Peach Buttermilk Chai Smoothie

This peach buttermilk chai smoothie is packed with probiotics from buttermilk and antioxidants from chai tea! 

Yay for smoothie weather! Time to share my latest smoothie obsession - this peach smoothie spiked with chai tea!

While it feels like peach weather, it's not quite peach season, so we'll have to rely on frozen peaches to make this bad boy. I'm such a huge fan of frozen peaches. I absolutely adore fresh peaches, especially living in South Carolina, aka the real peach state. But I really think someone put a curse on me when it comes to peaches. I'll get the freshest, most beautiful peaches from the farmers market and they'll go from perfect to moldy, mushy mess in 24 hours at our house. Drives me absolutely nuts! I get a case of seasonal binge eating disorder every time I see peaches at the farmers market in my attempt to eat them all before they go bad!

The peach chai combination might sound a bit odd, but peaches have a similar flavor profile to mango, a fruit commonly used in Indian cuisine and a natural pairing with chai spices. This recipe was inspired by one from Root to Leaf, one of my favorite seasonal cookbooks.

Peach Buttermilk Chai Smoothie

Serves 1 

If you'd like to add some protein to your smoothie, I prefer Kura for grassfed whey protein or Vega for vegan protein.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)
  • 1 bag chai tea

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until pureed. Serve immediately.

More recipes for smoothie season:

Turmeric Smoothie with Mango
Turmeric Smoothie with Mango
Red Velvet Smoothie
Red Velvet Smoothie
Classic Green Smoothie
Classic Green Smoothie

Good Mood Food: Frothy Coconut Chai Tea Latte

This frothy vegan coconut chai tea latte is packed with all sorts of brain nourishing ingredients, like turmeric, mushroom powder, coconut oil and of course, tea! 

Happy blogaversary to me!

This little blog turns three years old today. It's crazy watching my little internet baby grow up, seeing where it started and where it is today.

Since it's a blog and not an actual child, I can look back and laugh at how awkward and unattractive it was in that first year of life. If anyone has been hanging around here that long, you remember the hideous yellow header which morphed into a much less hideous, yet incredibly basic and boring black and white script.

And the pictures. Oh, the pictures! I had an intern shadowing me last week and she asked if I had always been a good photographer. I pulled up my first recipe post which spoke for itself. No, not at all.

I'd like to think the aspect of this blog that would win most improved is the writing and the message behind my writing. When I first started, I was really focused on clean eating. I always had a food loving approach to eating, but I think that message was really hidden by my very nutrition-centric blog posts. Now I find my most interesting, fun to write and most shared recipes are ones that explore our relationship with food. I still chat nutrition science, but I don't care as much about why whole foods help you lose weight, but rather why whole foods make you feel awesome. I truly believe feeling happy and vibrant and joyful is a much more powerful motivator than a number on the scale!

That's why I started my Good Mood Food column, where I explore the science of how food can impact brain health. I'm endlessly fascinated by the relationship between diet and mental health. But even outside of a mental health diagnosis, good food = good mood!

It's been a little while since I shared an 'official' Good Mood Food post, so hopefully this frothy coconut chai tea latte makes up for it. Of all things, it was inspired by the bulletproof coffee trend, which to be honest, I think is overhyped from a nutrition standpoint, but I was curious enough to try a homemade version with coconut oil and thought it was super tasty. I loved how the oil whips up into a creamy drink with a frothy top.

Since then, I've been creating all sorts of frothy hot drinks souped up with ingredients that have health promoting powers. This one is packed with ingredients know to nourish the brain - turmeric, tea, cinnamon, coconut and one secret ingredient I think you'll geek out over  - mushroom powder!

Yes, really! I'm sure I lost a few of y'all at the idea of mushrooms in a cup of hot tea, but stick with me on this one. I first learned about mushroom powder last year at FNCE at an incredible dinner with the Mushroom Council, cooked by celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan. I learned how they grow high vitamin D mushrooms by exposing them to sunlight. The resulting mushrooms are dehydrated and ground into a powder that's been shown to be just as good as supplements, if not better because it's from food!

Vitamin D plays a huge role in brain health. Most known for it's role in bone health, this fat soluble vitamin also helps control the expression of thousands of genes. We know it has many roles in brain function because there are receptors all over the central nervous system for the vitamin. It activates/deactivates enzymes in the brain, reduces inflammation, aids in neurotransmitter growth, and protects neurons. Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to depression, seasonal affective disorder, dementia and decreased cognitive function. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is quite common afflicting 40% the population and over 80% of blacks (because darker skin makes it harder to form from sunlight).

