Cherry Almond Coconut Shake ~ Plant-Based Healthy Indulgence

Guilt-Free Cherry Almond Coconut Shake by Produce with Amy โ€œWell, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.โ€
โ€• Langston Hughes

I woke up this morning with thankfulness. This is an intentional routine that I try to practice each day. I believe that we shape our own energy. Life can be fraught with stress (a majority that we manufacture ourselves). Therefore, it is important to stop and think about what is really important. Start each morning with a smile. (Smile right now…it made you feel lighter…did it not?) ๐Ÿ˜€

It is easy for me to type these things as I sit on the sofa enjoying a cup of peppermint tea and bask in the morning glow of my spring holiday. With each breath in and out ~ I am reminding myself to slow down and make the most of this time. Enjoy. Savor. Appreciate.

Today I will be mindful of the relaxation that my mind and body both need but I will also make a few preparations for next week. I acknowledge that going back to work will be a shock to my body (and the 160+ teenagers that share a classroom with me each day). I want to finish the last couple months of school with positive energy, commitment, and all the passion that led me to a career in education. Today I will prepare for the whirlwind that I will encounter next week by accomplishing some household chores and by getting a jump on my weekend cooking.

Along with a positive attitude, I believe that the food that we consume also plays on our mood and attitude. I find that when I am not consuming refined sugar and caffeine that I feel more balanced and able to manage stress and my emotions. The same goes with creating meals that are assembled with whole non-processed food. I am not saying that a bag of chips, soda, chocolate bar, or processed food item never ends up in my shopping cart, but it is a rarity.

A couple of posts ago, when I shared my recipe for a Peach & Raspberry Cobbler Shake, I explained how I made the shift away from store-bought dairy substitutes because of the long list of ingredients on the carton. It seemed like a natural change since I did invest in a Vitamix blender a few years ago and I always have raw nuts on hand. Why not make my own?

In anticipation of summer and warmer weather, today I am sharing another recipe for a Bowl of Cherrieshealthy dessert that tastes indulgent but is full of nutrients and will help you fuel your day. It is inspired by my favorite summer treat ~ cherries. I spend a bundle of money on fresh cherries each summer. In part, I believe, because they remind me of my childhood. My mom always had plenty of cherries (watermelon, grapes, and nectarines too) in the cooler when we spent long summer

Target carries my new obsession ~ real vanilla, almond, and peppermint extract.

Target carries my new obsession ~ real vanilla, almond, and peppermint extract.

days on the shore of Fortune Lake in my hometown of Crystal Falls, Michigan.

Since cherries are not in season in April, I had to settle for frozen cherries for this shake (I am calling it a shake instead of smoothie because it is thick and rich and tastes like a perfect dairy-free substitute for a traditional milk shake). The raw almonds help make it thick and give the drink a filling boost of protein. My advice is that you do not leave out the almond extract ~ I have made it without, and trust me, it does not taste the same.

Cherry Almond Coconut ShakeCHERRY ALMOND COCONUT SHAKE

  • 1 cup frozen cherries (If you are lucky enough to be using fresh cherries, make sure toย freeze them first)Vitamix
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/4 of raw, soaked almonds (soak overnight or for a few hours prior to making the shake)
  • 1 teaspoon real almond extractย (I added a bit more)
  • Ice cubesย (I added a few)
  • 3/4-1 cup of plain coconut waterย (I made sure it was cold and added 1/2 cup at first and added more until it was the consistency that I wanted. My shake was very thick and resembled a milk shake in texture)
  • Optional ~ 1 Tablespoon organic coconut flakes for garnish

Blend well. A great addition to this shake would also be a touch of vanilla extract and a dash of cinnamon.

Printable recipe:ย CHERRY ALMOND COCONUT SHAKE

Pin it HERE.

