Archive for basics

This just in….

I got a Vita-Mix this weekend. My dear ol’ KitchenAid broke AGAIN, in the same way (the gear that turns the blades lost all of it’s teeth) within about 18 mos. I think the smoothie habit killed it. I started researching the mega-blenders like Vita-Mix and BlendTec, reading all the reviews and comparisons. It’s nearly impossible to make a clear choice as they both cause rapturous testimonials and about even numbers of people that have tried both prefer one or the other. Price was the deciding factor for me. I’m just not buying a 400 dollar blender. I found mine on Craigslist for $175, brand new, a 5000 model. Last night for dinner we had black bean burritos with super-smooth bean filling and then had oh, so yummy blueberry icecream made in the blender. This morning, I made my first smoothie in it. I love that I can just toss a whole carrot in and have it smooth. I blended a pear and an apple with about 1/4 c apple juice to get it going. Then I added the 2 carrots and 1/2 lb of spinach. It’s too thick. So tomorrow I’ll have to maybe add more water or something. It’ll take some playing around, but initial reviews are positive!

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Software: Protein Powder

Not everyone does it, but need a bit of protein powder in my smoothies.  If I don’t have it, I find that the sugars in it make me shaky AND I hungry much sooner.  I rotate my powders around to keep my metabolism on its toes and to keep from being bored.  My big two are both by Naturade, one is 100% Soy and the other is “Soy Free Veg.”  The soy has the least taste, but I try not to get too much soy, so I switch it up.

You can get the nutritional info on them here.

Occasionally, I use Nature’s Plus Source of Life:

It’s more supplementy with all manner of vitamins and such in it.  It also contains sugar and a “granola” flavor, so I only use it if I’m not expecting to get a lot of good food…or when the base of my smoothie is kinda nasty and I need to mask the flavor.  Link to this stuff is here.

Sometimes, when I just don’t have any greens in the house or anything but an apple and a banana, I use this stuff:

It has utterly whack-job Dr. Bronner style packaging, but seems like good stuff and it holds me until lunch, too.  Here’s the link.

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Your basic green smoothie

I’m going to jump right in and make a smoothie–I’m starvin’! I’ll go back and fill you in on all the hardware and software in a later post and I’ll try to save those posts to the sidebar for later use. WordPress willing.

I don’t like my shake to have a lot of texture, so I run the more fibrous food through the juicer first. If you have the VitaMix, you can just toss everything in there, but I image most folks are working without that equipment. If, like most people, you also don’t have a juicer AND you hate strings and chunks in your beverages (don’t drink the trashcan punch at a frat party, for one thing), you can pre-purchase carrot juice to start yourself off. But check Goodwill and Craigslist or save your pennies for a juicer. Anyway, the juice:

Omega juicer

This is The Juicing. There’s some lacinato kale in the shoot, carrot and kale juices mingle in the bucket. I try to make enough juice for two days at once. Any longer and you start to lose nutrients; any more often and you start to lose patience. that’s about 3 or 4 big ol’ carrots from the Big Ole Bag O’Carrots (organic) at Costco. Organic carrots taste better, or at least have a much better soapy to tasty ratio than conventional carrots.

Mmmm....waste

Mmmm….waste. This is the leavings from those carrots, about 6 leaves of kale, and 3 kiwis. I’m sure that more pioneering spirits dry this stuff out and ground it into flour or something, but I just decided to start a compost pile. that’s where it goes.

green juice

All mixed up, you get a nice, bright green. Pour about a cup and a half into the blender jar (this is for two big smoothies).

help us, wer'e trapped!

Now, fill that blender jar with baby spinach (much more tender and mild than when it gets old and obstreperous), and start it on low, working up to a high speed.

Oh the spinachanity!

Now fill it up AGAIN! This should take about a half a pound of baby spinach. So buy the big bags. And then go plant some out back.

At last we get to the part that makes it Ugli.

add dem berries

See that lovely bright green? It doesn’t mix all that well with the bright red frozen strawberries I add for sweetness, berry goodness, and a bit of cold. Room temp smoothies are ick. I toss in a couple handsful (this is a very scientific blog, you see).

Also, we add the protein powder. I used several different kids and we’ll get to that. Be patient. Geez. Here I’m using Naturade Soy-Free Veg b/c I had been getting a lot of soy in the rest of my diet and needed to scale back somewhere. And see, it’s turning brown. Mmmm. Puce is the best color for food.

protein boost

Pour into glasses, pop in a straw (it’s SO much better with a straw. Really), and enjoy. More, uglier, shakes to come.

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