The straight-on photo I took of this smoothie, with my good SLR camera, came out terrible and out of focus, so Instagram to the rescue! YAY!
My smoothie and juice obsession continues. My latest discovery is carob powder. Since I have been avoiding caffeine and sugar for the last two weeks, I haven’t had any chocolate, which has actually been totally fine. But given the time of month that it is right now (ahem, ladies – you know what I am talking about) my slight cravings for chocolate were definitely present this week. I didn’t wanna give in, but I was looking for something that would satisfy me without the caffeine and sugar. I ran across some carob powder while shopping last week at the grocery store and I grabbed it, excited to experiment. I know it can be used in place of cocoa in many recipes, so I figured it would be fun to try out in things like smoothies and maybe even some raw “cookie” balls and stuff. It has some similarities to chocolate, beyond the way that it looks, but it also has quite a few differences, too. Ounce for ounce carob has about the same amount of calories and fat as cocoa, but carob has about 3-times as much calcium as cocoa. It has its own unique flavor that is somewhere between cocoa and carmel, it is a bit sweeter than cocoa on it’s own. It is quite tasty and it definitely helped me curb that want for chocolate. Carob is a tropical pod that contains a sweet, edible pulp and inedible seeds. After drying, the pulp is roasted and ground into a powder that resembles cocoa powder in appearance.
In addition to it’s lovely taste and being caffeine-free, carob has a myriad of health benefits. Carob can help regulate the digestion process (YAY – BONUS!), while serving as a natural anti-allergic, antiseptic, and anti-bacterial agent. Additionally, carob provides powerful anti-viral benefits that supply the body with essential antioxidants. It can lower cholesterol levels in the blood and it is great for treatment of diarrhea. Carob is also rich in phosphor and calcium. For this reason, it is used in the fight against osteoporosis.
I have used it in a couple different smoothies this week, this one being my favorite, and I also made a hot carob drink with the carob powder, almond milk, honey and vanilla. I am still working on that recipe, but once I make it again and can photo it, I plan to share it with you. It was quite delicious and nice that I could enjoy a hot drink besides herbal tea in the evening and not be concerned about caffeine keeping me awake. The flavor at first was a bit of a shock since my brain expected it to taste more like a hot cocoa, since it looked just like it, but once I got past the visual trickery, I really really enjoyed it.
This smoothie is a nice way to bring some very lovely flavors together. It is reminiscent of the classic flavors of chocolate, peanut butter and banana but with a fun and different twist. I made a similar version today leaving out the almond butter and replacing the almond milk with full fat coconut milk and adding an additional teaspoon of carob power and topped with a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut, it was so delicious.
[print_this]Banana, Almond & Carob Smoothie
1 banana (you can freeze it and skip the ice if you want)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened organic vanilla almond milk
2 tablespoons unsalted, unsweetened organic almond butter
1 tablespoon of carob powder
1 tablespoon raw honey, or however much you want/need to sweeten it (you could also use dates, maple syrup, brown rice syrup etc to sweeten)
1 handful of ice
Add all the ingredients to your blender and process until smooth! [/print_this]