Energy-Boosting Superfood Smoothie Bowls

Smoothie Bowl Edit

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Smoothie bowls are ALL the rage lately! #smoothiebowl has over 127,000 photos on Instagram, and #acaibowl has almost 200,000!

They can be whipped up in just a few minutes, and are refreshing and satisfying on a hot summer morning. I personally love them after a good morning sweat session. You can feel the nourishing power spreading throughout your whole body!

What is a smoothie bowl?

It’s basically an extra thick smoothie, poured into a bowl and topped with all your favorite mix-ins. You eat it with a spoon, so it’s super satisfying and feels more like a meal than your typical smoothie-in-a-glass.

Making the smoothie:

Simply whip up a thicker version of your favorite smoothie! There are a few ways to easily thicken it up:

– add a bunch of ice cubes

– use frozen fruit and/or bananas

– add a little less liquid than usual

– add protein powder or yogurt to bump up the creaminess

 

Some of my favorite smoothie combos are:

– frozen strawberries, banana, orange juice, and ice

– frozen mango, frozen blueberries, banana, yogurt, spinach, and milk

– pineapple, kiwi, cucumber, kale, avocado, and water

 

Topping with superfoods:

My favorite part about smoothie bowls is topping it with a bajillion yummy goodies.

The toppings are where you can really bump up the nutrient power of your smoothie and take things to a whole nother level.

Here are some the best options:

– Fresh sliced fruit or berries: Yes, I know, you already put fruit in your smoothie, but having solid bites of banana, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries etc. really makes the smoothie bowl special. It feels much more like a meal, and the fresh fruit only highlights the original flavors of the smoothie.

Seeds: Try ground flax seed to add plant-based omega-3’s, hemp hearts for a yummy nutty flavor and vegetarian complete protein, or chia seeds for omega-3’s and extra fiber.

Nuts: I love crushed walnuts in my smoothie bowls, but macadamia nuts, slivered almonds, or toasted pecans also add a great crunch. Plus, by adding healthy fats to your smoothie, your body will absorb more of the fat-soluble nutrients like carotenes from fruits and veggies and vitamin K from leafy greens.

Bee pollen: You can purchase local bee pollen from farms in your area. These little tiny yellow, orange, and purple colored balls of pollen and bee secretions are rich in protein, carbs, and antioxidants, and are a great smoothie bowl addition. Bee pollen may have anti-allergenic, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory effects. Please be aware that allergic reactions to bee pollen ingestion have been reported, so be careful if you are highly sensitive! Also talk to your doctor about possible medication interactions, as an interaction with warfarin has been suspected.

Matcha: Matcha is powdered green tea leaves. It a beautiful vibrant green color, and adds a powerful hit of polyphenols, other antioxidants, and caffeine. Bonus! Green tea extract may lower blood glucose levels in those who are borderline diabetic. Awesome!

– Goji berries: Goji berries are the new dried-fruit favorite. They’re absolutely delicious, and pack a potent antioxidant punch. Taking goji berries has even been shown to boost the effectiveness of the flu vaccine in chinese men! Again, if you have a history of food allergies, be careful when trying goji berries, as allergic reactions have been reported.

– Maca root powder: Maca is a root vegetable in the cruciferous family, and like all cruciferous veggies, contains glucosinolates, which have powerful anti-cancer effects. Traditional cultures tout its energizing and aphrodisiac effects 😉 Maca can have a strong flavor, so try it out and see what you think!

Cacao: If you want to add a chocolate punch to your smoothie, sprinkle it with cacao powder or cacao nibs. It’s filled with antioxidants to keep your body running at its prime, and tastes divinely decadent.You get the rich taste of dark chocolate without the added sugar. Yum!

– Muesli: This simple blend of rolled oats and dried fruit is a healthier alternative to granola. It has all the same yummy staple ingredients, but no added sugars. It adds bulk and fiber to your smoothie, keeping you fuller much longer.

If smoothie bowls sound exciting, but you’re pressed for time in the morning, I recommend creating smoothie packs in your freezer. Place 1 banana, some fresh or frozen berries, and greens, like spinach or kale, into a freezer bag. Freeze a few bags worth over the weekend, then just dump the contents in your blender in the morning, add a few ice cubes and some liquid, and you have an instant smoothie with almost no clean up. You can even make them in mason jars or tupperware and take them on the go if you’re short on time. Smoothie bowls are really the best!

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Seven Kitchen Gadgets You Shouldn’t Live Without

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When you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, it quickly become clear which kitchen gadgets are helpful, and which ones just take up space and collect dust. For the purpose of this post, I’m defining a kitchen “gadget” as something that is electric or battery powered. These are items that help save me time, reduce prep work, or help me create an even better meal in the kitchen.

I’ll save you the hassle of trial and error, and share with you my personal favorites! These are the items I actually use on a regular basis in my home kitchen. (Yes, I just walked around my kitchen and conducted a mini-inventory of my favorites). If you’re missing some of these items in your kitchen, you might want to think about stocking up!

