Posts Tagged With: green drink

How to Choose a Blender.

DSC_4686I remember the first time I made a green drink.  I was brimming with anticipation.  I had my cucumber, kale, celery and frozen fruit in the blender ready to go.  It’s time now, the moment I have been waiting for. Flip the switch.  Nothing.  The obnoxious sound was coming out but the food wasn’t moving.  This is not at all what I pictured in my head.  I figured it would be a quick little spin and poof…green goodness.  Nope.  The blender was grinding away and nothing was moving.  So, like any other idiot, I took a spoon and shoved it in there to move stuff around.  Now we are getting somewhere!  I’m plugging away at the thing, mixing it as it struggles to blend the bottom inch of whatever I can shove down far enough.  Eight minutes later…Success!  I pour it in my glass. Hmmmm, it looks a little thick.  No big deal.  Here we go!  Cheers!

Vomit.  Like, actual vomit consistency.  “Viscous” is the best word I can use to describe it.  The taste wasn’t bad at all but the thick, chunkiness..No. Gag reflex activated.

How could this be?  I see all these pictures of smooth creamy shakes and I get this??   Am I doing something wrong?  Yes, Yes I was.

That night, by some strange divine intervention I just happened to come across a recipe that called for a “high speed” blender.  I figured all blenders were high speed. Have you ever seen the little blades turn?  They look pretty high speed to me.  Well, I was wrong. A high speed blender is not the same as my crappy blender.

The right blender is your key to successful green smoothies.  How do you know which blender will rock your world?  A little something I call the celery test.  Chances are you have a blender already.  Give it a whirl.  <—See what i did there?  Blend up some celery and see what happens.  If it’s still stringy you need a better blender.  If the contents stick to the outside and stay out of reach of the blade, you need a better blender.

I know what you’re thinking.  “I’m not spending a ton on of money on a blender”.  I’m with you, I felt the same way.  And they are pricey.  Then I started the typical dialogue in my head that always pops up when I want something.  “Well, it’s not like it’s another purse, it has real value.”  “I could always return it.”  And then the clincher…”It’s an investment in my health.”  How could I argue with that?  Decision made.  Get a high speed blender.

There are tons of blenders out there.  I spent hours upon hours figuring out which one to buy.  I considered price, power, customer reviews and personal experience while compiling info.  I narrowed it down to the three blenders that performed the best within these parameters.  My top choices are:  The Nutribullet Pro 900, The Ninja Ultima, and Vitamix.  Here are the pros and cons of each.

Nutribullet Pro 900

Nutribullet Pro 900

Nutribullet Pro 900– (900 watt) You flip past this infomercial every Saturday morning. I have no personal experience with this one, but I have a few friends that have it and like it. It’s basically a more powerful version of the Magic Bullet.  If you are going to use your blender exclusively for smoothies and nothing else this may be a good option.  Also, if you have limited kitchen space or plan to travel with your blender this could work for you.

Pros: Lower cost at $150 (on sale as low as $99), more compact size, and dishwasher safe.

Cons:  Product reviews suggest it is not built to last.  It has a smaller canister (32oz) compared to other high speed blenders. It  cannot make nut butter or other thick substances. Also, users report thick greens like kale and seeds leave grainy texture.  Reviews claim poor customer service, and there is only a one year warranty.

Ninja Ultima

Ninja Ultima

Ninja Ultima-(2.5 peak horsepower).  This one receives mostly good reviews for performance. There are a few reported problems that seem to be recurring. There is a set of blades about halfway up the blender jar.  They are there to keep the contents spinning instead of getting stuck at the bottom.  Seems awesome right?  People are cutting their hands. Not awesome.  I actually had a Ninja about three years ago and returned it a week after purchase for this reason.  If you are blending something that is a thicker consistency like peanut butter you usually will use a utensil of some sort to scrape the sides and you stick your hand in there not thinking about it.  Bloodbath.  Also, reviews report lid is difficult to get on and off.

Pros:  Makes great smoothies.  It has an extra large 72oz canister.  It is able to make nut butter, soups and sauces.  It has variable speed and 3 single serve cups included and is also dishwasher safe.

Cons:  Risk losing a finger or two.  Getting more expensive at $259 (have seen on sale for $199).  It is slightly large and bulky compared to others.  Users report thick blending (i.e. peanut butter) requires stopping the blender often to stir.  Only a two year warranty.

