Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Green Smoothies

I resisted the Green Smoothie band wagon for a long time, because, well, why would I want to drink something with spinach in it? But they kept showing up in my blog reader, and on Facebook, and on Pinterest, so I finally gave it a go. I was pleasantly, happily surprised. If you've never had a green smoothie and find the whole idea a little scary (like I did), have no fear! You can't taste the spinach at all, just the flavor of sweet fruit.

I think the green smoothies taste the best when they are just made and super cold. I made extra once and put it in the fridge, and while it tasted fine later, it wasn't as yummy as when it was fresh and still slushy. I have had success with putting it in the freezer, though, so that's an option. My teenager likes to eat it straight from the freezer with a spoon, but you can also defrost it a little in the microwave, stir, and it's like you just made it.

What you put in your green smoothie will determine what color it ends up being. I've made them with frozen berries which turned the smoothie a weird brown color. It looked decidedly not-delicious, but it was very good and tasted of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries (there were lots of seeds, though). So keep in mind that the more red, purple, or blue fruit you put in your smoothie, the more not-green the color will be.

One of the great things about green smoothies is that there are no limitations to what you can put in it. I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk, but you could also use coconut milk, soy milk, or even water; I use spinach, but you could use kale or any other leafy green (though I've read that using lettuce makes the smoothie taste a little like dirt). And sky's the limit when it comes to the fruit. I like to use all or mostly frozen fruit because then my finished smoothie is very slushy and cold. But I've used fresh pear, fresh kiwi, fresh and canned pineapple, fresh banana. I sometimes add a little peanut butter (OMG, Yum.), or even protein powder; pasteurized egg whites from a carton would be great, too. A friend who makes more adventurous green smoothies than I do made one recently with kale, apple, and mint. Sounds tasty, yes?

I usually end up with about 2 1/2 cups of smoothie, which I drink all by myself, unless my teenager happens to hear the blender going and runs out to beg for some, and she catches me feeling generous. Drinking them makes me feel pretty awesome and healthy, and I may or may not sometimes have a big smoothie after eating some take-out 3-Meat Treat pizza. Because balance is important.

So, this is what I put in my smoothie most of the time, but remember that the combinations are only limited by what flavors you like and how daring you feel at the moment you find yourself standing in front of your blender:

Basic Green Smoothie
printable recipe

8 oz (1 cup) unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 big handfuls fresh baby spinach
2-2 1/2 cups mixed frozen fruit
1-2 teaspoons agave nectar

Combine everything in your blender and blend until smooth.

Makes 2-2 1/2 cups smoothie.

End note: I'm discovering that you need a pretty beefy blender to make these. Right now I'm using my Hamilton Beach blender that I've had for 11 years. It works, but it takes a while to do the job (and lots of stopping and stirring to dislodge frozen fruit that gets stuck on or under the blades), and I don't know how long it will last before it burns up on me. Then I'll be in the market for new blender that can handle whatever smoothie concoction I put in it's canister.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dear Betty Crocker,

My name is Tiffiny Felix.

I don't know when it happened, but I just noticed that your cake mixes are no longer 18.25 oz, but are 15.25 oz. Did you think that people wouldn't eventually realize that you decreased the size of the mixes but didn't lower the price? Did you think people wouldn't notice that their cakes were shorter, or that their batter made 22 cupcakes instead of 24? Did you think people would notice but not care? People are noticing, and they do care.

It also does not appear that you took in to account all of the many recipes that turn a Betty Crocker cake mix into all manner of bars and cookies and other desserts. How many of those recipes won't work right anymore because there isn't the same amount of cake mix? How many people are now going to turn to your competition because their cake mixes are still 18.25 oz.?

This decision was underhanded and disrespectful of your loyal customers. It was poorly played, Betty Crocker. Poorly played, indeed.

Most sincerely,

Tiffiny Felix
The Bake-Off Flunkie
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