Posts Tagged ‘ 3 stars ’

Broccoli Cheese Soup (★★★☆☆) using the Vitamix 7500 (with video)

After my last post I decided to make a soup that I’ve made a few times in the past.  It’s very easy, pretty good, but not popular with my kids, which is why I can only give it three stars and why I haven’t posted about it in the past.  This time around I decided to make a video showing how easy it is to make.

Broccoli Cheese Soup (★★★☆☆)
2 cups (480 ml) whole milk
2/3 cup (80 g) shredded cheese
1 bag (12 oz /340 g) of frozen broccoli florets
2 teaspoons worth of onion
2 teaspoons of cornstarch
1 large chicken bouillon cube

Steam or microwave the frozen broccoli florets.  While doing that, prepare the correct amounts of the other ingredients.  Put two-thirds of the broccoli in the blender along with all of the other ingredients.  Blend on high with the tamper for about 5-6 seconds or until steam is coming out of the top of the blender.  Once the soup is done blending, pour into bowls and garnish the bowls with the remaining steamed florets and shredded cheese. 

This recipe is twice the size of the Vitamix Whole Food Recipes recipe that I based it on, and can easily be cut in half if making it for one or two people.

a serving of soup after adding florets and shredded cheese

Here’s a serving of soup after adding florets and shredded cheese

Baby Kale, Peanut and Banana Green Smoothie (★★★☆☆)

We had friends over today for breakfast who stayed for lunch.  I told them to bring over whatever they wanted to blend up in the blender, and that breakfast would be green smoothies and waffles.   I was looking forward to mixing things in both the my new Blendtec Designer Series and my tried and true Vitamix Professional Series 300. (The Pro 300 is basically the same as a 7500, a good explanation of the different models is here.)

The first thing I made was whipped cream for the waffles.  Following that, I decided to make a green smoothie using baby kale, based on a recipe I received from a co-worker.  I am not a fan of kale, but I wanted to change that.  My coworker makes this green smoothie regularly in a Health Master her husband received as a gift using extra water and peanut butter and cinnamon powder instead of peanuts and cinnamon sticks, and leaving out the flax seeds.

I’ll go into more detail on how the two blenders matched up below, but here’s the recipe for anyone who’s interested:

Baby Kale, Peanut and Banana Green Smoothie (★★★☆☆)
The ingredients go well together, and the results is one of the most drinkable kale based green smoothies I have had.  I do not have a high degree of confidence in the ratios of the ingredients below, but the ingredients themselves work well together.

2 medium handfuls of baby kale
1 large banana
3-4 tablespoons of unsalted peanuts
cinnamon stick pieces (to taste)
2 tablespoons of flax seeds
ice and water (approximately 16oz, half ice, half water)

I used the smoothie button on the Blendtec, and used the tamper on speed 10 on the Vitamix Pro 300.  I started the Vitamix just after the Blendtec, turning it off just before the 40 second smoothie program ended.

The smoothie itself was a little better than I was expecting, but not as interesting to me as how the Blendtec would compare to the Vitamix.

I tried to make both sets of ingredients as equal as possible:

Getting ready to make Baby Kale, Peanut and Banana Green Smoothies in both blenders simultaneously

Getting ready to make Baby Kale, Peanut and Banana Green Smoothies in both blenders simultaneously

Adding ice to both blenders

Adding ice to both the Designer Series (left) and Professional Series 300 (right)

I broke out both the two “B” and two “V” cups that I made for blind taste testing the Banana Milk I made in my first side-by-side test of the two blenders, and served the green smoothie to my guests, and got two votes for the Vitamix with texture the only reason that either friend could articulate. I noticed that the Blendtec mix was slightly warmer, which is a trend I’m seeing, an issue that could be easily rectified in this recipe by using more ice and less water. Regardless, the difference between the blenders for this particular mix is small.

Fresh Peach Banana Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Smoothie (★★★☆☆)

Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh in rating this, as it was really tasty and everyone devoured it.  That said, it was in that awkward middle zone between being a sorbet, frozen yogurt and a smoothie.  We just threw a lot of frozen peaches, a banana, some strawberries, the rest of the plain yogurt we had and some ice and water into the blender.  As you’d expect, it definitely tasted good, but had too much water and ice to be a good frozen yogurt, too much yogurt to be a sorbet, and not enough water and ice to be a smoothie.

Fresh fruit pretty much always tastes good when blended into a frozen treat, but having a structured goal or better recipe would have bumped this up a star or two.

