“Stacy,” you’re probably saying, “what moved you to break out the microplane so early in the morning? And for ginger root!?”
Fear not. The mini workout of grating a piece of ginger into your blender will turn into the perfect way to start your day when you try this zinger of a smoothie.
In the spirit of my last post about making infinitely customizable granola, smoothies also lend themselves to the to-each-their-own philosophy. That’s why I choose to start my summer mornings with them so often — they’re chilly, energizing and leave room for lots of variety.
What follows is my version of Smoothies 101, then the recipe. Skip to the recipe, if you must, but the tips are here if you need them.
One of the first orders of business is acquiring several kinds of frozen fruit. I chose to start with blueberries, raspberries, mangoes and peaches. Be as creative as the freezer section at your local grocery store allows.
If you have access to fresh fruit, use it. In fact, there are some ripe strawberries in our fridge that I’m claiming tomorrow morning. However, relying only on fresh fruit for your smoothie adventures could put you in a situation where your ingredients start to rot before they meet your blender. That means wasted money and no smoothie — a double whammy!
Another benefit of using frozen fruit — You don’t have to worry about those pesky ice cubs. Sure, most blenders can handle ice… and sound like an industrial piece of machinery while doing so. Consider this carefully if you intend to make these for breakfast while maintaining healthy relationships with your family, spouse and/or roommates.
I use my hand blender to make my smoothies, but would never bet on that appliance up against ice cubes. Instead, I’ve found that frozen fruit keeps things a little quieter and saves you a bit of time.
So far, I have found frozen peaches and mangoes to be the hardest to blend smoothly. On several occasions I’ve left the house with a smoothie in tow and a nearly intact peach or mango hiding at the bottom of my mug. And no, they’re not straw-friendly at all.
After much frustration, I’ve found a solution. If you let the fruit sit at room temperature for just a few minutes, it’ll succumb to your blender without putting up much of a fuss. DO NOT put your frozen fruit in the microwave. You’ll wind up with hot smoothie. Unless that’s what you want. In which case, go right ahead.
Fun tidbit: I mentioned my flickr photo of this smoothie earlier today on Twitter, and wound up meeting @smoothieweb. He runs Smoothie Recipes, an extensive collection of recipes. Also, if you’re on Twitter, follow @stacyannj … it’s me!
For those of you that would like to add protein powder into your smoothies (I add whey protein to mine), I have found that adding the powder after you’ve blended all the other ingredients works best. Otherwise your blender gets hung up on navigating through hunks of powder and you’ll need to keep stopping the blender to shift things around or give it a shake.
Adding the protein powder last also makes for a lump-free treat. Nothing ruins a smoothie quite like biting down on a pellet of chalky protein. Yech.
Milk, soy milk, water, juice, yogurt, chai tea concentrate, nectar, coffee. All are acceptable ingredients when it comes to making your smoothie drinkable. Err on the side of not enough first, and add small amounts until you reach a consistency you like. For me, that’s usually something similar to soupy ice cream.
I prefer to use vanilla soy milk, since my smoothies usually include vanilla protein powder too. In this recipe, I paired the soy milk with orange juice for an extra flavor. As for yogurt, I only occasionally use it since I’m not always keen on the tangy after taste that it leaves in my mouth.
And now, without further ado, my recipe. Remember, this entire recipe is approximate and can be easily altered to suit your tastes. I’m just sharing this particular combination because I think it’s a real good ‘un that you’ll like too!
Mango-Orange Ginger Smoothie
1 C. frozen mangoes, slightly thawed
1 in. piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1/3 C. orange juice
1/2 C. vanilla soy milk
35 g. Whey protein powder (Optional)
- Allow frozen mangoes to thaw slightly at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.
- Add slightly thawed mangoes, orange juice, soy milk to blender. If you’re using a hand blender, use a large plastic cup that allows enough room for things to blend without overflowing.
- Grate ginger into cup using a microplane. If you don’t have one, chop it into very small pieces before adding.
- Blend until smooth. If you are excluding the whey protein, you’re done. Enjoy!
- If you’re including whey protein, add it. Blend again. Add extra soy milk/orange juice if too thick, blend and then enjoy!