Dried Figs, Banana And Yogurt Smoothie


 

After mangoes figs are one of my favorite fruits but we don’t get fresh figs here in Delhi unless one pays an exorbitant price for them in some posh store or food hall in a mall.  Throughout the year I use dried figs which we get at almost all good grocery stores. The locally fried one come beaded in a rope and are deliciously sweet. I never use the packaged one sold by multinationals with added preservatives etc.

Sometimes I use fresh figs for smoothies and they pair brilliantly with apples and bananas. If you love the natural sublime flavor of figs just use them with ripe fresh frozen bananas and voila you have a fantastic breakfast or post workout drink in a jiffy.

I use home cultured yogurt for my smoothies but you can use Greek yogurt, low fat yogurt, almond milk, coconut milk and normal dairy milk too. Riper the fig greater the sweetness of the smoothie. Figs are rich in Iron and are the highest plant source of calcium. They are loaded with antioxidants and soluble fiber plus they are low on calories too. They are rich in zinc, magnesium and other essential minerals. Ayurveda tells us that figs are cooling and sweet in nature. Most of all they taste so good. 🙂

I am anemic most of the time and eating two sun dried figs, that are soaked in a little water, first thing in the morning helped me regain my hemoglobin and iron levels to some extent. I drink the water in which the figs are soaked. In some ways figs are even better than dates nutritionally.

As I have given up on bread I usually make one fruit smoothie to go with my breakfast. Fig banana smoothie is naturally sweet so I do not add sugar or honey to it. If you find it less sweet for your taste add a little honey and not sugar. Apart from being health honey gives  the smoothie a nice texture. Honestly, you must bank on the natural sweetness from fruits like I do.

If you are using dried figs for this smoothie soak them overnight or for 30 minutes to an hour in some water till they plump up nicely. Add the fig flavored sweet soaking water in the smoothie.It is rich in antioxidants.

Ingredients 

(One large glass)

3 Sun dried figs or fresh figs

1/2 Cup chilled yogurt ( home cultured is best)

2 Fresh ripe bananas

Method :

Use the ripe or a little over ripe fruits to get the maximum sweetness.

Peel and chop the banana , put it in a zip lock bag and freeze while you do other stuff.

Frozen fruit makes best smoothies but you can use it without freezing too.

In a blender put soaked dried figs or fresh figs, chopped banana and chilled yogurt. Add a few ice cubes ( I sometimes freeze coconut water to make ice cubes for such smoothies)

Blend everything till thick and smooth. There should be no solid pieces of fruit.

I love the smoothie with no added sweetener or essence etc. but some people use vanilla , rose water, cinnamon, even chocolate. I feel they mask  the flavor of the fruits.

Pour the rich thick delicious smoothie in a mason jar or glass and serve chilled.

 

Note

Always use unblemished, fully ripe plump figs if using fresh ones. Look for Figs with stems in place. Figs are highly perishable so buy in small quantity and use them quickly. Ripe figs are delicate and yield slightly when gently pressed. Check for mold too. Figs have a tendency to develop white mold. Discard if you see any.

If using the dried ones, look for the sun dried figs or the organic ones with no preservatives. Dried figs have a robust and more sugary taste than the fresh ones. Look for the ones that are dusty, dirty or hard. The fruit should bend easily.

The smoothie may turn slightly brown if kept for sometime due to the antioxidants in figs just like the apple. So, don’t worry about it. 🙂

 

PS – The painting you see is made by yours truly. It is acrylic on canvas. I do paint sometimes. 🙂

 

Tip : Just a little fresh ginger juice sometimes gives a distinct kick to the smoothie. Try it. ( 1/4 teaspoon)

 

Tangy And Sweet Citrus Smoothies And A Ruby-Red Mocktail


I got some bright yellow Malta Fruits ( a variety of blood orange grown in Uttarakhand, India) and Limes a few days ago and apart from eating them as whole fruit, I made some awesome smoothies and detox water with them. You can substitute it with oranges, or any other variety of citrus fruit.

Use of organic fruits ensures that the zest and peel is safe to use. Loaded with vitamins especially Vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, natural acids and enzymes, these refreshing immunity boasting smoothies are part of my daily diet these days. I eat citrus fruits with abundance. Their use in recipes not just enhances the flavors but also helps in absorption and use of other nutrients like iron from iron rich foods i.e spinach, beetroot etc.

Lemons, oranges, maltas, grapefruits, limes, all are rich source of phytochemicals and have  cancer fighting, disease fighting antioxidant properties.

