A Bite Inspired by… Diamond Head State Monument in Honolulu, Hawaii:
Last May, my best friend and I were lucky enough to hike gorgeous Diamond Head State Monument on our trip to Hawaii. Afterwards, we replenished with the most delicious mango coconut smoothies! For those of you who haven’t gotten a chance to experience the beauty of Diamond Head, I’ve re-created those creamy, tropical smoothies, but with a protein boost! It’ll make you feel like you’re in paradise AND give you the energy to hike up to any summit.
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There’s nothing better than a girls’ trip! Am I right, ladies? It’s so nice to get away and relax with your best friends. The older we get, the less time we seem to have for our friends between work, kids, and just life, in general. A girlfriends’ getaway gives you a chance to reconnect and relive all the amazing memories that made you the person you are today. (I’m sure the same applies to a guys’ getaway, although I’m really not sure what goes on during those trips. I just don’t want the men reading this post to feel left out. ? )
Last May, I was lucky enough to go on a 10-day trip in Hawaii with my best friend since 9th grade, Allie. We booked the trip in December and had been counting down the days for over 6 months. When real life is busy and dreary, the anticipation of a trip can be almost as good as the trip itself. How many of you can relate to that? I just couldn’t wait to relax on the beach and reconnect with one of my all-time favorite people!
And relax, we did. The first few days of our trip went a little something like this: beach, pool, beach, whirlpool, snack bar, beach, pool, lei making class, lazy river, dinner, pool, beach, whirlpool, sleep. It was absolute paradise. And, yes. Each pool we went to was a different one—the resort we stayed at had 7 total! Talk about relaxation.
The thing is, relaxation is only part of what makes a girls’ trip so special. The other part is exploring a new place and going on adventures together. For the first 3 days, we laid on Waikiki Beach and wondered what that giant, volcano/mountain-like thing was in the distance, but we were too comfortable to find out. Finally, on day 4, our curiosity got the best of us and we decided to trek out to see what that giant rock was all about. Little did we know at the time, we had stumbled on one of the most well-known sites in Honolulu: Diamond Head State Monument.
A quick history/geological lesson (I know—who learns things on the internet these days? ?) Diamond Head is a crater that formed about 300,000 years ago during one giant eruption that sent ash and other small particles into the air. As these particles settled over time, they cemented together into rock, forming the crater. Diamond Head State Monument is over 475 acres! HUGE! The trail to the summit of Lē‘ahi was built in 1908 as part of the coastal defense system. Pretty cool stuff, huh? Rocks don’t have to be boring. I know I’ve piqued your interest, so if you want to learn more, check out this website. Now, back to the food blog.
So, of course, Allie and I got our hiking gear and hiked up to that summit. The hike was pretty steep, but the views were spectacular!
Needless to say, when we finally trekked back down that giant rock, we were super thirsty. Lucky for us, there were a dozen stands selling smoothies, fresh juice, and shakes, all with a tropical flair. We both decided to replenish with a refreshing mango coconut smoothie. SO GOOD! The perfect way to quench your thirst on a hot, Hawaii day.
Although the drink was delicious, the food blogger in me couldn’t help but think that if the smoothie had some protein in it, it actually would have made the perfect pre-hike fuel. I love adding protein to my smoothies because it gives me so much more energy and keeps me full for hours. So, I decided to create my own version of the mango coconut smoothie inspired by Diamond Head. Behold, the Mango Coconut PROTEIN Smoothie. So much better, right? ? This recipe serves two– one for you and one for your best friend. Adorable!
This creamy, delicious smoothie has all the same tropical flavors the one I had in Hawaii did, but I added some special boosts to make it even healthier.
- Boost #1: Baby Spinach Okay, I know it’s a vegetable, but don’t freak out! I promise, you won’t taste it. I love adding baby spinach to all my smoothies because if you add it in just the right proportion, you get all the nutritious goodness without any of that spinach taste. The perfect way to get some extra veggies into your diet without even trying! The iron in spinach is great for a hike or workout.
- Boost #2: Hemp Seeds Have you guys tried hemp seeds before? If you haven’t, you’re seriously missing out! These little power seeds are amazing in smoothies! They’re so good for you and add a nice texture. They contain more protein than chia or flaxseeds (translation: they’ll keep you full for longer) and they contain ALL essential amino acids. That’s right, all. Not some, not a few. ALL. Yay! To learn more about hemp seeds, check out this page here.
- Boost # 3: Protein Powder Protein powder provides… well, protein, duh. You can use any protein powder you want for this smoothie. I used to use Rice Protein Powder, but recently I’ve become obsessed with Bone Broth Protein Powder. I know, right? We’ve all heard of the benefits of bone broth, but did you know they now make it in powdered form? WOO HOO GET IT! Please note: Bone Broth Protein Powder is NOT vegan. Choose rice protein, pea protein, or any other plant-based protein if you follow a vegan diet.
- Boost #4: Coconut Oil Another favorite of mine for smoothies is coconut oil. In addition to being super good for you (read about it here), it also adds that delicious coconut taste to the smoothie. My favorite is Garden of Life Organic Unrefined Extra Virgin Coconut Oil .
So, there we have it. This smoothie is filled with so many healthy things, but all you’ll taste is mango, coconut, and a little bit of paradise. While we can’t all just jump on a plane and be in Honolulu (I wish!), this smoothie brings you the same island-feel of the smoothie I drank at Diamond Head, but with a little extra protein goodness. That way, when you finally do make it to Diamond Head, you’ll be good and ready for that beautiful hike.
- 1 cup frozen mango chunks
- 1 cup unsweetened, plain coconut milk
- ½ cup baby spinach
- 2 heaping tablespoons plain protein powder
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons hemp seeds
- Add all ingredients into a blender.
- Blend on high until smooth, scraping the sides with a spoon if necessary. Enjoy immediately!