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Monday, February 14, 2011

Shlurp!: Fruit Smoothies

I made up a bunch of smoothie-in-an-instant before Boy #2 was born thinking that I was going to need all the quick, healthful, easy, homemade snacks I could get (as opposed to my post-Boy #1 snack of choice, Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies ::blush:: ).  Turns out I HATE smoothies.  Good thing Boy #1 digs ‘em!

My smoothie mix is based on a Raspberry Soup recipe from the cookbook from the Cedar Crest Victorian Inn, a beautiful B&B in Asheville, NC.  I substitute local honey for sugar and only use half as much as the original, and leave out the water in order to create a "concentrate" for freezing.  The original recipe also calls for using all raspberry-flavored ingredients; it's very tasty to reinforce the primary fruit with yogurt and juice in the same flavor family, but also fun to mix things up.  Try orange juice with blueberries, apple juice with peaches, and so on. 
You can choose to strain the mixture or not.  I don't strain partly because I think food is at its most healthful when left whole and partly because I'm a lazy cook :D
Ice cube trays are one of the staple pieces of equipment in my kitchen.  Freezing things like leftover broth, extra wine, and tomato paste in cube form gives you versatility in portioning when you're ready to cook later.  One regular ice cube tray holds about 2 cups of liquid; this recipe will require 2 or 3 trays.
Frozen Fruit Smoothie Mix (makes 7 toddler smoothies, or about 3 adult smoothies)
20-24 oz. frozen fruit (e.g. raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches), thawed
1 cup juice
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 whole cloves
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
8 oz fruit-flavored yogurt
Puree the thawed fruit and juice in a food processor or blender.  Transfer to a large saucepan. Add the honey and spices. 

Bring just to a boil while stirring over medium heat.  Allow to cool and strain through a fine sieve, if desired.  Whisk in lemon juice and yogurt. 

Pour into ice cube trays to freeze.  You can store the mix in the trays or pop them into zip-top bags when frozen.
To make a smoothie: Put 3-4 cubes and about 1/4 cup water in a blender for a small smoothie or 6-8 cubes and about 1/2 cup water for a large smoothie.  Blend until desired consistency. 
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