Citrus fruits are low in fat & calories and have low sodium & low cholesterol. They are the best natural diuretics that help detox your body of harmful toxins. Make your own detox water with a variety of citrus fruits for best results. We will talk about it in another post.

Blend them whole with  berries, bananas, dates, kale, baby spinach, apples, pears, mango, papaya, carrots, pineapple, kiwi. They pair well with almost all fruits and many of the vegetables. Use mint, cilantro, ginger where ever you feel they go best. For the base, I use coconut milk, home-made yogurt, dairy milk, vanilla ice cream or vanilla milk, almond milk or just blend with frozen coconut water cubes.

You can add soaked beaten (flattened) rice, oats, puffed amaranth seeds etc as a bonus healthy ad-on. I have not yet used the citrus fruits with skin for smoothies but I keep the mesocarp, which is full of nutrients, intact in the smoothies or parfait.

1. Lime and Lemony Malta Smoothie With Ginger has a refreshing blend of citrus flavors. The fresh ginger juice adds a kick to the taste and enhances the flavors too. The lemon and lime add zing to the sweet malta. Ginger is good for sinuses and soothes a sensitive stomach. All the three citrus fruits give plenty of Vitamin C and refreshing taste to the smoothie.

Wash, peel and cut the 1 malta and 1/2 lime. Put them in the blender jar. Extract juice from 1/4 inch of fresh ginger root. Add to the fruits. Add juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of organic honey (optional). You do not need to add any liquid to make this smoothie but if you want to enhance the flavor you can add Greek yogurt or natural home-made yogurt, frozen tender coconut water cubes or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This one doesn’t have any add-on.

To extract the juice of fresh ginger root. Grate the ginger and gently squeeze all the juice from it. Add a teaspoon of water to the grated leftover and give a good squeeze again to extract whatever is left. Use it fresh.

Once all the ingredients have blended well, pour the sunshine smoothie in a glass and add 1-2 crushed fresh mint leaves before serving. Serve all smoothie absolutely chilled.

2. Power packed Five Fruits Smoothie 

This delicious smoothie has the goodness of dates, banana, apple, malta and lime. Full of nutrition this is not just filling but also has a delicate caramel flavor to top it all.

To make this power packed smoothie you need

1 Malta/orange

1/2 Lime

1 Apple

1 Banana

5 dates (pits removed)

Pure vanilla extract -1/2 teaspoon

Hershey’s caramel syrup (optional) to drizzle

Soak the dates the night before in a little hot milk or water. Once cool, keep it in the fridge. Cut the bananas and freeze them in a zip-lock bag. Cut the apple with the skin and place that too in a zip lock bag. put the bags in the freezer the night before.

When making the smoothie wash, peel and cut the malta and lime. Keep aside.

Add chopped banana, apple pieces, softened dates (with the liquid), malta and lime pieces and the vanilla extract in this order. Blend the fruits for 1 minute at high-speed or till all the fruits have blended smoothly. Freezing the fruits gives the smoothie a creamier texture. You can use them without freezing too. If you do not have a powerful blender then blend the dates to a smooth paste separately and then add to the smoothie.

Pour this part creamy part juicy smoothie in a glass and generously drizzle the caramel syrup on top.

This refreshing glass of goodness will keep you going nicely all through the day. You can add 2 teaspoons of soaked oats, soaked flattened rice flakes or popped amaranth seeds to make it even more healthy and filling.

Tip – Add coconut cream for an awesome refreshing taste. Skip Caramel syrup if adding this. It tastes out of the world.

3. Mango, Carrot Smoothie With a Citrus Boost

I love mangoes and this vibrant glowing smoothie. I add a little ginger juice to spice it up. Yes, I am a bit obsessed with ginger in smoothies just like I love the garlic in pasta. That’s me 🙂

This energizing smoothie is my favorite. It provides100% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C & A and a good dose of folate and B1 vitamin along with other nutrients.

To make this you will need:

1 ripe mango

1 carrot medium size

1 malta/orange or any other citrus fruit

1/2 a lime

2 tablespoon of soaked oats (optional)

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon fresh ginger extract

a few leafs of mint

Instructions:

Wash, peel and cut the mango into cubes.

Wash, peel and grate the carrot. I used the English carrot in this one but I usually make it with the winter’s local red one. It has a sweeter taste.

Peal and cut the malta and lime into pieces. Make sure all the fruit pieces are of equal size for a smooth blend. Put all the fruits in the blender jar.

Now, I did an interesting thing with the ginger, lemon juice and mint.

