Happy Monday!

Today I wanted to share my favorite Green Smoothie – which I refer to as “Try The Grey Stuff, It’s Delicious” (not to be confused with this grey stuff, which admittedly is equally delicious – just a different kind of delicious). So why the name? In a previous life, I worked a couple of blocks away from a really fancy whole foods, where I would stop in every morning for a smoothie (that is long gone from their menu) and a latte.

One day, while I was waiting on my order, I noticed a decidedly grey smoothie be placed on the counter waiting to be picked up. My mind immediately said, “try the grey stuff it’s delicious,” because it is silly – so I inquired about it. I was told that it was a riff on my usual order, with the addition of blueberries. They offered to make it for me so I could try because they thought it was a better tasting version. Indeed they were right! The addition of the blueberries make the smoothie infinitely more palatable, and my morning ritual went from repetitive and comfortable to being something I honestly looked forward to.

So when Whole Foods decided to overhaul their menu and standardize it across all of their stores, I (along with some other regulars) wanted blood :x. Ok, *I* was sad. But I heard that another regular was out for blood. As such, this particular store continues to make the smoothie, but at a pretty significant premium. As I no longer work in the area, I was *very* kindly given the recipe by a staff member so that I could make it at home. So behold – the recipe for my favorite green smoothie!

This recipe is extremely easy and quick to follow – the keys are all in the prep work (which can easily be done in advance of a work week on a weekend), and the order ingredients are placed into the blender.

As soon as we come home from grocery shopping, I’ll immediately start by washing my spinach in a mix of water and red wine vinegar, and do the same for the blueberries. While both are soaking in the vinegar water concoction, I’ll take my bunch of bananas, and slice them one banana at a time. I’ll bag them individually in a ziplock baggy, and toss the baggies into the freezer. I’ll then rinse and dry the blueberries and spinach, and place them in separate tupperware containers, and pop those into the fridge.

Freezing the bananas and refrigerating the fresh blueberries is absolutely key to the consistency and taste of the smoothie. Whole Foods uses a commercial flash freezer for their fruit, which guarantees a fresh texture, but we have to improvise at home. ***Note that subbing in frozen blueberries purchased from the freezer section will result in a grainier smoothie and the taste will be different.

Prepping these 3 ingredients will make your Monday (and Tuesday, and Wednesday…) morning much easier! Come Monday morning, I will begin measuring out the Almond Milk, and pour that into my Vitamix container. I highly, HIGHLY recommend purchasing one of these! Ours is nearly 4 years old and has been worth every penny (and their 7 year warranty is amazing). I’ll then add the frozen banana – be absolutely sure to pour the almond milk in first, having the liquid as the first ingredient ensures a longer living blender!

After the banana, in goes the blueberries and spinach (order on these doesn’t matter), followed by the protein and spiraling powders. I then add the avocado, and top it with the agave. I tend to like this order, as I find that the avocado and agave provide extra moisture to break down the powders.

 

I’ll use my smoothie preset – which is about 45 seconds on high, if you don’t have a Vitamix. You may have to play with this a little bit on different blenders!

And – voila! This recipe produces a large 24 ounce serving. If you are active, and based on your caloric and nutritional needs – this may be the perfect serving size for you. For my needs (as you can see above), I usually consume 12-16 ounces of it, and save the rest for a snack the following day.

Please note that the color is really determined by the balance of the spinach (packed cup vs. not) and blueberries (when you fluctuate between 4 and 6 ounces). My preference for taste is when the liquid comes out grey with a slight purple glow (you’ll know it when you see it). If the liquid comes out purple, it will likely be on the sweeter side, and if it comes out more green, it may be less sweet.

'Try The Grey Stuff, It's Delicious' Green Smoothie

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A creamy, well balanced Green Smoothie packed with protein, antioxidants, and tons of vitamins and minerals.


Credit: Whole Foods

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces of Almond Milk (I like Califia Unsweetened Almond Milk)
  • 1 medium to large organic banana (size pending freshness and availability), frozen and cut into slices
  • 6 ounces of fresh organic blueberries, refrigerated
  • 1 cup of organic raw spinach leaves, washed and dried
  • ~7/8 of a scoop of protein powder (I like Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder. I use Vanilla Chai flavor, but that’s up to you)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Spirulina powder (I use Now Organic brand.)
  • 1/4 organic large, Hass avocado (so half of what is pictured above)
  • 1 tablespoon of Agave Nectar

Directions

  1. In a blender (I use a Vitamix Professional Series 750), combine all ingredients in the following order: Almond Milk, Banana, Blueberries, Spinach, Protein Powder, Spirulina, Avocado, and Agave Nectar
  2. Close the top!
  3. Turn Blender on – I use a smoothie preset, and run for exactly 1 cycle – about 45 seconds on high
  4. Serve & enjoy!


While I’m an avid tea drinker who does not discriminate by type – I find that I most enjoy red teas, bonus points if they’re French 😉.

