Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Summer Veg Out Part IV: SMOOTHIES

Wow! I'm glad everyone is enjoying the Summer Veg Out posts -- the feedback has been great!

Smoothies
are another way to make fruits (and, to a lesser extent, vegetables) fun and easy in the summertime. We make smoothies every day for breakfast or a healthy snack.

Now that my son is almost 10 he likes to show his independence and make his own. However, we started having problems with his idea of how much frozen fruit to use; it was not uncommon to find that he had thrown over 3 cups of frozen blueberries in the blender to make one breakfast smoothie. Talk about expensive!!

This spring when I started working at the smoothie bar I was struck by how easy and attractive it was to make smoothies when the frozen fruit was put into bins instead of bags, and a scoop was kept in the freezer next to them. So that's what I did: I purchased square bins at the wholesale grocery store, just like they use in restaurants, and a 3 oz. ice cream scoop. Here's a picture of my freezer with bins of raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, and mango.

Then I posted a smoothie recipe template on the refrigerator for shmoo's reference. It's practically impossible to go wrong with it. Note that one scoop equals about 3 ounces or 1/3 cup, so that's one cup of fruit altogether. You can peel and slice bananas and freeze and scoop them alongside the rest of the fruit, but we've tried it and prefer the taste of fresh bananas (is it me or do frozen bananas just taste...different?)

Here he is making one this morning: he started with 1 cup of orange-passionfruit juice, then added his favorite lime yogurt...

...a scoop of ice, a scoop of frozen pineapple, and two scoops of frozen blueberries.

Viola -- yummy smoothie! Of course, you can also add nutritious extras to any smoothie: handfuls of cooked or raw greens or other vegetables, slices of avocado, calcium/ multivitamin/ probiotic powder, a tablespoon of ground flax, etc.

Let's hear from all the other summer smoothie addicts out there: what are your favorite combos?

P.S.
I think this smoothie recipe will work in a regular blender, but I can't guarantee it. I swear by the Magical Super Power of the Vita-Mix to blend absolutely anything. I know it's expensive, but compared to the other blenders I've had it makes a world of difference.

63 comments:

lisbet said...

You know what I -don't- like in my smoothies as it turns out? Wheatgrass powder :( I feel like it overshadows the taste of everything else.

So, I get my power greens elsewhere during the day with superfood (chocolate variety) powder + vanilla soy milk.


p.s. I like shmoo's taste in smoothie ingredients!

Virginia said...

I am definitely stealing the bins idea! I currently keep piles of the bags of frozen fruit in the freezer, but this will make things so much more organized, thanks!

VeggieGirl said...

Smoothies are an almost-daily staple in my diet - they're delicious, nutritious, and so fun/quick to make (thanks to my trusty BlendTec blender).

Great idea with the bins!!

Avery said...

My favorite smoothie recipe is a ripe banana, a cup of chocolate soymilk, a Tbsp of cocoa powder and a tsp of cinnamon. The recipe calls for 8 ice cubes but I skip that step. It's GREAT! Just like a chocolate milkshake!

Knitika said...

Great post, thanks!

I can hardly believe your freezer photo! My freezer has never, ever looked that neat.

I want to second your love of the VitaMix. I put off buying one for many years because of the cost. In the intervening years, I burned out at least 5 cheap blenders. They cracked/leaked/motor burned out, etc. It was such a waste! The VitaMix was totally worth purchasing.

My family makes a lot of smoothies with Silk Very Vanilla. It's a really tasty base, with enough sweetener to compensate if your frozen berries are a little sour. To that we add ground flax seed and whatever combination of frozen fruits appeals. We also mix half OJ and half Very Vanilla plus ice cubes for an orange drink, or half lemonade and half Very Vanilla plus frozen raspberries for a totally yum lemon-raspberry drink.

Yay smoothies!

Paulina said...

I'm definitely a smoothie addict! My favorite combo is mango and kale or banana and spinach.

Michelle said...

My daily smoothie: One cup fat-free skim milk, half cup OJ, heaping teaspoon nutritional yeast, heaping teaspoon ground flax seed, one frozen banana, smattering of frozen blueberries, then one or two frozen strawberries and/or blackberries, and/or couple of pieces of pineapple, topped off with a couple of heaping teaspoons of fat-free French vanilla yogurt. I use my immersion blender and the cup it came with. It fills it to the brim and keeps me full until lunch time, and I go running every morning, so it's a LOT of smoothie. Yummy!

