A Light, Refreshing, Icy Avocado Smoothie

baby eating avocado

I had Rocco strapped into his high chair fingering a fat wedge of avocado the first time I thought to pick up the other, unsliced half, scoop out its pit, and dump the bright, green flesh into the Vitamix to blend up for a drink. Inspired by a Bon Appetit recipe I’d seen that combined half an avocado with a cup of water, a teaspoon each of agave and lime juice and then a little vanilla, I mixed those ingredients (subbing honey) along with some ice. I tasted it. More honey. I poured a glass. This pale green concoction came out sweet, thin, refreshing—the sort of thing you’d want to have sitting next to you while you’re sitting next to the pool or at the beach. The squeeze (or, in my case, squeezes) of honey turned the typically blank taste canvas of the avocado into something that met and overpowered the very craving that, moments before deciding to make a smoothie, had seen me setting a pint of ice cream on the counter so it could get soft enough to scoop. Soon I was putting that pint back into the freezer (because who needs ice cream when you’re drinking an avocado smoothie like this?).

Add this smoothie to the world of them--made with avocado, honey, lime and vanilla, it

In our little Nashville household, we drink smoothies almost every day, all kinds. Maybe you do, too. This isn’t something I learned from my childhood—quite the opposite, in fact. Growing up in 1980s and ‘90s Midwestern America, the only smoothies I knew were at the mall, available for a fistful of cash and as sweet as milkshakes; I liked the strawberry banana best. But times have changed. I manage a job from home that, 20 or 30 years ago, would have required my going into an office; my husband and I met through blogs, of all things; we eat avocado; we use einkorn flour; smoothies are our breakfast of choice. I like to think I’m an individual, a free agent, making all my choices independently, on my own, but one look at smoothies, and I see how much a product of my culture I’ve become. Something once reserved for takeout has become something as normal as cereal or oatmeal, something with 73 million results in a Google search (compare that with the 23.9 million results for “milkshake,” just for a point of reference) and something, not just in the Mallon kitchen but, indeed, across most people groups, beloved. So, yes, one hundred years ago, smoothies as we now know them didn’t exist, but then, hey, neither did a lot of things that define modern society: television, digital cameras, the Internet, social media, blogs.

The now-ubiquitous smoothie’s wheels were set in motion back in 1922, when the blender first appeared on the food scene, all because a Wisconsin engineer realized affixing a motor to a cup with blades could mean magic when it came to milk and fruit; by the ‘50s, there’d been a million Waring blenders sold; and by the ‘70s, there was a growing chain of restaurants—Smoothie King—revolving around the idea. Yet still something more happened between 1990s Chicagoland where I lived in a house with a blender I didn’t use and 2016 America where everyone everywhere blends up fruits and vegetables to drink. The smoothie train hit some kind of tipping point and took off exponentially, kind of the way blogs, once mentioned by journalists with a shrug of the shoulder and “maybe they’ll be something” have become mainstream, big enough to affect even me. And smoothies do have a lot going for them: they make an easy meal, they pack a lot of nutrients into a single glass, they offer endless flavor combinations from bananas and yogurt to avocado and lime—mostly, though, what makes smoothies so addictive and nonignorable could be this:

They’re fast.

a simple and refreshing beverage that is above all things fast.

Light, Refreshing, Icy Avocado Smoothie

Serves 2

This recipe springs off Bon Appetit‘s by swapping in honey instead of agave (and more of it, wink, wink), along with slightly altered proportions and the addition of hydrolyzed collagen. If this were more of a nutrition blog, I would spend an entire post talking about the benefits of hydrolyzed collagen, which, in laymen’s terms, is basically gelatin that you can blend in a smoothie without worrying about clumps or chunks. We’ve talked about the benefits of gelatin here before, so we’ll spare you the long explanation and just say: it’s big. In my postpartum life, I’m trying to get as many foods that support bone and joint and overall health in my diet as possible, and this is one. Special thanks to Perfect Supplements for letting us try its grass-fed version, which is now our preferred option.

1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
2 cups water
1.5 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 1/2 lime)
3 (or more, to taste) tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon hydrolyzed collagen*
1 cup ice

In a Vitamix or other high-powered blender, combine flesh of avocado with water, lime juice, honey, vanilla and hydrolyzed collagen, and blend until smooth. Add ice, blend again, until consistency you like, and then taste for sweetness. Add more honey as desired.

