My children love chocolate and they’d ask for a sprinkle of cocoa every day if they could. Luckily, we manage to avoid most sugary breakfast cereals and instead we go for a bowl of milky porridge or Weetabix, so they are usually allowed a little pinch of cocoa. Breakfast smoothies are a good option, too, if time is tight. I’ve even found a way of making hot chocolate breakfast smoothies, which are always a hit, by blending the ingredients with warm milk. I also add oats and chia seeds for an extra health kick.
When I saw that Helen’s Breakfast Club this month was being hosted by Choclette with a theme of chocolate, I knew that it would be really easy for me to rustle up one of our favourite chocolate-themed morning treats. We’re not talking bars of Dairy Milk here, just a square or two of Fairtrade, organic dark chocolate. We like chocolate orange flavour and we buy ours from The Co-operative Food as their own-brand range is Fairtrade.
Earlier this year I was also incredibly lucky to win a Vitamix machine, by entering my card into a draw at Food Blogger Connect. I’ve learnt that the trick, with any kitchen gadget, it to keep it out on the counter. As soon as it goes into a cupboard, whether its a juicer, blender or food processor, it never gets used again. So my Vitamix has taken pride of place on my counter and we use it most days. It has encouraged me to experiment with extra ingredients in our smoothies, such as adding a handful of spinach, or a ripe avocado, or some super-healthy chia seeds. It would be incredibly difficult to get the children to eat any of these ingredients in large amounts, so blending them with milk and dark chocolate is a great way to sneak in some extras. I’ve also been whizzing up super-fast and healthy soups, sauces (cheesy bechamel in an instant) and you can even make sorbets, frozen cocktails and ice-cream. We no longer have a fridge full of leftover vegetables, they all get whizzed up in some form or another in our Vitamix.
The main advantage to the Vitamix machine over a standard blender is the power of the commercial motor and the blades – the Vitamix will even blitz down peel, pulp and seeds and you can use raw ingredients, too. Unlike a juicer, you don’t lose any of the fibre because it all gets whizzed up. It can also make steaming hot soup in under five minutes and if you use ice-cubs and frozen fruit, you can make instant ice-cream. They are pricey…but if Santa is feeling generous this year…
Back to the smoothies, I think you could make these in a standard blender, too. Just keep whizzing, grate your chocolate and use a very ripe avocado. You could add spinach, a banana and more milk if it is a little thick. If you haven’t heard of Chia Seeds yet, pop down to your local health food shop. They are being described as the new super-food (there’s always a new one, isn’t there?) containing stacks of Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and fibre. They are gluten free and sugar free and were the ancient discovery of the Aztecs.
Healthy Hot Chocolate Breakfast Smoothies
- 50g/a couple of squares Fairtrade dark chocolate (grated if not using a Vitamix)
1 avocado – super-ripe, stone removed, scooped out
1 tablespoon Chia Seeds – or you can use flax seeds
1 teaspoon honey, we used local honey
2 tablespoons raw oats or up to one Weetabix biscuit
500ml/2 cups warm milk – we used whole milk
Vitamix Instructions –
Place all the ingredients together into the Vitamix container and secure the lid. Select Variable 1. Turn the machine on and increase the speed to variable 10. Blend for 30 seconds or until you get the right consistency. Add extra milk and blend again if the smoothie is too thick. Pour into small cups or milk botttles and drink immediately.
Jug Blender/Hand Blender Instructions –
Put all of the ingredients into your jug blender or into a tall container if you are using a hand blender stick blender. Add all the ingredients together (apart from the milk) blend together and then slowly add the warm milk. Blend for another two minutes until the mixture is smooth. Pour into small cups or milk bottles and drink immediately.
Note: I won a Vitamix blender through a random prize draw at Food Blogger Connect – I was not required to write a post about it, but since I use it so often, it was bound to feature! Many thanks to Vitamix UK.