Fun with blenders

by Pari

Writers need to stay healthy, right? While some are able to determine their days and schedules, the whens of
getting up
getting to work
many, like me, work 8 – 5 gigs that have requirements out of our control like when we have to:
get up
get to work
eat in order to get up/get to work.

And the times we can exercise must somehow fit within those other external musts.

So, as part of my ever-increasing efforts to keep healthy, I decided to buy a good blender during the holiday season. I had heady images of making my own soy and almond milks, mixing extraordinary concoctions that would burn fat, give me energy and take off 20 years from my wonderful — but older — body.

I didn’t want a juicer because I feel like the fiber in foods is healthy for us and should be consumed, but I wanted a way to incorporate more fresh veggies into my life without having to eat more salads. (I bring large salads to work almost every day for my lunch.)

At first I looked at the Kitchen Ninja and VitaMix blenders. From the packaging, I got the impression that these machines  — if purchased — would probably massage their owners after a hard day’s work and burp them after overeating at that Super Duper Tapas buffet. In addition to the off-putting price tags, I felt uncomfortable beginning a relationship with machines that promised so much.

Who wants to be disappointed?

With my 20 percent off coupon in hand, I walked the store’s aisle envisioning my life with each powerful tool. After too much consideration of too many choices, I decided to buy a five-speed (including “ice crusher”), dependable, plain old KitchenAid. Nothing fancy. A blender that would basically pulverize the food I wanted in the way I wanted it to be done.

Now I’m inventing odd recipes. Today’s breakfast was a concoction of frozen berries and cherries with fresh apple, cucumber, celery, avocado and chia seeds . . . and soy milk. Yeah, I know. It sounds weird and tasted a bit different than a chocolate milkshake, but I liked it. My kids even tried it, though they added sugar to the mix.

The main thing is my $85 purchase is, indeed, living up to its promise. And I’m pleased rather than remorseful with the purchase.

So today’s questions are:

  1. Do you have any wonderfully healthy — and tasty — recipes for blended drinks or treats?
  2. Do you have a kitchen appliance that you adore?

16 thoughts on “Fun with blenders

  1. Allison Davis

    When I went to find a blender, I bought the standard, one speed grind 'em up kind. During the summer, I freeze berries and fruit (on a cookies sheet then into a zip lock). I am supposed to consume two "servings" of whey protein a day so I mix it with almond milk and the berries. The whey protein not only builds muscle mass (leanly) but also is supposed to help my health issues as well. It is also a great way to make that squash or leek/potato soup.

    Good to start the New Year with one new activity for health. I am working on that, more about exercise, than what I eat as I eat pretty well. So getting up a little earlier in the morning for some exercise and writing before work. We'll see how long it lasts. I did get some editing done this morning along with my yoga.

  2. Alaina

    They sell protein powder in some stores; these actually taste okay in certain drinks, and can add some roundness to your diet if you find yourself unable to chew food. The chocolate-flavored stuff with soy milk and some banana's is great.

    A weird one that actually tastes pretty good: plain vanilla yogurt, apples, grapes, kiwi, and some ice. You could probably substitute milk or something for the yogurt.

  3. Larry Gasper

    I'm not much for salads, so I put spinach or kale or some other greens in my shakes. Frozen bananas also provide some creaminess to the shake.

  4. Pari Noskin

    What kind of whey powder do you use? Do you have a fav?
    As to the New Year, I decided not to do any resolutions this time. You know what I'm going through . . . I thought I'd just let myself be for now. However, my doc wants me to go on statins and I'm trying to effect changes w/o that move. So that's the reason for some changes in diet (I usually eat well). I'm already exercising more than enough.

    I can chew just fine ;-), it's more that I get bored with salads after eating so many all the time! I'm going to try your shake though. It sounds yummy. I'll probably use nonfat yogurt and add some vanilla since I don't like the sugar content in a lot of "flavored" yogurts. Thanks for the suggestion/

    I hadn't even considered putting greens in my shakes. That sounds like a good way to get the amount "they" suggest for health. I love steamed kale. Do you put it in raw?

  5. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Pari

    I start most days with a smoothie as I'm not a breakfast eater and I know that's bad for me. So here's my Healthy Morning Smoothie recipe (amounts ish and per person):

    Add one heaped tablespoon of porridge oats, one desertspoon of All Bran and half a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon (optional) to a jug containing 4floz (about 125ml) of water. Zap it in the microwave on for about 1min, then stir and give it another 30secs.

