By Nancy Smorch
The girls and I were about to head out for a hike here in Ocala and I needed a snack to boost my energy and get me to dinner. I had the idea of combining chocolate and cherry together in a smoothie somehow in my head, so I thought I’d play around with it for today’s recipe.
I also wanted something simple. Too often I come across smoothie recipes that have a lot of ingredients or have ingredients I may not have. This one is pretty straight forward. Why mess with the perfection of chocolate and cherry together, right?
The result of my playing around in the kitchen is the Chocolate Cherry Superfood Smoothie. I think it turned out amazingly tasty! And knowing that it is packed with super nutrients makes it taste even better for me.
So, I started out with about 1 cup frozen organic cherries. Cherries are known for their high flavonoid content, which not only gives them their dark color, but also acts as an antioxidant. Cherries are also high in Vitamin C and potassium. I haven’t had cherries in a long time and seeing these deep purplish/red cherries brought back visions of summertime in Michigan, and those glorious couple of weeks in July when the farmer’s markets are flowing with fresh-picked local cherries!
Believe it or not, I’ve never gone cherry picking, but it is now officially on my list for this summer!
Next I wanted to add some chocolate, so my choice was organic raw cacao powder (2 Tbsp.). Just in time for Valentines Day, cacao contains a substance called phenylethylamine or PEA, which is the chemical found in the brains of people in love. And, raw cacao is rich in antioxidants, Vitamins A & C, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and copper. It even contains resveratrol which protects your brain and nervous system. Raw cacao has recently been found to contain anandamide, the “bliss chemical” - it’s what your body produces when you have a workout “high” and has been associated with improving motivation and increasing pleasure! Who knew?
With so many benefits to raw cacao, I though I would add some raw cacao nibs - to also pack a little bit of crunch to the drink (1 Tbsp.).
I wanted to add a little more superfood power, so I thought maca powder would be a good choice (1 tsp.). Maca has been known to support the endocrine system and increase stamina and energy, among many other things and is loaded with Vitamin C and iron.
To add a little sweetness and some more potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin B6 to the smoothie, I added half a banana.
Not that this smoothie probably needed this, but I added about 1/2 Tbsp. raw honey.
Then I figured I’d add some ice to give it the right texture (about 3/4 cup) and then enough almond milk to get it to the right consistency (I used about 3/4 cup).
All of these amazing foods combined together provided, not only a delicious late-afternoon snack, but also a nutrient dense, power-packed food. This is one of those many times that I look at food as medicine and combine something together to help me do what I need to do.
How could anyone go wrong with this combination? Lindsey even wanted some of it, and Frankie, after asking if it was “real chocolate” or cacao (she’s not a big fan of superfoods), even tried it and said it wasn’t bad - I’ll take it!
1 cup frozen organic cherries
2 Tbsp. organic raw cacao powder
1 tsp. maca powder
1/2 Tbsp. raw honey
3/4 cup ice
3/4 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp. cacao nibs
Put all the ingredients in a blender, mix, and serve. Delicious!