Cranberry Persimmon Smoothie

Persimmon Cranberry Smoothie 1

Sometimes the most exotic ingredients are best delivered in nondescript packages. At least, that’s the case with this Cranberry Persimmon Smoothie, which conveniently tastes like good old strawberry banana. If you’re new to persimmons, or are uneasy about tofu (yep, I snuck that in), rest assured that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy the comforting, sweet flavors of this seasonal fruity beverage.

Rather than sticking to tried-and-true favorites, I encourage you to begin 2016 with an open-minded palate. Persimmons (tomato-looking fruits that are in stores this time of year) are a great alternative to winter citrus. Eaten raw, the mildly tropical aromas will transport you to a warmer clime. They also add a delightful twist to baked desserts (like crisps and cobblers). Beginners should note that the oblong, hachiya persimmons must soften before they can be eaten, while the squat looking fuyu persimmons don’t need to ripen as much, and can be eaten firm.

Similarly, while most of us lean towards yogurt as a smoothie thickener, silken tofu is a nutritious (and inconspicuous) plant-based alternative. Although a favorite among the yoga and granola set, this simple soy food also makes for decadently creamy pasta sauces, dips, and salad dressings.

Once you “master” an ingredient, by utilizing it in a crave-worthy recipe, it is much easier to approach menus and cookbooks with an open mind, adding dimension and variety to what can oftentimes become a cycle of repetitive eating.

What new foods will you try this year?

Cranberry Persimmon Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 small banana, frozen in chunks
  • 1 ripe persimmon
  • 1/3 cup frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup silken tofu

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.

Nutrition per serving: 250 calories, 2g fat (0g saturated fat), 60g carbohydrates (10g fiber, 36g sugar*), 5g protein, 0g cholesterol, 7mg sodium, 56% Vitamin A, 43% Vitamin C, 4% Calcium, 6% Iron

*All sugars are naturally occurring; none are added sugars

– Kelly

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Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake

Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake (No sugar!)

Like any self-respecting locavore, I aim to feature seasonal farmers market produce whenever possible. But alas, my penny-pinching food budget has the final say, which is why I tend to avoid picking up groceries until every scrap of food in the cupboard has been eaten.

That brings me to this chocolate cranberry milkshake. More indulgent than fresh fruit, but more nourishing than a chocolate milkshake, this cocoa-cranberry beverage is the perfect balance of nutritious and delicious. Cranberries may not be popular this time of year, but if they’re in my freezer, they’re fair game. Eating healthy need not be expensive; so if you’re out of fresh fruit, don’t hesitate to use up what you have on hand (frozen fruit, dried fruit, or fruit canned in water or juice). Par for the course with my other milkshake recipes, this one is sweetened with fruit alone, meaning you don’t have to worry about nutrient-empty added sugars.

Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake (Healthy! No sugar!)

Cranberry Chocolate Milkshake

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen cranberries (unsweetened)
  • 1 ripe banana, frozen
  • 1 date, pitted and chopped (or 1 Tbsp date paste)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used organic nonfat milk)

Method: Add all ingredients to blender, and blend to combine.

Chocolate Cranberry Milkshake (Secretly healthy! No added sugar!)

Nutrition: 280 calories, 7g fat (1g saturated fat), 59g carbohydrates (9g fiber, 43g sugar*), 9g protein, 4mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 8% Iron, 26% Calcium, 10% Vitamin A, 29% Vitamin C

*none of these sugars are the dangerous added sugars – all are naturally occurring

– Kelly