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Smoothie Making 101

May 5, 2011

Reminder: The Grass Skirt has a new address:  Don’t forget to update your bookmarks!


Recently, I lightly addressed the topic of how to make a great smoothie.

Since it is safe to say that I have a massive addiction to smoothies and pretty much have smoothie running through my veins, I thought that I’d go into some more detail.

It really isn’t difficult to make a great smoothie.

As I’ve said before, if you’re a newbie to the process, I’d start simply and avoid adding greens.  As you get used to making smoothies, you can start to get more experimental.  Before long, drinking a big glass of green stuff won’t seem strange to you at all.  I promise.

For starters, you’ll need some tools:

  • A high-quality blender that won’t die after one use (especially if you do decide to add greens like kale)
  • Straws (to prevent the dreaded smoothie mustache)
  • Tervis Tumblers (not necessary, but they are just perfect for smoothies)
  • Fun little umbrellas and wine glasses are optional 😉

Once you’re fully equipped, you’ll need about 2-3 ice cubes and some kind of liquid to add to your smoothie, such as:

  • Almond milk
  • Regular cow’s milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Soy milk
  • Fruit Juice
  • Coconut water
  • Rice milk

My favorite part is the selection of fruit (either fresh or frozen).  You can feel free to add half a piece of fruit, one whole piece, two pieces…or even your entire fruit basket!

Bananas are pretty much a winner is any smoothie.  Berries like raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are also excellent options. I also love pineapple and mango for a tropical twist (Grass Skirt Smoothie, anyone?).

Tip: Freeze overripe bananas to use in smoothies at a later date rather than throwing them away.  Or donate them to a hungry monkey at the local zoo.  Your choice.

If you decide to add greens, kale and spinach are wonderful selections.  Some people add parsley and cucumber as well.  I’m not there yet.

If you’re feeling extra crazy, there are a lot of fun mix-ins that you can add:

  • Graham crackers
  • Cacao nibs
  • Nut butters
  • Coconut butter
  • Coffee
  • Coconut oil
  • Flavorings (i.e. vanilla, butterscotch, peppermint)
  • Chocolate chips
  • Coconut shavings
  • Granola (for garnish)
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Pureed sweet potato
  • Ice cream
  • Agave syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Stevia
  • Dates

If you like your smoothies thick, adding yogurt or xanthan gum are great options.  You can also use less ice cubes and/or liquid.

Tip: A little bit of xanthan gum goes a long way.  Personally, I never add more than 1/4 teaspoon.  Even just a teaspoon can make a smoothie difficult to gulp down through a straw.  I don’t like to work that hard to eat my food.

Aside from the ingredients above, I always add something for extra nutrients.  Usually I’ll choose from Amazing Grass powder, vanilla whey protein powder, ground flax seeds, or chia seeds.  These are what give me my girl power (yes, we just teleported back to the 90s Spice Girls era).

It probably goes without saying, but once you toss all of your chosen ingredients into the blender, blend until nice and smooth.

Nothing beats a smoothie on a warm summer day.

Quick & Easy Combinations:

  • Banana + milk + strawberries + ice cubes
  • Banana + chocolate powder + milk + ice cubes
  • Banana + 1 TB nut butter + milk + ice cubes

For further smoothie making inspiration, you can also check out some of my favorite smoothies on my recipes page.

Do you like smoothies?  What are your very favorite combinations?  I’m always looking for new ideas!

This is random, but is anyone watching American Idol?  It is getting so good!  Michael and I want James to win.  I also want to adopt babyfaced Scotty and protect him from the nasty people in Hollywood.

Happy Thursday!

  1. May 5, 2011 2:54 PM

    I love you list of smoothie add-ins! You’re right – nothing beats a smoothie on a warm summer day! Except maybe a huge glass of lemonade. 😉

  2. May 5, 2011 5:42 PM

    Tell those smoothie newbies to get over it and throw in some greens!! 😉

    Although I haven’t been brave enough to add kale…

    • May 6, 2011 4:21 PM

      Would you believe that I used kale in my smoothies long before I tried spinach? I’m a crazy girl! 😉

  3. May 5, 2011 8:04 PM

    Great suggestions, Erin! I love kale and spinach in my smoothies too, and I’m not brave enough to try many other veggies yet. I tried xanthum gum in my smoothie a few weeks ago and couldn’t stand it — AND my blender died at the same time. Like for good. So weird! I guess I used a little too much!

    • May 6, 2011 4:22 PM

      Oh no! It sounds like you might have overdone it on the thickener and greens! I hope you’re back in smoothie making business again soon. 🙂

  4. May 10, 2011 4:57 PM

    I *love smoothies, esp. in summer! I have my parents’ vintage Vitamix, which served them well in the 70s during their raw vegan days and is still going strong. I threw together a smoothie for breakfast this weekend, using some random ingredients on hand. It turned out quite tasty: 1 red plum, 1 banana, 1 small red apple, 1 handful of flat-leafed spinach, 1/2 inch of fresh ginger, and about 1 cup of vanilla almond milk. Add agave syrup to sweeten as desired. 🙂 What are your thoughts on investing in a small blender like a Magic Bullet? I’m happy with my blender, but am tempted by the convenient single-serving size of a Bullet (though it seems like it could be kinda gimicky).


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