I just got home from a week in the Cayman Islands. I ate so much seafood, I am almost sick of it. Almost. I forgot to pack my hairbrush, and I didn’t care. That’s how relaxed I was. I sat in the sun, crushed a scorpion with a coconut (true story), and I drank some goofy rum drinks. I also ate copious amounts of tropical fruit. We had island apples, guava, pineapple, papaya and bananas every day for breakfast. I wish I could share with you guys the way the perfumey smell of guava hit my nose, like a tropical wave, as I barefooted into the kitchen every morning. Yeah, it was rough. [I’ll try not to make you hate me even more by describing the infinity pool looking out to the aqua blue Caribbean Sea.] Oops. 🙂
I don’t really expect you to feel sorry for me when I tell you that I am not super happy to be home. But it was sort of a shock to the system. I wanted to high tail it straight back to the beach before we even got home, with a cancelled connection and an unexpected late late late night rental car ride from Newark to Burlington and the 2 feet of snow between our car and the front porch. What has taken me more off kilter it is what the copious amounts of rum cocktails and conch fritters did to my healthy rhythm. I’m still feeling it. I have already gotten three good workouts in, and I am back to my usual diet, but my system still seems all out of whack.
It’s not that I am worried that I gained a bunch of weight or anything. [I know it takes 3,500 extra calories to gain a pound of fat, so I am not worried that I really did that much hard damage to the numbers on the scale… even still, I’m not planning to get on that for a few days… if ever.] But I just don’t like the way my system is running right now. I feel bloated, and like I may be fighting off the cold my 5-year old is rockin’. So my solution is simple. This smoothie.
I laugh because I realize that it is sort of like a bit of hair of the dog. It is loaded with that yummy fresh tropical fruit, and it tastes just like a pool-side pina colada with banana in it (aka Monkeylada.) But it is a-okay to drink this for breakfast because it doesn’t have any alcohol, it’s totally raw vegan and gluten free.
Two unusual things about this recipe are first that I added in Coconut meat also known as coconut manna or coconut meat butter. This really gives the smoothie richness and strong coconut flavor. A little goes a long way, so 1 tablespoon is all you need for two servings. You can find it at the health food store with the coconut oil, or a lot of times it will be stocked with the peanut butters. It is thick like peanut butter, and it is great in vegan ice cream too. It is solid below 80 degrees (because some of the fats are saturated.)
The other curve ball ingredient is the cashews. For the base of the smoothie, you blend the cashews with the coconut water to make coconut cashew cream. I learned about making cashew cream from a vegan chef I had in culinary school. He taught us to use it in place of heavy cream in all sorts of recipes, including amazingly good vegan alfredo sauce. After that, I used it a lot when I was a personal chef for clients who couldn’t tolerate dairy. I have used it in recipes here on the blog like in this lamb with cashew curry sauce or an almond cream variation for this swiss chard tart with chevre and leeks. Recently I have been noticing recipes calling for the step of soaking the cashews first for four hours or overnight. I tried it out this time, and the texture was even better, and less grainy.
I am already starting to feel better. PS, I won’t judge if you do decide to try these monkeyladas out with a splash of rum and visualize that infinity pool some evening. That also cures what ails ‘ya:)
Raw, vegan and gluten-free smoothie recipe inspired by the flavors of a pina colada with banana in it, also known as a monkeylada.
- ¼ cup raw cashews, refrigerated and soaked for four hours or overnight
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 banana
- 1 cup pineapple chunks, frozen if desired
- 1 cup ice
- 1 tablespoon coconut meat butter, such as Nutiva Coconut Manna
- Drain and rinse cashews. Puree cashews and coconut water in a blender until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Add banana, pineapple, ice, coconut meat butter and puree until smooth, 30 to 45 seconds.
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