Vitamin D is found naturally in very few foods, making it a tricky nutrient for most people to get enough of. It's particularly hard for those on a vegan diet, since the best natural food sources are fatty fish, eggs, cheese, and butter from pasture raised animals. Mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight are a nutritious plant based source of the vitamin. It's hard to find vitamin D mushrooms on the market (or at least I haven't seem them in Columbia!), so keep an eye out for mushroom powder, which you can find in health food stores or order online. It's so simple to sneak into smoothies or hot beverages, where you can't even taste it at all.

Frothy Coconut Chai Tea Latte

Makes 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plant milk

  • 1 chai tea bag

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk or cream

  • 1-2 teaspoons honey

  • 1 teaspoon mushroom powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Pinch black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring water and milk to a simmer in a small pot. Turn off heat, add chai tea bag and let steep 2-3 minutes.

  2. Carefully fish tea bag out and place tea in a blender with coconut oil, coconut milk/cream, honey, mushroom powder, turmeric, cinnamon and black pepper. Blend 2 minutes until frothy. Serve immediately.

More Good Mood Food: 

Turmeric Smoothie with Mango

Turmeric Smoothie with Mango

Coconut Steel Cut Oats with Chocolate and Almonds

Coconut Steel Cut Oats with Chocolate and Almonds

Homemade Fermented Pickles

Homemade Fermented Pickles

Dark Chocolate Dipped Chai Almond Cookies

Lightly sweetened and made with whole grains, these dark chocolate dipped chai almond cookies are the perfect addition to your holiday baking! 

It's the most wonderful time of the year - Christmas cookie time!

Ever since I was a kid and would count down the days until snow covered oreos were available, Christmas cookies have made me crazy happy. Although who are we kidding, cookies make me crazy happy year round! Candy and cakes do nothing for me, but cookies are everything.

When it comes to holiday baking, I tend to get delusions of grandeur. I think I've read too many issues of Southern Living, because I dream of making all my friends pretty little boxes filled with homemade and healthy holiday cookies. I pulled it off one year for my coworkers and it quickly turned into an all night affair! Maybe I'll attempt again when I retire :)

This year I wanted to whip up a batch of cookies to bring to a holiday lunch with my officemates. These were very loosely inspired by my memories of an Italian bakery we used to go to growing up in New York. I would stare into the glass case filled with dozens of kinds of cookies and basically turn into Veruca Salt, begging my parents 'I want them ALL!'

(Timeout. Just as I was writing this, Scott walked in the door with a box of Christmas cookies from a coworker. Universe, sometimes you are awesome).

Anyway, I remember this one buttery, crumbly, barely sweet almond cookie that was dusted with powdered sugar. Another one I loved was this sweet butter cookie dunked in chocolate. This is kind of a hybrid of the two. I don't remember anything with chai tea, but I like chai tea, so lets just throw it in there for giggles. 

What are your favorite Christmas cookies? Leave a comment or a link below! 

Dark Chocolate Dipped Chai Almond Cookies

makes about 30

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup turbinado or brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk (or dairy of choice)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • The contents of 2 chai tea bags, finely ground (you could use a coffee grinder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a large standing mixer, mix coconut oil and sugar on high speed until fluffy and fully combined, about 1-2 minutes. Add egg, almond milk, vanilla extract and blend until combined, scraping down sides if needed. Slowly mix in whole wheat flour, almond meal, chai tea powder and salt while mixer is running on medium-high speed, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add chopped almonds, mix on medium-high speed until combined, then set aside.
  3. Using a tablespoon measure, form balls of dough. Place evenly on a large, greased cookie sheet (they won't spread much) and press down lightly to flatten. Bake 20 minutes until lightly browned.
  4. Remove cookies from oven and let cool. Once cool, heat chocolate chips and oil in the microwave in 15 second intervals, stopping to stir between each interval, until smooth. Dip cookies in chocolate, then place on a sheet of parchment paper over. Carefully place cookies and parchment paper in the refrigerator to harden. When chocolate is firm, store cookies in a container with a lid in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

More holiday baking inspiration: 

Gluten Free Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cookies
Gluten Free Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cookies
Gluten Free Nutella Blondies
Gluten Free Nutella Blondies
No Added Sugar Cinnamon Raisin Spice Cookies
No Added Sugar Cinnamon Raisin Spice Cookies