Cherry Berry Beet Avocado Smoothie; Jai Rhythm; Breville Juicer Giveaway Winner!

by Gena on August 8, 2012

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Thanks so much for the enthusiasm about Epic Yoga! Make sure to read through to the end of this post to hear more exciting yoga news.

Ironically, Epic Yoga is located directly above a little coffee, yogurt, and smoothie bar called Yola. Valerie introduced me to Yola a long time ago, and it’s become a favorite spot for coffee rendez-vous, studying, and smoothie breaks. One of my favorite offerings on their menu is the “black cherry smoothie,” which is black cherries, strawberries, avacado, cocoa powder, almond milk. It took me some time to figure out—or start to suspect—that the cherries are actually dried cherries, and lend sweetness that way. Yesterday, I decided to make a fresh version of the smoothie, which is almost always my top pick at Yola (you can see all offerings on the website). I absolutely loved the result, and wanted to share.

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Cherry Berry Beet Avocado Smoothie

Serves 1

1 cup frozen or fresh strawberries
1/2 cup (heaping) frozen or fresh, pitted cherries
1 cup almond milk (more as needed for blending) or coconut water
1/4 avocado
2 tbsp cacao or carob powder
4 large romaine or baby bok choy leaves
1 small beet (raw if you have a high speed blender, roasted if you don’t)
Stevia to taste

Blend all ingredients on high. Serve!

This smoothie is so rich and delicious. You’ll notice that I used fresh cherries rather than dried; I may try dried when fresh is no longer seasonal, but it seemed like a shame not to use fresh ones when they are seasonal (and divine). I also substituted romaine lettuce for boy choy, though I gave you the option. I want to love bok choy in smoothies, and maybe I will someday, but the idea is a little weird to me.

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I have a feeling that this smoothie is destined to become a full time regular in my house. The cherries, beets, and cocoa marry together beautifully, and I love avocados in smoothies for creaminess and the light, fluffy texture they bestow. A winner, all around.

So before I sign off to deal with a long day of physics review, I wanted to mention a special upcoming yoga event. I was excited about yesterday’s response to my post on Epic, so it’s only appropriate to let you all know that one of Epic’s best teachers, Rob Hess, has teamed up with one of my favorite former Down Dog instructors, Colin Brightfield, to create a new initiative called Jai Rhythm. They offer retreats, community outdoor classes, and they spread awareness about the interchanges between movement, self-realization, yoga, and the arts. From Oct. 27 to Nov. 3 of this year, they’re hosting the Jai Rhythm yoga and surf retreat in beautiful Baha, Mexico. The retreat will include the following each and every day:

  • Morning Vinyasa/Prana Flow Yoga Session
  • Plenty of Time for Adventures, Excursions, Surfing, Beach, Hiking, Shopping, Diving, Whale Watching, Snoozing, Poolside Relaxing
  • Evening Vinyasa/Prana Flow Yoga Session
  • 3 Gourmet Meals with the freshest local ingredients, many from onsite gardens

I don’t often dedicate whole sections of posts to plugging events, but I’m mentioning this one because I love Colin and Rob, and I know that they’re precisely the kind of people who can bring new and advanced yogis together in an incredible, community building experience. I also love their mission with Jai Yoga—to offer accessible, affordable yoga that is heavily intertwined with artistic expression—and beyond all that, yoga retreats mean a lot to me. If you’ve never done one before, it’s hard to imagine how and why they’re so life changing, but I can attest to it.

About four or five years ago, fresh on the heels of a soul crushing breakup and overdue for a vacation (I hadn’t taken a trip in over four years of working life), I took myself on a yoga retreat in Tulum for eight days. I can’t fully tell you how much I grew on that trip, but I can try. For one thing, the retreat forced me to deepen and connect with my (still relatively young) yoga practice. For another, I connected with kind strangers, but I also treated the trip as a solo experience, and learned a lot from my contemplative time there. And finally, though this is not the typical goal of yoga retreats, I confronted a lot of my lingering food demons in those eight days, and left many of them behind me. If you are looking to deepen your experience with yoga, or you simply have the means to take an overdue trip and want to grow, I really recommend considering a yoga retreat. None are inexpensive, but neither is most vacationing, and a yoga retreat is so much richer (I think) than the average beach trip.

