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Banana – Sorghum Syrup – Almond Smoothie

2 Oct

Sorghum syrup from Rebecca’s Garden in Columbia, Md.

Making a smoothie for me is honing the art of my intuitive voice. The smoothies I make develop as each ingredient “comes to me,” to speak in such language. Good smoothies are the ones where I listen to my intuitive voice. The horrible ones — and, mercy, I have had some of those — are the ones where I think my way to the result. So, without further ado (and, yes, I had to look up the spelling of “ado”), here is today’s smoothie —

Banana – Sorghum Syrup – Almond Smoothie

  • 1/2 c soaked almonds and hazlenuts (couldn’t get my eyes off of them)
  • 1 Tbsp sorghum syrup
  • 1 banana
  • A couple shakes of cinnamon
  • A super-small pinch of nutmeg (because a little nutmeg goes a long way)
  • A pinch of salt
  • Ice, because the coldness of smoothies makes them more drink-like and less gloop-like
  • Water, to spread the taste out over a larger area

I pureed the ingredients in my beloved Vitamix and … voilà: A banana – sorghum syrup – almond smoothie!

Here’s what I like about it: the sorghum syrup (which is really sweet) finds a landing place with the banana. (I find bananas rather bland and too banana-y. I don’t really like bananas except in smoothies.) The soaked almonds and hazelnuts add depth, richness and fat, as nuts do. The cinnamon is layered with the nutmeg for a slightly complex flavor that neither overpowers nor underwhelms. And the salt, of course, punches the flavors. It makes flavors a bit more sophisticated, I think. Overall, it’s somehow almost a milky flavor-texture without having any actual dairy ingredients.

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Blueberry, Mulberry, Banana Smoothie

22 Aug

Mulberry

The vibe to make a smoothie occurred this morning. So I heeded it. This is what came about and got mixed together in my lovely, favorite-ist kitchen gizmo: the Vitamix

Blueberry, Mulberry, Banana Smoothie

  • 1 c frozen blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 T mulberry syrup (from a local Turkish grocer)
  • 1 tsp agave syrup
  • 2/3 c plain yogurt

Whirrr. Whirrr. Whirr. Yum.

Note: Mulberry syrup is a bit molasses-y and tastes faintly of raisins, to me. It needed something to mellow it, so I added the yogurt at the end.

Photo via thingsthatfizz.blogspot.com

Tofu banana strawberry smoothie

16 Apr

I wasn’t so sure this breakfast smoothie would turn out well. Mainly because two of my first three ingredients were sketchy. And even as I added more ingredients, I wasn’t sure if this was going to work. I started with —

  • Tofu banana strawberry smoothie

    1 banana (I’m not much of a banana lover)

  • 5 frozen whole strawberries from the store (I’m partial to my hand-cut, sweated and frozen strawberries)
  • 12 filberts, soaked

Then I was stuck. What next? No inspiration, had I. Yogurt? No yogurt to be had, so instead I added —

  • 1/2 c of tofu (I’m a tofu-tolerator, not a tofu lover)
  • 1/3 c of half and half (gotta have a liquid to make it blend well)

But that was bland. It need tang, flavor and depth. So I added —

  • 2 honey tangerines, juiced
  • A dash of salt
  • A drop of vanilla

And that made it absolutely fantastic! Very smooth and creamy. Tasty in a gentle yet robust way. Yummy!

Blueberry and mango smoothie. Keeping it simple.

3 Apr

Blueberry mango smoothie.

The weather in the DC Metropolitan area yesterday was gorgeous! I celebrated that it was a Good Friday, indeed, with an annual tradition (chore) of digging out the compost pile. This is not a small project. Ever. But I get giddy and gleeful when I come across the hot zone for worms. I find it an inspiring vision, and it makes me happy. Spreading the rich composted earth about the garden is good for my soul. I’m a bit of a twit in that compost bin material only goes on food sources: vegetables and fruits, no flowers, trees or bushes.

But after hours in the sun and glorious weather, it was time for a smoothie break. I kept it simple, this is what I pureed in my Vitamix

  • 3 c frozen blueberries (I freeze them when they’re in season, fresh and on sale)
  • 1 c frozen mango, sweated in citrus and sugar
  • 1 c orange juice, from concentrate
  • A little water

The result was colorful, tasty in a simple and delightful sort of way, and thick. Spoon thick. Gotta watch out for the brain freeze when it’s that thick. Yowsa. For future smoothies, I think it’s valuable to have fresh, not-frozen fruit as part of the mix. It keeps the temperature from being brain-freezing.