    Meanwhile, put at least a dozen ice cubes into a blender. Add a heaped teaspoon of peanut butter (preferably the sort with no added sugar) a heaped teaspoon of whey protein powder (probably also optional – I like chocolate flavour in this) and a tablespoon of vanilla yoghurt. Add the hot microwaved porridge mixture and top it off with 4floz (125ml) of cold milk. Whiz it up in the blender until creamy smooth, and enjoy.

    Puts a lining on your stomach and hairs on your chest.

    For for real fun, check out this YouTube video which asks the question: "An iPad – will it blend?"

  6. Allison Davis

    Pari, here's the whey protein my doctor recommended to boost my immune system among other things. She likes the way they manufacturer it and the price: . The chocolate is the best.

    I have an internist who hates big food and big pharma so she works with me on healthy diets and supplements like curcumin (tumeric), vitamin D and probiotics. Zoe's concoction would make me eat breakfast (which I do around 10 a.m. usually instant oatmeal and raisins).

  7. Pari Noskin

    OMG! I couldn't believe that video!
    And your bfast sounds wonderful. I have a bowl of steel-cut oats with blueberries and soy milk AND Greek nf yogurt w/almond extract, blueberries and chia seeds – -at least 5 days/wk. But your bfast smoothie sounds very nutritious and dessert like. I'm going to try it for sure.

    Thank you for the link. That's helpful. I wish my internist had the same orientation . . . but I do like him and trust most of his advice.

  8. Larry Gasper

    Pari, the greens do go in raw. I buy bags of baby spinach and toss a couple of handfuls into the shake. I think I've got the link to the website with all the shake recipes at home. I'll check after work. I also plan to try Zoe's recipe.

  9. Karen, NZ

    Hi Pari,

    I've been spending time in the garden, and don't have energy left to cook – the growing naturals powder (choc or vanilla blast) has been a lifesaver for me, see

    I don't like dairy, so am pleased this meal replacement alternative doesn't have it.

    My sister is a raw foodist, and introduced me to green smoothies and kale ( I tried the first one coz I love her, not because I truly wanted to; and it was tasty – I mean green when you are accustomed to banana berry with rice milk?)

    Victoria B of has heaps of smoothie recipes. Her story (and that of her family's) in the book is fascinating, in terms of the health challenges they overcame.

    Raw food can be awesome – I just don't have the time, equipment or energy, and sometimes I need hot food – though my sis makes very tasty creations.

    All the best for 2013. Your post a while back about the elderly gentlemen and his beautiful garden as a tribute to his wife has been an inspiration for me – I'm working towards creating a garden I can actually manage 🙂

  10. Pari Noskin

    Thank you. I'd like to see some of those.

    Thank you for all of the good information. I don't think I could go the full raw route either. It takes real commitment to do it well and not starve your body of essential nutrients, though I do think most of us could benefit from better diets overall.

    And thank you for the comment about that blog post. I hope I have the time and energy to have a good garden this year. Of course in NM, it's also a question of how much water we've got; this has been a bad drought year for us.

    Though I know you're serious, thanks for the laugh.

  11. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Funny that you should post this today, the first time I've been sick in two years. And I mean runny-nose, puffy-eyes, wheezy-cough sick. Sure glad I got that flu shot this year.
    And I've been drinking a vitamin-blended concoction with fresh kiwis and bananas every day for the past five months. And working out regularly. Sometimes I guess you just gotta get sick.

  12. Pari Noskin

    Thanks, Larry. I'll check it out.
    I just made a smoothie-thingy with cilantro, Italian parsley, kale, cucumber, celery, carrot and a splash of lemon juice. It was fairly odd, but I liked it anyway. Maybe this green smoothie concept could be good, especially with a little fruit added to the mix.

  13. MJ

    I do what Larry does, put raw kale or spinach into a shake with a touch of banana for sweetness and texture, and some other fruit. Sometimes I add parsley for more vitamins too. My favorite fruits to go with kale/spinach so far are raw apple, raw mango, peeled orange, peeled grapefruit (zesty!), and frozen berries. I just tried canned pineapple in juice, as I found a few about-to-expire cans in the pantry, and spinach/banana/water/pineapple chunks is also quite tasty. I've been doing this for over a year and, depending on circumstances, often add something else to the breakfast for "sticking power" like oatmeal or something with protein. At this point I feel best physically if I have fruits/veg frequently, and have gone from gagging a bit (warning with kale, get it blended up well or else it can resemble grass clippings) to looking forward to the green shake since I feel better with them in my diet. I'm also almost never getting sick at all, and avoiding the cold and flu going around, which I attribute to the blast of vitamins and minerals each day (and to hand washing).

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