Mare said...

I wish I had a VitaMix. My parents picked up the older model (with the stainless steel container) at estate sales, and managed to get one for them and one for my sister, but I have had no luck yet. :(
I do have a cheap Oster that came with a smoothie cup container, so I just fill it with fruits and milk of varying varieties (cow's milk from Wright Dairy www.wrightdairy.com, or Soymilk, any seasonal or affordable fruit, yogurt, peanut butter, wheat germ - whatever I have on hand that looks like it might be good in a blender (and sometimes half-awake the strangest things look like they might be good in smoothies - like granola or cheese...) and liquify it until it looks drinkable, take it off the blender, pop the top on and stick the straw in, and off I go!

I love your blog. So many good lunch ideas! Just one question though - how do you keep the somen noodles from becoming an interestingly gelatinous solid?

sarabethxvx said...

daily:
1 frozen banana
4 frozen strawberries or half a frozen mango
1 big handful of spinach or basil
2 T hemp protein
1/2 cup fresh water

YUM!!!
And I do the same as you by preparing my fruit in advance and storing it in the freezer... mine just doesn't look as tidy!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Just one question though - how do you keep the somen noodles from becoming an interestingly gelatinous solid?

As soon as it's cooked I drain it and rinse it really well with cold running water for a long time. That seems to do the trick. :-)

Jennifershmoo said...

My freezer is rather freakily tidy at the moment! But I must confess I have a bigger freezer downstairs where I keep the bags of extra fruit and all the other bags of stuff... this was mostly to make smoothies easy (and appealing) for my son.

christina said...

You can also freeze part of the juice or milk in an ice cube tray and use the cubes in place of regular ice -- the smoothies end up extra thick and delicious!

M.C.T. said...

You are a spectacular mother, Jennifer. And your freezer is indeed an inspiration :-D! And Christina, that's an excellent tip (freezing juice/milk in cube trays); I'm going to try that along with Jennifer's ideas.

Hannihaus said...

i eat a delicious smoothie dairy-free, sugar-free smoothie every morning for breakfast--sooo good.

my favorite:

1 apple
1/4 c blueberries
1/4 c mango or pineapple
3-4 frozen cherries
1/4 c walnuts or almonds
3 oz silken tofu
ice
water

and for added nutrition I mix in:
1 Tbsp liquid chlorophyll
1 Tbsp berry antioxidant powder

Mike said...

We found a recipe in the Highlights High Five magazine--actually my son found it:

1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup yogurt
1 banana

It's a little less than sweet with unsweetened yogurt, but with vanilla it's just fine.

He was fascinated with the recipe because it was in "his" magazine, and he helped make it.

And another hearty endorsement of the Vita-Mix. Your smoothies will never be smoother. It's also great for making lemon ice, which is a great summer treat (freezing it in the freezer makes huge chunks, even if you stir. If you take the frozen mix and blend it it's so creamy and smooth.

Jarreau said...

Great Post. I make a similiar smoothy everyday, I add goji berries and mesquite powder to mine for a little extra boost.

-jjw

www.izzitgreen.com

Bianca said...

I had an awesome smoothie yesterday with hemp seeds, raw oats, banana, blackberries, and strawberries....Yum! And it was nice shade of lilac, thanks to the mixture of blackberries and strawberries...

K. Stone said...

I love your blog! Is there anyway to contact you? Did I miss it somewhere on your blog?
Thanks!

Bronwyn Schweigerdt said...

As a nutritionist and mother, I am a huge fan of smoothies! Especially given that overripe fruit don't need to be thrown away, and you can sneak other healthy things into them.

maddie said...

i have been looking around for some lemon and/or lime flavored soy yogurt... which brand do you use?

Jennifershmoo said...

It's Silk Cultured Soy. They have lemon *and* lime flavors. :-)

Danae said...

My husband actually prefers frozen bananas to fresh for smoothies. Whenever we've used fresh, the smoothie seems a little "slimier" than usual. Our staple smoothie ingredients are peanut butter and frozen bananas - mmm!
And I heartily second the Vita Mix. I couldn't live without mine. I use it everyday!

Heather said...

The VitaMix rocks. When I shelled out hundreds of dollars for it about 7 years ago, one of my very good friends mused: "that's a big commitment to a kitchen appliance." Indeed, but I love it. I call mine the Vitameatavegamin in honor of I Love Lucy.

I recently made one of the best smoothies: fresh peaches, an orange, a frozen banana, and a cup of vanilla rice milk. It tasted like a Creamsicle.

