Category Archives: Smoothies

Green Apple Smoothie with Avocado & Lime

This is a signature smoothie of mine during autumn months when the orchard is in full swing and kale is in season. It’s easily adaptable to suit other fruits and greens (spinach, chard, etc).

I use a juicer and a blender to make this (see my favourite products for making smoothies) but don’t despair of you don’t have a juicer. Just put all the ingredients in your blender (squeeze in the lime juice and cut the ingredients into small blender-friendly pieces) and add water as needed to blend to a smooth consistency.

Green Apple Smoothie

Serves 1

  • 1 large apple (or pear!)
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • a big handful of spinach or kale
  • 1/2 lime, peeled (or lemon, rind on)
  • small slice of ginger (optional)
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 Tbsp psyllium husk (optional; makes it thicker and adds fiber)
  • 5g flax seeds
  1. Juice the apple, celery, cucumber, spinach, lime and ginger.
  2. Put the juice in your blender along with the avocado, psyllium husk and flax seeds. Blend until smooth, about 20 seconds (if using psyllium husk, I suggest waiting for a minute or two and then blending again, as it takes a few minutes for the psyllium to absorb the liquid).
  3. Serve as desired with your favourite garnishes (I like grated carrot, muesli, goji berries, and lots of spirulina!).

My recommended tools for the job: the Froothie Optimum 600 Slow Juicer and Optimum 9200 Blender

Yogurt & Berry Protein Smoothie


As previously mentioned, I live in a place called “Orchard Cottage”, so called because there’s an old English orchard right outside of my backyard. Right now, the orchard is in full swing. And while the apples fall, wild blackberries take over the hedgerows, which sees me staining my hands and stockpiling the freezer with fruits to last me through the winter.

Throughout all of this harvesting and autumn worship, this smoothie has become my go-to blend to follow my afternoon Crossfit sessions. The apples and blackberries make the perfect sweet base, while yogurt adds creamy probiotic deliciousness. I also include unflavoured whey protein to amp up the protein levels, though you could leave it out if you wish, and double the yogurt to make it more substantial.

For protein powder, I recommend Pulsin’s Organic Whey Protein made from rBHG hormone free milk from organically reared cows. Also, no additives, flavourings or fillers. And it blends like a dream.

Yogurt & Berry Protein Smoothie


  • 1 apple, cored and chopped (a banana also works)
  • a handful of blackberries, ideally frozen (blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, or a combination of berries, also work)
  • 150g yogurt
  • 15g unflavoured whey protein (I use Pulsin’s Organic Whey Protein)
  • 1 Tbsp psyllium husk (optional, adds fiber and makes it thicker)
  • 1 tsp flax seed (optional, also adds fiber and thickness)


  1. Put everything in your blender and blend until smooth, about 20 seconds. (If you’re using psyllium husk, I usually wait a minute or two and give it another quick blender, as the psyllium husk will have absorbed some of the liquid in the smoothie, and an extra blend will make it all smoother.)
  2. Serve in a cup (or bowl!) with your favorite garnishes (I like grated apple, muesli, and a sprinkle of spirulina powder, liberally applied and then reapplied as I eat it!).

Nutrition: 234 Calories | 10g Carbs | 0.5g Fat | 22g Protein

This was made with my Optimum 9200 Power Blender which has a super-handy 20-second timer setting which I use to make this. I hit the button once, clean up, make some tea, then hit it again and out comes a perfect yogurt and berry smoothie.

Healthy Vegan Shamrock Shake


My friend Emily has been making (and enjoying!) my Shamrock Shake recipe from my book, Smarter Fitter Smoothies. And since today is St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it was about time I share this healthy vegan smoothie on the blog for all the world to see.

I’m not sure what it says about me that I am so nostalgic for a milkshake made famous by a certain fast food chain whose name begins with “M” and ends with “s”. But there you have it. And there’s no need to feel bad about drinking this “milk”shake – it’s totally vegan, relatively low in sugar and full of healthy vitamin-rich greens (the smoothie gets its green color from spinach). Feel free to toss in some avocado for an extra dose of creamy green goodness.


Healthy Vegan Shamrock Shake

  • 1 ripe banana (preferably frozen, ~120g)
  • 1 cup spinach (~50g)
  • A few sprigs of fresh mint
  • 2 dates
  • 10 cashews (~10g)
  • a few ice cubes
  • water, nut milk or coconut milk for an uber rich Shamrock Shake experience

Combine everything a blender (I use a Froothie Optimum 9200) with enough liquid to blend and blitz until smooth. Garnish with a couple fresh mint leaves if you’d like.

