I don't think anyone would accuse me of being a morning person.
Oh, I can do and early morning, but I'm not friendly with it. I'm not quite a vampire ... but "night owl" fits pretty well.
As you might guess, I'm not a huge fan of breakfast. It's not that I don't like breakfast food, but I'm more likely to make eggs for dinner than I'm likely to make them first thing in the morning.
I'm just not awake enough to tackle anything as complicated as a frying pan when I first wake up.
Breakfast, if I eat it, might be something pre-made or leftover. I'm looking at you, cold pizza. Or it has to be incredibly simple. Like ... uh ... well ...
Something in a blender is good.
So I thought I could have some fun with Carnation Breakfast Essentials. I bought the variety pack of the powdered drink mix, so I could try different flavors and see which I liked best.
First, I blended some stuff.
Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Smoothie
1 package dark chocolate Carnation Breakfast Essentials
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons peanut butter.
Blend, pour, drink.
If you want a thicker smoothie, you can freeze the banana ahead of time and blend it frozen.
Then I brainstormed.
Maybe it's just me, but I think this next idea is genius.
I mixed up a packet of the Carnation Breakfast Essentials as though I was making the standard breakfast drink (1 packet plus 1 cup of milk). And then I froze it in ice cube trays.
Then I popped the cubes out of the tray and put them into plastic bags for easy access.
Then it got really fun.
First, I blended frozen blueberries along with some frozen cubes. I added a splash of milk, and it was thick and super-creamy. Like, spoon-worthy.
It tasted like I used ice cream instead of milk. I thought it could have used just a teeny bit of sugar, but that was an easy fix. I added about a half-teaspoon of sugar and stirred it in. Oh yeah!
Then I started thinking about non-fruity uses for those cubes. Like, have you ever made some coffee to go, and it's way too hot to drink from your travel mug? Yeah, a couple cubes adds a great cream flavor and cools the coffee so you don't burn your lips off when you sip.
Or keep them on hand for your morning coffee, even when you aren't on the go. I mean, why not?
Or add a lot more cubes, to make iced coffee. Hint: Let the coffee cool a bit before pouring it over the cubes, for a chillier drink!
Or, how about a coffee smoothie?
Mocha Malt Coffee Smoothie
3/4 cup milk
1 package chocolate malt Carnation Breakfast Essentials
The night before, or several days in advance:
Freeze the coffee in an ice cube tray.
Combine the milk and chocolate malt Carnation Breakfast Essentials. Freeze in and ice cube tray.
When you want your smoothie:
Blend the frozen coffee cubes, the Carnation Breakfast Essentials cubes, and any additional flavorings until there are no large chunks remaining. At this point it will be the consistency of a granita or a really, really, really thick slushy. If you want it drinkable right away, add a splash of milk, coffee, or water to get it melting a bit and continue blending to your desired consistency. Or, scoop the thick icy mixture it into a glass, add a straw, and let it melt slowly.
*You could flavor your smoothies with cinnamon, allspice, pumpkin pie seasoning, flavored syrups, peppermint extract, or just about anything else you can think of. Might as well have some fun!
Hint: This would make a refreshing dessert for coffee lovers - just scoop the frozen slush into a martini glass, top with some whipped cream and chocolate shavings, and serve.
For more recipe ideas, you can check the Carnation site. Nutrition information is here.
Speaking of "Ready to Go"
Using frozen cubes of the Carnation Breakfast Essentials along with frozen fruits and other frozen ingredients results in a thicker smoothie than if you start with non-frozen ingredients. So why not measure out the ingredients for smoothies and have them packed in zip-top bags or freezer containers?
I mean, really, doesn't that make sense?
In the morning, all you need to do is grab the pre-measured ingredients, put them in the blender, and press the button.
This would also be great for kids, so mom could have the ingredients measured and ready to go, and the kids could blend their own morning drink or after-school snack. For a really easy morning, the Carnation Breakfast Essentials line also includes pre-made drinks and bars - I haven't tried them, though.
I bought the Carnation Breakfast Essentials from my local Safeway store; I am being compensated for writing this post.