Ninja RobynTue, 26 Jul 2016 11:09am0 Comments

The surprisingly potent

If there's one thing I've learned from making smoothies, it's how surprisingly potent certain fruits and vegetables are. Case in point: the most potent fruit I've used is watermelon and the most potent veggie is celery. What do these two have in common? Water! How can two things that are known for being full of water completely take over the taste of a smoothie?

Watermelon

Two other potent fruits I've found are raspberries and bananas. Now, I knew that bananas were potent enough to hijack the taste of a smoothie - which is why I never use them - but I didn't expect raspberries to do the same thing. Boy, a few raspberries goes a loooong way! I guess this is a good thing since when I use raspberries, I put them in the juice by themselves and attempt to pulverize the shit out of them before adding everything else. The fewer raspberries needed, the easier to get rid of those pesky seeds.

On the other hand, strawberries are surprisingly not potent. Despite their strong taste and smell, when you add them to a smoothie they seem to disappear. I add them to every smoothie I make mostly for bulk because they honestly don't add much flavor (which makes me sad). I suspect the fact that they are one of the fruits that doesn't have much sugar may play a role in their lack of flavor, but I'm not really sure.

Finally, as I've mentioned before, I found quite a difference in taste when you add spinach vs. kale. Unlike what I had heard, spinach really added quite a bit of flavor, whereas kale did not. However, I have found a workaround for spinach - cooking it. More specifically, I steam the spinach and then freeze it. For whatever reason, it doesn't add much flavor cooked. Go figure!

Ninja RobynFri, 22 Jan 2016 1:37pm0 Comments

GETTING STARTED: THE INGREDIENTS

When I first decided to make smoothies, I went crazy buying as many types of frozen fruit as I could find. This included:

- Strawberries
- Raspberries
- Blueberries
- Cranberries
- Cherries
- Peaches
- Nectarines
- Pineapple
- Mango

As I mentioned, I love fruit, so I loaded up on pretty much all I could find. Vegetables, on the other hand, I decided to be a bit more conservative with, so I only started with 1 bag of frozen kale. I don't think I've ever really had kale before, so I had no idea what to expect with it.

I also decided to grab some juices (100% and with no added sugar, of course) to use as the liquid part of my smoothie. For the juice, I decided to focus on fruits/veggies that are harder to use whole such as:

- Apples
- Pears
- Apricots
- Guavas
- Passion fruit
- Watermelon

Yes, I could buy apples and pears and cut them up, but my goal is to make smoothies in the morning right before I head to work and I don't want to take the time to do that, so juice it is!

I also decided to try a mixed fruit and veggie juice that Whole Foods had in their produce section. It's called Hawaiian Pear and it includes pineapple, pear, kale, spinach, and celery. The juice is actually quite good and it is the liquid in one of my favorite smoothies I've made so far (more on that later).

Since getting started, I've also added a few additional frozen fruits and veggies to my stash. On the fruit side, after buying the amazing Vitamix (more on that later as well), I bought blackberries and boysenberries, which I had previously shyed away from due to their seeds. After my new found love of kale - seriously it's great in pretty much every smoothie I've made - I also grabbed rainbow chard, spinach, collard greens, and I even found a bag of frozen beets!

In addition to fruits and veggies, I also often add aloe vera, flaxseed, and/or chia seeds to my smoothies. Aloe is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients and is supposed to aid in digestion; however drinking more than the recommended 2-4 oz can have adverse side effects. I pour a bit in before adding my main juice, so I don't add too much aloe. The flaxseed and chia seeds both boast micronutrients, fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids (I usually use one or the other in my smoothies).

I had some intial concerns with the chia seeds (remember how I mentioned that I hate seeds), but after taking a closer look I figured they'd be too small to bother me and they are! You do have to plan ahead though as they need to be soaked in water overnight, but shouldn't be left that way for longer than 24 hours or so.

These are the ingredients that got me started. Stay tuned to see some of my favorite recipes and some of my not-so-favorite recipes I've tried so far!