215 Cals, 5g Fat, 44g Carbs, 4g Protein, 5g Fiber

Image credit: Emily L.W. Kern

Smoothie Bowls: Put Away The Straw and Get Out The Spoon

Smoothie Bowl

In this follow-up to Emily’s previous post on chia pudding, I present to you another discovery inspired by our seasonal meanderings: the smoothie bowl.

The concept is nothing new, indeed, I’ve been “eating” my smoothies with a spoon for months. But last February, fuelled by visions of pudding, marmalade, and sheep yogurt, we decided to try serving our traditional breakfast smoothie in a bowl. This was a total smoothie breakthrough! Not life-changing, but definitely smoothie-changing. Why? It’s all about Garnish Potential. A smoothie bowl maximises space for toppings, and also turns your smoothie into something that mentally might seem like a snack into a meal in itself.

A smoothie bowl should be thick and creamy (lest your garnishes sink to the bottom!). You can achieve this a number of ways. Great thickeners include:

  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Rolled Oats
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Psyllium husks
  • Thick yogurt

If you’re using seeds, grains and/or psyllium husks to thicken your smoothie, here’s a hefty tip: blend the smoothie for 20 seconds, then let the smoothie “rest” for a few minutes (this gives everything a chance to absorb the liquid), then blend again for another 20 seconds. The transformation is kind of insane – it goes from being a sort of thick but slightly grainy smoothie into something that’s almost like super smooth pudding. This might not suit everyone’s tastes, but for me it makes the smoothie seem more substantial. This is healthy emotional eating!

It also helps to use a good blender if you can – I’ve been working with the Froothie Optimum 9200 which is pretty dang powerful and also has a “20-second” button which is handy.

Smoothie Bowl

However you like your smoothies, I challenge you to try serving your next smoothie in a bowl and eating it with a spoon – you can do this with fresh juices, too. Think about it as an opportunity to slow down and really savor the awesome blend you’ve created. After all, digestion begins in the mouth, so it’s worth taking it slow.

Here’s my go-to smoothie bowl that I have for breakfast on most days.

Pineapple and Lime Green Smoothie Bowl

My favourite smoothie bowl toppings for this blend are berries, oats and coconut flakes, but anything goes – see my 16 Ways to Garnish a Smoothie for inspiration.

Serves 1

  • 1-inch slice pineapple
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • handful of spinach or other greens
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1/2 banana
  • 5g flax seeds (~1 tsp)
  • 5g psyllium husk (~1 Tbsp)
  • Garnish

Blender Method: Chop all the veg into chunks and add to the blender with the cucumber and pineapple at the bottom. Add a splash of water and start blending; add more water as needed to get it blending but you should use very little, otherwise your smoothie will be a little insipid (you can also use coconut water or other liquid of your choosing). Blend for 20-seconds, let it rest for a few minutes, then blend again for another 20-seconds. (You can add ice cubes to the second round of blending if you’d like to cool it down a bit.) Serve in a bowl garnished with smoothie bowl toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

Juicer / Blender Method: Juice the pineapple, lime, spinach, celery and cucumber (I use an Optimum 600 Slow Juicer). Add the juice to a blender with the banana, flax and psyllium. Blend for 20-seconds, let it rest for a few minutes, then blend again for another 20-seconds. (You can add ice cubes to the second round of blending if you’d like to cool it down a bit.) Serve in a bowl garnished with smoothie bowl toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

More smoothies that would work well as a smoothie bowl:

16 Great Garnishes for Smoothies

Smoothie Bowl

One of the reasons I like smoothies is for their garnish potential! Garnish also helps turn a smoothie from a snack into a complete meal. And I always keep extra smoothie garnishes handy so that I can garnish as I go. Come on, you know your kitchen table has totally been missing a garnish station.

Breakfast of #Imbolc champions. Chia pudding smoothie bowls. All of the garnishes. And tea. #froothie #jumpstart15

My favorite smoothie garnishes are as follows – what would you add to the list?

