Plant-Based Chocolate Mint Shake with Coconut

Plant-Based Chocolate Mint Shake with Coconut by Produce with Amy“Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.” ― Joanne Harris, “Chocolat”

July marks my seventh anniversary of reaching Lifetime status with Weight Watchers and August is also my seventh anniversary of becoming a Weight Watchers leader. When I look back and reflect on my journey, I realize that one of the healthiest changes that I made to my lifestyle is eradicating refined sugar from my meal plan. When I drink coffee or tea, I drink it black and candy, sweets, chocolate, juice, cereal, and ice-cream does not find its way into my shopping cart. I will on a rare occasion, when at a gathering, indulge in a regular soda (I try not to consume artificial sweeteners) and when I want something sweet I reach for a piece of fruit.

Every once in a while I will have a craving for something sweet – especially in the summer when ice-cream beckons – so I have come up with healthy ways to indulge a sweet tooth. Today I thought that I would share one of my favorites from the past couple years.

When I first started making plant-based shakes, or ice-cream, I would buy a carton of almond or coconut milk. But after reading the long list of ingredients, I decided that it would be healthier to make my own nut milks. Not to mention that I found myself tossing the processed cartons of plant-based milk away since I did not use it often and with the price of groceries, I despise throwing out food. For my dessert recipes that call for homemade plant-based milk, I use raw nuts and coconut water (or plain water). If I know beforehand that I am going to make a shake, I soak the nuts overnight (or for a few hours) but if I am being spontaneous – I add them straight to my Vitamix blender .

This recipe calls for fresh mint which I have available all summer in my garden. If you do not have access to fresh mint – a mint extract will do the trick. (I have found wonderful almond, mint, and vanilla extracts available in the spice aisle at Target.)

Cocoa Powder, Raw Nuts, & Mint

CHOCOLATE MINT SHAKE WITH COCONUT

  • 1 and a 1/2 frozen bananas (mine were medium in size. I allow my bananas to get fully ripe and then I peel and toss in a freezer bag or bowl for smoothies and ice-cream/shakes)
  • 1/2  cup to 1 cup of coconut water (depending on how thick or thin you want your shake. I used 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup of raw nuts (I used a mix that I find at Target)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder to taste (I used 2 heaping Tablespoons)
  • Handful of ice cubes
  • Few sprigs of mint (or 1+ teaspoons of extract)

Blend well and garnish with cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips – many varieties are plant-based) and coconut flakes. Serve and enjoy!

*Notes –
Possible healthy additions to this shake include:

  • Avocado (it adds healthy fat and makes the shake creamy…surprisingly, it does not dramatically impact the taste)
  • Vanilla extract
  • A dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Spinach (it is naturally sweet and it will change the color of the smoothie but like the avocado will not dramatically change the taste)
  • When I make curry I do buy canned coconut milk and I freeze the leftover. When I have it on hand I will use it in my plant-based shakes to make them extra creamy.

Printable Recipe: CHOCOLATE MINT SHAKE WITH COCONUT by Produce with Amy

 

Chocolate Mint Shake by Produce with AmyChocolate Mint Shake with Coconut by Produce with AmyMake sure you check out my Healthy Indulges tab for other plant-based dessert shakes. I always love to hear what people think after trying one of my recipes and I enjoy hearing about the changes that are made to fit personal tastes.

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Have a beautiful week and I hope that you enjoy the Chocolate Mint Shake! I raise my glass to you – cheers to thriving together!

Chocolate & Mint Shake with Coconut by Produce with Amy

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Summon Summer with a Raspberry Lemonade Green Smoothie

Raspberry Lemonade Green Smoothie by Produce with Amy“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Today marked the third official day of my summer break. To many people being an educator and having summers “off” would be a dream come true. Yet, I feel guilt surface when Mike kisses me goodbye in the morning (I know he would love extra time to complete all of his household projects). While I love to have time to prep and plan for a fresh school year and enjoy much-needed R&R, the beginning of my summer holiday often gives me a hearty dose of the blues. Last year my friend Sue (now a retired teacher) suggested that perhaps it was the loss of adrenaline that I get from guiding spirited teenagers each day. Maybe it is the surge of the crowd that keeps me moving and drives me. Once the school year is over, my endorphins plunge and I feel depressed.

Well, I decided that this summer I was going to outrun the blues. To have a productive summer I decided that I WAS NOT going to lounge around in my pajamas drinking coffee and feeling sorry for myself. After all, I decided back in January when I started this blog that I was going to be PRODUCTIVE! So I started off Monday morning with a schedule (imagine that) to make sure that my time was structured.

