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Archive for the ‘smoothie’ Category

I ate my weight in tropical fruits this week–apple bananas, strawberry papayas and pineapples. While other vacationers were planning their Kauai trip schedules around luaus, snorkeling excursions and weather forecasts, we were busy planning ours around the daily farmer’s market schedules. A day trip discussion between Scott and me sounded something like, “Let’s go to the North Shore on Tuesday. We can’t go on Wednesday because we won’t make it back in time for the Kapaa Farmer’s Market at 3 p.m.” A drive through town most often involved a shout out to pull the car over because the banana lady hadn’t packed up yet, and Monday brought the sinking realization that we had missed the Koloa market and would have to attend the smaller Lihue market instead. We’ve eaten so much tropical fruit I am amazed my gums and the inside of my mouth aren’t raw. Though if I hear myself say, “that was the best pineapple I have ever eaten!” one more time, my ears may start bleeding.

We wondered if the fruit we bought from the farmer's market on Wednesday would last us until Thursday.

We visited Kauai for the first time during our honeymoon 11 years ago and luckily, we stayed in a condo with a blender. On a whim, Scott froze two papayas in an ice cube tray to see what a papaya smoothie would taste like. What started as an experiment turned into a vacation breakfast addiction, I mean tradition. Now whenever we are on vacation in Hawaii, the first thing we ask the hotel is the status of the blender. Room with a view overlooking the ocean? Sure, that’s a nice bonus, but, does the room have a blender?

I love papaya smoothies. LOVE THEM. I dream about their lovely creamy orange sweetness in January when the gray blues are settling into the crevices of my brain. I tell my friends to make papaya smoothies every time I hear one of them is headed to Hawaii. They graciously nod their heads, make some mmm hmm sounds, say things like, “ooh, that sounds good,” and smile at me vaguely. Maybe I am being too pushy and gregarious about our smoothies. Perhaps I should suggest they add rum, or I could get all grandma-like and send around a print schedule of where to find the Farmer’s Markets on Kauai to make things easier. Honestly, it would be a lot more helpful if I could recreate for them on the mainland what I so adore on the islands, but I can’t. Strawberry papayas and apple bananas don’t travel, and to try and blend a similar concoction at home with sub par tropical fruits is not worth the money and disappointment.

But, should you happen to be in the lovely Hawaiian islands this summer, here is the recipe. Make sure you stay somewhere with a blender, and a beautiful lanai and bonus view of the ocean, of course. And remember, there is nothing wrong with scheduling your hiking, snorkeling and various island adventures around the harvesting and purchasing of good, local fruit.

Papaya Smoothie
Ingredients:
-2 ripe strawberry papayas (check with the concierge for a listing of Farmer’s Markets around the island, or careen off the side of the road at the sight of a fruit stand)
-2-3 apple bananas (where you discover papayas, so too you will find bananas)
-Some pineapple is optional but not necessary
-Enough soy milk to keep the crappy hotel blender from seizing on the frozen mass of fruit

Directions:
-In the evening, slice open the papayas and remove the seeds. Scoop the papaya out of the skin by the spoonfuls into an ice cube tray. Onto a plate works fine, too.
-The next morning, add the frozen papaya, soy milk and banana to the blender, pray the engine doesn’t die or overheat, and blend until you have a smoothie with the consistency and creaminess of a milkshake.
-Drink and repeat.
-Serve with fresh, local, mashed avocado on toast.

Like I said, a blender in the room is absolutely imperative.

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As someone who is swiftly moving toward middle-age, my perception of who I am and what I am capable of doing physically, gets a bit more skewed each year. It is really only when I go to places like the doctor’s office or am faced with recovering from an illness that I am reminded that my 30-something-year-old body doesn’t necessarily reflect the youth I feel in my brain.

July was a rough month. Relatively, of course. My friends and family are dealing with much more difficult health issues than my out of office surgery and a follow up bout of bronchitis. But that doesn’t erase the fact that my appointment with the periodontist to get a much needed gum graft and then a midnight trip to the emergency room to open my lungs left me feeling old and mildly depressed. To give me a sense of my recovery time for the surgery, my doctor compared the two-day healing process of my wisdom teeth getting pulled at 18, to the two weeks it would take to heal just the roof of my mouth alone. The graft itself would take six to eight weeks. He then kindly reminded me that I no longer had the body of a teenager.

Aging is sneaky. I don’t pay much attention to the fact that my body is getting older because I feel young in my mind. I think that is a good thing, except when I am restricted from riding my bike and leaving my couch by two different professional men in white coats. Lying around the house watching bad daytime t.v. and movies is really overrated. I promise, it is. Sure, we all dream about rotting about the house after spending countless hours in front of the computer working on a bland report. But after a week of bad chick flicks and Harry Potter movies one, two, four and five, I began to feel restless for communication plans and email threads about LDAP servers. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating about the LDAP server part. But the bad t.v. left my brain feeling soggy, like an old bowl of oatmeal coagulating in the sink. I felt glassy-eyed and slow –certainly the Vicodin working its “magic.”

I feel like my old self now–healthy and strong. And after a month’s rest from cycling, I am ready to tackle hills. But mostly, I am reminded to be thankful that my body is back to performing those simple functions we all seem to take for granted–like eating and breathing, being able to walk down the driveway and take out the garbage without fear of falling, or in my brother-in-law’s case, being able to make it through the day without the excruciating pain of a disabling migraine.

I keep wondering if the age of my brain will ever catch up with the age of my body. Probably not until I am forced to accept my old-age fate. I expect that I will grow crotchety, stubborn and unwilling to relinquish my car keys or submit to the fact that I can no longer physically function without a walker and a LifeCall. But I think we are programmed to not surrender to aging. It’s what drives us to stay alive. To accept the fate of our age feels like growing old, and well, giving up. And really, who wants to do that?

While I was marooned on the couch, Scott kept my spirits from descending too far into the post-surgery, pit of pain by feeding me peanut butter, chocolate and banana shakes. The peanut butter and soymilk gave me a hit of protein, and the chocolate syrup and ice cream, well we all know the medical wonders of those healing foods. Four Advil and one of these smoothies and life with a mouth full of sutures hovered somewhere around bearable.

Peanut Butter Cup a’ Love Shake

3 large scoops of vanilla soy ice cream
1 frozen banana
1/3 cup of peanut butter
1/4 cup of vegan chocolate syrup (give or take a squirt depending on how much chocolate you like. I like to use AH!laska.)
1 1/2 cups of soymilk

Before you begin, take some time to cut up a bunch of bananas into small rounds, place them in a ziplock bag, and stick them in the freezer. Once you have frozen bananas, place all of the ingredients into the blender and blend into a thick and decadent shake.

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