And welcome back! I missed your blog.

laurenpyoung said...

I second the vote for spinach and bananas. I add a splash of almond milk. You get the great taste of bananas and a fun green color.

Tamara said...

My current favorite:

handful frozen strawberries
handful frozen mango chunks
handful frozen banana chunks
handful pineapple chunks (canned)
squirt of flax oil
orange and/or pineapple juice

It's very tropical tasting and DELICIOUS!

Stretch Mark Mama said...

Because I am a HEALTH SNOB, I am getting ready to host a neighborhood Smoothie Party. Very excited about the smoothies. Not so excited about talking to people, ha ha ha.

S said...

you are a walking genius. my kids are going to LOVE this!!!!

CrackerLilo said...

This is so clever! My little "niece" (actually, my best friend's seven-year-old daughter) also loves smoothies and has made some novice mistakes. One I will never forget is her putting fruit in my blender, peels and seeds and all! My friend may find this tip very helpful at her house.

My "niece" came up with a great combination based on the cucumber-melon scents my friend's partner always wears. (Well, it's great now that she knows to let an adult peel and cut up the fruit first.) Half a honeydew melon, cut up into chunks and frozen for a few hours, plus a cucumber, also cut up, peeled, and frozen for a few hours. Then you divide it up. That's *it*. It's spreading like a virus among my friends.

Lizzy said...

My favourite combo EVER is:

orange juice
frozen banana
frozen blueberries


also i've noticed sometimes (by accident of course) that banana/kiwi/other stuff combos can make smoothies taste like tuti-fruti jelly bellies. SO good!

another good one is:
pineapple juice
frozen cantaloupe chunks
frozen banana

MMMM...

Vlyandra said...

My smoothies are often:

Frozen banana (I like frozen for the texture)
Frozen berries
Frozen peaches
Almond milk/fruit juice (often pomegranate or cranberry)
Kale

Sure, the kale turns it a strange green color, but it's good! (And good for you!)

Sometimes I'll do a frozen banana, frozen cherries, and chocolate almond milk. It tastes like a chocolate cherry milkshake!

My freezer is full of frozen fruit and frozen kale. XD

Jennifer said...

Smoothies have been the greatest thing for helping me get my 15 month old to eat greens. I make her a spinach smoothie (with bananas and some type of berry (whatever I have on hand)) almost every afternoon and she loves them. She gets excited when I ask her if she wants a smoothie! I desperately want a VitaMix, but I don't think it's going to happen any time soon. :-(

kivablue said...

I just started reading your blog...I am thinking of becoming vegan (currently a vegetarian) and I just love it. :) So Thanks!

Now about the smoothie. My favorite smoothie right now (seasonal) is

1 whole peach
1 1/2 c frozen mango
1 c yogurt (soy works)
3/4-1 c orange juice
2 tbsp ground flax

SO good!! Enjoy!

Jane said...

Ok, I actually came out of lurk-dom and created an account just to post a recipe. This came from Prevention Magazine and I make it often.

3/4 cups strong green tea (two tea bags)
12-ounces yogurt
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
20 whole almonds
3 ice cubes

I add a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon, some vanilla and sometimes some dark chocolate. This make two tall glasses.

So Jennifershmoo, is there is healthy smoothie cookbook in your future?

Oh and about the blenders, I have an old Kitchen Aid that does the job. But if it dies, I now know what to look for. The last time I shopped for blenders, I was appalled at the lack of quality there was avaliable.

Julie said...

The bins are a great idea!! Right now we just keep bags of frozen fruit at the front of the freezer.

Our typical smoothie recipe is as follows:
1 cup OJ
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
3 or so strawberries
1 banana
a few blueberries
honey
1 scoop Whole Foods Whey Protein powder

We use a Magic Bullet for our smoothies and I've been very pleased with it. It's pretty much all we use the Bullet for, but it's used near daily. (It is Soooo easy to clean up!)

Ruthie said...

My favorite smoothie snack:

1 frozen banana (quartered before freezing - I LOVE frozen nanners)
1 cup frozen peaches
1 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach or other mild greens
2 cups water

Put greens in water in blender (even a cheapy blender) and blend till green liquid. Add frozen fruit and blend until smooth.

Gorgeous chartreuse smoothie. Delicious!

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Oh yum!!

My kids like the creaminess of a couple tablespoons of silken tofu added to their fruit smoothies - they were shocked at a friends house recently when they "just" had fruit in their smoothies...

