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Frozen Tundra: Smoothies

2010 February 9

Breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day, I know, I know. And that goes double when it’s insanely cold and snowy like it is outside right now in D.C. While I’d love a hot breakfast on cold morning, most weekday mornings eggs and bacon are just not in the cards (unless they learn to cook themselves). Something a little sweeter and a lot more mindless has a much better chance of making into my mouth. Something like a smoothie. The ingredients are easily assembled in the faint morning light or even the night before in the carafe of the blender and stashed in the ‘fridge. As an added bonus, smoothies are actually good for you.

I typically use the same general base of milk, yogurt, OJ and banana and then chuck in two cups of whatever frozen fruits are hanging out in the freezer. Usually we have a combination of commercially frozen more “exotic” fruits like mango and pineapple along side assorted berries I individually quick freeze (IQF) when they’re in season. The pineapple-to-mango or berry-to-berry ratios are pretty arbitrary: whatever shakes out of the bag and into the 2-cup measure I carry to the freezer goes in the smoothie.

The easiest way to stockpile frozen bananas, for me anyway, is to simply not throw away the ones you wouldn’t normally eat. Deep down I know the totally brown ones that look yucky are actually perfectly tasty, but sometimes I just can’t get ‘em down. They get mashed into banana bread (courtesy of Future Mr. Kitchenette) or else peeled, tossed into a baggie and then into the freezer. If you don’t have a terribly powerful blender or are using that small kitchen favorite, the stick blender, you might want to break up or slice the banana before freezing.

Variations on the theme are listed below, and it’s worth noting that if you stay away from dairy, soy milk and yogurt work equally well. If you fancy giving it a go with rice milk or something else, let me know how it turns out. The “Tropical” version takes me back to age 5 and Orange Julius at the Euclid Square Mall with my dad — see where it takes you.

Easy Breakfast Smoothies
Serves 2

1 frozen banana, peeled
1/2 cup plain (or vanilla) yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup milk

Tropical = 2 cups frozen mango and pineapple
Berry Blast = 2 cups frozen strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries
Cherry Blossom = 2 cups frozen cherries + 1 teaspoon EACH vanilla and almond extract

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth and pours freely.
Pour into 2 chilled pint glasses (or insulated travel mugs for breakfast on the go).

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