Your Smoothie Survival Kit
Everybody knows how to make a smoothie. I'm not breaking new ground here.
But we've all had a bad smoothie.
Runny, grainy, chunky [shudder], too sweet, not sweet enough... it's not always a pleasant experience. Over on the podcast, I'm sharing how The Lazy Genius Makes a Smoothie. I talk about the technique, when I make them, how I save extra, and why I drink one every single day.
In this post though, we're going to talk about tools, ingredients, and favorite recipes that rival a smoothie shop's. Let's make sure Jake is smiling by the end of this thing.
Trust me, Jakey.
You don't need a Vitamix (though I have this one and adore it with all my heart); you just need a blender that you'll actually use. It's like every piece of exercise equipment that did more work as a second closet than for a workout. It doesn't matter how well your blender works; if you don't like washing it or pulling it down from the cabinet or - most importantly - have a compelling reason to make a smoothie, your blender is just an expensive dust catcher.
Don't buy an expensive dust catcher.
A lot of folks swear by the Ninja, though I've never used one. For a long time, I made smoothies with my trusty immersion blender. It's not ideal for green smoothies or super frozen things, but if you're sticking with fruit and don't mind waiting a few minutes for it to thaw, an immersion blender is the perfect choice. Plus, I use it all the time for whipped cream, soups, and little chopping jobs.
Here's the important part. If you use lame ingredients, you'll get a lame smoothie. For those of you who make smoothies with just spinach, almond butter, and a banana, YOU'RE A BETTER PERSON THAN I AM. Because ew.
When I have a smoothie, I want it frosty cold and fruity sweet, not lukewarm and dirty. Props to you and your healthy concoctions, but I'll abstain and just manufacture glowing skin at Sephora.
In our house, we use spinach or smoothie booster cubes, bananas, and bags of frozen fruit - mango, pineapple, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries. Occasionally, I'll throw in a little avocado for myself or bump up the protein with some yogurt. Since, however, we eat smoothies as an afternoon snack and not as a meal replacement, no big thing.
I have fallen in love with the formula from Simple Green Smoothies.
- 2 cups leafy greens + 2 cups liquid + 3 cups fruit = 2 servings
A few notes:
- My leafy green is always spinach, but I do love dinosaur kale when I have it around, especially with mango. By the way, this is my absolute favorite way to eat kale.
- I sometimes do a little less liquid because a) I like a thick smoothie and b) my Vitamix can handle the extra work. Our liquid is almost always water. Occasionally, I'll use orange juice or coconut water if it's around, but water always is. Plus, I think water lets the fruit taste like fruit, not milky fruit or nutty fruit.
- I make 1.5 "recipes" to feed me and my three kids every afternoon. One Simple Green Smoothies formula is meant for two people. For us, doubled is too much; 1.5 is just right.
I know you're getting excited, but chill with the finger guns, babe.
*All of these are the basic formula (just one recipe) with spinach and water as the green and liquid respectively, and all fruit is frozen except for the banana.
- Tropical Happiness: 1 1/2 cups mango, 3/4 cup pineapple, and one banana. It's the color of the Spotify logo and delightfully bright.
- The BOSS Smoothie: My kid named it this because it's an acronym - one banana (the B), orange juice (for maybe 1/3 of the liquid), spinach (to his chagrin but he deals), and 2 cups of strawberries.
- Raspberry Peach: 3/4 cup raspberries, 3/4 cup peaches, 1/2 cup mango, and 1 huge banana. I usually put a little agave nectar in smoothies with either peaches or raspberries since they're more tart; this one definitely gets the added sweetness.
- The Ugly Duckling: the color is an abomination, but it tastes amazing - 1/2 cup each of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, mango, and a small banana.
- Our Everyday Smoothie: If the kids don't request a specific fruit, this is what I always make - 1 heaping cup of mango, 1/2 cup pineapple, 1/2 cup peaches, and 1 giant banana.
Sure, add your yogurts and your nut butters, your chia seeds and protein powders. Since we just snack on our smoothies, we keep it simple. I've tried recipes with cinnamon and cocoa powder and ones that are supposed to taste like pumpkin pie... not my scene. Give me tart, sweet, thick, and fruity all day, every day. Literally.
So how'd I do, Jake?