Simple tips for Awesome Smoothies
I have a habit of buying lots of fruit. Sometimes, a little too much fruit. No matter what I buy, I am guaranteed that it will either be devoured with breakfast or ripened and frozen for later use in smoothies, cakes and desserts. Sometimes my husband will surprise me and not eat the 45 bananas I bought that week, which means that they get peeled, zip locked, and packed into the freezer. But filling the freezer with fruit for later can often mean we forget about what we’ve put in there, leaving no room for anything else.
So to serve as a constant reminder of the 25 kilos of frozen fruit in my freezer, my blender sits pretty on my counter top, prompting me to whip up fun, healthy and delicious smoothies more often.
To avoid disasters, here’s a few simple tricks that will help turn your messy concoctions into perfect smoothies:
Freeze your own berries Though it might be tempting to buy that 6 kilo bag of mixed berries, I always find it a lot more beneficial (and tasty) to buy berries while they’re fresh, reduced for quick sale and in season. I freeze them in small zip lock bags intended for individual use making them great for other desserts and guilt free treats too!
Peel fleshy fruit before freezing! This might seem obvious, but only to those who have known the pain of throwing whole fruit into the freezer. Frozen fleshy fruit like mangoes and bananas will add that perfect chill and creamy texture we all love about a great smoothie, without watering down affect that ice tends to have. Peel ripe bananas, break them into quarters and freeze the 4 portions in small zip lock bags. Right now in the land down under, Kensington Pride Mangoes are inexpensive, ripe, and are waiting for you to peel and freeze them for later use! There’s nothing quite like a mango smoothie in July!
The right amount, every time Eliminate over indulging and waste! Take the cup you intend to fill with smoothie deliciousness, and load it with your ingredients, starting with fruit, frozen ingredients, dry nuts and seeds, and lastly with milk. Pour into your blender, and whizz it up. Pour back out into the same glass, and you're good to go!
Cut unnecessary calories! I’ve always been interested in finding cleaner substitutes for essentials like milk. I stopped drinking dairy milk 10 years ago, and I have never looked back! I am not lactose intolerant, so why the change? One cup of full cream dairy milk can hold a whopping 160 calories. Coming from a girl who would rather eat her calories, Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk is my pick of the bunch, boasting a tiny 40 calories per cup. It’s also perfect for baking, and savoury dishes too!
Keep it simple My favourite smoothie always involves my own frozen or fresh bananas, berries, a tablespoon of chia seeds, a little honey and of course some milk. Try not to overload on the fruit – my rule is three types of fruit (banana, mango and blueberries for example), some seeds, and almond milk, and I never mix citrus juices into my smoothies, unless they’re totally milk free!
Upgrade the Icecubes If you’re using cold milk and frozen fruit, your smoothie should be chilled and icy enough.When not using frozen fruit, a smoothie might be a little on the watered down side if you add regular ice. So instead of compromising the taste and texture of your smoothies, why not try a little flavour and nutrient boost? Try freezing freshly squeezed juice, vanilla almond milk, or coconut water in ice cube trays and use as a substitute. Frozen juice cubes are especially perfect for dairy and milk free blends. Oh, and always add your ice cubes last!
Slushie VS Smoothie As mentioned above, an ice based fruit blend with no milky ingredients (including yogurt) is definitely a slushie – perfect with citrusy ingredients and fruit juices. Whenever you blend milk or yogurt with fruit fresh or frozen, then its becomes a smoothie (not so good with citrus fruits). Now I’m not the authority on the matter, but a creamy cold drink is totally different to a water based icy one, So I guess it all depends on what you’re in the mood for!
Yoghurt yumminess Adding 2 tablespoons of chilled yoghurt to any smoothie or slushie could be the difference between a cold drink, and a delicious brunch on the go. I like using organic natural yogurt, and adding a teaspoon of honey to take some of the tangy edge off. Otherwise, try organic vanilla bean yoghurt if you’d rather not add honey.
There’s no need for added sugar! There are no excuses. Adding sugar to already naturally sweet fruit smoothies is craziness. Especially when substitutes like honey and agave exist. If you are using fresh, good quality bananas, berries and flesh fruits like mangoes, then there really should be no need for sugar anyway. You might be pleasantly surprised by the natural sweetness of your smoothies when pairing Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk with frozen bananas and berries. If you insist on adding extra sweetness like honey to your smoothies, make sure you measure what you’re adding one teaspoon at a time, and never free pour! Remember, it’s always easier to add, but once blended, impossible to take it all back!
Add a pinch of spice and spoon of nuts I’ve always loved the flavour combination of cinnamon, walnuts and banana. Now I know not everybody is fond of this woody spice, but I think that in a simple, clean banana smoothie, a small pinch of ground cinnamon takes it from a guilt free treat, to sneaky dessert beverage. Why, you ask? Because every banana cake in the history of human events involves cinnamon and walnuts, and sometimes it’s nice to dream. When adding nuts, only add one tablespoon per serve. Remember, it's about a little bit of everything.
What are your suggestions for perfecting the home made smoothie? Let us know in the comments below!
Here's the recipe for the smoothie pictured above
Take 2 smoothie cups and fill them with the following: 1 frozen bananas per cup 1/4 cup frozen berries per cup 1 tablespoon of chia seeds per cup fill to the top with Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
Carefully pour contents of each cup into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour back into smoothie cups and enjoy!
Photography by Shayben Moussa www.shayben.com @shaybenmoussa