Valentine's Day smoothie bowl

Tropical smoothie parfaitWant to incorporate more fruit into your diet, but you’re tired of just eating plain apples or bananas? Not long ago, I, too, found myself in the same predicament. I had attended a seminar about incorporating more plants into one’s diet. The seminar had pushed an actual prepackaged smoothie product, but I thought, I can do that without resorting to a powder. Instagram soon became my best friend as I stumbled upon the accounts of numerous vegans and their smoothie bowls.

At first, the concept of smoothie bowls seemed ridiculous. You literally make a smoothie, pour it into a bowl, and decorate the top of it with extra fruit, seeds, grains, and other edible embellishments. What was the point? It was so much time and work, and for what? Nevertheless, I saw the lovely arrangements and the vibrant colors, and the artist inside of me cooed oooh, pretty and begged to be released.

Thus began the obsession. Albeit, there are mornings when Patriotic smoothie bowlI value my sleep more than my creative outlet, but having created smoothie bowls for the last two months now, I can attest that the activity is quite therapeutic. At a time in my life when I was by myself in many respects and healing from some emotional hurt, I was able to channel my energy into a positive direction that allowed me to create color combos, mix and match flavors, improve my photography skills, and tell a story through one of my favorite media: food.

But by far, the greatest benefit was the knowledge that I was being kind to my body, only putting in things that would fuel it – things that were as beautiful in their chemical composition as they were to look at in the bowl.

Cool Colors Smoothie BowlSo, where does one begin when making a smoothie bowl? Honestly, one of the first things I did was go to Pinterest. I’m a sucker for creating Pinterest boards. I found all kinds of smoothie recipes and smoothie bowls that screamed yummy, pretty, or easy and made a board. Then I experimented with smoothie recipes. For smoothie bowls, the thicker the better. (That way, your decorations will stay on top rather than sinking into the fruit soup.) Using more frozen fruit, bananas, avocados, or to a lesser extent yoghurt, will help you achieve this thicker texture you’re looking for.

Before you begin, think about what you want to achieve with your smoothie bowl. Are you going for a certain theme, such as a tropical smoothie bowl? Or a flavor, such as cherry vanilla? Maybe you’d like to achieve a particular food-fuel goal with your smoothie bowl, such as a bowl that is high in fiber or protein?

Feel free to play around with what you mix in your smoothie. In general, I go with the rough ratio of 1/2 frozen fruit, 1/4 thickener (1 banana or 1/2 avocado, usually), and 1/4 liquid (sometimes less if I can get the blender to work without it). For the liquid, I like to use non-dairy milks such as unsweetened coconut or almond, but sometimes I’ll use a very juicy fruit instead, such as watermelon or clementine. I also enjoy adding honey, extracts, spices, or chia seeds if I think it needs it.

I’ve included a favorite smoothie of mine below.

Cherry Vanilla Smoothie

(Pictured at the top)

1 c. frozen cherries

1 ripe banana

1/8 tsp. pure vanilla extractKiwi Guava Smoothie Bowl

1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk

Decorating the top is the best part! The more I make these smoothie bowls, the more I find myself researching the properties of various seeds and fruits. Experimenting with colors, patterns, and textures has become a stimulating challenge, and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with my melon baller and my tiny star-shaped cookie cutter. While I don’t always have time to make an exceptionally artistic creation, breakfast has become my craft time, a beautiful little section of my morning where I am in control. I am the craftsman. I am the master of my plate. (Er, bowl.)

So I admonish you today: play with your food. Who knows what concoctions you’ll come up with!

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