Smoothie 101

I am experimenting with making smoothies for breakfast, and all the recipes I've used seem to follow a basic pattern. So instead of trying to find and figure out smoothie recipes, I thought I'd just condense those basics. And then share them here. :)
My biggest tip is that, as healthy as smoothies are, they can be loaded with calories, so aim for making 10 oz or less of smoothie. Personally, I try for 8oz, and put it in a small glass (so it doesn't seem like I'm shorting myself anything). That tides me over for a few hours, quite nicely.

Obviously, the process is easy- throw everything into the blender and blend (on smoothie setting, if you can) until the chunks are evened out. If you want to take the extra time, you can them strain this mixture through a cheesecloth or fine seive to catch out seeds. I don't bother with that, but I do try to keep dental floss on hand. :)

Fruit:
Try combining 2-5 of your fav fruits. I start with locally grown fresh produce, and I recommend going organic and washing everything before you throw it in the blender. Some classics include: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blaskberries, banana, mango, pineapple, papaya, peaches, apricot, acai, goji berries, lime, peeled grapes, peeled apples (sliced and cored), etc.

Sweeteners:
If you feel the need to sweeten the deal (say, for serving to reluctant kids), try honey, vanilla extract (no more than a teaspoon should do), brown sugar, or cocoa. Keep in mind that if you use a dry powder, you'll need to compensate with more liquid, and might end up with a grainy texture (so stick with liquid sweeteners when you can).

Liquids:
Juices (grape, apple, mixed berry, veggie) work well. Instead, you could use 1% milk, soy or hemp or almond milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, coconut milk, etc. Remember that you want a thicker drink, so start by adding a small amount of liquid at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Extras:
Protein powder, peanut butter, silken tofu, wheat germ, ground flaxseed, small amount of roasted/toasted (salt-free) nuts, brewers yeast, spirulina, bee pollen, etc work well to boost your vitamin and mineral intake.

Ice:
Really, this is optional. If you're using frozen fruit, you can skip it. If not, add a small amount at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

Sample recipes:
Cherry Morning
100g cherries (stones and stems removed)
250g watermelon (peeled and deseeded)
100ml apple juice
Crushed ice
Extra watermelon to garnish
Put the watermelon into the blender and whizz. Add cherries and apple juice and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass over crushed ice and garnish with chopped piece of watermelon

Green Smoothie
1 Banana, cut in chunks
1/2 Apple, cored and chopped or sliced
1 cup White Grapes
1 cup Fat-Free Vanilla Yogurt (or Plain Yogurt and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla)
1-2 cups fresh Spinach Leaves
Blend until smooth, and serve. This is a great way to get extra veggies into your diet.

Veggie tips:
If you want to encorporate greens into your smoothie, make sure you wash them well first. Add the fruit first, then add the greens to taste (to keep the smoothie still drinkably good). Leafy greens are best to add, but you can try beets (golden or red), carrots, rhubarb, celery, cucumber, tomato, etc.
Bon apetit!

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