By Nancy Smorch
Mike and I were just in Asheville, North Carolina this past weekend. We had heard so many good things about this city that we had to go check it out for ourselves. I had seen pictures of the mountains in Asheville and I didn’t realize it was between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains. And, of course, we had to check out the food scene - there were soooo many great restaurant options, coffee shops, and specialty food stores!
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the greatest while we were there. I didn’t mind the cooler temperatures, but the fog and the low-lying clouds made the mountain views pretty much impossible to see. But I knew they were there, so I just used my imagination and as I looked out toward the mountains, I would just bring up images of the pictures I had seen. Close enough, right?
The food, at least did not disappoint! When traveling, I like to make sure I know what the healthier restaurant options and food sources are. It’s really important in staying healthy while I travel. One of the places I found on line before our trip was The Green Sage Cafe in downtown Asheville. I just about teared up when I looked over their menu! They had so many tasty sounding options - like their Pura Vida Bowl for breakfast. It had black beans, brown rice sunny side eggs, sautéed kale, grilled sweet potatoes, avocado and cilantro salsa. And, all of the ingredients were organic! They had gluten-free pancakes, gluten-free biscuit and toast options, along with a ton of other gluten-free and vegan options.
I knew I probably didn’t need to have a smoothie for breakfast along with the Pura Vida Bowl, but I couldn’t pass up tasting the Almond Brothers smoothie. It sounded like a weird combination, and my curiosity led me to order it. It had carrots, unsweetened almond milk, bananas, almond butter and spices, according to the menu. It was amazing! Mike ended up ordering it again the next morning.
So I thought I would try to duplicate it when we got home. I had all the ingredients, but then there was the vague “spices” listed in the ingredients list. I wasn’t quite sure what that was all about, but I tried to figure out what would go good with the carrots, almond butter, and bananas, and I came up with the idea to try cinnamon and nutmeg.
We arrived back home late Saturday night and on Sunday, I decided to try to make it. My first try was actually pretty good. It didn’t taste exactly like they made it, but it was still really good in it’s own way. They didn’t say that they put any kind of sweetener in it, and it would probably be fine without it, especially if you’re used to not having much sugar or sweetener... but I thought I would add a little sweetness with some maple syrup, and that actually worked out really well.
So, anyway, here’s the recipe I ended up with, as I tried to recreate this awesome drink:
1 1/2 Tbsp. almond butter
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (I use Silk brand because it has no carageenan)
1 Tbsp. grade B maple syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Put all the ingredients into the blender and mix until smooth. If you like a thicker smoothie, add more ice. A thinner one, add less ice and/or more almond milk.
Try it for yourself, and experiment with the spice blend. If you find a different blend that works for you, let me know. I’d love to give it a try!