Alternate, orange, version: Skip the lime juice and add half an organic orange and a tiny bit of its peel instead. Keep everything else the same. This option is thicker and heavier but still sweet and refreshing.

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About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

34 thoughts on “A Light, Refreshing, Icy Avocado Smoothie”

  1. As the calendar inches closer to spring–those manic months–I feel myself wanting to stay in this slow season of contemplation. Your blog post was first-rate company for my morning coffee–and a call to prayer. I started my “online journal” to practice craft and think via fingers tapping on a keyboard. Next thing you know, I’m constantly checking readership stats (I didn’t even know how to do that when I began.) Thank you for the gentle nudge. p.s. Madeleine L’Engle is my hero–I met her when I was a child–and The Art of Travel is TOPS.

    • Laura, I’m so glad a friend referred me to your site recently because each post is such a gift, just as your comment is here. What you said about stats makes me think about an article I read last week where the guy took a fast from social media… and instantly found himself checking his blog’s stats to fill the void. I see myself in your words, in his words. And I think Jesus’s words to the Pharisees are words to me: How can I believe, when I seek the praise that comes from one another instead of the praise that comes from God alone!? A call to prayer, indeed.

  2. This is the first blog post that I’ve read in months. I’ve totally taken a step back from my online life but I can never resist your words and so much that you’ve written here really resonates with me.

    I think, for me, I feel like I’ve spent the last decade+ living my life online through social media, blogs, message boards, whatever. Thousands of people that I’ve never met know all sorts of intimate details about my life – things that the people who are closest to me in real life probably don’t even now. If you google my name, the first page of image results shows me on holiday, with my husband, at my mother’s 50th birthday party (which was a long time ago now!). More and more, I feel the need for privacy these days though. I don’t want to share things into the gaping chasm of the internet. I want to keep everything close to me, where I can touch it and feel it. There is very little that I can say online that is not better said to the person sitting next to me on the couch. And so, I’ve stopped sharing (and consuming to a certain extent) for now at least. This may change in the future, I have no idea. I hope that one day I find a middle path – as you’ve articulated here – not least because blogging/bloggers have brought so much richness to my life. Meanwhile, I’m going to read the posts you’ve linked to and see what that means for me.

    • Yes, what you said about privacy rings so true for me, too. I think when the Internet first became normal, personal information on blogs and social media was still such a new frontier, and it seemed so innocent to post personal photos and details, like, who would want to look at this? Nobody’s even paying attention! But now here we are in this world that is exponentially growing and stuff we posted years ago is still out there, for anyone to see. My own rub is that, as a writer, your name is just naturally on stuff. So how do I get away from having an online identity of some kind? If I want to take writing seriously, even here on this site, I want my name attached to it (but then maybe the real problem of course is that not everything online is work I took seriously). It’s so cliche to talk about teenagers today with their mistakes all on the Internet, publicized, ugh, but: I still think about it and feel sorry for them. It’s unfortunate to have so little anonymity as you grow.

  3. Yes, this is one of those blogs posts that puts into words the thoughts floating around in my own head – though I hadn’t quite mulled them over yet.

    The blogging world seems so fast-paced and I can’t quite keep up with it. I’m torn between going at my own pace and knowing that if I want readers, I should be posting twice a week. But it seems I can’t summon a blog post more than every other week (in the meantime there is work, exercise, cooking healthy meals, spending time with friends, a boyfriend, and a family member who is sick, working on my fiction, and consuming the kind of rich content that you said, allows for me to write my own content of meaning). I feel like I’m not productive enough, that in order to succeed I have to hustle more. At times, I overwhelmingly feel the pressure of the rat race but mostly, I realize that in the end, the only thing that makes me happy is the writing. That should be the focus, like Lilias Trotter so wonderfully expressed in her life’s work.

    My first blog post spoke of the advice I heard from an Italian when I was working on his farm and asked how to best water the zucchini patch. “Slowly, slowly,” he told me. That was the answer to most questions that I would throw at him. It is now my mantra. With everything in life, do it slowly, slowly.

