Sunday, August 2, 2015

Strawberry-Kiwi Candy Smoothie


I hate to alarm anyone, but it's August already. How did this happen?

August isn't much for holidays. There is no Labor Day, no Independence Day, no Thanksgiving. But it does mean the anniversary of the signing of the 19th Ammendment (Aug. 26),  National Rice Pudding Day (Aug. 9), Bad Poetry Day (Aug. 18), and (as hard as it is for me to type here) Back to School specials (date varies).

And back to school means back to smoothies for me. For, you see, I am not a morning person. I have to leave my keys in the same place every evening, or I won't be able to locate them the next morning without a husband-led search party of himself and the cats. In fact, I usually shower, choose my clothes, and pack up my work bag the night before. I am lucky to make it out the door with deodorant on, with smoothie in hand, and with caffeine in my cup.


I have a smoothie for breakfast every weekday morning during the school year. I blend these puppies up the night before, put them in a jar, pop 'em in the refrigerator, and grab them (along with my sunglasses, work bag, easily-located keys, workout clothes, and purse) as I go. Perfection.

However, there's one small problem: all of my smoothies look and taste exactly the same because my modus operandi is to throw in all the veggies and fruits I can find in the fridge. You can imagine that they are often brown, indistinct, and a little unappetizing.


And now, lucky for me, I have a new cookbook by Tess Masters (also known as The Blender Girl).

Now, I know you could just use The Blender Girl's App or go to her website, and I can't say that I blame you. But I like a cookbook. (In fact, I am one of those Luddites who likes a book in general.) And this cookbook certainly delivers. With 100 (!) recipes for a huge variety of smoothies, the book boasts stunning photographs (by Erin Kunkel) and an exhaustive list (and benefits) of items that a well-stocked smoothie pantry should have.

You know what you're getting with these smoothies. Before each recipe, Masters labels it with the following: detox, energizing, inflammation, weight loss, protein rich, contains nuts, immunity, alkaline, and unsweetened. She then follows her simple and easy to follow ingredients list with three optional boosters that will kick up one of those labels.


Further, Masters details the six steps needed to make your own spectacular smoothies:

1.) Start with a liquid (nut milk, water, juice, coconut water)
2.) Choose a base (fruits and vegetables, could be a single flavor like watermelon or a combination of flavors like watermelon and strawberries)
3.) Include a textural component (bananas, avocado, coconut, yogurt, oats or other grains, tofu)
4.) Add some greens (spinach, chard, kale, arugula)
5.) Boost with nutrition (chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp oil, probiotic powder, maca powder)
6.) Add magic (spices, herbs, citrus zest, chocolate, vanilla extract, salt).  

Maybe with this list, when I decide to wing it rather than follow a recipe, my smoothies will stop being so brown.


My inaugural smoothie from this book was the Strawberry-Kiwi Candy Smoothie, which tastes just like candy, people. She calls this recipe an immunity blend because of the abundance of vitamin C in the oranges, strawberries, and kiwi and the probiotics in the yogurt. Add one or all three of the boosters (basil, 1 teaspoon flaxseed oil, 1 teaspoon camu powder) and you'll up-the immunity supporting properties, what with all of their omega 3s, fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, and vitamin K.  

I did make some changes to the original recipe (which you can find here). While Masters suggests that juices "are generally integral to the characters of blends, so changing them may lead to innovations or to flops," I usually avoid using juices as my base in a smoothie, for they lack the fiber that blended fruit gives. Her original recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups fresh orange juice. I peeled 2 medium-sized oranges and threw them in the blender with 1 1/2 cups of water (I like a thinner smoothie, but you could go with as low as a 1/2 a cup of water if you like your smoothies thicker). I also switched out the flaxseed oil for flaxseed meal, (to learn the differences, see here).


Finally, while I made one version without greens (for most of these bright pink photographs), I did make another with a giant handful of spinach--smoothies are the perfect vehicle for those healthy greens that I just don't eat enough of because you don't really taste them--and I wanted to ensure that this recipe is school-ready for the fall.

Turns out it is: you'll note that it's, thankfully, more green than brown.



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Strawberry-Kiwi Candy Smoothie


I made some alterations (see above for rationale). If you are interested in the exact recipe from Tess Masters, see here.

Yield:
Serves 2

Ingredients:  
2 medium oranges, peeled and quartered
1 to 1 1/2 cups water (depending on how thick you like your smoothie)
3 medium kiwis, peeled and quartered
3/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
2 cups frozen strawberries
2 Tbsp chopped basil  (optional)
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal (optional)
1 large handful greens (spinach, chard, kale) (optional)

Instructions:
1.  Put all of the ingredients in the blender and blend on high for 30-60 seconds, until smooth and creamy.

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