The snow is melting, the sun has a promise of warmth, but the wind is still chilly and the nights are cold. The sap is running in the sugar maple trees. In celebration of maple syrup season, I made a delicious smoothie today, sweetened with pure maple syrup from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My brother and his wife live up there, and gave us this syrup made by a friend of theirs. It is so flavorful and pure, I feel like I am walking in the fresh north woods when I taste it. I love using pure maple syrup as a sweetener. It is a welcome alternative to refined sugar, and it contains minerals and antioxidants as well. Maple syrup has gained popularity in many recipes, and I am enjoying experimenting with it. The smoothie I made this morning is full of soothing, creamy, rich nutrition with banana, yogurt, oats, and walnuts. To me, it is the perfect combination of sweet and nourishing. Goodness knows I needed a boost of energy this morning, and this smoothie has enough protein from the yogurt, oats, and walnuts to provide lasting energy. My sweet son has been quite sick this week, and I have needed all the energy I could get to help take care of him. Fortunately, he is feeling much better. I am sharing this recipe, because I hope this smoothie will help you face whatever lies ahead with strength and some enjoyment thrown in along the way. That’s where the maple syrup comes in. It is such a lovely, natural treat. “When made in small quantities–that is, quickly from the first run of sap and properly treated–it has a wild delicacy of flavor that no other sweet can match. What you smell in freshly cut maple-wood, or taste in the blossoms of the tree, is in it. It is then, indeed, the distilled essence of the tree.” –John Burroughs, Signs and Seasons, 1886. I love the phrase “wild delicacy.” Those two words seem to be opposites, and yet together, they describe some of the best things in life. Have a wonderful weekend! I am sharing this recipe with the many talented bloggers at Angie’s The Novice Gardener site for Fiesta Friday, hosted today by Jhuls at The Not So Creative Cook and Mila at Milkandbun.
Maple-Banana Smoothie with Oats and Walnuts
- 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons of raw walnuts
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 banana, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup milk, almond milk, or soymilk
- 2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Directions: Place the oats and walnuts in a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture resembles coarse sand. You may need to scrape the sides and stir the mixture a bit between blending. Then add the yogurt (Greek yogurt is great too), banana, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend again until smooth. If this is too thick, you can add a couple ice cubes and blend again. If you prefer it on the thicker side (like I do), simply pour into a glass and sip with a straw and/or spoon. Enjoy!