Friends. The high today in Tempe is gonna be 111 degrees. Uhm. What?
Living in the dessert is a very crazy thing. The sun is always high and in this city, the concrete and the asphalt contain the heat it provides, even when the sun drops behind the mountains. During the day, the breeze feels like a blow dryer that’s directed right at your face and the upper lip sweat is constant. The steering wheel in our cars are always hot to the touch, feels like we’re driving and playing hot-potato at the same time (is that safe?).
Now, we didn’t really realize the beauty of the heat-haven that is our apartment until a couple weeks ago when our air conditioning was out. HA. Yikes. AND! Our apartment complex decided that from June-July they would be doing pool reconstruction…
We weren’t sure what to do. We looked at each other and considered if we had enough electric fans for this. Another important question to ask was, “What are we going to eat?” We had just gone to the store and picked up some fresh chicken and potatoes, and had plans to bake them into a hearty dinner dish that would last us for a couple of days. But, man, when our oven is on in our kitchen, the heat not only fills up the kitchen but also seeps into the living room. Couch relaxing is then uncomfortable and sticky. We both made a deal: no one is to turn on this oven until our A/C can blast through the vents again.
So, how can we cool down when we need a meal/snack before we escape our hot apartment? Hello, smoothies.
Smoothies are easy to make, are very refreshing and hydrating, and are just what two sweaty girls could nom on before they decide which friend’s pool they’re going to crash.
This mixed berry smoothie is easy to make and can be made to be eaten as a smoothie bowl (Ashley’s favorite!) or of course, as a regular, straw-drinkable smoothie. The consistency of your smoothie depends on how much liquid you add and the amount of frozen ingredients you use. For this recipe, we just condensed the amount of liquid we used and added more frozen fruit to make it a smoothie bowl. Smoothie bowls are fun because they give you the opportunity to top your smoothie with whatever your heart desires (a.k.a. whatever you have stocked in your pantry).
WHY EAT THAT: Berries
Do you remember us mentioning the power of antioxidants in dark chocolate? Antioxidants help to block the damage from free radicals which have been shown to have the potential to lead to health concerns such as cancer and heart disease.
Berries (e.g. blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries) are loaded with antioxidants, and some carry antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties. Berries are also rich in Vitamin C which we need so we can repair and grow tissues in all parts of our body, and it helps to boost our immune system, too!
Berries also contain dietary fiber which is great for our bodies (something you’ll hear us say over and over again) as it helps our digestive system to function properly. Dietary fiber has also been shown to lower cholesterol, and to help us feel full which can assist with weight management.
1 cup frozen berries
1 handful mixed greens (baby spinach/kale)
1/2 banana (1/2 saved for topping)
1/3 cup almond milk
1 tbsp almond butter
1/4 cup cereal (we used Cascadian Farm Hearty Morning Cereal)
1. Add all ingredients into the blender and blend until desired consistency (if you would like it creamier, add ice or more frozen fruit; if you would like it more drinkable, add more liquid).
2. For this smoothie bowl, pick a bowl deep enough to contain your smoothie to avoid overflow and so you have room to top it.
3. Top with 1/2 sliced banana and cereal.
1.Beattie J, Crozier A, Garry G. Potential Health Benefits of Berries. Current Nutrition & Food Science. Vol 1(1), Jan 2005, 71-86.
2.Devasagayam TPA, et al. Free Radicals and Antioxidants in Human Health: Current Status and Future Prospects. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India. Vol 52, Oct 2004, 794-804.
3.Vattem D, Ghaedian R, Shetty K. Enhancing health benefits of berries through phenolic antioxidant enrichment: focus on cranberry. Asia Pacific Journal Clincal Nutrition, Vol 14(2), 2005, 120-130.
4. Vitamin C (Asorbic Acid) \ University of Maryland Medical Center