Chocolate Strawberry Protein Shake
I mentioned, somewhat in passing in a What I Ate Wednesday post, that Rich has recently started eating the same breakfast I do.
When we got together, he’d been making his own breakfast for decades, and knew perfectly well what he liked, thank you very much… He’d build a massive bowl full of a mixture of several kinds of whole grain cereal, dried fruit, and nuts or seeds, mixed with yogurt. And he just wasn’t really interested in my eggs and the like – though when I started baking muffins he was perfectly happy to eat a nice warm, fresh corn muffin!
Now, very gradually, a few things changed… He changed the varieties of cereal, as some became harder or easier to get. He cut down on the fruit, and added, at my urging, a little protein powder (after doing a nutritional breakdown that proved to him that he was not getting as much protein as he had thought he was…) When I started making kefir, he started using it – cheaper than yogurt, after all, and he’d always diluted the yogurt a bit… But the essentials were the same.
It became clearer and clearer, though, that, as careful as he might be, I was getting some gluten contamination from his Grape Nuts – and he agreed to try eliminating them. First, I tried making cereal (with some limited success – I will come back to the concept!) and my health did very definitely improve. But it was kind of a nuisance, and eventually – well, it’s easier for me to fix his breakfast with my own than to bake another whole food stuff. (Poor man – he has to eat homemade hot muffins and waffles, not his cold cereal! Somehow, he survives… Rather happily, in fact!)
These days I make a variety of breakfasts. But if I make porridge or muffins, we still need some protein, and while we sometimes do eat eggs and/or some sort of meat, we don’t want that all the time. I’ve used protein shakes for a number of years to fit that spot. I call them protein shakes rather than smoothies, because they do have the protein powder in them – most smoothies are just fruit or vegetables, with maybe a little milk or yogurt… I need more than that.
I use an unsweetened, unflavored protein powder – which can be astonishingly difficult to find! Most seem to be some sort of Caramel Chocolate Fudge (with artificial sweetener…) I want my flavor – and sweetness, such as it is – to come from the fruit or other flavoring I add. And I don’t want artificial sweeteners at all – or sugar, either, no matter how Natural it is. Fruit is sweet enough itself, for me.
Most of the time I make a nice, pleasant, mindless in the morning blend of kefir, and orange juice. I may add a little ginger, or a little vanilla, if I think of it. All Fall, and sometimes in Winter, I use fresh apple cider for the juice – then I add cinnamon. But sometimes – I want a little something more.
I used to use soymilk, not kefir, and sometimes I’d make chocolate shakes, just to feel frivolous… just cocoa powder, with the soy blanding out the bitter edge. I wasn’t sure how that would work with the tart kefir, though – and indeed I will probably try it again sometime just with fresh milk… (and you may prefer that.) Strawberries? We are in fact coming up to Valentine’s Day, and that is a classic combination – and I do start to see people in Florida saying that strawberries are ripe… Here, I still just have frozen, but I like the effect of frozen fruit in a shake, so that’s good…
So I made the Strawberry Cocoa Shake a few times – and decided it did need a bit of something else. Strawberries are sweet, but it’s a sweet-tart flavor… We had some bananas, so I added half a banana – and had a winner.
This is a shake for two – and of course it can be divided. I used three cups of kefir – if you don’t have kefir, I’d suggest two cups of yogurt and one of milk. Or just use regular milk, and it will be less tangy. We like the tart, tangy flavor of kefir or yogurt, but not everyone does… If you want a non-dairy version, you can also use soymilk or almond milk – I have used each in similar shakes.
Pour the kefir or milk into a blender. Add a cup of frozen strawberries – I didn’t bother cutting them. It’s a very rough measure, since the berries are big, and there is empty space around them, but fresh are sold by the pint and that never bothers us… Then add half a banana, and two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. Blend until smooth. Then add two servings worth of your choice of protein powder (measurements vary) and blend again until smooth and frothy.
Not much of a recipe, really – which is just what I need before, well, breakfast… And many variations are possible. Use chocolate almond milk and skip the cocoa, for instance. Use a sweetened chocolate or vanilla protein powder, if that is what you have. Skip the protein powder, use it just as a smoothie, get your protein somewhere else…
And enjoy it! Somehow starting the day with chocolate feels a little decadent (even though I grew up with hot cocoa on cold mornings like this!) My breakfast is normally terribly sensible (no matter how much I like it or how good it is…) so a Treat is a pleasant change!
Chocolate Strawberry Protein Shake
- 3 c kefir
- 1 c frozen strawberries
- 1/2 banana
- 2 T cocoa powder
- 2 servings worth of protein powder measurement varies by brand
- Put everything but the protein powder in a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Add protein powder. Blend on high until smooth and frothy.