Monday, October 06, 2014

Tips For Making Perfect Smoothies + Recipes


I love smoothies. Although I've been making them since I was a teenager, it was only this year that I figured out a few secrets to making smoothies that really improved my homemade smoothies. Now I love the smoothies that I make at home. Here are some tips to making a super yummy Jamba Juice like smoothie at home.

1. Use frozen fruit - This is very important! Without using frozen fruit, your smoothies will never have a thick consistency like restaurant style smoothies. I made hundreds of smoothies using fresh fruit until my brilliant husband one day suggested I try frozen fruit; I used to make my own smoothies daily and buy Jamba Juice smoothies weekly; now I only make my own. 

I've froze lots of different types of fruits for smoothies - strawberries, peaches, blueberries, melons (cantaloupe, watermelon, etc), raspberries, kiwis, pears, huckleberries, nectarines, mangoes, bananas, etc. The only fruit that I haven't used frozen in smoothies is apples; I always use fresh apples in my smoothies. I love freezing fruit because when it is in season and inexpensive I can buy it in bulk and use it all year long. 

How to freeze fruit: (1) Wash, peel, remove seeds/pits, and cut the fruit up. Yes, really nice blenders can and will puree large chunks of fruit such as whole strawberries, but its a lot easier on them if you cut them up smaller. (2) Lay it on a cookie sheet in a single layer (it is easiest if the fruit pieces don't touch each other) (3) Place the cookie sheet with the fruit in the freezer until fruit is frozen solid (I usually freeze mine overnight) (4) Remove cookie sheet from freezer and using a pancake turner remove the fruit from the cookie sheet (5) Place frozen fruit into a plastic freezer bag; label, date, and place the bag of fruit back in the freezer to use. 


2. Use a good blender - We received a relatively nice blender as a wedding gift, it lasted for 7 years, until I started making frozen fruit smoothies on a daily basis - then it died in a week. My awesome hubby bought me a BlendTec blender for my birthday this year and it is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I could write a whole blog post on why we chose a BlendTec and how much we like it (and maybe I will one day). Right now what I'll say is that it does a superb job at blending frozen fruit into smoothies. Yes,it was expensive but now I don't have to buy weekly Jamba Juice for each member of my family so in the long run it will save me money :)


3. Use fun straws! We love finding products that are reusable and fun to replace one time use products. A few years ago I discovered glass straws. We liked them but we had one problem with them - kids break them. I think my toddler has broken 3 glass straws now. A couple of months ago I discovered stainless steel straws; problem solved! I was excited when Eco At Heart reached out to me and asked if I wanted to review their straws... umm yeah! They sent me their family pack of stainless straws to try. Not only do these straws not break, they are dishwasher safe, they come with a cleaning brush, and they cost less than glass straws! They are wide enough to sip smoothies but narrow enough to still drink thin liquids like water, milk, and juice. They are easy to clean with the included brush and I love that the box doubles as a place to store the straws. 


4. Get creative and make some smoothies! I love that I can throw whatever combination of fruits and juices I have into the blender and they have always turned out great. I don't buy a lot of fruit juices from the store (I usually make my own) so if I don't have any juice, I use milk instead. I also usually use homemade yogurt, so my yogurt is always plain. If you do decide you need some recipes, here are some of my favorites (that I created)to get you started:

The Happy Smoothie
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen peach chunks
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
1 cup orange juice
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 to 1 cup ice

Tropical Smoothie
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 frozen bananas (about 1/2 cup frozen banana chunks)
1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks 
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 to 1 cup ice

Take a Break Smoothie
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen peach chunks
1 cup apple juice
fresh squeezed juice from 1 lemon
1/2 to 1 cup ice




Disclaimer: I received the Eco at Heart Straws mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


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