I went to McDonald's.
It's not what you think.
Every day on the bus, I pass a McDonald's. Sometimes I end up waiting at the bus stop in front of the McDonalds. The smell makes me queasy. I really dislike McDonalds. I think it is disgusting, and have thought so for a long long long time. I turned on McDonalds after going veg at 14, and I think I've probably eaten at McDonald's less than 5 times since then. My last meal there was an egg McMuffin my junior year of college, a very reluctant event that occurred out of absolute necessity in the desolate dietary wasteland of Moorehead, MN on a college trip with a music group. I am not an advocate of McDonald's.
Anyway, earlier this week, I noticed that McDonald's had changed the sign under the golden arches to read "Shamrock Shakes $2.99". Despite my disgust for the general establishment, I could taste the minty goodness in my mouth. I used to be quite the sucker for seasonal ice creams - pumpkin shakes in the fall, shamrock shakes for St. Patrick's day. I have always loved mint ice cream, and Shamrock Shakes, as a child, were a nice treat. Never mind the inevitable stomachache - I loved those things. In that very moment, I desperately wanted a Shamrock Shake. The golden arches were tempting me. I started obsessing over how I could make a dairy-free, sugar-free replica. It took over my brain. I had an idea, something that involved avocado, mint leaves, and ice. Yes. This would work.
When the bus stopped across from McDonald's yesterday, and I saw the sign again, I was overcome. I got up, I got off the bus, I crossed the street, and I walked in to the McDonalds. Yes, you heard me - I went in. My nostrils were filled the heavy smell of french fries. I went to the counter. I ordered.
"May I have a cup of ice please?" I asked the cheery McDonald's counterperson.
"Ice? No food?" she asked me, bewildered. She looked at me like I was crazy. Who orders a cup of ice in the middle of a Minnesota winter at a fast food restaurant?
"Yes, just ice please. Am I even able to do that?" I asked, curiously.
"Uh, sure, ma'am, you can order ice."
"Is there a charge?" I ask.
"No, no charge." Then the nice lady got me a big cup of ice.
I wanted ice now, in classic American fast food style, and McDonald's was the answer. Ask, and you shall receive. Fast food (er, fast ice?) is so weird.
Why ice? I was hellbent on making my own shamrock shake, and I realized I didn't have ice in my freezer. I didn't want to wait all night for ice to freeze, and I didn't want to make a special trip to the gas station or grocery store to buy an entire bag of it.
So, I got my paper cup of ice and walked home. I felt kind of dirty about the exchange that had just occurred, especially as I carried the disposable McDonald's cup in my hand through my neighborhood. When I got home, I set to work. An avocado, some spinach, fresh mint, mint extract, stevia, SoDelicious coconut beverage, and the blessed ice from the McDonalds all went into my Vita-Mix. BAM! In mere seconds, I had a shamrock shake! It rocked! Green minty thick frozen goodness. Wow. This thing was rich and sweet and amazing. The beauty of eating sugar-free and dairy-free is that I basically ate dessert for dinner, and really, it was just avocado and spinach. High in fat and calories, but I don't feel bad about that. I thought about drinking it out of the McDonald's cup for a quirky twist, but resisted.
This shake is really good. Really. It totally satisfied my Shamrock Shake craving, no stomachache included. Yes, this shake has it all. Dairy-free. Sugar-free. Gluten-free. Minty shamrock-y goodness. I feel more Irish as I write this. Hooray for avocados and my beloved Vita-mix!
Hey, that just reminded me! Speaking of the wonders of my Vita-Mix...
I just became a Vita-Mix associate! What does that mean for you? I can get you FREE shipping on an online order of a Vita-Mix! To get free shipping place an order through this link, or use my associate code (06-004943) at the time of checkout, and shipping costs will be deducted from your order. That's a savings of $25 ($35 Canada). Awesome! It's like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
Sugar-Free Dairy-Free Avocado Shamrock Shake
The mint and the stevia totally cover the spinach - you don't even notice it! A great way to get those extra vitamins and vegetables in, especially if you have picky eaters at home. Try putting it in popsicle molds for kid friendly minty, creamy popsicles! This is a great source of vitamins A, B-6, C, and E, folate, manganese, iron, and copper. I polished off this entire batch myself in one sitting, but it could very easily serve two!
yield: approx 2 1/2 cups, serves 1-2
active time: 5 minutes
total time: 5 minutes
1 cup packed spinach
1 cup non-dairy milk
2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 cups ice
1/2-3/4 tsp peppermint extract/flavoring, to taste (I like Simply Organic brand - alcohol free!)
20-25 drops stevia liquid, to taste (if not on ACD, try sweetening to taste with dates, agave, honey, or brown rice syrup instead)
Place all ingredients in blender, pulse a few times, and blend on high until smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Adjust mint and sweetness as desired. Serve, garnished with a fresh mint leaf.
APPROXIMATE NUTRITION FACTS - 1 serving
Calories: 521.7, Fat: 50.9 g (Saturated Fat: 25.1 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.5 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 18.0 g), Cholesterol: 0 g, Sodium: 53.2 mg, Potassium: 1,311.3 mg, Carbohydrates: 19.7 g, Fiber: 13.2 g, Sugars: .6 g, Protein: 6.7 g