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almond joy smoothie ingredientsOut with the old, in with the new. My oldest daughter said it best, “Yah so I don’t wait for the beginning of a new year to make the necessary changes in life, I do them accordingly.”

I’m not really going to profess any resolutions. I try to be the best person I can be (most of the time); I try to eat well and local (most of the time); we cancelled our gym membership (because we didn’t go most of the time). I do want to eat more greens and fruits. It just happened that a Simple Green Smoothie Challenge started on New Year’s Day.

It really is simple: leafy greens, fruit and a liquid base. Some additional boosts, if you want, but that’s it. You don’t even need a super-duper blender. The key is to blend the leafy greens with the liquid first. If you want your family to join you, what better way to hide spinach? I just wish I could hide the green color from them…

Having frozen fruit on hand gives the smoothie a nice cold finish. And at this time of the year — at least in New England — we don’t have lots of fresh, local fruit to choose from. I bought a bunch of organic bananas, peeled them, cut each into four and immediately tossed them into a freezer bag. I’ve got frozen blueberries, pineapple and raspberries, too.

We’ve all heard, over and over, how good dark leafy greens are for you: minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, etc. All good things to help boost your immune system and overall health. And who knows, perhaps help to keep life-threatening diseases at bay.

The smoothies aren’t meant to replace a meal. However, if you want to lose a few pounds try one as a meal and one as a snack. If you use one to replace a meal, be certain to include healthy fats and protein.

Week One’s shopping list basically includes everything I either had on hand, buy from my farmers market or buy organic versions from my local grocery store: from bananas and pears to spinach and kale to almond milk to almond butter and coconut.

My concern about creating good smoothies was not having a Vitamix-type blender. The gals from Simple Green Smoothies put me at ease. While not all of the vegetable or fruit pulp is “smooth” I know I’m drinking valuable

My smoothie-of-the-day today is Almond Joy. Enjoy!

Almond Joy

almond joy smoothieServes 2

What you need:

  • 2 c fresh kale, stems removed, chopped
  • 2 c almond milk
  • 1 banana, frozen ad chopped
  • 2 pears, ripe, peeled, cored and chopped (if you have a Vitamix-type blender, don’t worry about peeling or coring!)
  • 2 tbs unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 tbs cacao powder
  • 1 tbs almond butter

What you do:

  • In blender add kale and almond milk.
  • Blend until mixture is a green and juice-like consistency.
  • Add banana, pears, coconut, cacao and almond butter to blender.
  • Blend until mixed and creamy*.

*Remember, depending on the type of blender you have the end result may not be completely smooth.