Autumn-Inspired Apple and Almond Breakfast Smoothie

After an exceptionally warm and summer-like September and early October, Autumn has finally arrived in Bath. The Virginia creeper seems to have magically transformed overnight from lush green to vivid red, and the river and canal paths are littered with crunchy brown leaves and horse chestnuts. It most certainly is a beautiful time of year

First Signs of Autumn 4

And though the weather has cooled off a little, I’m still enjoying my daily smoothies. I often have them as a breakfast or lunch on the go, so I add ingredients like nut butters and chia seeds for protein, slow-release energy and to keep hunger pangs at bay. Lil’ L also enjoys smoothies as an after-school snack or evening dessert.

One of our current favourites is this Autumn-inspired Apple & Almond Smoothie (which I shared on The Road to Less Cake last month).

Apple and Almond Smoothie

The nut butter, yogurt and chia seeds add a delicious creaminess to the smoothie as well as packing in lots more nutrients. The smoothie provides a good dose of protein, fibre and heart-healthy fats (including omega 3), as well as antioxidant vitamins C and E, and trace minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium.

And another great thing about this smoothie is that you can sneak in a handful of spinach and it doesn’t affect the taste at all!

Until recently, Lil’ L hasn’t been a fan of green smoothies. He likes his smoothies to be the ‘right’ colour. In his eyes, berry smoothies should be pink or purple, while pineapple or mango smoothies should be yellow. For him, a berry smoothie that’s bright green is just wrong. However, one day it dawned on me that I might get away with adding spinach to our usual apple and almond smoothie. Apples can be green, right?

Green Apple and Almond Smoothie

I decided to give it a try when he arrived home from school one day. Here’s how the conversation went…
“Hi!” I call out. “I’ve made you a smoothie!”
“Great! Thanks!” he replies enthusiastically. I hand him the smoothie and there’s a pause, followed by a despondent “Oh…. it’s green”.
“Yep, it’s a green apple smoothie. Give it a try. I’m sure you’ll love it”.
With trepidation he takes a sip. “Mmm, it’s really nice!” he says with surprise. Then there’s a pause…. “So what’s making it green?”
Darn, 10 year olds are sharp. Clearly the ‘green apple’ thing won’t wash with him, so I decide to own up and tell him it’s spinach. He thinks about it for a moment then decides it doesn’t matter after all. Green or not, it tastes really good.

Hallelujah, the green smoothie hang up is finally over! In hindsight, I wish I’d introduced green smoothies when he was much younger. That way, he would have grown up thinking that green berry or tropical smoothies are normal. Never mind, he’s on board now and I’m really excited to try out lots more concoctions over the coming weeks (especially as I’ve got an awesome new blender to play with).

So if you’ve got any green smoothie phobes in the family, I highly recommend trying this one on them. Start with a small amount of spinach so it’s a delicate light green rather than scary green and see what they think (just don’t mention the spinach until they’ve given it a thumbs up 😉 ).

Products used in this recipe
Alpro almond milk and natural yogurt, available in major UK supermarkets
Meridian almond butter, available from Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Ocado and health food stores
Chia seeds, now available from Tesco, Ocado, health food stores and online (I knew the supermarkets would catch up 😉 )
Clarks maple syrup, available from most major UK supermarkets

WIAW – I’ll bring the Carrot & Coriander Soup with recipe!

Hi everybody! I hope you’re having a great week so far 🙂

Well Autumn/Fall has definitely arrived here in Bath. It’s amazing how quickly the seasons change. One minute it’s warm, sunny and the mornings are bright. Then suddenly there’s a chill in the air, the sun’s gone and the mornings are dark. I find it so much harder to get out of bed in the mornings when it’s dark and cold!

With the cooler temperatures, I’ve ditched the salad lunches in favour of warming, home-made soup. Nothing beats a bowl of home-made soup on a cold, dark, wet day.