Overall, it was a nice drink and a nice break from the heavy lifting of moving dense, rich soil out of the compost pile. A few people were outside and also gardening, so I made enough to share with them, too.

Banana mango smoothie

21 Mar

After yesterday’s prune smoothie and the rather aghast comments I got over in Facebook, I guess my smoothie-intuition brought me back to a more centralized position. Today I blended in my Vitamix

Very nice! Smooth, tangy, sweet, easy to drink.

Prune smoothie

20 Mar

Prune smoothies. Whodathunkit?

I really do aim to make my smoothies from intuition. If I didn’t, I’d probably make the same handful of drinks again and again. Well, this morning, prunes popped onto my radar. Here’s what I blended in my Vitamix

  • 4 prunes
  • 1 purple plum
  • 1 cutie (like a clementine)
  • 1 tsp mystery ingredient (some sort of hot jelly)
  • 5-6 ice cubes

But that tasted flat, so I added —

  • 1 small apple, gala and
  • a dash of salt

It’s nice! I like it. Tangy, light but not too watery. No grit. Smooth.

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRIS COLLINS/CORBIS

Sweet Potato and Apple Puree

13 Nov

sweet-potato-pureeIt’s been months since I’ve blogged about smoothies. I don’t think my fruit intake isn’t that high, actually. Summer, yes. Lots. Fall, apples and pears. Winter: citrus and pomegranates and cranberries (are they a fruit) in season. So, while I don’t desire nightly fruit smoothies in the fall and winter, I do like to puree things in general. (That last statement might be worthy of psychological exploration. Hmm.) Anyhoo, I love my Vitamix, and I love to find real-food recipes that I can puree to bits and create a yummy dish. (Trust someone who’s been there: it’s quite possible to take something tasty, puree it, and end up with something very not-tasty.)

Here is one of my hands-down favorite purees: Sweet potatoe and apple. I’m bringing it to the thanksgiving holiday potluck at my j-o-b tomorrow, along with another more sugary sweet potato dish.

The ingredients include —

  • sweet potatoes
  • tart apples
  • lime juice
  • honey
  • yogurt
  • melted butter

The recipe I use is here. If you feel so called, enjoy. If you have a j-o-b where I have a j-o-b, perhaps you’ll sample a bit tomorrow.

Rock on.

Pic from http://www.foodnetwork.com/

Kickin’ it with Kombucha

16 Aug

kombuchaKombucha. That was my stellar, push-it-over-the-top ingredient in today’s smoothie. Kombucha is slightly fermented drink with a bit of zing. Claims are high on its health benefits of the drink. I like it. While my blueberry-mango smoothie was coming along just fine, I felt it needed “something,” so I added the kombucha. Perfect! Here’s what I pureed in my Vitamix

  • 1.5 c. frozen blueberries
  • 1.5 c. frozen mango
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Li’l bit of water
  • 8 oz of berry-flavored kombucha

I’ve been paying a bit more attention to the acid-alkaline range of my body’s chemistry, and my understanding is kombucha helps move the body toward a more basic chemistry.

Parsley & Mizuna Smoothie

25 Jul
Photo by Josh Bousel, via Flickr.

Photo by Josh Bousel, via Flickr.

Do not try this at home. As a matter of fact: don’t try this one ever. While I managed to consume it for the experimental and nutritional value, I wouldn’t recommend a to-the-letter reproduction of this smoothie. Here’s what *not* to puree

  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 doz chive stalks
  • 2 cups mizuna leaves, wilted
  • 3 garlic cloves, toasted
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • beef bouillon cube in 8 oz hot water

Maybe — and I mean maybe — in the hands of a trained chef, this could have become a dip or a topping for rice or something. Alas.

Cherry & Tabasco Smoothie

25 Jul
Tabasco and fruit. Better tasting than it may sound!

Tabasco and fruit. Better tasting than it may sound!

I fully expected this one to be a dud. A scary dud. To my surprise, it’s fabulous. Here’s what I pureed in my Vitamix

  • 1 cup, cherries, cut, sugared with citric acid and almost forgotten after 5 days of sitting in the fridge (yikes)
  • 1 banana (bananas just scare me: they seem so non-banana-ish in the last 5-7 years … too much agribusiness and disease)
  • 1 mango, ripe to the point of almost being uh-oh
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce, the Louisiana kind (I knew I needed something hot, and that’s what caught my eye)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • ice cubes

Amazing. The tabasco underneath it all (plus the lime) pulls these tastes and textures together in a way I wasn’t expecting. It’s rich, full, tasty. It even masks the scary agri-business banana flavor that keeps me from including bananas in most of my fruit smoothies.

