(Spinach and Almond Butter Smoothie)
Prep time: 3 minutes
What I said in my last post—that I would stop with the puns—was a bold-faced lie. That said, unless you’re familiar with downtown Austin, this one may go right over your head. I’ve never had the cajones to be a rail chomper. Sure, I’ve done my share of low-stakes park rails, but once the concrete gets choppy and the rail gets legitimately sackable, I leave the shredding to those with less regard for their un-shattered skulls. There’s a menacing 18 stair rail in downtown Austin colloquially called “the Green Goblin.” As you might have guessed, it was at one point painted green (now it has been painted black, but the moniker lives on in the interwebs). It’s thick, perilously steep, above waist-high and—if that weren’t enough—plagued by a menacing curb trap at the bottom. I walk by it every time I go to court for work and wonder whether, if given the choice between (a) a quick death or (b) a good-faith attempt at a trick of my choosing down the Green Goblin, I would ever opt to roll the dice on that rail (extremely unlikely).
It looks completely unapproachable, but I’ve seen a clip of Figgy attacking it (like the god he is) and Spencer Hamilton ollieing over it. Witness the insanity (Spencer at 3:54):
I don’t know if any locals have ever landed anything on it, but if you have, for the love of donuts, footage please! Back in the day, some dude at Mabel Davis (who happened to be selling old N64 games for rent money) claimed to have rolled away from a boardslide, but assured me there were no cameras rolling or witnesses to corroborate it.
Again, I don’t mess around with scary green rails. But I do mess around with chilled green smoothies when it’s a blistering 101 degrees outside. Even though I tend to skate early in the mornings, I am completely drenched in sweat by the time I’m done, so I can’t imagine what folks skating mid-day must feel. If you’re like me, after some sweet summer skating, you’re looking for three things: (1) a shower; (2) some grub; and (3) something to cool you off. Can’t help you with the shower, but with respect to grub and something to cool you off, the Green Goblin Smoothie is a quick, easy and cheap solution.
I typically drink this smoothie after skating, since the carbs therein come largely from the chia seeds and are therefore slower to digest, but the healthy fat and protein content in here could also make it a suitable pre-skating smoothie (and it only takes two minutes to make if you don’t have any other snacks lying around).
The operative ingredients here are going to be the almond butter, the chia seeds and the spinach. I know what you’re thinking: spinach and almond butter together? Really? Yes, really. The spinach will end up being very subtle and the almond butter combined with the chia seeds and soy milk as a base will give it a smooth, creamy texture and a flavor as nutty as risking life and limb on the Green Goblin. Here’s what you’re getting:
Soy milk: This is going to add about 8 grams of protein to your smoothie – good for recovery and a solid, flavorful base for the drink that mixes well. Unless you start each day by guzzling a quart of soy milk and eating several servings of processed soy “meats,” I wouldn’t worry about a cup of soy milk screwing with your hormones, especially if you’re getting whole-bean soy milk. More on soy in another post. In the meantime, if you’re still skeptical, almond or cashew milk will be just as delicious, but you’ll take the protein and fat content of the smoothie down by about 7 grams and 2 grams, respectively.
Spinach: If you didn’t gather this from Popeye already, spinach is a great source of iron, as well as fiber (keep it moving), folate (brain function), and calcium (broken bones suck). I use frozen spinach for this, just because it’s easier to store, still retains most of its vitamins, is relatively cheap, and, above all, makes the smoothie colder.
Almond Butter: This is going to add more protein and healthy (unsaturated) fats. It’s also damn delicious and I’ll get some make-your-own almond butter recipes on here soon. (Peanut butter would work here, too, but I am very partial to almond butter.)
Hemp Seeds: Hey, it’s a green smoothie, right? Hemp seeds are a complete source of protein with a solid balance of essential fats and vitamins. If they are too pricey for some, then subbing the hemp seeds with an additional tablespoon of chia works, too, but keep in mind that hemp seeds are pretty concentrated, so when you buy that $10 bag, you’re getting a ton of servings.
Chia Seeds: We talked about these in my first post, but as a recap, these are also a great source of fatty acids, fiber and complete protein; additionally, they digest slowly and “gel” when digested so you end up feeling fuller for longer. If you wait about 10 minutes before blending the smoothie, you can actually see them start to gel (don’t worry, they’ll blend just the same).
Ok, enough; you just skated for three hours in the summer heat, you’re tired, sweaty and hungry. Let’s get to it.
- 1 cup (8 oz) of soy milk
- 1 tbsp of chia seeds
- 1 tbsp of hemp seeds
- 2 tbsp of creamy almond butter
- 2/3 cup (85g) of frozen spinach (I prefer whole-leaf, but we’re splitting hairs here)
- If you want to attack this thing with clinical precision, then throw in the spinach first, then soy milk, then almond butter and then top it off with the seeds. In the end, this obviously won’t affect the flavor, but letting the spinach thaw in the soy milk first for about a minute helps soften it up and ensures that you don’t get chunks of unblended spinach between sips. Also letting the almond butter sit in the soy milk for a few seconds and adding the seeds last will keep you from having to scrape gobs of seedy almond butter off the sides of your blender.
- Blend it until it’s all liquefied (stir it with a spoon first to make sure there are no chunks of unblended spinach left), then inhale that green ambrosia. As far as blenders go, any blender is going to mix it up. I use a NutriBullet because it’s convenient to just take the plastic container with me, but we’re not trying to slice through a pair of trucks here, so really anything will do.
- Go stare down the Green Goblin and try to imagine how triumphant Figgy and Spencer must have felt rolling away from it.
Per smoothie: 470 calories, 29 g fat, 30g carb, 21g protein