Lately, my husband and I have been having meal planning fatigue. Instead, we just stock up on lots of vegetables at the farmer’s market on sundays, I make sure we have one or two types of beans (cooked in the rice cooker) on hand, we roast sweet potatoes a couple of times in a week (or, more occasionally, make some brown rice) and we improvise from there. This system works for us, mainly because we meal planned for a couple of years very regularly before that, which, for us at least, seems to have given us enough confidence to completely improvise, generating enough leftovers for lunchboxes. Sure, sometimes we eat far more simply than we would had we meal planned, picked recipes (whether old favorites or new discoveries) or thought the week through, but overall it works, probably because we also have a very well stocked pantry.
There is one problem with this scenario. It does not make us immune to impulse purchases, like the lovely bunch of mint we got at the market on Sunday. We used most of it in a recipe on Sunday night, and then Tuesday morning it was just starring at me, wilting before my eyes. I was thinking how our avocados were not ripe and so I could not make Kimm’s brilliant Vegan Avocado Shamrock Shake, but then my eyes fell upon some carob, and I remembered Kimm’s and Ricki’s Sweet or Savory Kitchen Challenge this month, focusing on carob, and I decided to improvise.
Side note: smoothie improvisation can yield some not so fun results, but in this case it worked out perfectly. The smoothie is more carob than chocolate (even though I used chocolate protein powder), and the complexity of the carob sets off the mint perfectly.
Carob Mint Smoothie (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Soy-Free) – Makes 1 16oz smoothie
- 1 Tbsp raw cashews
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (optional)
- 2 Tbsps carob powder (I used this one which is roasted but if you have raw carob powder, that would work too)
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/3 cup mint (I used leaves and stems, but you can stem the leaves)
- 1/4 tsp mint extract (I used this organic one which is alcohol free)
- 4-6 ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
This was such a success, I am submitting it to the following blog events:
- The Sweet or Savory Kitchen Challenge this month, focusing on carob and hosted, as always, by Kimm of Affairs of Living and Ricki of Diet Desserts and Dogs.
- Seasonal Sunday, hosted by Real Sustenance. Mint is the ultimate Spring Vegetable, don’t you think?
- Diane’s Real Food Weekly at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang for today – all the ingredients in the smoothie whole foods except the protein powder, which is optional.