Fruity Coladas (★★★★☆)

A friend was over this weekend and we made some frozen alcoholic beverages.  A random batch was so good that he asked if it was made from a recipe.  It wasn’t, but it was good enough that I figured I would share the recipe here.  Nowere:

Fruity Coladas (★★★★☆)
There was no clear favorite between this and the frozen lime margarita, but even if you aren’t a huge mango fan, this is a great variation on a traditional frozen margarita

1 pound bag of frozen mango
3/4 pound of frozen strawberries
15 oz. can of cream of coconut
one medium/large limes
2/3 cup white rum
water and ice

I mixed everything but the lime, but the drink lacked the tartness that good margaritas and pina coladas have, so I added a lime to help add that citrus tartness.  For the lime, remove the skin with a knife, keeping as much of the fruit intact as possible.  Throw the fruit in the blender and squeeze any remaining juice left on the lime skin slices.  The exact blend of ice and water is up to personal preference, as is the amount of alcohol to add.

 

Now, it’s not the most amazing frozen drink I’ve had in recent history.  That would either be the frozen lime or mango margaritas that we made not too long ago.  But for a drink that was created based on what we had in the freezer and pantry to work with, I think it turned out pretty great.

The best deal on a Vitamix Blender in the 2014 holiday season

This is my 100th post, and this blog just celebrated its three year anniversary!  And to think I was concerned when I bought my first Vitamix that I might not get enough use to justify the cost!  Here’s hoping year four of this blog is as fun as the first three!

I actually got a message on my blog today asking me what the best deal on a Vitamix currently is, and if there’s a good deal coming up at some point in the Christmas season.  Before I answer that question, it’s important to be clear on what blender you want.  I do also have a Blendtec Designer Series in January of last year, but this message was asking specifically about a deal on a Vitamix, so I’ll stick with that.  There are a few model lines that Vitamix currently sells, and while there are a lot of ways they are rebranded and packaged, there are really three choices.  I wrote a detailed post, How to choose the right Vitamix model for you, and for the sake of this post, I’m going to assume a potential blender buyer is looking at the Classic series and/or Next Generation models.  (Confused?  Read through the link on choosing the right model.)

Regardless of whether you are looking at the Classic series or the Next Generation models, the best deal on a Vitamix currently advertised is from Vitamix.com directly.  I have posted in the past about deals at Costco and Bed Bath and Beyond coupons, and I’ve also seen some “deals” at hautelook that haven’t ever beat what you can find at Vitamix.com.  The vast majority of the time, the best deal on a Vitamix is available on Vitamix.com once you know what model you want and track down the best offer.

I’ve been asked about the potential for Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday specials, and if recent years are any indication of what to expect from 2014, you won’t get a better deal on just a blender by waiting.  Larger bundles have seen slight discounts and containers have seen discounts, but the various blenders themselves do not normally see a Black Friday or Cyber Monday discount.  That makes sense since Vitamix’s shipping tends to get backed up as you get closer to Christmas, which is likely their busiest season.

To add to that, Vitamix is already matching the best pricing I have ever seen on their Classic model, matching their Mother’s Day pricing of only $299 for their Standard Reconditioned unit, which comes with a 5-year warranty.

Now, you can save some additional money buying from Vitamix.com directly, and that’s by using a coupon code for free shipping.  Coupon code 06-006651, does give free shipping on any Vitamix blender, and that code works regardless of whether you’re ordering online or by phone.  Once that free shipping is factored in, buying reconditioned models from Vitamix directly is most affordable way to buy a Vitamix, and usually means Vitamix.com is the best price on new models as well.So what are the best deals at the end of 2014?  I dug through, and as of today, the best pricing on the Standard and Next Generation models are:

Standard: 
5200 Standard – Getting Started (New, rubber handle and Whole Foods cookbook, comes with a 7-year warranty)
TurboBlend VS (New, plastic handle, filtration bag, vegan and vegetarian cookbook, comes with a 7-year warranty)
Standard (Reconditioned, comes with a 5-year warranty)

Next Generation: 
7500 (New, comes with a 7-year warranty)
Next Generation (Reconditioned, comes with a 5-year warranty)

Find a better deal on a Vitamix blender?  Have any questions?  Let me know in the comments!

Frozen Lime Margaritas (★★★★★)

After the delicious Frozen Mango Margaritas, we tried to replicate the magic with a traditional lime margarita following the same basic recipe, and it was delicious.  As with the Frozen Mango Margaritas, I think the secret was using all of the lime fruit, and the Vitamix‘s ability to make the pulp so fine that it adds to the texture and flavor of the drink.

Frozen Lime Margaritas (★★★★★)
This is my personal favorite take on a frozen margarita

two medium/large limes
1/4 cup sugar (I use less)
1/2 cup tequila
3 tablespoons triple sec
2 cups of ice
water and ice

Lime wedges (optional)

As with the mango recipe above, using the whole lime instead of just lime juice is what makes this so good.  Remove the skin with a knife, keeping as much of the fruit intact as possible.  Throw the fruit in the blender and squeeze any remaining juice left on the lime skin slices.  I don’t use an entire quarter cup of sugar, but people who prefer sweeter drinks will want to use a quarter cup of sugar.  Add sugar and alcohol and a bit of ice and water and blend.  You’ll need to start with two cups of ice to get a reasonable frozen consistency.  Then add ice to keep the mix thick and gelato-like, or water if the mix is too thick.  The exact blend is up to personal preference.

