Beat the heat with homemade smoothies

  • Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Smoothies are a delicious treat – especially in the summer months.


Special to The Gazette

Americans love their smoothies, and I am no exception. The thick slushy drinks have been around since the 1930’s and range from super thick milkshakes, to frozen margaritas and daiquiris, to bland and watery vegetable juice drinks.

Good news, Goose Creek! Making smoothies at home has never been easier.  All you need is some creativity, a little ice and a blender. Of the three, perhaps the blender is most misunderstood.

There are many different blenders on the market, from cheap plastic machines designed for dorm rooms, to $500 blenders that could crush glaciers. The good news is, if you are the average home smoothie maker, a middle of the line, good heavy-duty blender is perfect.

If your blender is less than heavy duty, as mine was for many years, remember to use smaller pieces of frozen fruits and ice. Blend times make take a little longer, but the smoothies will taste just as good.

I do have one, humble, opinion about blenders. I feel that blenders with square bases do a better job than blenders with small round bases. They blend more evenly and quickly and are certainly easier to clean.

So grab your blender and some ice, and let’s make smoothies.

Instead of spending five bucks at the local coffeehouse for an iced coffee or coffee smoothie, make one at home! It is fast and easy, but best of all, you control the sugar, caffeine and chemicals that sneak into coffeehouse smoothies.

This frozen coffee delight is just sweet enough to balance the strong coffee flavor. Coconut milk, instead of regular milk, cuts dairy fat and adds a subtle coconut flavor and richness that I love. If coconut milk is not for you, feel free to substitute whole or 2 percent milk for this recipe.

If you think summertime heat means you have to give up coffee in the morning, think again and give this icy coffee smoothie a try.

Americans don’t eat enough vegetables.  However, a trend has emerged that has seriously jazzed up greens consumption: the Green Smoothie.

As any serious smoothie drinker will tell you, 2012 is the year of the Green Smoothie. The orange and juice offset the bitterness of the spinach without making this overly sweet while Greek yogurt and avocado add rich creaminess that is not at all heavy. With a piece of whole grain toast, this smoothie is a perfect lunchtime treat for a crazy day.

If you like a sweeter green smoothie, try the variation. Still creamy and rich from the banana, yet a little sweeter; I don’t think either variation will disappoint!

This Maui Wow-ee is a classic fruit smoothie, with one exception. There is no dairy; no yogurt; no milk or milk substitute. The result is a light, fruity smoothie that is refreshing, healthy and best of all gives you a jolt of energy without weighing you down.

This lovely, layered concoction is as beautiful as it is tasty. The rich red strawberry layer floats atop a golden yellow banana layer giving two fruity tastes with every sip. If you’re serving this for breakfast, and feeling fancy, layer the yellow banana layer atop the red strawberry layer for a Maui Wow-ee Sunrise Smoothie.  Best of all, this fruit smoothie will transport you to the tropics in less than 5 minutes. Enjoy a vacation for breakfast!

But don’t stop at breakfast. Another great quality of this smoothie, it keeps in the freezer. Make a batch in the morning, place in disposable cups and freeze.

The Maui-Wow-ee is the perfect afternoon frozen snack for kids (and adults). Say goodbye to frozen treats full of high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and colors. Say hello to frosty fruity refreshment when the temperatures soar.

The S’mores Smoothie is the next step in the S’mores Revolution, and what a tasty step.  Sweet, nutty graham crackers blended with almond milk and marshmallow cream make a delightful icy sweet base. A drizzle of chocolate syrup adds the perfect amount of chocolaty goodness. Whether you choose to garnish with graham cracker crumbs or marshmallows, this smoothie will transport you to summer camp, minus the mosquitos.

Enjoy smoothies at home this summer and save some time by not standing in line at the local smoothie bar; save some money by making coffee smoothies at home and replace watery vegetable juices with rich creamy green smoothies. Best of all, make some lovely summer memories with your family while sipping S’mores Smoothies to beat the heat.  

Coffee Smoothie

Yield: 2 Servings

• 1 single serving package of instant, lightly sweetened iced coffee*
• 1 cup refrigerated coconut milk
• 2 heaping tablespoons of instant vanilla pudding mix
• 1.5 to 2 cups of ice cubes (feel free to add more make the smoothie thicker)  

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.    

Good For You Green Smoothie

Yield: 2 servings

• 1 large orange, peeled and segmented. Juice reserved
• half of a very ripe avocado
• 2 cups fresh, organic baby spinach
• 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt • 6-8 large basil leaves
• 1.5 to 2 cups ice (feel free to add more to make the smoothie thicker)  

Place all the ingredients, including the reserved orange juice, in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.   

S’Mores Smoothie

Yield: 2 servings  

• 1/3 cup marshmallow cream
• 1 cup Almond milk
• 1 graham cracker, broken into 4 pieces
• 1 teaspoon instant vanilla pudding mix
• 1.5 to 2  cups ice (feel free to add more to make the smoothie thicker)
• 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
• Marshmallows to garnish  

Place the first 5 ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.Swirl chocolate syrup into glasses. Pour the smoothie into chocolate swirled glasses. Garnish with marshmallows or graham cracker crumbs.

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