Chocolate Pumpkin Milkshake

I know that healthy and milkshake don't normally go in the same sentence...

But for the sake that legging season is upon us, I have to be a lot more careful what goes into my belly. Leggings don't necessarily hide EVERYTHING. (In a perfect world right?) That's what oversized sweaters and jackets are for though!!

Healthy Chocolate Pumpkin Milkshake
Healthy Chocolate Pumpkin Milkshake

So, in a sense, this isn't really a milkshake. But it's creamy and somewhat thick, sweet and full of flavor! So in my mind, it's a milkshake. (Minus the fat and calories!) Also, there is real pumpkin puree in it, so when you serve it to your kids they are drinking vegetables...

I mean, could you be a better mom?!

Healthy Chocolate Pumpkin Milkshakes via The Diva Dish
Healthy Chocolate Pumpkin Milkshakes via The Diva Dish

Chocolate Pumpkin Milk

Ingredients

  • (For the Whipped Cream)
  • 1 can full fat coconut, refrigerated for at least 24 hours
  • 1 TB. pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • (For the Milkshake)
  • 1 cup non dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 frozen banana
  • 6 frozen cubes of pumpkin puree(Just add puree to ice cubes and freeze)
  • 1 tsp. molasses
  • 2 TB. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • handful of ice

Instructions

  1. Prepare your whipped cream first by scooping out JUST the solid white flesh from the can and placing it in a bowl. Using hand beaters, whip the cream until creamy.
  2. Next add the maple syrup, spice, and vanilla extract.
  3. Whip until fluffy and place covered in the fridge until you're ready to use.
  4. For the milkshake, add all of your ingredients into the blender until blended. Top with whipped cream and drink immediately!

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Just look at those smiles! They would never know I didn't make that drink with a gallon of ice cream ;)!

The BEST Acai Bowl

From the age of 16 through 20 I worked at smoothie businesses. One might think this is where my love of 'healthy living' developed...But when a pizza place next door starts exchanging you breadsticks for smoothie, well...

The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish
The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish

Also, did you know the majority of smoothie chains make their smoothies with sugary juice and frozen yogurt ice cream? It makes them taste oh so delicious! But it also kind of cancels out the fact that drinking a smoothie is a healthier option.

Does that mean pizza bread sticks could have been a healthier choice?!

I'd like to think so.

The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish
The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish

Hands down one of my ALL TIME favorite smoothies are Acai bowls, which are becoming quite popular.

(Let it be known that I totally like Acai Bowls before they were cool.)

But unlike so many others, I won't toss my beloved smoothie bowls to the curb when it gets popular. I won't think of it any different even though it has become quite the media whore.

No. I will love them forever. Why? Because when Acai Bowls are tomorrows news and another health craze becomes the star...I'll still be there. Just like I was for Kale.

The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish
The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish

One smoothie place I worked for used apple juice and strawberry juice with acai ice cream.

Another used almond milk, vanilla ice cream, and acai smoothie packs.

The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish
The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish

With the knowledge I have and for the love of all things healthy, I came up with is what I think the BEST Acai Bowl ever.

But seriously, what makes them so popular? Besides the looks, it's a great way to make a meal out of a smoothie. You can add fruit, crunchy granola, and a drizzle of funny and eat it all up with a spoon!

It's mad I tell you, MAD. But once you do it, you won't be able to stop thinking about it. Then before you know it, you will dream about it, and then well...

The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish
The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish

Then you will make an acai bowl i guess.

Or you will drive to the nearest juice bar and have them make it for you because most likely they will know you by name and exactly what you want. So in order to avoid that embarrassment you will have to make it at home sometimes.

You're welcome.

The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish
The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish

The BEST Acai Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 acai smoothie packs, I found mine at Costco
  • Handful of frozen strawberries and blueberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • a little bit of non dairy milk-I used cashew or almond
  • (opt. a little bit of apple juice)
  • 1 TB. agave
  • handful of ice
  • Toppings:
  • chopped fresh strawberries, frozen blueberries, sliced bananas, and a drizzle of honey

Instructions

  1. Add all smoothie ingredients into a blender and add a splash or two of liquid (milk and apple juice.) The less milk, the creamier.
  2. Blend until creamy.
  3. Add toppings to smoothie and dig in with a spoon!