I’ve used the word “scary” three times in one short blog post.

Scary.

TruBlood: Beet & Beef Puree

21 Jul
Beets puree well. They're a great smoothie ingredient.

Beets puree well. They’re a great smoothie ingredient.

Beets puree well. I know this from experience. And the summer beets are starting to pour into the markets, fresh and well-priced. So I got a whole lot. Here’s the TruBlood Smoothie I made — and how:

  • 6 small beets, boiled, peeled and marinated overnight in
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice plus some
  • olive oil

I toasted in olive oil —

  • 3 cloves, garlic
  • 1/3 c walnuts

Then added —

  • 1.5 cup beef bouillon (totally cheated with 2 cubes of bouillon … for the salt)
  • dash of pepper
  • dash of red pepper flakes

On super-high in my Vitamix. Yum. The beef bouillon was a bit hot as I had boiled the water to make the broth. So the heat balanced the other temperatures and made the drink tepid — almost blood-like … The roasted walnuts deepen the flavor of this drink and make it much more than beets and cheap bouillon. The color is spectacular: a purplish-pinkish-red. And there’s just enough kick with the hot peppers, pepper and garlic.

Lettuce & Pumpkin Seed Smoothie

19 Jul
Try adding pumpkin seeds to layer in a bit of bitter and depth.

Try adding pumpkin seeds to layer in a bit of bitter and depth to your next smoothie.

High off my success last night with my lettuce and pinot grigio smoothie, I boldly went where no human has gone before. This is what I made — and how —

  • 1/2 head of green oak leaf lettuce
  • 3 sprigs of flat leaf parsley
  • 5 sprigs of chives
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 T, walnuts
  • 1 T, salted pumpkin seeds
  • ice cubes

This combo didn’t taste so great. My mind said, “light, fruit.”So I added,

  • 1 orange, juiced

But then it was too light, so I added,

  • 1 cucumber, the little kind

But that was too bitter, so I added,

  • Salt

And that made it perfect. This is an excellent Vitamix lettuce smoothie. The layers of flavor are incredible, complex and in relationship to each other in surprising ways. The orange and lemon add the sour, with the orange making it light and just a bit sweet. The nuts bring in the deeper, bitter flavors. The herbs chime in, but not too loudly. The color of this drink is a pretty, light green and the texture is smooth, light and easy in the mouth.

Darn good wild raspberry smoothie

11 Jul

Our household was gifted with gobs of wild raspberries. Which we promptly froze for smoothies. This afternoon was my first attempt at using them, so I went light and mild for trial one.

Wild raspberry and tea smoothie

  • 1.5 c frozen wild raspberries
  • 1 c of sun tea (black tea and fresh mint)
  • 1 T of honey
Wild raspberries

Wild raspberries

The result was a refreshing drink, but not much of a smoothie, per se. The wild raspberries just aren’t richly pulpy. Though they are richly seedy.  So, knowing the fruit didn’t add too much flavor or pulp, I headed on to make smoothie #2.

Darn good wild raspberry smoothie

  • 1.5 c frozen wild raspberries
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 1/2 c  yogurt, plain
  • 1 T cocoa nibs (NIBS — as in bits o beans)
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of vanilla

Vitamix, natch. On high, high, high to pulverize the many seeds in the raspberries. OMG. This is one of the wilder and better smoothies I’ve made … and I’ve made a lot of smoothies. This is one darn good smoothie! The sour flavor from the berries, orange juice and yogurt are balanced by the sweetness of the honey and a bit from the berries. The chocolate/cocoa adds some bitterness and depth. The vanilla and cinnamon connect the flavors and add some gentle sophistication to the drink.

Strawberry Strawberry & Cashew Smoothie

8 Jul

raw-smoothie-recipes-strawberryBreakfast this morning: A strawberry-strawberry-cashew smoothie. Very, very nice. Here’s what I used:

  • 1 c of frozen strawberries (I freeze them after sugaring them and adding citric acid)
  • 1/2 c strawberry kefir
  • 6 unsalted raw cashews, soaked

Whirrrrrr in the Vitamix. Done.

