We just got back from a wonderful trip to Southern California. We spent Christmas with my family in San Diego and then met up with Graham’s family in the Palm Springs area – they flew out from the East Coast just in time to escape the snow. We enjoyed lots of sunshine, and had a great visit to Joshua Tree National Park and the Palm Springs Art Museum.
We also ate lots of great food at a wide range of restaurants — Italian, Chinese, Mexican, California Cuisine, and on New Year’s, Japanese Fusion! One of the highlights of the whole trip, however, was our “Date Shake” at Shield’s Date Garden, which Graham’s dad and sister had visited several years ago and was high on their list of places to visit during the trip. The rest of us had heard a lot about these famous date shakes, and were excited to try them out…
Before we could actually taste these shakes though, Graham’s dad first ushered us into a little theater at the store to watch the world-famous film, “The Romance and Sex Life of the Date.” Despite its risqué title, the movie was quite a treasure trove of information about dates and how they are grown. We learned how labor-intensive date production is – each date must be pollinated by hand and must be picked as they ripen.
The movie also discussed several innovations that were developed by the Shield’s Date Garden. One of these innovations was “date crystals,” which are used to make their date shakes. After the movie, we quickly ordered some of these shakes, and they did not disappoint our tastebuds! Rich, creamy, sweet, and studded with pieces of dates, they were delicious! Unfortunately, however, they didn’t offer us the low-fat version, and therefore it’s not something that would help anyone keep their New Year’s Resolutions. So I thought that I would try to make a healthier version that still reminded us of the sweetness of the Shield’s shakes…
In order to accomplish this difficult mission, we bought a container of another of Shield’s innovations – “blond” and “brunette” dates, which can only be purchased at their store. In the adapted recipe below, I combine a few of these dates with nonfat vanilla yogurt, a banana, and almond milk to create a “date smoothie.” Although it is not as creamy and sweet as the Shield shake, it is still quite tasty and refreshing, and quite a bit healthier. So if you have some dates or want to order some online, try this smoothie out and let us know what you think…
Adapted from Mayo Clinic Recipes
As mentioned above, I used “blond” and “brunette” dates in this smoothie, but the recipe will also work with other varieties of dates. If your dates are a little dried out, sprinkle them with a few tablespoons of warm water and let them soak for a few minutes. Drain any excess water before blending the dates into the smoothie.
- 1/3 cup chopped dates
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1/2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
- 1 ripe banana, frozen
- 4 ice cubes
- Nutmeg (optional)
Put chopped dates, almond milk, yogurt, frozen banana, and ice cubes into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve smoothie with a pinch of nutmeg sprinkled on top.
Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:
|Recipe Report Card||Notes About Recipe Ratings|
Four Chefs (Delicious!)
|Naturally sweet dates give this creamy smoothie a wonderful flavor.|
Five Easy Chairs (Just Press Cook!)
Four Apples (Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise)
|Mostly healthy and natural ingredients in this mix. However, smoothies in large quantities can be high in calories—so definitely don’t drink this entire recipe in one sitting.|
Four Leaves (Mother Earth Approved)
|We bought the dates from where they were grown and the rest of the ingredients were organic.|