CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As I became increasingly suspicious Saturday that the electrical supply knocked out by the awesomely awful storm Friday might not return any time soon, I debated how to salvage foodstuffs from the steadily warming refrigerator and freezer.
Naturally, I had made a large trip to not one, but two, grocery stores earlier in the day Friday. We overstuffed sandwiches with pricey deli meats for lunch and roasted a brisket on the outdoor gas grill for dinner.
The freezer held bags of frozen fruit covered with condensation, which I gathered up and headed to the still-electrified office, where I stuffed them in the freezer and later pulled out my blender to make smoothies.
I confess that I'm not a big maker or consumer of smoothies, despite the obvious benefits of quick, healthy meals in a glass. Throw a few ingredients in a blender and "whrrrr," you're done. I personally like a little crunch in my meals and snacks, but they certainly hit the spot on a sweltering day.
The basic ingredients of healthy fruit smoothies seem to be fruit, fruit juice and ice, or for a creamier version, fruit, low-fat milk or soy milk and yogurt, preferably low fat, but really anything goes. Especially when it's fruit thawing in the freezer.
I had better luck blending the slightly thawed fruit because my blender, of average strength, had trouble cutting through the larger, more solid frozen pieces of strawberries and peaches.
Since the smoothie fest, I've learned a few more basics of blending.
It seems you can add anything to the smoothie blender, even vegetables, and foist the healthful concoctions on unsuspecting children. Suddenly, they've slurped down two or three fruit and vegetable servings and called it delicious.
My health-conscious niece Sarah blends a fruit smoothie every morning for breakfast. She adds a handful of spinach, which she says doesn't change the taste, but does turn the concoction an unappetizing brownish color. The shade seems to put off the rest of her family and college roommates, who haven't jumped on the smoothie bandwagon. The spinach adds vitamins and antioxidants.
Naturally sweet shredded carrots pack a powerful antioxidant and vitamin A wallop when added to smoothies. Cooked sweet potatoes, avocado and cucumbers also add vitamins and fiber.
Sarah uses soy milk instead of regular milk because she's concerned about hormones that some cow milk contains. Additions such as almond milk, soy milk or silken tofu add protein to boost their staying power. Flaxseed (Sarah recommends the powdered form) adds beneficial omega-3 and -6 fatty acids.
Limit additions such as ice cream, frozen yogurt, sugary fruit juices, chocolate and peanut butter if you're watching calories and fat.
Next time I make smoothies, I hope it's because I want to, not because I'm saving foods from the garbage bin.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.
Frozen Blueberry Smoothie
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup 1 percent milk
2 tablespoons honey
2 to 3 ice cubes (optional)
COMBINE all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth or to desired consistency, and then serve in glasses.
Nutrition information per serving: calories 307, total fat 2.9g, total carbohydrates 59.8g, fiber 1.8g, sugars 56.7g and protein 11.8g.
Strawberry Banana Soy Smoothie
1 ripe banana
2 cups frozen strawberries (8 ounces)
1 cup soy milk
2 tablespoons honey
COMBINE all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.
Nutrition information per serving: calories 235, saturated fat zero, unsaturated fat 2g, cholesterol zero, carbohydrates 52g, sodium 67mg; sodium 5g and fiber 5g.