Mint Chip Smoothie

Another 90° day, another smoothie. Does anyone else feel entitled to frozen treats in the warmer months? I mean especially here in New England. We shiver through almost half of the year, and when June rolls around, we deserve some ice cream. In my case it's endless variations of fruit and vegetable combinations in my Nutri-Bullet. I've already shared my go-to morning super smoothie, but here it's less about packing in the vegetables, and more about superfood-ing (definitely not a word) a popular ice cream flavor. I've always been a vanilla girl. Since childhood, I've rarely strayed from my vanilla-in-a-cup-with-rainbow-sprinkles ice cream order. That being said, I don't think I've ever tried actual mint chocolate chip ice cream. Maybe a taste or two before realizing it's no where near as good as straight vanilla (in my opinion). You should also know that as a kid, I did not have the healthiest or most adventurous of taste buds. You would be quite astounded when comparing the way I eat now to the way I ate then. Sweets ruled my world. Vegetables did not. I had an aversion to salad. Not that they didn't look delicious, I really just didn't like crunchy vegetables. I used to dream of being a salad eater (true story). Salad eaters seemed to be apart of this exclusive foodie club that I wanted membership to. And somewhere along my journey to adulthood (and addiction to the Food Network), I learned a thing or two about food, and really fell in love with cooking. My diet has been cleaning itself up since college, and I think I'm at a really good place now. When I eat food, I think of what it can do for me. I rarely, if ever, put something in my body that isn't going to benefit me in some way. I'm far from perfect, but when it comes to nutrition, I try my very hardest to stay on track. You only get one body, and I want mine to be its best version long into my old age - looking great in a bikini when I'm 50 won't hurt either. 

Back to the situation at hand: I can't really be a judge to the comparison of this smoothie to mint chocolate chip ice cream. But I think with a little common sense, I can take a guess as to what I'm working with here (mint flavored ice cream + chocolate chips?). I think my combination is pretty spot on. Has anyone else tried adding frozen watermelon to their smoothies? You'd be quite pleased with the outcome. It imparts a very subtle sweetness, but what it does to the texture is magical, turning any smoothie combination into more of an ice cream. I usually enjoy my smoothies through a straw, but if you're looking for something thicker and spoonable, I'd say decrease your almond milk amount, and maybe use a whole frozen banana. Play around with it, and see what works for you. I almost always add protein powder to my smoothies, but it definitely alters the taste and texture. Leave it out if you're going the ice cream route. I also topped mine with this raw, chocolate granola, mostly because it's addicting, and also because I was heading to the gym after and some extra calories couldn't hurt - not that I'm in any way an animal at the gym. I just love excuses to eat more.

Mint Chip Smoothie
Inspired by The Chalkboard Mag

3/4-1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 banana, frozen
1 cup watermelon chunks, frozen
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons cacao nibs, divided
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups spinach, packed (I squeeze in as much as possible)
1 scoop protein powder (optional)
2 tablespoons chocolate granola (optional, I use this one)

Add all the ingredients, except for 1 tablespoon of the cacao nibs and the granola, to your blender and give it a whirl. I usually blend everything but the spinach, then pack in as much spinach as possible for round two of blending - I find I can fit more in this way (the Nutri-Bullet isn't all that big). Stir in the remaining tablespoon of cacao nibs, top with some granola, and enjoy your frozen treat, guilt-free. 

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