn’t use this opportunity as another plug for the fabulous Terry Pratchett.

Have a great weekened everyone!

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