Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hungry Runner: Thick and Creamy Smoothies

In addition to my newly-acquired green smoothie love, I'm quite hooked on my tried-and-true dairy-based smoothies.  I had always made them with a yogurt base when a friend recommended that I try smoothies using cottage cheese instead.  "Cottage cheese?!" I exclaimed, almost too disgusted to speak.  "I just can't stomach the texture of cottage cheese.  You know, they throw milk away when it looks like that..."

Full of doubt but always willing to try something new, I looked up her recommended recipe for a cottage cheese protein shake.  I had to admit, the recipe received rave reviews, and the photos looked thick and creamy, my top two requirements for a smoothie.  I gave her recipe a whirl and was quickly converted from a cottage cheese doubter to an enthusiastic believer.

Since that first attempt several years ago, I've adapted my process to fit my personal preferences - and to align with the usual contents of my fridge and pantry.  I take a loose approach to preparing my smoothies, but in general, they look a bit like this:

1/2 cup of cottage cheese
1/2 of a banana
1 or 1.5 cups of frozen fruit (mixed berries are my favorite!)
1/3 or 1/2 cup of fruit juice or water

Add the ingredients to your NutriBullet in the order listed above and blend until well combined.  If you are using a blender instead, I suggest adding the fruit juice first; I have better luck with standard blenders when the liquid ingredients are closest to the blades.

The beauty of this process is that you can adjust it anyway you like!  Mix and match any fruits that you like to create a wonderfully creamy, protein-filled snack.  If you'd rather use fresh fruit instead of frozen, add a few ice cubes to help thicken it up.  I like using 100% fruit juice instead of water as it boosts the flavor quite a bit, but water also works quite well.

Give this recipe a try and report back on your results!  Are you a cottage cheese convert like me, or do you prefer a different smoothie base?