Greatest, most nutritious, most easily digested, most versatile post-workout pick-me-up/snack/meal/party favor? THE SMOOTHIE. You just put anything that is delicious into the blender, puree, and you have the greatest food on earth! No wonder smoothie shops have popped up all over the nation, even in my hometown of Morris. But wait, maybe people don’t realize that smoothies can be cheaper and just as delicious, if not more so, at home… unlike my childhood neighbor, who bragged about the “homemade big macs” they made. NO WAY were those as good as McD’s*.
*my thoughts as a child.
Is it cleaning the blender that deters you? Best advice: drop $50 at Target on a Kitchen Aide immersion blender. Easy clean-up, and it can be used as a weapon if strangers intrude during your smoothie makin’ (as long as they stay within reach of the cord).
Pretty much anything can be delicious in a smoothie if you play it off right. Some especially tasty ones I’ve made recently: 1. ginger, pomegranate juice, yogurt, banana, and spirulina, 2. frozen mango, milk, cinnamon, almond extract, and orange juice. (Ellen’s faves: 1. banana, raw oatmeal, honey, cinnamon, and yogurt, 2. frozen banana, avocado, yogurt, and shaved coconut.) See now, if I had a smoothie shop, I could also give them kooky fun names, but we’ll leave that b.s. to the professionals.
Choose some fruit: blueberries, strawberries, mango, avocado, banana, pear… Trader Joe’s has a good selection of affordable frozen fruit. Seedy fruits like raspberries and blackberries are o.k. if you like drinking liquid sandpaper. Citrus fruits work best in juice form.
Choose some liquid: any kind of fruit juice, kefir, milk, iced green or herbal tea, greek yogurt…
Choose a little something for kick: ginger root, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla extract, almond extract, peanut butter, squeeze of lime…
Choose something weird: cooked oatmeal, frozen edamame (a tasty soybean for protein), wheatgrass, spirulina (a bizarre, green nutritional substance you can buy in powder form at the coop. The Aztecs called it “stone excrement”. YUM!), green leafies like parsely or cilantro, kitchen sink… ???
Anything, really, but do use your good sense. Just picture the ingredients going out to dinner and a movie together. Would Peanut Butter and Lime go out on a second date? Not a chance. But for Lime and Avocado, it might be love! Then picture who of their friends would be at the wedding. Cilantro? Probably the best man! Apple juice? The bride’s personal attendant, holding the show together.
This is just a basic outline. Want to try a caprese salad smoothie during tomato season? Sure! Blend up some basil and tomato with S&P, and sculpt a straw out of fresh mozzarella! Sky’s the limit, as they say.