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Wednesday, May 9

Smoothies!!!

I think we need to do a smoothie post. Because it’s been on my mind for, well, years! I want to share a few tips, a few flavors that we love, and then open up the floor to tips and recipes from all of you!

First, a small plug for expensive blenders. I have to say that one of the best things that ever took residence in our kitchen is our heavy duty blender. This is an appliance that I think is completely worth saving up for. We use it all the time and it can handle anything. Our previous blender, which was just your regular run-of-the-mill blender, just didn’t cut it. I don’t care if you get a Blendtec or a Vitamix, just get one. Or start saving up for one. They are awesome.

Okay, on to technique! Do you know how to build your smoothie in the blender? After I got my Blendtec and read the instruction manual, I realized I had been putting the juice and fruit in the opposite order than I should have been! The logic my brain followed was that you should put the harder-to-blend items in first so that they get blended better…but it just jams everything up. As soon as I reversed the order of things, my smoothies improved immediately and significantly. Here is the RIGHT way to do it.

  1. Juice first. You can also use grapes as your juice base.
  2. Softer, unfrozen fruits.
  3. Harder fruits and frozen fruits. Say you’re doing frozen pineapple and frozen banana, put the frozen pineapple in first. Basically you want whatever is easiest to blend to go in first.
  4. Ice.
Essentially you put the ‘liquidiest’ and softest stuff first then move up in order to the hardest items. Make sense?

Now, on to flavors! Nate is the smoothie master in our house. He’s always blending up some sort of smoothie or “juicey” for the family and he’s quite the master! Here are the fruits and juices he most commonly uses:

  • Mango juice for the base. I also love papaya juice as the base. If we don’t have either of those, we’ll go with orange or grape, which are both nice. Apple is just too, well, apple-y for us. It’s still good in a pinch, but definitely our least favorite.
  • Frozen strawberries, frozen mango, frozen pineapple and frozen banana make the most frequent appearances in our smoothies! Oh, and when peaches are in season, we love frozen peaches!!
  • I love tossing coconut into the smoothie. Nate isn’t such a big fan of coconut, but it makes me (and the girls) super happy!
  • Yogurt…usually plain.
  • ICE. Lately Nate has been making “juiceys,” which basically means there’s no ice and the smoothies aren’t so slushy. They are very tasty and the girls like them, too…but I gotta say, I love a good, slushy smoothie! Bring on the ice!

No specific recipes from us…our smoothies change pretty much every time we make them, which is part of the fun! We’ve also recently started adding SPINACH to the smoothies and that is a great trick! I know some of you have been telling me to do that for years…glad we finally jumped on board!

Your turn! Please share your favorite fruit/juice combos, specific recipes, tips, anything smoothie related! Can’t wait to be inspired by all of you!


26 Comments »

  1. I make smoothies everyday. I make one for my son before soccer practice. We do: almond milk, greek yogurt, protein powder, 1/2 banana and frozen fruit (I buy the mixed bag from Sams Club) or chocolate almond milk, 1/2 banana, chocolate protein powder, greek yogurt and peanut butter.

    • Jane Maynard

      how could I forget YOGURT?!?!? we do love to add yogurt, although we haven’t been lately, so I guess that’s why it’s not on the brain. going to update the post now! 🙂

      nate likes to use those protein powders, too…

      love the almond milke idea!

    • Jane Maynard

      oh, and I love those bags of frozen mixed fruit…so handy! for some reason we often don’t have that, but when we do it’s just so quick and easy.

  2. 2
    Carrie

    I’m so glad that you posted about this! Smoothies really intrigue me, but have intimidated me as well. One of the things I’ve noticed in smoothies that others have made for me that taste great are yogurt, tofu, or protein powder. I’ll have to give it a whirl very soon!

