Tag Archives: smoothie

What is mesquite powder?

When I posted my recipe for cocoa mesquite energy balls a couple weeks back, I got a lot of comments along the lines of “So what is mesquite powder?”, “I’ve never heard of it”, “Is it spicy?”, “Why are you adding powdered wood chips to your energy balls?”, etc (okay, I’m not serious about the last one).

What is mesquite powder

Well… truth be told, I didn’t really know. I knew it had something to do with trees, and Mexico, and superfoods. But that’s about it. So being the nerd that I am, I set out to research it.

And what I found is that mesquite actually dates many many many years back – as far back as 6500 BC where it was actually a staple food for the native people of Central and South America. They used to just chew the pods, but eventually they started processing them through drying and grinding them to make a flour, which they used to make bread and cakes and even hot drinks (1,2,3).

So why eat mesquite powder? Well it’s low on the glycemic index, so it won’t spike your blood sugar as much as other sweeteners after eating it (3). Also it’s high in fibre, potassium, iron, phosphorus, and calcium (3,4). Not to mention protein – just 2 tbsp has 6 g!

It’s really hard to describe its flavour. It’s been said to have a cinnamon mocha aroma (2), but I think it also tastes a caramely and even a bit woody. That sounds weird, but I promise it’s not like eating a tree.

My favourite ways to use mesquite powder is in energy balls (check out my cocoa mesquite energy balls) and smoothies. It pairs really well with vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, caramel and banana flavours if you want to experiment. Or just make it simple for yourself and try this smoothie:

Vanilla banana mesquite smoothie

Vanilla banana mesquite smoothie
Yield: 1 serving
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tbsp mesquite powder
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp almond butter
  • 3 ice cubes
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more almond milk as needed.
I use Sprout Living vanilla lucuma protein powder, but I'm sure any vanilla protein powder will taste similar in the smoothie.

Vanilla banana mesquite smoothie

More recipes to check out:
Apple nut mesquite muffins
Mesquite flour tortillas
Raspberry, cocoa nib, and mesquite cookies
Chocolate walnut mesquite cookies
Raw fudgey truffles with caramel filling
Mesquite almond flour cookies
Mesquite sweet potato chips

1. Guilherme AA et al (2009). Journal of Food Process Engineering.
2. Felker, P (2005). Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture.
3. Felker P, Takeoka G, Dao L (2013). Food Reviews International.
4. Da Silva CGM, Filho ABD, Pires EF, Stamford TLM (2007). Ciencia E Tecnologia de Alimentos.

What’s your favourite nutrition booster to add to smoothies?


Filed under nutrition, recipe

Ninja Ultima Blender review + 2 smoothie recipes

I never used to be a big fan of smoothies.

I didn’t like that they didn’t really fill me up. I didn’t like drinking my meals instead of chewing them. I didn’t like having to clean my blender afterwards. I didn’t like how my blender would always leave chunks of kale and banana in my smoothies.

But with a bit of problem solving, I’m now a smoothie convert. A smoothie isn’t filling enough? Add more stuff to it. I want something to chew? Have toast on the side. I dislike cleaning my blender? Well, there’s no solution to this one… I just have to suck it up. And the problem of gross chunky smoothies? Well that’s no longer an issue thanks to my Ninja Ultima Blender.

Ninja Ultima Blender

Last month when I was at the Healthy Living Summit I got a chance to connect with the people from Ninja Kitchen and try a green smoothie made in the Ninja Ultima Blender. I was super impressed with how silky and smooth it was, so I was ecstatic when they contacted me after the conference and offered to send me my own Ninja Ultima Blender to review!

Ninja Blender

I’ll admit I put off playing with it for about a week after I received it because I was intimidated by setting it up. But it was actually really easy to figure it out (although I did rely on my user manual to help me out) – it just requires some twisting and locking, then you’re good to go.

And what’s really cool is that it actually comes with two single serving cups and lids with their own set of blades so that I can make quick smoothies to go, which means I can avoid having to clean the whole blender for just one smoothie. Win!