Cherry Almond Coconut Shake by Produce with Amy

Cherry Almond Coconut Smoothie

 

Cherry Almond Coconut Plant-Based Shake

If you are interested in other nutritious desserts, check out my Healthy Indulgences tab.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and please follow my posts via email, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr and make sure to find me on Facebook. I love the reciprocal nature of social networks. Together we can create a community of health minded individuals that are concerned about the fuel that put into our bodies. I look forward to sharing more recipes with you and please post your comments and feedback. Have a marvelous day and remember to stop to breathe, appreciate, and savor the world and all the gifts that are all around us.

Appreciation

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February Recipe Round-Up: Winter Bok Choy Slaw from “Vegetarian Times”

โ€œI hate the notion of a secret recipe. Recipes are by nature derivative and meant to be shared – that is how they improve, are changed, how new ideas are formed. To stop a recipe in it’s tracks, to label it “secret” just seems mean.โ€ย 
โ€• Molly Wizenberg

Green Smoothies (Baby kale, spirulina powder, mango, strawberries, chia seeds, and water) with a vintage covered glass dish that I bought at a thrift store for $3.

Green Smoothies (Baby kale, spirulina powder, mango, strawberries, chia seeds, and water) with a vintage covered glass dish that I bought at a thrift store for $3.

It feels empowering to report that Mike and I have fueled every morning of 2013 with a luscious green smoothie. We love how satisfying they are and how they hold our hunger over until lunch. The addition of chia seeds makes them especially filling. My weekly shopping list always includes plenty of fresh ginger root and cilantro since those are two of my favorite additions. I love the zingย that they give my taste buds. Another ingredient that I have been adding to our smoothies a couple times a week is Spirulina Powder.

I found Spirulina powder in the bulk spice section of our local co-op.

I found Spirulina powder in the bulk spice section of our local co-op.

I was able to buy a small amount (about a cup) from the Marquette Food Co-op in the bulk spice section and I add approximately four teaspoons to the Vitamix before blending. A couple times a week I also add Wheat Grass Powder to our smoothies. One of my future projects is to try to sprout my own wheat grass at home.

People often ask me if I have noticed any major differences in how I feel or look after adding green smoothies back into my diet. Mike and I both feel a surge of energy in the morning after drinking our smoothies and they can really help curb a carb craving if you feel one coming on. A few times since the new year I have blended up a small green smoothie in the evening to enjoy as a pre or after dinner snack. Mike said

Amy during a date Night at the Landmark Inn in Marquette on February 9, 2013.

Amy during a date Night at the Landmark Inn in Marquette on February 9, 2013.

he thinks that myย skin is glowing from all the fresh fruit and vegetables that I have been eating. Upper Michigan winters are harsh and normally in February I notice that my skin looks dull and is in desperate need of sunshine. So obviously, Mike’s comment really made me glow. He may be biased, but we ran into my cousin last night and she commented that she could tell from our skin that we are both eating healthy. Talk about a marvelous incentive to eat more plants!

Going back to plant-based eating I knew that one of the pitfalls that I had to work hard to avoid was a food rut. Not only does eating the same thing over and over get boring, but it also prevents our bodies from a getting a wide-range of nutrients. In order to prevent myself from eating the same things over-and-over I asked my Weight Watchers members to join me in a February Recipe Round-Up.ย The guiding philosophy behind Weight Watchers 360 is that we learn how to make positive behavioral changes in our life. In the months ahead we will be encouraged to contemplate our Spaces and Routines to help us achieve our weight management goals. So what better way is there for us to do this than to get ourselves in the Routine of trying new recipes? I am very guilty of shopping for ingredients for a new recipe and never following through with actually making the food. The fresh ingredients get used for another meal and the shelf stable ingredients sit in our pantry. Many of my WW members said they were guilty of doing the same and have countless cookbooks and Pinterest boards brimming with recipes that they have been meaning to try. Some of the members are joining me in the challenge because they say cooking is out of their comfort zone and they want to be able to prepare their own fresh and healthy meals. ย Here are the rules for our Recipe Round-Up Challenge that I created in ย a facebook event and shared at the meetings:

The Recipe Round-Up Challenge consists of these steps:

1. Commit to one NEW recipe a week (it cannot be something you have made before).

2. The meal and day of the week is optional (breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or snack) It can be a main entrรฉe, a soup, salad, or a side.

