Cafe Au Lait Smoothie with Cinnamon Sticks
I heart coffee! Most of the time, we have killed an entire pot of coffee before we hit the door. When I'm ready to make my smoothie (I also heart smoothies in case you cannot tell from how many I make; uh, daily - yes, daily), I generally don't need more caffeine for the day. But, when the summer sun starts rising earlier and the heat starts to shimmer across the land lending whispers of a scorching day ahead, I.just.can't. with hot meals or drinks. The solution? We brewed the coffee, let it cool and then I ran it into a cafe au lait smoothie. I plan on parlaying this one-two punch into one of the best ways to get my cool-on combining my caffeine kick with my protein recharge. Bring on the heat!
Sustainability Spotlight: Coffee is the world's most largely traded agricultural commodity with Brazil being the largest producer in the world. Most people understand the impact of coffee production on deforestation in the Amazon; it's been a widely circulated and debated statistic that "for every cup of coffee consumed, about one square inch of rainforest is destroyed..." (Ohio State University's Environmental Science Bites). Most of the largest producers of coffee (including Starbucks) have committed to better methods to protect the valuable resources of the rainforest; including joining and achieving certification via the Rainforest Alliance or creating a mission for carbon neutrality in the next decade. Coffee production is moving towards more sustainability for the planet.
So, what can I tell you that you may not already know? According to research from the British Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, "...60% of wild coffee species are at risk of extinction due to the climate (change), deforestation, and the increased severity of fungal pathogens and pests." In fact, coffea arabica (the world's most popular bean) is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's "Red List" as an endangered species. What can we do to help as consumers? Select coffee producers based upon their commitments to sustainability via Rainforest Alliance Certification, shade grown and organic labels. Diversify your selection of coffee types (away from arabica) and enjoy various bean species and varietals to decrease the demand on the endangered species and monoculture crops. Do that, and you can drink your morning Joe (hot or cold, or somewhere in between) in confidence that you are making a difference.
1 cup frozen cauliflower florets
2 scoops of vanilla protein powder (Garden of Life - Plant-based Sport)
2 cups of room temperature (or better; chilled coffee)
Optional Garnish: dash of cinnamon and cinnamon sticks for stirring
Place all ingredients (cauliflower through coffee (and cinnamon if using) in the order shown above in a high-powered blender.
If you have a Vitamix with smoothie button, turn on and wait for the blender to automatically stop. Proceed to Step #4.
If you do not have a Vitamix with a smoothie button, turn on blender on low and gradually increase in increments of 20 seconds each all the way up to the highest setting. Use a tamper or scrape down sides as needed and blend until smooth (~4 minutes).
Pour into glasses and top with the optional garnish(es) noted above. Serve & enjoy!
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie