I'm in denial. Summer can't already be coming to an end – can it? Much to my dismay, the signs are everywhere: Vancouver has had a week-long stretch of gusty winds and downpours, the furnace in our house is starting to kick in, and it's quickly becoming less acceptable to wear flip flops everywhere (although that hasn't stopped me yet). On the bright side, I know fall will bring a new set of cozy things – like chunky sweaters, tea dates with friends, and a ton of fall squash to play with in the kitchen. But, until then, I'm not ready to accept that summer is coming to an end – not yet anyways.
When the sky is filled with grey clouds, I like to find my sunshine somewhere else – and lately that's been reminiscing with Anguel about our time in Hawaii. It's our favorite place in the world. Which might explain why we visited Hawaii more than once in the last two years. That and financial irresponsibility, in the name of some sun.
It's funny because when I think back to our trips to Hawaii, what I remember first isn't the awesome hikes or amazing beaches, but rather the many breakfasts we enjoyed while overlooking the bright blue ocean. Every morning, we'd start the day with a heaping platter of fresh tropical fruits we'd collected from the local farmers' markets. The markets were unbelievable. Mangoes, papayas, apple bananas (yes, that's a thing), rambutan, pineapple, coconuts, limes, lychee…literally so much fruit! I couldn't contain myself. I needed to try everything. So obviously, every visit to the market ended with us hauling an overfilled bag of goodies back home, trying to convince ourselves that we didn't go overboard.
Besides the massive fruit platters, smoothies were another one of our tricks for ensuring we ate up every last morsel of fruit. The blender sure does have an amazing ability to make piles of fruit disappear in minutes. Our vacation favorite was a simple combination of pineapple and mint. It's sweet, refreshing, and hydrating – exactly what you need when you're basking in the sun all day. Now, whenever it gets gloomy and rainy in Vancouver, I like to whip up this smoothie. This bright glass of tropical love is the perfect pick-me-up when you need a bit more summer in your life!
For this recipe, you'll need only a few items on hand: fresh pineapple, fresh mint, chilled water and ice. I told you it was simple! At home, I often make my smoothies with a few different fruits, homemade nut milk, and a handful of different superfoods. But on vacation, it's back to the basics. And this smoothie is the perfect reminder that sometimes the simplest things are best.
This recipe calls for fresh pineapple. Coring a pineapple isn't as hard as it looks – I swear. The first step is to remove the top of the pineapple (all the green bushy bits). To do this, grab the base of the pineapple in one hand, and the green top in the other. For the hand that's holding the green top, try to position it as close to the base of the pineapple as possible (right where the two join). Now, twist the top in a circular motion, and it should come right off! Your next step is to cut your pineapple in half (lengthwise). Then, cut each side in half again, so that you have four quarters (all cut lengthwise). You'll notice the hard core that runs down the center of the pineapple. With your knife, cut it out in one long strip and discard. The final step is to "filet" each pineapple quarter – slide your knife as close to the skin as possible to remove the fruit's flesh from the outer skin. Taaa da, you did it!
If you don't see any full pineapples in your nearest market, check the refrigerated section. Many grocers peel and core fresh, whole pineapples and sell them in clear containers. Often times the price is the exact same– but less work, so seems like a pretty good option to me! If there's absolutely no fresh pineapple available, you can try with frozen pineapple instead (but not canned). You may wish to adjust the ice / liquid measurements accordingly.
So whenever you find yourself wishing for warmer weather, treat yourself to this tropical smoothie. It'll make you feel better – I promise! For me, it's like a mini tropical getaway…one that lasts about five minutes because I finish this smoothie so quick, but hey, in this rain, I'll take anything!
Pineapple Mint Smoothie
- 3 cups chopped fresh pineapple (about ½ a pineapple, see note 1)
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves (loosely packed)
- ½ cup cold water (more if needed)
- 1½ cups ice cubes
- Blend: Add the pineapple, mint, water, and ice to a blender. Blend until smooth. If needed, add extra water until the smoothie is your desired consistency. Enjoy immediately.
- Pineapple: Choose fresh pineapple for the best flavor. Alternatively, you can use frozen pineapple pieces instead (you may wish to blend the smoothie without the ice, then add ice until the smoothie is your desired consistency).
- Banana option: If your want a thicker smoothie, feel free to add a banana.