I’ve been traveling a lot lately. Like The First 5 Seconds of the Up In the Air Trailer a lot. Ok, maybe not that much, but it sure feels that way. Traveling, especially by air, in February is a recipe for disaster, and there have been so many cancelled flights, one almost-drive home from Ohio, and one actual drive home from Ohio. I bought incredibly obnoxious glittery slippers to wear in the car just to make myself feel better about life that night (they are now shedding glitter all over my house, oops). Luckily I drove with my colleague, which made it fun. The time passed quickly, and before we knew it, it was almost 1am and we were home. In addition to the power of glittery shoes to make unanticipated late night weekend road trips go more quickly, I also learned another important life lesson: it is cold in Minnesota this time of year. C-c-c-cold, as in the sound of teeth chattering.
Anyway, between all the work and the travel headaches, I have been trying to take it easy on the weekends. Meaning no elaborate plans beyond brunch and lots of episodes of 24 (don’t tell me what happens past season 5 yet, please!) and only cooking when I feel like it. At breakfast, I haven’t felt like it. And holy moly have I been exhausted from this schedule. Thus was born the breakfast of lazy champions: How I Threw Coffee into My Favorite Winter Smoothie or, for those of you who prefer brevity (I don’t), the Healthy Homemade Frappuccino.
It makes sense, though, right? We’ve been doing a healthy thing the last couple months, and here, at the conclusion of Gluten-Free February, we should end the same way we began Detox January: with a smoothie. I mean, that’s all a Frappuccino is – a smoothie that has been enhanced coffee, that wonderful elixir of the gods.
I’ve posted a few other smoothies here before, but this one is different. Whereas those were crisp, this is creamy. Whereas those were refreshing, this is comforting. But both involve bananas. Are you like me, always looking for novel ways to use up old bananas? You must be. Who isn’t?
I tried something different with this smoothie, sweetening it with dates, in addition to the bananas. A little extra sweetness was necessary to offset the bitterness that the coffee brings, and you can feel free to adjust the sweetness using more dates or liquid sweetener to taste. The trick is to puree the dates very well before adding the rest of the ingredients, or else the dates remain chunky and either sink to the bottom or, you know, get stuck in your throat and suffocate you. Either way is not cool. But, ok, I digress. This smoothie is sweet and spicy, soft and creamy, smooth and thick. Because it looks like this outside most of the time lately….
…I decided not to add ice, but you can feel free to do so, if you want a more authentic fresh-from-the-Frap-machine consistency. The best way to chill this drink without diluting the texture or flavor would be to actually freeze the coffee in standard ice cube trays ahead of time, and then add coffee ice cubes instead of the liquid coffee. You might have to increase the almond milk slightly to get the right consistency. You can also, of course, feel free to use whatever coffee you want. I used a super dark French roast, but you can use a lighter roast, decaf, or even flavored (hazelnut would be pretty good, I think).
So to recap: this recipe is, as all smoothies/milk shakes/Frappuccinos are, pretty adaptable to your taste, so don’t be afraid to adjust the ingredient proportions a little bit if you want to. But whatever you do, don’t plan 3 back-to-back out of state client meetings in February, unless you really want an excuse to drive through Southern Indiana at midnight.
- 1 largeoverripe banana
- 1/2 cupalmond milk
- 2-3 largesoft (medjool) dates, or to taste, pitted
- 1/2 cupbrewed coffee, at room temperature or chilled
- 1/4 teaspoonvanilla extract
- A few dropsof liquid Stevia (to taste; you can replace with any liquid sweetener)
- 2-4water or coffee ice cubes (optional)
- In a blender, puree the banana, almond milk and dates until smooth. Make sure no large chunks of date remain.
- Add coffee, vanilla and stevia and mix to combine. Add ice cubes if using, and blend just until crushed.
- Serve immediately.