Wednesday, April 3, 2013

wishing for green

As always, Cleveland has missed the memo that it's supposed to be spring already. On Monday morning, I woke up and it was flurrying! Cleveland's version of April Fool's.

That said, I am so happy to see more sunshine the past few days, compared to the monochromatic gray days we've had. I can't wait to see more green though - the thought of baby leaves makes me beyond excited in anticipation for spring.

It's not quite green outside yet, but I'm having my own dose of green at home. Enter my new obsession: matcha green tea smoothies!

Matcha is supposedly really good for you. It's the whole green tea leaves ground to a powder, and unlike regular green tea leaves that you steep, with matcha you actually consume the whole leaf (though in ground form), and so you get all its benefits.

Typically I get most, if not all of my teas from Essencha, this lovely specialty tearoom in Cincinnati - a favorite of mine when I used to live there (and I always make a trip every time I visit my old stomping grounds).

But recently, I couldn't wait for the shipping time if I had ordered it online, so I decided I would check our neighborhood grocery store to see if they carried it - and they did, so on my last grocery run I came home with a tin. I love our grocery store - it's within walking distance, and it's cozy and not too big like the big-box stores that are so common in suburbia. They also keep their shelves well-stocked with everyday staples as well as specialty items, but because it's a smaller store I don't get overwhelmed with too many options!

It's actually still too cold for smoothies (30-something degrees out), but usually when I'm working from home I eat alone, and I don't really have much of an appetite. So liquid lunches, in the form of smoothies, become my go-to meal.

my dose of green

Matcha Green Tea Smoothie

~ 1 cup vanilla almond milk
a squirt of honey (~ half a tablespoon or so?)
1 small frozen banana*, cut into pieces
1/2 - 1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder (start with the smaller quantity if you're unsure)

Just whizz everything in a blender, and you're good to go!

*I buy bananas but tend not to eat them as is - something about the texture bothers me. But I love them in smoothies and baked goods, so I let them ripen on the countertop. Then, once they're very ripe, I peel and cut them into chunks and store in a zip-lock freezer bag. Whenever I want a smoothie I just take out however much I need, and it makes the smoothies so creamy - no need for ice! I also thaw them out for banana bread or muffins. 

As a warning, I do think that you have to like green tea to begin with to like matcha. But as a lover of green tea anything - hot tea, iced tea, green tea ice cream, green tea scents.. this was right up my alley.

matcha green tea powder

The only downside is that the smoothie doesn't stay bright green for very long, as you can see above - likely because of the banana that has oxidized . If you're like me and very visual when it comes to food, I would try and drink it pretty quickly before the pretty color changes. You can also opt to leave the banana out and add ice instead, and that might keep it a brighter green. But it makes me wonder what's in that green tea frozen drink in that popular coffee shop that will remain unnamed... and how it is just so green - like a pastel shade of green that almost looks a bit too perfect to make me suspicious. I feel better off making it at home, also so I can control how much sugar goes into it.


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