Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Smoothie Help?

I need some help. I like smoothies, and I feel like I'm okay at making them, but they're always just "okay". Not delicious, not very memorable, just okay. The internet is an overwhelming resource for smoothie assistance so I'm asking you to help me out. Any tricks or never fail recipes you'd care to pass along? I usually just chuck a couple handfuls of whatever frozen fruit I have and a couple scoops of yogurt and some milk. Occasionally I put in some protein powder. I am interested in getting into green smoothies, and have tried to make a few but they all were pretty nasty. But I also want help with non-green smoothies. I have a tendency to make WAY too much smoothie. Like an entire blender-full when I'm the only one who is going to drink it. That is surely a personal problem, but still a problem especially when the smoothie isn't that great. It makes for a lot of smoothie dumped down the drain. So anyone have anything to save me from my mediocre smoothies?

PS: I have a cheap blender and unless you are going to buy me one, do not suggest that a Vitamix/Blendtec will change my life. I know it will.


Amy said...

We're a berry smoothie family. I don't really change to different fruits unless we have fresh peaches to use up in the summer. In which case peach and strawberry smoothies are amazing. I do not really pay attention to amounts, but here's my guess on amounts for feeding my kids and one adult. 2 c. frozen strawberries, 1 c. blueberries, 1 frozen or fresh banana, 1 c. milk. Good luck. I don't do green smoothies, although if you make one that has a reasonable amount of veggies, and still tastes good, I want a recipe. If I'm just gonna throw a few spinach leaves in, I'd rather just eat them in a salad.

Lisa H. said...

You know you don't HAVE to drink/love smoothies. I think they are just okay. My advice would be: don't force the relationship. There are a million more delicious things to eat/drink.

Linda Perkes said...

Our young women's group made green smoothies last month along with regular fruit smoothies, and the girls loved the green one! Here are their recipes:

Green Smoothie (aka Frog Nog)
4 cups spinach
1-2 cups of water (depending on how thick you like it)
2 bananas
1 heaping cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup frozen mango
1 Tbl honey

Fill blender with spinach! Then add water. Pulse to blend into green “water”. Next add your bananas, frozen fruit and sweetener. Puree long enough to blend it well to make sure it is as smooth as possible.

Peach Berry Smoothie
1 ¼ cup orange juice
1 cup frozen raspberries or strawberries
1 cup frozen peaches
¼ cup ice cubes
Sweeten to taste (honey or agave)

Place all ingredients in blender in order listed. Turn on blender to low speed and work your way quickly to high speed. Blend until smooth. Makes 3 cups.

Linda Perkes said...

PS. Clearly you'll need to cut the proportions for just one serving : )

Rachel Hunt said...

Lately all I want to eat are popsicles and/or smoothies. And, I also only have a cheap blender.

Lately I use a can of light coconut milk, a frozen banana, additional ice cubes, a little bit of vanilla, and then whatever fruit I have that sounds good. One day it was a mango and two tangelos (that was the best day). Yesterday's was just strawberries and bananas. Good but not awesome.

For green smoothies, or even for certain fruit combinations, I recommend using water instead of milk. For instance, if I were making one with pineapple and strawberries as a base (with only a little bit of banana), I would definitely go with water, and some fresh squeezed lemon. Milk only works for me when they are Very banana based, and/or might have a peach in them.

I have a friend who once made me a delicious fruit smoothie with fresh basil and oats added. The basil did something weird, but good, and the oats make it more filling.

Jillaire said...

We're also a berry smoothie family. I don't usually put bananas in mine. I use whatever kind of berry yogurt (or sometimes vanilla or a Greek honey) I have, a bunch of frozen berries, and milk. I always shake in a bit of ground flax meal and a few squirts of lemon juice. If I think it's tart, I add a tablespoon or two of honey. Another one that I make for the peach-lovers in the family is with peach yogurt and a frozen mango-peach-pineapple combo from Costco. Then I do the same thing: milk, flax, lemon juice, honey. I do the lemon juice because it's supposed to prevent kidney stones and the flax is to get our Omega-3's since most of the family won't eat fish. I'm also with Lisa H, though. If you don't really like them, don't worry about it. I also drink leftover smoothies! I think they keep just fine in the fridge. They are a bit thinner, but still yummy the second day. I eat smoothies more now that I don't worry about recipes for them.

anna said...