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The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish
The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish
The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish
The BEST Acai Bowl from The Diva Dish

Would I trade this acai bowl for a box full of breadsticks now a days? I mean...No, but I love bread sticks so...halfsies?

Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie + Our Kitchen Before Pictures!

*Need a quick snack for your hungry littles, or even yourself? This Walnut Berry Smoothie is the perfect treat to keep those bellies full!* I've discovered over the past month that there is not only ONE but TWO places near my house that make Acai bowls. You know those smoothie bowls topped with fresh fruit, granola, and a drizzle of honey?

I've been back and forth to both locations because I don't want to embarrass myself with how many acai bowls I'm really eating. Gosh dang...They are just so good.

Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie from The Diva Dish
Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie from The Diva Dish

Unfortunately a regular bowl is just shy under TEN DOLLARS, and after 4 visits in a week your husband will start to question your insanity. I've tried to make my own acai bowl at home, especially since I used to make them in high school when I worked at a smoothie place...I'm like a pro.

But by the time I go to the grocery store to buy the acai, my kids all of the sudden act like a pack of wild kangaroos raised them, I forgot my list at home, and the store feels like it's 115 inside and I begin to sweat profusely. And then I'm pregnant, so that basically means my mind is a bowl of spaghetti.

NOW do you see husband?!?

Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie from The Diva Dish
Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie from The Diva Dish

SO, I've been trying to make my own versions at home using what I have on hand LIKE A RESPONSIBLE ADULT...and I recently found a combination that I LOVE.

Smoothies are such a staple in my household, we are basically addicted to them. They are just so quick and you can add whatever you want depending on how you are feeling.

In this case, my girls asked for a pink smoothie, so I did my best and aimed to please.

Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie from The Diva Dish
Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie from The Diva Dish

Sadly it was purple and they were pissed.

Thank goodness for Princess Sofia the First and her purple obsession!

Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie from The Diva Dish
Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie from The Diva Dish

Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 c. almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1/3 c. yogurt of choice, I used plain greek yogurt for more protein
  • 1/4 c. frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 c. frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 c. frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 c. frozen dark sweet cherries
  • 1 heaping TB. walnuts
  • 1 heaping TB. chia seeds
  • 1 TB. honey
  • 1/2 c. ice

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until creamy.
  2. Serve immediately.
  3. Optional: Top with your favorite toppings, like fresh fruit, granola, and a drizzle of honey!
  4. Serves 2 littles and one mama (For a snack)

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Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie from The Diva Dish
Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie from The Diva Dish
Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie from The Diva Dish
Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie from The Diva Dish
Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie from The Diva Dish
Walnut Berry Protein Smoothie from The Diva Dish

This is great as an afternoon snack, bedtime snack, or 'I just need a snack'. You can definitely make this to be like an acai bowl and top with your favorite granola, fruit, and honey! But if your like me, you forgot the granola along with the acai...

Nailed it.

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Side note:

We are re-doing our downstairs in our home!! :) (Yes, we are having a baby in two weeks lol!) I know this isn't a DIY blog, but who doesn't love before and afters right?!

We don't have the after just yet, but I do have really crappy before pictures!

Before: kitchen/ The Diva Dish
Before: kitchen/ The Diva Dish

Yup! That's our fridge in our living room!

Before: kitchen/ The Diva Dish
Before: kitchen/ The Diva Dish
Before: kitchen/ The Diva Dish
Before: kitchen/ The Diva Dish

I'm excited to show you the after!

Have a great week!

All about Green Drinks 101

**Update:  I have had a lot of questions regarding the type of blender I use to make green smoothies. I've always used a Vitamix. Click HERE to see the Vitamix. If that one is too pricey, I've also successfully used my Magic Bullet Blender for years, link HERE ."** (affiliate links)

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The thought of eating vegetables can be gag-worthy to some...