  1. Pumpkin Seeds – Let’s face it, pumpkin seeds are a great garnish for everything.
  2. Coconut Flakes – What’s not to love? They are crispy tasty fantastic. For some reason most grocery stores don’t seem to stock this (don’t try to substitute with desiccated coconut) but Amazon has quite a few options and it’s not very expensive.
  3. Sea Salt – Salt actually brings out the flavour and sweetness of the ingredients used in the smoothie. You could even get fancy and rim your smoothie glass with salt!
  4. Jumbo Oats – Classic, also good blended INTO the smoothie itself.
  5. Swiss Muesli – A little fancier than straight up oats and usually brings with it other tasty garnishes like seeds and dried fruit. Don’t spend lots of money buying this stuff; make your own custom Homemade Muesli Blend.
  6. Goji Berries – The most overhyped dried fruit in the universe, but they’re pretty and look so nice on green smoothies! Hefty tip: soak the goji berries ahead of time; they can be discouragingly chewy. Goji berries are sold all over the place now, alas, for a hefty price tag; if it’s only the color your after, dried cranberries make a nice substitute.
  7. Bee Pollen – Little crunchy morsels of honey sweetness. I’ve been a little obsessed with this stuff since I discovered it in France last year. I try to stock up whenever I go back, but for those of you who aren’t France-bounce, you CAN buy bee pollen elsewhere (after all it’s not like bees are a strictly French thing!) – there are lots of options on Amazon.
  8. Acai Powder – Allegedly increases energy and “vitality”; I just like it for its bitter berry tastiness. I use Naturya Organic  Acai Powder.
  9. Maca Powder – Malty sweet goodness originating from a tuberous root grown in the highlands of Peru. I’ve been using Naturya Organic Maca however I’ve recently cut back my usage when the company (very responsibly) informed me of unethical business practices and biopiracy which have made maca a bit taboo and difficult (i.e. expensive) to source. Use your best judgement here!
  10. Spirulina – Most people blend this happy protein into their smoothie but I have actually developed quite a taste for the stuff and prefer it as a garnish so that I really know it’s there! I use this stuff a LOT and have been getting my Organic Spirulina in bulk from
  11. Cacao Nibs – I like these in banana-based smoothies, or in a mint chocolate chip blend. I use Naturya Organic Cocoa Nibs.
  12. Grated beetroot – I use a  Kuhn Rikon Grater & Julienne Mandoline to make cool little beetroot matchsticks (see the picture below, made with golden beetroot).
  13. Puffed Grains – Rice, millet, amaranth, quinoa… I’ve been enjoying Biona Organic Amaranth Pops lately.
  14. Freeze-Dried Raspberries – I discovered these little morsels of crispy tart goodness at Waitrose; they’re kind of expensive, but they look so pretty! You can also buy them on Amazon.
  15. Granola – Try Mardi’s Maple Walnut Granola or go crazy with savory granola.
  16. Fresh fruit – Especially raspberries and blueberries.

Today's #smoothiebowl.


Recipe Review: Chia Pudding

Earl Grey Chia Pudding with Marmalade

Today my good friend Emily of is guest-posting on the chia pudding food craze. On Emily’s last visit (Imbolc 2015!), I gave her some top quality chia seeds from Naturya and sent her on a mission to experiment with chia pudding and report back on her results. Is it really worth all the hype?  

Monica and I are fashionably late to the chia party. Chia has been “so hot right now” for awhile actually, and Pinterest has long been trying to convince me of its virtues. When and why did our chia ambitions begin? My memory is fuzzy on this point (too much sloe gin?), but I think we started talking about chia as an option for smoothie enhancements. We both have a smoothie every day, and we both need more protein in our diet. So, why not? Chia ho! This is a short account of my early chia experiments:

1. Vanilla Chia Pudding

Vanilla Blueberry Chia Pudding

For my first chia pudding I looked to Choosing Raw for a basic recipe and used her 3 tbsp chia : 1 cup liquid as my pudding standard. For me this made enough for breakfast and an afternoon snack. Chia pudding is filling!

I found the basic chia, almond milk, vanilla, and honey pretty boring, even with blueberries on top. The texture is like tapioca pudding, which is not my favorite thing…but eventually I convinced myself they’re like the world’s smallest tea bubbles. That helped, but…onward!

2. Earl Grey Tea Chia Pudding

Earl Grey Chia Pudding with Marmalade

Pudding! Earl Grey! Cold! If you can use any liquid for chia pudding, why wouldn’t you use Earl Grey tea? This one went through a few test batches, and the ratio of milk to tea is a matter of taste, but here’s what I came up with:

Just mix it all up in a glass or jar and let it set for about 3 hours or overnight. I really squeezed the tea bag into my glass – and then used it again for tea! Sadly, while pretty, the orange marmalade garnish was too overwhelming a flavor.