We love smoothies and I hide spinach in mine all the time. My kids think the banana gives it the green color. Not sure why they think that, but I don't push the subject because grant would definitely stop drinking them if he knew they had spinach.

I use Greek yogurt at the bottom. I use vanilla flavored but if I only have plain, I throw in a little honey. Then I put a banana - the riper the better. Then fruit - usually the tropical frozen fruit from Costco. I think it has strawberries, mangoes, papaya, pineapple. Then I put in a handful of spinach and I cover it all with orange juice. And a splash of coconut milk if I have it. But the orange juice goes a long way in improving the smoothie. Strawberry, banana, yogurt, coconut milk, orange juice is also a good combo. I am sure I don't make the lowest calorie smoothies but my kids love them and they get a lot of fruit/vegetables and protein from the Greek yogurt.

I have a cheap blender too but have told everyone I know and that buys me presents (Clarke, my parents, Clarke's parents) that I would always welcome a vitamix. So far, five years of dropping that hint hasn't gotten me anywhere, but I am hopeful that in another five years we might make enough for me to buy myself that as a present. :)

heather said...

I'd suggest cutting out the dairy. I've liked my smoothies a lot more since I stopped putting yogurt or milk in. I usually use a spoonful of frozen OJ concentrate and then enough water to make the whole thing blend. Also, I feel like any smoothie with strawberries is better than any smoothie without. Even just one or two goes a long way.

Leslie said...

Maybe this is "cheating" but with fruit smoothies sometimes adding a couple of spoonfuls of sugar goes a long way

Deja said...

Ahh! I have opinions! I used to think I just didn't like them either. Texture/thickness is huge. I realized I didn't like them super thick, and I didn't like them super cold. Now I like them a little thicker/colder, but I started easy. So maybe think about that--which ones have you enjoyed, and what were they like. I find I'm insanely picky: I hate (no, really HATE) banana in there. It has to be baby spinach, or it's a no-go. And I just put a few medium-sized handfuls in there. The green is a bonus, so I don't worry about it. I think pineapple juice goes a long way to making green-ness palatable. My mother taught me to make a crazy-good green drink that goes like this: pineapple juice, fresh mint, bunch of spinach, and done. It sounds yucko, but it's awesome.

My go-to recipes, the ones I make every day, go like this: cup of almond milk, a little less than a cup of yogurt (I like plain Greek), cup of frozen berries or mango (mango is my favorite--from Trader Joe's), small scoop of stevia, which much be NuStevia, or it's gross. I love a splash of coconut milk in there, but generally can't be bothered. And with the mango, if the base is pineapple juice, I am so much happier. This probably makes a lot, maybe 2 glasses? But if I'm drinking as my meal (and I usually am), that's about right for me. Estimate down a bit for less.

I'll stop rambling soon, but this is how I finally found my way: I followed a recipe, one that sounded good, and I made it, and then got really analytical about what wasn't perfect about it, and then tweaked it until it was right for me.

Happy smoothing!

Gwen said...

i agree w/ leslie. my favs have always had just a bit of sugar.

Kate said...

Thanks for all the excellent advice! Who knew so many of you were smoothie experts? I am excited to try all your suggestions.

So far I have stopped using dairy and have added lite coconut milk/water instead and also stopped using bananas and that alone has made a huge difference. My developing smoothie philosophy is that milk/yogurt/bananas/protein power all are great together but not with other stuff. (And vanilla protein powder tastes like play doh if you don't drink it right away) And I prefer those for a post work out smoothie (peanut butter and cinnamon make excellent additions to those) For breakfast, I am digging coconut milk and frozen fruit (mostly berries)with some citrus juice (so far I have tried clementines and grapefruit) I have been adding chia seeds and a couple tablespoons of coconut oil if I'm feeling extra fancy. I will keep you updated as I continue to perfect this.

Linda Perkes said...

A friend of mine freezes unused smoothie mix in mini icecube trays then refreshes in the blender or makes popcicles for her kids. That would work better with some ingredients than others I think.

Terese said...

Loved reading these comments. I am so mediocre at smoothie making too. (I bet yours are better than mine!) I am thinking Deja's pineapple juice and spinach sounds like a good combo. I may try :)

Laura said...

strawberry greek yogurt
orange juice
coconut milk
protein powder
ground flaxseed
chia seeds
frozen spinach
frozen mixed berries
1 orange

will also swap out the berries for frozen mango and fresh pinneapple when we are eating mexican that night :)