Saturday, May 3, 2014

getting serious about blenders (plus a sunny green smoothie recipe!)

This post contains affiliate links to products or services I use, enjoy, and wholeheartedly endorse. Should you choose to make purchases through these links, not only are you supporting the companies or products I believe in, you are also throwing a little support my way. Thank you! 

Hello again!  Well, now that my blogger's block has seemingly been remedied (at least for now), it's time to get back to work!  And what better way to start than with a recipe for a smoothie that says SUMMER! (Goodness knows we need to look for the sun wherever we can find it - the weather surely isn't cooperating these days!)

But first...a word about BLENDERS. (Now don't get TOO excited!) ;-) Until I really started to pay attention to what I was nourishing my body with, I'll admit, smoothies weren't something I ingested on a regular basis. Part of that was not being a "smoothie person" - the idea of a meal in a cup just seemed uninteresting to me - and part of it was the fact that I've never had a blender that did what it was supposed to do properly and consistently.  At one point, my daughters introduced me to the now ubiquitous Magic Bullet - and yes, I'll admit, there's no arguing with the price point, the ease of use and clean up, and the fact that it did what it was supposed to do - make a decent single serving smoothie in under a minute. But then the problems began - when a family of four was using it regularly, it buckled under the strain - and what we basically had on our hands was a disposable blender.

By the time our Magic Bullet had decided to give up the ghost, I was starting to pay closer attention to the amazing nutritional benefits of the simple smoothie - and felt the time had come to up the ante in the blender game.  It was also around this time that I started to hear more about the Vitamix blender - how it was so much MORE than just a smoothie blender - you could use it to create everything from fresh fruit sorbets to flavourful soups (that actually warmed during the blending process).  On top of that, they're pretty much standard equipment in the kitchens of the world's best restaurants, not to mention your favourite smoothie bars and coffee joints.  At the time, I worked part time for Crate and Barrel, and had a pretty sweet employee discount, and yes, C&B carried the Vitamix line. So I was ready to go for it - but then I learned that even WITH my discount, a Vitamix would set me back for about $500.  Whoa, Nelly!!!  This is just a blender!!  Who pays $500 for a BLENDER???  Try as I might, I just couldn't justify it, even though a good friend of mine had just purchased one, and was already telling me how it was changing her life.  Still, I was skeptical.  Uh-uh.  No way.  Not me.  So I decided to use my discount to buy a top of the line (and well-reviewed) Kitchen Aid blender - which set me back for just over $100.  I was going to prove the Vitamix enthusiasts wrong!! You don't need to spend a King's ransom to produce a decent smoothie!!

Feeling rather smug, I loaded up my shiny new Kitchen Aid for its inagural green smoothie, and pressed the button.  And heard a sort of sputtering, clunking, TRYing sound from it - not a promising start.  Okay, so most blenders don't sound all that great - it's the end product that matters, right?  Well, the end product in this case was a big, icy, chunky, strawberry-seedy, disappointment.  This just wasn't the creamy, well, SMOOTH smoothie that it was supposed to be.  I wasn't going to be making creamy soups and silky smooth sorbets with this blender.  And in that moment, I had to admit defeat, and the old adage "you get what you pay for" - came glaringly to mind.

I'm sure you can guess the rest of the story - I decided the time had come to make an investment in my health.(As corny and cliche as that may sound, it's 100% true).  I bit the (magic) bullet :), found a buyer on Kijiji for my Kitchen Aid to help absorb the cost somewhat, and bought a Vitamix!   I can honestly say, without a word of a lie, that this is one kitchen appliance I've used on a consistent, almost daily basis, for the year since I've purchased it. And true to its billing, not only does it produce the smoothest smoothies, but I've also created delicious sauces, and nutrition-packed, warming soups.  Feel in the mood for frozen yogurt?  No need to head to your local fro-yo joint anymore - you can produce the same (or better) thing at home - with less sugar, and fresher fruit.  It's fast, it's fresh, it's a powerhouse.  And it should last long enough to hand down to my (future!) grandchildren.  So although you do lay down a fair amount of cash at the outset, you will likely NEVER need to replace it.  (That said,  in the unlikely event that something does go wrong with a Vitamix, they've got customer service second to none).  Honestly, once you try it, you'll understand - some people even travel with their Vitamix, they find it such an essential part of their lives - check out one of my all time fave musicians, Michael Franti, rocking his Vitamix (with the added bonus of his recipe for an awesome salad dressing!):

Now, all that said, while this is definitely an investment in your health, I concede it is still quite a serious financial investment as well, and that it may not be in everyone's budget.  However - if you, like me, have reached a point where you think a Vitamix would be an essential tool in your kitchen AND your health and wellness regimen, I'm here to offer you a small reprieve.  As a proud Vitamix affiliate, I am authorized to offer you free shipping if you order direct from their website. To lose the shipping costs, you can click on the Vitamix graphic on the sidebar to the right to order online....(I love the look of the newest addition to the Vitamix line - their S30 personal blender - so adorable!) 

OR, if online shopping isn't your thing, call Vitamix toll free at 1-800-848-2649 and use this code: 06-009805 - to get free standard shipping ($25US/$35CDN).  I know it's not a huge amount, but hey, every little bit helps!  If you're not ready right now, the offer on free shipping is indefinite - feel free to come on back if and when you're ready. :)

Okay.  So much for my little sales pitch - if you've gotten this far, thank you for reading - but please also know that I will NEVER endorse a product that I'm not 100% passionate about - I truly BELIEVE in this product.  As your reward for sticking with me, here's how you might put your Vitamix to good use if you already have one - or when you get one.  (This recipe will work in a regular just won't be as smooth a smoothie as a Vitamix smoothie!)  So without further ado, (and hopefully a refrain from using the word SMOOTHIE any more) - here's my recipe for a tropical, sunny, summer.....s-word ;-) that will not only taste AHHH-mazing, but will boost your nutrition levels to the max! 

Pineapples and mangoes top the list of fruits that have potent anti-inflammatory properties - pineapples for their active enzyme bromelain, and mangoes for their polyphenols (organic micronutrients) - so slurp up the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant goodness in this delicious, easy to make smoothie and enjoy the added benefits!  (Remember, strive to use organic ingredients wherever possible!) 


1 c. almond milk (you can use store bought, but with a Vitamix, you can make your own - which is always the best choice.  Tutorial to come...) :)
1 c. chopped fresh pineapple chunks 
1 c. frozen mango (or a mixture of mango and strawberries)
1 handful spinach
1 tbsp. hemp seeds
1 tbsp. chia seeds (for protein and to help thicken)
1 tbsp. goji berries


Place all ingredients in the blender in the order as listed. 


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  3. Wow! I just loved this article! Especially the recipe of Green drink is outstanding. The hint of green in smoothies makes me feel great. Thanks for sharing this quick Green drink recipe!!