Sunday, September 12, 2010

Morning smoothies!

I am fortunately/unfortunately a morning person.  This sucks the most on weekends when most people want to relax and sleep in and I am up and ready to go at 6am!  Sure I have quiet time, and can drink my coffee and read the paper, but I don't like to eat alone and am usually famished by the time the rest of the house wakes up. 
Sundays make up for my "bad" habit.  The Food Network helps the morning go by, as well as gives me some cooking ideas for the week.  Viewing starts with Secrets of a Restaurant Chef with host Anne Burrell, her drink ideas are always fun.  Next I watch 5 Ingredient Fix with Claire Robinson.  At first I didn't like this show, I guess I just didn't like Claire's presentation. 

yogurt and honey water waiting to be blended
But after I watched her make the Vanilla Bean Coconut Water Smoothie, I was hooked.  Not a big fan of smoothies, I was intrigued by the 5 ingredients that were needed for this.  First off, I couldn't imagine slurping down a glass of Greek yogurt.  This ingredient to me was only to be used as a substitute for sour cream on my baked potatoes, and not the main ingredient in a drink.  What sold me was the use of the vanilla bean.  I've never baked, cooked, or done anything with the actual bean, so I had to try this.  Add the honey and mint, which I love, and I was sold.  When watching the show for this recipe, Claire suggests using the honey to taste and she only put half of her honey/water mixture in.  I tried this, but didn't like that I could still taste the tartness of the yogurt, and ended up just putting in all the honey/water.  I also couldn't wait the 10-15 minutes for the honey/water to cool, so I put a few of the coconut water ice cubes in the pan to speed up the cooling.   Coconut water can be found in specialty grocery stores.  I have a Mexican grocery store Vallarta (that has well priced vegetables) where I bought 2 cans of the water (1 can fills 1 tray), Wholefood's Market or Trader Joe's are also other grocery options.  The recipe says to use 1/2 a tray, but again, I used the full tray to cut the tartness of the yogurt.  It all depends on your taste.  I like sweet, with just a tiny bit of sour.  Check out the Claire's recipe page for the full recipe as well as other comments on the recipe.

my finished product
Ingredients

1/2 water
1/2 cup honey
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon torn fresh mint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
Coconut water, frozen in ice cube tray (approximately 1/2 tray) (I used a full tray)


Directions
Combine the water, honey and vanilla bean pod in a small saucepan over low heat. Simmer for 7 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the vanilla to infuse into the honey. Remove the vanilla pod and allow the mixture to cool completely, about 10 to 15 minutes. (I added a few coconut ice cubes to help speed the cooling time)
In a blender, combine some of the vanilla honey with the yogurt, mint and 1/2 tray of frozen coconut water cubes, or more for desired consistency. Puree until smooth, then pour into glasses and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint. Serve immediately.

Stay hungry my friend!