Back at the beginning of term, Lil’ L asked me whether he could start taking soups to school for his lunch. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? We bought him a shiny new stainless steel wide-necked flask, and he now takes soup to school every Tuesday 🙂

When M spied what Lil’ L was having for his Tuesday lunch, he wanted to take soup to work too.  So, for the past few weeks, I’ve got into the habit of making a large batch of soup on a Monday night, which serves us for at least a couple of lunches and/or  ‘starters’ before main dinners during the week.

So that’s another new habit that I’ve ‘fallen into for Fall’ 😉

Time to join the WIAW party! Thanks, as always, to our lovely host Jenn over at Peas and Crayons. For this week’s party, I thought I’d share my eats from yesterday. For once, I’ve actually got a day’s worth of photographs!

Here goes….

Large bowl of muesli, using my ‘pick n mix’ jars of nuts, seeds & dried fruits. Today’s muesli included: barley flakes, wheat flakes, oat flakes, raisins, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, chopped Brazil nuts, walnut pieces, and flaked almonds, onto which I poured some Alpro fortified soya milk. It was lush!

Lil’ L chose to have a mix of home-made granola and shreddies for breakfast; M had porridge with a sprinkling of nuts, seeds and dried fruits from our ‘pick n mix’ jars.

For lunch we all had the home-made carrot and coriander soup. I had mine with a sprinkling of lightly toasted pine nuts on top. Lil’ L had sunflower seeds (due to the school’s nut ban). All 3 of us loved the soup! The addition of sweet potatoes made the soup thick, smooth and creamy, perfect for this season!

Here’s how I made it…

During the day, I made some vegan choc chip cookies and raw chocolates for my evening Buddhist class. I might have eaten one of each… purely for control purposes of course 😉

I also made another batch of these choc chip cookies for the kids in my meditation class today, and they got great feedback 🙂

The raw chocolates actually looked much better than in this photo (which is an old pic). They were super smooth and shiny. By the time I’d made them the light was appalling, so I didn’t even attempt to take a photo of them. Dodgy lighting is something that I’m going to have to contend with for the next few months!

Lots of herbal teas today to warm me up…. Twinings Cherry & Cinnamon tea, Clippers Organic Nettle tea and Clippers Organic Mint & Nettle tea; 1 cup of coffee; water

After School Snacks
Lil’ L had one of the choc chip cookies, and we both had a large glass of berry smoothie milkshake. From what I recall, I made this one with a cup of frozen strawberry slices, 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries, 1 1/2 cups fortified Kara coconut milk, 1/2 cup Alpro natural soya yoghurt, 1 tbsp chia seeds (for an omega 3 boost), and a drizzle of organic agave syrup. Thanks to the frozen fruit, this one was like an ice cream shake. It was super creamy.

At the beginning of September, I said that I was going to start meal planning in order to get a bit more organised in the kitchen. This still hasn’t happened! Since January, we’ve been on a ‘zero food waste’ mission, so I find that the evenings meals tend to be determined by what needs using up in the fridge, followed by what we actually fancy eating. I’m sure I could combine meal planning with zero food waste, but I haven’t had the time to get my head round that one yet!

After a quick scan of the fridge and the array of vegetables that desperately  needed using up, I made a veggie korma (based on this recipe). We served it on a bed of brown rice and Lil’ L had some toasted wholegrain tortilla slices to dip into it (I found the tortillas at the back of the fridge too!)

For dessert, we had a mango hedgehog.

Before I dashed out to my class, I also gave them a raw choc heart each 🙂

Evening munchies
On Tuesday evening, I attended a special Buddhist ceremony called a ‘Puja’ which involved a food offering.

After a wonderful evening of prayers, meditation and visualisations, we had a little party and got to sample the wonderful food offerings. Even though I’d already eaten a ton of food today, it would have been rude not to take a plate… or two 😉  I stuck to the savoury bites and fruits, all of which were totally scrummy!

So that’s me done for another WIAW! I’m off to check out all the yummy eats over at Jenn’s 🙂

Enjoy the rest of the week everyone xx