    • Jane Maynard

      don’t be intimidated! go for it! give it a whirl! (love that little play on words!) 🙂

  3. I had a GREEN smoothie over the weekend. My friend put A LOT of spinach in it (and pineapple). It was DELICIOUS!

  4. mmm, i love smoothies! i usually do milk + vanilla yogurt + spinach + frozen banana + frozen strawberries + chia seeds. mainly because that’s the cheapest smoothie i can make that i still enjoy. (juice is too sweet for me in smoothies) lately i’ve tried an almond-coconut milk that makes it a little tropical. 🙂 chia seeds make the smoothies thicker, by the way.

  5. My wife Kasia & I have “evolved” a chocolate smoothie recipe that’s now our favorite post-workout recovery drink. For two servings:

    *) Three cups almond milk
    *) Two servings matcha green tea powder
    *) Two tablespoons organic raw cacao powder
    *) Two servings whey protein (we use Jay Robb chocolate flavored whey powder)
    *) One or two bananas
    *) Handful of ice

    Yum!

  6. I just watched Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and it reminded me that I need to eat lots of veggies EVERY DAY! This week I’ve been using my vita-mix to make plain yogurt, spinach, apple, banana and parsley smoothies. Delicious and refreshing!

  7. I’ve been on a green smoothie kick lately (unsweetened almond milk, spinach, peanut butter, plain greek yogurt and frozen banana). However, I’m obsessed with mango… so you just convinced me to add frozen mango to my smoothie next time 🙂 Great idea!

  8. 8
    Cate

    I LOVE smoothies! I used to fill the blender the wrong way, too, because I was also thinking that the hardest stuff to blend should be at the bottom. 🙂 Whoops!

    My absolute favorite smoothie combo is:
    1/2 cup pineapple juice juice
    1/2 – 3/4 cup yogurt (I usually use vanilla for a little sweetness)
    1 banana
    3/4 – 1 cup frozen strawberries
    3/4 – 1 cup pineapple
    1/2 avocado
    Couple tbsp ground flaxseeds
    Dash of honey

    So good! You can’t taste the avocado, but it gives the smoothie a nice fluffy texture and some healthy fats.

  9. 9
    Liz Brown

    I love smoothies! I like to use just plain water for my liquid- less sugar from juices that way, and it’s cheaper too. I also add a scoop or two of protein powder, non-fat Greek plain yogurt, and mixed frozen berries- yum! I love doing Tropical smoothies too- pineapples, mangoes, peaches etc. so good!

  10. 10
    Lori H

    My kids love smoothies. I usually use the frozen tropical fruit pack from Costco, yogurt, almond milk, protein powder, whatever fresh fruit I may need to use up and ice. I’ve never tried the “green” smoothies. Do you just add fresh spinach to the mix? Does the spinach need to be “prepped” before using? Love your blog!

  11. 11
    Heather K Miller

    It’s taken me awhile to perfect my after workout smoothie but this what I love…1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 2 cups spinach, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 2 tbsp chocolate protein powder and a tbsp Splenda or sugar just to sweeten in up a bit. I love this smoothie and so do my kids! Plus it only has 170 calories!

  12. 12
    Catherine

    Thanks for the tips. I never gave much thought to the order, but I think this will help a lot.

    We use all sorts of things, but usually plain yogurt + juice + banana and/or avocado + frozen berries (I keep strawberries & blueberries on hand) + whatever other fruits we have that work (pears, peaches, etc.). I usually use enough frozen fruit that extra ice isn’t necessary, but add some if necessary. Lately I’ve been using grapefruit a lot and loving it.

  13. 13
    Amanda L

    My absolute favorite, that we actually call a shake in our house, is milk, frozen banana, peanut butter or almond butter, and cocoa powder. It’s also delicious without the cocoa powder. Seriously, why have an unhealthy milkshake when you can have this???

    Also, I’ve found that as long as my fruit smoothies have frozen strawberries and frozen bananas in them, I don’t need ice and they are still a nice solid ice-y milkshake consistency.

