Simple banana smoothie

Normally my children have pretty healthy appetites, so when they tell me they’re not hungry that’s a sure-fire sign they must be poorly.

Over the past couple of weeks both my girls have been a bit ill – and my husband too – and so I’ve turned to the good old smoothie to make sure I get some sustenance into them. Even when they’re feeling pretty grotty, they can generally manage a glass or two of smoothie.

Of course these smoothies are too good only to have when illness strikes and they’re a brilliant way to use up those over-ripe bananas. You can also add any soft fruit you happen to have in. We keep a bag of berries in the freezer and I like to chuck in a handful or two of those. But here’s the basic banana recipe.

Simple banana smoothie

Serves 4

3 or 4 bananas
4 tbsp plain or Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp runny honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 pints of cold milk

Chop the banana into a blender or smoothie maker and add the rest of the ingredients. Simply whizz up until smooth and serve to your patients.

Peanut butter and jelly super smoothie

I adore smoothies. They’re so easy to make and, for me, they constitute the perfect breakfast on those days when I don’t really fancy eating all that much. They’re great for kids when they’re feeling poorly and off their food. And this particular super smoothie, with the addition of oats, is an ideal post-run drink to give me a much-needed energy boost when I’m absolutely exhausted.

Peanut butter and jelly (jam to us Brits) is the most wonderful combination. I think I could probably live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if I could get away with it. It also works really well in this super smoothie. With the oats and banana it makes for quite a substantial smoothie; pretty much a meal in a glass.

While I’d usually use milk and yoghurt in my smoothies, I’ve come up with this recipe for Blue Diamond using their unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk. It’s free of sugars and has less than half the calories of skimmed dairy milk and half the calories of soya milk, which makes it a great alternative for those wanting to avoid dairy and/or live a healthier lifestyle.

Peanut butter and jelly super smoothies

Makes two glasses

1 banana, peeled and roughly chopped
200g strawberries, hulled
60g rolled oats
3tbsp peanut butter
3tbsp strawberry jam
275ml Almond Breeze almond milk

Simply place all the ingredients in a liquidiser or smoothie maker and blend until smooth. Pour into two glasses and enjoy as a super healthy start to your day.

Disclosure: I was provided with a free sample of Almond Breeze so that I could develop a recipe for their competition.

Homemade lemonade

This afternoon the kids and I made our own lemonade after school, as I happened to have some extra lemons that needed using up.

Yes I know it’s December, but lemonade doesn’t have to be the preserve of hot summer days.

I actually think all that vitamin C makes it a very sensible winter drink.

You don’t need much and it couldn’t be easier to make, especially if you’ve got children around who love to squeeze the lemons for you.


750 ml hot boiled water
4 lemons
100g caster sugar

Peel the zest from all the lemons in wide strips and put in a heatproof jug with the caster sugar.

Pour in the hot water and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Add lots of ice and then the juice of the four lemons.

Strain into a separate jug to remove the pips and zest and when fully cooled serve over ice. Lovely served with some chopped mint.

Mulled fruit punch

It was the Christmas Fair today at our primary school and as a devoted PTA committee member, I was tasked with organising a non-alcoholic version of mulled wine to serve with mince pies.

This was a bit of a tall order as for me the whole point of a mulled drink is that it’s warming and boozy. But eventually I came up with this little number and you know what, it’s really rather good. It turns out you can have a Christmas drink that’s warming and non-boozy after all. Which is probably a good idea when you’re in charge of hundreds of children under the age of eleven.

Non-alcoholic mulled fruit punch

3 litres apple juice
3 litres cranberry juice
3 oranges, sliced
4 cinnamon sticks
5cm ginger, peel and chopped
Handful of cloves
Handful of star anise

This couldn’t be simpler. Into a large pan, pour in the apple juice and cranberry juice. Add the orange slices and spices and bring to simmering point. Keep just under boiling for about ten minutes before serving. People will come running when they smell those spices that just sing out “It’s Christmas!!!”


This non-alcoholic mulled punch is perfect for children at Christmas time, so I’m entering it into the Family Foodies Kids Christmas challenge over at Eat Your Veg.