This recipe was inspired by a smoothie my aunt made me on Saturday. I showed up at her house after walking around Washington, Missouri all day and I felt like I was going to explode from heat. “Do you want a smoothie?” she said. “Twist my arm,” I said.
The smoothie she made had vanilla Greek yogurt and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I’ve never made a smoothie with vanilla almond milk but it makes a big difference. It adds sweetness and subtlety of flavor that goes well with berries.
For my smoothie bowl, I tweaked my aunt’s recipe a little. I used plain, nonfat Greek yogurt and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I also added peaches, toasted almonds, hemp hearts and granola on top for texture and extra sweetness. At the last minute, I sprinkled some pistachios on the granola because I thought the bowl needed a pop of green color.
ANYWAY. I plan to make this bowl again soon. I’m going to experiment with adding vanilla almond milk and different flavors of yogurt. I see a lot of untapped opportunity.
On a slightly unrelated note, I wanted to tell you about what I did after I drank the smoothie on Saturday. I’d planned to stop at my aunt’s on the way home because she lives about halfway between my house and Washington. She told me she had a “surprise.” I guess I sounded curious because she let it slip that we were going to the highest point in St. Charles. When I got to her house, she told me that we were going to a nuclear waste site.
The site is a 75-foot pile of rocks that covers hazardous waste that came from an old uranium ore factory that used to sit on the property. To make a long story short, the U.S. government used the site in the late 1950s and early 1960s to produce ore. The Army during the Vietnam War was going to use the facility to make a chemical weapon, but they nixed that plan. The site was abandoned for more than 20 years, even though it was filled with hazardous chemicals. In the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Energy decided to address the problem by building a huge “disposal cell,” or mountain of rocks over the waste.
It’s a pretty grim story and one I didn’t know about until Saturday. I can’t say that I’m surprised that the government took 20 years to address potentially lethal chemical contamination, given its lax attitude toward the environment, or, you know, lawmaking. But I was surprised that I hadn’t heard about the site in all my years of living in St. Louis.
It felt a little weird to be standing on top of a sordid chapter of local and American history, but the view distracted me. You can see for miles. My aunt’s boyfriend pointed out St. Charles and surrounding cities. There are also maps at the top that show you what you’re looking at and give you a brief history of the area.So yeah. If you’re in St. Louis county or St. Charles county and you want a mini-American history lesson, a workout, and a view, head to the Weldon Springs nuclear waste site. Here’s a song that will help you get to the top of the rock heap. It’s also good for drowning out the sound of a loud blender.
Mixed Berry Mango Smoothie Bowl with Peaches
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 Tbsp plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
sliced peaches, almonds, pistachios, granola, chia seeds, hemp hearts, and berries for topping
Blend the strawberries, blueberries, banana, mango, almond milk, and Greek yogurt in a blender on high until smooth. Pour into a bowl and top with peaches, almonds, pistachios, granola, chia seeds, hemp hearts, and berries of your choice (I used strawberries and blackberries). Enjoy!