3. Chia: Smoothie Ingredient

Strawberry Kiwi Beetroot Carrot Smoothie

As Monica has pointed out in her ingenious smoothie book (which I use all the time, seriously, she isn’t making me say this), bananas are a great smoothie thickener but also kind of a sugar bomb. Most of my daily smoothies still have a smidge of banana, but for a week I tried replacing it with chia. It definitely does the trick, especially if you let the smoothie sit for a few minutes. This is probably how I will use chia most often. More protein, calcium, and fiber for me!

4. Chia Smoothie Pudding

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Chia Smoothie

I know I’m not the first to think of it, but making a chia pudding using a smoothie as your liquid is pretty great. It completely replaced the simple pudding of my affections. You still get the tapioca texture from the chia, but with lots of healthy fruit and veg – and no additional sweeteners.

That said, it also has dessert potential. I made a Peanut Butter and Jelly Chia Pudding from a peanut butter, banana, oatmeal, and almond milk smoothie. Chill for a few hours and swirl some strawberry jam through. A nice dessert version of the sandwich classic.

Verdict: I’ll certainly keep adding chia to my morning smoothies for the nutrition boost and possibly explore some other chia desserts.

Monica’s Notes on Nutrition: I felt compelled to add some commentary on the nutritional value of Chia Pudding. As an example, a chia pudding made with 3 Tbsp chia, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 2 tsp honey and 1/2 cup of blueberries has 333 Calories, 19g fat, 18g fiber, 42g carbs and 11g Protein. Compare this to, say, 50g of porridge with the same amount of almond milk, honey and blueberries: 308 Calories, 7.5g fat, 8g fiber, 58g carbs, 7.8g Protein. Those who are fat-phobic might scoff at the chia pudding, where ~50% of the calories come from fat. Chia has been praised as being a concentrated source of omega-3 fatty acids, but research shows that the body isn’t very good at converting these types of plant-based omega-3s into something the body can be used. Still, they are a source of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals so they’re not going to do you any harm. I like how Katie Trant (nutritionist and author of the Muffin Myth blog) puts it in her well-researched article Chia Seeds: Healthy or Hype? – “Chia seeds are without question very healthy, but they’re not a miracle.” And probably not even life-changing.

Follow Emily’s chia antics – among other things – on Instagram, Twitter and her blog. And look out for more chia experiments to come: chia trifles, chia parfaits, chia jam… what else? Share your chia inspiration in the comments!

How to Make Awesome Smoothies in ANY Blender

Making berry smoothies

These are the days of Blentec, Vitamix, Nutribullet and now Froothie entering the fray. It seems like everyone’s all about their super power blenders, myself included – my Optimum 9400 blender cost more than my first car! (Granted, it was a pretty crappy car.) And while I have never once regretted my blender, I totally get that others may feel their money is better spent elsewhere (paying the rent, taking a cruise, going to SpoonFest…).

For folks with more economically-priced blenders, it might be really frustrating to go searching for smoothie recipes only to find that they’re all made with super gadgets – what can they do with their humble machine?

Well, a lot, actually. For example, my friend Emily has been making some terrific smoothies from my book Smarter Fitter Smoothies and getting great results with her soooo nifty Kenwood Smoothie 2GO. It retails at £29.99 and does a very fine job of blending carrots, pecans and other tough ingredients, making it a very worthy competitor to the Nutribullet. It’s not terribly useful for soups, and it won’t grind rocks, but for its purpose it’s pretty good, so why not?

Smoothie  Making

For folks like Emily, and other people who have more conventional blenders, I’ve put together a list of ways to make an awesome smoothie in ANY blender, and I’m psyched to be sharing that list over on Mardi’s blog today. If you’ve been struggling to create smoothies that qualify as “awesome”, do check it out!

How to make an awesome smoothie in any blender []

Make Your Own Damn Vitamin Water

Make your own damn vitamin water! I will be showing you how soon in an upcoming blog post on #froothie #juicing #JuiceFeast #jumpstart15

My favourite way to stay hydrated lately is to make my own “vitamin water” using fresh pressed juice from my slow juicer and lots of good old fashion H20. There’s something so super cheerful about having a pitcher of this on the table. The juice is made from beetroot, pineapple, apple and lemon, but you could easily mix it up to include any fruits and vegetables you want. I recommend always including a bit of lemon and lime, though, because they’re nice!

