Diane Vallere is joining us today to match her new book, Crushed Velvet with the perfect drink... the red velvet smoothie.
As much as I like junk food, I also enjoy the occasional smoothies. So when I was invited to contribute a drink for this feature, I started thinking, could there be a velvet smoothie? Why, yes, there can! I found several variations of red velvet smoothies online—perfect because there’s red velvet on the cover of CRUSHED VELVET—plus the recipe is healthy and includes a few ingredients that you might find in Genevieve Girard’s French café, an important location of the book.
Here's a little about the book...
With opening day of Material Girl approaching, Poly is stocking up on lush fabrics, colorful notions, and best of all, a proprietary weave of velvet. But upon delivery, it’s not quite the blend she expected, being ninety-percent silk and ten-percent corpse. Crushed under a dozen bolts of fabric is Phil Girard. His wife, Genevieve, local tea shop owner and close friend of Poly, is the prime suspect. Granted, Phil may not have been the perfect husband, but surely Genevieve had no reason to kill him! There’s just the small matter of Genevieve’s own incriminating confession: I’m afraid I killed my husband. Now, as Material Girl’s grand opening looms, Poly is torn between a friendship pulling apart at the seams—and finding a smooth killer with a velvet touch…
So while Genevieve’s troubles are just getting started, we’re going to play around with our own version of velvet: the red velvet smoothie. I read several recipes online and made my own version which I’m sharing below. Amounts listed can be tweaked to taste, which I strongly recommend, because we all like things our own way. Are you ready?
- 1 cup milk of your choice (I used vanilla flavored almond milk*)
- 1 banana
- 1/2 small beet (do not fear the beet! You won’t taste it and it’s good for you!)
- 1.5 tbsp. sweetener of your choice (I used sugar, but recipes say any artificial sweetener will do)
- 1.5 tbsp unsweetened coco powder
- 1 cup ice
*if you use an unflavored milk, consider adding a ¼ tsp vanilla extract.
Wash beet. (Seriously, I looked at half a dozen recipes and nobody said what to do with the beet. And I’m not a culinary expert, so I needed to know! But just looking at the beet, I figured, yes, washing it seems like a good idea.) Cut in half and cut off the very ends. Combine everything into your blender and blend on high until smooth. Taste. Adjust the milk and sweetener to your liking.
You won’t taste the beet (trust me!) or the banana, but you will taste the chocolate. I added a bit more milk to mine to even that out. Chocoholics might not mind.
Mmmmmmm. Doesn’t that look good? Feel free to top with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate shavings. I abstained, but that doesn’t mean you have to.
After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. CRUSHED VELVET, the second book in the nationally bestselling and Lefty-Nominated Material Witness Cozy Mystery Series, came out August 4. Diane is the current president of Sisters in Crime Los Angeles, and was co-chair of the 2015 California Crime Writers Conference. She also writes the Madison Night and Style & Error Mystery Series. Diane started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since. Find her at www.dianevallere.com.