Quickly learning how to shop, and to cook, on a student's budget, I've already avoided the $10.99 bag of gluten free granola that will only last a week, but rather selected three boxes of blueberries for $5, plus the yogourt and strawberries, all adding up to less than $8 and with more variations in the kitchen than a bowl of overpriced breakfast cereal. My advice for shopping with a budget: if it can go more than one way, buy it. That being said, I know cereal could be used in a crumble for example, a crunchy and delicious way to spice up the regular apple crisp, but also think, will you be making a crumble more than once this week?
If chances are no, put it back. The oats on the other hand, could be used to make
your own granola! I'm still thinking of the perfect homemade granola recipe...
And so, with budgets and ingredients, think of those fruits in smoothies, desserts, salad toppings, and baking... With all these ideas, I'm headed for far more cooking and loads more time in the kitchen!
But breakfast always come first, and so this morning, right after my sister had left to work for the day, I made myself a steaming pot of earl grey tea and sat down at the table with mug in hand. Sun streamed in through the windows, broken up by the little pots of green tomato plants stretching out of the little space they've been tucked into. Down below, the sound of construction hummed away, but up here, on the fourth floor and with the sleepiness of mornings still hovering, it became a kind of gentle background noise, one that was no longer noticed after a few moments. You wouldn't believe how much I've missed mornings that last for what seems to be endless minutes, and the endless sips in a pot of tea, or even the smell that comes from the pot as it sits, and steeps. I could never have imagined how much the simplest of things, such as setting down to a quickly whipped up breakfast and enjoying the feeling of being both proud at creating something so delicious and so colourful, could be missed
so entirely in a place where meals are set out each day, and variety comes in the form of whether you'll choose to have grapes as well as kiwis on a white plate that morning.
As I sat there, Lady Earl Grey filling the kitchen, my mind also filled with the possibilities of those blueberries and strawberries, and I knew it wouldn't be long until my stomach began grumbling from all the anticipation of breakfast. I'm usually up and ready for breakfast before everyone else anyway, and my stomach and I both know that I need something first thing, and something lasting, to keep us all happy.
So my whirl of activity in the kitchen, the buzz of the blender, and knock of the knife against the chopping board, became among the sounds of the construction outside, and for a few moments as I spun around the kitchen, grabbing one ingredient from the fridge, another from the shelf, balancing the cinnamon on top of the carton of blueberries, and finally snapping the lid back on the yogourt, I was completely oblivious to a stream of French words hurled outside, or the creak of floorboard underneath me. Until the cinnamon and dried cranberries had finished the look of my smoothie, just in time before the yogourt began to sink, I had yet come down from a few moments exhilaration.
It was as I sat down, and my spoon sank underneath the top layer of my glass to emerge a swirl of white yogourt and purple smoothie, I too sank back into the morning's calm, and to summer's relaxing, endless days.
I love serving smoothies with a big spoonful of yogourt on top, adding a creamier texture, and a soft contrast to the sweet tang of blended berries and fruits, and sprinkled with cinnamon and dried cranberries, you'd almost believe it was dessert. A better alternative to spending loads on pre-packaged and pre-made goods each morning, a smoothie is also perfect to use up any ripe fruits and vegetables in the fridge, without the need to add sugars or sweeteners! There are limitless ways of making a smoothie, but after trying out this blend of berries and another secret ingredient, this one is definitely a great way to start the morning, or keep you going late into the day, and packed with all those vital nutrients everyone's going on about!
Plus, it's so colourful I doubt anyone could resist it!
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, stems removed
Large handful of fresh baby spinach leaves
Teaspoon cinnamon powder, plus more to serve
Dash of almond milk, or as needed
1/4 cup natural yogourt
Tablespoon dried cranberries
Optional, honey or maple syrup
In a blender, layer your ingredients, beginning with the berries, and ending with the fresh spinach leaves. Don't forget the cinnamon! Pulse until smooth and liquid, adding almond milk to reach desired consistency.
Serve in a glass, scooping the yogourt on top, sprinkling with cinnamon and dried cranberries. For added sweetness, also drizzle a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup, and enjoy like a delicious sundae!
Bisous! xx S
Labels: blueberries, breakfast, gluten free, smoothie, snack, spinach, strawberries