Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fruit and Nut Butter Smoothies...

Peach Cashew Butter Smoothie

Jam making is something I really enjoy, when summer fruit is in season and at its sweetest and best.  I miss fresh stone fruit and berries in the winter, even while I love the abundance of oranges and other citrus.  I just finished eating a blood orange at lunch – such a bizarre dark red inside for what looks like an orange orange from the outside. 

I always share the jam with my parents, as my dad loves my homemade jam on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I’m not sure he’d be able to pick a favorite between the Cranberry Blueberry Jam, Cranberry Orange Preserves, Apple Butter, Red Currant Blackberry Jelly, Black Cherry Jam, or Apricot Peach Preserves with Ginger and Nutmeg.  He sent me a picture of a sandwich he’d made with that last one with a text that read ‘Nuff said'.

Sometimes they don’t work out so well, like the Carrot Orange Marmalade I attempted.  It was too bitter and just, well, a little weird.  And yet, I’ve hesitated to throw it all away after all that work even though I’m not sure I want to use it.

There is still one lingering jar of the Apricot Peach Preserves in our house which I’m hoping lasts until I have the chance to make more.  And Pomegranate Grape Jelly I made with red grapes that I discovered, to my annoyance, were not seedless, so I made jelly with their juice instead.

Along with each jar of jam is a memory – the October day we picked out pumpkins for carving and then went to the apple orchard and came home with bags of apples for apple pie and apple butter, picking tiny little currants and tart pie cherries at an organic farm outside of town, our July weekend in Palisade and the abundance of fuzzy-skinned warm-from-the-sun peaches at roadside farm stands, picking apricots from the apricot tree at a vineyard in Paonia…

But when fresh fruit isn’t available, I rely on frozen fruit for pies and sauces, and more recently, a deliciously creamy – and healthy – peanut butter and strawberry smoothie.  I brought a bag of frozen strawberries home to make smoothies one Saturday morning, only to discover that I might actually prefer the frozen fruit to fresh for smoothies for one simple reason.  The frozen fruit makes the smoothie nice and thick and cold, thus, no need for ice.  And with the thick Greek yogurt and creamy peanut butter, it tasted as indulgent as a milkshake.

Strawberry Peanut Butter Smoothie

Strawberry Peanut Butter Smoothie

This smoothie tastes amazing without any guilt, with nothing more than the frozen berries, non-fat Greek yogurt, all-natural creamy peanut butter, a dollop of honey and a bit of vanilla extract.  You could even add a scoop of protein powder to make it a complete meal replacement.

The weekend after, I tried another variation with frozen black cherries and almond butter.  This combination reminded me of when I waitressed at Olive Garden during college, and sometimes late at night at the end of my shift, the bartender would make me my favorite milkshake – cherry with a little amaretto syrup, which is a cherry almond-flavored syrup.  Of course, nonfat Greek yogurt isn't quite as satisfying as ice cream, but it's still a yummy alternative.

Cherry Almond Butter Smoothie

Cherry Almond Butter Smoothie

Not to let the creativity stop there, the next weekend I made a smoothie with frozen peaches and cashew butter, and a hint of nutmeg.  Jamie and I thought that the cashew butter was a little overpowering for the peaches - frozen peaches don't have nearly the flavor that a fresh peach warm from the summer sun has - so I reduced the amount of cashew butter and sweetened it with peach preserves instead of honey, to bring out the peach flavor a little more.

Peach Cashew Butter Smoothie

Peach Cashew Butter Smoothie

And lastly, after spying a jar of sunflower butter at the store, I made a blueberry and sunflower butter smoothie for our fourth weekend of frozen fruit and nut butter smoothie experimentation.

All of these specialty nut butters are expensive, so after they're gone, it'll be back to peanut butter again.  I’m not sure I could pick a favorite one, because they were each so different and such a delicious and healthy way to start the morning.  If you try these recipes or any variations with other frozen fruit or berries, I’d love to hear which one you like best...

Blueberry Sunflower Butter Smoothie

Blueberry Sunflower Butter Smoothie

Blueberry Sunflower Butter Smoothie

Fruit and Nut Butter Smoothies
printable recipes

Note: If the nut butter is unsalted, add a small pinch of Kosher salt to enhance the flavors.

Blueberry Sunflower Seed Butter Smoothies
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter
  • 2 tablespoons blueberry jam (or honey)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla  

Peach and Cashew Butter Smoothies
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peaches (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons cashew butter
  • 2 tablespoons peach preserves or jam
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg 

Cherry Almond Smoothies
  • 1 cup frozen pitted sweet black cherries
  • 1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup tart cherry juice
  • 4 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
  • 1-2 drops almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Peanut Butter Strawberry Smoothies
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 4 tablespoons creamy, all-natural peanut butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Yields 2 servings

Recipes from Curly Girl Kitchen   


  1. Heather, the Apricot Peach preserves spoiled me for enjoying anything store bought!

    1. Dad, there will be more where that came from this summer! :)

  2. Loved it! Keep up the good work. Mine was definitely more of a guacamole color, but yummy nonetheless.


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