Posts Tagged ‘ Vitamix Pro 300 ’

Green Smoothies, Green Smoothies all the time!

On June 23rd my family headed to Japan for six weeks.  My wife and two kids flew to Japan where my two kids were each able to enroll in at least three weeks of school, and then have a few weeks of summer vacation in Japan before they come back on August 5th.

Today is the 41st day since they got on that plane, and it’s been rough.  I expected it to be rough six weeks, but it got significantly more challenging than I expected after I broke my arm badly early in June.  I’d say I’m normally in decent shape; I’m a healthy weight, love mountain biking, enjoy road biking as well, and my wife cooks incredibly healthy and tasty, usually Japanese, meals.  My expectation, prior to breaking my arm, was that during these six weeks I would be able to ride my bike to and from work most days, go out for long rides on the weekends, and have a lot of free time to exercise to offset whatever unhealthy diet decisions I made because of eating out.

Boom.  Break my arm, plans change.

My arm was broken badly.  It was an intra-articular, displaced, open fracture of my distal radius with multiple large fragments.  Multiple doctors told me to expect surgery following the break, expecting the bone fragments to shift after an initial reduction and plaster cast that set the bones well.  In other words, while I’ve had a CT scan and seven sets of X-rays since the break with an eight set coming up Tuesday, I’m extremely lucky that I managed to avoid surgery.  I managed to escape with just the excitement of a bi-valve, antibiotics, multiple casts and a now a split.

That said, the break was bad enough that for the first several weeks I was told not to use the hand, keep it elevated and not move it any more than necessary, which I took very serious to maximize my chances of avoiding surgery.  But long after the injury, I’m home alone.  A long handled bath brush helped with bathing, but I still needed to take care of feeding myself, except now I had to do so with one hand while also needing to cut back on calories to account for my lack of physical activity.

As a result, my Vitamix has seen basically daily use for the last month and a half.  My green smoothie recipes have basically all followed this pattern:

Green Smoothies, Green Smoothies all the time!

Green leaves (choose one):

Baby Spinach or Spinach (I use this the most often)
Turnip Greens
Baby Kale or Kale
Arugula
Daikon Greens (I’m growing daikon in our garden, otherwise I don’t know how you’d get this)

Vegetables (choose four to eight):
Carrots

Broccoli
Cucumber
Celery
Bell Peppers
Vidalia Onion
Green Onions
Sugar Snap Peas

Flavor Vegetables (optional, usually none or just one):
Cilantro

Garlic
Ginger
Shiso Leaves

Fruits (choose one or two):
Frozen/Fresh Banana

Frozen Mango
Frozen Berries Mix
Frozen Strawberries
Frozen/Fresh Blueberries
Frozen/Fresh Cherries
Fresh Apple
Fresh Apricot
Fresh Peaches

Other Addtions (usually all three):
Plain Yogurt

Almonds
Flax Seeds

 

A good amount of leaves, small bit of each vegetable, a flavor vegetable or two, a handful of fruit and then yogurt, almonds and flax seeds along with a mix of ice and water blended to make a frozen green smoothie.

That list includes all the ingredients needed for the permutations I can remember off the top of my head.  A coworker I’ve been sharing my green smoothies with was most impressed with one that used shiso leaves, as that seemed to be a surprisingly good addition to what would have otherwise been an unremarkable green smoothie.  Yogurt and almonds also help more than I would have expected.  I’ve also occasionally enjoyed a banana milk for breakfast or lunch, which are especially enjoyable on the hotter summer days, and are hopefully giving my healing wrist that much needed calcium.

I’ve managed to keep working through this injury, and I’ve managed to avoid gaining weight during this injury.  If I didn’t have my Vitamix, I’m fairly certain I’d have been eating out more, gaining weight, spending more money and getting less nutrients.  Staying at my current weight means one less hurdle to deal with as I go through my recovery.

I won’t lie and say I’m in great shape now.  I tried jogging after moving from the cast to the splint.  Jogging was tougher than it used to be, and I’ll need to exercise regularly to get back in shape.  But an almost daily green smoothie helped me ensure that I was constantly getting a good mix of vegetables and other healthy foods in a quick, enjoyable, low-calorie way.  Even when my arm was aching and I didn’t feel good, I could whip up a green smoothie without too much trouble and ensure I was eating well.

