Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Breakfast Smoothies

I like to mix up my breakfasts...for a while, I was enjoying a toasted double fiber english muffin with peanut butter and bananas.  Then, I made an oatmeal that was chocolatey and hearty.  Recently, I've been going old school and enjoying quick oats, milk, and raisins (microwaved together) for a breakfast that I can make in the office.

But I've still been hungry before lunch...and that is presenting a bit of a problem.

See, since I've had this new, longer commute, I've been snacking on some almonds in the car.  The raw almonds are there to fend off the HAM phase, so the container isn't quite big enough to be able to munch on all week long.   

So after I munch on almonds, I come into the office and drink some tea or coffee.  I'm not really full - or satisfied.  At this point, I'm just no longer hungry.  Around 10ish I start to get really hungry.  It's kind of too early to eat my lunch, but it's a bit too late to eat the oatmeal - because I know that that will fill me up until later.  I wish I could find something that would help me feel full in the morning and then last all morning long. 

Limiting factors: I don't like to get up early to make breakfast.  Even if I did, Joe doesn't get up as early as I do.  I our tiny loft sounds travel like crazy (I blame it on the fact that we don't have "ceilings" to top off the wall partitions in our place...think of it as us living in a cubicle environment).  And oh yeah, at work, we have a fridge and a microwave so I can't get too creative there.

I feel better and more satisfied, all day, if I have a hearty and filling breakfast in the morning.

But I want to lose weight, too.  So eating a few handful of almonds (I'm not measuring) isn't exactly the "best" thing I could do...and certainly snacking from 10 to noon isn't helping.  I started bringing fruit in, but I don't usually turn to it for some reason.

And then I got to thinking about Roni's smoothies that she's done.  And I started thinking about how I could do that too.

We do have a blender, but ours is big and bulky.  And I knew that if I had to drag that thing out every day, I would eventually not do it.  Add that to the fact that it doesn't blend things completely and you get an unappealing option (for me at least).

So I went to researching on the internets and found (what I feel) is the best option.

Monday, I bought what Roni uses to make her smoothies in - the Magic Bullet from Costco.  I know the Costco site says that they're on sale until January 30th for $39.99, but it was only $34 at my local Costco - with an instant manufacturers rebate. You *can* buy the exact same kit it from Amazon, but it's a bit more expensive.  Around the same price as at Costco, you can get a bit of a different kit on Amazon, but it doesn't have the "on the go" tops which make it easier to not slosh around in your car.  I drink mine through a straw while in the car, but the top makes it easier for me to walk the few blocks to my car without spillage.

The people from Magic Bullet have in no way compensated me - they don't even know that I'm writing this...heck, they don't even know who I am.  But I figure if you've been searching for the same thing as I have, you might be curious to know what I like and what I don't like.  To be clear, I haven't used it for anything else (although apparently there are many things you can do with it)...I've just made smoothies. :)

I've had two breakfast smoothies since then in the Magic Bullet and here are the things that I really like:
  1. I LOVE that it's a smaller gadget.  We don't have much room so anything that doesn't take up much space is handy.  The base is about the size of a coffee grinder.  Of course, you do have to find room for the mugs and tops.
  2. I love that you can mix the drinks right in the mug - without having to wash more stuff.  I don't have much time in the mornings and I don't love washing out stuff that I'm just going to use again the next day.  With this, I just use one mug for each day - and the mug I used goes right in the wash.  There is a new mug/blender assembly waiting for me the next day.
  3. Your drink is already proportioned.  I'd hate to make a whole smoothie and then not have enough space in my mug/glass to fit it all in.  This way, what you fit in the mug is it's capacity.  So nothing goes to waste.
  4. It blends everything really smoothly.  Admittedly, the first time, it wasn't so smooth...and I had bits of spinach and blueberries that I couldn't just swallow without chewing a bit (it should be noted that I actually hate pulpy orange juice for this same reason- so this is my issue, maybe not yours).  The second time, I made sure that I blended everything for longer...and it was perfect!  As far as the ice, it's smoothed out completely - no huge chunks like our traditional blender.

Things I'm not a huge fan of:
  1. The smell.  It has a hot or burning smell sometimes - usually when I hold it down for long periods of time (go figure!).  I just try to pulse it when it gets to this point.  I've read other reviewers complain of the same thing...and it makes me doubt the longevity of the product. I just ease up for a few seconds and then go at it again and it blends just fine after that.  But so far, so good.
  2. You have to be kind of careful about how you add everything.  I find it best to add the fruit/veggies first to blend it all smoothly and THEN add the ice to make it a smoothie. 
ANYWAY, no matter what appliance you make your smoothie with, there are now countless options for me!

