I come from a long line of givers – the sort that tend to shy away from the tangible, perhaps overtly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options, packaging, and crowds out purchasing, perhaps indifferent. Instead we opt to shower with a plate piled high with warm food, sitting as close as possible to said receiver, smothering them with our affection. During holidays, birthdays, or any given Saturday afternoon, my grandparents would usher us into their home, my grandmother in the kitchen with three distinct rices crisping, a khoresht simmering, chicken roasting, and before we even had a chance to really say hello, would pop kisses on our cheeks and piping glasses of Persian chai in our hands. My grandfather would expect us to come to him, his Talmud opened to whichever page struck his fancy, imposing and proud, waiting for us to grace him with our readings. And this was their gift – an endless celebration of knowledge, a rich pride in tradition, our favorite, most special meals, and the warmth of togetherness. All to the soundtrack of some pretty aggressive sounding Farsi.
Although I still tend to fall on the side of the intangible, perhaps overtly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options, packaging, and crowds out purchasing, perhaps indifferent, I have a husband and the extended family that came with him, camping out on team gum drops and wrapping paper. Where the sun is always shining to the soundtrack of christmas carols and cheer, Andrew and I not only put thought and love into each holiday gift, but have been extra conscious of shopping small – celebrating small businesses and our local creators in the process. With smaller brands, like Organic Bath Co., a whimsical and luxurious skincare line out of Boston, Massachusetts, packed to the brim with organic ingredients like jojoba and rosehip oil and shea butter, Drenched body butter with argan and sweet almond oil, and lavender stress reducing candles, we’re not only nourishing our skin with ethically sourced, organic, and often food-grade ingredients, but supporting our local, and in effect, national economy, in the process. Also, with over 90% of small businesses contributing each year to their communities through volunteering, contributions, and donations, like Organic Bath’s contribution to 1% Percent for the Planet, helping provide hygiene products to people through NGO partnerships all over the world, small business purchases hold that extra little incentive of ‘paying it forward’. Whether you’re looking to snag the perfect gift for your BFF or Meemaw, as Andrew likes to chime, ‘Shop Small, Stand Tall’.
Along the same lines of supporting and celebrating small businesses during your holiday shopping season and year round, it’s just as important to consider the small and local farmer when making your grocery decisions. Shopping from small and local farmers, often selling their produce, honey, poultry, and products at farmers’ markets, tends to go hand-in-hand with eating seasonally. Purchasing both seasonal and locally grown foods help provide financial support to the farmers in your area, helps grow your local economy, and helps reduce your carbon footprint by cutting down on the pollution and fuel produced from extensive transportation. Because fruits and vegetables are easier to grow in their proper seasons, they’re more abundant, less time-intensive, more affordable for consumers, and are able to produce their optimal nutrient content and flavor, making them juicer, sweeter, and more nutrient packed. Celebrating the small farmer and the late autumn harvest, today I couldn’t be more excited to share my Mother Earth Bowl, the distant cousin of my Banana Avocado Ice Cream with a seasonal twist. Made with immune boosting, blood building, and folate rich beets, iron and vitamin filled kale, and antioxidant pack frozen blackberries, frozen at their peak of ripeness for optimal nutrition, sweetness, and cost, this deeply nourishing and earthy raw and vegan smoothie has quickly become a morning favorite. I serve mine with an extra half scoop of naturally flavored plant based protein powder and a piping mug of coffee.
Mother Earth Bowl [makes 1 smoothie]
2 stalks lacinato kale
1 ripe banana, peeled + frozen
½ cup frozen blackberries
½ scoop plant based protein powder (optional)
¼ ripe avocado, peeled + pitted
¼ medium beet, washed
dash of cinnamon
½ – 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender, beginning with only ½ cup almond milk, adding more as necessary until desired smoothie consistency is reached (I prefer mine to resemble a soft-serve ice cream!). Transfer to your favorite bowl, top with choice toppings, and enjoy!
Nutritional Information [per bowl]
325 Calories, 8.5g Fat, 52g Carbohydrates, 12.5g Fiber, 25.5g Sugar, 18.5g Protein