4. Share serving size and PP values.

4. If the recipe contains any unusual or โ€œexoticโ€ ingredients share where you shopped.

5. Give a recipe review. Is it something that you would make again? Would you make any variations?.

6. At the end of the month give Amy a hard copy of the recipe and she will print and make cookbooks for all the participants. In addition to a cookbook we could even have a pot-luck event after one of our meetings to sample our favorite recipes.

5. *Optional ~ post pictures of your recipe experiment on our facebook group.

This Recipe Challenge has been a great incentive to commit to new recipes because it is important to me that I am a role model and do not let my Weight Watchers members down. My number one goal for my first recipe was that I wanted to try a new fruit or vegetable. While I have had Bok Choy before in dishes, I had never purchased it myself. I was tantalized by a Winter Bok Choy Slaw recipe that was featured in the February issue of Vegetarian Times photo (4)magazine. In 2012, I subscribed to VT and am always excited when a new issue lands in my mailbox. Though, regretfully, I have only tried a couple recipes. This is about to change! I highly recommend VT for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. The magazine features incredible recipes that utilize an abundance of fruit and vegetables. The magazine is informative and I find it is a terrific educational tool to help me learn more about nutrition.

The recipe made approximately nine cups (I added extra Bok Choy) and was a tasty addition to my lunch last week. The flavor of the slaw improved as it sat in the refrigerator and it is definitely a dish that I will make again. Because Bok Choy is sturdy this would be a fantastic salad to bring to a pot-luck.

Vegetarian TimesFor my version of the Winter Bok Choy Slaw, I did add extra Bok Choy and substituted olive oil for the sesame oil because that is what I had on hand. I also used raw nuts

The raw nuts that I purchase from Target.

The raw nuts that I purchase from Target.

instead of the smoked almonds. The mango was so delicious in the slaw that the next day I also added some pineapple. Both were a sweet and juicy accompaniment to the zesty cilantro and spicy jalapeno.

Raw nuts are a staple in our house and I buy a container every couple weeks. I found an unsalted mix at Target and it includes: cashews, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, and walnuts. Many of my Weight Watchers members cite that nuts can be a trigger food and I always recommend that they try raw nuts. Raw nuts are filling, have many health benefits (including healthy fat and protein), and I personally find that raw nuts are not as addictive as roasted, salted ones. The key with nuts is to portion them out because the Points Plus value can add up very quick. I eat the nuts on their own for a quick mid-day snack and I often use them to top a salad so I make sure that I am getting protein.

Winter Bok Choy Slaw. The taste is as vibrant as its colors.

Winter Bok Choy Slaw. The taste is as vibrant as the colors.

What a colorful way to perk up a bland February day!

What a flavorful way to perk up a bland February day!

This was part of my lunch today. Five days later and the Winter Slaw is still appealing and crunching.

This was part of my lunch today. Five days later and the Winter Slaw is still appealing and crunchy.

Vegetarian Times shares more uses for versatile Bok Choy

Vegetarian Times shares more food ideas for versatile Bok Choy

What will be on my plate this week for the February Recipe Round-Up? I have challenged myself to try TWO new recipes this week. Today I am making a Creamy Peanut Butter Soup with Ginger and Chili from the Weight Watchers 360 Cookbook, Turn up the Flavor. The cookbook was a delightful holiday gift from Florine Mark. Thank you, Florine, for your tasteful and handy gift!

I also have a decadent looking Sweet Potato Veggie Burger recipe on a Pinterest board that I have been meaning to try for a long time. Stay tuned for future blog posts and recipe reviews of the February Recipe Round-Up. Hopefully this post has inspired you to add some new recipes to your weekly meal plan. I would love to hear about your favorites!
I have a wide selection of WW cookbooks and my goal for 2013 is to put them to use.

I have a wide selection of WW cookbooks and my goal for 2013 is to put them to use.