It’s an icy but bright winter’s morning here in the suburbs — my favourite kind of January day. I don’t mind the bite of the cold if it’s unaccompanied by a harsh wind, and the sun, like the birdsong, is a reminder of the promise of brighter days that wait around the corner. The cold breeze that rattles the bare limbs of the trees seems to whisper: lie low, stay warm, use the hibernation season to work hard — things will get better.
January always feels like the longest and hardest month somehow. The days are chilly, the hours of darkness are long, and people feel under pressure to be ‘healthier’, which can just feel like an added misery if it means punishing workouts, bland food and hunger. I don’t think it should mean that, but I do think it’s important to feed yourself things that will nourish the body and mind in a harsh climate.
I make this several mornings a week and thought now was a good time to share it. It was Barry’s Bootcamp that introduced me to the concept of the PBJ Protein Shake. It is, as it sounds, based on the flavours of the All-American peanut butter + jelly sandwich. The jamminess comes from the frozen berries, blended up with protein powder, peanut butter and almond milk to make a thick, creamy and somehow really tasty shake which keeps you full for a good while. I tend to add yogurt to make it even creamier and higher in protein, and to get the benefit of all the gut-friendly bacteria it contains.
Add more almond milk or water to thin it out if you want a regular drinkable smoothie, and if you want it as a bowl then feel free to add whatever toppings you have to hand, you can’t really go wrong.
- 150g frozen mixed berries (I tend to go for a blend of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants but any combination is fine)
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 250ml / 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (more for a thinner smoothie, less if you like it super thick)
- 200g vegan yogurt (I like Alpro Go-On)
- 1 scoop vegan protein powder (I use Sunwarrior Vanilla)
- 1/8 tsp matcha powder (optional, I just like it for the antioxidant hit and energy boost, but you can’t taste it)
- suggested toppings: chopped nuts, seeds, granola, muesli, fresh or dried fruit, more peanut butter or yogurt…really anything!
Add everything except the toppings to a blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour into a bowl and scatter the rest on top.
Lastly, if you are feeling the January blues, I’ve rounded up a few things that are making my month a little brighter (not sponsored):
- Romee Strijd is now on YouTube, and her vlogs are extremely addictive if, like me, you’re deeply curious about the secret life of a ridiculously beautiful jet-setting VS Angel.
- This Pixi Beauty shea butter lip balm — it’s the only thing I put on my lips these days. The Natural Rose shade is the perfect colour for winter beauty and it gives as good coverage as lipstick but actually keeps my lips hydrated all day.
- I signed up to The Hustle for daily email updates on everything going on in the tech and business world. It’s very Californian and very millennial, but it’s an easy and fun way of staying in the loop and I enjoy reading it each day.
- I picked up a free sample of this Origins overnight face mask a few weeks ago and it really transforms my complexion — I finally found a go-to product for glowing winter skin.
- Boho Beautiful videos — I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been trying to stretch out more, and these sequences are so relaxing, calming, positive…and set on nice beaches.
- This Liz Earle Eucalyptus and Rosemary candle — it was a Christmas present, and eucalyptus is one of my favourite scents. I like to have it lit at my desk while I study, it makes for a nicer, calmer working environment and makes the room smell divine for a long time after.
- This granola recipe from OLC – I’ve made quite a few batches recently and it never lasts long, it’s such a tasty and easy way to start the day (and goes well on top of these smoothie bowls!)
- This fair-trade Pukka vanilla chai tea — it’s the best chai tea I’ve found, warming and beautifully spiced. It’s perfect with a drop of oat milk at around 4pm when it’s getting dark and chilly – and even better when accompanied by a few squares of dark chocolate.
- Death in Paradise — I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I love watching this. It’s gentle, funny, and set in the Caribbean, which is where everyone wants to be at this time of year.