Making my own "vitamin water" with the #froothie #optimum600 slow juicer. #JuiceFeast snackage. Recipe to come.

The recipe is inspired by Jason Vale, who includes this in his 3-Day Juice Program as an uber liver cleanser / blood purifier / life awesomeizer. It makes about 1 liter putting you well on your way to achieving the 1.6 liters of water that the NHS recommends we drink per day (or 2 liters if you’re a dude).

DIY Vitamin Water

  • 1/2 raw beetroot
  • 1/2 apple
  • 2 inch slice of pineapple
  • 1 inch slice of lemon or lime
  • 3/4 liters water
  • 1 sports bottle, flask or pitcher

Juice the beetroot, apple pineapple and lemon (I use an Optimum 600 Slow Juicer, pictured above). Mix with the water into a large bottle. Drink!

And in case you’re wondering, yes it travels well!

DIY vitamin water for my journey today. (And a cup of @teapigs Darjeeling.) Getting the eff back on track. #juicing #travel #pun

Tropical Spirulina Yogurt Smoothie

So it seems spirulina makes smoothies look like something out of Ten Forward. This is cool to me. #trekkie

The Neptune green appearance of this spirulina yogurt smoothie would make it a fitting item on the bar menu at Ten Forward (or the Chalmun’s Cantina if you’d like). The super sci-fi color comes from – you guessed it – the combo of yogurt and spirulina. Meanwhile, the addition of pineapple and banana make it delicious and refreshing.

Why this is good for you:

  • Banana is loaded with potassium
  • Spirulina adds iron, magnesium, protein and B12 to the party
  • Yogurt adds more protein, plus live cultures, calcium and vitamin D
  • Just half a banana and a small slice of pineapple means this smoothie isn’t a sugar bomb

This smoothie is inspired by the Passion 4 Juice Master, one of the highlights of Juice Feast. This smoothie uses whole pineapple rather than juiced pineapple so it can all be done in the blender (I use a Froothie Optimum 9400).

Spirulina Yogurt Smoothie


  • 200g plain natural yogurt
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1-inch round slice of pineapple, skin removed and cut into chunks
  • 5g spirulina (about one heaped teaspoon; I use Naturya spirulina)


  1. Put everything into the blender (I use a Froothie Optimum 9400) and blitz until smooth. Serve on ice and enjoy!


Ultimate Evergreen Spirulina Smoothie

Ultimate Evergreen Spirulina Smoothie

This is one of my go-to post-swim breakfast smoothies that gets its awesome coniferous color from spirulina, a blue-green algae that I’ve been enjoying in my smoothies lately. Spirulina is touted for its high concentration of plant-based B12 and protein, making it a pretty cool supplement for vegans and vegetarians. Now, this could all be in my head, but I actually feel better for it – this spirulina smoothie after a swim seems to give me enough oomph to power through til lunch (including a pre-lunch CrossFit session as is my routine these days).

How does spirulina taste? Let’s be honest here: it’s an algae so it tastes a bit like seaweed and takes some getting used to. I’ve actually grown to like its flavor. Plus, this spirulina smoothie has a lot more stuff going for it: pineapple, lime, avocado… serve it in a salt-rimmed glass, garnish it with some flaked coconut and make an event of it.

Ultimate Evergreen Spirulina Smoothie

This spirulina smoothie features prominently in the 7-Day Juice Feast. It’s made by juicing pineapple, apple, cucumber and lime then blending it with avocado and spirulina. Yep, you need a juicer and a blender for this one. But as the song says: it takes two to make a thing go right. And this spirulina smoothie is so so right. I’ve been using an Optimum 9400 blender and Optimum 600 Slow Juicer to get the job done and I can’t recommend them enough.

Ultimate Evergreen Spirulina Smoothie

  • 1/4 pineapple
  • 1 apple
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1/2 lime, peel removed
  • 1 tsp spirulina (I use Naturya spirulina)
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 heaped tsp psyllium husk (totally optional)


  1. Juice the pineapple, apple, lime and spirulina.
  2. Blend the juice with the avocado, spirulina and psyllium husk until silky smooth.
  3. Serve and enjoy!