Colin and Rob’s retreat will feature locally sourced, organically grown food that’s from the retreat center’s own premises. The retreat center is run on solar power and water is re-used for irrigation of their gardens. There’s a pool and lounge area, rooftop balcony, a stone labyrinth for contemplative strolls, miles of pristine white sand beaches, mountains and desert, and activities from surfing to whale watching. If you’re interested, you can check out all of the details here. There’s an early bird special right now that ends on August 15, so do consider it if you’re looking to escape! I wish I could join myself, but school and MCAT study won’t allow it. This time.

And now, my final announcement of the day: I have a winner of the Breville Juicer giveaway!!!! Thank you to the many of you who participated and showed interest in this giveaway; I am so grateful. I promise more fun opportunities, so if you missed this one, there will be others. The winner is #1475, Heather Holmberg. Heather, I am going to be in touch with details and next steps for claiming your new juicer!!!

Ever made veggie burgers that didn’t turn out right? Ever feel like they’re all destined either to be mush or to crumble? It happens to the best of us. Tomorrow, my top veggie burger tips, and a delicious recipe. Stay tuned Smile

xo

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Lea August 8, 2012 at 7:30 am

That smoothie looks so delicious! Cherries are so good right now, I’ll be sad when they go back out of season!
I’ve never been on a yoga retreat, but the one you described sounds so amazing, it’s definitely on my bucket list to go on one.

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Christa @ Edible Balance August 8, 2012 at 7:45 am

Congratulations to the winner!! Enjoy it!!

Gena, the smoothie looks delicious! Next time I get beets and frozen strawberries I’m definitely making it… so pretty!

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Abby August 8, 2012 at 8:07 am

If I ever win the lottery, one of the first things I will do is book a yoga retreat similar to the one that you mention. Truth be told, I haven’t been on a vacation in more than 12 years and would love to surrender myself in an environment that nurtured with organic food, restorative activity and such a calming aura. It would be a challenge to my routine, no doubt, but one I feel would be worth it.

Best go buy that lotto ticket! ;)

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Gena August 8, 2012 at 8:10 am

I hope you win, Abby. It is indeed so nourishing to take time and space to treat your body so well, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the experience was kind of revelatory for me. I paid for mine by picking up about 9 months’ worth of freelance copyediting gigs; since you’re attached to that world, perhaps you could find something similar! :)

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Abby August 8, 2012 at 8:16 am

One would think that being the editor/writer of national trade publications and getting published hundreds of times a year would lead to freelance opportunities, but alas, not so much ;) If someone would pay me to write about what I actually enjoy (ahem…mundane things on my blog) then I would be all set! :) Thank you for sharing the link. I’ll keep it in the back of my mind…

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Kim August 8, 2012 at 8:27 am

Too funny… I walked by Epic/ Yola on my way to work this morning and thought to myself, “I wonder if Yola’s any good… maybe Gena’s been there, I’ll have to check and see if she’s ever mentioned it.”

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Gena August 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Ha! Hope to see you there someday.

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Averie @ Averie Cooks August 8, 2012 at 8:41 am

Gorgeous smoothie – the color, the glass straw, the reflection – I want to take a big gulp!

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Joy August 8, 2012 at 8:54 am

So I’m totally adding everything but almond milk (which I have) to my shopping list

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Christina August 8, 2012 at 9:21 am

Wahoo! Can’t wait for your veggie burger tips tomorrow. Mine have been better than before but I always look for tips :)

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The Delicate Place (@misathemeb) August 8, 2012 at 9:51 am

i love fresh cherries! nature’s candy for sure :) gonna have to roast my beets though since i had this strange scratchy throat thing happen after eating raw golden beet! guess it’s the oxalic acid?