Cantaloupe Ginger Honey Kefir Smoothie

29 Jun

cantaloupe - by scott bauerThis one got mixed reviews. It’s much lighter in texter than my more-typical fruit-dense smoothies, plus I added flavoring well above and beyond just the fruit. Here’s what I mixed —

  • 1/2 a cantaloupe
  • 10 ice cubes
  • 1 inch of ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 c vanilla kefir
  • 2 T honey

Vitamix on low, variable, then high. Cantaloupe is so watery, that it makes for a really different base drink than something pulpier, such as blueberries. Knowing it was going to be really watery,  and knowing I didn’t want to add to many fruits to it, I aimed to add more flavor layers. (Oh, cantaloupe, like all melons, is best eaten away from/distanced from eating other foods. At least, that’s what I’ve heard and adhere to mostly.) The ginger and honey added flavor layers. The ginger seemed almost a bit bitter to me; the lemon, sour, of course. Kefir is a little bit sour, but balanced by the vanilla flavor.

Anyway, I liked it. My sis was so-so on it. My dad and my mom both liked it. If I made it again, I’d halve the amount of ginger I used.

Pineapple Peach Kefir Smoothie

27 Jun

pineapple peachThe sibs visiting from out of town are quickly adapting to the nightly smoothie routine. Tonight’s concoction: pineapple, peach and kefir. Here’s what I used –

  • 1/3 of a pineapple
  • 2 peaches
  • 1/2 cup of vanilla kefir
  • 5-6 soaked Brazil nuts

Vitamix, first on low and variable. Then high-speed, especially with the Brazil nuts; needed to pulverize them. The pineapple and peaches by themselves were nice and tasty, but too light. Too airy. Not enough dimension to the drink. So I added some vanilla-flavored kefir for the fat from the kefir/yogurt-like drink. Plus the vanilla flavor and slight sour of the yogurt adds dimension. I added Brazil nuts because — well, heck — they’re rather healthy. Plus, they also added some weight and oil to the drink. Very nice end result. Light fruit flavor with the sweet pineapple and peaches, with layers of vanilla, sour and nuts (a smidge, just a smidge bitter).

Blueberry Peach Kefir Brazil Nut Borage + + + Smoothie

26 Jun

borage flowersBack from a long — and hot — day at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, it was time for a smoothie. I had four people total to make it for, so volume was as important as taste. I mixed —

  • 2 c frozen peaches (frozen by me last year with citric acid and sugar to sweat them)
  • 1.5 c frozen blueberries
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 4 Brazil nuts, soaked
  • 1/2 c of kefir, vanilla-flavored
  • 1 c of fruity-flavored tea
  • Some cran-pomegranate juice (bottled sugar) just because I needed more liquid and a little more sweetness
  • Oh, and I added a borage flower (edible) as decoration

Vitamix. Variable, then on high. Served in pretty glasses. Nice. Refreshing. Still thick enough to eat with a spoon.

Mango Peach Orange Banana Smoothie

23 Jun

peachesOK. This Mango Peach Orange Banana Smoothie was good. Nice blend of flavors. The color was pretty, as all the ingredients were yellow-peachy-orange-y colors. But, the weak point in this drink was the slight under-ripeness of the fruit: all of it – the banana, the peaches and the mango! Not surprisingly, the natural sugars of the fruits were less present. Shoulda added some honey. Oh, also, none of these fruits were frozen, so ice cubes were added. The ingredients —

  • 1 banana
  • 2 peaches
  • 1 mango
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 6-7 ice cubes

Vitamix. On high. Next time: remember to add sugar or honey.

Mango Blueberry Orange Kefir Smoothie

22 Jun

helios kefirI went out on a limb. Added some kefir, vanilla-flavored, to tonight’s smoothie. Here’s what I used —

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 mango
  • 1/2 c vanilla kefir

Blended it on high in my Vitamix. And there you have it. Good. The kefir changes it. Makes it meatier. More robust. I do like a pure fruit smoothie, but this was nice for a change of pace and shift in flavor not possible with just fruit.

Pineapple Mango Strawberry Orange Smoothie

27 May

straweberry orange smoothieToday’s smoothie: Pineapple Mango Strawberry Orange. Fantastic. Mango: it’s a magical ingredient in smoothies. Super simple. Super fab.

  • 1.5 c pineapple
  • 1 mango
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1/2 c fresh strawberries
  • little bit of ice
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