But the idea of DRINKING your vegetables can sound just down right repulsive.

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If you would have asked me 5 years ago to drink a green smoothie I would have laughed in your face than had nightmares for 6 months after that. They are down right scary.

Oddly enough, not only do I now eat my veggies, but I drink tons of them too. Trust me. I gots me lots a friends....(And good Engrish too...)

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And if somebody asked me what is ONE thing they could do differently to adapt a healthier eating lifestyle, I would beg them to drink a green smoothie everyday. It's the one thing that I believe can have a major impact on your diet and change the way you feel.

But what exactly are the benefits of drinking green?

Improved digestive system

Better energy

Opportunity to give your body nutrients it most likely wouldn't receive on a regular basis

Being able to eat raw veggies(w/o a cup of ranch dressing on the side.)

-Weight loss

-Fight off sickness

-Sleep improvement

-Rid your body of toxins

-Essential vitamins, nutrients, and minerals

-Helps your kids (and hubby's!) get their veggies

-Fast to make AND healthy!

The list goes on and on....

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But sometimes the benefits are not enough to convince somebody to drink green. Sure it's good for you, but is it really worth stomaching something that can taste so freak nastay?

That's where your wrong my friends...Because I am here to tell you I have never tried a green drink I didn't like.(And trust me...I've had my fair share of green drink varieties.) With the right ingredients, knowledge, and helpful perks, green drinks can taste more like a regular smoothie(even a dessert one) without even noticing the hint of any vegetables!

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First, let's start with the veggies:

Spinach is an obvious choice when it comes to drinking greens. It's a very mild tasting green, so a lot of people love to use it. On top of that, it's a familiar ingredient. People are scared of it, but not too scared since they know a little bit about it. I think spinach is a GREAT green to add in smoothies, but I think sometimes we get stuck in a rut of ONLY using spinach. There are SO many other veggies out there that have different types of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that our bodies need.

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Here are my favorite veggies to use as of right now:

Spinach

Kale (no stems, just leaves. Stems are stanky!)

Rainbow and Green Chard

Collard Greens

Dandelion Greens (Just a little, it can tend to me strong)

Mustard Greens (just a little, it kind of has a kick.)

Cucumbers

Carrots

Beets

Avocados

Pumpkin Puree

*Remember to wash your greens to get rid of dirt and yucky stuff! (Yes, I said yucky. So professional.)

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And to store greens properly, I just wash them, dry, and then put them in labeled zip lock bags with a paper towel.

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Perfect for portioning sizes for smoothies and what not!

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Next Step: Add your fruit!

Veggies aren't the only thing that you can add to your green drink. I especially love adding fruit!

Fruit is a great way to add a natural sweetness to your drink, giving it a 'smoothie' like taste, and hiding the taste of some of those veggies. Not too mention fruit is another great way to get in some extra goodness like antioxidants and fiber!

Here is some of my top fruits to add in smoothies. And fruit will do, it just depends on your liking. For more tropical flavors choose things like mangos, oranges, pineapples, etc...

Bananas (GREAT sweetener! Also does well hiding those veggies!)

Cherries

Strawberries

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Mangos

Pears

Pineapples

Peaches

Orange Juice (Fresh squeezed)

Pomegranates

Grapes

Apples

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Next, give that smoothie some VA VA- VOOM!

Here is where you can go above and beyond a strawberry banana smoothie, and move onto a sweet almond cherry coconut bliss smoothie. The world is your...green drink? That made no sense, but are you catching my drift? There are many little things we can add to our green drinks to give them that extra flair that will make them more desirable to drink. No one ever said no to a chocolate PB drink! And if they did, well then...I'm speechless. :-)

Here are some things to add to those green drinks to give them some extra OOMPH!

Nut Butters (Almond Butter, Peanut Butter, Walnut Butter, Sunflower Butter...etc. Great source of protein and healthy fats!)

Nuts (Don't have the butta', then just throw in a few nuts!)

