Monday, June 16, 2014

Smoothies

We're heading to Maine tomorrow for a week. Time to pack (hello there, shorts, fleece jacket, and swimsuits) and make sure the house is scattered with cat toys, empty boxes, and their tunnel for entertainment.

But first, a smoothie. A vegan friend turned me onto these. I know I'm coming late to the party and you all have probably been drinking wheatgrass/carrot/quinoa/protein smoothies for ages. If so, read no further. I'd been craving an interesting drink since I had to limit my added-sugar intake to 25 mg a day and gave up sweetened iced tea, soda, and juice. So I pulled out our blender, checked the freezer and the produce drawer, and started a daily smoothie habit.

While a homemade, sugar-free smoothie is far from the candy-sweet concoctions you can buy, it is delicious, refreshing, and completely good for you. Since whole fruit contains natural sugar, offset by fiber, smoothies are nutritious and filling as a snack or a meal substitute. I think fruit tastes better in smoothie form so I'm getting closer to the recommended daily allowance if not meeting it. So I need a straw and I can feel righteous, and life is good.

My vegan friend makes her daily smoothie with a combination of fresh and frozen fruit and soy or almond milk. I use skim milk. Frozen fruit makes the drink thick and cold, simulating a fruit milkshake. (Frozen fruit is also cheaper than fresh fruit and it's supposed to be healthier, since it's picked and frozen at the peak of ripeness, when it has all of its nutrients.) Neither of us adds any sweetening but you could certainly add a little; you might try honey. You can also use yogurt or water as a base instead of milk.

Since I went to the I Can't Be Bothered School of Cooking, I was pleased when my friend told me she doesn't have a recipe. She just uses whatever fresh fruit is lying around plus frozen fruit, especially mango, from Trader Joe's. (Both of us want to move, but both of us feel we absolutely must always live within walking distance of Trader Joe's.)

It can be a little tricky to get the proportions of fruits and liquid right, but there's no harm in adding a little more of this or that until you get it right. You'll just end up with extra smoothie. I use about a cup of milk first (it helps the blender process better if it's at the bottom), a couple of small handfuls of frozen fruit, and a piece of fresh fruit, like a banana or a pear. That will give you enough for two reasonably sized smoothies. If you use too much frozen fruit, your blender might complain, so stop and let it thaw for a little while.

This is a blueberry-banana-mango smoothie:


Even a somewhat bland smoothie tastes better than yet another glass of water, and a good smoothie is heaven. If I really cared, I could add a little cinnamon or a touch of vanilla extract. 

I expect it's only a matter of time before I try a vegetable smoothie or start experimenting with protein powder; I'll let you know how that goes, if it goes. But I'm beginning to lose my taste for super-sweet stuff. I had a taste of a cookie yesterday and shuddered at the sweetness. That's a surprising situation for someone who discovered her passion for chocolate before she was a year old, having eaten a whole chocolate Easter rabbit, including the foil wrapper, when no one was looking.

Chocolate would be really good in a smoothie....

4 comments:

  1. Ours is very similar to yours...banana, splash of oj or apple juice for liquidity, frozen fruit (never the same twice....straw, blue, black or raspberries, mango, peach, grapes.....), a tub of greek yogurt for creaminess (and some protein for my daughter). If we have extra we pour it into frozen popsicle molds.
    The idea of a touch of cinnamon and or vanilla was an "Ah-ha" moment...hadn't thought of that. Will have to try that next time too. I have slipped in a few baby carrots before tho (when she was not looking, they didn't blend the same and she was suspicious).
    Happy Smoothie-ing this summer. If you come across any really interesting add ins let me know, and I will do the same.

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  2. I do all of that too. Sometimes I add spinach (which I don't like but can't be tasted amongst the fruit) or a scoop of chia seeds.

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    1. What are the chia seeds for?? Where would I get them?

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  3. They have all kinds of good stuff in them (iron, fiber, calcium and omega 3). I bought mine at Walgreens in the vitamin aisle. I've seen them in the grocery store too. :)

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