My first smoothie was made with: blueberries, a spear of pineapple, probably a half of a cup of spinach leaves, and non-fat plain greek yogurt.  It's pictured to the left.  As you can see, there are some small chunkies of blueberry skins and veins of spinach leaves in there (as I mentioned previously).  The next time I vowed to blend more. According to other blogs, I add more spinach, it's supposed to greener (making it a "Green Monster") versus the purple-ish/brownish color that is displayed here.

In my second smoothie (in addition to blending more thoroughly), I added some healthy oils, a strawberry, and a small bit of agave nectar (the yogurt that I use is plain and has a bit of a tarter taste than what I'd ideally like). 

So far, so good.  When I got to work, I was completely satisfied and have enjoyed water each morning until lunchtime .  What's more, I feel fantastic that I have used healthy ingredients to make a healthy and delicious morning treat.  It's fast, easy, doesn't take up a lot of room, and is something that I can enjoy on the go.

For all you Weight Watchers, if you make it with just fruit and veggies, I guess this would be a 0 point drink (although I don't know because I'm not a member...perhaps this is something you should take to your leader :) ).
I'm looking into maybe adding some protein powders to it, or some nut butters, or perhaps a bit of flax seed.  Something to give me more protein or boost it's nutritional value.

Do you enjoy smoothies?  If so, what do you put in them?  Do you add any powders or mixes to boost the nutritional value or are you a fruit/veggie purist?

I can't wait to hear from you guys - this is something I'm super excited about and I'd love to know what more of you all are using or have used.  So PUHLEEZE chime in!


Karen said...

To me, smoothies are a dessert, not a breakfast. Usually I prefer to eat my calories. But I see a lot of buzz about green smoothies so may try that someday.

Anonymous said...

I missed that recipe for oatmeal. I want to try that - thanks. I like your comment on Christmas brunch - lol. It's funny how your tastes change though, isn't it? Your family and friends may not agree though - lol.

Lanie Painie said...

Our first experiment with home smoothies didn't go very well. We were using a 20 year ol blender though. A friend just mentioned to me her Magic Bullet from Costco and how she is enjoying smoothies as well.

Right now we are into Fiber One fruit-added pancakes. Today we were supposed to try pineapple but with school closing and all the loafin around to be done, we didn't do it. My plan is to make lots and lots of these pancakes ahead of time and have them to warm up in the microwave on school days. :)

TRI714 said...

sounds great, all of it. I love my smoothies !!

turleybenson said...

So weird! I just got a magic bullet for the very same reason. I have a frozen berry, banana, rice milk, flax seed smoothies every morning. I should incorporate veggies though.

I am in lust with the magic bullet.

Kendra said...

I just started making smoothies, and I add a kale leaf and some hemp protein. This morning mine had a banana, some frozen strawberries and a peach. Oh, and flaxseed. YUM! Maybe I should try the magic bullet...

Coree said...

Long time lurker- first time commenting!!!

I make smoothies like this every morning!! I usually go for banana, a 1/2 cup almond milk, tons of spinach, flax seeds, and a few frozen strawberries and/or peaches and/or mangos.

You can add in a TON of spinach without ever tasting it, and if you use frozen fruit you don't need ice. However, blend everything else together first and then add the frozen fruit so it blends better!!

I've so enjoyed reading your blog!

kristi said...

I have been on a smoothie kick too! I make mine with almond milk, a banana, frozen blueberries, and muscle milk protein powder (vanilla). I use my blender because I have to say that my Magic Bullet doesn't do it for me when I have hard chunky things like frozen fruit and ice. I don't think it works as well as the infomercial claims! Go figure.

My standard breakfast is an Atkins Advantage shake. I love them. They are 160 calories and usually keep me full from 8am to noon with little to no snacking.

Kim said...

I am recent Smoothie convert, too. And I also have the Magic Bullet, too! (Great minds must think alike!). I read in the user's manual that you shouldn't continue the blending for longer than a that could create a motor as long as you do a minute...wait...and repeat, if needed, you should be okay. I tend to worry about it and do the pulse action...

I have learned that a smoothie will keep me full until around lunch time where a quick fix breakfast (whatever you call "quick") hardly ever kept me "full" for longer than an hour.

Thanks for the ideas for some new smoothie flavors. I am going to try a spinach one...just have to have the right combination to mask the spinach taste with yogurt (just doesn't sound that appealing like that!).

Hope you have continued success!

The Babe said...

Go check out the blog "Pimp my protein shake". She has great recipes and ideas.

I am very boring. I use chocolate protein powder and water. Sometimes I go crazy and add a shot of sugar free syrup (like what Starbucks puts in your coffee) in almond or mint or vanilla, and sometimes I add a splash of unsweetened almond milk to make it a little richer. Yea, I told you I was really boring.

I CAN however tell you where to find the best protein powders, and which ones taste like licking an old shag carpet vs. the ones that taste almost milkshake-y (it does bring all the boys to the yard, ya know). Let me know if you want recs. like that...