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Friday, September 07, 2012

Kale Kick

Still on a kale kick this week...

  • 1.5 c water
  • 1 carrot
  • handful of kale
  • handful of spinach or collard greens (mine was frozen)
  • zucchini slices
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 pear
  • ice
  • sweetener of choice (I used stevia)

Monday, September 03, 2012

Labor Day Green Smoothie

Nothing fancy and no laboring today, just a variety of greens.  All my greens happened to be frozen and, except for the apple, the fruits were frozen too.

Labor Day Smoothie
  • 1.5 cups water
  • red beet stems/leaves
  • 3 collard greens leaves
  • 1/4 cup spinach
  • 1/3 green zucchini
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 or 3 chunks of pineapple
  • 2/3 green apple
  • handful of blueberries
  • sweetener of choice (I used stevia)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

I call this drink "Red Velvet Hot Chocolate" and it's yummy and healthy!

  • 8 to 12 oz of almond/coconut milk
  • approx 8 raw cashew nuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1/4 raw red beet
  • Handful of kale
  • sweetener of choice
  • vanilla protein powder (optional)

Blend thoroughly for approximately 1 minute, starting on Variable speed 1, then pushing quickly to speed 10, then on to High Speed. 

I heated my mug of hot chocolate in the microwave for 50 seconds instead of running the Vitamix for 4 minutes.

For those who wonder, "don't you taste the beet and kale?"  You don't.  The cocoa and vanilla covers any veggie flavor, kale is a neutral veggie which mixes well with anything, and in only using 1/4 raw beet, you get added nutrition and a nice color, but without any strong taste.  I made mine with a scoop of vanilla protein powder, which I really like.

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Modified Hot Pink Smoothie

Using different ingredients, but still 1/2 a beet.

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
  • a bunch of red grapes
  • 1/2 raw beet
  • 1/2 apple
  • 2 or 3 handfuls of kale
  • 2 tbsps of raw cashew nuts
  • 1 or 2 pitted dates
  • ice as needed

Still pink, still delicious, less sweet than the original with the added kale.  A different "hot pink" smoothie.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Magenta Smoothie

It's not's Magenta.  Yes, today's smoothie is sponsored by the color Magenta

  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • 1/2 cup of water + ice
  • 1 cup of red grapes
  • The stems from red beets
  • 2 cups of kale (leaves & stems)
  • 1 cup of red cabbage
  • 1/2 banana (frozen)
  • 1/3 apple
  • sweetener of your choice (I used Stevia)

The taste is more fruity than grassy green.  Kale mixes so well with everything.  Red cabbage works great with beets or beet tops.  I used more grapes than I normally do in a smoothie because I had extra to use up.  It's good!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lemon and Friends

Something about lemonade and Saturday afternoons.  It's a good time for me to sneak in some neutral veggies (neutral = they don't add any strong taste).

  • 1.5 c water
  • 1 peeled lemon
  • 1/2 slice pineapple
  • 5 frozen pitted cherries
  • 5 frozen grapes (mixed)
  • 2 dates
  • slice of red cabbage
  • a few leaves of kale
  • sweetener of your choice
  • ice, as needed

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Famous "Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie"

This is an extremely popular smoothie recipe by Green Smoothie Girl.  It's featured in one of her books and is beloved by many. 

It's "hot pink" and yes, it's delicious.  Made this for the very first time today and there's nothing to dislike about this lovely smoothie.  I actually think this would be a good "dessert" smoothie because it's sweet and doesn't use any greens.

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut water (fresh or canned/boxed)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large carrot, halved
  • 1/2 medium raw beet, peeled
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates (or 4 – 5 large, pitted dates)
  • 10 - 12 frozen strawberries
  • 1 tbsp. protein powder (optional)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bright Green Smoothie

Determined to have today's smoothie be a bright shade of green and not the rejected Army brown color I concocted the other day.
  • 2 cups water
  • 1.5 cups green cabbage
  • 1 handful of collard greens & stems
  • 2 leaves of mustard greens
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 fuji apple
  • 1 kiwi
  • 2 tbsps flax seeds
  • Stevia for sweetness
  • Ice as needed

The yield was 1 quart.  I will have half today and the rest tomorrow.

Mission Accomplished.  It's very green!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

When Good Veggies Go Bad

I purchased about 8 different kinds of veggies when I did my big store run.  All the veggies were fresh.  I read it's important to rotate the kinds of veggies used in daily green smoothies, so I figured I would get lots of different kinds.

