Yesterday I discussed alternative drink ideas for the Daniel Fast, and today I want to discuss smoothies. Who can resist a smoothie? That creamy, luscious, sweet concoction can be the start of a beautiful morning, and the finishing touch to a wonderful dinner. For some, it can even be a meal replacement. Let’s face it, smoothies are big business – and a lot of times what they are touting as “all-fruit” smoothies are in essence chock full of syrupy fruit and artificial ingredients and preservatives. My daughter bought a “smoothie” from McDonald’s and did not finish it all, and to her surprise when she looked at the cup the next morning, her orange smoothie had disintegrated to a “green” liquid? What? Mmm….hmm…you get the picture 😦
With that said, that is why you are much better off making your own, and I am going to give you some basics on how to build the best smoothies to ever pass your mouth, so follow me. You will need a good blender or a food processor to make smoothies. I own a Cuisinart food processor that I use to make my smoothies in, and I love the fact that I have one piece of equipment that can do a myriad of things in my kitchen. Just buy a quality blender or food processor (best place I have found is Sam’s or Costco as they have an excellent return policy and are usually cheaper).
1. First let’s start with the basics. A smoothie basically consists of 3 things: ” non dairy milk”, frozen fruit, and juice to make it “Daniel friendly.” So the equation is: base (nondairy milk) + filling (frozen fruit) + juice (liquid thinner).
The base would consist of either coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk. I choose my base ingredient based on what tastes good to me, and what complements the fruit I am using. For example, pineapples and mangos are fantastic with coconut milk or almond, and berries are good with a lighter milk like almond or soy, but ultimately choose a base that you would ENJOY drinking! I LOVE coconut milk in my smoothies, but instead of buying the bland coconut milk that comes in the carton, I buy a can of unsweetened coconut milk (Thai Kitchens is an excellent brand), add 2 cups of apple juice, pour in a glass bottle with a top, and store in the fridge. Then when I am ready to make a smoothie, I give a few shakes and pour it up. This yields a deep, flavorful, coconut base that is perfectly thinned like milk because of the apple juice.
The fruit filling would consist of any frozen fruit you love. Bananas, berries, mangos, peaches, and pineapples are pretty much the top fruits used. I usually buy the huge frozen bags of fruit at Costco or Sam’s that have a medley of the fruit I like above. For the bananas, I ALWAYS use ripe bananas that I have cut up and frozen in storage bags. Why? Because frozen bananas give you the creamy sweetness that you want. If you use unfrozen fresh fruit, you will find that your smoothie will be more runny and you will have to use ice, which to me defeats the purpose. In my opinion, frozen is best, in this case, so if you have fresh fruit on hand, freeze it first. I would stay away from apples, melons, pears, grapes, etc. Stick with fruit that you would not have a problem finding frozen.
The top juices to use in smoothies are orange juice, apple juice, and pineapple juice. Of course you could use cranberry juice in a berry smoothie if you would like, but once again, you want to pick a juice that complements the flavor of your fruit. For example, mangoes and pineapple are fantastic with orange and pineapple juice. For me, I usually use orange and apple juice in all of my smoothies – orange for its robust citrusy flavor, and apple juice to help to thin it out, if needed. When it comes to juices, make sure you are using 100% fruit juice. I prefer to use refrigerated juices that are “not from concentrate” or “organic’ as they tend to not have any added water, preservatives, or flavors – just the pure natural tasting essence of the juice. I love the Simply Orange brand of juices for my smoothies, which you can find at any grocery store, as they have a good orange and apple juice variety.
Now let’s build….
I usually use this ratio of ingredients: 1:1:1:1 – 1 cup of base, 1 cup of frozen fruit, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup of juice. You can tweak it to meet your consistency, adding less or more. I usually always include a frozen banana in my fruit as this is what makes it creamy and sweet (a huge difference), but if you do not like bananas, you can leave it off. All you do is dump everything in at the same time, blend until nice and smooth to your desired consistency (adding more liquid if needed), and that is it! Then pour in a glass, pop in a straw, and you are good to go! You can double the ratio if you are making it for 2 people. I do like to garnish my glass with an orange slice to make it festive.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to smoothies. Once you taste the quality of what you can make at home, you won’t be tempted to drop $4 to $5 dollars for a sub par version of the real thing. Stay tuned, for in the future I will take it up a notch and do another post on some over-the-top healthy and yummy smoothie ideas to enjoy off the fast! Check out my blog for recipes and helpful tips. Cheers!