  14. 14
    Nicole

    We love Mango and rasberry flavor (e.g. frozen mangos and rasberries)…it’s funny as I was always putting banana first, mostly because it’s closest to the blender, but ended up with chunks of fruit, so I’ve only recently switched the order 🙂 will have to switch back. Bananas are seriously the key to creaminess. I add flax seed which one son swears he can taste. So far I an only add spinach to mine. I read about flavoring with spices, so sometimes I add cinnoman or nutmeg.

  15. I’ve been doing Coconut Milk instead of milk and Almond Milk Ice Cream or Coconut Milk Ice Cream instead of yogurt smoothies along with strawberries, honeys, OJ, blueberries, and banana. Sometimes we’ll add pineapple. It goes great with the coconut. YUM!

    Here’s our favorite recipe: http://www.savemoneylivejoyfully.com/2011/06/recipe-of-week-fresh-fruit-smoothies.html

    Thanks for the great ideas in this post! I looooove new ideas for smoothies!!!

  16. 16
    Lisa

    I just saw the coolest idea last week for breakfast smoothies on the show, The Chew. You make a large batch of yogurt smoothies, then freeze them in popsicle molds. You have a breakfast smoothie popsicle when you’re on the go! If you were really in the mood for a drinkable smoothie, just stick a popsicle in a cup and let it thaw while you’re getting ready in the morning. I love this idea!

  17. I love smoothies. I have been eating them since I was a little girl. My mom always bought the frozen fruit and made them for us in the heat of the South Florida summers. I am a recent convert to the Blendtec blender and can’t believe I ever used anything else. I can now make restaurant quality smoothies and of course my favorite Pina Colada’s.

  18. 18
    Kelly B

    We have been on a huge Greek yogurt kick at our house, so it frequently makes appearances in our smoothies. The most popular flavor right now is mango, banana, yogurt and orange juice. Sooooo good!

    My 3 yo loves smoothies, but isn’t a fan of our insanely loud blender. I’ve been considering upgrading, assuming the nicer blenders have to have a more pleasant sound than ours. Does the Blendtec get crazy loud, or is it pretty moderate?

  19. 19
    Amy

    I love soy milk, banana, peanut butter and ice… its really creamy and oh so delicious for an after work snack. There’s protein in it, so it’s healthy, right?

  20. 20
    JC

    We love smoothies! I throw in whatever I have on hand. I just started adding kale, spinach and/or carrot – I can’t even taste it! I sometimes use whole raw almonds (we buy the 3 lb bags from Costco) or natural peanut butter for protein, but my husband doesn’t like it – he says it’s too nutty! I love bananas, blueberries, strawberries, fresh pineapple, mangoes in them…threw in some canteloupe the other day. We have some watermelon – maybe I’ll freeze some & use it in my next smoothie. Mmm – sounds refreshing. When you use nuts or nutbutters you can also add some dark chocolate chips – rich & yummy. My husband likes spirulina in it which is really good for you, but I don’t like the flavor & it makes it very dark green. I usually use some kind of fruit juice – apple juice and/or o.j., but have used water instead to cut down on sugar. We don’t like ice in ours, but I love the idea of coconut. Coconut water would be good & healthy too. 🙂

  21. Smoothies are great! I make one just about everyday – I put in a pear, some berries (blueberries or strawberries) and some green leaf lettuce (or romaine.) The fruit gives it a nice flavor and you are getting some good “greens” in the process.

  22. 22
    Donna

    Love smoothies for breakfast, but find the just fruit smoothies too sweet…I start with a base of prune juice (excellent source of iron) and add plain yogurt…then add whatever fruit or fruit juice that might be on-hand (frozen berries… especially black currents!) for greens I use anything I can find…spinach, kale, parsley, sorrel, arugula, even mustard, brocolli and/or kohlrabi leaves! I hold the greens down with banana and put the lid on. If my next meal is too far away, I add some kind of nut butter to hold me over. I never add ice but do top up with water. Yum!

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