QUESTION (and totally off topic) I am going to a family reunion in Walla Walla this August... can you give me some suggestions on vegan-friendly dining in Walla Walla? I realize it's all trendy wine-friendly bistros and such any more (and near-by College Place has stuff I do believe) but I was just wondering if there was any family-friendly (and affordable) restaurants that have more than the token veggie burger? Tri-cities too, as we'll be going home thru there... (you can answer on my blog if you want - if you have any ideas...)

Janet said...

Smothies are one of my favorite breakfasts. I posted a peanut butter & banana smoothie on my blog a while ago. I also love making one using banana, mango and vanilla soy milk.

Daelyn said...

My girls LOVE to make smoothies! Usually some kind of mixed berry smoothie. :-)

Mommy off the Record said...

I've been enjoying your blog for the last couple of weeks and I'm very interested in your book!

Would you be interested in sending me a review copy for a possible feature on Green Mom Finds?(www.greenmomfinds.com)

p.s. We do lots of smoothies at home too and I love your idea of putting a scoop in the fridge with the berries in boxes instead of bags. Brilliant!

Cristina
Co-Founder/Editor
Green Mom Finds

Mommy off the Record said...

p.s. my email address is
cristina(at)greenmomfinds(dot)com

kmartin3 said...

I love your blog and can't wait for your book to come out!

I also love the idea of the bins in the freezer.....where could I find some of those?

Laura said...

Love the trays What a great idea!!! and what a cute lunchbox I want one!!
Organic Foods

lizard said...

I will share the BEST smoothie or desert drink in existence... Well, at least I think so.

-2 frozen bananas
(I slice mine up and freeze them between parchment paper in a plastic bin.)
-handful of raw cashews
-1 or 2 dates
-dash of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.
-splash of vanilla extract
-soy or rice milk (enough to blend)

So good!

worldpeace said...

Wow, it looks nice...i will try afterwards. Thanks for sharing

Café Cyan said...

I can't help but observe that you have NOTHING in your freezer! How does one accomplish that?

Ours, like yours, is very organized, but packed full of frozen fruit and veggies from local pickings.

Wow.

the lowes said...

hey! i live in kennewick also. it would be nice to talk to you and share some ideas. im a stay at home mom of two and in the process of adopting one or two more. i am not vegan but mostly raw. where do you do your shopping? we get a lot from azure standard. anyway if your interested contact me through my blog

Jennifershmoo said...

We just got back from vacation -- whew, lots of comments!

>>I can't help but observe that you have NOTHING in your freezer! How does one accomplish that?

As I confessed in a comment above your post, we actually have a much larger freezer in the basement pantry. I cleaned out this smaller freezer and turned it into shmoo's, for easy-access to smoothie makings and the frozen veggies he likes to cook.

Tofu Mom, I host a very simple Tri-Cities Vegetarian Restaurant Guide that might help:

http://www.tcveg.org/restaurant.html

(So need to update and redesign that site...) There are a lot of veg-friendly places around here, especially if you like Mexican or Thai food.

Regarding Walla Walla, though, I'm afraid I don't go there enough to know where to recommend. The once a year (or less) we go there, we usually splurge and go to the expensive Creektown Cafe:

http://www.creektowncafe.com/

Last time they had kale to die for!! I hear there are a lot of vegan places and veg-friendly grocery stores in College Place, as they have a large SDA population there. Good luck!

pakosta said...

OUr favorite this summer:

2 apples, 1 banana, strawberries 2cups, 1 vanilla yogurt and a big handful of spinach leaves, add some ice and a bit of OJ if you want it to be not as thick....now this will give 4 people a HUGE Smoothie! my girls LOVE IT!!!!
the other one we love is just: frozen blueberries, yogurt, ice chips and spinach...YUM!
tara

Kim said...

My favourite smoothie is what I call my "Monday morning smoothie" - as it will make you extremely happy on a gloomy Monday morning. It's also purple.

3 or 4 frozen strawberries (I get these frozen strawberries from Costco and they're massive, so more if they're smaller)
About 1/3 to 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
10-15 frozen cranberries
Chocolate almond milk, maybe about 3/4 a cup to a cup... enough to make the frozen fruit nice and liquidy when blended.

And my secret ingredient, Greens+ powder. Mine is slightly orange flavoured, and I don't know whether or not it influences the taste but I feel like it makes it all the more healthy.

