I reach a point every March when the gray skies really start to get me down.
It’s usually a few weeks after there’s been a sudden Spring revival. The Uggs get swapped for sockless suede slippers. I exit the house without a single item of cashmere on my person. And my mood is bright and gay. That is, until everything collapses into a puddle of wintery mix, and I realize it was all just one big tease. Nature’s version of Just the Tip.
At this point, I become a little bit emotionally unstable, and the annual inquiry begins all over again: will I ever be able to stop using my slow cooker? To walk and talk without texting gloves? Should we just move to LA where it’s poke bowl season year-round??
And that’s usually when idle threats become short term reality and I book a ticket for California.
This year was a little different in that I stopped shy of the Golden State and spent a week in Sedona, Arizona. The trip had actually been on my calendar since December. I’d like to say it was some sage forethought before the inevitable emotional weather rollercoaster of March started its wheels. But it was just a perfectly timed media training workshop I decided to attend.
When last week rolled around and I realized I’d get to spend a week in the warm silhouette of the red rocks, I ecstatically packed all my bathing suits and sun dresses and practically slept next to the front door.
I did not, however, actually check the weather. Nor did I realize that in this area of the dessert they actually get four whole seasons. Which meant that my trip ended up being a microcosm of that March emotional weather rollercoaster I had flown 2,500 miles to escape.
On day one, Arizona greeted me kindly and warmly, as promised. I left the airport in a T-shirt. I read by the pool.
The next day, things dropped a little bit, but the skies remained bright enough for a nippy sunset hike.
On day three, my rental car’s windshield cracked in three places after a not-so gentle downpour of hail.
For the rest of the trip I wore every layer I packed, including the cashmere, and cursed the heavens for having not brought my texting gloves.
When I got home on Friday, I felt revived creatively, but my complexion was just as pale as when I left. Worse, in fact. After two long legs of flying, and a deeply chilly hotel room, my throat was starting to get that light ache that usually means the emotional rollercoaster of weather has begun to take its toll in the form of a head cold.
The first thing I made the next morning was this sunny mango immunity smoothie bowl from Lily Kunin’s gorgeous new book Good Clean Food. If you’re familiar with Lily’s Instagram, you know she’s the queen of simple plant-based bowls with a stunning color palette and dramatic composition. I’d been eyeing this bowl for weeks, since she gifted me a multi-colored sticker of it that is now perched on my bulletin board.
On the sunny tropical side, it includes frozen mango, soothing avocado, and creamy coconut oil. On the immunity side, you’ve got a big hit of citrus (orange + lime) and a heaping teaspoon of ground turmeric. A few weeks ago, my friend Sherrie sent me a sample of Sunshine Dust from her new business baby, Big Heart Tea Co. It’s a supercharged handmade blend of turmeric, ginger, lemongrass and peppercorn–and the perfect combination to add a little extra pep in my immunity smoothie bowl’s step.
If you’re suffering from seasonal depression/kitchen confusion/stew overload, Lily’s book has a lot of creative yet simple recipes that will revive and restore you until Spring stops playing its minxy little games. One of my favorites so far is the goji granola, which I used instead of just plain goji berries to top this immunity smoothie bowl. It’s got a lovely tropical sweetness and golden crunch from the combination of coconut sugar, vanilla and maple syrup.
A few handfuls of it will at least take you on a Spring Break getaway in your mouth, even if your actual destination involves more ice balls than beach balls falling from the sky.
From one healthy, spring broken, hedonist, to another,
Sunny Mango Immunity Smoothie Bowl
This immunity boosting smoothie bowl from Lily Kunin's Good Clean Food is full of bright tropical flavors--mango, orange, lime--balanced with creamy coconut milk and avocado. It's not too far on the sweet side, which makes it the perfect vehicle for a little goji granola if you're feeling indulgent.
- 1/2 coconut milk
- 3/4 cup frozen mango
- 1/4 small avocado
- 1/2 orange peeled
- Squeeze of lime
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric I used Big Heart Tea Co. Sunshine Dust
- 3 cubes of ice
- 1/2 cup goji granola recipe follows
- Sliced strawberries chia seeds, and coconut flakes, for garnish
Pour the coconut milk into a blender; add the mango, avocado, orange, lime juice, turmeric, and ice; puree until smooth.
Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top with the goji granola, strawberries, chia seeds, and coconut flakes.
This addictive goji granola is perfect on yogurt or smoothie bowls, like the one above. It's adapted from Lily Kunin's gorgeous book Good Clean Food. I used chopped blanched almonds instead of slices and walnuts instead of pecans because that's what I had on hand. This recipe is very versatile, so you do you!
- 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup raw unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup raw pecans chopped
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or pink salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup goji berries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut flakes, pecans, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture over the oats and mix well.
Spread out the granola mixture evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Halfway through, turn the pan around but do not toss the granola.
Let the granola cool completely. Sprinkle the goji berries over it and break it into large clusters. Store the granola in an airtight container on the countertop for up to a month.