However, as a single person in a household of exactly one human, I figured out by day #3 post-shopping I wasn't going to be able to use all the veggies before they went bad.  That would be unacceptable, so time for this old dog to learn a new trick.

Leafy greens have to be blanched before they are frozen.  Otherwise they will turn into a messy goo in the freezer.  I've never blanched anything before (at least not on purpose).  This time it would be on purpose.

  • Fill large pot (as large as you've got) with water & add some salt
  • Boil water in pot & keep it on a slow rolling boil
  • In a separate large bowl, add a lot of ice cubes and fill bowl with water (aka ice bath)
  • Immerse the washed leafy greens in the boiling water
  • Let the veggies boil for 1 to 2 minutes and remove
  • Immediately plunge the blanched veggies into the ice bath and let them completely cool.
  • Drain the cooled veggies in a collandar
  • Squeeze out excess liquid from veggies
  • Package veggies in freezer-proof bags or containers, label, and into the freezer it goes!  Freeze in serving size portions to make things easier.

How to Freeze Fresh Fruit

  • Wash fruit
  • Peel if necessary (most fruit doesn't need to be peeled but bananas & citrus do)
  • Remove seeds or pits
  • Cut larger fruits into chunks
  • Place fruit in a single layer on a plate or cookie sheet
  • Put tray of fruit in freezer for approximately 30 minutes
  • Remove fruit from freezer and put into a freezer proof bag or container.
  • Label and place bag or container back in the freezer.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sometimes Colors Don't Play Well

Today's smoothie tastes great, and that's the good news.  The bad news?  Well...have you ever mixed crayon colors or paint colors to see what would happen?  Green/Purple/Orange/Red/Yellow  This is kind of like that.

First the ingredient list:
  • 2 cups water
  • couple handfuls of green lettuce
  • 3 or 4 slices of frozen yellow squash
  • couple slices of frozen red cabbage
  • frozen collard greens
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 fuji apple
  • 1/2 frozen banana 
  • 2 or 3 chunks of frozen pineapple
  • 6 frozen grapes
  • 6 frozen pitted cherries
  • 2 tbsps of flax seeds
  • dash of stevia for added sweetness

Because several of my fruits and veggies were already frozen I didn't need to add ice.  The mixture blended well and came out uniformly smooth.  It made 1 quart.

The taste is yummy.

Ugly Duckling
The color?  Let's just say this is not the smoothie to serve any guests.  It's a horrible shade of brown/green.  It's the ugly duckling of smoothies.  There is nothing remotely appetizing about its color.  If you mix these particular ingredients you have to ignore the color and just know you are getting good nutrition and of course the taste is the most important thing.  It smells good too, very fresh.  Just don't look at it, and if you have company, make them a smoothie that won't turn into a color both Crayola and the US Army rejected. :-)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

VitaMix Models - Essentially the Same!

I've had my VitaMix TNC (Total Nutrition Center) since 1994.  The TNC V-S (variable speed) was the first model that VitaMix released after their infamous steel container with spigot models (3600 and 4000).  Each of these VitaMix models has the same model number on the back label (VM0103).  Same machine!

VitaMix TNC verus VitaMix 5000 versus Vitamix 5200

Every VitaMix released since 1994 has been based on the TNC 1993 design and other than a few tweaks, not much has changed since.

{The NEWEST Vitamix models from 2013 forward do have some additional features like presets.  You may want these newest features.  You may not need them though, so do your homework!  The basic power of the Vitamix and blades are the same though.  2+ HP up to 37,000 rpm}
  • VM TNC has the same 2+ HP motor, with up to 37,000 rpm as the Vitamix 5200
  • VM TNC has both high and variable speeds controls (1-10)
  • VM TNC uses the same 64 oz containers with the same blades (either wet or dry).
  • The container materials have evolved to no BPA and the lid design has been improved.  I upgraded my 64 oz container in 2008.
  • There are smaller containers now available in addition to the 64 oz standard.  The 32 oz is the new one I just purchased.  There's also a 48 oz container.  However, not every container will fit so make sure you check with Vitamix!
  •  The tamper design changed with the 5000 model.  I now have an updated tamper that will work with both the 64 oz and 32 oz containers.
  • Starting with the VM 5000 the high/variable switch was changed to a vertical orientation instead of horizontal but other than orientation, it works the same and is in the same place on the base (left of the center dial).
  • Lots of cosmetic and label changes over the years, along with the VitaMix logo and the addition of colors for the bases (black, white, red, stainless).

