Saturday, April 02, 2011

An unhealthy obsession with a blender

Sometime last fall, I stayed over at a friend's house, and when I got up, he was making smoothies. All he had to do was just throw together a bunch of frozen fruit from Trader Joe's and soy milk. And it was amazing. My God, even I could manage this! If I had a blender. Which I do. At my grandmother's house. This fluttered in and out of my head all winter, but I found out it was in her shed which was totally blocked by ice. Then March came and it had been nice for a while so I figured I was safe. I bought a bunch of frozen fruit and yogurt and was ready for action.

The shed, however, was not.

So now I have all this stuff, and all this momentum, and no blender. I did consider that I have an electric mixer for my baking, and there's a slight chance that might work, but that's not really a 7:30 am kind of experiment. So naturally, I immediately ceded defeat and bought a blender, as patience is not my virtue (don't let the knitting fool you).

And then, it was ON.

I've been making morning smoothies every day, always trying new combinations of things. Thought I'd share some recipes here. Unless otherwise mentioned, everything comes from Trader Joe's. You could probably buy these things elsewhere if you're not a disciple of Joe like me. This has also lead to me having a constant supply of bananas in the house, and doing things like going to Trader Joe's at 9:30 pm in flannel PJ bottoms with cupcakes on them, because THERE IS A STORM COMING AND I ONLY HAVE ONE BANANA.

The Elvis Smoothie

1 banana
2 spoonfuls raw honey (it will never die)
3-4 spoonfuls of whatever peanut butter you have - mine is chunky
1 teaspoon flax seeds if you're into that sort of thing
Couple of spoonfuls of yogurt/kefir/something along that line to thicken, or a splash of non-dairy milk & handful of ice cubes if you're Vegan

Blend all of the above, put on blue suede shoes. Note - it doesn't really matter if you're already using chunky peanut butter, but if you're using creamy and don't want random chunks of stuff in your smoothie, you could use flax seed meal or oil instead of the seeds, as there is no way in hell you're going to blend those down to invisibility.

The Standard

1 banana
Handful of frozen strawberries - I have small hands so around 4
Generous amount of rice milk, soy milk, real milk, or yogurt - whatever you have. Note that the differing thicknesses of these will alter the consistency of your smoothie.

Basic strawberry banana smoothie. You can add any number of things to make it more interesting. I like to throw in raspberries to make it a little tarter, and make it a little more berry than banana.

Tropical Smoothie

1 banana
Big handful of pineapple chunks
Handful of mango chunks
2-3 slices of orange (or you can use a splash of orange juice if that's what you have)

The nice thing about mango chunks is that they blend so nicely into such a nice smooth texture that you don't have to use any additional thickeners like yogurt. If you like your smoothies to be easy to get through a straw, though, you might want to water it down a little with some rice milk/skim milk.

Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Banana Smoothie

1 medium banana
3 spoonfuls chunky peanut butter
1 teaspoon flax seeds (very optional)
Half bar of chocolate
Splash of dairy-like beverage - I use rice milk
Few squirts of chocolate syrup if not chocolately enough
4 ice cubes

I use the flax seeds because, well, someone I like suggested them, and I already feel smug about eating stuff with all natural ingredients (ignore the chocolate syrup) so I might as well level up the health benefit with something that doesn't add much flavor, though it's kind of fun to eat the little seeds. For chocolate, I used half a bar of German milk chocolate that I had on hand, when a friend gave me a bunch of them a while back. I found this wasn't enough chocolate flavor, so I added few squirts of some chocolate syrup I bought at Wal*Mart (I'm sorry) a while back for mudslides. This helped greatly. I'm sure this would be just as good, possibly better depending on how smooth you like your smoothies, with creamy peanut butter - this is just what I had on hand.

I've made a million more different combinations, but these are the ones distinct enough to remember. I really approach ingredients like Rachel Ray - just throw stuff in until it tastes right - so I don't know about exact numbers. As always with food, adjust to taste and preference.

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