    • Sally, I’m so glad you commented here because it led me to your site and the truly beautiful posts you’re sharing! Such lovely, thoughtful, time-consuming writing — exactly the kind of quality I am eager to move towards. I think you’re doing it, and I hope you keep doing it. The phrase you used, “rat race,” is one I usually associate with Wall Street and financial lives, but, you know, you’re so right that the Internet can be a rat race. Just like I can reject the career rat race, I can reject the online one. I love the way you said that.

  4. I think it is important to be diligent about the amount we consume – really of anything, but particularly of social media. For me, blogs feel like a different category than all the rest, but perhaps it’s just because I’ve written mine since 2007 and I’m partial to them. I am diligent about the number of blogs I read, but I wouldn’t give those up for anything. I have several very important relationships (real, tangible ones) that began from connections through my writing.

    I quickly get overwhelmed with everything else, so I don’t really participate. I enjoy instagram, but I maintain a private account and limit my intake. I made the conscious decision to maintain my blog as my own writing outlet, it’s independent and generates no revenue. I know many read it, but I don’t even like to know that number. I prefer to write like no one reads it at all – although I do love, love, love the occasional discussions that arise in the comment section.

    Slowing down and looking up from our devices is always a good practice. I will always be grateful of the relationships that have grown from pushing myself outside of my comfort zone a bit, but never at the expense of the relationships close at hand.

    As I think about your words, I wonder if that’s why I gravitate mostly to those blogs about food or books or art – I feel like they enrich the relationships that I have in my family – they inspire me to create and find beauty in my own real life. All the rest just feel like extra noise, and I’m not interested in the competition.

    • You know, I’m one of those people who craves minimalist spaces and will often say things to my husband about how I can’t believe how much effort it takes to have less, like you would think it would be easy and natural, that getting too much all around you would be the thing to take more work. But, just in this area, I can see how clutter is natural. Junk mail, unexpected gifts, trash, yadda yadda, it all piles up. Order takes effort.

      Similarly, overstimulating myself with the latest stream of photos from hundreds or thousands of people so easily clutters my mind, just like that, without my even noticing it’s being done. Being mindful about the amount of content we consume, like you say here, actually takes effort and some people do it instinctively, like some people clean their rooms, I guess, but a lot of us sit in clutter for a while, letting it pile up, before we realize, I can’t take this anymore! And something new begins. That’s where I’m at. I can’t believe how much effort it takes to have less! In every way.

      • Minimalism does take effort – and hey! I’m an architect, so I’ll stretch that out to this – designing something clean, simple, functional… it takes way more effort than designing something that is ornamental or fussy. There is nowhere to hide – you really have to think things through, down to the finest detail, before you begin. You can’t just mask your inattentiveness with more stuff – walls, or trim, or flourishes of one type or another.

        Oh, but when it’s right, it’s so very, very good.

  5. I think it’s so brave to put out there that you can’t keep up with the pace. I can’t either. For some reason, the internet brings with it a pressure to stay current, not just in the news and information and methods of sharing, but a pressure to be someone who is always on the leading edge of that technology or this way of thinking or that slang word. It’s a big deal to raise your hand and say it’s too much, and maybe that means I’m considered out of touch. (And if so, trust that I am LEAGUES more out of touch, my friend).

    And this is the most comforting trio of sentences I’ve read in a long time. “But we can always question these ideas. We can say no. We can choose a different path.”

    • You’ve understood this so much longer than I have, and I love and admire you for it. Thanks for being the first person I think of when I want to analyze what the Internet is doing to my soul. And thanks for showing me what it means to question ideas, say no and choose a different path.

  6. it has been extremely hard for me to juggle everything…and it took me a long time to say that’s okay. i read blogs for their stories rather than recipes and i always craving for slow, thoughtful quality writing. i have been following your space for a while now and absolutely love the calmness and raw content here. i hope you will continue writing 🙂

    • It’s taken me a long time to realize that I like to read blogs for their stories more than their recipes, too! I crave slow and thoughtful writing! I’m so honored that you find this place to fit that description, Dixya, thank you for your kind words. I hope it is and will be true!

