Friday, November 21, 2008

Foodie Friday: Conquering the Smoothie Dilemma

For years, I've wanted to make smoothies. My first attempt failed miserably. MISERABLY.

This event happened many years ago. My first mistake in this process involved the equipment. Not knowing the ins and outs of blender technology, I bought the cheapest blender at the local Wal-Mart. Not a good idea at all.

I browsed online for smoothie recipes. I envisioned creating something akin to a Strawberry Orange Julius. I searched for Orange Julius smoothie recipes online. I found various recipes and made my second mistake. Instead of selecting one recipe and going with it, I decided to combine the ideas in a few and create my own Julius. The result of my strawberry, milk, orange juice, and ice concoction? Something very weird tasting, and nothing smooth at all. Trying to salvage the ingredients, I added sugar and more milk. Blend. Still bad. I add more strawberries. Blend. Worse. I had to just toss it.

Fast forward a few years. I move to Texas. I almost left the blender behind, but I thought I might need it at some point. It's stashed away until one night a friend and I decide to do a liver flush. I like to think my friend Welby and I are intelligent women, but when I think back on the liver flush days, I'm not so sure. Just how strung out on grad school were we?!?

We met every morning for 7 days straight, mixed up the flush, drank it down, brushed our teeth, and didn't eat or drink for 30 minutes after. Not the kind of smoothie I had in mind when I bought my blender, but at least I was getting some use out of it. Also, Welby and I could smell the garlic as it oozed out of each other's pores in class later in the day.

A few years later, I move across the state. We leave the blender behind. Buzz and I have Spark, and I decide to make my own baby food for him. And, I'm interested in the smoothie option again. We need a blender. Third mistake: I buy the most expensive blender I can find thinking that it will improve my odds of smoothie-ing with success.

I do manage to make some great baby food, but the blender I bought (KitchenAid's most expensive one that converts to a food processor) had way too many buttons to know how to use, had a tricky sensor on it that would prevent the motor from starting if everything wasn't lined up perfectly, had so many parts and pieces, and I couldn't keep up with which ones were dishwasher safe and which ones weren't, and it was such a pain to hand wash the parts that weren't, that I abandoned the cause soon after Spark was no longer eating purees. The blender/processor beast took up so much counter space that it was relocated to the utility room: that is the kiss of death for my appliances. Go the way of the bread machine, the Wok, the electric skillet, and likely you shall not return.

So, no breakfast smoothies for me.

I confessed to Welby that I had these smoothie catastrophes going on. She mentioned that her blender was simple: two buttons (on and off), just a few basic parts (all dishwasher safe), and blended things up like a charm.

So, after Flower was born, and I started thinking about making baby food again, I bought a new Osterizer blender and life has been sweet. I started whipping up some fabulous smoothies, experimenting with different combinations of fruit, yogurt, protein powders, and more. Now that Flower is eating solid foods, I'm a baby food making machine on the weekends. We stock up on veggie baby foods in the freezer, and I buy jarred fruits. I'm considering, though, tackling the fruits soon. I tried applesauce once, even in the new blender, and it did not go so well. Baby steps.

This morning, though, I made a terrific smoothie. It was nothing like an Orange Julius. I had my first Orange Julius in years a couple weeks ago, and I realized how sweet it tasted. I could barely taste the orange for all the sugar! This morning, I poured some Odwalla orange juice into my blender and opened a bag of frozen strawberries and dumped them in. The result: a perfect smoothie that actually tastes like fruit!

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