Antioxidant Berry Smoothie

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Winter is in full swing here in Michigan and I find myself missing certain aspects of summer. Like fresh produce coming out of my ears and the most beautiful plump berries waiting for me in the fridge. Luckily this summer I thought ahead and froze a lot of fruit in preparation for the winter. After purchasing a deep freezer, I steadily stocked it full of fruits and veggies all season long. My squirrel-like tendencies paid off because now I can run downstairs to grab strawberries or blueberries whenever I need them!

Smoothies are a great way to add fruit to your diet when it is out of season. I find myself going days and days without eating fruit during the winter even though it is a time my body needs it most! Fruit, of all varieties, is a great source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Right now is prime cold and flu season; we could all use a little more immune boosting armor to fend off those germs.

Frozen fruit is ideal in smoothies because it eliminates the need for ice cubes; I don’t have a super high powered blender so I often find chunks of ice at the bottom…no good. I want an incredibly thick, luscious texture from my smoothies, and frozen fruit is one of the ways I get there. The other secret is ripe bananas, but please stay away from the overly ripe brown ones because they can contribute a strong bitter flavor; save them for  banana bread instead. Bananas contribute a super creamy, thick texture that cannot be replicated with any other fruit; they are a non-negotiable addition. I like to use almond milk in my smoothies because that is what we keep on hand, although cows milk, rice milk, or soy milk would also work. Add just enough milk to allow the ingredients to blend but still stay nice and thick; I usually start with a conservative amount and add a little at a time as I blend the smoothie.

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My newest and most exciting smoothie addition are pomegranate seeds. A few years ago pomegranate seeds were all the rage in the food trend world and I haven’t forgotten about them since! These tiny seeds, called arils, are sweet, tangy, and loaded with nutrition! I add a half cup of arils, about half of a pomegranate, to the smoothie for a little extra antioxidant boost. The tender seeds mix perfectly in the blender and contribute to the vibrant color of the smoothie. Pomegranates were incredibly intimidating to me until I found this video tutorial in a post from Cookie + Kate. It was super easy and my kitchen did not look like a murder scene (FYI pomegranate juice can splatter and stain!). Some stores sell the arils already removed from the pomegranate, but in my experience they have a slight smell/taste of vinegar that is off-putting. Now that I am armed with an easy strategy I prefer to seed them myself.

Wow. That was a seriously lengthy explanation for a five ingredient smoothie. Onto the recipe…

Ingredients (per 2 servings)

  • 1-2 ripe bananas (1 large or 2 small-to-medium)
  • 1 c. frozen blueberries
  • 1 c. frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 c. pomegranate seeds (arils)
  • 1 c. almond milk (or cows milk, rice milk, soy milk); a little more may be needed as the smoothie blends

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Peel the banana and place in the bottom of a blender breaking into large chunks, if desired.

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Add the pomegranate seeds next.

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Add the blueberries and strawberries. Yikes that picture is blurry. Probably because I was standing on a kitchen chair over the island to take the shot. Sorry!

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Add 1 c. almond milk (or your desired milk choice) to the blender and puree. Add additional almond milk slowly until you reach the desired consistency.

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Divide into two glasses and serve immediately.

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I love the deep, dark color of the smoothie and its creamy texture; it just looks healthy and delicious, right?! Enjoy! :)

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