Cocoa Powder (Chocolate...Heck yes!)

Carob Powder

Oatmeal (Bring on the hearty breakfast grains!)

Almond Extract

Vanilla Extract

Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)

Mint Leaves

Basil Leaves

Coconut Milk

Orange Juice (If you combine coconut milk and Oj, you get a creamsicle taste!)

Cocoa nibs

Dark chocolate chips

PB pong balls or Fudge Balls or S'more Balls

Apple Butter

Pumpkin Butter

Lemon, Lime

Ginger

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Don't forget those added bonus:

Every green drink needs those few added bonuses that will boost their nutrient value even more!

Here are my favorite little added bonuses:

Chia Seeds

Ground Flax seeds

Protein Powder (I love to use a plant based protein powder. My favorite brand is Sun Warrior!)

Choice of Liquid (whether it be non dairy milk, reg. milk, water, etc.)

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Lastly if needed, add a sweetener.

I've gotten to the point where I don't usually need a sweetener, especially if I have loaded it with fruit. But the more stronger tasting veggies like beets, I tend to add a little bit to sweeten the drink to my liking.

Here are my favorite go-to natural sweeteners:

100% Pure Maple Syrup

Agave Nectar

Raw Honey

Dates

Stevia

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So where to begin?

Start simple. Add ingredients you are familiar with, and slowly each time add in different things to get used to. You will adjust smoothies to your taste buds preferences, and in time find what is right for you!

Here are a few recipes to get you started!

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 Beginners Green Drink

1 C. non diary milk

2 C. spinach

1 frozen banana

1 TB. Chia Seeds

1 tsp. Sweetener of choice

1tsp. vanilla

Ice

Optional: Peanut Butter

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6287692589_9139a917b3_z

 Tropical Cream Green Drink

1/2 C. fresh OJ

1/2 C.-1 C. coconut milk

1 C. spinach

1 C. kale

1 frozen banana

1/2 c. frozen pineapple, mango, or peaches

1 tsp. vanilla

2 TB. coconut flakes

ice

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Red Velvet Smoothie

1 C. non dairy milk

1 medium beet peeled, steamed, and chopped

1/3 c. frozen raspberries, cherries, or strawberries

1 frozen banana

4 TB. cocoa powder

4 pitted dates

1 TB. chia seeds

2 tsp. sweetener of choice

1 tsp. vanilla

ice

PICTURE

Green Smoothies are great for breakfast! Baby Boo has one pretty much every morning, it's her favorite thing to have!

Here is a typical smoothie for Boo. It's loaded with healthy fats, protein, greens, and tons of vitamins and minerals!!

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Princess Bliss Avocado Green Smoothie

1 C. milk of choice (I used coconut-from a carton, not a can.)

1 frozen banana

1/2 frozen avocado

1/2 c. kale

1/4 c. oats

1/4 c. vanilla yogurt (soy or reg.)

1 TB. Chia seeds

1 TB. almond butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1 TB. maple syrup (Boo really doesn't need a sweetener because she can't tell the difference, but for older kids you could add a little more than 1 TB.)

ice

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Then this morning for breakfast the three of us split this smoothie:

My husband said it was the BEST smoothie he has ever had...And trust me, those words don't always come out of his mouth...

SHOCKER! :-)

Chocolatey Chocolate Green Smoothie

1 c. milk of choice

handful spinach

handful kale

handful chard

1/4 c. dandelion greens (just the leaves)

1 frozen banana

handful frozen cherries

4 spoonfuls cocoa powder

2 TB. almond butter

1 TB. chia seeds

2 TB. agave nectar

2 c. ice

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A lot of times I make more than enough smoothie, so I just freeze the extra in an ice cube tray and use them for another day! That way, when I am in a hurry I just throw some in a blender with some milk and voila!

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Whew! That was a LONG post! Don't be afraid to try a green drink! If anything, you won't regret the way it will make you feel on a regular basis. :-)

For additional recipes, just go to my recipes tab underneath the header and click on green drinks!

Have a great day!! :-)