I like smoothies. My Mom got me hooked on them when I was a kid. If she needed a fast breakfast for her five kids, the blender was a real crowd pleaser. She would make eggnog in what I now consider the old-fashioned way, with milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and raw eggs in her blender. No one was talking about e coli in those days. Young athletes were routinely downing raw eggs as part of their training programs and the only real fear factor was it seemed a bit gross. When my mother pointed out that cookie and cake batter also contained raw eggs, most of us stopped being squeamish about it. As long as it was well mixed in the blender, it didn’t technically qualify as icky raw eggs anymore.
Mom would add bananas to make banana nog, chocolate syrup to make chocolate nog, or oranges to make orange nog. It didn’t take long before all of her kids were making their own bizarre concoctions.
A decade or so passed and e coli became a household word. I stopped making nogs, but continued to try out smoothie recipes. My favorite was strawberry-banana, either with milk, buttermilk, or yogurt. I also enjoyed combinations like purple grape juice with pineapple, banana with celery, and banana with chocolate. As an avid dieter, I found these liquid meals to be helpful for keeping my waistline in check.
That all changed when I hit my mid-twenties and became allergic to dairy. Food allergies are a real bummer, but they can be an interesting challenge. You become very creative in the kitchen and learn all sorts of hacks to work around them. I put the blender away and learned to eat other things for breakfast.
A few years later, I was looking sadly at the blender one day when it occurred to me that the soy milk I was eating on my breakfast cereal might make a good smoothie base. Before long, I was at it again. My new favorites became citrus rosewater, banana mocha, and pumpkin spice.
When I had kids, they shared my enthusiasm and we would make watermelon citrus slurries and combine them with soda for an after school treat. Years later my son helped me perfect my green blended coffee drink and my grown daughter makes a mean two-frozen-bananas-and-more-strawberries-than-the-law-should-allow milkshake. Sometimes she throws in some chocolate syrup too.
My own smoothie bases have continued to change through the years. I gave up soy milk for almond milk and then realized I could put a bit of almond butter in a blender with water and have a pretty decent equivalent. I’ve tried coconut milk, which is especially good in a banana mango smoothie. Water or juice often work out fine, and strangely enough, I’ve discovered meringue powder and pasteurized egg whites add a nice amount of protein. If a local source for pasteurized shell eggs should appear, I’ll be back to where I started, making egg nog smoothies.
These days, I keep a collection of frozen fruits in my deep freeze and try to vary the colors to get a full spectrum of vitamins. My blends often contain vegetables as well as fruits, and utilize all manner of spices and extracts. This tendency was aided when my mother bought me an industrial style blender several years ago. I nicknamed the monstrous machine Igor and we had many adventures experimenting in my kitchen laboratory.
Alas, I was rather distressed earlier this week to discover that Igor had reached the end of it’s days. Until I can rake together a sizeable chunk of money I’ll have to make due with the small mainstream type of blender I had in reserve in my kitchen. Ah well, yet another challenge. I’m up to it.
Life is all about challenges, and fewer are more delicious than what to make in the kitchen. I’ve not listed recipes because taste can be relative: my “blueberry fabulous” might not be your idea of fabulous at all. There are tons of recipes on the internet, though, and if you write down your experiments, it’s very easy to develop a whole wonderful collection of your own.
Do you make blender drinks? What’s your favorite?
- “Average an hour a day setting up Hunt Club for print.” Nope, but I finished getting the cover for Hunt Club set up. We’ll be doing a test print tomorrow to make sure it comes out good. Now to get back to work cleaning up the written part. You’re NEVER done proofreading.
- “Average ½ hour a day working on new novel.” I put in about an hour since Sunday.
- “Average ½ hour a day on promotion and blogs.” Up to date and then some.
- “Finish reading a book and write a review.” Nope.
I guess any progress is better than none. This month has been far less productive than I had hoped it would be, but I put in 22 hours towards getting my book ready to print, six hours toward my next novel, and 16 hours of blogging and promotion work. That’s 44 hours total which isn’t bad for a non-NaNo month. Perhaps I can use this as a baseline and try to beat it in September. Here’s hoping.