A Berry Date Smoothie with a Kick


THIS THIRD WEEK OF AUGUST HAS BEEN a night on Nashville’s walking bridge, traffic whooshing by on the distant interstate, a ferry boat passing beneath, my head against Tim’s shoulder while I tell him, “You know, if I lived a thousand years on the planet all by myself, I’d never figure out how to build a boat like that,” and us moving to the other side of the bridge to keep watching it, following it, mesmerized by the turning showboat gears like little children looking at a train; a twilight picnic next to soccer practice, SUVs dropping off and picking up preteens, moms calling out I love yous to their running kids just as the golden hour fades; spiders’ webs so big, constructed around our back door overnight, that I shriek when I see them, even though the streets are sleeping in the early-morning sunrise; long-distance phone conversations with wise voices; surprise hydrangeas; oven disasters that send us to share dinner on the front porch (also covered in spiders’ webs, for the record, because those spiders! they are something!); and, along with these things, a whole lot of good meals to eat.

We’ve had Kathryn’s buckwheat almond cake (but with peaches!), smashed potatoes to use up our pantry stash, Erin’s brilliant einkorn tortillas, fresh tomatoes on homemade bread (recipe soon, we hope!), peach crisp adapted from the brilliant David Leite, pesto to use up our basil, cucumber water to use up our cucumbers, and, this morning for the third time in the last few weeks, this berry date smoothie.


We’re calling this a berry date smoothie with a kick because it’s the kind of smoothie that starts off sweet and then surprises you, almost burns you, as the hot, hot kick of cayenne hits the back of your throat. You want to reach for a glass of water when it hits, but then the rest of the smoothie comes instead, and then you want to say, “Do it again!” and so you take another swig.Like a lot of things in life, it starts off good and then gets bad and then it’s good again. Life’s full of ups and downs, my friend Jacqui texted me last week. Ain’t that the truth. Friends who love you, friends who betray you; new opportunities, new losses; ups and downs; highs and lows; the crazy burn replaced by the sweet, sweet comfort.


A Berry Date Smoothie with a Kick
Makes four-and-a-half cups of smoothie, for about two large or four small servings

All metaphors aside, feel free to adjust the cayenne to your tastes—Leave it out if you like. But even if you’re brave with spices, start off slow and add more. You’d be surprised how far a little heat can go.

4 cups raw goat’s milk (or 2 cups kefir, 2 cups milk; or your milk of choice)
6 medjool or 8 to 9 deglet noori dates, pitted
Just under a cup of blueberries
Just over a cup of strawberries
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (even 1/8 will give a kick, so only go higher if you like spice)
1 to 2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
2 probiotic capsules, (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a high-powdered blender like a Vitamix. Taste and adjust if you like before pouring.

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31 thoughts on “A Berry Date Smoothie with a Kick”

  1. This post made me smile, and hearing about that glass travel bottle made me want one. Can’t wait to catch up at book club…

  2. i love your honesty, shanna. i hope this next week has more ups than downs for you. also, i’m with you on the spider webs! there have been so many in and around our house this year, too!

  3. Just the kind of smoothie I needed to spark up my mornings. My old green smoothies were getting …. Boring. Sadly. Anyway, can’t wait to try this one! Also, that lifefactory bottle … I’ve been lusting after one of those for a while!

  4. I love the analogy that you draw between life and the experience of drinking this smoothie. Thanks for inspiring!

  5. I love a good chocolate banana smoothie with tons of spinach. Sadly, I don’t have a good blender and globs of spinach are not that appetizer! Where do I get a good deal on vitamix?

    • Alanna, Have you tried Costco? Or our own Life Fitness Academy can get you a deal on a refurbished one. Email us if you want their contact info! : )

  6. Finally, a real bottle with a protective coating, very nice! The smoothie looks wonderful too. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  7. loved that you used goat’s milk for this! I recently tried goat’s milk caramel. . which was delicious! love how you describe your week in August and your relationship with your husband. . so sweet! and I love these glass travel bottles!

  8. I love this post. And I love smoothies. I make my favorite with almond milk, flax seed, spinach, mango & pineapple. I’ll have to try this one. think I would like the kick.

  9. I love your blog! My favorite smoothie has brazil nut milk, avocado, lime juice, tumeric, romaine lettuce and frozen pineapple.

  10. What lovely thoughts, Shanna. Thank you so much for sharing. I can’t wait to try a smoothie with a cayenne kick–Yum!

    Do you do a herd share to get your raw goats milk? There is a lovely farm about 45 min from my house that does milk shares, and I went out to visit a few months ago, but haven’t fully committed yet… your mention of raw goats milk has me thinking I should!

    • Hi Lindsey,
      Sorry for the delayed response! We get our goats milk from a farmer we know. It is not technically a herd share, although we have done those in the past and they are a great way to structure things. We just worked out a private agreement. : )

  11. How wonderful! Thank you so much for this Giveaway.
    My Favorite sweet Smoothie is: 1 Mango, Juice from 1 Lime and 1 cup Coconut water.
    as for my Favorite Green Smoothie, it would have to be: 3 Romain Leaves, 2 Kale Leaves, 1/2 Pineapple, 1/2 Mango, 1/4 cup Fresh Parsley and 1/2 inch Fresh Ginger.

  12. Always love your posts. My favorite smoothie is beets, 3 types of ginger, almond milk, and a bit of banana. My husband calls it devil juice but since he doesn’t appreciate it, I wouldn’t share with him anyway.

  13. I don’t have a blender at the moment, but my favorite smoothie to get at the best grocery store in the world (Good Food Store) is a chocolate, banana, peanut butter smoothie!

  14. Oh boy. This is so sad. I can’t tell you my favorite smoothie because I don’t even have one! Steve and I have been discussing the need for a juicer/blender. We have our eye on a Vitamix, though, and I’m dreaming about how much more healthy we could become with such a thing : )

    p.s. I *can* tell you that I am a huge fan of Lifefactory’s baby bottles. I had a bright yellow one for Jobie and loved its quality! : )

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