Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summertime Smoothies

So I didn’t know until I was about to get married that it is appropriate to give your betrothed a gift for the wedding.  I knew all about the etiquette of gifting a bride and groom as a guest, but maybe because I had never been a bride before, I didn’t know about this tradition.  So I thought about what might be a good gift to give to Dave, my husband to be.  I also let him know that I was trying to think of what wedding gift to give to him.  His reaction indicated that this whole bride-groom gift-giving tradition was news to him too.  We were babies.  We were clueless.  We were happy to be marrying each other. So he bought me this fun necklace with a heart charm and I bought him this classic blender from Williams Sonoma. 

I thought it would be a fun gift since he loves milk shakes and it seemed so timeless.   So I bought it.  A Waring Blender- 2 speed.  The challenge is that, though it is classy and pretty, it is tough to make a good, thick shake with it.  Just after we got married, Dave began to work at a restaurant that made ridiculously amazing milkshakes out of Haagen Dazs ice cream.  They were thick and were presented dramatically. The trick was that they prepared them in a Kitchen Aid Mixer.  A mixer…not a blender! We have used this technique, and though it takes a ton of ice cream, it makes a lovely milkshake.

Speaking of milkshakes, I feel like I need to confess something. I learned the hard way about not placing spoons into the blender while the blender is running.  When I was in high school, my friend and I were making chocolate shakes and when it clogged as it was blending, I carefully removed the lid, ensuring that it wouldn't splatter everywhere.  I stuck my wooden spoon into the blender to move things around a bit.  Sudddenly, I heard a loud zzt  sound and my spoon jerked.  Uh oh!  I realized that I needed to turn the blender off before sticking an object in (profound, I know).  All was well until we were eating the milkshakes and I discovered an "almond" in my chocolate shake.  I thought, "is this rocky road ice cream instead of chocolate?" That's when I removed the said almond and discovered that this "nut" was actually a chunk of the wooden spoon. Lesson learned.  Don't do this.  Learn from me.

So the combo of these events has led me to use this nice wedding gift blender to make some great smoothies and steer clear of milkshakes.

berry banana blast (Asher's name for it)
Do you like smoothies?  It's June 1 and, in Nashville, it's so hot already - it feels like smoothie time.
Now, I'm not into the $5-with-a-bunch-of-chemical-enhancers-added smoothies.  I am too much of a purist and too frugal.  I prefer blending them at home with some simple ingredients: yogurt, frozen fruit and juice.

 I wrote about over-ripe bananas in my last post, and in addition to banana bread, this is a great use of them!  Peel and slice your ripe bananas, throw them in a ziplock bag and place in the freezer.  Then they are ready when you want to make a smoothie.

ripe bananas sliced to put away

ready to be frozen

 banana orange mango smoothie
Basic Smoothie Instructions
1 cup or more frozen fruit- a combo or just one (I find that banana adds a great creamy element to all smoothies)
1/2 cup juice- of your choice- I use orange most often
1/2 cup low fat yogurt (vanilla or flavored- my favorite is natural vanilla)
a handful of ice and more IF the fruit you are using isn't frozen;

add honey IF the fruit isn't sweet enough
and a sprinkle of flax seed if you want to add some fiber and OMEGA 3 pow!

Blend together.  Turn off blender and stir if it clumps.  Repeat until smooth and well blended. Drink with a straw.

Makes 2 smoothies- 1 to eat, one to's a good way to live.

Make note of what you did that you liked and what you would change or add so you can remember the next time.  Then you can discover your favorite combinations.

My 9 year old is the smoothie connoisseur.  He loves them and requests them often.  Recently there was an insert in a food magazine that was on our coffee table that had 50 Smoothie recipes.  Asher loved the idea and excitedly chose some for us to make.  After trying a couple that he didn't love, and which required many ingredients (including flavored extracts, coconut milk, etc.), we agreed that simple is best.  So, I say, get creative with your variety of fruit, yogurts and juices, but keep it simple!
strawberry mango banana orange

This week we had mango and strawberry fruit salad for dinner.  We had leftovers and I knew that it would get yucky by the next day in the refrigerator, so I froze them.  This morning we used them in a smoothie with banana, orange juice, ice, and vanilla yogurt.  In a few minutes I heard the sound of success...slurping straws in empty glasses!


  1. I freeze whole bananas all the time. I don't know why I've never thought about taking an extra step and cutting them up. Have you ever put spinach in a smoothie? It can make them an awful green color but you can't taste the spinach at all. It's a GREAT way to get some greens into the kiddos. I use colored cups that you can't see through so you can't see the color of the smoothie. The kids drink them right up. Also, a yummy shake that I make it peanut butter and banana shakes. I feel like this is a great way to get some protein into kids. I make them in the blender just using milk.

  2. I wish there was a way to get the nutrients and the thickness from bananas without having the taste. I just am not a banana person (which is why I was glad to see this post and not have to see the photos from your previous post again, as nicely photographed as they were!):-). I'll have to look for that magazine article about the smoothie ideas, too.

  3. Great minds think alike. I had written a blog post about smoothies several days ago and posted about them this week. Love them!

  4. Very nice! I bet you didn't know that I've been a fan of your frozen banana trick for quite a while now. Thanks, by the way!