Monday, January 9, 2012

Chocolate Pumpkin Banana Smoothie

As the new year rolls around, a lot of people try to make resolutions to eat healthier.  As I mentioned in my last post, I realized mid-December that my vegetable intake was not what it should be.  Ever since then I’ve been trying to make an effort to eat a more balanced diet.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not “on a diet”, I’m just trying to eat more than just peanut butter sandwiches every day!

I was really excited when Michael from Whole Foods Market in Franklin, TN contacted me about their Pantry Staples Giveaway.  They too want to inspire you to eat healthier, and they want to show you that it can be affordable.  They have compiled a huge list of groceries priced at about $50, that are great pantry staples.  These are things I agree are important to have on hand at all times, because when combined with a couple fresh ingredients, you can get a healthy meal.  To see a list of the ingredients, and to enter to win one of the “Pantry Staples for a Year”, head on over to the Whole Foods Blog.

These are all the pantry staples you can get at Whole Foods for around $50.  Looks like a lot of great beginnings for healthy meals!

That’s not all, I was also offered the chance to to do a giveaway for my readers as well!  One lucky winner will win a $50 gift card to Whole Foods!  All you have to do to enter my giveaway is tell me “What pantry staple do you always keep on hand?”  While it doesn’t qualify for any extra entries, they would LOVE to hear from you on Whole Foods Market – Franklin Facebook Page.  Head on over there and leave them the same comment about what pantry staple you always keep on hand.

Not sure if you can tell what everything is from my photo, but one of the pantry staples is almond milk.  I used to be really good about keeping almond milk on hand to make smoothies.  I liked that it was lower in calories than regular milk, and for some reason I just prefer it’s taste in smoothies.  Somewhere along the way I got out of the smoothie habit.  But for Christmas I received an immersion blender, and I’ve been inspired to put it to good use.  I have a can of chocolate protein powder on hand, and some really ripe bananas I froze, and a bit of leftover canned pumpkin.  It might seem like a weird combo, but it actually worked great!  I’m glad I’ve been inspired to get back on the smoothie train, as this was nutritious and filling!

I plan on blogging more of the meals I make with my pantry staples, and I’ve already got a great start.  (Recipes coming soon!)  But please, feel free to provide me with ideas or suggestions of what to make with some of these ingredients.  🙂

FINE PRINT FOR MY GIVEAWAYMust be a legal resident of the US or Canada (except in Quebec, where it is void) age 18 or older to participate.  Employees of Whole Foods Market, Inc., are not eligible. Void where prohibited.  Giveaway ends Sunday, January 15th at 10pm CST.  One entry per person.  You must answer the question in a comment, and provide an email address to win.  The winner will be notified via email, and has 48 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen.


Chocolate Pumpkin Banana Smoothie

Yield: 1 smoothie

Total Time: 5 min

The pumpkin I really just threw in because I had it leftover in the fridge. It's flavor addition was pretty subtle, but I like the healthy vitamins it added!


8 oz almond milk
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 frozen banana
1/4 cup pumpkin
ice cubes as needed


Combine ingredients in a blender, or use an immersion blender. Blend until smooth, adding ice as needed.

And, now for a little side note about the Franklin Whole Foods Market.  As you may have heard me mention before, I live in the heart of Nashville.  There’s a perimeter of the city I very rarely leave, so I hadn’t ever made it over to the Franklin store, as I visit the Green Hills location because of proximity.  As a Nashville food blogger I even got invited to a sneak preview before they opened, but I was out of town that day.  Man, oh man, you Williamson Countians sure are lucky!  Nathan & I were really impressed with the size & spaciousness of the store.  Also, we loved the fact that they have a wine bar, and a growler refill station.  At one point as I was shopping for extra ingredients I turned my head and Nathan had disappeared.  Sure enough he wasn’t hard to find, I just headed towards the beer where he was sampling Lazy Magnolia’s limited Ginger Jaque, and he filled up a growler to enjoy.  Also, I love that they have my favorite gelato in house, Bravo Gelato (remember when I got to go behind the scenes?).  I couldn’t leave without some dessert, and HOLY COW that Sorghum + Gingersnap Gelato was so incredible!  And, like the Green Hills store I’m used to, they too have cooking classes.  Follow them on Twitter, or like them on Facebook for for info!

*DISCLOSURE: Whole Foods Market – Franklin, TN provided me with my pantry staples in exchange for promoting their giveaway.  They also provided me with a $50 gift card to giveaway to one of my readers.*

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80 Responses to “Chocolate Pumpkin Banana Smoothie”

  1. 1
    tinobiscuits — January 9, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

    Minced garlic in a jar, for sure.

  2. 2
    Stephanie @ LiveCookLove — January 9, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

    I always have chickpeas in my pantry! I add them to grains, salads, soups, roast them, and use them for homemade hummus. The possibilities are endless!