VM Centering Pad
The design difference on the base (the workhorse part of the machine) from when I purchased my VM in 1994 is the use a rubber centering pad, which was standard starting with the 5000 models.  That's a simple upgrade and one that is required to use the smaller containers on an older Vitamix base.  I'm awaiting the arrival of a centering pad so I can start using my 32 oz container. 

Other than that and the cosmetic changes over the years, my 1994 VitaMix TNC is the same as the 5200 model that many purchase today.  Even the "pro" VitaMix models have the same underlying engineering and design.  However, Vitamix has come out with newer models (6000 and up series) so check the specs and see if new features are important to you!

VitaMix has a lot of models, but don't get confused.  They have some fancy pre-programmed settings in their higher end models, but you will pay extra $$$ for those features.  The manuals and recipe books have been upgraded and that too is part of the increased cost.  The essentials are the same:  a variable speed setting with 10 speeds on a dial and a high speed (take me to the moon, rocket ship) setting. 

There are 3 container sizes now instead of just the one that was manufactured when I purchased my Vitamix in 1994.  Most Vitamix models still come standard with the tall 64 oz container.  There's also a 48 oz container (which does require a separate blade to fit the base) and a smaller 32 oz container (which uses the exact same blade as the 64 oz size container).  Changing a blade is super easy and fast with the Vitamix plastic wrench, so you can use the same blade in both the 64 oz and 32 oz containers.  Those are the 2 size containers I like.  That said, do your homework!  If you are confused if a container will fit the base you want to purchase, then check with Vitamix customer service.

Want to keep your your Vitamix on the counter and have the base + container fit under your kitchen cabinets?  Simple.  You need the shorter 32 oz (or 48 oz) container.  That's it.  The VM bases are the same.  These newer containers are shorter and that's what allows the VM blender to fit under your kitchen cabinets.

What about purchasing a separate dry blade container?  Unless you know you're going to grind a lot of grain, you really don't need a separate dry container.  It's a nice-to-have, but not essential unless you are into grinding grains to make flour.  Grinding grain will, over time, mar the finish of a plastic container.  That's why VitaMix started selling a separate "dry" container with a separate dry blade.

And what about the newest Vitamix model 6300?  Same base, same machine, same containers, higher cost!

My Advice:

If I were in the market to purchase a VitaMix today I would purchase a used machine (look on ebay) or even just a used base and then purchase a new container separately, with one blade.  You'll save hundreds of $$$.  You'll see listings for the Vitamix 5000 or Total Nutrition Center or the Vitamix 5200.  Except for the labels and base color, each is essentially the same machine!

Dr. Oz Breakfast Green Drink

Haven't tried this one yet, but I'm going to when I get the ingredients.  I'll probably use less celery than he does.

If Dr. Oz likes it it's worth a try.

2 cups spinach
2 cups cucumber
1 head of celery
1/2 inch or teaspoon ginger root
1 bunch parsley
2 apples
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lemon


Combine all ingredients and blend till smooth. This makes approximately 28-30 ounces.

Dry Chopping

I wanted to try dry chopping, something I only recently learned my VM could do.  I knew about wet chopping previously, but being able to dry chop veggies was most intriguing.

I needed two carrots chopped for something I was making.  It took all of maybe 8 seconds in the VM, on variable speed 2.  I started the blades first then added the carrots, 1 at a time, whole.  Easy peasy.

The instruction video is kind of hokey, but the technique is what's important.

Mellow Green Sunday

No picture today, but the green smoothie I made contained:

  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup mixed frozen grapes
  • 8 frozen pitted cherries
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tbsps flax seeds
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 2 handfuls lettuce greens
  • 1 slice frozen red cabbage
  • Stevia for sweetness
  • ice cubes

Nice flavor, great green color, very creamy with both banana and avocado.  2 cups of water would be my only change, which would make a full quart of juice.

Friday, August 10, 2012

It's 5 o'clock Somewhere - Frosty Pink Lemonade with Sage

I was craving a lemonade.  I have lemons!  I have water!  I have ice!

And I purchased fresh sage and I also have frozen pitted cherries.

Recipe adapted from the Vitamix Frosty Basil Lemonade, the addition of some frozen cherries give it a wonderful color and taste.  I mistakenly purchased sage at the store.  Still tastes great to me!

  • 2 cups water
  • 1.5 cups of ice
  • 2 lemons peeled, de-seeded, quartered
  • 6 to 8 frozen pitted cherries
  • small handful of sage, maybe 1/4 c.
  • Sweetener of your choice

This drink is TART with a capital 'T.'  Don't forget the liberal use of the sweetener of your choice.  I used Stevia, but then also added a little Splenda.