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Gena August 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Yup! Some folks have that rxn. Sorry :(

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Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy August 8, 2012 at 11:09 am

that looks AMAZING!! i love the color:)

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Eileen August 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm

That smoothies does sound amazing! I love the brilliant color. Beets do seem like they’d go perfectly with chocolate, with all that earthy rich flavor!

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Jacqui August 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I just made that smoothie for lunch and it might have been the best smoothie I’ve eaten-ever-I added a few handfuls of spinach rather than romaine, used water instead of almond milk and chocolate sunwarrior rather than the cocoa and it was amazing-oh and blueberries instead of strawberries because they were what I had-wow. Thanks for this one-BTW-I also love your spurillina one!

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Janae @ Bring-Joy August 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Ah Gena, I’m so behind on your posts since being on a road trip the last few weeks, but seeing your delicious smoothie makes me want to dive right in! Looking forward to catching up once I get back home. What a great combo of flavors for a smoothie.

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Lisa @ The Raw Serenity August 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm

That smoothie sounds unreal!
Yes, I always find that my burgers are, not crisp enough, or to crumbly or to bland.
I don’t like to fry anything so this may be the reason.
Looking forward to tomorrows post x

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Hannah August 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm

If a retreat like that appeared during the depths of Canada’s winter in a few months’ time, I might be very tempted to go! After all, I’m going to go broke this year anyway. :P

P.S. You’ve reminded me of one of my favourite simple smoothies: frozen strawberries, dried tart cherries, almond milk, rosewater. I think that was it. Oowah, missing my blender right now.

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Smoothie Maker August 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm

I drooled over my keyboard a little bit…that smoothie looks amazing.

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Sophia August 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm

That yoga retreat sounds so tempting. It’s during my birthday week though, and I know I’m doing the opposite of it: pigging out on spicy, greasy foods with my friends. Heh.

Beets in smoothie? Gorgeous.

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janet @ the taste space August 9, 2012 at 4:48 am

This looks great, Gena! I just used your chocolate-balsamic dressing with roasted beets and that was great… so I know this must be scrumptious. Do you like baby bok choy in other dishes? I love it julienned in salads and it is great in stir fries! I recently made a quinoa and bean curry with baby bok choy which is now my go-to easy dinner. :)

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Elaine August 9, 2012 at 10:01 am

Gena, I can hardly wait to make this. A couple of questions, though. What would you consider a “small” beet….. 1″ in diameter?? 1/4 cup chopped? Small is a relative term, depending on how big the large one is. Also, for your avocado…are you using a very large one, or a small one. The large ones can be twice the size of the smaller ones. Thanks so much if you have time to answer this. I love your blog.

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Ally August 11, 2012 at 12:21 am

I saw a big punnet of cherries reduced at the supermarket yesterday so after swooning over your recipe with a friend last night, I attempted it this morning!
I made a few changes due to the fact I am currently living in South Korea and can’t find strawberries or beets – I used more cherries and a handful of blueberries, a date instead of the beet for earthy sweetness, a mix of spinach and romaine, 1 tbsp cacao and then 1 tbsp cacao nibs at the end to add crunch =)
And you are right, the avocado totally added a light creaminess.
I made one for my friend and we both sat at work sipping on our yumminess in mason jars with glass straws – HEAVEN!!!
Thanks for your inspiration!

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Dennis Blair @ Fort Collins Personal Trainer August 12, 2012 at 4:12 am

I want to have that smoothie right now. I love smoothies and I believe that this would a good one to add to my smoothie list. Thanks for sharing

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Fiona September 10, 2012 at 10:38 am

I tried this smoothie with 1 small bunch of baby bok choy and also added 2 small handfuls spinach. Unfortunately this smoothie was not for me; it tasted too much like beets and was not sweet enough. I added another 3/4 cup strawberries but the beet taste was overwhelming. However, this was my first time trying bok choy in a smoothie and I loved it so I will definitely do that again!

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Kristine February 3, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Thanks for a wonderful recipe. This was my first experience with avocado in a smoothie, and now I’m hooked. Hooray for monounsaturated fat for breakfast!

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