Put fresh ginger,extract, lemon juice, three pinches of salt and crushed mint in a glass and add enough water to make 4-6 ice cubes. Mix it well. The mixture should taste like a gingery lemonade. Freeze this in an ice-cube tray an hour before you make the smoothie. It gives an exotic note to the drink.

Add a few of these frozen cubes to the other ingredients and blend until smooth.

Pour it in a chilled glass over the remaining frozen cubes. Sprinkle some roasted oats and garnish this delicious smoothie with a lime wedge.

I don’t need to tell the health benefits you will reap from this one. It is a great post workout drink. Most of these smoothies have no added sweetener. The sweetness comes from the fruits so select your fruits carefully.

You can always make your own variations of these smoothies by adding or removing some ingredients but keep the base citrus.

After this wonderful citrus bonanza of healthy smoothies here is a bonus mocktail that is my personal favorite any time of the year.

The gorgeous ruby-red Pomegranate Lime Ginger Ale Mocktail

I love pomegranates and would rather eat them than blend into drinks but this particular one is irresistible. Whenever I have to use pomegranate juice in a recipe I prefer the home-made cold press juice. It is more flavorful and nutritious than the market one. This particular mocktail, or cocktail if you add alcohol to it, has to be made fresh. You can not make it beforehand. I also make pomegranate lemonade. You can add vodka to make a delicious cocktail. I am not a fan of white rum.

For this lovely mocktail I made some ice cubes by dropping 2-3 pomegranate pearls in water while setting the ice tray. They look beautiful in the drink.

It is super easy and is ready in less than five minutes.

Ingredients:

1 cup cold press juice of organic pomegranate

1 can of ginger ale ( I used Schweppes Original)

1/4 cup Thin Julienne of lime and ginger

Few fresh sprigs of mint

Salt – to salt rim the glass and a little to add to the drink (optional)

To make the cold press juice, take the juicy pearls of organic pomegranate. Place a muslin cloth in a sieve. Place this sieve on a measuring cup. Now put the pomegranate pearls in it. Rub, press and squeeze with your fingers till all the juice is released. You can use a juicer with cold-press too. (I don’t have it)

Two medium size pomegranates gave me 1 cup of fresh ruby-red super sweet juice.

In a pitcher add ginger and lime Julienne, a little salt and lemon juice. Add fresh mint leaves and with a wooden muddler just give a few gentle twists to bring out the minty aroma. Don’t over do it or crush the mint otherwise the drink will taste bitter. Add the chilled pomegranate juice, top it with ginger ale and ice cubes, Stir and pour it in cocktail glasses. Garnish with lemon wedges. You can salt rim the glasses before pouring the drink.

There is nothing more refreshingly fruity than this Mocktail.

If you add lemonade or sparkling water instead of ginger ale you will have a gorgeous pomegranate mojito. It is as good as this one but I love ginger ale and prefer it over mojito unless of course one is adding vodka to it. 🙂

Just look at this beauty. It will ceases all your troubles in just one sip.

Hope you enjoy making these healthy fruity drinks.

I will look forward to your variations of these.

Cheers to good health and happiness.

Recipies: Delicious Dessert Smoothies


Cool, healthy and refreshing, that’s what the dessert smoothies are. Here are some super cool sinful delights. Have fun with them on a hot summer day. I love peanut butter in any form and last summer we experimented with lots of smoothies. The boys swear by them and they are full of nutrition also. Try them and let me know .

Enjoy !!!
1. Peanut Buttered Bananas

Ingredients :
1 cup milk

1 ripe banana

3 Tbsp unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter

3 scoops frozen vanilla yogurt

1 Tbsp honey

Method:
Blend all the ingredients until smooth and creamy.

Pour into large glasses and garnish to taste.

Have it chilled.

2.Peanut Butter Jelly Smoothie

1 cup skim milk

1/2 cup yogurt

1 Tbsp peanut butter

1/2 cup unsweetened frozen cherries

1 Tbsp cherry fruit spread

Method:

Add the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.

Take large glasses and pour the sinful delight in it.

serve immediately and enjoy.

3. Sinful Sorbet Delight

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup raspberry sorbet

1 cup frozen raspberries

1 cup low-fat chocolate milk

1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

3 scoops chocolate frozen yogurt

1 Tbsp unsweetened pecan butter

Chocolate Shake

4 ice cubes

Method:

Add the ingredients to a blender and blend them smooth and nice.

Pour in large glasses and enjoy.

Hope these recipes will bring some solace to the hot summer evenings.