  1. Kitchen Scale

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Kitchen scales are a lifesaver when you buy in bulk. For example, if you picked up three pounds of ground turkey on sale, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be using all of it in one go. With a kitchen scale you can measure out the amount you need for a recipe, then freeze the leftover meat for later.

It’s also great for baking! Using weighted measures is the most precise way to follow a recipe & get the best results. Kitchen scales make it super simple to measure out the required ounces of flour you’ll need for that killer bread or muffin recipe you’re working on.

You can purchase this version on Amazon for just $30! Definitely worth investing in.

 

  1. Meat Thermometer

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This is the secret to perfectly cooked meats. Simply open the probe, insert into the center of your meat, and check the temp. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temp of 165 degrees, while pork is safe at just 145 degrees. With this sucker at your side, you’ll never over (or under) cook meats again.

By checking the temp with your meat thermometer, you’ll also preserve the quality of your meat. If you are a “cut it open and check if it’s pink” person, stop right now and get yourself a thermometer! It is super important to let your meat rest after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute through the meat. If you cut it open hot out of the oven, the juices spill all over the place, and you’re losing juicy tenderness that could have been in your meat. The meat thermometer leaves a miniscule puncture in the meat, so you lose way less juice. Win-win!

I use this professional quality Thermapen ($96), but there are plenty of other instant-read digital thermometers for only $20-$30 on Amazon. I like this mini-pen from the same company! Totally worth it.

 

  1. Rice Cooker

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This baby is purely about convenience. Rice is truly not very difficult to make, but it takes up a burner on the stove, and if you get distracted, you could run the risk of scorching the bottom layer of rice. Oops!

I choose to use this electric rice cooker instead 🙂 Simply add the rice and water, plug it in, and let it go! Voila! 45 minutes later you have perfectly fluffy rice, warm and ready to go. If you’re off on the timing of your meal, the cooker will keep the rice warm for you until you’re ready. Even better, this model has a delay timer, so you can set the rice and water in the cooker in the morning, and have it ready for you when you walk through the door. It also has a steamer attachment, so you could even steam veggies at the same time you cook the rice. A double time saver!

You might be thinking such an awesome piece of equipment would be expensive, but nope! It’s just $30 on Amazon!

 

  1. Electric Hot Water Kettle

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I love my electric kettle. It boils water in just a few minutes, making it super easy to prepare large pitchers of tea to keep in the fridge, or to enjoy an evening cup of tea by the fire. I also use it to heat water for quickly cooking couscous or rice noodles or to rehydrate dried chile peppers or mushrooms. Such a time and space saver. I love that it doesn’t take up a burner on the stove, boils faster than the stove, and is safe to plug in and leave.

You can get a nice kettle for just $30 on Amazon, and I’m pretty sure you’ll never look back.

 

  1. Mini Food Processor

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Confession- I actually have two Cuisinart food processors: A large 11-cup model, and a smaller 3-cup mini-prep model. While the large model is great for shredding or slicing veggies and cheeses in bulk, I find myself reaching for the smaller food processor more often for my day-to-day cooking tasks.

I use my mini-prep for making quick pesto, chimichurri, salad dressing, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, chopped nuts, mayonnaise, or hummus. It’s such a great tool! And again, it’s pretty affordable- just $40 here on Amazon.

 

6. Egg Timer

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This is one of those tools I never knew I needed until I received it for a gift, but now I could never imagine life without it!

It’s an electric, waterproof egg timer that plays songs to let you know when your eggs are done. Simply plop this egg timer into the pot of simmering water with your eggs, and wait for the music that corresponds to your desired level of doneness.

It plays one song for soft-boiled eggs (hard whites, but runny yolks), then plays a second song to let you know your eggs are medium-boiled (hard whites and creamy dark-yellow yolk), and a third final song for hardboiled (hard whites and hard yolk). The result is perfectly done eggs every single time.

This particular model is from Switzerland (hence the national flag), but I’ve also found this color-changing model on Amazon for just $7! What a steal!

 

  1. Coffee Grinder

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There’s something wonderful about a morning ritual that includes grinding a fresh batch of coffee beans & brewing the perfect pot. I prefer to grind my own beans each morning to preserve the aromatic volatile oils that quickly escape pre-ground coffee. I find that it makes a much more rich & delicious cup of coffee, whether I’m brewing it in my drip-maker, or enjoying a French-pressed cup.

Another great thing about owning a coffee grinder, is that you can customize the grind based on your needs. You can make a coarser grind for French press, or a finer grind for your drip coffee maker. It can even double as a spice grinder! Just make sure you clean it thoroughly between uses to avoid spice-flavored coffee 😉

This version is a relatively cheap blade grinder, but it does the job well! It’s just $20 on Amazon.

That’s my two-cents. What about you? What essential kitchen gadget could you never live without?

**Disclosure** This post contains some affiliate links to products on Amazon. This means if you purchase any of these products from the above links, I will receive a small commission on the purchase. Hope you enjoy these products as much as I do!

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