  3. 3
    Julie @BananasForBourbon — January 9, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

    I have to choose just one thing? Flours, sugar, oats, rice, etc. I always have these in my pantry. Along with olive oil, red wine vinegar. My pantry is always stuffed!

  4. 4
    Laura — January 9, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

    I’ve been on a massive smoothie kick lately and I can’t wait to try this! Thanks for sharing! And in response to the question… The pantry staple I ALWAYS have on hand is cream of chicken soup. It is the base of so many of my boyfriend’s comfort food favorites. As long as I have that in the house I know I can make him something yummy after a cold day at work!!! PS, I think the Green Hills Whole Foods is way better than the Cool Springs one…

  5. 5
    Coleen — January 9, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

    I would say one pantry staple that I always have is canned beans. I usually have a variety to use for pasta, salads, vegetarian tacos, hummus. They are inexpensive and so versatile.

  6. 6
    Chris H — January 9, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

    I always have tuna on hand. It’s versatile and tasty.

  7. 7
    Abbey — January 10, 2012 @ 5:28 am

    Lots & lots of rice for the rice cooker:) this is needed*

  8. 8
    Francesca — January 10, 2012 @ 6:57 am

    Cinnamon! I use it in my morning oats, on toast, in hot cocoa, etc.

  9. 9
    Jacey — January 10, 2012 @ 7:13 am

    I always have diced tomatoes on hand!

  10. 10
    Beth — January 10, 2012 @ 7:18 am

    Hmm… staples. I always have pasta of some kind on hand, along with garlic, olive oil and diced tomatoes. (On the baking side, I always have chocolate chips, vanilla, flour and sugar as well!)

  11. 11
    Jenn — January 10, 2012 @ 7:54 am

    I don’t know if it counts as a pantry staple, but it is in my house — the ingredients for tacos!! Taco shells, refried beans and taco seasoning!

  12. 12
    Angela — January 10, 2012 @ 7:58 am

    I always have pasta, there is just so much you can do with it!

  13. 13
    Amy @ The Nifty Foodie — January 10, 2012 @ 8:05 am

    I almost always have brown rice or whole wheat pasta. We use it fairly often in our meals, so I’m always well stocked on that in our pantry. 🙂

  14. 14
    Shannon — January 10, 2012 @ 9:22 am

    I always like to have some sort of pasta in my pantry.

  15. 15
    Kelly — January 10, 2012 @ 9:26 am

    In my pantry, I always have plain nonfat soy milk, canned tomatoes, cinnamon, low sodium vegetable broth, various types of pasta, canned pineapples, pasta sauce, brown rice.

  16. 16
    Michelle — January 10, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    pasta sauce.

  17. 17
    Leah | So, How's It Taste? — January 10, 2012 @ 9:57 am

    I always have oats in my pantry. Great in savory and sweet dishes!

  18. 18
    Mami2jcn — January 10, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    I always have rice in my pantry!

  19. 19
    Angie @ Sweet Natured Treats — January 10, 2012 @ 10:06 am

    I always have pasta, canned tomatoes, tuna, canned beans, chicken broth, and tons of spices on hand. I can usually throw together something for dinner from those ingredients alone.

  20. 20
    Cara — January 10, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    I always have black beans, dry pastas, rice, oats, diced tomatoes! The list is endless!

  21. 21
    Heather — January 10, 2012 @ 11:18 am

    I always have bags of dried beans.

  22. 22
    Grishma — January 10, 2012 @ 11:46 am

    I just got Almond milk yday and I am making this smoothie soon!!
    And about the Pantry staple…hmmm…”Garlic salt” I would say since I use it in almost every dish! Then whole wheat pasta, brown rice, vegetable broth..etc on cooking side. And on the baking side Pure Vanilla extract, chocolate chips…etc…the list will go on and on!

  23. 23
    Camels & Chocolate — January 10, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

    Funny, I’ll be in Nashville tomorrow for a photo shoot and need to stop by Whole Foods on the way home. I was dreading going to the one at the Hill Center, so maybe I’ll try this instead!

    (Making this smoothie for lunch now…only, minus the chocolate protein powder–just using Nesquik as a substitute instead–hence the need for a WF run!)

  24. 24
    Howie — January 10, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

    I always have soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and lemon juice. They’re the essential ingredients for Chicken Adobo, a Filipino staple dish!

  25. 25
    Lesley — January 10, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

    I always have soy milk, penne pasta, diced tomatoes, black beans, yellow rice, brown rice, and vegetable stock packets on hand.

    And because of the kid, dried cranberries, peanut butter, and graham crackers!

