The home I grew up in could very well have been the original inspiration for the mantra, “Reuse, Repair, Recycle.” My dad, the quintessential progeny of The Great Depression, still saves everything from empty jam jars, to twine from UPS boxes, to old socks, to almost-moldy tomatoes, and puts them to use again in some other context (pre-Nalgene vessel to transport iced tea on a road trip; means to repair broken screen door latch; protection for hands while emptying garbage; and lunch, respectively). Seems I’ve earned my title as Femme Frugal honestly.
Besides, I’ve always considered myself pretty eco-friendly, being the bag-saver, container-reuser, water-conserver and late-night clothes washer that I am. With all the talk of eco-consciousness, carbon footprints, 3 R’s and whatnot these days, I fully expected I’d eventually go ”green”; I just never imagined it would be quite in this way.
You see, our lives have been overtaken by green. Each time I glance out the window at the side of my house, leave via the front door, or stroll round toward the back yard, I’m confronted with GREEN. Mint green, that is. Yes, the DDD household has been invaded by rogue gangs of wandering mint, all vying for supremacy in the ‘hood.
Mint abounds. . . .Mint surrounds. Mint embraces us with its color and scent, tickles us as we tiptoe through the grass, envelops us at every turn. We are circumscribed by mint. Yes, dear readers, you were all so right (or, as the HH often translates it from the French, “You have reason”) about that gypsy mint! My days are now lived from within an undulating, leafy, lush sea of green. Inhaling the verdant aroma from the garden, my mind reels with a heady intoxication (almost as intoxicated, I imagine, as Obama’s fans were last evening after that rousing, pre-victory speech).
Oh, and you know what else? We’ve got no shortage of mint around here.
So, what to do when you’re inundated with a tasty but not overly utilized herb? You improvise, that’s what.
Sunday morning, with the weather finally warming up, I thought I’d prepare a refreshing, cooling and nourishing drink for the HH, who was still fairly wilting from the effects of his cold (and, come to think of it, a looking a little green himself). Fresh fruit is a great option for anyone suffering from weakened immunity, as it digests fairly easily and quickly, without taxing the system too much. I had just the idea.
Around here, our freezer tends to house a variety of frozen fruits at any given time. As I’ve mentioned before, even though we choose the smallest organic produce box for delivery each week, often there’s still too much fruit for two of us to consume in a mere seven days. As a result, I end up chopping and then freezing chunks of overripe mango, pear, banana, grapes, or even (as I did a couple of weeks ago), watermelon for later use. These frozen cubes generally work beautifully in smoothies or when I want to whip up some nearly-instant sorbet. Sunday, I opted for a smoothie.
I had been thinking about Mojitos ever since Russ mentioned them in a comment last week, but since I have no interest in drinking alone (I know–how un-writerly of me), and since the HH wasn’t up for alcohol (unless I was going to rub it into his congested chest), I took the general concept of citrus + mint and ran with it. Rummaging through the various containers of frozen fruit, I uncovered both pear and watermelon, which I imagined would offer a refreshing sweetness without an overpowering flavor (as banana, for instance, might).
Don’t let the intense grassy color deter you–the taste is just right, not too sweet, with a lovely minty flair. It’s refreshing and fairly light, so if you’re thinking “breakfast,” this is the type of smoothie that works as a beverage alongside your main meal rather than as a beverage instead of your main meal. It would also make a lovely postprandial sip (and maybe even better with a splash of rum–I’ll have to save that version for when the HH is feeling better).
This is a cooling, refreshing drink that would be great for a hot summer’s evening, or served in a big bowl at a Bar B Q. (And iwhat a fun challenge to convince your friends to drink something this green!)
1 cup soymilk (or try using part coconut milk for a creamier drink)
4-6 fresh mint leaves
2-4 Tbsp. agave nectar
1/2 cup pear chunks, frozen
3/4 cup watermelon chunks, frozen
2 lettuce leaves (or not; your choice)
juice of 1/2 lime
1 Tbsp. smooth cashew butter
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth. Garnish with fresh mint leaves, if desired. Drink immediately. Makes 2 servings.
Note: if you are using fresh rather than frozen fruits, you may add 4-6 ice cubes to the mixture before blending, or refrigerate the smoothie before drinking.