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Tuesday
Nov292011

Banana Cocoa Smoothie

Banana Cocoa Smoothie

A year ago today marks the day I changed my life.

A year ago today I stepped into my grad school advisor's office and told him I had enough—I quit. After a disappointed nod of his head, I left the room and cleaned out my desk. I packed up my apartment, my life, and left the beautiful city of Montreal to move back home. I switched from a career in physics and research to pursue a life filled with butter and sugar.

I wondered if I would regret my decision. I wondered if it was silly or irresponsible to pursue baking, especially since I had discovered my oven not more than a year earlier. I wondered if baking was simply an escape from physics and nothing more. I wondered how I was going to explain to people that I had given up on my goals to become a smart and successful scientist so I could make cookies. I wondered all of these things and so much more.

Yet, a decision had been made. I was changing my life path. I crossed my fingers, took a deep breath, and leaped. I jumped off the proverbial cliff and it would take time to see where I would land.

Banana Cocoa Smoothie Banana Cocoa Smoothie

A year later, it feels strange to reflect back on my decision and my uncertainty. All the drama and change feels so much longer than a year ago (and so far away from me today). I almost wish future-me could have visited past-me, if only to whisper everything is going to turn out okay.

It took a couple months, but I eventually found my footing. I'm currently working in a small bakery, mixing up everything from breakfast pastries to cakes and cookies. I fill cases with colorful, decadent desserts and pretend that calories don't exist (and, while I can convince myself, I haven't quite figured out how to convince my waistline). After my job at the bakery, I tutor students of all ages in math and science. It turns out I couldn't turn away from my physics background completely—I simply found a new way to enjoy it.

Life is full of unexpected twists. You can take the physics out of the lifestyle, but it seems you can't take the physics out of the girl. Who knew?

Banana Cocoa Smoothie

I don't regret the decisions I have made that lead me to today. In fact, knowing what I know now, dropping out of grad school may have been one of the best decisions I've ever made. I took a miserable existence and turned it into happiness—no small feat. The concerns that so plagued me just a year ago are miles away from me today. If I had never jumped ship into a sea of butter and cream, I would have spent the rest of my life wondering what if.

I'm not sure where my life is going to take me, or what I'll be doing a year or even five years from now, but I've learned that it's okay not to have a plan. I've learned that I can trust myself. I can (and will) figure it out when I have the experience to know what's right for me. Life is about the journey. It's about trying something new despite the threat of failure. It's about being brave, strong, and having confidence in yourself.

As Bob Moawad so beautifully phrased it, "The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours—it is an amazing journey—and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins."

You and I, we'll find our place in this mad, mad world. One day we'll wake up and realize exactly where we belong. Maybe we're already exactly where we need to be. But if you haven't reached that special place, you can't be afraid to pursue your wild and crazy dreams, whatever they may be. This is your life and you deserve to do what you love every single day. It's true. You do.

Banana Cocoa Smoothie Banana Cocoa Smoothie

This Banana Cocoa Smoothie is sweet and refreshing. Though it uses tofu as a base, do not let this deter you. Tofu lends a thick creaminess to the smoothie without any flavor (plus tons of protein!). All the sweetness in the drink comes from the banana, with no added sugar. I added a tablespoon of cocoa powder for a chocolaty twist, since chocolate is always a good decision to make. The combination of chocolate and banana is truly decadent, which makes the fact that this smoothie is healthy so much more sinful.

One Year Ago: Sugar-Coated Daydreams

Banana Cocoa Smoothie

Yields about 2 cups

1 banana, frozen
1/2 cup soft tofu (yogurt can also be substituted)
3/4 cup almond milk (regular or soy milk may be substituted)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Ice cubes, optional

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses and serve with banana slices, if desired.

Reader Comments (40)

