Happy New Year everyone! And if you’re new to this blog, welcome – I’m happy to have you here.
Before we dive into today’s recipe I always like to take this time to reflect on the previous year and think about the upcoming one. Of course there is a lot to say about 2020, a year full of struggle, discontent, learning, and loss, but I’ll be brief. Above all else I feel grateful. I’ve been one of the lucky ones, having escaped the virus so far and keeping my job, with my friends and family healthy as well. I’m grateful for the lessons 2020 has taught me: things as simple as a new recipe or how to keep sane in my studio apartment all day, or as complex as learning about antiracism and what strong public health could look like.
I also like to take a moment to look back to my resolutions from the previous year and ask how did I do? These were…
- Prioritize my health above all else – I would say yes, I achieved this vague goal, though not in the way that I thought! Because of COVID I’m sleeping in a more regular pattern, I took up strength training with a semi-private coach and got rid of my chronic shoulder pain, and I eat at home more.
- Save more money – By going to restaurants less and traveling less frequently, I have saved more money this year!
- Purge my apartment of things I don’t use – I did start this and even earned about $180 selling extra stuff on eBay. However I definitely abandoned the project mid-year and have a junk pile sitting in the corner looming over me, so we’ll give this a 50%.
- Post on this blog weekly – I came just shy of meeting this goal, doing 53 posts, and not always weekly, but I did come close. I didn’t carve out as much time for travel posts as I would like, but I’m saving that for a time when it’s easier to travel.
How did you do on your resolutions?
This year my list is shorter but no less daunting, with two big goals: 1 – Embracing a whole foods diet, focusing more heavily on natural, plant-based foods rather than processed, and 2 – get married and stay sane in the process (ha!) I do plan on keeping the blog to as close to weekly as possible, and I’m so excited for the recipes I’m working on, but I want to be realistic and kind to myself as this year will certainly get hectic as the wedding date gets closer. What are your 2021 goals? Let me know in the comments!
I always do a smoothie to kick off the new year. After a few months of desserts and heavy meals that coincide with the holidays, I always want something lighter to reset in January. And I love this smoothie! It’s sweet and a little sour, and packed with health-promoting nutrition. It features kale, apples, banana, cucumber, and lemon juice and these foods are all high in nutrients and antioxidants, leaving you feeling refreshed and energetic after drinking it.
It’s also easy, there’s almost no prep involved. The one thing you’ll need to do in advance is peel and freeze a banana. Then when you’re ready for your smoothie, chop your cucumber and apple before putting them in the blender.
Did you know that your blender will blend more easily depending on the order you put the ingredients in? Start with the softest ingredients first and the hardest ingredients on top. For this recipe, I started with apple cider, water, lemon juice, then added the kale, then the cucumber, then the apple, and topped it with the frozen banana.
When I made a double batch, as I did for this recipe, I found that the ingredients got stuck more than in a single batch. If this happens to you, no worries- just add a small amount of liquid, keeping a 1-to-1 ratio of cider-to-water for taste. Add more liquid a bit at a time and blend; anything stuck should dislodge.
Cheers to 2021!
Refreshing Apple Lemon Smoothie
5 minutes, makes one 16-oz smoothie
- 1/3 cup all-natural apple cider
- 1/3 cup water
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 cups kale, loosely packed
- 1 small cucumber or 1/2 larger cucumber, chopped
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1 frozen banana, roughly chopped
- Add the ingredients to the blender in the order listed. Blend on high until smooth.