It's tasty, chocolatey, and best of all - a fantastic shade of purple!

koala brains said...

Love your blog! I'm adding you to my blogroll b/c I know my friends would enjoy your blog. As far as smoothie combos: strawberries+silken tofu+mangoes. As a treat I will make chocolate soy milk+banana+peanut butter. Decadent!!!!

kate said...

I have a smoothie almost every morning, and my recipe looks pretty similar to yours, though I find that ice is unnecessary with frozen fruit- it just waters everything down. Also, I generally add some spirulina to up the nutritional value of the drink. Husband likes yogurt in his, but I like mine without. Oh, and I always add a banana, regardless of what other fruits I use- it just makes everything creamy and smooth.

My favorite combo so far that I used to get at the fancy grocery where I worked back in the day is:
-fresh squeezed apple-lemon-ginger juice
-half a banana
-frozen peaches
-frozen strawberries

Man- the sweet-tart-spiciness of the juice works so well with the sweetness of the other fruits. And peaches and ginger go so perfectly together. Mmm! I wish I could still get that juice!

Katrina said...

We eat smoothies nearly every day around here. But ours are just frozen fruit and then enough orange juice to cover the top of the fruit then blend. So maybe that doesn't technically count as a smoothie. We tried with various milks and yogurts but decided we liked this best. We tend towards blueberries, strawberries and peaches.

Danielle said...

Here's my smoothie which I have almost every day:
1 cup berries (any combo strawberries/raspberries/blueberries);
1 cup vanilla-flavored protein powder (made from soy protein);
1 cup lite vanilla soy milk;
2 cups ice cubes;
occasionally also 1/2 banana.

Blended in the "Wave Blender" (made by Hamilton Beach) - does a fantastic job crushing ice cubes.

This is a delicious and healthy smoothie.

Danielle said...

Oops - Of course, in my smooothie recipe I meant one scoop of protein powder, not one cup!

Susan said...

My favorite smoothie is simple:

1 cup calcium fortified OJ
fresh or frozen banana
frozen peaches
splash of vanilla

Although, we do it many different ways. We like frozen mangoes and berries, or fresh fruit, too. I use different fruit juices, mix up the fruits, whatever comes to mind. I don't generally add milk or soy, but we do occasionally make a chocolate peanut butter smoothie with Chocolate Silk, peanut butter, a banana and some sweetener (Splenda or agave nectar).

Thanks for the great ideas!

Go Natural Baby said...

I love the idea of putting the berries in bins. I find that I enjoy food much more when the whole process is appetizing .... thanks for the idea.

Leigh-Anne said...

3 - 4 oz light silken tofu (1/4 of a pkg)
1 fresh banana
1/2 cup frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
1/2 cup orange (or other) juice
1 tsp-1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

I like the texture and protein tofu brings to the party but find the flavor a bit strong without the vanilla and sweetener.

Alpa said...

You have a lovely and an inspiring blog! I love your idea of the bins... just one question - how do you keep the fruit from turning into a frozen solid mass?

Jennifershmoo said...

Hmmm, alpa, I don't know -- it just doesn't! We haven't had any problem with that.

We are always careful to put the fruit right back in the freezer quickly, so it doesn't thaw and then refreeze; isn't that what would make it clump up?

Natasha said...

I love your blog! Such good recipes.
Responding to alpa, if the fruit is frozen individually before it's put in the containers it doesn't stick together, at least it hasn't for me and then put back in the freezer quickly.

Ivy said...

Hi, Jennifer. Don't know how comments work, if you'll even get this since it's from an old thread, but was just wondering if you recommend the dry container for the vita-mix, too. Thanks. Oh, and I see you're in the current issue of Vegetarian Times. I'm glad I caught it before my subscription runs out.

Jennifershmoo said...

Well, our first model came with the dry container and we still have it, but we've hardly ever used it. We got it out a few times to whir oats or wheat berries into flour or dent corn into cornmeal. It worked well, but I think if you're really crazy for fresh flour you might be better off looking into a grain mill.

Ivy said...

I ended up going on their website to look for a factory-reconditioned model as my friend has one and says it looks brand new and she never had any problem with it. They had none, so I called to ask. Well, they did have one. I wasn't even going to get it then, but she got me with the free shipping. :-) It was only $50 less than a new one, but with tax and I also got the dry container (couldn't help myself once I checked out some videos using the dry container), it ended up being $60 less. I almost called to cancel the dry container, but decided not to. Oh well, I'm kind of excited. :-)