Ninja Blender

And regardless of whether I make a smoothie in the big pitcher or in one of the cups, I always get super silky smooth results. It can even blend ice super finely so that you still get a creamy consistency, as opposed to a slushie like texture! This is because of its dual stage blending abilities: the crushing blades crush the hard ingredients like ice and fruits/veggies, while the cyclonic blades blend them into a creamy texture.

The Ninja also has some other really awesome features:

  • 2.5 peak horsepower motor – the same as some of the Vitamix models
  • 10 different speed settings
  • 72 oz. capacity
  • Made of durable, stain resistant and BPA free material
  • Many possible uses: as a meat grinder, nut butter maker, food processor, soup maker, grain mill, and more

I usually like to balance out a review with some criticism as well as praise, but I have nothing but good things to say about this blender. It does such a good job of blending that it turned me into a bit of a smoothie fanatic! Here are two of my favourites that I’ve made:

Chocolate banana green smoothie

Chocolate banana green smoothie
Serves 1

1 frozen banana
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1.5 cups torn kale
1 tbsp ground flax
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
20 g plain tasting protein powder

Put all ingredients in the blender (or single serving cup) and blend until smooth.

Pumpkin vanilla smoothie

Pumpkin vanilla smoothie
Serves 1

3/4 cup almond milk
1 banana
1/3 cup pumpkin
1 scoop (21 g) vegan vanilla protein powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
8 ice cubes

Put all ingredients in the blender (or single serving cup) and blend until smooth.

Pumpkin vanilla smoothie

I just want to wrap up this post with a big thank you to Ninja Kitchen for sending me this blender to review!

What is your favourite smoothie combination?

How do you make your smoothies more filling?

I received the blender free of charge for reviewing purposes, however I was not otherwise compensated. All opinions in this post are my own.


Filed under product review, recipe

Highlights from the week

Good morning everyone and happy Thanksgiving weekend to all my fellow Canadians! What’s on the agenda for you today? I’m heading to Simcoe to see some duck races at the Norfolk County Fair (I’m not joking), followed by Thanksgiving dinner with my family. Bring on the pumpkin pie!

Even though I spent most of the week just looking forward to Thanksgiving, it was still filled with some pretty good things too. Things like…

… a special delivery from Ninja Kitchen! I can’t wait to whip up some delicious smoothies in this thing. I’ve been in a bit of a smoothie rut lately though – does anyone have any recipes recommendations for me?

Ninja Blender

… a morning of testing tuna casserole and beef stroganoff recipes for my food service rotation. My fellow intern and I just kept on exclaiming “Is this real life?!” I think we definitely chose the right career field!

Tuna casserole

… my sister flying in for Thanksgiving, which was promptly followed by sushi at our favourite sushi restaurant. I got an order of nigiri sushi, a salmon roll, and a wakame salad of course.

Ichiban sushi

… a fro yo date at Yogurty’s. Unfortunately the pumpkin spice flavour (the green one – weird, right?) tasted really fake, but I loved the salted caramel and cookies ‘n cream flavours!

Yogurty's pumpkin spice, salted caramel, and cookies 'n cream

… after a string of making some really disappointing smoothies, I finally whipped up a really good one after my workout on Thursday. I used almond milk, a frozen banana, ground flax, kale, and a sample package of chocolate Sunwarrior, which gave it a perfect chocolatey flavour without being overpoweringly sweet.

Chocolate banana kale smoothie

… a late afternoon hike at Crawford Lake with my friend Paula. Most of the hike was through the forest, but the little lookout to the lake was seriously gorgeous! I feel so lucky to have such amazing hiking trails so close by.

Crawford lake

… a vegan butter tart from Kelly’s Bake Shop. I’ve been looking forward to trying one of these ever since I heard the Kelly’s bakers were experimenting with recipes – and they were every bit as good as I expected! It was the perfect treat to end my week with.

Kelly's Bake Shop vegan butter tart

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend. And Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers!

What was good about your week?

What’s your favourite smoothie recipe?


Filed under dietetic internship, life