I discovered Rouge Provence by Mariage Frères during my last trip to Paris a few years ago. I’d gone with my mother (Pre-S days) , and we ended up spending a very cold and rainy week in April fighting off some godawful version of The Crud™. My mom certainly had it worse than I did, but one day I was able to convince her to venture out from our hotel in search of tea. After encountering a big miss on the Rue Saint Honoré, we hailed a taxi and headed to Le Marais for The Good Stuff™, destination: Salon de Thé de Mariage Freres.

I honestly couldn’t tell you what tea I ordered that day – I just remembered enjoying a marble green tea (and violet?) cake, and admittedly – the eye candy (again, this was Pre-S!) – the waiters dress in full white suits with bowties. BUT, I do remember trying the tea my mother ordered – Rouge Provence, a red Rooibos. Mariage Frères officially describes it as

“The aroma of red and black berries is wed to the sweet, mild flavour of the tea leaves, underscored by wild lavender and enlivened by rose petals.”

I’ve been drinking this for years, and am surprised to see the presence of rose – for me, this is a beautiful berry with well balanced lavender. Some floral teas can be overwhelming (I think that was the aforementioned issue on the rue Saint-Honoré. Well, that and the tea was terrible quality), but not here. Even with the presence of lavender, it is something that I enjoy year round.

Rouge Provence can be purchased from La Maison de Marriage Freres directly. Shipping to the U.S. is a bit hefty at 25 euros, but that fee remained flat until I surpassed 100 euros, and then the rate increased to 30 euros. It is definitely worth it if you purchase a handful of different teas to try! Otherwise, if you’re in the U.S. – Luckyscent carries quite a lot of Marriages Freres teas on their website (just no Rouge Provence!), and Williams-Sonoma stores carry a limited selection as well.

 


By Emily McDowell Studio – Available for purchase here and here.

See my picks for Valentine’s Day Gifts for yourself, your friends, and your significant other!
 

1. Tom Ford’s Oud Wood – notes of Rare Oud Wood, Sandalwood, Chinese Pepper, Rosewood, Tonka Bean, Vanilla (special size starting at $145)

2. John Wayne Bracelet – Because some guys like jewelry too. “…Given to soldiers as a symbol of friendship and respect by the Montagnard tribe.” ($80)

3. Deep Sea Sand Art – perfect for anyone’s desk (Got this for S a few years ago! $85)

4. Fossil Townsman 48mm Automatic Light Brown Leather Watch – with movement! ($225.00)

5. A Man and His Watch by Matthew Hranek – This one is hard to find! You may have some luck at your local bookseller ($33)

6. Burberry London Leather Card Case in Burgundy – S still won’t let me live down that I got him a maroon one instead of a LE Mineral Green one ($225)

7. Fondale Vase – Guys like flowers (or at least greenery) too. What better than to present them in a vase “inspired by the shape of airflow funnels on the decks of large ships.” German engineered to boot 😉 ($250)

8. Frog Prince – While it may seem cheesy on the surface, I gifted this to S a few years ago for is desk at work (to me, he really was my Prince out of a sea of toads). When his office went to a clean desk policy, I was pleasantly surprised to see this surface front and center on his desk at home. Best presented with a heartfelt card (Full disclosure, this thing is small, $68)

9. Terre Noire candle by MAD et LEN – black soil, petrified pine and aged oakwood ($110, but get 10% off your first purchase when you sign up for their emails)

10. House Blend Coffee from District Roasters – Notes of chocolate and hints of juniper. Roasted in Houston, TX. Bonus: pair it with a handmade mug ($16 for 12oz. bag)

11. Saint Rita Parlor Parfüm – Notes of Whiskey, tobacco, and rose. Saint Rita Parlor is based in Los Angeles, and they make interesting things (starting at $40)

12. Dark Chocolate Bourbon Bears by Sugarfina – Tried these at my local Sugarfina counter, and they’re positively yummy. If your SO (or you) is a vodka fan (S isn’t), their “Vodka is Always a Good Idea” set is adorable as well ($26)

13. Wild Man Grooming Kit – After Shave, Man Mist, Bod Butter, Soap ($60)

1. Jasmine Morganite Cluster Ring – For anyone who likes sparkle. Would even make a beautiful engagement ring ($290. Further customizations available on artist, Emi Conner’s website. But it won’t reach you in time for Valentine’s Day!)