Vitamix

Vitamix

Vitamix(2 peak horsepower) If you are looking for the best of the best, I present to you the Vitamix.  It is coveted by foodies and greenies all over.  It will blend anything you put into it including nuts and seeds.  Like a boss.

Vitamix has a great reputation and is more widely known so there are more reviews.  You’d be hard pressed to find a legit bad one.  It’s been around for a while It’s not uncommon for someone to say they have had theirs for twenty years and it still works like new.  They have excellent customer service and it’s made right here in ‘Merica.  It also comes with this thing…

DSC_4678The tamper.  It’s like a plunger that goes right in the hole in the top of the lid and reaches just above the blades.  You can scrape the sides without having to stop or open the blender.  Genius!  Now for the hard part, the price…

The Vitamix is expensive.  I’m just gonna throw that out there because it will most likely be the only thing that will hold you back from buying it.  The price range is $379 to $650.  I know, I’m sorry.  $650 is bat $h!t crazy to spend on a blender.  The good news is that even the least expensive base model is amazing and will blend ANYTHING you wish into smooth oblivion.   Keep in mind these machines are very versatile.  They make more than just smoothies.  In fact, I bet you can put your blender into a Vitamix and it would turn it into a creamy milkshake.  (Don’t try that, as I’m sure it would void the warranty).

I am a proud owner of a Vitamix and it is one of my most prized possessions.  I use it everyday.  I have the Turboblend Two Speed which is the bare bones model and costs $379.  There is no variable speed and that doesn’t bother me at all.  The more expensive models have some nice bells and whistles but the base model works great and I don’t find myself dreaming of a better version.  The 64oz container is plenty large and I don’t see ever needing any more space.  (Important tid bit-To clean it you just fill it half way with warm water and a few drops of soap and blend for a few seconds, rinse out and let air dry.)

To sum up the Vitamix:

Pros:  Extremely powerful, blends perfect smoothies, nut butters, soups and sauces, great warranty, large 64oz container, excellent customer service.

Cons:  Price, hand wash recommended.

Many people wonder why the canisters of these expensive blenders are plastic and not glass.  It is because the high speed would shatter the glass.  All of these blenders mentioned here are BPA free.  The horsepower is important but as far as blenders go, a horsepower of 2 is sufficient for all of your kitchen needs.  If you know you want a more powerful blender for nut butters and such…Here is a great video from steamykitchen.com comparing the Vitamix to the Ninja Ultima.

Here is my final conclusion:  If you know you are going to make only smoothies and never want to make peanut butter or soup or anything like that go with the Nutribullet Pro 900.  It will serve you well.  Keep in mind, if you feel a juicer may be in your future also there are many units that can make nut butters if you can’t see spending the money for the Vitamix.

If you are willing to make the investment and want a more versatile blender, the Vitamix will not disappoint.  It will make the smoothest green drinks and creamy peanut butter.  You can also get a refurbished one for around $279 and that still comes with a 5 year warranty.

PS- There are many stores that send you coupons.  Sometimes it says right on the coupon it isn’t valid for certain brands.  Hypothetically, if you were to bring the excluded blender to a register and hand over the coupon it may work.   Just sayin’.

I hope this helped you on your quest to Greenyville.  Let me know what kind of blender you use and what you are whipping up by emailing me

nikki@greensypants.com!  Don’t forget to like Greensypants on Facebook and follow on twitter so you know when there’s so new greensypants info to soak in!

Smooches,

Nikki

 

 

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Categories: Green Love, Product Recommendations, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blend Baby Blend

 

DSC_4658

So you’re ready for some liquid love from the Earth. Pat yourself on the back.  This is a big deal.  At some point you have probably made a smoothie/shake/blended drink (Margaritas don’t count, but nice try).  Blending is a great way to get a ton of vitamins, nutrients and fiber down your gullet without even realizing it.  Some people enjoy green smoothies right from the get go and others find them a little to “healthy” tasting.