Garnish with a lime wedge and/or salted rim if you like.

My Frozen Lime Margarita

My Frozen Lime Margarita

Frozen Mango Margaritas (★★★★★)

Summer is over.   It was a great summer, and we ended it in style.  I made some great frozen margaritas, and I want to get the recipes down here so that I can make them again in the future!

I started with a recipe for frozen strawberry margaritas that was supposed to be very good, but it didn’t do anything for me.  A few tweaks gave me some substantially better tasting mango and lime margaritas.  The big secret seemed to be slicing the rind off the lime and throwing all of the inside fruit into the blender (and squeezing the bit that stuck to the skin) instead of trying to squeeze the lime juice in.  The Vitamix‘s ability to make the pulp so fine that it added to the texture and flavor of the drink probably helped a lot.

While we made frozen strawberry, mango and finally lime margaritas, the mango margaritas were the first batch to get universally rave reviews, so that’s the recipe I’ll share here:

Frozen Mango Margaritas (★★★★★)
There was no clear favorite between this and the frozen lime margarita, but even if you aren’t a huge mango fan, this is a great variation on a traditional frozen margarita

1 pound bag of frozen mango
two medium/large limes
1/4 cup sugar (I use less)
1/2 cup tequila
3 tablespoons triple sec
water and ice

Lime wedges (optional)

Using the whole lime instead of just lime juice is what makes this so good.  Remove the skin with a knife, keeping as much of the fruit intact as possible.  Throw the fruit in the blender and squeeze any remaining juice left on the lime skin slices.  I don’t use an entire quarter cup of sugar, but people who prefer sweeter drinks will want to use a quarter cup of sugar.  Add sugar, frozen mango and alcohol and a bit of ice and water and blend.  You’re going to want about two to three cups of ice/water, but with the frozen mango, you have the flexibility to add ice to keep the mix thick and gelato-like, or water if the mix is too thick.  The exact blend is up to personal preference, but I’d add one cup of water and one cup of ice to the above at the start.

Garnish with a lime wedge and/or salted rim if you like.

My Frozen Mango Margarita with a hint of red from the Frozen Strawberry Margarita that was in the cup a bit earlier in the evening.

My Frozen Mango Margarita with a hint of red from the Frozen Strawberry Margarita that was in the cup a bit earlier in the evening.

New Reconditioned Vitamix 5200 Photo

5200 Refurbished Vitamix PhotoI received this photo from a woman who read about the Reconditioned Vitamix Standard (An explanation of what “Standard” means is here) on this blog and purchased one. She’s thrilled with it, and I’m thrilled to see that the refurbished models now come with the new container with a nice rubberized handle. I bought my refurbished 5200 back in 2011, back when it came with the small plastic handle that connected to both the top and bottom of the 64oz. container.  The new container is a nice upgrade.

Ridiculously Good Pina Coladas, 2014 Version (★★★★★)

It’s summer, I’ve been mountain biking a lot, and Piña Coladas taste amazing year round, but are especially delicious in the summer, after some physical activity.

I still like my original recipe, but after making more than a dozen of these, I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit.  This new version is slightly less healthy, but the trade off is that it’s slightly more decadent:

Ridiculously Good Pina Coladas, 2014 Version (★★★★★)
This is a dangerously good piña colada.  Consider yourself warned.

I cut out the stevia and ice from my 2012 recipe, and I replaced them with frozen pinapple juice.

1 can (20 oz.) of crushed pineapple in unsweetened pineapple juice

½ can of coconut milk or coconut creme (Half a Goya 13.5 oz. Coconut Milk can is what I usually use)

frozen pinapple ice cubes (one normal sized ice cube tray worth)

Rum (optional)

Blend on high.

Using richer, fattier coconut cream makes it richer than coconut milk, but both work and a fatty coconut milk is the sweet spot, in my opinion.  Since the canned pineapple comes in 100% pineapple juice, I’ve been putting that in the ice cube tray for the next batch.  That’s about half as much as you need.  I top off the the tray with pineapple juice, and use one fairly large tray per batch.

Frozen Summer Drink Recommendations

It’s finally summer here in upstate New York, which means my blenders are very happily being used to make a lot of frozen drinks and treats.  Here are my personal favorites and recommendations:

Banana Milk
Frozen Piña Colada
Grown-up Polar Cup

Matcha Milk Frappachino
Mocha Frappuccino

I’ve made all of those in June, most recently frozen piña coladas, but I didn’t grab a photo of that.  Instead, here’s a photo from a few days ago when I was using both my Vitamix and Blendtec to make both the Matcha Milk Frappachino and whipped cream at the same time.

Making Matcha Cream Frappachino in my Vitamix 7500 at the same time as making whipped cream in my Blendtec Designer Series.

Making Matcha Cream Frappuchino in my Vitamix 7500 at the same time as making whipped cream in my Blendtec Designer Series.  Complete overkill, but it was fun using both blenders at once.

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