Friday, January 1, 2016

Drinks with Reads: The Best #Smoothies

Happy New Year! Since it's time for New Year's resolutions to kick in full swing, today we thought we'd recap three terrific Drinks with Reads Smoothies. 

The first is Ovidia Yu's fabulous Virtuous Mango Smoothie matched with Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials. First a little about the book: 

Rosie “Aunty” Lee, the feisty widow, amateur sleuth, and proprietor of Singapore’s best-loved home cooking restaurant, is back in another delectable, witty mystery involving scandal and murder among the city’s elite.

Few know more about what goes on in Singapore than Aunty Lee. When a scandal over illegal organ donation involving prominent citizens makes news, she already has a list of suspects. There’s no time to snoop, though—Aunty Lee’s Delights is catering a brunch for local socialites Henry and Mabel Sung at their opulent house.

Rumor has it that the Sung’s fortune is in trouble, and Aunty Lee wonders if the gossip is true. But soon after arriving at the Sung’s house, her curiosity turns to suspicion. Why is a storage house she discovers locked? What is the couple arguing about behind closed doors? Where is the guest of honor who never showed up?

Then, Mabel Sung and her son Leonard are found dead. The authorities blame it on Aunty Lee’s special stewed chicken with buah keluak, a local black nut that can be poisonous if cooked improperly. Aunty Lee has never carelessly prepared a dish. She’s certain the deaths are murder—and that they’re somehow linked to the organ donor scandal.
To save her business and her reputation, she’s got to prove it—and unmask a dangerous killer whose next victim may just be Aunty Lee.

Virtuous Mango Smoothie
1 soft ripe mango
1 bowl of silken tofu

Peel and chop the mango and blend with the silken tofu, leaving some chunks aside. Put the blended mixture in the freezer for a couple of hours then blend again, with the tequila, and add the reserved chunks.

Red Velvet Smoothie with Crushed Velvet by Diane Vallere

Our second smoothies is the Red Velvet Smoothie matched with Diane Vallere's book, Crushed Velvet.

Here's a little about Diane's 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…

And now the Red Velvet Smoothie:


  • 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.

Blender, knife

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. 

The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian paired with the Green Smoothie Alchemy

First a little about the book:

In The Accidental Alchemist, from Midnight Ink: Unpacking her belongings in her new hometown of Portland, Oregon, herbalist and reformed alchemist Zoe Faust can’t help but notice she’s picked up a stowaway. Dorian Robert-Houdin is a living, breathing three-and-a-half-foot gargoyle—not to mention a master of French cuisine—and he needs Zoe’s expertise to decipher a centuries-old text that holds the key to mysteries past and present. 

  • 1 pear, cored
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli
  • 1 cucumber, peeled 
  • 1/4 to 1/2 of an avocado
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 cup of coconut water (or plain water if you don’t want added sweetness)
  • Optional: If you’re a chocolate lover, add 1 Tbsp cacao nibs or unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • Optional: If you’re making this as your breakfast, add 1 or 2 Tbsp of protein such as almond butter or hulled hemp seeds

Toss all of the ingredients into a blender. If you’ve got a high-speed blender like a Vitamix, blending will take around 30 seconds. Other blenders work just fine, but will take a couple of minutes longer. Makes 1 large breakfast-sized smoothie or two small smoothies. 

  • You can use fresh greens -- such as broccoli, kale, or spinach -- instead of frozen broccoli, but those will make the smoothie less sweet. 
  • You can also substitute the pear for a green apple, but that’ll make for a tarter drink.  
  • If you use cocoa powder in place of cacao nibs, your “green” smoothie will turn the color of a chocolate milkshake. 
  • Can’t find coconut water but want some added sweetness? Substitute a little of your favorite sweetener, such as a teaspoon of honey. 
Hope you have a happy and healthy 2016! 

1 comment:

  1. Vitamin tea or Green energy drinks are what I take before breakfast every day. I make a smoothie with wild blueberries, fresh ground Flax seed and juice or other tea, and add a banana and this is what I have to start my day.