There is such an abundance of juicy, ripe produce in the markets at the moment that I can barely keep my head on straight when I shop. August is the month when early and late summer produce all must share the limelight. Everything is at its peak ripeness and you can almost taste the sunshine in each bite; cherries, nectarines, melons, tomatoes, corn, zucchini...the list goes on. I can sense fall around the corner, but I am not ready for these summer jewels to go away. It feels like they just got here! I am insatiable, and in fact, I still have recipes to share with you that honor sweet corn and tomatoes, honeydew (galia) melon, and nectarines.
But today the attention is on cherries. I grabbed two cartons of cherries recently; one for now and the other to freeze. Some found their way into this smoothie which is a great summer morning antioxidant-rich drink. Here's why you should be enjoying it right now.
Cherries: Packed with antioxidants to protect against heart disease and cancer; anti-inflammatory properties reduce symptoms of arthritis and gout as well as joint soreness for athletes.
Spinach: High dose of phytonutrients that play an anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant role; excellent source of Vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium for bone health; good source of iron.
Raw cacao - Consumed in moderation, cacao can be beneficial due to its very rich source of antioxidants and minerals. It also adds a depth and richness that you can't always pinpoint.
Cherry-Choco Antioxidant Smoothie
1 cup cherries, pitted (use frozen if not in season)
1 Tbsp. almond butter
1/4 - 1/2 small avocado
1 small banana
Handful spinach (kale or romaine work too)
3 tsp. raw cacao powder (unsweetened cocoa powder can work in a pinch)
1/3 cup (80 ml) almond milk
Add everything to a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into a glass and enjoy! Or pour into a bowl and top with granola and/or cacao nibs. Happy days.
1/2 - 1 tsp. Maca powder
1 Tbsp. Hemp seeds
Cacao nibs (to top)