2. Haffke Bronze With Rose Picture Frame – Just add meaningful photo, or an antique print ($103. Pricing due to quality of materials)

3. Tiffany’s Interlocking Circle Necklace – I have a soft spot for this, as S gifted this to me for our first Valentine’s Day! I was completely taken aback by such a thoughtful and beautiful gift. And I still wear it. Plus, who doesn’t love a little bit of Tiffany’s Blue? ($375)

4. Mothership IV Eyeshadow Palette from Pat McGrath Labs – If you or your girl are into makeup, you cannot do better than this limited edition palette. Full pale girl review coming early next week! ($125)

5. Colette Madam Gown by Eberjey – Just look at the beautiful lace back ($110)

6. PHI One Rose de Kandahar EdP by Tauer Perfumes – One of my favorite date night fragrances, and I’m not normally a fan of rose. Notes of apricot, cinnamon, bitter almond, bergamot, rose essential oil, Bulgarian rose absolute, Bourbon geranium, tobacco, patchouli, vetiver, vanilla, tonka, musk, ambergris ($160. Sample available here for $4)

7. Staub Cast-Iron Heart Cocottes, Set of 3 – Perfect for whipping up heart shaped desserts…or some gnocchi romana :X ($60)

8. La Naissance d’Aphrodite Triangle Bodysuit by ID Sarrieri – Something reddish pink and lacy ($676, but 20% off when you sign up for their emails. More budget friendly option here!)

9. Lace bralette by Anine Bing – Something black and lacy ($99)

10. UGG Addison Slippers – Also available in blush pink and silvery grey ($70)

11. Marshmallow Hearts from Williams-Sonoma – Gift with Cardamom Rose drinking chocolate and a delicate cup ($10 for the marshmallows; $20 for the drinking chocolate; $12 for the cup – currently on promotion for $10)

12. Pressed Shimmering Skin Perfecting Powder in Prismatic Amethyst by Becca – A unique lavender highlighter for an makeup lover ($38)

13. Rosy Velvet Pouch – cute clutch, or extremely luxurious pouch ($48)


Plate: Anthropologie (old) | Glass: Schott Zweisel, Williams Sonoma | Fork: Almoco Flatware in Copper, Design Within Reach
A few months ago, S took me out to dinner at one of our favorite local places, Theodore Rex, for my birthday dinner. They’d just undergone a reinvention of sorts – new name, decor, menu and pricing structure. But they kept the same staff, and the type of the food remained the same. We always enjoy chatting up their resident sommelier, who delivers her pairings with a lot of knowledge, humor, and wit.

During this particular dinner, we decided to pick her brain about Madeiras. We weren’t necessarily unfamiliar with dessert wines (S’s dad is a Port fan), but neither one of us had ever tried a Madeira. After a brief lesson, we sampled 2 of their 3 offerings with our last two courses, and our interest was piqued.

Things kind of got busy – we got married, had family in town, followed by the holidays… but we found ourselves back at T-Rex a few weeks ago, this time for S’s birthday. Remembering our mini Madeira tasting from the previous visit, we opted to split 2 pours of two different Madeiras again. 1 we had tried on the previous visit, but we were told was leaving the menu (we may have even been tapping the last bottle), and 1 that had been recommended to pair perfectly with our Paris-Brest – D’Oliveira 5 Years Medium Sweet Madeira.

The recommendation was perfectly on point, and we are slightly hooked now. Their version of the Paris-Brest is filled with a “sweet” Swiss cheese cream, unlike the traditional hazelnut cream filling (one of my favorites), and the D’Oliveira Medium Sweet complimented the tartness nicely. The Madeira has a beautiful nuttiness to it, as well as notes of toffee and dried fruits. Honestly, to my tastebuds – the combination tasted like an otherworldly tiramisu.

We’ve since been able to purchase a bottle locally to enjoy at home. This Madeira pairs super well with not too sweet desserts – cobblers and cheesecake for sure, but it is also nice to just sip alone or as an aperitif with some savory nibbles.

 

The D’Oliveira 5 Years Medium Sweet Madeira can be purchased online here or here, if you live in one of the states they can ship to. Otherwise, it should be pretty each to procure through your local wine merchant!

 

 

Happy Sunday!


Our Sunday will be spent enjoying coffee and breakfast at our favorite spot, and then cleaning and preparing for a Labor Day brunch. Thiss will be the first time we have this many people in our new house at once, so hopefully the place will clean up nicely.


I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend!

Favorite places around the web this week…

1) I almost feel like I’m cheating by sharing this, as it isn’t gluten free – but it is too yummy not to share! Ashley, of Not Without Salt, has partnered with Anthropologie to give you Skillet Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies. In addition, you can snag her cookie mix at a discount (and part of the profits go to charity, to boot)!


2) An extremely enabling Sneak Peek of the 2015 Holiday beauty collections


3) If I had some extra (ok a lot of extra) cash laying around, this Chloe Dress would be in my closet!


4) 20 People from Famous Paintings Who Literally. Can’t. Even. Right now


5) 129 of the Most Beautiful Shots in Movie History


6) Sinderella – one of my favorite bloggers! Documenting the misadventures of a 20 something on the hunt for true love in the big city, using what else but the modern day matchmaker: Tinder (I can definitely relate – hang in there Sinderella!)


7) On my to try list: Coffee Tonics! Coffee addict? Check! Fan of Gin & Tonics? Check! Love trying new foodie things? Double check! What could go wrong?


8) Traveling to Paris soon (or are you just lucky enough to live there)? Then I’m jealous of you, because you will get to visit Shakespeare & Company’s new cafe, which is opening this Fall!


Listening to this week…