Fresh Peach Banana Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Smoothie (★★★☆☆)
As you can tell from the name, this tasty frozen treat didn’t know what frozen treat it wanted to be.

4 frozen peaches (cut and pits removed)
1 banana
6 strawberries
plain yogurt

Freeze the peaches in advance.  Then put the peaches, banana, strawberries and yogurt in the blender.  Blend on medium to high, using the tamper and adjusting the blender intensity to ensure everything is well mixed.  At this point you have tasty frozen yogurt.  Frozen yogurt diluted with additional ice, water and/or yogurt as desired to create a smoothie or milder frozen yogurt.  Serve immediately.


Ripe, local, seasonal fruit is so good it doesn’t need much help, so no amount of random mixing on my part was able to make this not taste good, but trying to make a sorbet, similar to the peach sorbet I made, or a frozen yogurt or a smoothie would have been better than just randomly throwing things in the blender and ending up somewhere between the three.

I do plan on trying to make a pineapple and peach sorbet, as we picked up a lot of fresh, locally grown peaches recently, and I think the pineapple and peach might go well together in a sorbet.

Wild Blackberry Juice (★★★☆☆) and typical blender use in our new home

We moved into our new home about a month ago, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the edge of our yard had a lot of wild blackberry bushes growing naturally.  There are so many of them that despite eating hundreds of them over the weekend, I still have more than I know what to do with, so I figured I’d try blending them.

Wild Blackberry Juice (★★★☆☆)
This would have been two stars, but both my young kids drank a good amount of it and told me it was good.

3 cups of wild blackberries
one packet of stevia sweetener (a natural no-calorie sweetener that is an extract from a naturally sweet tea leaf)

That’s really it.  I started filling the water up to the three cups line, but that seemed too strong, so I put more water in, and both the kids and I drank it.  I realized afterwards that based on my own personal preference for frozen drinks, this likely would have made a much better smoothie than juice.

I’m not in a rush to try to make this juice again, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much both the young kids drank.  If there’s an abundance of ripe berries this weekend, I’ll think I’ll give the smoothie variant of this recipe a try.

As for blender use, since we moved, the blender’s been used staples such as peanut butter and Banana Milk, as well as mixing powdered drinks, but my wife’s also come up good recipe for a delicious sesame dipping sauce for vegetables and a sesame dressing (goma-dare – ごまだれ)for cold summer ramen noodles (hiyashi chuuka – 冷やし中華).

I’m going to try to get those recipes my wife and share them here next.

Ridiculously Good Pina Coladas (★★★★★) Strawberry Milk and (★★★☆☆) and a broken and fixed blender

First, two recipes, because I have to share one that’s amazing, and I may as well share the other while I’m at it:

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

This is one of those times where simple ingredients and an awesome blender can’t be beat.  My recipe is going to use stevia packets, instead of sugar packets, as that cuts down on unnecessary sugar calories, but you could use sugar as well.  What I did really like about the stevia in this recipe is that it’s rare that stevia really works in something as a sweetener without tasting just a bit off, but it works very well in this recipe and if you have stevia, I recommend it.

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

½ can (200ml) of coconut milk (Half a Goya 13.5 oz. Coconut Milk can is what I used)

Ice (Nice ice helps, I used a bag from the local grocery store)

Stevia to taste (I used 3 packets for the above)

Rum (optional)

Blend the first three on high; ice being the only one I don’t have a ratio for, and that’s pretty much commonsense.  Add stevia (or sugar) and/or rum as desired.  (I found three stevia packets for the whole thing to be a good amount.)

Very, very good.  Another recent attempt, which didn’t quite live up to expectations, was the result of an abundance of cheap and delicious strawberries at the peak of the season:

Strawberry Milk (★★★☆☆)
Does not line up with “Strawberry Milk”, which, in retrospect, isn’t that surprising.

several very fresh, very sweet strawberries


Blend the strawberries on high, add a pinch of milk, blend again, then add milk to taste.

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t nearly as sweet, nor did it taste as much like strawberries, as I expected it to.  It was definitely drinkable, but for strawberries that good, I’d rather have strawberries and a glass of milk.

As for my blender, it actually did “break” a month ago.  I don’t know how to describe any better than to say that the top part of the blender that spins, that the toothed blender jar post connects to, became disconnected from the blender.

Usually when I’m writing on the Internet about some issue with a product, it’s because the company involved doesn’t live up my expectations, but in this case, I’m writing because Vitamix exceeded mine.  I contacted the company, waited a few minutes before speaking with a real person, and they sent me out a pre-paid shipping label to ship it back to VitaMix.

Less than two weeks later, I had my repair blender back, along with a brand new blender jar.  Apparently, something had compromised the jar, and that was responsible for the blender piece breaking, which is supposedly a design feature, as that part breaks so the blender doesn’t suffer any damage when excessive torque is required to spin the blender blades.

I have an earlier post where I tell the story of how I ended up with a VitaMix, but basically say that I imagine anyone will be happy with a VitaMix or a Blendtec.  Since I’m very pleasantly surprised by how painless and personal the repair process was (and free!), I’m that much more likely to highly recommend anyone in the market for a new blender order from VitaMix.  (And if you are ordering from, use the coupon code 06-006651 for free shipping!)

World’s Best Hot Chocolate (★★★★★), Jalapeno V6 (★★★☆☆)

Didn’t post yesterday, but definitely used the blender for a few different things today and yesterday, so I’ll just post the first half of the recipes here:

World’s Best Hot Chocolate (★★★★★)
This is unbelievably good and highly recommended

2 cups of whole milk
6 tablespoons of cocoa powder
3 tablespoons of sugar
a small splash of vanilla extra
salt (just the tiniest amount)

Blend everything on high until the Vitamix 5200 heats the milk enough to turn it into hot cocoa.  Steam will rise from the top.  Drink immediately.  You can tweak the cocoa and sugar, but this is the mix I like, and it’s easier to make with larger portions, harder with smaller portions.

(Feb 2013 EditHere are some things I learned the hardway in experimenting with the above recipe:

  • Don’t use stevia as a substitute for part of the sugar
  • Don’t throw a Hershey’s Kiss in thinking it will improve the taste of the cocoa
  • Don’t add too much vanilla (granted, that was on accident.)

The other thing I’ve learned is that rather than heat it in the blender, mixing it thoroughly, then heating it in a sauce pan, taking care to not boil it, seems to be the best way to make this.)

Jalapeno V6(★★★☆☆)
This is better than I expected, but probably not for most people.

¾ cup of tomato puree
¼ celery stalk
1 romaine lettuce heart
several sprigs of cilantro
½ green pepper, with seeds and white insides spooned out
1 jalapeño pepper, halved length-wise, with seeds and white insides spooned out
1 fresh Ginger Gold apple, quartered with seeds and stem removed
salt (to taste)
2 dozen ice cubes

Blend everything but the ice cubes, then add ice cubes through the top of the lid while the blender is on high.

Hopefully I can post about the Banana Milk variant and other green smoothie later today.

Another try at Homemade Salsa (★★★★☆) and Yet Another Great Green Smoothie (★★★☆☆)

Back by popular demand, I’ve improved upon the previous Homemade Salsa (★★★★☆):

Homemade Salsa (★★★★☆)
Again, absolutely fantastic and very easy to make, and definitely something I’ll continue to experiement with

5 roma tomatoes, halved
¼ cup of tomato puree
1 small red onion (quartered)
3 jalapeño peppers, halved length-wise, with seeds and white insides spooned out
½ green bell pepper (quartered)
several sprigs of cilantro
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon lemon juice from concentrate

To start, I added the cilantro, jalapenos, garlic, lemon juice, salt and the tomato puree into the blender, and blend it up.  The idea is to get those flavorful components into a puree.  Then I dial the Vitamix 5200 back down to speed 5, add the onion and bell pepper letting the blender spin for 20 seconds, dialing the speed down to 3 and adding the tomatoes for 10-15 seconds.  While we ate half of it right away, the other half went into the fridge, and tastes even better after it’s chilled.

I also made:

Yet Another Great Green Smoothie (★★★☆☆)
Very easy to enjoy

1 fresh banana
1 fresh Ginger Gold apple, quartered with seeds and stem removed
a few dozen mint leaves
a romaine lettuce heart
½ green bell pepper
a dozen ice cubes
a smidge of salsa still in the blender (see above)

Throw everything but the ice cubes in.  Blend everything, add six ice cubes, blend until smooth and watery, add another six ice cubes and blend for frozen drink consistency.

This is pretty fantastic, but I think the thing that kept it from being four stars is not rinsing the blender, as the faint spice of the salsa wasn’t needed in an otherwise minty, slightly sweet frozen drink.

As with other days, I made another smoothie during lunch, but can’t remember it clearly enough to list it.  It used the rest of my water spinach, which seemed to go pretty well with anything.