An important thing to remember is that food doesn’t owe you anything.  It keeps you alive, ok.  What more do you want, people?  It doesn’t always have to taste sweet or savory or amazingly decadent.  Once you start changing your diet to include more whole, real food your taste buds will change.  Ever eat a full meal then an hour later be like “Ugh I’m staaaaaaaarving…”.  Well, you are starving.  You’re starving for nutrition.  Imagine for a moment there are little human workers in your body that digest your food and you just ate a cheesesteak. It sounds a little something like this…”Ok, I’ll take some of this protein, maybe a little fat.  A few pieces of onion, good,  a couple pepper slices, fantastic.  Wait…That’s it?  WTF Nikki, where’s the G.D. rest of it?  I don’t need this bread and cheese.  Where’s the vitamins for F’s sake? Guess I’ll toss the rest of this crap on your ass and thighs, enjoy it. Now, give me something I can actually work with.”  That’s what your body’s actually saying when it’s growling at you an hour after you filled it with processed crap….So, back to blending…

I am not talking about the kind of shake you get from the gym bar or pick up pre-made at the grocery store.  Those are garbage and stop drinking them yesterday.  They are filled with sugar and chemicals.  A gym, or any other fitness center should be a place of health promotion.  Nothing is more aggravating than walking into a gym and seeing that awful menu hanging above the shake bar.  It’s giving people the wrong idea of what is healthy.  It’s in the gym it must be good for me! No. If it tastes like brownies or cookies it’s not good for you.  Seriously, you’re better off just having a brownie or cookie.  At least you know what flour, sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs are.  (note:  Analogy purposes only.  I am not suggesting you eat brownies and cookies whenever you damn well please).  Same goes for all those branded bars and shakes in a can.  Take a gander at the ingredient list.  How many of those things do you recognize?  What’s the sugar content? I’m sorry if this information is difficult to hear. Tough love is hard for me.  But, I do love you, and that’s why I am here.  I was once in line at the store with a cart full of garbage I thought was good for me.  We are in this together.  Let’s get that body of yours cleaned up and looking like brand new, OK?  Ditch the weight loss shakes and read on…

So what do you use to blend?  I’m so glad you asked!  Vegetables mostly, and some fruit.  Some lovely add in items, like your favorite protein powder and super foods.  Oh, and almond milk.  Don’t forget about coconut oil!  And flax, and chia seeds and hemp seeds…see where I’m going with this???  The possibilities are endless.

Let’s start with your base.  Something green like cucumbers and celery are the foundation of a good green shake.  They are full of moisture and take on flavors easily.  Next, you want to add some leafy greens.  Kale, collards, dandelion greens and spinach are good ones. Then a little fruit to sweeten it up.  Frozen pineapple is a great choice.  It makes anything taste good and freezing fruit before you blend it gives your shake that smooth consistency.  I always like to add some lemon when using greens.  It will cut the bitterness.  Here is a good recipe to start with.

Basic Green Shake                                                   

1/2 cucumber (peeled if not organic)

1 stalk celery

1 large Kale leaf

1/2 cup frozen pineapple

1/4 to 1/2 lemon

1 cup almond milk

1/2 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)

scoop of protein powder (optional)

DSC_4667

This recipe is a good foundation and you can always add seeds and yummy little enhancers later which we will talk about in the near future.   If it seems too thick you can add more almond milk.

Now, I know it isn’t going to taste like a milkshake.  It’s not supposed to.  Your taste buds may be sullied by sugar and other chemicals that you have unknowingly (or maybe knowingly) been eating for years, maybe even decades.  This alters the taste of everything you eat.  Sugar is a drug.  A bad, addictive drug, and it’s in almost everything that has a wrapper.  If you have ever tried to eliminate sugar from your diet you have probably experienced withdrawals.  Anything that gives you headaches, nausea and the shakes when you stop eating is not good for you.  We are going to be talking a lot about ways to reduce sugar.  Guess one way…blending!  You will start to look forward to your smoothies.  You’re going to get creative and in no time you will be putting all kinds of things in the blender.  You will be amazed at what your body can do for you.  (Side note:  The type of blender you use is VITAL to a good smoothie.  Stay tuned to find out which blenders are best.)

Already a green drinker?  What do you like to blend???  Reply below or email me at nikki@greensypants.com!  Don’t forget to follow on twitter and like on Facebook so you know when there’s new greensypants info to soak in!

Smooches,

Nikki

 

 

Categories: Green Love, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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