  7. Such deep, inspiring thoughts here, Shanna…as always! The social media questions have been swirling in my head for the last few months as well, and I’m not sure I’ve totally landed on my philosophy just yet. One day I am ready to just say goodbye to it all and delete myself away from any form of social media (blog, IG, Facebook, etc.), but then the next I find myself so uber inspired by the people I follow and read and then I just want to dive headlong into being a part of the online community. I’m a bit of an all-or-nothing kind of person, and thankfully I have a husband to helps me see the benefit in learning BALANCE…not jumping into one ditch or another like I so naturally want to do, hehe. So I feel like that’s where I’m at with it right now…learning to use social media for all the positivity and inspiration I can get from it, but also keeping a rein on my heart in not giving too much time, attention, and mind space.

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts + this yummy looking smoothie! Now I’m ready for spring. 😉

    • There’s no denying that there is real inspiration and beauty in social media in all its forms, and that’s probably what’s kept me hooked for so long! There is actual great stuff in it! And of course one of the best parts is getting to meet friends like you! A while ago, I took a 1.5-year break from Facebook because it was consuming me too much, and maybe that’s all this is now—a way to distance myself enough so the medium is no longer hooked into me—I don’t know. The things that I am sure of, i.e., vanity in my heart and a shorter attention span, though, are enough to make me want to cut this thing off for a while. The enormous difference it’s making in my head space already confirms it was time.

  8. This is a wonderful, thought-provoking post. “Fast is not the only good thing” – so so true. I have been blogging for almost four years but I’ve never been very good it. I don’t have piles of pretty props or beautiful photos and I can’t handle the pressure to post on Instagram and Twitter all the time. Still, I plug away because I like looking back at the snapshots in time it captures.

    I also think about whether such rapid consumption affects our ability to ponder. I have been trying to get my head around sitting with unease, uncertainty and change (not in a painful way – more like flux). I like everything to be sorted and settled quickly, packaged and labelled. But life isn’t like that and when it is, it’s usually not as satisfying as really sitting with change, struggling through and growing from the experience. Still, it’s uncomfortable.

    So glad to hear you’re not planning to stop writing here 🙂

    • There is such wisdom in your words, Anna, I feel myself nodding along. I like everything to be neat and packaged, too, and there are subtle temptations to escape to the neat and packaged world of social media when my world is in some kind of uncertainty or flux. Escaping isn’t always horrible, sometimes it’s a way to cope, I guess, but you’re right that it’s never as satisfying as sitting in the change, struggling through the experience. I hate to admit it, but I have avoided sitting with unease by flitting around from picture to picture or quick comment to quick comment instead. It does take work and effort and concentration to sit with something, and I think those are skills like muscles that need to be exerted to grow.

  9. Shanna, thank you for this. You, more than any other writer on the internet, have, in my opinion, always embodied your goal to “create and affirm beauty”. Your words are nourishment, like the chicken’s egg (what a fantastic metaphor!!). I, too, have been thinking a lot about consuming with intention when it comes to internet-reading and social media browsing (I wrote something about this a few weeks ago, in my journal, since I am not actively blogging these days). You added something essential to my thinking about all of this– the need to pause and to sit with our thoughts in order to have **something worthwhile to give** at the end of it all. I am struggling with this one in the fast-paced world in which we live, or rather, the world that plays into my own impatience and desire to move quickly from one thing to the next.

    Do you know of Emily Freeman’s blog and books? I think you would like her, in general, but this post in particular resonates with the ideas you are processing here: http://emilypfreeman.com/how-to-stay-sane-on-the-internet/

    • You are kind, Lindsey, thank you! And yes! I love her book “Grace for the Good Girl.” Thanks for pointing me to that link!