  26. 26
    Kelsey — January 10, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

    What a fantastic giveaway, Erin. I hope I can win so I can stock up on oats, brown rice (I might even splurge on basmati with a gift card!), quinoa, walnuts, and dried cranberries. They may not be staples for everyone, but they are for me!

  27. 27
    Lori — January 10, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

    Isn’t the new Franklin store amazing?! I love it. But I’m planning to move up to Nashville, so alas, the Green Hills store will become “my” store too. 😉
    As far as kitchen staples, I usually always have coconut milk on hand to make smoothies & curries. And per the request of my husband, nuts & raisins for making trail mix are at the top of the list too.

  28. 28
    Camels & Chocolate — January 10, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

    Also, my pantry staple is canned pumpkin. Which is coming in handy today, as I just made this smoothie!

  29. 29
    Liesl — January 10, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

    Beans have got to be my #1 pantry staple! This smoothie sounds tasty too, I’ve been on an almond milk kick lately!

  30. 30
    Kira — January 10, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

    I always have black beans on hand. I love them, and they’re a great protein source!

  31. 31
    arlene — January 10, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

    i always have quiona on hand…very versatile, add to salads, put into soups, as a side dish…as a breakfast…love the stuff!

  32. 32
    Cindy Ziliak. — January 10, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

    I always keep pasta and marinara along with a good Parmesan cheese in the fridge! Comfort food at it’s best!

  33. 33
    Laura — January 10, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    Cottage Cheese is always in my house. Without a doubt.

    I can’t imagine my life without it.

    It is such a wonderful source of protein and a quick go-to snack.

    It is even better mixed with some fresh fruit!

  34. 34
    Cindi — January 10, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

    I always have rice on hand because my husband is in love with it! When I first married him I thought it was so strange that his family had rice at thanksgiving and christmas dinners. Now I know it’s because it’s his favorite food on earth. Now that we just started eating vegan, it’s easy to have rice and throw a couple of veggies in for a last minute dinner. If there’s rice, I know he will be satisfied.

  35. 35
    Jenn — January 10, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

    Chicken stock! I swear I use it every night!

  36. 36
    Katie Gosser — January 11, 2012 @ 6:57 am

    Diced tomato’s!

  37. 37
    Paul — January 11, 2012 @ 9:32 am

    Pasta. It’s quick, easy and can be mixed with many things. It also appeals to our 7 year old, who can be picky about meat!

  38. 38
    Erin — January 11, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    I always have whole wheat pasta in various shapes. IDK why but sometimes I prefer other shapes on certain days!

  39. 39
    Sarah — January 11, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    I always have dried pasta on hand. It’s so easy to throw different veggies in and have an “instant” meal!

  40. 40
    Traciwilbur — January 11, 2012 @ 10:00 am

    I always have canned tomatoes (or rotel), rice, pasta, minced garlic and rice milk on hand. If I unexpectedly run out of rice milk, I make my own.

  41. 41
    Jen @ jen is green — January 11, 2012 @ 10:23 am

    I always keep whole wheat flour (for baking!) and quinoa on hand.

  42. 42
    Jazmin — January 11, 2012 @ 11:19 am

    I always, ALWAYS have peanut butter and pancake mix!

  43. 43
    anash — January 11, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

    I am never without sugar since I make many things from scratch! Thanks for a super giveaway!

  44. 44
    Alexis {Diva on a Diet} — January 11, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

    I love Whole Foods, yet I just don’t make it over there enough. I have several great grocery stores in my vicinity, and I find that each of them carries something that the other doesn’t so I have to spread my time between all of them! Anyway, being single, I don’t have a lot in the pantry, but I usually have some canned low sodium beans and veggies, and low sodium chicken stock, sometimes you’ll find pasta in there, but that is an item I tend to over eat, so I try not to keep it on hand! 🙂

  45. 45
    Kristen — January 11, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

    I always have peanut butter and diced tomatoes.

  46. 46
    natalie (the sweets life) — January 11, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

    yum i want this right now!! black beans are a pantry staple in our house!

  47. 47
    ilynca Fiedler — January 12, 2012 @ 5:09 am

    I love to keep Cacao powder on hand at all times. It’s great from smooth hot chocolate, creamy homemade pudding and chocolate cake and brownies that will only last about 5 minutes when the rest of the family start to smell the delicious odor coming from the oven.

  48. 48
    Jamie — January 12, 2012 @ 8:34 am

    I like to keep coconut milk on hand. It’s great to make coconut bread, rice & even pasta with.

  49. 49
    Cheppell — January 12, 2012 @ 9:33 am

    Chicken Stock or Broth

  50. 50
    Lacey — January 12, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

    I always have canned beans on hand – no matter what variety. They are easy to throw into a dish for a quick veggie addition. Also, I usually keep a couple different kinds of whole wheat pastas because I’m a carb-addict.

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