Monday, August 15, 2011

Green Monster Smoothies

In Morocco, most cafes serve a few different types of Moroccan smoothies, known as panaches (pronounced pa-na-shay). My favorites are a milk-based avocado smoothie and an almond one. Encountered by first-timers (as I saw when I took a group of students to Morocco this past Spring), the sickly green avocado panache can be a bit disconcerting. But it's delicious, and after you drink it, you feel fortified with energy and ready to conquer the world. During Ramadan, which is happening right now, many Moroccans drink the avocado panache for s'hor, the early morning meal that will, especially in this brutally hot August, have to last them until eight p.m. at night when they break the fast.

This summer I also discovered the green monster movement, through one of my favorite websites, though it looks like it originated here. The philosophy behind this one could basically be said to be that spinach=fountain of youth. You get both a fruit and a vegetable serving, and for many of us who are not getting enough veggies, it's a good way to get in a serving that, and here's the most amazing part, YOU WON'T EVEN TASTE IT. I like spinach fine, though I worried that in a smoothie, it would muck things up. However, it's almost impossible to detect. And my three-year-old, who helps me make them, loves the idea that we're drinking a monster. We make it a couple times a week, and I have to say that at least so far, many of the health claims of the green monster movement seem to be panning out - my complexion is a lot better, I have more energy, and I crave sweets a lot less.* So, here's the recipe I've been making the most frequently, though the varieties are endless (and can be found on the above link to the green monster website):

Green Monster Peach Smoothie

1.5-2 cups loosely packed, organic baby spinach
1 peach, peeled & cut up (or substitute banana)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup crushed ice
dash of sweetener (I use a squirt of agave syrup)

Following the order above, starting with spinach, place the ingredients in a blender. Blend at least one minute. Serves 1, or a parent and very small child. (To make small child happier, after blending, thrown in a handful of cookies and blend for 10 seconds, making it a cookies and cream smoothie)

The varieties are infinite - substitute mango for peach, add blueberries, throw in some flaxseed, matcha powder for a caffeine boost, etc. Or add half an avocado, which makes things a bit creamier and more Moroccan. But interestingly, you never taste the spinach.

*Disputed health claim: this could also just be a factor of summer, which, in a professor's life, is infinitely less stressful.

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