Wow, great post! I really enjoyed reading your story and found it so encouraging. Love that quote from Bob Moawad too.
11.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterla domestique
Your story brought tears to my eyes. It is a beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing. You have really inspired me (and I'm sure others) to do just that: pursue your dreams. Thank you, and I love your website!
11.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRose
This smoothie sounds awesome! Love this recipe :)
You have brought tears to my eyes as well. I commend you for the choices you've made and am so happy to hear that they have brought happiness to you! I found myself in a similar situation with different circumstances and made the same kind of choice. Today I'm happier than I could have ever dreamed of because of the world I've created for myself. Thank you for sharing the story of your journey! I love your website and look forward to hearing what's in store for you next!
11.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterShauna
Congratulations on following your dreams. I think it's wonderful that you're doing something you love so much - life is all about pursuing your dreams, and if you don't try, how will you ever know what really makes you happy? Your blog is an inspiration - both the gorgeous recipes and the wise words.
11.30.2011 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf
Great post! I love hearing your story about how you came back to the kitchen, so to speak. I'm in grad school right now and feeling a little lost. But reading your post reminds me that every works out in the end.
11.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
You are amazing. That is all. Don't ever give up being who you are :)
11.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterZey
Thank you so much for your post! At 49, I wish I had been as brave as you to walk away from a job that encased you in misery. I hope your message resonates with those who are still young enough to change direction before it is too late and one day you wake up and realize you are trapped by all the responsibilities you have forged over the years. You are an excellent writer and should pursue publishing your story of hope/bravery, mixed with recipes; this would make a good book. And I love the chocolate banana combo!
11.30.2011 | Unregistered Commenterheidi
This is just what I needed today… I am just beginning the journey of my new life path. I recently left my day job in marketing and PR to follow my passion for food and cooking. I keep getting the what-are-you-going-to-do-next question, like this path isn't a "real" one to pursue… But I keep telling myself that everything will be okay in the end. In fact, it may even be better than I'd ever hoped. Thank you for this post. It truly made my day. :)
I love the Banana Chocolate combo! Can't wait to make this delicious smoothie :)!
Amazing! And so very inspirational. I'm about one month into my decision to do the same. Thank you for sharing your story. You're an inspiration. ;)
11.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeg
Congratulations on making a success out of your decision. I wish more people had that kind of courage.
I so much admire your decision! I was in quite similar position until I realised that I can put aside all my plans and goals and just go with the flow and see what life brings me. Sometimes we do things we didn't really want to, or our lives turn out to be different than what we expected. So what? We only have a one, short existence on Earth, we might as well make it a pleasurable one :)

I love your recipes, your blog, your pictures. You are a truly great inspiration. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, readers.
11.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarta
Beautiful post. I've been following you for over a year now - I first found you at chocolatteandtea - and I'm so glad that things have worked out for you. You are so talented, and I love your website. I can't tell you how many recipes I've made inspired by your posts, and your site is the first source I look to for reference when I want to bake something sweet. Your writing is exceptional too - when I read your posts I feel as if you're speaking directly to me, even though we've never met and are separated by hundreds of miles... you just write in such a vivid, engaging style that I look forward to receiving your new posts in my email inbox not only for the delicious recipes, but to read what you have to say. It's always nice to take 5 minutes out of my day to enjoy a new story (and salivate over your pictures).

I'm in a (kind of) similar situation that you were in a year ago- I'm an undergrad Engineering student, and I'm trying to figure out if that's really my passion or not. I'm good at it, but I spend all my free time either cooking or thinking about cooking. I like the idea of doing something good for the world (I'm an Environmental engineer, and sustainability is my interest) but I don't know if that's really what I want to do with my life, or if my dreams lie elsewhere (one dream I have is of growing all my own food, cooking all day...)
I'm not ready to totally switch yet, so I'm taking a hiatus from the math and science to study in Italy and hopefully I'll be able to see if I'm ready to return to engineering when the time comes, or if I'll just fall even more in love with food...

In the midst of uncertainty it really does help to hear "it'll be ok" once in awhile. You are absolutely right about needing to take the plunge to pursue something you love, even if it means recreating your whole life and all your own and others' previous expectations... because being uncertain is what being young is about, right?

Thank you for your beautiful work and for sharing your story.

Diana
11.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDiana
Congratulations of finding what you really wanted to do with your life. I think that working in a bakery would be amazing. I'm at that part of life (I'm a senior in high school) where I'm just trying to figure out what I really want to do with the rest of my life and it's a scarry thought. There are so many interesting things to do out there. I'm glad you found your true calling. And this shake looks really good. I'm not a fan of bananas, but you make it look so delicious!
11.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecca
Beautiful post, Kristin! We have so much in common (this post is SO familiar to me--and something I will be discussing soon), I only wish we could hang out in real life. I am so glad you I found your site a while back, it is on my must-read list, not only because your recipes and photos are fabulous, but because I really feel like I'm reading and catching up with a friend when I read your posts.

This post sums up so many things I've had to figure out myself over the past year. I've had some doubts, just like you, where you doubt whether you've made the right choice or feel guilty for not doing the more 'esteemed' career in ____. I have no idea where I will end up in a few years, but what I do know, is that I won't have regrets or have the "what if' lingering over me for the rest of my life. That, in an of itself, is such a relief regardless of where my decisions will take me.

