Do y’all know what is crazy?
I realized the other day it’s DECEMBER. Where did 2014 go? It seems like it was only a few months ago we were hanging up a new 2014 calendar.
Right around this time last year (I still swear that can’t be right…) the Hubs and I were talking about making protein smoothies a thing that we did for breakfast. At first it was just going to be for the month of January. To kickstart some healthy habits. I always seem to do that in January–resolving to be more healthy and such.
But January turned into spring, and that turned into summer, and next thing you know, it’s December. And we’re still having protein smoothies pretty much every day for breakfast. I’ve never stuck with any “health” habit that long before.
Are we healthier because of it? Probably not. But it did streamline weekday mornings and turn them from something that used to be super hectic and stressful into something a little less.
The problem that I’ve found, when you eat protein smoothies for a whole year, is that you run out of recipes and get tired of the ones you really like. There are a handful that are tasty and that you don’t have to have a whole bunch of exotic ingredients on hand to make. That’s a biggie for me. I want to make a smoothie with what is in my pantry (or fridge) and without having to drop $30 at the health food store. Add to the fact that I want these smoothies to actually be healthy and filling. That’s more difficult task that you would imagine.
Sometime in the past three or so years, I started liking eggnog. I used to gag at the mention of it when I was younger. “You mean there’s raw eggs in it? Gross!” Not realizing how many things I already ate that had raw eggs in them, or seeing the connection with eating sunnyside up eggs. I’m chalking it up to youthful ignorance. Once I tried it, especially with bourbon (something else I used to not like), I was sold. It is so yummy. But so bad for you… Hard to have in moderation.
I don’t know where, but I got the genius idea somehow to take the eggnog flavor that I love and and make it into a breakfast protein smoothie. More eggnog in my life this time of year is a good thing, and not the kind that will make you a diabetic.
I’ve been playing around with recipes the last couple weeks. There was quite a bit of research that went into this one. Because it’s hard to make something healthy taste like eggnog. Which is not healthy.
Eggnog Protein Smoothie (makes 2)
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 very ripe banana
- 1/3 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
- 1 serving vanilla protein powder (I use Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Protein Powder)
- 2 Tb pure maple syrup
- 1 Tb pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tb bourbon
- 1 Tb flax seed meal
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp brown sugar (optional if you like it a little sweeter)
- 4 or 5 ice cubes
Put everything in a blender in this order. Blend for 1 or 2 minutes until smooth. Makes around 24 ounces. Divide between two glasses and top with a little extra nutmeg.
Now, before you give me some side eye for putting actual BOURBON in a BREAKFAST smoothie, let me explain something to you. I looked into buying some bourbon extract for this. But it was kinda pricey. I knew that you can make, say vanilla, extract at home. So I looked up how to do that, thinking maybe I could make bourbon extract. To make flavor extract, you soak whatever flavor you’re using, like vanilla beans, in alcohol. Like vodka. If you read the label on a bottle of real flavor extract (not imitation flavors) you’ll see that the number one ingredient is alcohol. So I’m gonna buy some vodka to soak some charred oak chips in to make my own bourbon extract? Makes no sense to me. You only use a teeny bit in this smoothie, so it’s not like you’re going to catch a buzz. It’s the flavor you’re after. You can use bourbon extract for this if you’re more comfortable with that, and it might even taste better since the flavor will be more concentrated (reduce the amount in the recipe), but I wasn’t going to drop coin on that since I have a perfectly good bottle of bourbon in my kitchen anyway.
I really like this particular kind of protein powder because it is high in fiber and has like three ingredients, which I can pronounce. If you regularly use another kind, that’s cool. This protein powder seems like it is geared more toward making you full–since it’s high in fiber. Not really so much for helping you get muscle-y. By all means, if you’re trying to get muscle-y, use the stuff that makes you muscle-y.
When we first started with the smoothies, I was skeptical that I wouldn’t be hungry by like 9:30 a.m. But actually, these smoothies are pretty filling. The fiber in the protein powder helps with that, and the banana does, too. The banana also gives the smoothie some bulk and keeps it from being so runny. If you freeze the bananas, they work even better, but I usually just use a fresh one. If it’s not kinda ripe, though, I think it does give the smoothies an off-taste. Like unripe banana. Maybe that doesn’t bother anyone else, but I don’t like it.
This definitely isn’t as good as the real deal eggnog, but that would be pretty hard to do. At least you can not feel so naughty if you have these to get you’re eggnog fix in. Or maybe you will feel naughty. I suppose there is actual booze in them.