It’s smoothie week at Williams-Sonoma and their focus is on ‘Not Your Average Smoothie.’ I was invited to blog for them this week so time for a confession:
I’m not a conventional smoothie maker.
I don’t follow smoothie recipes (usually.)
I drink a smoothie almost every day, but I don’t make one every day.
My methods may be unconventional, but they allow me to enjoy a powerful, nutritious, efficient breakfast most mornings of the week before I begin work.
Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post about my 7 Layer Smoothie Method, where I build a smoothie using liquid, thickener, fruit, vegetables, protein powder, nuts/seeds, and spices/sweeteners as the layers. I make enough to fill three pint jars, and refrigerate them, consuming one each morning. It’s a quick “first breakfast” and packs a lot of nutrients into one drink.
Now, I’m going to elaborate a bit by adding the concept of a “Kitchen Sink” smoothie, which helps you experiment with a variety of healthy elements and also give you an opportunity to sometimes use up leftovers. This makes for some unique, but no less healthy ingredients. And I admit, you may consider some of these things an “acquired” taste. But the more I eat and develop my tastes for whole foods, the more that I can enjoy my “kitchen sink” smoothies.
Here are some key concepts to making a “Kitchen Sink” smoothie:
Don’t limit yourself to including only “sweet” ingredients.
However, do have enough sweetness to balance out items that may have a bland, bitter or strong flavor (i.e. be willing to add some local honey).
Consider “spicing up” your smoothies.
Many spices have great health benefits, and you can mask some of the flavors if you have other more tasty ingredients. Currently I make up a 7-spice mix to add to my smoothies (see photo above.) Spices can include:
- cayanne red pepper
For variety, I may decide to trade out one spice for a different one. For convenience, and because I like the number 7, I am doing 7 pinches at a time into little pill box container (see photo above) to make it easy to dump them into the blender.
Don’t rule out leftovers.
At the office where I work, we received a gift basket of fruit. Someone cut up the pineapple and put it in a container, but it didn’t get fully used up. I took the remainder home and used it in my next smoothie blend.
Other leftovers that can work:
- sweet potatoes
- any produce that is starting to wilt, etc
- cooked grains like quinoa, barley or farrow
- leftover oatmeal or cereal
- those little jars of gift jams and jellies that you receive and forget to use
- lentils (yep, I just tried lentils in my smoothie and it wasn’t that overpowering…just don’t use a lot!)
Experiment with adding unique elements you may not have thought of before.
- nutritional yeast
- kombacha or other femented drink (I haven’t tried this one yet, but when I do it will be a small amount first)
- kefir (for probiotics)
- seaweed (small amounts; you may have to soak first)
- coffee grounds
- rolled oats
- pureed homemade soups (i.e. squash, carrot)
- small amounts of healthy oils
Start small when adding an ingredient you haven’t used before.
You don’t want it to overpower the taste, but a little could add some extra nutrition and keep you letting something go to waste. For example, today I used tahini, and it did give a bit of a different taste. I was glad I only used a spoonful but the smoothie was still edible (drinkable?)
Don’t be limited by recipes.
Recipes are a great guideline, but you can choose from lots of healthy foods to incorporate into your smoothies without following a rigid recipe.
Be aware of calories.
Smoothies are an efficient, simple way to get a lot of nutrients in a meal. Just be aware that the more elements you add, the more calories your smoothie may contain. That’s fine if it’s a meal replacement, but if you are trying to lose or maintain weight, you may want to keep a stricter track of how many calories your smoothie contains, particularly if you are fond of adding nuts, nut butters, or oils to them.
Make sure you have a decent blender to use.
If you start adding harder ingredients, you may need a more powerful motor. You’ll want a jar that fits well and doesn’t leak (I’m struggling with this right now to be honest.) Here’s a page that lists several powerful and well-reviewed blenders, to get you started on research.
Above all, have fun with it!
It’s no crime if one of your smoothies comes out tasting “eh.” I recently tried to make soup that quite frankly, turned out awful. I discarded it, but I could actually have frozen it into ice cubes and worked one into my smoothies, probably covered the taste, and still benefitted from the nutrition in the ingredients. So don’t worry!
Disclaimer: I was invited by Williams Sonoma to participate in their “smoothie week” blog post collection. I am providing a link to their product page for those who would like to research blenders further. This is not a review or endorsement of any particular product. Readers should take responsibility for their own choice of foods to intake, taking into consideration their health needs, personal tastes, and potential allergies.