I had no idea you are still incorporating physics into your everyday life, good for you! :)
la domestique-- Thank you! I stumbled across that quote last night and fell in love with it. I'm glad you did too. :)

Rose-- Thank you so much! I feel so honored to have inspired you and I hope you pursue your dreams, whatever they may be.

Katrina-- Oh, trust me. It is. :)

Shauna-- I am so happy to hear you've found happiness! Taking a risk and making a change is never easy. So often the threat of failure prevents so many people from doing what they love. I don't like to think of it as failure so much as a temporary setback. If you want to do what you love, you'll find a way to do it. Thanks for sharing!

thelittleloaf-- Thank you for the kind words. I love the way you phrased your words, "if you don't try, how will you ever know what really makes you happy? " I truly believe this.

Amanda-- Everything does work out in the end and everything will be okay. I hope you find your way, wherever it may lead.
11.30.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Zey-- Thank you! I'll try not to. :)

Heidi-- Thank you! I don't think 49 is too old to change. It's never too late to change. We always find excuses or reasons to not pursue what we love (in fact, you can find thousands if you look closely). It's moving past those excuses and looking forward that really matter. Bravery is hard to find, no matter your age.

Emily--I'm so happy to hear from you. Just ignore the naysayers. I went through many of those questions and comments too. Sometimes you have the answers and sometimes you don't, but if you feel what you're doing is right, that is all that truly matters. You don't need to explain yourself or your decisions to anyone. Good luck to you!

Meg-- Congratulations on your decision too!

Leanne-- Thank you! I think everyone has that kind of courage somewhere inside. It can be hard to find sometimes, I think.

Marta-- Thank you, Marta. Going with the flow has become my new motto, I think. It keeps me open to new ideas and new possibilities that I would have never considered before if they didn't "fit in the plan."

Dianna-- Thank you for the beautiful words. They mean so much to me. It sounds like we were in the same place. I was good at physics, but I didn't enjoy it. Instead, I daydreamed of food. You may end up in engineering, you may end up in food, or you may end up doing a little bit of both. I never thought I would find a new way to incorporate physics in my life today but it just sort of happened. Keep an open mind (though it sounds like that's exactly what you are doing). Italy sounds like a wonderful break to help you discover where you belong. One thing I do know for certain--you WILL fall in love with gelato.

Becca-- Making life decisions is always scary. Just keep open-minded to all the possibilities. Passion often finds you when you least expect. Bakery jobs can be fun, but they are also a lot of work (but then again, so is every job). I have a feeling you'll find your place. We always do.

Laura-- Likewise! I feel just the same when I tune into your posts. :)
I am so glad that period of great uncertainty is over (not that I'm not uncertain about things now, but it's different somehow. It's easier to manage). I know I would have spent my life wondering what ifs. A semester into grad school and I was already lamenting my lost future, ha! I'm so happy we were both able to regain our lives, accept the power this wields, and figure things out for ourselves... even if figuring it out leads us down and crazy and unpredictable road.
Ps: I'm excited to hear your news!
11.30.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Hi Kristin,
Love your post and the quote.Congrats on taking a big leap in life.You can never go wrong following your dreams with passionate dedication.My story is also somewhat similar.My new found passion,blogging and photography has turned a new leaf in my life from the old,unhappy and frustrated mom that I used to be.Thanks for sharing the story and the wonderful smoothie.
11.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterFarwin
I could have written this myself. Well, not the smoothy, but that does sound delightful, but coming to the decision that it is YOUR life and you need to do what makes you happy. It took me a while to get to that point and just do what makes me happy. I know people think I'm wasting my education by baking instead, but I don't really care anymore. I'm happy! I think it is harder for women. We have so much to live up to that we rarely take time to just think about what we want to do verses what we should do. I have met very few women who have come to this realization. So congrats to you for following your heart!
12.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterTara
Foodgawker brought me to your site; what a bonus to find not only a tasty recipe but a story of such sweet success. Brava for following your dreams--wishing you all the best!
12.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary
"I took a miserable existence and turned it into happiness—no small feat" Congrats on that. Live your life the way you see fit and maximum every ounce of happiness you can out of your existence and time here on Earth. Wishing you the best!

And lovveeellly photos! The drink looks amazing!
12.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSimply Tia
what an amazing post! thanks for sharing! this recipe sounds amazing, loving the sound of the tofu! i make a variation in this recipe with bananas and peanut butter....so good!
Great work!

I learned about your site from a local newspaper and I have been really enjoying your site (& recipes) for couple of months. My family has loved some of the receipes that I have tried, even though they have never looked anything close to the great pictures you post.

