When we were in the early stages of planning Think.Make.Share, we knew we had to get advice from Ali Ebright, a super-smart blogger who founded the very popular Gimme Some Oven. Lucky for us, Ali has also done some photo styling for Union Hill, our in-house photography and video production studio, so we count her as a Hallmarker. She gets us, and we love her. Ali is guest-blogging for us today to share a Mother’s Day or new-mom gift idea and smoothie recipe—both perfect for spring!
My mom is an amazing gift-giver.
All throughout my life, she has been there with the most thoughtful gifts for every occasion—from birthdays to holidays to graduations to promotions and all sorts of “just because” random celebrations in between, she always shows up with at least “a little something.” And whether that be a batch of homemade Chex mix, those earrings that I mentioned I loved on my blog, a gift certificate for a massage on a busy month, some new kitchen towels she noticed I needed, or even just coming to town for a few days to help with house projects, it’s obvious that she really puts a lot of thought and a lot of heart into giving meaningful gifts. And without a doubt, her gifts have a way of making people—like her lucky daughter—feel incredibly special.
Of all the thoughtful gifts she has given me over the years, though, I’d say that my all-time favorite was something she gave me after graduation from high school before heading off to college: a homemade recipe box.
This was of course way back before anyone even knew what a food blog was. (And as she would tell you, back in the days when she never would have dreamed that her non-cooking, picky-eating daughter would one day become a food blogger!) But good recipes are meant to be passed down. And so one day, she lovingly sat down and hand-copied recipe after recipe after recipe onto plain little notecards, and then popped them in a cute little wooden box to give me for graduation.
Fourteen years later, it’s still one of my favorite things in my kitchen. Granted, the box is now chipped and splattered after years of moving with me from kitchen to kitchen. The cards are splattered and marked up with notes and tweaks after years of re-making the recipes. And countless recipes have now made their way to my blog, so that Mom’s cooking can be shared with more of the world. But while I could easily pull up the recipe for her no-bake cookies online whenever I want to make a batch, I always find myself reaching for the old recipe box, just to see her handwriting and feel that little touch of love that she poured into that gift years ago.
As a food blogger who publishes recipes online for a living, I’ll be the first to say that I believe there will always be a place in life for good recipe boxes and cookbooks in the kitchen. There’s just something about being able to hold them in your hands and have them sitting on the counter while you cook that’s the best—especially when they’re handwritten.
So as a gift for a friend who’s getting ready to become a new mother herself around Mother’s Day this year, I thought I would nix the typical baby registry and give her a handwritten recipe book with some of my favorite recipes. I know that time is precious when you have a newborn around, and I’ve had plenty of new-mom friends over the years ask for my favorite quick and easy recipes when they’re suddenly thrown into this new rhythm of life. And I have plenty that I’m more than happy to share!
So just like my mom did, I jotted down some of my favorites, and then left some blank notecards for her to be able to include some of hers over the coming years as well. One of those recipes is a new favorite of mine that’s a delicious quick and easy “treat” for breakfast, a snack, or even a healthier dinner: this Chocolate Peanut Butter Green Smoothie.
Well, I use the word “green” loosely. There’s a generous handful of spinach hiding in there, but the peanut butter and cocoa powder give the smoothie a more classic brown hue. It’s easy to make, packed with protein, made with healthier ingredients, yet it tastes just like a peanut butter cup. I mean, can you ever go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter?!? I think not.
To make the smoothie, simply toss all of your ingredients together in a blender, and then pulse them until combined. Feel free to add in more honey if you think the smoothie needs to be sweeter, or extra ice if it needs to be thicker. But otherwise, this smoothie should come together in just minutes and be the perfect sweet treat to begin your day.
I highly recommend adding it to your next recipe book too. 😉
Chocolate Peanut Butter Green Smoothie
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 0 mins
- 1 frozen chopped banana (peeled)
- 1 cup tightly-packed fresh spinach
- 1 cup ice
- 1 cup milk (your choice — dairy milk, almond milk, etc.)
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons honey (if needed)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- (optional topping: mini semisweet chocolate chips)
Pulse all ingredients together in a blender until combined. Serve immediately, garnished with mini chocolate chips if you’d like. And, of course, everything’s better when shared so this recipe makes two.
Find the pictured recipe book (with matching recipe cards) in your local Hallmark Gold Crown Store. And make sure to come see us on Instagram today at @Think.Make.Share, where we’ll be giving one away!
Photos by Ali Ebright.