My family will be home this week, and I should be able to gradually do more and more with them as the wrist continues to heal.  Hopefully my recovery will continue to make steady progress, and I’m looking forward to getting back into shape.

Warm weather, bike rides and frozen Banana Milk (★★★★★)

It’s warm out!  After that last winter, I’m ecstatic to finally be out riding my bike and not be trapped inside any more.

I love frozen drinks, and the summer is the best time of the year for them.  Hands down the best thing to enjoy after a reasonable workout is a frozen Banana Milk.  It’s brain dead simple to make with a Vitamix:

Banana Milk (★★★★★)
The best way to cool down and get your body what it needs after a workout

1 frozen banana
milk

Break the banana in two and put it in the blender, then add milk to achieve your desired consistency.  I prefer the consistency of an easily drinkable milkshake.  It’s very important to use the tamper when making this to avoid having any banana chunks remaining.  I find I get the best results when I blend it on high for about 20-30 seconds using the tamper while blending, then check the consistency, adding more milk if needed, and then blending for another 20-30 seconds before serving.

For the absolutely best tasting Banana Milk, I personally prefer a 60:40 mix of whole milk from a local farm and soy milk.  But just milk and banana is the easiest way to make it.  All I have to do is remember to throw a banana in the freezer before I go on a long ride.


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.

You can make graphene with a high powered kitchen blender

If you haven’t already seen the news, scientists have figured out how to make graphene in a kitchen blender.  My first thought upon reading this was to wonder whether or not my Blendtec Designer Series or my Vitamix Professional Series 300 (aka 7500) would be better suited to making graphene at home.  Unfortunately, the article starts by repeatedly warning me not to try making graphene in my blenders at home.

I did find it interesting the article called the 400W blender they used high powered, when the Blendtec and Vitamix are both more than triple that.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a recipe post, and I can’t relay my experiences trying to make graphene.  But who knows?  Maybe Blendtec and Vitamix blenders will soon find themselves in demand for creating graphene thanks to this new discovery.

 

Dill Green Smoothie (★★★★☆)

We ate at Five Guys for an easy dinner yesterday, and had cereal this morning, so I wanted to make a green smoothie to go with lunch, but didn’t have the ingredients for any of the mixes I usually make, but stumbled upon a nice mix as a result.  I used my Pro 300 (aka 7500), since it’s the blender I’m most comfortable with.

The only fresh herb we had in the vegetable drawer was dill, and my wife makes a nice yogurt and dill sauce.  That coupled with the half of an apple left over from breakfast and the peanut butter I made yesterday gave me the idea for this.

Dill Green Smoothie (★★★★☆)
The ingredients go well together, and the results is one of the most drinkable green smoothies to come out of randomly throwing ingredients together

2 medium handfuls of spinach
1½ apples
2 celery stalks
1 cucumber
fresh dill
two heaping tablespoons of plain yogurt
one heaping tablespoon of homemade peanut butter
tablespoons of flax seeds
lots of ice

I turned the Vitamix up to speed 5 until it got going, then turned it up to speed 10.  I used the tamper on the ingredients for the first 15 or 20 seconds until everything was mixing well.

Definitely a good mix, and something I’d be happy to make again with no changes.

Find a way to improve on the above mix?  Let me know in the comments!

Very Busy Blender Day (With both the Vitamix Pro 300 and the Blendtec Designer Series)

Yesterday will probably be the most blender usage my blenders see in a single day in 2014.  Less than two weeks ago, I received a Blendtec Designer Series blender, and while I took photos for a physical comparison of the new Blendtec and my Vitamix Professional Series 300. (The Pro 300 is basically the same as a 7500, a good explanation of the different models is here.) I was really looking forward to actually seeing how they performed side-by-side.

We invited a family we are close friends with over for breakfast, and they stayed for lunch as well. They knew I was excited about trying out my new blender, and I told them to bring over whatever they wanted to blend up in the blender, and that breakfast would be green smoothies and waffles.

The first thing I made was Whipped Cream, which I made in the Blendtec because of the Twister Jar, which was very well suited for the task.  The Blendtec does this better than the Vitamix.