You are a great inspiration to all for following your dreams and doing something you love.

Thank you.
12.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
The recipe seems so yummy!
It is great that you decided to follow your dream!
You are a true inspiration :)
12.2.2011 | Unregistered CommenterEva
I just discovered your blog through food gawker. I just wanted to say thank you for this post! I am currently in a state of career confusion that seems very similar to your situation last year (i work in research and not sure if its for me...). I love the idea of life being like a journey... your words have really reasonated with me and are exactly what i needed to hear at this moment. Thank you for sharing!!
12.2.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDana
Thank you for sharing your story, I appreciate it. I am at a crossroads right now and want to take the leap just as you did. Good luck to you as you continue to inspire others!
12.2.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarnie
It's great to know there's a life outside physics. They say that "physics leads to everything.. as long as you can get out of it". Looks like you proved it! It was great to meet you in Montreal and let us know if you come back some day
12.2.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMassico
Thanks for sharing this. Your story and the quote you shared rings very true to me as I find myself in the middle of completely rearranging, not just my life, but those of my young family. And though I don't regret our extreme life change, I keep myself up at night wondering if it was the right move- thinking of how it will all pan out. But pan out it will- and for the best. I know this, even as I find myself preparing to celebrate Christmas (my favorite time of year) in a foreign country, 4000 miles from my family, and working extra hard to muster the seasonal joy that usually comes effortlessly. So now, I am going to roll up my sleeves, put on some Christmas music, and bake a few of your fabulous recipes, and remind myself of the goals and passions that spurred this life change in the first place. And I'm going to smile, knowing that really- it's not rocket science. Life is exactly what we make it. :) Merry Christmas, and keep those recipes coming!
12.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
These are absolutely amazing. I like the touch that the bananas being frozen ass to it. It acts like a piece of ice that you can eat. I made these with tofu and didn't care for them so I made another batch and substituted the tofu for greek yogurt and they were to die for. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us.
12.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
Thank you so much for posting your story. It's beautiful that you found something you love and that you're able to pursue it. Hopefully one day I can be so lucky!
12.5.2011 | Unregistered CommenterTamara
I wish many have the guts to change their life and stick to their decision like you, me included. Hats's off for sticking to the guns and not feeling apologetic about it too. I made a decision once in my life on a spur of the moment but thankfully it paid out and no regrets at all about it. Good luck to you.
12.5.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRadhika
I was initially attracted to this recipe because of the chocolate/banana combination, and the ease of preparation. However, I would say that this smoothie is "just fine" as a dessert, which is the reason I prepared it. It is not sweet, and the unadulterated cocoa powder leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste. It tasted good, but I feel that this would be more appropriate as a snack than as a dessert, as the almond milk and tofu have lovely protein and vitamins! I may try this again with a teaspoon of vanilla, or maybe a touch of brown sugar.
12.20.2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaire
Hi, i love your blog so much! the recipes all look so amazing! also wanted to say how incredible you are to have started your life over again! you are truly amazing!
01.24.2012 | Unregistered Commenterrobin
I don't eat soy or dairy, do you have any options to replace these two?
06.11.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHGE
I can't relate to this post more!! I quit grad school after my MA even though I was in a PhD program about two years ago because I was just soo unhappy! Most of my peers thought I was crazy, and I thought so too, but it has turned out to be so great! I've since gotten married and like you, can't get away from psych (almost like physics lol) and teach at a local community college, and I, like you, have also been delving into my love of baking/cooking. Since I teach at a community college I am going to begin taking my tuition free classes in the fall for culinary arts! So great to read your story and can't wait to try this smoothie tomorrow after my run!!
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKara
Great post!I`ve made this for breakfeast a few times and it`s a great chocolatey start to the day!I usually it make with quite a bit less milk,for a thicker consistency.
Thanks for the recipe :)
04.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterElise
Thank you for this post and for sharing your story. It's inspirational and is exactly what I needed to read today. xo Dana
07.26.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDana Martin
Had some left over tofu from a snack I made so made this tonight for a nice desert and it was amazing.

Thank you for the recipe
01.26.2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlvin Fletcher
I stumbled upon your blog from Simply Taralynn's blog. She wrote about one of your amazing bread recipes and I thought, oh I should check her out! I love your blog already. I spent a semester in graduate school and decided that I didn't want my life to take that path. I'm so glad that I'm not the only one. Well, I'm not the only one who wasn't a fan of grad school, loves baking, and loves Harry Potter treats. I can't wait to see what other goodies you post!
03.12.2014 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

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