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North Hills Monthly

Try a Piña Colada Green Smoothie for a Taste of Summer

Apr 30, 2015 02:44PM ● By Alexa Peduzzi

Hello again, North Hills Monthly readers!

My name is Alexa Peduzzi, and I’m a 20-something Pittsburgh gal who runs, a food blog dedicated to bringing whole food recipes to young professionals. Whole foods are my passion, as I believe that I simply operate better when I am fueling my body with natural foods that come straight from the source—the earth! While I am not a nutritionist or doctor, it doesn't take a licensed registered dietitian to be able to feel the powerful difference that whole foods can make in one's diet.

As you're reading this, I am preparing to graduate from college. What?! I cannot believe that my time as a student is coming to an end after being one for nearly 17 years of my life. Luckily, I will be graduating with a job in queue; therefore, I will be able to relax and enjoy my last few weeks of summer-filled freedom before joining the rest of the working world.

Summertime means one thing to me: vacation. We always go on a weeklong vacation with my dad's side of the family down to the Outer Banks, a.k.a. ‘Little Pittsburgh.’ I am as unproductive as possible during our beach week. I read. I sit at the pool. I sit at the beach. I eat. It's a gloriously wonderful time of the year. We used to plan activities throughout the week, but judging by the monumental scale at which we failed at said ‘activities,’ I think our current game plan is safer.

Allow me to explain.

We used to rent a boat every year. Sounds like a fun, family-oriented activity, yes? No. One year we got lost at a thunderstorm. Another year we crashed into parked boats as we tried to navigate through a narrow marina in a high-powered speedboat. Another year, we stood a pontoon boat, a vessel specifically designed to not sink, vertically on its nose.

The Peduzzis are not boat people.

Now, the only true activity we plan every year is dinner. Each family plans a night. My aunt and uncle always host taco night. My other aunt and uncle usually break out the grill. My grandparents like to make pasta or ribs. And my parents change it up every year.

One year, we did brie pasta and garlic bread. Another year, we did French bread pizzas. We've cooked steak. We've cooked flatbread pizzas. It's always a surprise.

But there is one meal that sticks out to me the most. And what made it special was dessert. We took fresh pineapple, sliced it, grilled it, and topped it with shredded coconut. These ingredients sound so simple, but is there anything that screams ‘beach week’ more than a play on a piña colada? No, sir. Coconut and pineapple are the dynamic duo that can get me in the mood for a tropical getaway any time of year.

Enter the Piña Colada Green Smoothie.

This smoothie is a wonderful breakfast for your on-the-go mornings, or a simple summer snack. Packed with nourishing and tasty whole foods, the flavors of this smoothie will have you begging for that summertime relaxation.

True to the piña colada form, we'll need to start this smoothie off with some coconut. I chose canned light coconut milk for its flavor and rich texture. This stuff is thick, and it makes the perfect base upon which we can build our smoothie. Coconut milk also gives us some healthy fats that will keep us satiated throughout the jam-packed summer days.

We also need to add some frozen pineapple chunks to the party. I'm pretty sure that the #1 reason I love summer is because this spiky fruit is in-season! I love the natural sweetness and slight tartness that pineapple brings to the party. This summer, if you haven't tried grilling pineapple, please do—you will experience true euphoria. Perfection in a bright yellow package.

For creaminess' sake, we're adding a frozen banana to the mix. Have you added a frozen banana to a smoothie before? If you haven't, boy, are you in for a treat! When blended, frozen bananas become the consistency of frozen yogurt. A single-ingredient fro-yo? Um...yes, please!

That brilliant green color is not coming from food dye. We're adding some greenage, by way of kale or spinach, to our smoothie! Don't be afraid; with the powerful flavors of the coconut, pineapple and banana, you won't even taste it. I love to add greens to my smoothies for some added nutrients like iron and vitamin K. You don't have to include any leafy greens in your smoothie, but I highly encourage you to do so! Don't knock the nourishing greens until you try them!

Lastly, if you're making this piña colada green smoothie for breakfast, you might want to give it a little protein boost. There are so many protein-filled additions that you can add to your smoothies, like hemp seedsflaxseedschia seeds, or nuts (could you imagine how perfect macadamia nuts would fit here?). If you're a fan of protein powder, it can definitely be added, too! Feel free to experiment to find what combination works best for you.

These nourishing ingredients are sure to take you away to your summertime happy place. With ingredients like coconut, pineapple and banana, the tropical paradise you long for is only a sip away.

Piña Colada Green Smoothie

  • 2/3 cup canned light coconut milk
  • 1 small handful kale or spinach (optional)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or substitute more coconut milk)
  • heaping 1/3 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 frozen banana
  • Hemp seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, protein powder (optional, for protein boost)

Add all ingredients in the order listed into a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth, creamy and delicious. Pour into a glass and be transported to summertime bliss.

Follow me on my whole foods journey! I'd love to hear from you on or on social media. You can reach me at: