Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tips for the Best Nourishing Smoothies

The kids and I like to go for walks often, and during the warm months we always feel the urge to make a smoothie when we get home. Since we live in the desert, smoothie season basically runs from March through October, so we make lots of smoothies! Homemade smoothies can have superb nutrition and be absolutely delicious! What a great way to cool down. 
Nourishing, Delicious Smoothie Ingredients
I love the simplicity of making smoothies: just throw all of your ingredients into a blender and whir!  I don't think there is any perfect ratio of ingredients in smoothies, so I just follow some simple guidelines and don't worry about measuring the ingredients.

Essential ingredients:
  • 1 to 2 cups of milk kefir, yogurt, sour milk, raw milk, coconut milk, or fresh juice - I usually use yogurt or kefir as the base ingredient, which results in a deliciously tangy, probiotic-filled smoothie.  Sometimes I like the smooth creaminess of a raw milk or coconut milk smoothie, too. On special occasions, I will add a bit of fresh-squeezed juice.  With my blender, I have to make sure to add the base ingredient first, before adding any frozen ingredients.  Otherwise, it will not blend up properly.
  • 1 heaping spoonful of sour cream - It may sound strange, but sour cream is my secret ingredient to make a rich and delicious smoothie.  Just add a dollop to the blender any time you are making a smoothie and you will be pleasantly surprised at the great flavor it imparts.
  • 2 to 3 cups of frozen fruit - I find that using ice to thicken up a smoothie results in a somewhat watery-tasting smoothie.  Use frozen fruit instead and your smoothie will be bursting with flavor.
  • A pinch of salt - Add a pinch of salt to really bring out the sweet flavors in your smoothie.
  • 1 to 2 bananas or 1 heaping spoonful honey - Ripe bananas make smoothies very creamy and add just the right amount of sweetness. If you don't have any ripe bananas, add just a spoonful of raw honey (or none at all if the fruit you are using is very sweet).
  • Tiny splash of flavor extract - Add a flavor such as vanilla extract, orange extract, or almond extract to really add dimension to the flavor of your smoothie.
Optional ingredients:
  • 1 to 2 raw egg yolks or whole eggs - A great way to add some nutrients to smoothies is to add raw egg yolks or whole eggs (if you don't have any problem digesting raw egg whites).
  • 1 heaping spoonful nut butter - Add nut butter to make a smoothie into a meal.  Nut butter pairs well with any berries or bananas.
  • Splash of whey - Add a splash of raw whey to give your smoothie a probiotic boost. (This idea came from Laura at Wringing Out My Sponge.)

My Favorite Flavor Combinations
To make a smoothie, just follow the approximate ratios described above.  Some of my favorite flavor combinations are:
  • Tropical - fresh orange juice, pineapple, banana, and frozen strawberries or raspberries
  • Triple berry - banana, frozen strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries with a dash vanilla, almond, and/or orange extract
  • Strawberry dream - frozen strawberries, vanilla extract, and almond extract
  • Strawberry banana - banana, frozen strawberries, vanilla extract, and almond extract
  • Cherry goodness - frozen cherries, vanilla extract, and almond extract
  • Orange mango - banana, fresh orange juice and frozen mango
  • Strawberry delight - fresh orange juice, banana, and frozen strawberries 
  • Strawana peanut butter - banana, frozen strawberry, peanut butter, and vanilla extract

Make it Last by Freezing Some Smoothie!
I'm always looking for ways to save on effort and time spent in the kitchen.  So when I make smoothies, I like to make a large amount and freeze some into smoothie popsicles. It also works well to freeze smoothies in mason jars; they should be defrosted for about 24 hours in the fridge and will need a good stirring.  These leftover smoothies make a great, easy breakfast.

What is your favorite smoothie flavor combination? 

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet, Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist!


Laura said...

I did try adding sour cream ever since you mentioned it on my smoothie post... definitely a great addition! And now you have given me some new ideas... like the "Strawana peanut butter"... that sounds delicious, can't wait to try it!

Tom and Juli said...

We love our smoothies too! We also skip the ice and just use frozen fruit. Sometimes we add spinach too. I'm definitely going to have to try putting sour cream in them though.

Sense of Home Kitchen said...

We drink a lot of smoothies and I add whey whenever I have it left-over from making cheese. Our smoothies are usually just kefir, fruit (whatever we have), a tablespoon of honey, and if we have it, whey or a big handful of spinach from our garden. I think I will try your addition of sour cream.


Kelsey said...

mmm... thanks for the smoothie tips! :) I would have never thought to add sour cream, but I'm going to try that tomorrow! And great tip about the smoothie popsicles! I don't like having to make smoothies every morning, and having smoothie popsicles sounds like an excellent way to have a quick breakfast at my fingertips! Like another commenter said, I like to add some spinach to my smoothies - I lightly steam a bunch of spinach, freeze them in ice cube trays, and then add a cube or two to my smoothies. It makes it more filling for me.

Stephanie said...

I really love the way you make smoothies. Thanks for sharing!

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