I am enamored with my morning routine: hot water and lemon followed by a cup of green tea (yes, I am giving up coffee. I will dedicate this adventure to it own blog post in a week or so). 30 minutes of reflective journal writing (I listen to meditative/instrumental music and will gradually increase this writing time to 60 minutes). A short walk with Phoebe (our dog) and 30 minutes of cardio. One of the rules during the above is that I am not able to access facebook or other technology until I complete my morning routine. After cardio I drink water and have breakfast (usually a green smoothie).

My afternoon routine is composed of various household chores (which I have honestly failed at). For next week I am going to simplify my afternoon routine and come up with a long list of projects that need to be completed (example: clean the kitchen utensil drawers, scrub out the refrigerator, organize bookshelves, swap out winter clothes for summer). Each morning after my morning routine I will choose ONE project to complete. That way I can still spend time gardening, getting in extra exercise, reading, writing, blogging, and planning for the 2013-2014 school year.

Today I did have every intention to deep clean the kitchen from top to bottom. It would have been a perfect day since today was rather chilly, rainy and gloomy, with temperatures in the 50s. After my morning routine I quickly scanned my schedule on the refrigerator but I felt so calm and peaceful after my writing session and rejuvenated after my cardio that I started to rethink my day. Before Phoebe and I went for our walk I made myself a green smoothie. Since I drink one each morning I try to change things up but usually do not follow a particular recipe. Today’s smoothie was very simple and I could not help thinking how much it tasted like raspberry lemonade. I wanted to share this smoothie with others (which meant I could not possible deep clean the kitchen…sorry, Mike 😉

The ingredients for this green smoothie are simple: Raspberries (I used frozen), spinach, lemon juice and zest (I used a small organic lemon), frozen banana, fresh mint (optional but highly recommended), and water.

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Fresh raspberries would be perfect in this recipe and makes me want to pick fresh berries this summer.

Fresh raspberries would be perfect in this recipe and makes me want to pick fresh berries this summer.

I only used two of these three pieces since I wanted my smoothie more tart.   For green smoothies I recommend waiting until your bananas are ripe. Peel and toss in a bag or bowl in the freezer.

I only used two of these three pieces since I wanted my smoothie more tart. I would recommend more banana if you want your smoothie to be sweeter. For green smoothies I recommend waiting until your bananas are ripe then peel and toss in a bag or bowl in the freezer. I buy extra bananas each week so I have plenty frozen for 1-2 green smoothies a day.

If you are using lemon concentrate my lemon rendered 1/4 cup of juice.

If you are using lemon concentrate my lemon rendered 1/4 cup of juice.

Lemon zest adds a fantastic zing to a smoothie!

Lemon zest adds a fantastic zing to a smoothie!

I have fresh mint growing in my garden and love to add it to smoothies, fruit salad, and even savory dishes.

I have fresh mint growing in my garden and love to add it to smoothies, fruit salad, and even savory dishes.

I will soon be celebrating our Vitamix's "One Year Anniversary." How did we ever live without it?

I will soon be celebrating our Vitamix’s “One Year Anniversary.” How did we ever live without it?

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The finished product. Summery and nutritious.

Here is the exact “recipe” that I used with measurements. You may also want to add a few ice cubes to the blender or to the finished smoothie. For a larger version click on the photo.

Raspberry Lemonade Green Smoothie

I bought this dainty little crystal vase yesterday for 25 cents when I was thrift shopping. It looks darling with Johnny-jump-ups and forget-me-nots from my garden.

I bought this dainty little crystal vase yesterday for 25 cents when I was thrift shopping. It looks darling with Johnny-jump-ups and forget-me-nots from my garden.

Who wants to deep clean the kitchen when blogging is so fun? Not me. ;)

Who wants to deep clean the kitchen when blogging is so fun? Not me. 😉

It always makes me feel productive when I share a new recipe and focus on healthy living. I think that blogging will help fill the void of my empty classroom. I am looking forward to sharing more recipes and I even have a post on upcycling thrift store items started. Here is a sneak peek of some of the items that I purchased for a song yesterday. To give you a hint, the post probably will not take root for a couple of months. It needs warm weather and sunshine to help it bloom.100_1651

If you use Pinterest here is a pin for the recipe: Raspberry Lemonade Green Smoothie. Hopefully it will help summon summer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Cheers to a productive and healthy summer!