After that, I made the first green smoothies of the day, Baby Kale, Peanut and Banana Green Smoothies, which I made in both blenders simultaneously.  The Vitamix edged out the Blendtec with better texture and less heating during blending.

After that, my friend chopped up a bunch of fresh, organic fruits he’d picked up.  His wife instructed him to pick up frozen organic fruits, and he couldn’t find frozen organic fruit, so he assumed fresh organic fruit would be fine.  A bunch of ice and fruit were added to the Vitamix with reasonably good results as a Frozen Fruit Smoothie, but then made a little too sweet when sweetened vanilla yogurt was added to the mix.  (Frozen fruit and unsweetened yogurt with less ice would have been fantastic.  It’s pretty much impossible to mix frozen fruit, plain yogurt and water/ice and not end up with a great drink.)

After the frozen fruit smoothie experiment, I decided to make my Homemade Frozen Mocha Drink for them, but my ice cube tray broke recently, so I had a giant frozen chunk of coffee, which gave both the Blendtec and the Vitamix difficulties, though the tamper and time were eventually enough to get the frozen coffee into the blades instead of bouncing on top of them.   I left out the stevia, which made it less sweet than normal, since getting back from Japan, I’m on a bit of a bitter is good kick, so I enjoyed it better that way, and my friends both seemed to enjoy the drink a lot.

For lunch, my wife threw together a tomato and cream sauce for some pasta that helped some of the baby kale we’d bought.  I decided to make some Powdered Parmesan, which I used the Vitamix for, as I know it excels there, while my experience with the Blendtec was not as good.

As a drink, I made a Mild Baby Kale Green Smoothie to go with lunch that was excellent, but as that was the green smoothie equivalent of throwing all your leftovers into a pot and finding out they make amazing soup, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to replicate that drink, even though it was the best kale based green smoothie I have had to date.

As my friend was leaving he realized that he left a four pound bag of juicing oranges in our kitchen, and told us to put them to good use, as he bought them specifically to try blending them.  My wife and I did peel and blend them, but I can’t say that qualifies as good use.  After having made Fresh Oranges Applesauce, I now understand why freshly blended oranges are not a thing.

To wrap up the day, and to make a relatively easy dinner, I made Butternut Squash Soup for dinner, making reasonable sized batches in both blenders simultaneously, instead of cramming everything it the Pro 300 like I normally do.  To help heat the soup up, I did mix both batches in a Blendtec for one soup cycle, but as you can read in that post, the smell the blender gave off is making me think twice about trying that again.

So that’s it.  Not a bad Saturday of blending.  What do I think about the Blendtec?  I’m definitely still learning.  I don’t like when water comes out of the lid during a cleaning cycle, hits the LCD panel, and stops the cleaning cycle I was running it through, nor am I thrilled at the smell when running a very large patch of soup through a second soup cycle in a short period of time.  But those can be chalked up to user error or misuse.

I’ve written before about why I love Vitamix, and why I would spend so much money on a Vitamix blender, and I can’t say I’m there yet for the Blendtec, but I can already see a few things it does better, such as whipped cream or heating soup while blending.

For the budget minded, you can get a Factory Re-certified Blendtec Total Blender Classic Series for $20 less than a Vitamix Certified Reconditioned Standard, which is basically the 5200 model, and the warranty for the Blendtec is 7 years, while the warranty for the Vitamix is 5 years.  (Note that you can get a $0.00 shipping option through the Blendtec link above, and the Vitamix link includes provides free shipping, both of which are the cheapest ways to get a Blendtec or Vitamix with a 5+ year warranty.)  At that price, I can see the slightly cheaper, includes a longer warranty, fits better under a cabinet and includes programs arguments adding up to a compelling reason to consider the Blendtec option very strongly.

For me, it’s been years since I purchased my refurbished 5200, and I’ve already come to terms with the fact that I use my blender enough to justify buying the blender I want the most.  Which, as of today, is the 7500 model. (Also sold as the Professional Series 300 and Creations Elite)  That said, the Blendtec is still very new to me, and I plan to continue to use it again and again, in hopes of having a much better understanding of its strengths and weakness, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of my Vitamix.  I’ll probably post another evaluation of each in a few months as pricing, and my understanding of each blender, changes.

Anything I should know about the Blendtec Designer Series?  Anything you’d like me to blend?  Let me know in the comments!