As with everything else in life, my food preferences have changed over time. As a child and into my mid-20’s I couldn’t stand fresh tomato. Cooked tomato in things like spaghetti sauce was fine, but finding a slice of tomato on my hamburger had the potential to ruin my entire meal, depending on how easily it could be removed and how much “residue” was left behind. I’m still not to the point where I can pop a cherry tomato into my mouth and enjoy it, but I do like thin slices on my sandwiches and I gobble up fresh tomato salsa.
Dates are another one of those formerly-hated foods. As a kid I would scarf down any baked good my mom made, unless it had dates in it. Date bread and date bars were left to the adults. My interest in dates has just developed over the last year or so. I’ve seen dates used on some of my favorite food blogs, so maybe that is what piqued my curiosity now. I don’t know. I DO know that dates are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals. They’re also a great way to add some healthy sweetness to a smoothie.
I used chopped dates, soaked in hot water for a bit, for the first few incarnations of this smoothie. Even with my high-powered blender, I still ended up with straw-clogging date chunks. So I popped the rest of the package of dates into a sauce pan, covered with water and simmered them for 10 or 15 minutes. I removed the dates (saved the liquid) and pureed them in my food processor. I ended up using a bit of the liquid to thin the paste out. Using this paste makes my smoothies much more…smooth. The Green Thickies blog has several ways to make date paste, along with a ton of healthy smoothie recipes. My smoothie is a great, filling way to squelch some of those pesky sugar cravings without the use of refined sugar.
If you also have a craving for a bit of fiction, I have also written a story that features this recipe. It stars one of the main characters in the Bartonville series. I’m offering it as a “thank you” for people who sign up for my new newsletter (I promise I won’t bug you with frequent or annoying emails). Sign up form is here or in my sidebar.
- 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons date paste
- ¼ cup oatmeal (regular or quick)
- 4 ice cubes
- 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
- Put ingredients in blender in order given. Pulse a few times to get everything moving and then blend until smooth.
This post is part of Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads