Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Appliance That's Changing My Life

So, as you could tell from my last post, I have been into green smoothies lately. The stars must have been in alignment, because suddenly it was Vitamix Demonstration time at my Costco. Normally I find this akin to a carnival sideshow where an obnoxious man on an elevated platform hawks seriously overpriced, sham-wow blenders. I did enjoy the smoothie samples (it's important to time one's visits to Costco with the need for a snack and/or dinner), but I didn't believe the claims - that this thing could make ice cream in thirty seconds? That it broke food down to the cellular level so that your body obtained maximum nutrients from it, much more than a normal blender could do?

But this time, the demonstrator was a very kind, Cuban-American woman named Loretta. She exuded motherly care, she was vivacious without being pushy, and Sofia took an instant liking to her. Over our next few visits, Loretta showed us what the Vitamix was capable of. Here's what sold me: watching her throw undetectable spinach, red cabbage and kale into the Vitamix, along with a host of fresh fruits, and having Sofia eagerly drink up the results. Sofia is already fascinated with food, will try almost anything you give her, and we spend a lot of time in the kitchen together making things. But I liked the idea that with this machine, which can pulverize in a way a blender just can't, we'll be eating even more fruits and vegetables. Also, I've always been a bit disappointed that my smoothies were routinely a little grainy and never had that smoothness of a smoothie from a restaurant. This changes everything.

We learned how to make a mint mojito smoothie, a frappucino to rival Starbuck's, tortilla soup (the Vitamix cooks!), and a number of other concoctions. Back home, I spent some time with the Magic 8 Ball that is Google asking questions like, "Is the Vitamix a sham/scam/etc?" Most people who owned them didn't think so, and now that I own one myself, I'm 100% sure it was a good investment. Plus there's a seven year warranty, and I've already been through three blenders in the past six years alone. This thing is so heavy duty, it can handle anything you put into it. It could make a smoothie out of a shoe. And I can make a few of my own personally verifiable health claims, too: I have lost my intense craving for sweets (the reason for so many dessert recipes on this blog), my complexion is better, and I have more energy. I'm sure of those "facts."

The Vitamix also comes with a great cookbook - we've tried at least ten of the recipes so far, and have a lot of favorites - the enchilada sauce is great (we combined half with shredded chicken, rolled into tortillas, covered with sauce and baked), and another one I like a lot is a peanut butter and chocolate shake made from raw peanuts, which would be impossible in a regular blender.**

So here's a favorite recipe - for yet another green smoothie. Its consistency in the Vitamix is unbelievable.

Green Smoothie

1 cup organic green grapes
1 slice cantaloupe with seeds
1 slice pineapple (or handful frozen pineapple chunks)
1/2 banana (skin removed)
1/4 orange (not skin)
1/4 organic apple with seeds and skin
4 pitted dates or 1 tsp. honey
1-2 cups spinach
2 cups ice

Blend on high for 1 minute. It's that simple.

**Peanut Butter- Chocolate - Banana Smoothie

Here's my take on the Vitamix chocolate-peanut butter smoothie recipe. I'm having this for lunch today, and it's incredibly delicious. Would make a good post-workout smoothie as well. Makes enough for one, but you can easily double it.

1/2 banana
1/4 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts
1/2 cup almond milk (could use any type of milk here)
1 Tblsp cocoa powder
1 Tblsp agave (or to taste)
2 cups ice cubes

Place in Vitamix, start at 1 on variable, then go up to high. Use tamper if necessary to distribute the nuts for grinding. Blend 1 minute until milkshake consistency.

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