Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Smoothies

I've been making an effort to cut back on COFFEE these days.  I have tried numerous times to cut caffeine.  I gave up soda pop (or whatever you call it) about 13 years ago and only drink it occasionally (usually with some sort of alcohol in it).  But coffee has been a love of mine since middle school and I have a hard time giving that up.

I am inspired by my son's swim coach.  He gave up coffee about a month ago and seems to be doing very well.  So I asked him HOW he did it without the headaches and withdrawal symptoms that turn me into a monster who is angry and grumpy and ready to strike at any given moment.  He said he's started JUICING.  Well, I don't have a juicer anymore, so I had to go for the next best thing.


SMOOTHIES!! 

Now, those of you that know me well also know that I am pretty good with a blender.  But most of things I create in my blender are not health foods.  And they certainly aren't appropriate for breakfast or for feeding the kids.  (I do love me some tequila!!)  But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my blender worked just fine without alcohol.  Who knew???

I've started making more and more smoothies for me and my family.  When we first started, they were fruit blends with apple juice and/or soy milk and/or yogurt.  But now that we are used to them I can add more and more ingredients and change it up to make it more like a meal replacement.

I add a lot of veggies to mine.  I also add flax seed.  These things change the texture and flavor, so if you are new to it take it slow.  I prefer to use frozen fruit instead of fruit and ice cubes because I don't like it watered down from the ice.  I buy big bags of frozen fruit at my local grocery store or big box store and keep them in my deep freeze.  All fruits are good--any berries, peaches, pears, pineapple, coconut, etc.  And really most fresh veggies are good, too.  I've used kale, spinach, carrots, cucumber, zucchini and even broccoli (on the coach's recommendation).  Some of the greens make a smoothie look more like you are drinking tar, but the color is unimportant.  What's important is getting those fruits and veggies into your system. 

I don't add any sugar or sweeteners, but I do add cinnamon or vanilla sometimes.  If I'm making smoothies for my kids and daycare kids I sometimes add a couple prunes, raisins or other dried fruit just because they make it really sweet. Just a couple does the trick. 

There are a million trillion gazillion smoothie recipes on the web (yes, I counted), so I'm not going to add one of my own.  Mostly it depends on what your blender can handle.  I've found that it works best if I do 1/2-2/3 of the blender full of fruit and veggies and then add in about 2 cups of liquid (juice or soy milk).  If you like it creamier, add in some soy yogurt or soy coffee creamer (flavors are good).  Blend it for a minute or two (not just a quick blend).  Start SIMPLE--one or two fruits--and then add in a little something to experiment.  If there is a veggie you really don't like, try it this way.  the sweetness from the fruit really overpowers the vegetableness (yes, that's a word).  Use plain juices like apple or orange to begin, then you can try others if you like.

My son's favorite--strawberry, peach and kiwi with juice (no creaminess).
My daughter's favorite--blueberry, strawberry, banana with soy milk and/or yogurt.
My favorite is spinach, carrots, blueberries and frozen peaches.  Add in flax seeds and cinnamon. Juice, no creamy.
My hubby likes coconut versions--either with dried coconut or make with coconut milk. 
I also enjoy pineapple, banana and coconut made with coconut milk and spiced rum (just a little--but not while I'm working, I swear) served up with a wedge of fresh pineapple on the side.

Really, the possibilities are endless.  Have fun experimenting!!
Happy smoothies!!!

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