Oh dear its getting nippy in the morning chez les Jamiesons! I don’t know if it’s my childhood memories of coming down for breakfast, seeing my mum over the stove stirring a pot of hot oatmeal (or porridge as we called it), that makes me crave a bowl of something warm in the cooler mornings, or do we just naturally want something warm in our bellies when the weather changes? I’m not sure, but I find when the mornings start off requiring slippers and robes when I get up, my morning cravings start to change too and I find myself pulling a big pot out of the cupboard to carry on the porridge tradition with my little ladies.
Now, I am usually not a “big” breakfast kind of person but rather more of what I’d call a morning grazer. Fruit and veggie juice or smoothies are morning staples for me because I digest them well, they give me a boost of energy and I really feel best when I start my day off with a fresh juice or smoothie. They are always accompanied with or followed up by a hot cup of green or yerba mate tea and later in the morning, some seasonal fresh fruit. When the weather first starts to change and I come down to a cold kitchen or have to put the heat on in the car on the way to work, I am always conflicted with what to eat. I want something a little more seasonal and warming but I also want my smoothie.
What I tend to do to both nurture my cravings and go with what works digestively for me, is to add a little more starches to my smoothies like a big ripe banana (not frozen) or half an avocado. I also LOVE autumn fruit and vegetables and get so excited when they come into the stores. The delicata squash, honey crisp apples, figs, quince, pumpkin, winter squash, you name it, I love it! I find them so grounding and for me these are the ultimate comfort food. Food that I feel so satisfied by without feeling crappy afterwards. I love incorporating the fall produce into all of my meals, even breakfast – whether that’s steamed or baked squash or pumpkin or cooked apples and pears. These add a little more creaminess and sweetness to my drinks. Another thing I do on evenings when I haven’t had time to bake or prep any veg or fruit, I’ll leave out some frozen berries overnight to defrost and throw these in my shakes in the morning so my drink isn’t freezing when I mix everything up. Or if I make my drink the night before, I leave it on the counter for a bit so it warms up to room temperature. And the new thing I have been doing which I am really excited about, as per the recipe below, is to warm my milk up on the stove before adding it to the blender. The key is not to boil the milk, just to warm it up. It really transforms or winterizes a smoothie, while still giving it all the benefits. Plus they taste amazing! I feel like I am drinking a dessert for breakfast.
A quick side note, I am currently in the middle of a CLEAN GUT cleanse by Alejandro Junger (I can post more on this if anyone is interested-leave a comment). I have done his CLEAN cleanse and his GUT CLEANSE once before but had a few cheats on the first one, actually when I did the GUT CLEASE last time I had a lot of cheats (veggie or nacho chips, flour and sugar from vegan baked goods and even a little coffee). Needless to say, I didn’t reap all the benefit from the cleanse and overall didn’t feel great. This time I am committed to sticking with it for the full three weeks and following his food recommendations. On this cleanse, you have a smoothie for breakfast, lunch is your main meal composed of veg, good fats and protein, then dinner is an entrée size salad or soup with foods from his CLEAN guidelines. Junger recommends you vary up your meals and smoothies so you aren’t having the same thing every day for three weeks, which is something I would normally do. I’d have the same shake every day if I wasn’t nudged to add a little variety into the mix. This is one reason I came up with this recipe. I wanted to stay within the guidelines using his allergen friendly protein powder (gluten, dairy, egg, soy, sugar free), almond or coconut milk, some healthy fats, vegetables and/or berries. I am loving the different shakes that I have tried from his list but wanted to come up with something new when my body craved a warmer, creamier drink. I have used pumpkin in smoothies before for my girls’ shakes to add some texture, thickness and of course an extra veg and I have made caffeine free hot pumpkin lattes. So why not try mixing these two? The result, I have to say, was delicious and belly satisfying! Over the next few months I’ll be saving the frozen smoothies for after my longer Tracy Anderson Cardio sessions or hot yoga classes and savoring some warmer smoothies to start off my day.
Warm Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
1½ cup vegan milk
1 cup pumpkin, cooked & mashed
Handful (or two) of leafy greens (see note)
1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder (optional)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ginger
Dash of ground cloves
1-2 dates, pitted or stevia to taste
1) Measure milk into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat.
2) Place warm milk and remaining ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.
Makes about 1 serving.
Note: For leafy greens try arugula, it adds a nice peppery taste that goes well with this mix or spinach or baby kale. This smoothie can also be made without the greens. I love to add greens to all my smoothies but this also tastes great without.