  10. Shanna, I came here by way of Laura Boggs’ mention. I am so very glad I did. I began blogging four years ago–January of 2012-and quickly learned about the very big pond with only a few fish in it…It seemed everywhere I went online the same voices were being heard.
    Two things occurred to me-to write to connect with the unknown folks like myself, to bring some encouragement, an “I see you,” kind of thing and to make the circle wider.
    Your idea about slow blogging surely resonates and I’ve found myself doing similar things–shrugging of the ‘you should do this’ advice and writing less, not more.
    I’d like to move to a pace online where my posts are more essay like, where I can write a little deeper and a little longer–because truly folks will stop for that if the words are worth reading. Lanier Ivester and Laura B are two writers who don’t use the ‘bullet points so you can skim’ approach and I read each word. So, skimming is not necessary, it seems, when one truly has something to say.
    There’s a small miracle in my stopping by as well–your mention of Lilias Trotter. I found her name in a comment by John Ruskin as well and a girlfriend said I must read her book–“A Passion for the Impossible”–which I am relishing. I’m thrilled to hear there is a documentary film around–I’ll have to check that out. Short of going to England to read her diaries at Oxford (or wherever they are) it’s probably the closest I’ll get to her work and her words…
    Thank you so much.
    (and the smoothie thing–yeah, we’ve got a Vitamix, too. Love it.)

    • Oh, I’m so glad. The film was beautifully made, richly inspiring and something that’s had me thinking and thinking ever since watching—highly recommended! Thanks for the recommendation on the book, too. I have that book on my wish list now!

  11. Love this post Shanna and definitely agree with it. We started blogging around the same time which seems like a very long time ago and I find myself needing to take a few deep breaths some days and remember to slow down. This isn’t a race and there isn’t a finish, really. 😉

    • Doesn’t it? Those early days of keeping up with a small group of kindred bloggers seem like another world… even though they’re less than 10 years ago. Here’s to slowing down, in our own minds first of all.

  12. I’ve been posting questions on my work’s Facebook page, trying to get responses from our followers, with no luck. One of the reasons that I can think of is that the questions are too broad – they require thinking that might take longer than the split second it takes for readers to glance at the post. People on FB don’t typically pause unless something really catches their eye, and they won’t comment unless they have something to say right then and there. Otherwise, the post is just another headline buried in the feed. So yes, this social media thing is overwhelming, and blogging has grown into this beast that I’ve long since stopped trying to keep up with. Yes to focusing on the writing, the connections, the good, and slowing down. Although, I do miss your Instagram posts. 🙂

    • You have always been one of my favorites in terms of sticking to what’s meaningful and not getting swept up in the latest craze. Thanks for being a breath of fresh air, friend! and ps Little Murdo was in the top ten best parts of Instagram for me.

  13. Friend, your post came in just the right moment. we so much need to slow down and ponder, and consider if what people say we should or shouldn’t do is something we wish to accept or not. Thanks for this.

  14. Sweet and perfect timing. I have recently been pondering my social media presence. I need to be out there to compete. However, on any list for the day, blogging or capturing (creating) some photo-worthy moment for Instagram doesn’t make it there. Often, I have just forgotten about it. When I have remembered, I stop and think, now, why am I doing this? Is this to feed my craving for acceptance and belonging? The pondering and considering and seeking continues… Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Parthenia, I’m always honored by your stopping by here–and also by your comment on this post. I like how you think. Pondering and considering and seeking over here with you!

  15. Ahhh how refreshing. I can put out blog posts because the preparation is my alone time, my therapy, and my personal self-improvement. It’s the everything else you’ve mentioned that is like a giant wave that looks attractive to surf, but I keep falling off the board, and in all of that effort miss the sunrise. I’ve made rules for myself about when I post to social media so I can have a real life, and I will not do instagram in real time, missing that moment. Sadly I have two books in my kindle que only 1/4th read and it’s hard to get back. It’s like being in Oz and there’s no way home because the geography has changed. I can still count the blessings of blogging, etc. but the pitfalls must be discussed and you opened up the dialogue. Perhaps it’s time for you to write a book. I’ll stand in line for it, so it doesn’t get lost in my kindle app.

    • I hope more of us keep dialoguing about it because there’s so much to consider! I actually know of a book set to publish in 2017 by Tony Reinke – I think it’s called 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You or something close to that, and I am definitely going to read it!

  16. I love your smoothie recipe, because most of time I dont like to put too many different kind of ingredients in my smoothie, I am definitely gonna try the recipes you have here, I love the pics, I love all the stories, it just kept me reading more and more. Thanks a lot, btw I love hydrolyzed collagen, cause I have been taking it for a while, normally I got from wecarenaturals, haha next time I guess I will buy from perfectsupplement too, good to know their products are sold in different places. Great recipes, great ingredients, great products. Thanks a lot.

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